Joseph In Egypt .... Bob Moore

According to Origen Proverbs 22:21 originally said, "And do thou portray them [the scriptures] in a threefold manner. " The three manners he referred to are the historical application, the spiritual application, and the prophetic one. Each issue of Pilgrims Promise will discuss the prophetic meaning of one of the episodes in the Bible. This issue examines Joseph, son of Jacob.

Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, but the first by his chosen wife, Rachel. For this reason he was the favored son and received the birthright (1 Chr 5:1).

Not only did Jacob prefer Joseph, but God placed him above his brethren. In two different dreams God told him he would reign over them and that even his mother and father would bow to him. His brethren were so angry that they sold him into bondage, telling their father he had been eaten by a wild beast. As evidence they showed his coat of many colors that they had really soiled with lamb's blood.

Although Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt, God favored him by eventually elevating him to regal responsibility. He became governor over all the land, second only to Pharaoh The Pharaoh gave Joseph this position because the Spirit of the Lord used him to reveal the meaning of the king's dreams.

The dreams that Joseph interpreted revealed that after seven years of plenty a seven year famine would follow. This revelation allowed the Egyptians to store enough food to survive the famine. Jacob and his eleven sons in Canaan neither knew of the approaching famine nor had enough provisions to endure it. They came to Egypt for supplies and had to appeal directly to Joseph, whom they did not recognize. After bowing to him and meeting his demands, Joseph revealed who he was. His family was reunited in Egypt and survived the famine there.

The separation of Joseph from his brethren and their subsequent dependence upon him for survival has prophetic implications. Although God spiritually blessed the Hebrews for approximately seven prophetic years, He promised to punish them seven prophetic years for their transgressions. Through Moses He said, "If ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chasten you seven times for your sins" (Lev 26:27-28). The Hebrews did not "hearken unto God," but worshiped idols. Just as promised, God laid their "cities waste" and scattered them "among the heathen" (Lev 26:33). The northern kingdom of Israel was defeated by Salmanaasar in 721 BC and its citizens carried out of the land. The same fate happened to the southern kingdom in 588 BC when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and took the Jews captive to Babylon.

While the Jews returned from their Babylonian captivity and lived there until the first advent of the Savior, the Israelites, or citizens of the northern kingdom, remained exiled. Talmudic sources say that although they had helped king Josiah fight the Assyrians after their exile, which king sent Jeremiah to them to bring back the lost tribes, the few who returned only stayed temporarily. According to Ezra, they also refused his invitation to return to Jerusalem when he led the Jews back after the Babylonian captivity. Although Josephus said they were an innumerable host outside Roman jurisdiction in his day, they have since disappeared. No nation or group of people know that they are descendants of any of the lost tribes, let alone the tribe of Joseph.

While the movements of the lost tribes were not recorded in the Bible, they can be traced. The Bible does say that Salmanaasar "carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor, by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes" (2 K 17:6). Halah was called Hara by the Greeks. It is a region that was on the eastern edge of the Assyrian Empire, east of the Caspian Sea. Its major river is the Duzan, which the locals still pronounce "Gouzan." This is undoubtedly the river the Bible calls Gozan and mavbe the river Ptolemy called Cyrus. It is near the mountains of Mannae, which the prophet Amos called Harmonah and to which he said Israel would be exiled (Amos 4:3).

Directly northeast of Ham was a country called Bactria. Bukhara was north of Bactria. Both these places were named after the Bachri, a clan of Ephraim (Nu 26:35). According to the most ancient British historian, Bede, the Bachrites, which were also called the Boruchteri, joined in the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain.

The Bachrites were not the only Ephraimite invaders of Britain. The Angles descended from the Augali, which group Heredotus, the Greek historian, called Aegli. He said they came from northern Bactria. Aegel in Hebrew means "bull-calf." A bull was the symbol of the tribe of Ephraim. This is why Jeremiah called Ephraim "an untrained bull-calf' (Jer 31: 18). In North European dialects "aegel" and "aegli" were interchangeable. This means that the Angles who, along with the Saxons, descendants of the Sachs, another Israelite clan whose name means "Isaac's sons," were also descendants of Ephraim. England, which means "Angle-land," was named after them. Today England is still termed "John Bull," a reference to the bull-calf.

The fact that both the Bachrites and the Angles were descendants of Ephraim, a son of Joseph, and conquerors of England, shows that descendants of Joseph were planted in the British Isles. When the British Commonwealth ruled the world, the Ephraimites among her population, like Joseph of Egypt, used the wealth of that nation to spiritually preserve their brethren.

Just as Joseph's coat of many colors was dipped in lamb's blood, the descendants of Joseph were washed in the blood of the Lamb of God when the British Isles were Christianized. After centuries of falsehood, England led the Reformation and, during the time of the Puritans, searched for a purified church. As it colonized the world, it sent missionaries around the globe to preach the gospel to natives, some of whom may have been descendants of Jacob. At the same time it pushed the people to America on the other side of the earth. Moses had prophetically given the task to the descendants of Joseph when he said, "His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and these are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh" (Deut 33:17). More recently England carved out a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Just as Joseph, although hid from his brethren, preserved them when a physical famine threatened their existence, the descendants of Joseph, hidden in the British Isles, have preserved the descendants of Jacob from the spiritual famine caused by their ancient idolatry. As Joseph gathered his family to him in Egypt, the descendants of Joseph have gathered a remnant of Jacob to America where they have been preserved in liberty and prosperity. Like the ancient Hebrews they await divine deliverance.