In Genesis 45:1-10 Moses gives the history of Joseph revealing himself to his brothers. It is a touching and heroic scene where Joseph shows his willingness to sacrifice himself for his brothers in spite of their wickedness in order that they might live. He says it was not really their fault that Joseph went into Egypt, because God had led them to do it (Gen 45:5).
There is a lesson that can be learned from the type of Joseph and his brethren. Israel, its worship and its history are replete with allegories and types (Col 2:16-17), just like Paul says Hagar and Sarai were allegories of Israel and the church (Gal 4:22-28). The life of Joseph is parallel in many respects to the life of Christ. Just like Joseph in a single day was raised up from the dungeon to be lord of all Egypt, even so Christ in a single day was raised up from the dungeon of Hades to be ruler of the universe (Mt 28:18-20, 27:50-52, Eph 4:8).
If we look at the event in Genesis 45:1-10 from the perspective of Joseph being a type of Christ, the one who was sacrificed and sent ahead to save His brethren from death, we can gain some prophetic insight into what God has planned for Israel. Jeremiah 30:7 foresees a day he calls the day of Jacob’s trouble. It is a day when Israel is invaded by the Assyrians (Ps 83:8, Isa 10:24-34) and almost totally destroyed (Isa 17:6). The remarkable thing about this day is that the Lord comes forth from Jerusalem (Rom 11:26, Ps 14:7) to save Israel from certain defeat (Isa 10:32) , and complete loss of their country and people. He comes forth in a terrible storm that drives away Israel’s enemies as if they were chaff or a tumbleweed (Isa 17:13, Jer 30:23, Ps 83:13-15). Afterwards, He is present with them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night to protect them from enemies and from the elements (Isa 4:5-6). He is a shade from the heat of day and covert from the storm (Isa 4:6). We even find Him still there in the protective cloud when God sends word that the time has come (Rev 14:14).
Beyond the incredible deliverance the Lord works to save Zion from the Assyrian is the stupendous transformation He works in Israel after the invaders are routed. Jeremiah says that on the day of Jacob’s trouble, when the remnant of Israel witnesses the deliverance of the Lord, thereafter, “They shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jer 30:9). It is after this day of Jacob’s trouble that Elijah the prophet returns and turns the hearts of these children of Israel to their faithful fathers (Mal 4:5-6). It is at this time that Paul’s prophecy is fulfilled, “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11:26).
Now look at the amazing type of Joseph revealing himself to His brothers. Like Joseph, Jesus’ brethren hated him, and sold him into the hands of the Romans who crucified Him. Since the antitype always exceeds the type, Jesus didn’t have his coat dipped in an animal’s blood. His shroud was stained with His own blood. He didn’t almost get killed for his brethren like Joseph did; Jesus actually died for His brethren. Now Joseph was a long time in Egypt, and he was separated from those he loved. These brothers continued to harbor a hatred for him, but their hatred mellowed somewhat over time. In the fullness of time, in the hour of their direst need, Joseph revealed himself to them. Jesus does the same thing with the Jews. In their hour of greatest need, Jesus saves Israel from complete annihilation and preserves them alive and gives them a place in the fattest of lands. He reveals Himself to Israel through His prophet and His presence in the cloud and His deliverance from certain death. When Joseph saves his brethren, there are five more years of famine before God delivers the world from its plague. When Jesus reveals Himself to Israel on the Day of Jacob’s trouble, there are yet 20 more years of the Devil’s rule before Christ comes and delivers the whole world from bondage. He comforts Israel with the realization, as Paul had said centuries before, “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom 11:25).
Christ does not reveal Himself in His person, but He reveals Himself in the return of the cloud that protects Israel. There will never be another day like the day of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7), not even the end of the world. It will the day of Israel’s purification and the day she finally recognizes her rightful Lord. His protection over Israel and those strangers who hear of what the Lord has done and that join themselves to her fulfills God’s promise of “the Jew first and also the Gentiles” (Rom 1:16, 2:9, 10) as Christ rescues Israel first before the end of the world. He is with Israel through all the lean years at the end of the earth. She will at last accept her Messiah (Jer 30:9), restore her ancient worship (Ezk 43:11), and be at peace (Ezk 38:11) until He comes and restores all things (Acts 3:21).