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Jacob, Joseph and Pharaoh

A prayer guide for the last days: the story of Joseph reconciling with his brothers has many prophetic parallels to the relationship of the Church with Jewish people today.

When I get serious with God, I retreat into a quiet room with no distractions, an open Bible, a new note pad and a comfortable pen! Then I cry out to God for wisdom, for God has called me to be a voice not an echo. I believe it is our privilege as blood-bought sons of God to hear our Father's voice. I have learnt to wait for the still small voice, the whisper that guides me to a portion of the Word of God where His character and ways are proclaimed.

… God … still has an unfinished love affair with the Jewish people.

My recent need was to cry out to God for a message for the Heart For Zion conference in Bellingham, just over the border from where I live in Vancouver, BC. Pastor Deborah Lynch leads a wonderful congregation called Gates of Praise Fellowship. It has based its distinctive worship style and teaching on our Hebrew roots from Scripture. Once a year around Thanksgiving, Gates shares with many others their "heart for Zion."

I felt led to look at Genesis chapters 42 to 47, and the saga of how Joseph revealed himself to his family. What follows is an outline for understanding what is happening in the Earth today around Jerusalem and how the Christian can pray precisely to God, who I believe still has an unfinished love affair with the Jewish people.

The story so far

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and presumed dead by his grieving father, Jacob. From the pit of despair (see Genesis 37:24), Joseph was subsequently promoted to be lord over all of Pharaoh's house and ruler over all the land of Egypt (see Genesis 45:8), and could even say that God had made him a father to Pharaoh! In this remarkable reversal many have understood Joseph to be a type of the Lord Jesus in His death and glorious resurrection and with the bestowal of a name which is above every name (see Philippians 2:7-11).

I remember Derek Prince once sharing many years ago that the time would come when the Jewish people would be isolated in this world and that Jesus would reveal Himself directly to them in a time of trouble, similar to Joseph with his brothers. With this in mind I see the main people in the story modelling our current situation in the context of the unchanging character of God and the promises of the Scriptures:

Joseph: A type of Jesus Christ, the rejected son, who later saves His family.

Pharaoh: A type of the largely Gentile Church that is actually led by a Jew!

Jacob: A type of Israel and world Jewry.

Joseph's Brothers: The Jewish people who come to an early knowledge of their long lost brother Yeshua as their Messiah.

Benjamin: Whatever is the most sensitive issue for the Jewish people.

Ultimate purpose

The sovereign hand of God seems to guide events with Joseph for several purposes:

  • To preserve life (see Genesis 45:5);

  • To cause Jacob and his family to have a revelation of who Joseph was (see Genesis 45:4);

  • For Jacob to stand before Pharaoh and bless him (see Genesis 47:7);

  • For Jacob's family to survive in Egypt and become numerous over 400 years (see Exodus 1:7);

  • For the Messiah to come forth as one of Jacob's descendants (see Matthew 1:2).

The ultimate issue for Jacob is not Benjamin (Jerusalem?) but Jacob knowing Joseph is alive (Jesus of Nazareth), and then blessing Pharaoh (Gentile Church and the World) (see Romans 11:12, 15).

Ultimate methods

The theme of this story is, You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (see Genesis 50:20). God allowed adversity to direct and to test.


The Word of the Lord tested Joseph while he waited for God's promises to be fulfilled (see Psalm 105:19). His character and knowledge of God were perfected through suffering. He then became the means of salvation to his family.

When Jacob was tested with his favourite son, he complained, "Everything is against me" (Genesis 42:36). Full of self pity, grief and melancholy—it took a worsening famine (see Genesis 42:2; 42:38; 43:1) for him to release his 11 sons to Egypt—he was reluctant to follow and to fulfill his destiny to bless Pharaoh. He delayed (see Genesis 43:10). Joseph later said, "Make haste and bring my father down here" (Genesis 45:9, 13).

Adverse circumstances

The first time the brothers met with Joseph, they experienced disaster. They were accused of being spies, ended up in prison, but were released on the third day! They were out of control and feared for their lives as Joseph reduced their options.

At their next meeting, Benjamin with them. Joseph invited them into his house to dine (see Genesis 43:16). The Steward, a type of the Holy Spirit, brought them into the house, gave them water, washed their feet and fed their animals. They were amazed that they had been seated in their birth order, from youngest to oldest – a sign that prepared their hearts in the midst of turmoil to help them grasp their brother's true identity later (see Genesis 43:33). They dined on portions from Joseph's table—a great honour—but again the meeting turned out badly. The next morning they were accused of stealing, and Benjamin was in danger of becoming a slave to Joseph. The treasure in the sack became a liability that drew them closer to their destiny.

Signs and wonders


Joseph wept with yearning for his younger brother Benjamin. He cried alone in a chamber (see Genesis 43:30) and he again wept loudly later (see Genesis 45:2). Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us, but the Spirit also intercedes through us. The definitive intercession was by Judah (see Genesis 44:18-34) who pleaded powerfully on a matter of life and death for Jacob, and offered himself as a substitute for Benjamin. At that point Joseph cleared everybody out of the room and with great emotion revealed himself to his brothers (see Genesis 45:1). They were so shocked and dismayed that it took them time and coaxing from Joseph to come near.

Gentile generosity

Joseph made sure the brothers went back to Jacob with the best of everything (see Genesis 45:19-23):

  • Wagons from Egypt

  • Provisions for the Journey

  • Festal Garments, one each

  • Benjamin was given 5 festal garments and cash

  • Jacob was given 10 asses with the good things of Egypt

  • and a one way ticket back to Goshen!

Jacob fainted at the news of Joseph as ruler of Egypt but his spirit revived when he saw the Egyptian wagons—it had to be true!

Personal revelation

And yet, Jacob still needed a deep work of the Spirit in his heart. As he finally moved out, taking everything with him, he is referred to in Scripture by his victorious name Israel! After Jacob made a sacrifice at Beer-sheba God spoke to him directly in visions of the night and renewed His covenant with him (see Genesis 46:1-4). He could then proceed and meet Joseph in Goshen and bless Pharaoh!

How to pray for and bless Jacob in these last days

  1. As adversity increases, pray for God to deal with resistance and delay due to grief, bitterness, stubbornness, self pity, anger and unbelief.

  2. Pray for signs and wonders to amaze the Jewish people and get their attention. Pray for unusual things to happen that will connect with their heritage.

  3. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead them into "The House of the Lord." May we in the Spirit of Yeshua, give them water and wash their feet. May the offence of the Church as Egypt be removed that Jew and Gentile could live side by side in Goshen.

  4. Pray that the early Messianic believers will continue to be a faithful witness to their people with the good news of Messiah. May they be attractive in their own festal garments that are right for them. May they not quarrel amongst themselves (see Genesis 45:24).

  5. Pray that the Gentile Church will know what it means to send the wagons of Egypt with all the best of Egypt to Jacob. Thank God for all the compassionate ministries to Israel.

  6. As the spirit of Jewish people under pressure revives, pray for the Lord to speak to them directly, with personal revelation, in visions of the night and give them hope in place of their fear.

  7. Expect God to touch the most sensitive issues in these last days, possibly the future status of Jerusalem. Possibly Jacob's greatest fear could also be the way to greatest blessing. This is the time for the highest level of praise (Judah) warfare and prolonged intercession, identifying with the Jewish people. As matters become an issue of life or death so the time for "all Israel will be saved" is even nearer!

  8. Pray for their 'full inclusion' and their 'acceptance', that will result in great blessing for the whole world (see Romans 11:11-16). One day Jacob will bless the Gentile Church (Pharaoh) in a remarkable way. This is the genius of God (see Romans 11:33-36).

  9. Joseph was alone with his brothers when he revealed himself to them. Even so we may expect that Israel and the Jewish people may soon come to a place of isolation among the nations with lack of US support in the midst of international anti-Semitism.

  10. Pray for all Israel to be saved. Pray for the many Jewish people who in seeking survival will find divinely planted treasure (Kingdom treasure) in their sacks (see Genesis 43:23).

David Carson is a Vancouver pastor and director of the prayer ministry, Intercessors For Canada.




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