Numbered With The Transgressors
(Genesis 40:1) And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. (Genesis 40:2) And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. (Genesis 40:3) And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. The Apostle Peter once described the revelation given by Jesus Christ unto His apostles (the New Testament) as “...a light that shineth in a dark place...” (2PE 1:19), the “dark place” referring to the prophecy of “...old time...” (2PE 1:21), that is, the Old Testament. The Old Testament, like the moon, was a lesser light to rule the night (GEN 1:16) until in the fulness of time the Sun of righteousness arose (MAL 4:2) to confirm a New Testament, “...the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...” (2CO 4:4) that would outshine the Old Testament and dispel its relative darkness to give us a clear, unambiguous declaration of Jesus Christ. Paul accordingly said, “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech” (2CO 3:12). Nevertheless, an interesting aspect of the O.T. is its various types of the Lord Jesus Christ which we can discern as such with the light of the New Testament. Adam, for example, was “...the figure of him that was to come” (ROM 5:14), i.e., of Christ, Who like Adam acted as the federal head of His posterity (ROM 5:17-19). “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1CO 15:22). Christ is even called, “...the last Adam...” (1CO 15:45). Other men were also imperfect types of Christ, as Joseph. Joseph's life and experiences have many parallels with that of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, like Joseph, was the precious Son of His Father (GEN 37:2-3 c/w MAT 3:16-17; JOH 3:16). Here, we see the innocent Joseph lumped in with criminals even as Christ was later “...numbered with the transgressors...” (ISA 53:12). Both Joseph and Christ were unjustly sold out by their own brethren, falsely accused, turned over to a pagan civil authority but in due time exalted. The Spirit was, in the story of Joseph, essentially signifying the “...sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow” (1PE 1:11). Truly, the (Old Testament) Scriptures testified of Christ (JOH 5:39), sometimes as a teacher who draws pictures to accommodate little children. The Law “...was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ...” (GAL 3:24). While in common straits with men who had offended the civil power, Joseph prophesied of deliverance to only one of them: the butler (GEN 40:8-19). What Bible believer can not see here an outline of Jesus Christ hanging on a cross between two transgressors, only one of whom is promised a bright future (MAR 15:27-28; LUK 23:39-43)? The butler was told that within three days he would be restored (GEN 40:12-13), and that only to an earthly lord. But the favored transgressor in Christ's hour, though he must die, was promised that he would THAT day be with THE Lord in PARADISE (LUK 23:43) and “...to depart, and to be with Christ...is far better” (PHIL 1:23). Whereas it was the transgressor who made the plea to the innocent Jesus, “...Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (LUK 23:42), it was the innocent Joseph who in his day plead thus with the transgressor: “But think on me when it shall be well with thee...” (GEN 40:14). Joseph could only hope that he might be delivered from prison in three days, given the weak and forgetful nature of sinful man. But Jesus Christ had the sure promise of God that He would “...not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (ACT 2:27). The torments of His soul and the subsequent entombment of His body were to be temporary. Jesus had also the sure sign of Jonah, that the “...Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (MAT 12:40) and no more. The butler forgot Joseph (GEN 40:23) but God did not forget Christ: “...God raised him from the dead” (ACT 13:30). Truly, “...it is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (PSA 118:8). May saints be ever grateful that their hope of deliverance is not hinged on the forgetful nature of fallen men, but on the forgetful nature of God Who says, “...their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (HEB 10:17), but Who will surely remember them in the day of Christ's return (1TH 4:15-17). It is not the blood-redeemed saints who will then hear Christ say, “...I never knew you...” (MAT 7:23). Our salvation depends not on the intercessions of forgetful sinners but on those of the sinless “...Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (ROM 8:34).