The End of the Beginning

Scripture: Genesis 42:1-38, Genesis 43:1-34, Genesis 44:1-34
Lesson: 13
Joseph rises to prominence and reunites with his brothers and father. Thus, the nation of Israel was born.
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Thank you very much, debbie, and our carolers. Doctor nuan* had his scarf around his neck, kind of gave it that ingathering look, didn't it? Want to welcome all of our friends who are here to study with us at central church. Want to welcome our friends who are studying with us around the world. It was exciting, even in india we met people who are watching the programs while we were there. And it's a blessing, a pleasure, a privilege to realize that we have a class that's so broad.

And I'm excited to be back with you again and to be teaching especially today's lesson. It's a very important study. But it's the last lesson in the quarterly on belongings and beginnings or "beginnings and belongings." And you notice on the back, this is our 13th Sabbath, which is the end of the quarter. This is our last study in the year for those who are watching on television, we prerecord here at central church. And there is a special offering that is taken for the world field that is the focus during this quarter.

And this time it is the east central africa division. And you'll see there's five special projects on the back of your quarterly that this 13th Sabbath offering helps to go to support. And part of Sabbath school time is thinking about mission work and evangelism. Sometimes we think about mission work as what missionaries do in other parts of the world. But there is a movement that is growing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church that really began with Jesus.

And it's the concept that every member is a missionary. Every member is a minister. And Amazing Facts believes very much in that, that everybody should get involved and using their gifts. I'd like to introduce somebody that is a familiar face on some of these networks, pastor don mackintosh. And we're very excited to announce that pastor mackintosh is now the new director of the Amazing Facts center of evangelism, sometimes called the college of evangelism.

And I guess we answer to both names. That's right. And what happens there is people from all walks of life, they may be pastors, laymen, teachers, they come and they learn the foundational components of soul-winning and evangelism. Tell us a little bit about what afcoe is. Well, afcoe kind of goes against the flow, you know.

You've got the drift and we try and sift the drift back in the right direction. People are lost. They're looking for help. They're looking for hope. And you know, it says that he sent His Word and healed them.

You know, at Amazing Facts you have the wonderful ministry that's uplinked in various, you know, affiliates. And that's kind of like air combat. But afcoe trains people for door-to-door combat with the Gospel. And it's basically a core course. And then there's a calling, we call it.

And the core is basically months of training. First of all, we worship together, because no witness can happen without worship. So first of all, we worship together. Then springing from that worship, we then study in-depth components of witnessing. And then I'd say the third w, coming out of these components of witnessing is how to war for the Lord, answering objections.

As you know people just have hokey ideas sometimes. They think, "well, you know I don't listen to the Bible because of," this or that. And when you listen to them, they really are pretty basic and simple. And what they're wanting is kind of an answer, but no one has really answered their questions. So we go through how to answer objections and how to feel comfortable with that.

And finally, just like a good burrito is wrapped up at the end, we talk about wrapping things up. And you know some people just need to be called to decision. I mean Jesus called people to decision. The Bible starts with God calling, "where are you?" And ends with that final call. So we at the Amazing Facts college of evangelism, we really spend some time helping people learn how to call for decisions.

So that's the core. That's the 4 months. And then the call. We have something new. We think it's attractive.

And what I mean by that is there's different tracks you can take. If you want to specialize in that door-to-door combat of Bible work, we have advanced Bible work training. If you want to focus on how to be involved in health evangelism, we have the health evangelism track. It says that Jesus went preaching, teaching, and healing in every city. And that word healing is really therapy in the original.

So we have this track that focuses on health evangelism. We have youth evangelism. We have advanced evangelistic preaching. And as you know, doug, some of our very evangelists at Amazing Facts, I don't know, what were you telling me the number is? I think we have 11 or 12 full-time evangelists. And of those, four or five went originally through the Amazing Facts college of evangelism.

So various tracks, lay pastoral ministry. You came in to the work of pastoring as a layperson. Lay pastor. Right, so we really focus on training the laity. We're told that we're not gonna finish the work unless the frozen chosen get thawed.

That's right. Get off the pew and put the saints into circulation as they say. So we're excited about that because it's a lay-based training. And then-- so who can take afcoe? Everybody, right? Anybody. Anyone who feels a calling.

I can't say anybody. What happens is you call in, you visit us on our website and we have a committee that goes through your, your you know those that have signed up-- the applications. The applications and what not. The exciting thing is now that you can get credit where credit is due. We have a, you know, an educational component now where you, through our affiliation you can get accredited credits for going through afcoe.

But a person needs to be what? At least 18 years of age. At least 18 years of age, hopefully in sound mind and body. And we've had 'em up to years, haven't we? Oh yeah. Yeah, in fact we have several applications now. But remember Moses started his most effective ministry at 80, so call us up.

So if someone's interested, they're feeling the call of the Lord to do more in witnessing and to get some training, how do they contact afcoe? Well, you could go to our website, the and then follow the links to the Amazing Facts college or center of evangelism. You could call us up on the phone. Those are the two basic ways that you'd get in touch. And when does the next program begin? Two programs a year, one in January and the other in August, four months. So the next one begins in January.

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All right. Now we're so glad to have you, part of Amazing Facts now. Thanks, Lord bless you. God bless you. And perhaps we'll have pastor don teach the lesson sometimes.

He's been the pastor of a very, growing, thriving church for 13 years and has a lot of good experience there. We have a special offer again. And of course, we've been talking about the birth of Israel. And the book is "spiritual Israel." So call the number on your screen. Ask for offer number 174.

That number is 866-788-3966. We'll send you a copy of "spiritual Israel." So now we're going to get into our study, which is lesson number 13, the last one in our quarter, "the end of beginning." And we're picking up with the story of Joseph. Joseph has been sold by his brothers. Matter of fact, I'd like to do a little review, because we've been traveling some. I missed some of these studies.

And one thing I don't want to miss is showing you the parallels between Joseph and Christ. Have you ever considered how many parallels there are between Joseph and Jesus? Joseph is the favored son of The Father, as Jesus is the beloved son. He is sold by his brothers for the price of a slave, as Jesus is betrayed by his own people for the price of a slave. He's done nothing wrong, but he goes seeking their welfare. Joseph is seeking his brethren when they throw him in a pit.

Jesus is put in a grave. Joseph comes out alive. Jesus comes out alive. His brothers cover their sin by presenting to The Father a bloodstained robe. You get that? How do we cover our sin? Don't we present to The Father the bloodstained robe of Jesus? Then Joseph, of course, he goes into Egypt, he experiences service, slavery, imprisonment, even though he deserves to be the heir of a wealthy nomad.

The transition from being the status of the heir of a wealthy nomad to being a slave and a prisoner is something like Jesus leaving the courts of glory and coming down to this world. There's no record of Joseph sinning. I'm sure he did sin, 'cause all have sinned. But Joseph consistently is faithful. Though he is tempted, he resists the temptation.

Jesus overcame the temptation. And you just continue to look through the parallels. When Joseph's in prison, you remember he interprets the dream of the baker and the butler. He's got two others in prison with him. And he tells one of them, "you will be saved.

You will be restored." And the other one, "you will perish." Jesus is crucified between two thieves. And he says to one of them, "you will be saved. You will be with me in paradise." And by implication he is saying to the other, "you will not." And there's just so many parallels when you look at the story of Joseph. He is one of the most clear types of Christ in the Bible. Now we're going to pick it up in the story today where Joseph is now going from the prison to the palace.

Can you think of some other examples in the Bible of those who in one day go from basically the prison to the palace? Turn in your Bibles with me to Jeremiah 52:31. This is one of the last things you're going to find in the old testament. Historically when they're carried away to Babylon, Jeremiah, it's the last chapter in Jeremiah, the last few verses. And you'll also find this in the end of Chronicles. "Now," verse 31, "now it came to pass in the 37th year of the captivity of jehoiachin king of judah, in the 12th month," this is by the way the last mention of one of The Sons of David who was king.

"In the 12th month, on the 25th day of the month, that evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the 1st year of his reign, lifted up the head of jehoiachin king of judah and brought him out of prison." Now he had been placed in prison by Nebuchadnezzar. He'd been there 37 years. Having been a king going to prison, that's tough. Takes him out of prison. Not only does he set him free, he doesn't just like they do in some prisons, give him a check for $30 and say, "all right, you're on your own.

" Get a bus ticket home. He takes him from prison. "He speaks kindly to him. He gives him a more prominent seat than those of the Kings who are with him in Babylon." He now sits as a king with the King of Kings, Nebuchadnezzar. "So jehoiachin changed from his prison garments," he now gets clothing from the royal wardrobe, "and he ate bread regularly before the King all the days of his life.

" For the rest of his life, he gets, for the rest of his life a type of eternal life. He's eating from the royal banquet, wearing royal clothes, sitting in the palace. In one day he goes from the prison to the palace. The reason I'm emphasizing that is Joseph going from the prison to the palace in one day is a type of salvation. By the way, didn't Jesus go from the tomb to the portals of glory in one day? Isn't that what happened? And this is a type of salvation.

That's not the only time it happened. Chronicles 33:10, manasseh, who is a wicked king, is carried away by the King of assyria to prison. They take him by hooks. They bind him with bronze fetters. They carry him off to Babylon.

"Now while he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, he humbled himself greatly before," the Lord. He repents. "The God of his fathers, and he prayed to him; and he," God, "received his repentance." Manasseh, one of the most wicked Kings; he's forgiven. "And he heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then manasseh knew the Lord was God.

" After years of living as a wicked king, he is in captivity in prison, he repents, God forgives him. And then one day he goes back from he prison to the palace. Daniel is also sort of like that. In one day, Daniel goes from the status of being a captive from the tribe of judah, king Nebuchadnezzar makes him the prime minister, doesn't he? Daniel 2 when he interprets the King's dream. He's just, he's a captive who's in the King's college, but he's a captive.

And he is then exalted to a position in the palace, just under the King. The Exodus is a story how a nation of slaves, they go from being slaves and they begin a journey to the promised land. And then one day everything changes. Why? 'Cause they sacrificed the lamb. Their status changes.

Your status can change in one day from the prison to the palace. This is a wonderful story, isn't it? What God did for Joseph, for manasseh, for jehoiachin, for the children of Israel, he does for us. When we accept the lamb, Jesus, and we repent like manasseh, our status is changed in one day from prisoner of the devil, bound for judgment, to the palace. We come boldly before the throne. Isn't that wonderful, what salvation is all about? So this is what happens with Joseph.

Now, he interprets the pharaoh's dreams. The pharaoh says, "where are we going to find anyone like this?" I've got to rush through this story. There's so much here. Basically I'm covering chapters :41 of Genesis through the end of the book. And there is a lot there.

I could take just any one chapter and spend the rest of our time on that. So now Joseph for 7 years he's put in charge. His faithfulness in his Father's house, his faithfulness in the house of potiphar and even his faithfulness in prison, "he that is faithful in that which is least, I will make ruler over much." Because he has been faithful with crumbs in a prison, now he's ruling the bread of the world. You know, some people say, "I wish God would give me something big to do." Be faithful in your little corner of ministry and God will expand your borders, right? Just be faithful. And so Joseph now, he takes those same principles that he's learned, managing things in potiphar's house and crumbs in the prison.

And he does it, the same principles, to manage the food resources of an empire that ends up feeding the world. All the world now, when the famine begins, must come to Joseph for food. By the way, this is something like the story of Noah in that God told Noah "there's going to be a great dearth, you better store the ark with food." And when Noah went in the ark, remember he spent 7 days in that ark when the door is shut and he must live off what's in the ark. Isn't that right? So there's some parallels there of storing, preparing for famine. Does the Bible tell us there's a famine coming for the Word of God? In the book of Amos, yeah.

And we ought to be storing away, only those who have fortified their minds with the principles of God's truth are gonna stand through the final conflict. We now need to be storing our minds with food for the famine. I think the famine may have begun already, 'cause there's a lot of biblical illiteracy. So Joseph then is storing the food in bushels, filling silos with grain. It says it finally was "beyond number" how much they had.

Just think of pyramids full of grain. I mean that must have been what they had back then. Then the world begins to come to Joseph for food. And Joseph is actually clearing everybody, every group that comes to buy food for their country, or to buy food for their tribe, they must go through Joseph. They stand before him.

And what do you know, God and his amazing providence. Ten familiar faces suddenly show up in line and they stand before Joseph. He recognizes them. But they don't recognize him, 'cause last time they saw him, he was sort of a scrawny -year-old boy. Now he has filled out.

He is in the garb of the Egyptians. He's speaking another language. He's surrounded by all he trappings of royalty, doesn't look anything like their brother that they pulled out of the pit. They don't, not one of them recognizes him. And he speaks to them through a translator.

He knows what they're saying, but they don't know that he knows. And he speaks to them through translators. Does the Lord speak to us directly or through the Holy Spirit? Does the Lord speak to us through his servants? I mean God speaks to us through others. But does he know what we're thinking? I mean they didn't realize Joseph understood everything they were saying. God knows what things we have need of before we even ask.

And so Christ again is typified or Joseph is a type of Christ in this story. He decides to test them. He doesn't just give them their food and send them on the way. First of all, is it in his power to retaliate, to be vindictive? Oh, he has got absolute authority over them. He could say to his soldiers, "seize them.

" He could take them to the torture chamber. He could get a comfortable seat and he could watch them be tortured, commensurate with all the years that he's been in prison. But he doesn't do that. And he's had a lot of time to think about what he would do. He spent years as a slave and in prison.

Instead he wants to know, are they different men? Have they changed? So he begins a series of tests that he applies that take them through a lot of very strange scenarios. First, he puts them in prison. He says, "you're spies." Now Egypt at this time had a lot of food. They had enemy countries. They didn't know if their enemies were gonna come and try and take their food that they had stored by force, or if they were gonna say, "hey look, they're weak and starving here.

Maybe it's a good time to attack. They've had famine." And so under that pretense he says, "you're spies." And he puts them in prison for 3 days. He just wanted them to taste his sufferings. Sometimes the Lord allows you and I to go through trials so we can appreciate something of the sufferings of Christ. You know one of the great privileges we might have is to share in the sufferings of Christ.

Can you say amen? But you will never experience what he experienced. They did not experience, he did not make them experience the 20 years of suffering he had. Joseph was 17 when he was sold. He went out over Egypt when he was 30. So that's what, 13 years of suffering? And then they haven't seen him for the 7 years of plenty.

So now Joseph is 37, 40 years of age, because it was 2 or 3 years into the famine before they came. Because after he reveals himself, he says, "there are still 5 years yet of the famine." Are you with me mathematically? So Joseph's about 40 years of age now. You can understand why they didn't recognize him. What does Joseph want more than anything? One of the first things he asks them, when he reveals himself to his brothers, is "how is your father? Does my father live?" Joseph is yearning to be back united with his father. But he is denying himself being in The Father's presence, because he's testing the brothers.

Jesus, when he came to this world, what do you think the hardest thing was for him? Being separated from his father. What did he say on the cross? "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" I mean just broke the heart of Jesus to be separated from The Father. The hardest thing for Christ was the idea that the sins of the world would bring him into the second death and that he could be, he could not see beyond the portals. Sin was so offensive. Being separated from The Father was the hardest thing for him.

Joseph, at any time, could have said, "go summon my father. Bring him to me." But he wouldn't do that until he had tested his brothers for their salvation. So he sends them home with food. Now, you realize I'm running through the story quickly because it's very difficult for us to do it. While he's testing them--matter of fact, I think we have microphones? Rich has a mic.

Pancho has a mic. Someone go to me, go for me to Genesis 42:21-22. He's listening to them. It looks like roy has it. Hold your hand up, roy.

Genesis 42:21-22, why don't you read that one for me? For our friends who are visiting, we, you can see, have our music apparatus because the Sacramento adventist band is going to be playing for our special holiday program today. And so that's why we're a little different structure here. Go ahead. "And they said one to another, 'we are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us?' And reuben answered them saying, 'spake I not unto you, saying, 'do not sin against the child'; and ye would not hear? Therefore behold, also his blood is required.'" Now when they're being tested by Joseph, he overhears them say this to each other. How long has it been since they sold Joseph? Maybe 20 years.

Have they gotten over their sin, or are they still tortured over what they had done to their brother? That day when they were fed up with Joseph, I remember getting so mad at my brother, I wanted to murder him. I won't ask you, but those of you who have siblings, you probably had arguments before. I remember one time my brother called my mother. She was out. She left us home alone.

She was a single mother. And my brother and I got into a fight. He was 2 1/2 years older than me, but my brother had cystic fibrosis so he wasn't really stronger than me. And he locked himself in my mother's bedroom, called her and said, "dougy is trying to kill me." She came home and said, "what was the problem?" We were fighting over a comb. And now look how God's rewarded me.

Seemed pretty petty when you think about it. But, you know, I'm embarrassed to think I actually entertained thoughts that i, I was so mad, 'cause my brother could be really obnoxious. And you know, afterward you think, you know, now I really miss my brother. And that argument seemed so dumb. They hated Joseph so much because of the favoritism of The Father.

But he never really did anything wrong. The devil can accentuate these things where you almost, it seems like you just can't live with it anymore. And they had these murderous thoughts. But then after they sold their brother, I bet you as soon as they saw their father's reaction, Joseph would not be comforted--I'm sorry, Jacob. He mourned every day for his son.

How does The Father feel about Jesus? I mean what hurt more? Jesus suffering or The Father suffering watching his son suffer? And yes, Joseph did suffer. But who suffered more? Jacob. And Jacob kept thinking it was for his sin, lying to his father and stealing the birthright from his brother and these things. And he was torturing himself. And when those brothers saw their father pining day after day, they were tortured, 20 years they were suffering for what had happened to their brother.

Now what's the application for us? Who does Joseph represent? Jesus. Does it grieve you how Jesus suffered for you? It should. You know what I discover in my own life and in the church that we become callous to the sufferings of Christ. Woe to us when you can think about the cross, and it doesn't move you. What they did to Joseph, casting him in the pit, selling him as a slave, is a parallel for what we have done to Christ.

They were still sorry after all those years for what had happened. And the first thing that comes to their mind when they go through some trial is "it's because of what we did to Joseph." They can't forgive themselves for that. And even reuben, he says, "I told you not to do it. I left for a few minutes and look at what you did." And he really took responsibility 'cause he was the oldest brother. And when he had to go back and tell Jacob, and they lied to their father.

All these years, they've been lying. Had they told Jacob yet what happened? You know one reason we know that is cause they are continuing the lie when they say in the presence of Joseph, "we are 12 sons of one man. One is not with us. The other he is no more. We don't know what happened to him.

" They're lying. And what does Jacob say? When they come back to Jacob and they say, "look, the man said you've got to send your youngest son or we can't buy anymore food." Jacob says, "Joseph went out from me and he is torn of beasts." Still, he still believes their story, based on that robe. Don't forget that. That robe is a type of Christ. The only thing Jesus had that is left behind that we know about was his clothing.

Clothing divided four parts, the seamless robe stained with his blood, that blood--didn't they whip him in herod's, they whipped him in herod's temple? They took off his robe, whipped him, put a purple robe on him. Then they took the purple robe and put his robe back on. You read it. After whiping him and putting his robe back on, was it a bloodstained robe? And then laying a cross on his shoulders. That bloodstained robe they presented to The Father's, a type of the righteousness of Christ that covers our sin.

So, it never actually tells us at what point Joseph told Jacob what really happened. Can you imagine the sheepish look on the brothers' face after this lie that they perpetrated for all these years? Jacob finally finds it wasn't a wild beast, but it was "my own sons." Oh, there's so much here. He sends them home with food. They try to pay for the food. But does he let him pay for it? Genesis 42:28, someone read that for me.

Genesis 42:28. We got a hand. We got a couple hands. Pick someone, rich. Okay, read that for me, please.

Genesis 42:28, you got it? "And he said unto his brothers, 'my money is restored, and lo, it is even in my sack!' And their hearts failed them and they were afraid, saying one to another, 'what is this that God has done unto us?'" Ha! Joseph's having a good time fooling with his brothers, isn't he? They try to pay for their grain. He gives them the money back. Now, not only would he not take his brothers' money, but what does that grain represent? Well, the Bible is the bread of life. But who is the bread that came down from heaven? Jesus. Can we pay for our salvation? You remember when naaman was healed by listening to the advise of Elisha.

He comes back and tries to pay for his healing. And it wasn't that Elisha was rich, but he wouldn't take anything. He urged them. But he refused. Why? Can we pay for salvation? Joseph keeps putting the money back in the sack.

Oh, yeah you know the Egyptians probably have to pay. But his own, that are in the land of canaan, they do not pay. It's a gift. You and I cannot pay for forgiveness, can we? Alright. Then they come back to Jacob and they said, "the man said we can't buy any more grain unless we bring Benjamin.

" Now why does Joseph want Benjamin? Keep in mind, Jacob had four wives, twelve boys, one girl, dinah who came from leah. His original wife that he wanted was rachel, whom he really loved. Rachel only had two boys. Remember, rachel was barren. He prayed for her.

She had Joseph. She died giving birth to Benjamin. The word, Benjamin, means "son of my right hand," Joseph's little brother. Joseph is wondering, "after I left, Jacob probably favored Benjamin. You know, sometimes parents spoil the youngest, don't they? They call them the baby of the family.

I was the baby of the family. My wife was the baby of her family. Two babies should never marry, because they both want to be babied. They spoil the youngest. It wasn't so bad with me actually, because my brother was sick with a terminal disease.

I don't think they spoiled me as much. Sometimes they spoiled my brother. But in any event, Joseph is thinking, "what if they have done to Benjamin what they did to me? How have they been treating Benjamin? All these years that he is in prison and that he's a slave, Joseph is wondering, "is Benjamin next?" Now the others were half brothers. Benjamin is his full brother. And he's really wondering about his brother.

So he says, "bring him. I want to see him. Not only do I want to see him, I want to see how you treat him. I want to see if you've changed. Are you still the jealous, selfish, self-centered men that you were when you sold me?" Joseph wasn't responsible.

The other thing that's interesting is when the brothers finally come before Joseph a prophecy is fulfilled. What do they do when they first come before him to buy food? They bow down in front of him. Remember Joseph's dreams? He had these dreams. He wasn't boasting in his dreams. He was just saying, you know, "this was supernatural dreams that God gave me.

" Does the dream come true? Several times you find them bowing down before him. Joseph represents who? Will every nation confess and every knee bow before Jesus some day? I mean in the dreams it says, "the sun and the moon and the 12 stars bowed down." I think it's 11 stars and Joseph's the 12th. "Bow down before me." And then the other sheaves of grain all bowed down, representing the grain. The bread all points to Jesus. The sun, moon and stars are the light.

The light all points to Jesus. Did you catch what I said? Those are symbols. The grain, the sheaves of grain bowing down represents the point, the center of all the word, this is the bread of life, points to Jesus. Sun, moon and stars? What does the church, the woman in Revelation 12, "standing on the moon, clothed with the sun, stars above her head. Jesus said to the church, 'you're the light of the world.

'" The church points to, bows down to Jesus, that's the light. And so all of it's pointing to Christ through this whole experience of Joseph. Now someone read for me Genesis :36-37. We're in the same chapter, -37. We got a hand.

Pick someone over here, pancho. We'll go back and forth. I've still got some others to dele--to distribute here. "And Jacob their father said unto them, 'me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and simeon is not, and you will take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.

' And reuben spoke unto his father, saying, 'slay my two sons if I bring him not to thee; deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.'" Thank you. The boys are laboring with Jacob saying, "look, we're running out of food. The whole tribe is getting hungry. The only place to go for food is Egypt. There are no other alternatives.

" By the way, is there any other way for us to get the bread of life? "No other name given among men whereby we must be saved." You have no choice. If you want to live, you gotta go to Jesus. If you want bread, you gotta go to Joseph. If you want to live, you gotta go to Jesus for the bread of life. They're starting to get hungry.

They've run out of their grain. Reuben, who's the firstborn, he says, "Jacob, father, send Benjamin with me. Trust me, you can have my two sons." And what does he say to reuben? "Not on your life." Now one reason he says "no" to reuben, you read the whole story, reuben messed up. Reuben slept with his stepmother. And reuben was supposed to watch over Joseph and he lost him.

He says, "I'm not trusting Benjamin to you." Some more months go by, they're getting hungrier. Jacob says, "you better go get some grain from Egypt." And they said, "dad, don't you remember, we can't show our face to that man unless we bring our brother." Don't miss this important point. Joseph is going to judge them based on how they treat their brother. In the great judgment day of the sheep and the goats, Matthew 25, what is the criteria upon which we are judged? "Your brother was hungry; did you feed him? Your brother was thirsty; did you give him drink? Your brother was sick; did you come to him? He was in prison, he was naked, he was a stranger;" six things are mentioned. And all of them have to do with how do you treat your brother or sister? How do you treat each other? That's the big judgment.

And this is what Joseph wants to know. How are they going to treat Benjamin? So finally judah comes. Isn't it interesting that the intercession of reuben doesn't work, but the intercession of judah does? Who did Jesus come through? The tribe of judah. Judah is not even the second-born or the third-born, he's the fourth-born. And when you get to the tribes mentioned in Revelation, judah is first.

It's interesting, isn't it? By the way, judah means, "I will praise." I will praise the Lord. Or it means praise. So he says, "send him with me." Judah offers himself. He says, "if he doesn't come back, I'll be your substitute. So, oh boy.

They come back. Jacob says, "all right. If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved of my children." He says, "it's in God's hands. We have no other choice." And so he sends Benjamin. Can you imagine being Benjamin? He's a little apprehensive.

Now Benjamin's not a teenager at this point. You know, he's in his 30s. And so, but he's, remember back then, men lived longer. And when you were, I mean Jacob lived 147. When you're in your 30s, you're still a whippersnapper.

You're considered young. And so they send Benjamin. They come to Joseph. Joseph says, "is this your younger brother of who you spoke?" They're amazed that he remembers so much. And again, he's still speaking through a translator.

And they said, "yes." And he yearns. He wants to go embrace his brother, but he restrains himself. Think about that. What Joseph wants more than anything is to hug his brothers, to reveal himself to his brothers, but he restrains himself because it's not the right time. Does Jesus want to come right now and embrace us? This is what he wants.

But he restrains himself, because we're not ready. He has to wait. He wants to be with us more than you want to be with him. He yearns. The Bible says, "he had to excuse himself because he wept when he saw his brother.

" I mean, Jesus is weeping. He wants to be with us so much. Isn't that what it says in Revelation? "God himself will be with them." He excuses himself. He dries himself off. He fixes his Egyptian mascara and he comes back out again.

It doesn't say that, but you know he shaved himself. He didn't look like a Jewish nomad. And then he sits him down. He says, "you're going to eat with me today." the Lord wants to sup with us, doesn't he? Just like Jesus ate this supper with the disciples. And during the supper, Joseph has this cup on the table that is this special silver cup.

Did Jesus have a special supper with his disciples where there was a cup? And that was a determining factor. The new covenant is instituted there. Now, just so you understand how it worked in the Egyptian economy. Oh, I'm running out of time. I got so much to share.

The monarchs and the leaders, they often tried to poison them. There's a lot of intrigue and assassination. That's why the baker was hung, the butcher rather was hung and the butler was saved. Someone had tried to poison the pharaoh. Remember the two? They didn't know who it was.

They knew somebody, it was either the one who did the cooking or it was the one who was the butler. Nehemiah was the butler. He poured the wine into the cup of the King of persia. And so Joseph had this cup. And supposedly they used to tell people that this cup, if you put poison in that cup, that the ruler will know that it's a magic cup.

It was all superstitious. But they wanted the people to believe that, 'cause you don't want to try and poison the pharaoh, or poison the King, because he'll know as soon as you put poison in that cup. It was a big superstition, but people were very superstitious in Egypt, weren't they? I mean look at the pyramids. They used to bury their servants with them thinking bury all their wares, very superstitious. So Joseph, he feeds them.

He sets them in order of their age. And they're looking at each other like this is more than coincidence. Mathematically, what are the odds that you would get reuben first and Benjamin last? And then he gives Benjamin five times more food than he gives the others, the best food in Egypt. He wants to observe them now and see if they're jealous, if they're eyeing their younger brother. But you know what? It says, "they ate and they were merry.

" They're not at all threatened. They've changed. He recognizes that. But he says, "you know, now I really want to see. I want to see if they're willing to sell their brother.

" He tells his servants, "put all their grain in their sacks. Put the money back in their sacks. And take my silver cup and put it in the bag of the youngest." So, they all start on their way home. They eventually get to the first rest stop on their way back to canaan. They think everything's okay.

Joseph's soldiers come riding after. He's got his own swat team. They come up and they surround these 12 brothers. And they say, "isn't this terrible? He was so good to you. He gave you your grain and you stole from him.

" And they said, "we didn't steal anything." I mean, you know, Jacob's sons had problems, but they weren't thieves. And they said, "we would never do such a thing. Whoever did that will be your slave." They made a big mistake making this promise. So they take down the bags. And again, the servants know, they start with the oldest and they wait for Benjamin last.

And as they're digging through Benjamin's sack from the oats, or whatever the grain was, and they pull out Joseph's silver cup. And when the 11 brothers saw that, they all rent their robes. And they all, they could have said, "Benjamin we're going to miss you. Write us a letter." You notice what happens? They all go back. And the servants say, "no, it's just whoever has the cup.

" He specifically says, "you don't have to come." He says, "whoever has the cup, he's the one that's going to be a slave." They all go back. They're all showing concern for their brother. They are all there to intercede for their brother. They've changed. Before they were happy to be rid of Joseph.

Now they're all going back to get Benjamin. So when they come back, Joseph says, "what is this thing that you've done?" And judah makes the most beautiful appeal. Please allow me. I like to involve you in reading, but I'd like to read this one for you, Genesis 44:27. Judah finally comes and falls down before Joseph, interceding for his brother.

Oh, by the way, what is the criteria revolving around? The cup of Joseph. Jesus said to Peter and John when they wanted to sit on his right and left hand, "are you able to drink the cup that I am going to drink?" Isn't that right? Jesus, what did he pray in the garden? "Father, if it be possible, take this cup and pass it from me." That's symbolic of the cup of salvation. And judah says in Genesis 44:27, "'then your servant my father said to us, 'you know that my wife bore me two sons; and the one went out from me, and I said, 'surely he is torn to pieces;'" see Jacob still thinks that. "'And I have not seen him since. But if you take this one also from me, and calamity befalls him, you will bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.

' Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with me, since his life is bound up in the lad's life,'" what is the relationship between The Father and The Son? It's a mystery. The Godhead is a mystery. But are their lives not bound up with one another? One God, two people. The life of The Father is bound up. "'It will happen, when he sees the lad is not with us, he will die.

'" Did The Father experience a death in his heart when Jesus died on the cross? It broke his heart. That's why it says, "for God so loved the world, he gave his son." The implication is God, The Father, so loved the world, he gave his son. Where did the greatest love come from? The hardest thing was The Father to watch the suffering of The Son. "'So your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant my father with sorrow to the grave. For your servant,'" judah is saying, "'I became surety for the lad to my father, saying, 'if I don't bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame before my father forever.

' Now therefore, please let your servant remain,'" he's saying I will be a substitute. This is the story of salvation. The substitute. He's saying, "I will be a substitute for the lad. I will be a slave.

" "'Let the lad go with his brothers. For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that will come upon my father?'" That appeal is enough for Joseph. He sees judah offering himself. And he says, "these are not the same men that I knew 25 years ago. At that point, Joseph says, "enough is enough.

" Put everyone out. He puts out all the Egyptians when he reveals himself to his brothers. By the way, when we unite with the Lord, it's going to be a personal thing. When Jesus revealed himself to the 12, didn't he do that in the upper room? It wasn't a public manifestation. And then he says, "is my father still alive?" And they're going, "what?" All of the sudden, he's speaking Hebrew.

Oh man, I wish I could talk more about this story. Can you imagine the look on their face when this prominent leader who's been speaking to them through a translator all of the sudden begins to speak with fluent Hebrew and says, "is dad still alive? Is he well?" And they're going... And then he's taking a step back and he's going, "I'm Joseph." And as that's registering, they are filled with terror remembering the last time they saw their brother he's pleading for his life and they stop their ears. And then he realizes, he says, "don't be afraid." Don't be afraid. I mean so often we think of God as a tyrant who wants to get even with us.

And if we could only know that he loves us and he forgives us. And "come here." He wants a relationship with us. He embraces him. He hugs him. He falls on Benjamin's neck and he kisses him and they kiss each other and they weep and sob and cry and heave for a long time.

And then finally when they really believe--look, if he wanted to get even he could have done it by now--that he loves them, they talk together. And he says, "you gotta bring dad back. We still have a few years of famine." I'm doing the story very quickly. And so they go back. They tell Jacob--can you imagine how long their trip was home? I mean they got plenty of food, but that's not what's on their heart.

They gotta tell dad, "Joseph's alive. And he's the ruler of Egypt. And he's there because we sold him as a slave." They're probably thinking a lot about that speech, aren't they? So they come back and they say to Jacob, "Joseph's alive." And his heart stops in his chest, because all he's thought about is his son for all these years. At first he can't believe it. But then he sees this wagon train that's come from Egypt filled with provisions and wagons to bring them back again.

And he sees that, he says, "it's enough. He's alive. I will go to my son." Oh, just look at this. They just want to be together. Joseph then draws, when he hears that Jacob's coming, Joseph goes to meet him in the land of goshen.

By the way, he gives them the best part of the land of Egypt, the best part of the world at that time. What does the Lord offer us? Isn't it the best land that he's offering us? Canaan land, the heavenly canaan. And can you imagine that reunion? Wouldn't you like video of Joseph and Jacob? Jacob shakily getting out of the wagon. And Joseph getting out of his chariot and telling all of his attendants, "leave me alone," and running and embracing his father. What a scene that must have been.

And Joseph, of course, is very happy. Now I've got to rush. Jacob then blesses the two sons of Joseph. And they, ephraim and manasseh, are given the status of the 12 tribes. You must recognize this, because Joseph was separated from his brethren, there are actually 13 tribes.

We always say the 12 tribes because levi because a tribe of priests or pastors for all of the other 12, the other 12 included ephraim and manasseh. You don't hear Joseph being mentioned individually, 'til you get to Revelation chapter 7. And so they divide the tribe of Joseph into ephraim and manasseh, his two sons. And so he basically gets extra inheritance for the time he was separated. Jacob blesses them.

Then Jacob blesses the other boys. And he says, "God is surely gonna visit you and bring you out of this land." Don't stay here. But God will give you the signal. Joseph dies 110 years old. And he says, "God is going to visit you.

Don't bury me here. Remember Joseph paid to bury his father in Egypt, Jacob. Took him back. They had a big funeral. But now Joseph dies.

They embalm him as a mummy. Before he dies, he says, "God is going to visit you. Don't bury me in Egypt. Don't put me in a pyramid. Don't put me in a tomb.

Park my bones somewhere in a coffin and you bring me back." So one of the last things Joseph says is, "God's going to visit you." The book of Genesis begins with, "in the garden everything was good, good, very good." Because of the entrance of sin, you know how the book of Genesis ends, the last five words? "In a coffin in Egypt." What a transition. Genesis takes us from the beginning of paradise and because of sin, it's ending in a coffin. And the people become a nation of slaves. Then you got the Exodus, which is the story of salvation. Also like to remind our friends, if you want to take advantage of the special offer, it's offer number 174, "Spiritual Israel. 1-788-3966. We'll send it to you simply for asking. Thank you for studying with us today and God bless you until we study again, beginning with Ecclesiastes next Sabbath.

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