Torah Portion: Vayigash (To Approach) Genesis 44:18-47:27
HafTorah: Ezekiel 37:15-28
Tonight I want to continue with the story of Joseph and his brothers and also to look at it again as a pattern of the Messiah. We, last week, talked about the fact of Joseph not being recognized by his brothers and how this was and is the state of many Jewish people today concerning Yeshua. Paul in Romans 11:25-26 talks of this blindness and how it has been during this time that we as non-Jews have had the opportunity to come into the faith.
However, the time is quickly approaching where Yeshua will reveal Himself to His brothers. Here in these verses we see Joseph sending the Egyptians out of the room. So, when the time comes for Yeshua to be revealed to His brothers He will probably do so without the help of others. He will deal with Israel alone as a family.
In Genesis 45:2 we read where Joseph wept so loudly that it was heard all the way to Pharaoh’s house. This is the third time he has wept. It is mentioned in Genesis 42: 24, Genesis 43:30-31 and now here in chapter 45. The New Testament is filled with places where Yeshua was filled with compassion. Read Matthew 9:36, Mark 8:2, Matthew 20:34, Luke 19:41 and John 11:35. In these verses I think we see Messiah as one eager to be reconciled with His brothers, eager to heal them, to touch them, to love them, and He still suffers this pain of separation.
There is a rabbinic writing by Joshua Ben Levi that goes like this: “When I came to the Messiah He asked me, ‘What is Israel doing in the world from which you came?’ I said to Him, ‘They are waiting for You everyday.’ Instantly He lifted up His voice and wept.” In a way we suffer some of this same sorrow as the faith sometimes separates us from family and friends. We should not lose heart however, for Romans 8:16-17 tells us this is part of our glory, part of our identification with the Messiah. But in Zechariah 12:10 the prophet tells us the day is coming when Yeshua, like Joseph, will be reconciled with His brothers and in those days there will be weeping all around as He is reconciled with His family.
At this time Yeshua like Joseph in Genesis 45:3 will look upon His brothers and say, “I am Yeshua.” Then the veil will be lifted and everything will become clear. Read Revelations 1:7
In Genesis 45:4 Joseph calls his brothers to come closer. The same word is used in the first verse of our parasha. I think each of us who know the Messiah can identify with this verse. He draws us close and as we come closer to Him we know Him in a deeper and deeper way.
Genesis 45:4, “I am your brother Joseph.” Yeshua’s Jewishness has often been forgotten but it is clear in scripture (Deut. 17:15) that to reign as king He must be Jewish. Most Jews would think that Yeshua forfeited His Jewishness. But even the Romans at the crucifixion called Him king of the Jews. One of the first things Yeshua will do is to tell His brothers that, “I am your brother.”
Genesis 45:5, Joseph explains to his brothers that they should not be grieved or angry with themselves. G-d had a plan. We can see this as an example in the physical realm of Yeshua’s life in the spiritual realm. Yeshua’s death, resurrection and rejection by Israel brought reconciliation to the world. (Romans 11:15) And as Joseph was used by G-d to preserve a remnant in Genesis 45:7 so from the beginning after the resurrection there has been a remnant of Jewish believers. They will lead their brothers when Messiah returns. Joseph explains to his brothers that all this was according to the plan of G-d. (Genesis 45:8) Yeshua did the same. (Acts 2:23) Then Joseph sends for his father and family. (Genesis 45:9-10) Likewise G-d is calling for His people to come home. (Isaiah 11:11-12 and Micah 2:12)
Jacob does not believe that Joseph is alive. What convinces him? Joseph’s words and the wagons he sent to bring his father to Egypt convince him. When Jews can actually hear Messiah, the truth, they will understand. As Joseph sent wagons so Messiah will send the Spirit to gather Israel from the four corners and they will recognize it is Him and that it is true.
Genesis 45:27 says Jacob was alive but his spirit was not. Then his spirit revived. Torah shows that his spirit was revived by using the name Israel instead of Jacob. When today’s Israel believes it will be as life from the dead. So to with us, when we believe our spirit is revived, then we truly live.