Did I mention how much I enjoy repetitive studies in the Torah? The faithful Lord said He declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). I find most prophecy, and all clarification of prophecy, to be sitting right in the Torah. The Messianic writings in the end of the Book are all declared in the beginning. I am ever amazed at how much. No matter how much our flesh rises to declare we want no part of Torah to the keeping of it, the fact remains that whatever you believe has to have a foundation for why you believe it...you must even have a foundation for why you believe Messiah is who He says He, and the foundation for that belief is the Torah.
We believe Him because everything the Torah says...He is. In fact, it is this refusal to discern what is stated at the end with what was already declared at the beginning that gives us many denominations today. There are so many interpretations to Paul's letters, and each one has formed their own set of beliefs based upon such newer writings. The faith that believes in One unchanging God even backs Paul's letters by Torah, and understands that new revelations by any of the apostles and prophets were simply messages already in the Torah, at a typological, analogical, or hidden level. For this purpose, we will explore some of those in this parsha.
The story of Joseph itself tells us the end is declared at the beginning. When Genesis started focusing on this man, it started with a set of his dreams wherein the end (that we are studying this week) is declared well before they even happen, at the beginning of his story. Now we are coming to that end, and herein we also see so many declarations of the later-coming Messiah and even what is to be of our end. Just as Joseph said to Pharaoh, "Elohim has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do," in Genesis 41:25, so He has declared to the whole world so that none are without excuse (Romans 1) on the things that will come to pass.
And Yoseph was the governor over the land, he was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Yoseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth. And Yoseph saw his brothers and recognised them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke to them harshly, and said to them, "Where do you come from?" And they said, "From the land of Kena'an to buy food." So Yoseph recognised his brothers, but they did not recognise him. -- Genesis 42:6-8
You know, one can immediately say this is likened unto Messiah and the mass of His Jewish brethren of His time. They knew Him not. They were looking for a Rachel, but was sent a Leah. They were looking for Solomon's glory, but before them was one uncomely. Oh, but how He knew them! I would like to otherwise say I am more focused upon how the brethren can be paralleled to most Christians. Likewise, they look for something glorious. Most of the Christians are looking for what looks like a Greek god, not a Jewish Messiah. Shakespeare says a rose by any other name would still smell so sweet, but at the same time a dandelion is not a rose. I fear most have their eye set upon Hollywood Jesus with His dark blonde hair and white skin, who is not the mitzvot-keeping, Tallit-wearing Jewish man.
He spoke harshly with them. So it is with all of us. At some point of time, we all have had to come face to face with the harsh reality of who we are (treacherous sinners), who He is, before reconciliation can come to pass. The Word is truly a two-edged sword and though it is as a honeycomb, it only is when spoken to a hungry soul wherein every bitter truth is even sweet (Proverbs 27:7).
"Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you are kept in prison. So let your words be proven to see whether there is any truth in you, or else, by the life of Pharaoh, you are spies." -- Genesis 42:16
So Messiah says the same to Christian followers...get your brother. Specifically this is to mean natural Israel. I am telling you, dressing their Messiah up as a foreign god with a foreign god's birthday and a foreign god's ways are NOT a way to get your brother. Israel knows better than to taint the Holy One with pagan gods. They paid for this before and they will not do it again. It is a stumbling block when we take their Messiah and Bridegroom, put the identities of a false god upon Him, and say they should gladly accept this. Nor is it a way to get this brother when we say God's Law is done away with and they should likewise walk in this lawlessness. That would be ridiculous for them to commit that mistake again! It is just as ridiculous to say you don't have to follow God's law but it doesn't make you lawless; or that God is the same evermore and unchanging, one, but His law has changed. Confused!
And they said to each other, "Truly, we are guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the distress of his life when he pleaded with us, yet we did not listen, that is why this distress has come upon us." ... And he turned himself away from them and wept, but came back to them and spoke with them. And he took Shim'on from them and bound him before their eyes. -- Genesis 42:21 & 24
We are the cruel ones. We are the ones who deal falsely with the Lord, though He pleads otherwise. We are the ones who do away with Him (and His Word), and we are the ones who did not listen to His voice. He is the one who is moved with a weeping compassion for us.
'And bring your youngest brother to me, then I know that you are not spies, but that you are trustworthy -- I give your brother to you, and you move about in the land.'" -- Genesis 42:34
Are you trustworthy? You have been given the oracles of God in the Torah and the fulfillment thereof in the Messianic writings. Are you trustworthy with the truth in its wholeness? Of a certainty, our fathers were not. If you are a Catholic or a claimer of any of the Reformation, you will do well to be honest and say that each sector had something they were not trustworthy with, diluted and perverted the truth, or willingly sat back and allowed it to be so for the sake of false peace. We need to handle God's "new" testament in a way that does not blaspheme His "old" -- since He is one and unchanging. In this, guarding His Word, are we trustworthy. If we are trustworthy in this manner, would we not be bringing His natural-branch brethren to Him?
But the scarcity of food was severe in the land. And it came to be, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought from Mitsrayim, that their father said to them, "Go back, buy us a little food." But Yehudah spoke to him, saying, "The man vehemently warned us, saying, "You do not see my face unless your brother is with you.'" "If you let our brother go with us, we go down and buy food. But if you do not let him go, we do not go down, because the man said to us, 'You do not see my face unless your brother is with you.'" -- Genesis 43:1-5
Did you catch that they just left Simeon there in Egypt and didn't go back to get him until running out of food forced them to go back? See, they didn't come back to Joseph to meet his conditions nor in selflessness for their brother Simeon, but they actually only came back for themselves. It is like Messiah says in John 6 -- you just want Him for His bread and fish. People want Him for what He can give them, not for what they can give Him. If He gave you nothing, but required everything, would you come? I think we can answer for the 9 brothers. Is this true worship and obeisance, and is this true salvation? God deserves us in full. It is we who do not deserve any portion of Him. It is His humility, mercy, and deep compassion for us that He gives to us at all, yet we find it so hard to give Him anything and only want to meet with Him when we want something, like the passage above.
"With whomever of your servants it is found -- he shall die and we shall become my master's slaves as well." And he said, "Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found becomes my slave, and you are innocent." -- Genesis 44:9-10
Flash forward. Joseph sends the brothers away and has his cup placed in Benjamin's sack. He sends one of his servants after them to search and call out the brother who has the cup, demanding that brother be his (Joseph's) slave. The brothers commend death to the one who has the cup, saying they would also be Joseph's slave if the cup be found on any of them. The man corrects the brothers saying only the person with whom is found the cup is to be Joseph's slave. Joseph himself says it again when they realize the cup is found with Benjamin and they plea to be stand-in.
But he said, "Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose hand the cup was found, he becomes my slave. And you, go up in peace to your father." -- Genesis 44:17
When having His Passover Seder with His disciples, Messiah drank of a cup and passed it around. If you study Jewish weddings, you will note that this was a betrothal -- Messiah was Jewish, after all. In the betrothal process, a sign of a covenant entered was the bridegroom drinking of a cup and offering of the same to the bride. Later in the ceremony, the cup is traditionally crushed. For a physical marriage, the best reasoning I have heard is this is to symbolize there is no more cup for another to enter this covenant. The covenant is sealed and closed. With a broken cup, no other can enter it. I have to believe this portion of Joseph's story holds the same cup-covenant meaning. If we have likened Joseph to Messiah and Benjamin to Israel, then we will further say that cup of Messiah is given to Israel. Messiah's bride is Israel. The Lord's command for marriages is that they are to be one flesh, and equally yoked. Therefore, obeying His own Word, Messiah's bride is not Greek-thinker, but as He is: a Hebrew. This is why a Gentile does not create a new way because we are Gentiles, but rather we must be grafted in to Israel, a Hebrew, to have this bridal claim.
With this being said, back to the verse. It speaks of death and slavery for the one who holds Joseph's cup. The truth is...with whom is found the cup, the same both dies and is a slave. Is that not our whole New Testament teaching in a nutshell? Die daily. Serve God.
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