There are many examples of foreshadowing of Jesus in the Old Testament. The life of Joseph contained in the Old Testament (Genesis 37-50) is one of my favorites with many correlations to Jesus. Here are some examples with accompanying scriptures.
Joseph was the chosen and favorite son of his father, Jacob.
Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father.
John 1:14 NKJV
(14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Colossians 1:15-19 NKJV
(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
(16) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
(17) And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
(18) And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
(19) For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
Joseph was sent to his brothers (the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah) as they were keeping sheep and he brought back a bad report to his father.
Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders.
John 8:42 NKJV
(42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
Joseph declared his dream of greatness to his brothers, that their sheaves would come and bow down before his sheaf and they were angry with him.
Jesus came in His Father’s name but was for the most part rejected by His own brethren.
John 5:18-19 NKJV
(18) Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
(19) Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
John 5:43 NKJV
(43) I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
Joseph was sent to his brothers in Dothan by his Father. When they saw him coming they plotted against him.
Jesus was sent to His own and they did not receive Him.
John 1:10-11 NKJV
(10) He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
(11) He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
Joseph’s brothers sold him to foreigners.
Jesus was betrayed by His own into the hands of the Roman authority.
Mark 10:33 NKJV
(33) “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles;
Though Joseph had a position as a favorite son, he became a slave to Potiphar in Egypt.
Though Jesus was the Son of God, he became a bondservant.
Philippians 2:6-7 NKJV
(6) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
(7) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Joseph was betrayed by his master’s wife for the lack of a kiss.
Jesus was betrayed by his own disciple with a kiss.
Luke 22:48 NKJV
(48) But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Joseph was cast into prison where he ministered to the prisoners.
Jesus upon His death was buried, and His spirit descended into Sheol.
1 Peter 3:18-19 NKJV
(18) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
(19) by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
Joseph was brought out of prison.
Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NKJV
(3) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
(4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
Joseph was elevated from prison and exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh in Egypt and given great authority.
Jesus has ascended from the earth and seated at the right hand of the father and is highly exalted.
1 Peter 3:22 NKJV
(22) who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV
(9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
(10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
(11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Joseph was reunited with his brothers.
Israel will one day embrace Jesus as the Messiah.
Romans 11:26 NKJV
(26) And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
Joseph made a brief return to Canaan to bury his father Jacob.
Jesus will make a brief return to earth in the clouds, as in the rapture of the church.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 NKJV
(17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
The bones of Joseph were carried out of Egypt and buried in the Promised Land when Canaan was conquered.
The feet of Jesus will once again touch the earth at His Second Coming and He will reign as King in Jerusalem.
Revelation 11:15 NKJV
(15) Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Joseph is a great example of courage, faithfulness, and perseverance of a servant of God. God worked in Joseph’s life bringing about salvation for his people from a cruel famine. Jesus, the Son of God was faithful to bring about salvation for the world from the cruel hand of sin and death.
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt