Abel - here again we find the hatred, the malice, the envy, the jealousy of his brother Cain leading him to murder. And Abel was the victim, the shepherd victim, who offered his lamb, and in offering his lamb involved his own life and had to offer his own life with it. What a picture of the great shepherd of the sheep, Who was the Lamb and the Shepherd together in one. Joseph took up Abel and what was true of him.
Abraham - we said that the one inclusive thing about Abraham was his detachment from this world and his attachment to heaven. Was that true of Joseph? Most certainly it was. The testimony for which he was standing involved him in having to let go everything of this world and finding his everything in heaven. Of course, it is type, it is imperfect type, but there it is, there is no doubt about it. Here is quite a young man, and if a young man were involved in a situation like this, well, it would be goodbye to this world's prospects. See him, then, cast into the grave, into the pit. See him taken out and sold as a slave to an Egyptian household. See him maligned and lied against. See him forgotten in the dungeon. What sort of position is that for a young man of worldly prospects? But it is quite clear from all we read about him that he never lost his faith. He clung to heaven, he clung to God, when everything else here was apparently impossible. How he took up Abraham's position into himself, how he was baptized into that Cross whereby the world is crucified!
What was the only feature of Isaac? We said that Isaac is only explained and defined in one word - that is: resurrection. In the sovereignty of God, he had to be a young man whose life had to be lived on one issue: that he was raised from the dead and that he knew for his life the meaning of resurrection. You can never know that unless you are baptized into death. We are not given the inner story of how Isaac felt about it all, how he felt when he discovered that he was the victim in view or when he discovered that his father was going to slay him. We do not know how he felt about it. He went through something, he must have gone through something, but God raised him. And Joseph took this up, he went into a very deep death and God raised him and brought him up.
And as for Jacob, we said about Jacob that he had to have the experience of a deep application of the Cross to his self-hood. Many people who have written about Joseph have said a lot about that side of him. Strangely enough, the Bible does not say anything about it. It is there, no doubt. Perhaps he was a young man; when you are seventeen years of age you are capable of a lot of mistakes. They have made a lot of the fact that he 'told on' his brethren and took back stories to his father about his brethren's misdemeanours. The Bible does not make anything of it - men do. Perhaps it was there. Yes, and he talked about his dreams in which he was more important than his brethren. The Bible does not make anything of that. It has Christ in view. It may have been true. There may have been faults and weaknesses, failures... yes, much unworthiness, and Joseph was no exception, but did not God take him in hand! If there was that side, and no doubt there was, he went through enough discipline to have put him well alongside of Jacob. If Jacob went through it to break that strong selfhood, there is no doubt about it that Joseph entered into that meaning of the Cross where the self-life was thoroughly dealt with.
there is no doubt about it that Joseph entered into that meaning of the Cross where the self-life was thoroughly dealt with.
So he gathered them all up in himself. How comprehensive he is! What is it all for? Well, as we have said, the end in view is the testimony of God, the testimony of Christ in terms of Life and coming to the place of the throne, absolutely in dominion, in ascendancy; the testimony of Life to be found in an elect people. That is the principle and it is no small thing. And the Lord Jesus, in a far fuller and deeper way than in Joseph or all the patriarchs or all the other representations put together, went that way for the same object: not that it should remain in Himself as an isolated, independent unit, but that all should be handed on to an elect people, that that elect people should be the vessel of His testimony. That is a tremendous thing to foreshadow in one life, and that is the end. There is no getting away from it, that is the end God had in view.