As in all phases of the Angelic Conflict, Satan continues to promote all the false religions (Psalms 96: 5) among the nations of the world. From the devil's viewpoint, any one of them is as good as any other as the end result (Rev. 20: 15) is the same.
"And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15 NASB)."
In the case of the Jews, Satan was now focused on attacking Israel and the family line that was expanding to include the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. The devil knew that the promised Messiah was to come from the descendants of Israel.
As we noted at the close of our last segment, there were many familial conflicts, trickery, plots, and conspiracies involving Jacob, his wife, his brother, his in-laws, and his sons.
One of the more infamous conspiracies involved the selling off of Joseph by his brothers into slavery, but this would later prove to be God’s means of providing for Israel (Jacob) and the patriarchs during a famine that would sweep through the land.
The brothers tricked Jacob into believing that Joseph had been killed via some animal attack, but in truth, had been sold into slavery to the Ishmaelites.
These Ishmaelites were descendants of Abram and Hagar, the servant-girl of Sarah.
These Ishmaelites sold Joseph to be the slave of Potiphar, the captain of the Egyptian bodyguard.
God blessed Joseph while in the house of Potiphar, and taking note of his abilities, Potiphar put Joseph in charge of all his affairs.
After refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was falsely accused of attempted rape, and was put in prison.
Just how much the devil had his hand in encouraging the lust of Potiphar’s wife and Joseph’s false imprisonment, we can only surmise, but anything that might impede the benefit of the Jews would be more than welcomed by him. In the realm of the Angelic Conflict, both God and the devil will make use of the decisions, good and bad, that individual members of the human race will choose to make.
Without a doubt, the years that Joseph spent in the prison were a personal test of his faith in God and in the ways of God. Joseph had done nothing to deserve his present circumstances, but they were never-the-less a part of the plan of God.
In prison, God gave Joseph the ability to interpret the prophetic meaning of dreams. This ability was what would eventually bring the imprisoned Joseph to the court of Pharaoh.
This ability was God-given, and Joseph made this point clear (Gen. 41:16) to Pharaoh, bringing great glory to God (and not himself) in the midst of the spiritual combat of the Angelic Conflict. For a pharaoh of Egypt to acknowledge God and His power in that point and time of Egyptian culture was no small accomplishment. Egypt and virtually all of the eastern part of the world was deeply involved with all of the various forms of the moon-god religions that were being promoted by the devil.
Pharaoh’s acknowledgment of Joseph’s GOD-given wisdom resulted in his being promoted to a positionof authority, second only to Pharaoh.
Joseph fathered two sons in Egypt through Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. These two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim would later become the patriarchs of two half- tribes of Israel.
Before the famine, Joseph administered a grain reserve program that would provide food and would bring in much wealth to Egypt during the years of famine that followed.
It was during this famine, that the sons of Israel (Jacob) came to Egypt to buy food necessary for their survival. Preserving this family that was needed in order for the prophesied Messiah to take place in the future.
It was during these visits to obtain food that the identity of Joseph (who had been sold into slavery) was revealed to his brothers and father.
In time, Jacob (Israel) and his sons, the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel, took up residence in Egypt in the land of Goshen, where as a people, they prospered and multiplied (Gen. 47: 27).
Before departing this world, Jacob (Israel) pronounced specific and prophetic blessings on the twelve tribes of Israel.
After the death of Jacob (Israel), the surviving brothers were in fear of Joseph, suspecting that with the father now deceased, he (Joseph) would then seek personal revenge on them for having sold him into slavery many years prior. Many times, the evil we suspect in others in based on what we would do if we were in
the same situation! Rather this was true of Joseph's brother or not, we can only speculate.
Joseph, however, reassured his brothers that even though they meant him harm, the hand of God was on these events for the preservation of His people and His plan! Joseph's focus was on God and the things of God, whereas his brothers' focus was on themselves.
Joseph was well aware that in the timing of God, His people would depart Egypt and go to the landthat had been promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) in Canaan. Joseph made this known by having his brother’s swear that his (Joseph’s) bones be taken with them when they departed Egypt in the years to come (Genesis 50:25).
Joseph died in Egypt and his bodily remains were placed in a coffin.
One can clearly see the hand of God in all of these events, setting the stage for the 400 years of slavery
and the Hebrews eventual departure from Egypt (Gen. 15: 13, 14).