JOSEPH: FAITHS WAITING.
[ See Joseph The Overcomer, by D. M. Panton: and also, - Joseph, by F. B. Mayer. ]
By faith, Joseph, at the close of his life, made [prophetic] mention of the Exodus
of the Children of
concerning his own bones (Hebrews 11: 22).
all, after his long and eventful
life. After all his sorrows and
afflictions (Amos 6: 6), and self-denials and sufferings; after all his
triumphs and glory in
What is the one thing that is thus singled out?
Not Gods foreknowledge in sending the dreams in his youth; not His grace, manifested, foreshowing his destiny; not His wondrous power in overruling all the enmity of his brethren; not the marvellous acts of God in ruling and overruling the events of his life; not mysterious ways, by which the evil designs of his brethren were made to accomplish and carry out the good things God had purposed; not all his exaltation and glory in Egypt which God had bestowed upon him; but one simple act, his dying act, in remembering and making mention of one thing which GOD HAD SAID.
This was the greatest thing in Josephs eventful life. God had spoken; Joseph had heard the words he had uttered; Joseph believed what he had heard; faith came by hearing, and it was by faith that he remembered that word, and made mention of it.
The Holy Spirit, here, does not direct our attention to all those things which we delight to dwell upon; all the types foreshadowing the humiliation, rejection, sufferings, death, exaltation, and glory of the true Joseph; but to one simple act of faith; greater, more blessed, and more precious than all the acts of his eventful life.
It is the course and close of this life which is here indicated by the word used for his dying. It is not the word used of Jacob, in the preceding verse. There, it looks forward to a death which is about to take place, for the word is (apothneskon), about to die and become a corpse. Here, it is (teleuton), a word that looks backward to a life about to end and close up all the past dealings of God with him.
The word used of Jacob looks forward to, and has respect to the corruption which was to come in, through, and after his death.
The word used of Joseph looks backward, and has respect to the ending of his long life which had been full of mercies and crowned with blessings.
At such a moment his thoughts are filled, not with the many wonders which God had wrought, but with one thing God had said.
Joseph had been highly exalted in
The archers had sorely grieved him, and shot at him and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob (Gen. 49: 23, 24). God had highly exalted him. He had delivered him from the pit, and brought him forth from prison, and made him ruler over all the land. But none of these things moved him from what he had beard and believed. All the wonderful works which God had done were not to be compared to the one thing which He had said.
So Joseph rests on his memories; and his thoughts dwell on what God had spoken concerning things yet to come.
And what was it that Joseph had heard?
The answer takes us back to some words which God had spoken to Abraham some 200 years before.
In Gen. 15: 13, 14, Jehovah said unto Abram Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs (and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them) 400 years. And also that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
These words were handed down, and were surely believed by Isaac and Jacob. They were passed on to Joseph; and, when he heard them, he believed what God had said.
So far as human sight was concerned, only some of those words had proved to be true; for his people were indeed strangers in a strange land. But, up to the present, there had been no servitude and no affliction. As far as sight could go, there was no sign of it.
And, had Joseph walked by sight, he must surely have become an unbeliever. For, judging by the things which are seen (Heb. 11: 3, A.V.), the fulfilment of what he had heard seemed not only most unlikely, but impossible.
He himself was next to the throne; and his brethren dwelt in the land of peace and plenty.
True, he had been sold for a servant; and his feet they hurt with fetters. The great Archer himself had shot at him and wounded him. His brethren had been used to put him in the pit; the Ishmaelites had sold him into bondage; Potiphars wife had been used to cast him into prison; the chief butler had been used to keep him there:
Until the time that His word came,
The word of Jehovah tried him.
In spite of all the designs of the enemy,
The king sent and loosed him;
The ruler of the people let him go free;
He made him lord of his house,
And ruler of all his substance,
To bind his princes at his pleasure,
And teach his servants wisdom.
(Psalm 105: 19-22).
To sight, and judging by the outward appearance, what sign was there of the possibility of any servitude and affliction?
There was none.
There was nothing but Jehovahs word,
KNOW OF A SURETY.
Joseph knew of a surety because he walked by faith, and believed God.
How else could he have known anything
about the departure of the children of
More than two hundred years had passed away since God had spoken of it to Abraham, and more than one hundred years had yet to run.
Joseph knew of a surety that the Exodus would take place 400 years after the birth of Isaac (thy seed, Gen. 15: 13; Acts 7: 6), and 430 years after the promise (Gal. 3: 17; Ex. 12: 40).
See how he emphasises the certainty of his faith, twice over, when his life was drawing to a close. He used the beautiful Figure of Speech called Polyitoton by which the same verb is repeated in a different inflection, in visiting He will visit you. This is beautifully rendered God will SURELY visit you. Joseph was in no doubt about it.
His words are:-
I die: and God will SURELY visit you, and bring you out of this land unto a land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
took an oath of the children of
Note how the words ye shall entirely depend on Gods will. Apart from the fact that God had promised, Josephs assurance would have been merely the expression of a pious opinion. He could only have said, I think. But he said I know.
In Josephs heart were things hoped
for. The ground on which his hope* was
based was on what he had heard. If he had heard from
man that his people would have a mighty deliverance from
[* NOTE. Keep in mind: We do not hope for eternal life - the free gift of God (Rom. 6: 23, R.V.)! That life is a present possession to all who have been, and are, justified by faith in Christ Jesus. It will be enjoyed after the thousand years should be finished (Rev. 20: 4, R.V.). Our hope, as regenerate believers, is that we will be judged, on the undisclosed standard of our personal righteousness (Matt. 5: 20), if accounted worthy to attain (i.e., gain by effort a Dictionary definition.) to that age (Luke 20: 35), to be with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom, - before a new heaven and a new earth will be created. For the first heaven and first earth passed away (Rev. 21: 1)! He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God (Rev. 2: 7, R.V.).]
It was not a vague, general promise which he had heard from God, but a definite assurance based on Jehovahs oath.
On such safe ground as this he could surely take an oath of his brethren.
Note the repetition of the word TO; individualising the patriarchs, and specialising the promises made to each.
To Abraham: to THEE.
To Isaac: to THEE.
To Jacob: to THEE.
Thus giving each one the blessed certainty of an individual oath that he, in his own person, should POSSESS the LAND which God had sworn to give him.
As not one of these three ever did possess it, or receive the promise in his own person, it is certain that they must be raised from the dead, in order to do so; otherwise, Jehovahs oath would be broken,* and His promise would fall to the ground.
[* See Acts 7: 5. cf. Acts 5: 30-32, R.V.]
This is why the Lord Jesus quoted the words of Jehovah to Moses at the bush for the express purpose of proving the doctrine of resurrection.
When the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, asked Him, concerning the woman who had married seven husbands, In the resurrection whose wife shall she he of the seven? He replied In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.
Having answered their question as to the particular point raised, the Lord goes on to establish the general fact, and He adds But, as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken UNTO YOU by God, saying,
I am the God of Abraham,
And the God of Isaac,
And the God of Jacob?
God is not the God of dead people, but of the living (Matt. 22: 23-32).
The obvious conclusion of the argument being that, in order to possess the LAND and realise the promise and oath of God, they must of necessity live again to Him in [and after their] resurrection; inasmuch as God is not the God of the dead.
If they were alive at the time when the Lord spoke, how would that prove the doctrine of the resurrection?
If Gods not the God of dead people, but of living persons; and, if this was said as touching the dead that they rise (Mark 12: 26). Is it not clear that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must rise, in order that God may be their God?
When it is said that the Old Testament saints knew nothing or little about a future life in resurrection, it is because the word life and live are not properly understood.
When it was declared in Lev. 18: 5, concerning the commandments, which if a man do, he shall live in (or rather, by) them, it means live again in resurrection or eternal life.
When it says the just shall live by faith, it cannot mean merely go on living in this life; for the unjust go on doing that, without faith. It cannot mean live bodily or walk righteously; for many who do this do not necessarily live long lives; but it means shall live again in resurrection life. Hence the Chaldee paraphrase renders it shall live by them to life eternal. Or, according to Solomon Jarchi, live in the world that is to come.
Examine the many other passages where the word live is used in this sense (Lev. 18: 5; Ezek. 20: 11, 13, 21; Neh. 9: 29; Hab. 2: 4; Rom. 1: 37; 10: 5; Gal. 3: 12; Heb. 10: 38.) The Verb to live is used in this sense more often than is generally thought. Compare Isa. 26: 19; 38: 16; 55: 3; Ezek. 18: 19; 33: 19; 37: 3, 5, 6, 14; Hos. 6: 2; Amos. 5: 4, &c.
The spiritual authorities of the
Thus, in the Gospel, eternal life by faith (i.e., on faith-principle) is set in contrast with eternal [i.e., Age-lasting ] life by works.*
[* See Heb. 5: 9, where the Greek word adjective aionian, describing the salvation to all those who OBEY him, erroneously translated eternal in this context! If that were true, then Christ died for nothing! See footnote for the proper use of the word aionian.]
God is not the God of dead people, but of those of whom He was the God when alive, and He will be their God when they live again in resurrection life.
When Joseph rested his faith on the oath God had made to his fathers, and gave commandment concerning his bones that they should be carried up out of Egypt to that land which God had promised, it was in the sure and certain hope of resurrection; and that he would wake up in the LAND which God had promised.
This promise it was which he, remembered: this blessed hope it was of which he made mention.
It is often the case that, when we have an alternative rendering suggested in the margin, both are true and that both, taken together, do not exhaust the fulness of the Divine meaning.
So here, in Heb. 11: 22, Joseph by faith made mention of the Exodus, or, as in the margin, remembered it.
What he remembered was Jehovahs word to his fathers; and he not only remembered it, but he made mention of it.
Both were facts, and both will he manifested in all who possess Josephs faith.
We do not read that God had spoken directly to Joseph, as He had to Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham, but what he had heard was what had been spoken to others, and handed down and passed on to him. In Gen. 48: 21, 22, we read:
Joseph believed what he heard. Yes! He believed he would possess that one portion which
What simple faith! Oh! to possess like precious faith as to what we have heard and has been handed down to us, not by the teachings of Babylon, or the errors of Rome, or by the traditions of men, but by the inspiration of God in the Scriptures of truth.
We, too, who believe God, have a blessed promise of a portion above our brethren: of a going up to our inheritance over the hill-country of the Amorites: of being called on high (Phil. 3: 14): of experiencing that wondrous change (Phil. 3: 20-21), and that fashioning like unto the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Do we remember this? Do we make mention of it? Are we reaching forth unto those things which are before? Are we pressing toward the goal, toward the prize of our calling on high, by God, in Christ Jesus?
Oh! that we, as many as are thus initiated (for this is the meaning of the word perfect in Phil. 3: 15; compare 1 Cor. 2: 6), may be of this mind! And if ye be differently minded in any matter, God will reveal even this [as well as those other matters] unto you.
May He thus reveal more and more to us of this thrice blessed hope, and may we, in our turn, not only remember it, but make mention of it, for the comfort of our own hearts, and the [millennial] blessing of many others.
Although he [Christ] was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Hebrews 5: 9. N.I.V.).
Please write me a description of yesterdays weather in New Testament Greek says Stuart Allen, and after Ive read it I will listen to your argument.
The Bible is the most abused book in the world. In the hands of both scholars and laymen it has suffered the indignity of being used to support all manner of dogmas, beliefs and fancies. Common sense, which has normally been exercised in the interpretation of other books, seems to have been completely abandoned ... and liberties have been taken which in other spheres would have been condemned outright (B. Sherring).
The Bible is not a collection of verses put together without being related to one another. Something precedes every verse and something follows it. If we recognize the flow of thought leading up to a verse and away from it, we can know with some conviction the flow of thought within it. This should be obvious, but it is surprising how often the obvious is often missed. To interpret without regard to the context is to interpret at random; to interpret contrary to the context is to teach falsehood for truth (Companion to the Bible, Barrows).
The word eternal in the English text is misleading. Those for whom Christ is the source of salvation (Christians) already possess eternal salvation; and, beyond that, this salvation was not acquired through obedience to Christ, as in the text. Rather, it was acquired through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3: 16).
Obedience to Christ, resulting from suffering, can come into view only following belief, never before. Only the saved have passed from death unto life and are in a position to suffer and subsequently obey. The unsaved are still dead in trespasses and sins (John 5: 24; Eph. 2: 1).
The Greek language, from which our English versions have been translated, does not contain a word for eternal. A person using the Greek language thinks in the sense of ages; and the way this language is normally used in the New Testament to express eternal, apart from textual considerations, is through the use of the Greek words eis tous aionas ton aionon, meaning, unto [or, with respect to] the ages of the ages (ref. Heb. 13: 21; 1 Pet. 4: 11; Rev. 1: 6; 4: 9, 10 for several examples of places where these words are used, translated forever and ever in most versions).
Another less frequent used way to express eternal in the Greek New Testament, apart from textual considerations, is through the use of the shortened form of the preceding - eis tous aionas, meaning unto [or, with respect to] the ages (ref. Rom. 9: 5; 11: 36; 2 Cor. 11: 31; Heb. 13: 8 for several examples of places where these words are used, translated forever in most versions).
The word from the Greek text translated eternal in Heb. 5: 9 is aionios. This is the adjective equivalent of the noun aion, referred to in the preceding paragraph in its plural form to express eternal. Aion means an aeon [ the word aeon is derived from aion] or an era, usually understood throughout the Greek New Testament as an age.
Aionios, the adjective equivalent of aion, is used seventy-one times in the Greek New Testament and has been indiscriminately translated eternal or everlasting in almost every instance in the various English versions. This word though should be understood about thirty of these seventy-one times in the sense of age-lasting rather than eternal; and the occurrence in Heb. 5: 9 forms a case in point.
Several good examples of other places where aionios should be translated and understood as age-lasting are Gal. 6: 8; 1 Tim. 6: 12; Titus 1: 2; 3: 7. These passages have to do with running the present race of the faith in view of one day realizing an inheritance in the kingdom, which is the hope set before Christians.
the other hand, aionios can be understood in the sense of eternal if the
text so indicates. Several good
examples of places where aionios should be translated and
understood are John 3: 15, 16, 36. These
passages have to do with the life derived through faith in Christ because of
His finished work at
Textual considerations must always be taken into account when properly translating and understanding aionios, for this is a word which can be used to imply either age-lasting or eternal; and it is used both ways numerous times in the New Testament. Textual considerations in Heb. 5: 9 leave no room to question exactly how aionios should be understood and translated in this verse. Life during the coming age, occupying a position as co-heir with Christ in that coming day, is what the Book of Hebrews is about.
2. SUFFERING, REIGNING.
Suffering with or on behalf of Christ must precede reigning with Christ. The latter cannot be realized apart from the former. Such suffering is inseparably linked with obedience; and the text clearly states that Christ is the source of that future salvation unto all them that [presently] obey him, in the same respect that Christ is the source of presently possessed eternal salvation for all those who have (in the past) believed on Him.
1 Peter 1: 11, relative to the saving of the soul (vv. 9, 10), states, Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when it [He] testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ [lit., the sufferings with respect to Christ] , and the glory that should follow.
The thought, contextually, is not at all that of Christ suffering. Rather, the thought has to do with Christians suffering with respect to Christs sufferings, subsequently realizing the salvation of their souls through having part in the glory which is to follow the sufferings.
This is the underlying thought behind the whole book of 1 Peter, expressed in so many words by the writer in 4: 12, 13: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christs sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
This is the eternal [age-lasting ] glory to which Christians have been called and in which Christians will be established after they have suffered a while, with obedience to Christ emanating from the sufferings (1 Peter 5: 10). - A. L. Chitwood.