Harvesting People During The Famine

Three Pictures (1 Peter 2:9-10)

God shows us: Kings, Priests and Prophets.

1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

1 Peter 2:10
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Who is God speaking to here in 1 Peter chapter 2?

God is addressing us as “A chosen generation”. God is speaking to the Saints; He is speaking to the Believers who in chapter 1:1 are called “The Strangers”, because we are strangers and pilgrims on this sin cursed earth. This earth is not our home.

And here in 1 Peter 2:9 God calls us “A chosen generation”, because all those who have become saved, all those who have become Believers, are believing because “God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him”, as we read in Ephesians and in other parts of the Bible.

Is that not wonderful how God gives us all these beautiful titles?

But God did that for a reason. God gave us these titles to teach us something about salvation.

God says here in 1 Peter 2:9 that we are “an holy nation”, which means a separate nation, just like the name Saints means: “the separated ones”. And then God gives us three more titles. God says here that we are “a royal priesthood”, which means that we are of royal descent; we belong to a kingly household. Christ is our King, and He has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.

Secondly, we are not only called “royal”, but we are also called “a priesthood”. The New Testament teaches that the Saints are called a “Priesthood of Believers”, and Christ is our great High Priest. There are no other priests between Christ and us, because Christ is our only Mediator to God.

Thirdly, we are called “a peculiar people”. This translation does not do justice to the original Greek text. It would be better to say: We are called a people that are “a purchased possession”. We have been purchased “that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you” by His grace. We are to proclaim Him “who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light”.

These three groups of people: Kings, Priests and Prophets are prominently on display in 1 Peter 2:9. Here in 1 Peter 2:9 these three groups of people are actually the same group: the “chosen generation”. But in Genesis 47 God gives us three different pictures of three groups of people: Kings, Prophets and Priests. But spiritually these three groups of people represent the same group: they are the “chosen generation”. Lets now look at the first picture: The Kings.

Joseph’s Brethren (Genesis 42:5, Genesis 42:17, Genesis 42:25)

Joseph’s brethren dwelt in a land wherein was no food, because the famine was in all the lands. Then their father Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain. We read in Genesis 42:5,

Genesis 42:5
And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

And is that not typical of all of us who eventually become saved?

First we dwell in a land, which is smitten with a Spiritual famine. It is a world that supplies no food for the Soul. There are only husks, which the swine feed upon.

And HOW do we initially come to Jesus?

We come with money in our hands, just like the brothers of Joseph did. We want to pay for our spiritual food. We want to do something in return for what God has done for us.

But how does God treat us when we do that?

He speaks roughly to us, just like Joseph did when he recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize Joseph.

God wounds us before He heals. He puts our face in the mud in order that He may heal. He tells us: “There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE”. He tells us that we are rebellious sinners who deserve to be sent to Hell forevermore.

And what is our initial response?

We deny that we are totally depraved and “dead in trespasses and sins”. We deny that we are haters of God. Then we read in verse 17,

Genesis 42:17
And he put them all together into ward three days.

Joseph put them all in jail for three days. Joseph was putting these men into their proper place: The place of shame and condemnation. He made them feel it. That is what God did, or does with us. First we must be abased before we can be exalted. God makes us feel that we deserve nothing good.

And then Joseph released nine of them, but kept Simeon in prison.

Genesis 42:25
Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.

Why did Joseph do that?

We must realize that God wrote the Bible, and so it was God who initiated these plans in Joseph’s head. Joseph, as a representation of Christ, makes it known to his brothers that deliverance is by grace alone. The Bread of Life cannot be purchased. It must be received as a free gift. The terms of the Gospel are “without money and without price”. (see Isaiah 55)

The Grace of God Is Free (Ephesians 2:8-9, Genesis 45:5-8)

God says in Ephesians 2:8-9,

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:9
Not of works, lest any man should boast.

That is why Joseph, as the type of Christ, ordered the money to be restored to his brothers. Just imagine the consternation of his brothers when they discovered that their money was put in their sacks.

But when their food was eaten up they had to come back to Joseph, and they came with more money and with Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob. But Joseph was determined to bring his brother’s sin out into the light. There can be no peace with God until a change of heart has occurred.

Joseph again put his brothers to the test: Joseph threatened to take Benjamin captive and let the ten brothers go home. But then we see that the grace of God had changed his brothers on the inside. Now they gave up every attempt to clear themselves. Now they admitted that they were guilty and that “God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants”. They remembered their sin of selling their brother to slave traders. Then Judah stepped forward, and Judah offered himself to be the Substitute for Benjamin. Judah offered himself to be the lifelong slave of Joseph in the place of Benjamin.

This was the moment that Joseph had waited for. What a change from the brothers he used to know. Now he could see the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart. They were declaring before God that they were undone, and lost, and that they needed mercy.

How did it happen that they had such a change of heart?

It was all by the free grace of God. And everything else they also received by the free grace of God. They did not need to come with money. They were of the family of Joseph, and Joseph was rich beyond measure. Remember, Joseph was a picture of Christ. In this picture, the brothers were of the family of Christ.

Now Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And Joseph said in Genesis 45:5-8,

Genesis 45:5
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Genesis 45:6
For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.

Genesis 45:7
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Genesis 45:8
So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

These are exactly the words that the Lord Jesus speaks to us. The Father “did send the Lord Jesus before you to preserve life”, and “to save your lives by a great deliverance”.

How did the Lord Jesus Christ save our lives?

He did that by laying down His life on the cross, and He did that for His own sheep. That was a great deliverance. No, Jesus did not die to save our physical life, but He died to save our soul, by paying for the sins that cleave to our soul. Once He has redeemed our soul, He also owns the body that our soul possesses. And then Jesus says to us, I will give you:

The Best of the Land (Genesis 47:5-6, Genesis 47:11-12, Revelation 12:14)

Throughout these chapters in Genesis, Joseph is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Pharaoh is a picture of God, and that the land of Egypt is a picture of the Kingdom of God. These representations only apply to the last ten chapters of Genesis. After Genesis, Egypt turns into a kingdom of Satan. Just like the Churches and congregations start out to be the Kingdom of God, but during the Final Tribulation Period near the End of time the great Apostasy in the Church turns it into Satan’s kingdom.

Joseph said, “There are five more years of famine coming”, and Joseph invited his father and his brothers and their families to come to Egypt so that he could provide for them. And they came. Here we see the first picture in this chapter. This first group of people was treated as royalty, because they were of the family of Joseph, and Joseph was royalty. We read in Genesis 47:5-6,

Genesis 47:5
And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:

Genesis 47:6
The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

The children of Israel were given the best of the land. The land of Goshen was the Nile-delta. It was the most fertile land of Egypt. They received the land for free. Joseph nourished his father and his brethren with bread totally free of charge. They received the honor to be rulers over the cattle of Pharaoh. They did not have to pay for any of those favors. Pharaoh welcomed Jacob and his household with open arms into Egypt. They were treated like kings in the land of Egypt. You have to realize that all this happened in the midst of a famine, when there was not enough food for the Egyptians.

What is God telling us here?

We read in Genesis 47:11-12,

Genesis 47:11
And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

Genesis 47:12
And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families. (It was a Gift)

Spiritually, this means that if we are born in the family of Christ, if we have been born of God, then it is guaranteed that Christ will feed us with the Bread of Life freely, so that we will not die from lack of spiritual food, even in the time of spiritual famine. That is a great comfort to the Saints. We are called sons of the King of Kings. We are called sons of God, and we are secure forever. God says of us in Revelation 12,

Revelation 12:14
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

But now look at the second picture in this chapter. Look at the Egyptians.

The Egyptians (Genesis 47:13-17)

Did the Egyptians have to pay for bread?

Let’s continue to read from verse 13,

Genesis 47:13
And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.

Genesis 47:14
And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

Genesis 47:15
And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

Genesis 47:16
And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

Genesis 47:17
And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.

It is very clear that the Egyptians had to pay for bread right from the beginning, from the first year.

What is the spiritual picture here?

Pharaoh represented God. Egypt represented the Kingdom of God. The famine is a famine of the Word of God. This is a famine that is far worse than a physical famine where people die of starvation. In a spiritual famine people die and go to Hell forevermore. That is much more terrible than physical death The Egyptians represented the people of the Kingdom of God, therefore the Egyptians also represented saved people, like the children of Israel.

The time in history that this picture represents is the Final Tribulation Period when the true Gospel will be scarce throughout the world. The saved people want to continue to receive the Word of God, and for this they are willing to give up everything that they have. They are willing to give up their money, and their possessions so that they and their children may have spiritual food, so that they will be spiritually nourished. They are not trying to buy their salvation, but it is the nature of the Saints that they want spiritual bread, the Bread of Life, to remain spiritually healthy.

Did you notice how often bread is mentioned in this chapter?

It seems as if bread was the only thing they ate. They did not even eat their cattle. This does not seem logical. But remember that God used this historical event to craft these words in such a way that we can learn from it the various aspects of salvation. Now we know that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. And God is teaching us here an important lesson.

Jesus said:

No Man Can Serve Two Masters (Matthew 6:24, Genesis 47:18-21)

Matthew 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We see that principle clearly here in the Egyptians, who represent saved people, because they are the servants of Pharaoh. They willingly gave everything they had to receive spiritual bread.

But now God is developing another aspect of salvation. We read in verse 18,

Genesis 47:18
When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

Genesis 47:19
Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

Genesis 47:20
And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.

Wow. Here we see another land purchase. (see article “The Second Land Purchase”)

· First, Abraham bought a piece of land from the Gentiles, for a burial place.

· Second, Jacob bought a piece of land from the Gentiles, to build an altar there.

· Third, Boaz bought a piece of land from Ruth the Moabitess, a Gentile, and he also bought Ruth the person, to indicate the bringing in of the Gentiles.

· Fourth, David bought a piece of land from Ornan the Jebusite, a Gentile, to build an altar there and to build the temple there, indicating the New Testament temple of Believers including the Gentiles.

· Fifth, Joseph bought the land of Egypt from the Gentiles, for a present to Pharaoh, represent God.

All these land purchases are pointing to the cross of Christ. Because Christ paid the full price for the souls of His elect, that is why their bodies and their land became His also.

Joseph was able to give all the Egyptians bread, and Joseph became more and more in charge of their lives.

Is that not a perfect picture of how Christ becomes more and more in charge of our lives?

We cannot have two masters. And look what Joseph did with the people, in verse 21,

Genesis 47:21
And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.

Joseph bought the people of Egypt, who are now representing the Kingdom of God, because in this picture they were saved people, and thus God lives in their soul.

In the New Testament, what do saved people do?

They become witnesses. They prophesy, which means they proclaim the Word of God, which is the Bible, only the Bible. That is the definition of a Prophet: One who proclaims the Word of God. Here we see that the Egyptians represent the group known as Prophets, because Joseph sent them to every city in the land of Egypt.

Now we want to look at three characteristic words:

Unto This Day (Genesis 47:23-26, Romans 12:1).

Let’s continue to read verses 23-26,

Genesis 47:23
Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Genesis 47:24
And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

Genesis 47:25
And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

Genesis 47:26
And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

Is it not interesting that God said in verse 26, “Unto This Day”?

You find this expression sprinkled throughout the Bible.

What does it mean when God says “Unto This Day”?

Well, it means exactly what it says: Whatever is in view applies “Unto This Day”, and tomorrow it still means “Unto This Day” and the day after tomorrow it still means the same thing, and so on the Word of God still stands until the end of time. God means what He says. Therefore, the only way we must understand these words is by looking at the spiritual meaning of the passage that is in view.

What is in view here?

God says in verses 24 and 26, “And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh”, and that is a law which still stands unto this day.

Does this 1/5th part law apply to the current inhabitants of the land of Egypt, who are mostly Moslems?

Or does this 1/5th part law apply to any of the Jews living today, who have cut out the New Testament?

The answer is: Of course not. God laid down this law for servants of God only; it is for Believers only. God says to Believers in Romans

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

In other words, God does not want only 1/5th part from us. God wants our whole bodies. The 1/5th is a fraction representing the whole. There is a perfect English word for it. It is a SYNECDOCHE, which means it is a part representing the whole.
Remember this word; it comes back again and again.

We have seen in Genesis 47 the family of Joseph who we recognized as “the Kings”. We have seen in this chapter the Egyptians whom we recognized as “the Prophets”, but what about “the Priests”?

The Priests (Genesis 47:22, Genesis 47:26)

Genesis 47:22
Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.

Historically, the Priests did not sell their land, because they were given food from Pharaoh’s table. There was no need for the Priests to sell their land, because they did not feel the effect of the famine.

Spiritually, the Priests represent another picture, separate from the other two pictures that we have already seen. Just like the Egyptian Priests were servants of Pharaoh, so the New Testament Priests are servants of God, and God Himself will nourish them.

What is a Priest?

A Priest is just the opposite of a Prophet. A Prophet proclaims the Word of God, or the Message from God to the people. A Priest brings the petitions from the people to God. So, when God addresses the New Testament believers as “a royal priesthood”, God indicates thereby that we are a “Priesthood of Believers” who need no mediator between Christ and us.

We can come directly to the throne of Christ and bring there our petitions.

But what shall we ask Him?

God says that He has already given us all things. There is no need for us to ask anything for ourselves. But we can petition God on behalf of other people. In this way we are really filling the role of a “Priesthood of Believers”.

And then there is this puzzling verse 26,

Genesis 47:26
And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

Does this mean that Pharaoh was not king over all of Egypt?

No. That is not correct. From this verse we can see that this story of the Priests must be interpreted spiritually, because Pharaoh was king over all of Egypt. The lands of the Priests were not little enclaves within Egypt where Pharaoh had no power over at all.
So, what is the meaning of verse 26?

The meaning is that eventually, on the Last Day, (remember “unto this day”) the land of the Priests will not be part of the New Heaven & New Earth, because in the life hereafter there will be no more Priesthood of Believers. There will be no more unbelievers on whose behalf we will bring petitions for salvation.

Now verse 26 completely harmonizes with the spiritual interpretation of Genesis 47.

But there is one additional thorny problem to be solved, and that is:

The Big Land Purchase (Genesis 47:19, Genesis 47:23).

We have already seen in the previous land purchases that we have studied that these were miniature pictures of Christ purchasing the world, so that He could guarantee to us a New Heaven & New Earth where only righteousness dwells. Again here in this chapter the picture clearly shows that Joseph, as a representative of Christ, bought the entire land of Egypt for Pharaoh, as a representative of God. For example verse 19,

Genesis 47:19
Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

Did Joseph buy the people and the land?

Notice how the bodies of the people and the land are never separated. We can see this again in verse 23,

Genesis 47:23
Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Was this the BIG land purchase, which was a picture of Christ buying the world, meaning that Christ bought this present sin cursed earth?

Did Christ buy this junk?

Yes and No!

The language clearly indicates that Christ bought this world. But we have to understand HOW He bought this world. We have to understand the question: “WHO bought WHAT, and for HOW MUCH”?

When the Lord Jesus Christ was going to the cross, He was imputed with the sins of every person whom God intended to save. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins”. Christ did not make it possible for people to become saved. He shall save His people. Christ is not a possibility savior, but He is Almighty God who does save whom He wants to save. Therefore, when Christ was going to the cross, He paid the price for all the sins He was carrying. The wrath of God was poured out upon Him, to the extent that every sin He carried was fully satisfied in the eyes of a perfectly righteous God. Because God is a righteous Judge, the penalty that Christ had to pay was the penalty that we would have to pay, which is the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. He suffered that full penalty both in His body and in His Spirit.

And when Jesus cried “It is finished”, He fully paid for our sins, and thereby He had purchased our souls for Himself. There is where our sins were. But when He owns our souls, He also owns our bodies which those souls posses. This means that He also owns the land that we stand on.

Christ did not buy the land separately. He purchased our souls, but that includes our bodies and the land. It is a reversal of the process that Adam went through.

Let me give another example: The children of Israel did not fight the land of Canaan; they fought the people, the Canaanites, and when they conquered the people, they inherited the land. Through the conquest they bought the land. That is the sense in which Christ bought the world.

Now, let’s take a good look at verses 23 and 24 again. The question is:

What Are Our Rewards? (Genesis 47:23-24, Luke 18:29-30)

Genesis 47:23
Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Why did Joseph give them seed to sow the land?

Joseph knew very well that there were five more years of famine, and that the people would not get any harvest. That seed would go to waste. Here again you can see the necessity to interpret this chapter spiritually, and not just historically.

The seed represents the seed of the Word of God. Even in the famine of the Final Tribulation Period the Gospel must still go out throughout the entire world. God has work for us to do, because “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”. We must be sowing the seed of the Word of God to reach those souls who have already been purchased at the cross. The very same seed that saved my life should also be used to sow into the world. And now verse 24,

Genesis 47:24
And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

Is this our reward for doing the work of God?

NO! Not at all! It is God’s plan that we use the four parts to lubricate the machinery. In other words the four parts are also to be used to serve God, by feeding ourselves and by feeding our family, so that we have the energy to sow the seed, so that there will be an increase. We see that the mandate to send forth the Gospel is already here in Genesis 47.

We must never work for rewards. That would degrade the Gospel to a system of selfishness. When the Lord Jesus walked on this earth, Peter asked Him that same question:

What’s in it for us?

Luke 18:29
And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,

Luke 18:30
Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Our rewards are spiritual rewards, and they are received here on this earth. But in the world to come we all receive the common denominator, which is “Life everlasting”.

How can we ask for more?

Romans 8:32
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

By Alfred J. Chompff

2 Comments on “Harvesting People During The Famine

  1. Thanks Chris. Is Alfred sent by God or what?! He is a WONDERFUL preacher.


  2. Yes, I agree, he is a sound preacher in alot of ways.

    I am thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for his ministry.

    Jesus is Lord!

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