Foreshadowing Messiah ben Yosef

Believers who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah know that there is one Messiah who comes twice. The early rabbis could not reconcile the two aspects of Messiah revealed in the Tanach, so they decided that there would be two Messiahs. Many traditional Jews today still believe in the two Messiahs instead of one who comes twice. The early rabbis named one "Messiah ben Yosef" who was to suffer (the suffering servant revealed in Isaiah 52/53, and elsewhere); and the other who would come to rule would be "Messiah ben David".

It is interesting to note that the ancient Orthodox rabbis called the suffering servant Messiah ben Yosef because it reveals aspects of Yeshua HaMashiyach's life that many Jewish people cannot yet see. Let's examine the story of Yosef, which can be found in Genesis chapters 30-50:

Yosef, son of Ya'akov, had eleven brothers (one full brother and ten half brothers). Yosef was Ya'akov's favorite because he was the son of his favored wife, Rachel.

Chapter 37 tells us that Yosef had two dreams when he was 17 years old - dreams that suggested his brothers would someday bow down and worship him. This naturally made his brothers jealous and, for this they not only rejected him, but also planned on killing him. Ultimately, however, they decided to sell him to the goyim (Gentiles). To cover the sin they had committed, the brothers caused their father, Ya'akov, to believe Yosef was dead by presenting him with Yosef's blood-stained coat. Unbeknownst to them, they had set some wheels in motion that would plunge Yosef into some history-making adventures!

In Chapter 41, beginning with verse 46, we discover that, at age 30, Yosef became leader of the goyim in Egypt when he interpreted, by revelation from Adonai, the pharoah's dream. At that point, he became second in command to Pharoah. He prospered Egypt and during the times of great harvest, Egypt prospered under the rule of Yosef. He was their deliverer - their savior and a foreshadow of Messiah.

Chapter 42: When the time of great famine came to the entire world, Ya'akov sent his sons (except Benjamin) down to the goyim in Egypt to buy food. (There was a famine, not just of physical food, but of YHWH's Word: Amos 8:11 - "The time is coming," says Adonai ELOHIM, "when I will send famine over the land, not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of ADONAI.) Ya'akov's sons did not recognize their brother Yosef, although Yosef certainly recognized them - but chose not to reveal Himself to them at first. This foreshadows the fact that the Messiah will not be recognized by His own people (Daniel 9:24-26, Isaiah 53:1, 3, and Psalm 118:22).

Chapter 43: After the brothers (except for Simon) returned to Israel and their families had eaten all the food purchased from Egypt, Ya'akov sent them down to Egypt for more, and this time he allowed Benjamin to accompany his brothers. The tribes of Israel were fearful of Yosef because they thought he might kill them. They didn't realize He was their brother and and that he loved, blessed and desired to protect them. (This foreshadows how the Jews would ultimately feel about Messiah Yeshua!) Before Yosef ultimately revealed Himself to his brothers, he surprised them with his unexpected kindness and intimate and detailed knowledge about each of them. (Could this be a foreshadowing that today's Jews are fearful of being rejected by Yeshua HaMashiyach because they have rejected Him for so long? Food for thought....)

Chapter 44: When a stolen goblet was found in Benjamin's pack (the full brother of Yosef) Judah came forward to offer his life in exchange for his brother, in essence, to atone for His brother's sins. (We could view this as the foreshadowing of Messiah coming from the line of Judah.)

In Chapter 45 Yosef finally reveals to his brother's his true identity. He told them to not be fearful or sad about betraying him because YHWH in His infinite wisdom, had obviously sent him ahead to ultimately save and deliver them - in other words, made Yosef a type of "messiah" to his family who had rejected him. By rejecting him, they had unwittingly set events in motion that caused him to eventually save them from starving to death. In the same way, Messiah Yeshua was rejected by His brothers; thereby setting events in motion that caused Him to save the entire world through His atoning death on the stake.

Chapter 46 and 47: Eventually, Yosef brought His entire family to Egypt/Goshen so that he could take care of them during the great famine, and because he wanted a "personal relationship" with them. They were saved from certain death because they accepted him as their "messiah". They prospered in Goshen under Yosef's care - which is a foreshadowing of when the Jewish people finally realize that Yeshua is their Messiah, He will protect them while He is judging the world. Interestingly, the place many people believe this place to be is Petra, Jordan - an isolated place away from Jerusalem - just as Goshen was away from Egypt.

Chapter 49: Before his death, Ya'akov blessed all of his sons. He told Judah (verses 8-12) that the Messiah would come from his line - someone who washed his robes in the blood of grapes (a blood covenant/to atone for sin)....

Chapter 50: When Ya'akov died, his sons were fearful that Yosef would make them his slaves and be harsh towards them because of their betrayal. This naturally upset Yosef because he loved his brothers, regardless of what they had done.

Exodus: The goyim ultimately rejected Yosef's legacy and turned against his brethren. When Moshe - another picture of Messiah Yeshua - came on the scene, Moshe's brethren rejected him as their messiah until he left and returned many years later. Like Yosef, Moshe was at first accepted by the goyim but rejected when he returned - while the Hebrews accepted him.

As you can see, the lives of Yosef and Moshe seem to foreshadow what would and did happen when Yeshua came the first time - and it provides a picture of what is about to happen in the near future.

Yeshua HaMashiyach came the first time to atone for the sins of the world and to offer salvation to the entire world. Like Yosef, Yeshua was rejected by the Jewish people - His own brethren. Like Yosef, Yeshua knows His rejection was part of YHWH's plan to save His brethren and the entire world. Right now, the Gentiles are following Yeshua HaMashiyach not realizing they are actually turning their backs on Him as they are claiming instead a paganized version of messiah (i.e., one who supposedly abolished Torah, including the seventh-day Sabbath, and the Biblical feasts).

Messiah Yeshua, like Yosef, has a special place prepared for His brethren where He will bless them. As more Gentiles are turning away from the real Yeshua HaMashiyach - the Jewish Messiah - in order to follow a false messiah, we are reminded of Egypt's rejection of Yosef and his brethren. As we read about Moshe and his acceptance at first by the goyim until he left and returned - we can see the Gentiles are rejecting the TRUE Messiah (Yosef/Moshe/a foreshadow of Yeshua) whom they once followed, and that the Jewish people are beginning to accept Yeshua HaMashiyach as they slowly start realizing that He is their JEWISH Messiah whom the Gentiles have been misrepresenting due to their ignorance of Torah....

Even when Moshe lived with the goyim in his early years, he was still Jewish and he still loved his brothers. He wanted to save them then and there but YHWH sent him away to the Gentiles before he was allowed to return to lead his people out of Egypt. The Gentiles who loved YHWH when Moshe returned, accompanied Israel to the promised land. Yosef and Moshe both saved the Gentiles as well as their own people - even though the Jewish people were their brethren and had special blessings.

As you can see, YHWH has given us several strong hints about His plan for redemption. The above illustrates just a couple of examples. Although the Jewish people have rejected Yeshua as Messiah for the last two thousand years, He continues to welcome them with open arms as they "trickle in" one by one.