This week’s portion is titled Vayiggash (Genesis 44:18-47:27), meaning “and he approached.” It’s one of my favourites in Genesis for the simple reason that it’s so cathartic, and gives me hope – hope that God knows what He’s doing, at the end of the day; hope that Joseph’s story, since he’s a type of the Messiah, provides a glimpse of the great joy, reconciliation and grand-scale redemption that will occur when Jesus returns and is recognised by His brethren in Israel; and hope that one day… by the grace of God, I’ll somehow get to see a happy ending similar to Joseph’s, with my own family.
The funny thing is, even though so much happens in this portion and the chapters are so full of emotion and incident, I have comparatively little to say about it by way of commentary. The narrative is moving, but very straightforward, and I’ve always tended to read it as such. … I will say that some of the passages stand out to me as shadows of what it will be like when the Lord returns, so I thought this entry would be a simple one, where I put up the verses which I feel speak most strongly of what will happen at that time, and match them with passages which seem to me to be their prophetic counterparts.
Of course, because this whole area pertains to the future, there’s no sure way to tell how far off/close to the mark I really am, so I can only make reasonable connections based on the overall witness of Scripture, then wait and see what happens. But I thought it’d be a fun and edifying thing to do. :)
So, first up:
Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him. … He gave to all of them, to each man, changes of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments. (Genesis 45:14-15, 22)
This reminds me of Isaiah 61:10:
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Revelation 19:8 says that when the Lord returns, the saints who follow Him will be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean, which is their righteousness. The changes of garments and silver given to Benjamin, who was of the same maternity as Joseph, speak especially of this righteousness and salvation, while the favour lavished upon him by Joseph points to the abundant, loving blessings which Yeshua will pour on those who’re born of the same Spirit as He – for while He will indeed return to redeem Israel, it is written in Zechariah 12:10-14 that many in Jerusalem will look upon Him whom they pierced, and mourn: and just as the brothers who betrayed Joseph had reason to fear when he revealed himself to them, but were forgiven, so many in Israel who rejected Him will receive the same pardon – but it is those who’ve chosen to follow Him before that point, who’ve already been born into His kingdom prior to His return, that will be as dear and innocent to the Lord as Benjamin was to Joseph… and they will receive the greatest honour.
Now the report of it was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, “Joseph’s brothers have come.” So it pleased Pharaoh and his servants well. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and depart; go to the land of Canaan. Bring your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land. Now you are commanded—do this: Take carts out of the land of Egypt for your little ones and your wives; bring your father and come. Also do not be concerned about your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’” (Genesis 45:16-20)
So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.” …
Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him. His sons and his sons’ sons, his daughters and his sons’ daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt. (Genesis 46:1-3, 5-7)
These passages, in turn, give me a lot of joy, because they are echoed expansively in Isaiah 60, which I excerpt here:
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
Lift up your eyes all around, and see:
They all gather together, they come to you;
Your sons shall come from afar,
And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.
Then you shall see and become radiant,
And your heart shall swell with joy;
Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.
The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls,
And their kings shall minister to you…
Therefore your gates shall be open continually;
They shall not be shut day or night,
That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles,
And their kings in procession.
I will make you an eternal excellence,
A joy of many generations.
You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles,
And milk the breast of kings;
You shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Just as Pharaoh and his court were pleased to hear that Joseph was reunited with his brothers and wished to welcome and succour them with the best of Egypt, so the world will rejoice when the Messiah returns to His own and is reconciled to them. Moreover, the favour and blessing of God that this commands will cause the nations to willingly offer all the best they have so that the children of Israel who’re still scattered abroad at that time can be gathered together to rejoin their brethen, and as a nation, be honoured, celebrated and provided for to the fullest extent, that the world might have a share in the joy of Jacob’s redemption, and play an active role in it.
Then Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for every man of the Egyptians sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. So the land became Pharaoh’s. And as for the people, he moved them into the cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other end. Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had rations allotted to them by Pharaoh, and they ate their rations which Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their lands. (Genesis 47:20-22)
And when I read this passage, an explosion of verses from so many places in Scripture come together in my mind, beginning with Luke 1:32-33 and 1 Corinthians 15:28,
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Just as Joseph had no greater authority above him than Pharaoh, whom he served with utter faithfulness and wisdom to bring all the land of Egypt under his ownership, so Jesus will rule over the earth, extending the kingdom of God so that He can bring everything back under subjection to the Father and present it to Him again at the end of the millennial reign. Moreover, He’s going to cause drastic, large scale movements of population in the world that will bring about an utter geographical reversal from one end of the earth to the other, as indicated first in Isaiah 11:9-12,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.
It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea.
He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
If you look at the map below (click to enlarge), you’ll see that currently, the majority of Christians in the world are concentrated precisely in the nations that’re located in the four corners of the globe, while the centre is dominated by other religions, especially Islam.
When the Lord returns, He will “send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31). The dispersed of Israel (who’re too much of a minority in terms of the worldwide population to be registered on the above map apart from Israel itself) and the faithful believers of Christ will be retrieved and brought to the land of Israel, to take up residence in the heart of the world and be at the centre of everything, while those who don’t believe will be shifted to the outer corners of the earth, as indicated in Revelation 20:7-9:
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.
This tells us that by the end of the millennium, God’s kingdom will have a strong, centralised presence in the world, whereas those who’ve remained in disobedience will be gathered again by the enemy from the distant lands where they’ve been driven for one final assault before heaven and earth pass away. … But there is one small population that will not be moved no matter what happens, which is written of in Ezekiel 48:9-14,
The district that you shall set apart for the Lord shall be twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width. To these—to the priests—the holy district shall belong: on the north twenty-five thousand cubits in length, on the west ten thousand in width, on the east ten thousand in width, and on the south twenty-five thousand in length. The sanctuary of the Lord shall be in the center. It shall be for the priests of the sons of Zadok, who are sanctified, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray. And this district of land that is set apart shall be to them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites.
Opposite the border of the priests, the Levites shall have an area twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width; its entire length shall be twenty-five thousand and its width ten thousand. And they shall not sell or exchange any of it; they may not alienate this best part of the land, for it is holy to the Lord.
When Jesus establishes His kingdom, a portion of land in Israel will be set aside that will never be sold or encroached on, whatever other changes may happen, because the land will be holy and given to the priestly population of the Levites – just as Joseph didn’t touch the land of the Egyptian priests because their allotment was given to them by Pharaoh.
Everything is going to be so… glorious in that day. :)
So, those are the main things which stand out to me about the prophetic allusions of Vayiggash (for those who’re interested in reading more about the millennial reign, I wrote a meatier post on the subject a while ago here: The promise of His coming: part III – the establishment of the millennial reign).
Next week, we look at the death of Jacob and the end of the first generation of his sons in Egypt, in preparation for the Exodus. Shalom all~