For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Perhaps the most obvious parallel is that Jacob (aka: Israel) thought he could purchase that which could save him. As an illustration to what Christ Jesus would ultimately do on the cross, we now know that salvation cannot be bought for a price. Jacob and his sons will soon learn this precious lesson. God’s gift is free and is resources are inexhaustible.
A Sightless Israel
The image that is being prophetically portrayed here of Israel is remarkable, so much so we see the evidence of the illustration even today. Just as these brothers could not recognize Joseph as a savior, similarly the nation of Israel by in large cannot see Jesus as such either (and it will take a period of tribulation to restore their sight). While it is true that Israel has brought their blindness upon themselves, it was an obstacle purposely inflicted by God and some surmise that the fact the New Testament was written in Greek (and not Hebrew) is a further witness to that doctrine. Consider these supportive biblical texts:
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved… For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Romans 11:25-26, 32
God is Not Through with the Jew
The affliction upon the Jew is not a reaction by God to punish or even abandon them, but rather a purposeful and divine action that will ultimately lead to their salvation in Christ Jesus. We might ask why (or how) Israel brought this upon themselves; what actually occurred?
But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ’We will not have this man to reign over us.’ Luke 19:14
I suppose that verse from the Gospel of Luke is the best summary—Israel opted not to submit themselves and as a result they were blinded towards Jesus. We know that Jesus will not force His love upon any person or a nation who has rejected Him, for that work is akin to rape. So what will become of Israel? In due time their eyes will begin to see and the Prophet Zechariah describes what that day will look like.
And one will say to him, ’What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ’Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ Zechariah 13:6
Israel will stand before Jesus and ask Him, “So, where did you get those wounds, ” and His reply will likely send a shiver down each of their spines, the effect of which will begin to restore their vision. This all may seem harsh, just as Joseph’s words to his brothers were seemingly harsh, but the motivation behind the words will bring restoration. Consider this truth spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.
Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47
Jesus declares there is a godly principle that once employed sets off a chain-reaction of gargantuan proportion. As it pertains to the Jew, once their eyes have been opened to the huge extent of their own sin, their love for Him will be incredibly enormous. Jesus will come full-circle to rescue Israel and we will see that pictured in this story of Joseph and his brothers. The good news for us is that we are not blind—the Law has identified us as sinners and it is the road sign that also points us to our salvation found in Christ alone—the veil has been torn in two.
And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. Acts 7:13