Genesis 42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
When Joseph became ruler over Egypt, his name was changed, and his identity was altered so that he no longer appeared or lived as a shepherd son of Israel from the land of Canaan, but as an Egyptian Prime Minister. The transformation was so thorough that when his ten brothers arrived in Egypt he was totally unrecognizable to them. This true story beautifully illustrates Mashiach ben Yosef (Yeshua/Jesus at His first coming), and contains a prophetic picture pointing to Yeshua and His Jewish people living today as we approach the Second Coming.
Several details elaborate this amazing parallel. After Joseph was rejected by his brothers and sent to Egypt, his life naturally began to develop in the nation of his exile, including the learning of its language and culture. Constantly proving his capacity, responsibility and leadership, Joseph was ultimately embraced by the Egyptians, exalted, and given an Egyptian bride (Asenath, daughter of the priest of On). In like manner the rejection of Yeshua by the Jews of His day resulted in His becoming a light to the Gentiles, who rightly accepted and exalted Him, so that in many ways He seemed to take on a Gentile identity and characteristics. As He betrothed Himself to this predominantly Gentile "Church" (with its Jewish roots), He ironically became virtually unrecognizable to His own Jewish people.
To illustrate further, Yeshua and His disciples had lived and worshiped according to the Biblical Jewish calendar: Shabbat, Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot, Feast of Dedication (Chanukah). The later Christian (largely Gentile) church instead adapted and transformed pagan festivals and used them in their worship calendar, changing the cultural expression of the Jewish Messiah and His original followers to a Gentile expression, and even proscribing the use of Jewish festivals in "Christian" worship. All the while, Yeshua's true nature and identity remained, even as Joseph's did.
But through these parallels we can begin to understand the portent of Joseph's experience with his brothers; weeping bitterly when he first recognized them; then, carefully arranging the circumstances which would bring them to repentance, and finally, removing the Egyptians, for the dramatic revelation of his true identity to his brothers, the sons of Jacob. Likewise, Yeshua, weeping over His Jewish brothers, finally gathers them back into the Promised Land, begins to arrange the circumstances which will bring them to repentance, so that finally at some final private revelation,"they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him" in amazed gratitude. [Zechariah 12:10].
God, Himself, working behind the scenes, has allowed Satan to do his blinding work on Israel, for a season, while gathering the Gentiles into His fold. But this season is ending. The mystery of Israel's blindness is being broadly revealed, prompting the prayers of millions of Gentile believers, and their love for Yeshua and His Jewish brethren is making Israel jealous; so the veil is being removed from Jewish eyes, just as it was from Joseph's brothers.
And what is our part? To understand the times and seasons in which we live, to pray and labor for both the fullness of the Gentiles and the spiritual revival of Israel which will usher in the coming of Messiah and life from the dead! Through the story of Joseph and the prophetic revelation of both Testaments we know that all Israel will be saved, with the fullness of the Gentiles. Since much of the world is still blinded to Messiah, we need to make the most of every opportunity to open blind eyes, Jewish or Gentile.
Let us reveal Yeshua to the entire world, especially reaching those whom the Lord has placed in our lives. Every time Yeshua is truly revealed, another one of "Joseph's brothers" can weep with joy, gratitude and amazement, that a humble Suffering Servant is also a great and glorious King!