(From notes by Bill MacDonald)

Many Old Testament accounts of people and events tell of the immediate with a foreshadowing of that which is yet to come. For example, Moses told the Israelites of another Prophet, like him, who would come later and who would require the people’s total allegiance and obedience; the Psalms describe the experiences of David; yet they also speak of David’s Greater Son, the Messiah.

Perhaps one of the best known and loved Bible accounts, along with that of Noah’s ark and David and Goliath, is the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Joseph’s life story affords many valuable lessons and applications; yet there is also a prophetic aspect to the account that foreshadows the Messiah himself. There are many fascinating parallels (more than 100) between Joseph, beloved son of Jacob, and Jesus, the Son of God who would arrive on the stage of human history centuries later. Here are just a representative few:

Parallel Joseph Jesus
BELOVED OF HIS FATHER Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children (Gen. 37:3a). This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17b).
ENVIED AND HATED WITHOUT A CAUSE And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more they…hated him… (Gen 37:4). …the chief priests had delivered him for envy (Mark 15:10).

They hated me without a cause (John 15:25b).

A ROOT OUT OF DRY GROUND …he was the son of his [Jacob’s] old age (Gen. 37:3b). …he [Messiah] shall grow up before him…like a root out of a dry ground (Isa. 53:2a).
HE FORETOLD THAT ONE DAY HE WOULD RULE … your sheaves stood…and made obeisance to my sheaf (Gen. 37:7). …ye [shall] seethe Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 26:64b).
ACCUSED OF BEING A DREAMER (beside himself, deluded) And they said to one another, Behold, this dreamer cometh (Gen. 37:19). …they said, He is beside himself (Mark 3:21b).
SENT BY THE FATHER TO SEEK THE BROTHERS’ WELFARE Go…see whether it be well with thy brethren (Gen. 37:14a). I will send my beloved son… (Luke 20:13b).
WENT WILLINGLY AND SOUGHT TILL HE FOUND THEM And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them… (Gen. 37:17b). …Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God (Heb. 10:9b).

He came unto his own… (John 1:11a).

REJECTED AND CONDEMNED TO DIE they conspired against him to slay him (Gen. 37:18b). We will not have this man to reign over us (Luke 19:14b).

But they cried, saying, Crucify him! Crucify him! (Luke 23:21).

STRIPPED OF HIS CLOTHING …they stripped Joseph out of his coat…that was on him (Gen 37:23b). And they stripped him (Matt. 27:28a).
THROWN INTO A PIT (alone, forsaken) And they took him, and cast him into a pit (Gen. 37:24a). so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40b).
SOLD FOR SILVER INTO THE HANDS OF GENTILES …they sold Joseph to the lshmaelites twenty pieces of silver; and they brought Joseph into Egypt (Gen. 37:28b). and they bargained with him [Judas] for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:15b).
RAISED FROM THE PIT …and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit (Gen. 37:28a). …he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:4b).
BECAME A SERVANT And Joseph was brought down to Egypt…and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian (Gen. 39:1-2). I am among you as he that serveth (Luke 22:27b).

…took upon him the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7b).

EVERYTHING HE DID PROSPERED And…the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand (Gen. 39:3b). and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand (Isaiah 53:10b).
RESISTED TEMPTATION The temptation by Potiphar’s wife (Read Gen. 39:7-12). For such an high priest was fitting…who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners…(Heb. 7:26).

…[he) was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15b).

FALSELY ACCUSED The Hebrew servant, whom thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me (Gen. 39:17-18). At the last came two false witnesses, And said… (Matt. 26:60b, 61a).
NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS And Joseph’s master…put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound (Gen. 39:20a). …there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left (Luke 23:33).
PROMISED DELIVERANCE TO A CONDEMNED MAN Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee… (Gen. 40:13). Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43b).
FORETOLD THE FUTURE ACCURATELY And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us (Gen. 41:13a). Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he (John 13:19).
PROVED TO BE A GREAT COUNSELLOR …Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art (Gen. 41:39). and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor… (Isa. 9:6b).
PROMOTED TO HONOR AND GLORY AND GIVEN A NEW NAME And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See I have set thee over all the land of Egypt (Gen. 41:41). (See also Gen. 41:45a.) …God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a new name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9).
ALL PEOPLE COMMANDED TO BOW TO HIM and they cried before him, Bow the knee (Gen. 41:43b). That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil. 2:10a).
PROVIDED FOR ALL IN NEED And all the countries came…to Joseph to buy grain (Gen. 41:57a). …I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger (John 6:35a).
HIS PEOPLE DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him (Gen. 42:8). …Have I been such a long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me…? (John 14:9a).

But their minds were blinded (2 Cor. 3:14a).

HIS BROTHERS WERE TROUBLED WHEN THEY MET HIM …be not grieved nor angry with yourselves (Gen. 45:5a).v They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn…and shall be in bitterness… (Zech. 12:10b).
ALLOWED HIS BROTHERS TO SUFFER A PERIOD OF TRIBULATION Read Gen. 42:6 through 44:34. it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7b).

For then shall be great tribulation (Matt. 24:21a).

REVELATION AND RECONCILIATION I am Joseph…whom ye sold…God hath made me lord of all…come…unto me… (Gen. 45:3b-9). And so all Israel shall be saved;…as it is written…and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Rom. 11:26).