Beckett: Pastoral Thoughts – A Remnant Preserved (Genesis 45:5, 7, 10)

“[Joseph said to his brothers], ‘And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life… And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors… You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have'” (Genesis 45:5, 7, 10).

Joseph’s preserving a remnant of his father Israel prefigures Christ. Zechariah 8:11-13, “‘But now I will deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the LORD of hosts. For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.'”

Zephaniah 2:9 and 3:13, “‘Therefore, as I live,’ declares the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Moab shall become like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomorrah, a land possessed by nettles and salt pits, and a waste forever. The remnant of My people shall plunder them, and the survivors of My nation shall possess them. …those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.'”

Ultimately, the remnant is preserved in Christ, who is Israel fulfilled. Before, we saw how the authority that was given to Joseph prefigures the authority of Christ (Genesis 41:40, 43, 56-57; Matthew 28:18). So here, Joseph’s act of preserving a remnant of his father, Israel, prefigures Christ’s act of preserving a remnant of all Israel in His body, the church (Romans 11; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

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