For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4


Genesis 40

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

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 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2000 James Melough

40:1.  “And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.”

Joseph’s experience in Egypt continues to be the symbolic revelation of the experience of the Lord Jesus Christ during this present age. 

“And it came to pass after these things.”  After what things?  After his imprisonment on the false charge of his master’s wife, that imprisonment portraying the Lord’s death at the hand of the Gentiles, His death at the hand of the Jews having been typically shown in his being cast into the pit by his brethren. 

The butler represents the believing remnant of Israel, as foreknown by God, and believers in general, also as foreknown by God.  He is mentioned first, and Israel is described as God’s firstborn.  His dream centers around a vine, and in Scripture a vine is the symbol of Israel, Ps 80:8 “Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt,” where the reference is clearly to Israel.  He was restored to his high office, as Israel, represented by the believing remnant, will be restored to her place of supremacy in the Millennium.  All believers will also be restored to an even better position than that forfeited by Adam.

The baker, on the other hand, represents the unbelieving mass of the nation, and unbelievers in general.  Like the butler, he also had fallen from the king’s favor, but instead of being restored he was executed.  All unbelievers will be banished to the eternal torment of the lake of fire.

40:2.  “And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.”

In Pharaoh’s anger against the butler and the baker we find the symbolic declaration of the fact that all men have offended God, as it is written, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23).       

Here it is said that “Pharaoh was wroth,” but in verse one it is said that they had offended their lord “the king of Egypt.”  The language would almost seem to imply that there were two separate kings, though we know, of course, that the descriptions apply to the same person.  Since Egypt is invariably used in Scripture as a type of the world in its independence of God, the king of Egypt represents Satan, since he is the “prince of this world” (Jn 14:430).  And while the Pharaohs in general are types of Satan, this Pharaoh is the exception, for everything points clearly to his being a type of God the Father.  He is well disposed towards Joseph, he promotes him, and invests him with the power to rule Egypt, as the Father will invest Christ with the power to rule the world in the Millennium.

This symbolic portrait of two world rulers, teaches truth relative to the human race.  Men are under the dominion of Satan, the prince of this world, and he is “angry” with them simply because he delights in inflicting pain and suffering even upon his most loyal subjects.  But men are also under the higher dominion of God, and He too is angry with them, but it is a righteous anger that chastises with a view to producing repentance that will enable Him to pardon their sin and bestow His gift of eternal life.

40:3.  “And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.”      

Their imprisoned condition is a picture of the condition of man in his natural state, for he too, is imprisoned spiritually.  His life is restricted to earthly experience, limited to the few brief years of time, and during those years he is the prisoner of his own lusts, and of Satan.  But he is imprisoned also with regard to God, for in rejecting Christ, he cuts himself off from fellowship with God, and from all free men, and only believers are truly free.

In chapter thirty-nine the prison warden is called “the keeper of the prison,” but here he is called “the captain of the guard.”  As keeper of the prison he  represents not only the individual spiritual believer, but also the spiritual minority among the carnal majority in the Church, see notes on chapter thirty-nine.  Here, however, as captain of the guard, he represents something else, for neither the spiritual believer nor the spiritual minority in the Church has any control over the unsaved.  Inasmuch as he is well disposed towards Joseph, whom he appoints to attend these two prisoners, it may be that in the present context he is a type of the Holy Spirit.  We have to remember that in the context of this present chapter, Joseph’s experience in the prison is a type not only of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also a type of His experience during this present age.  He, too, was “imprisoned” by the limitations of the humanity He had willingly assumed, and He, too, as He served humanity during His earthly life, was subject to the control of the Holy Spirit.  And during this present age He permits His ministry through the Holy Spirit to be subject to the control of the individual believer’s will.

40:4.  “And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.”

It is emphasized that the captain of the guard appointed Joseph to “serve them,” reminding us that the type was fulfilled when Christ, under the Holy Spirit’s control, served both Jew and Gentile here on earth, declaring, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto (served), but to minister (serve), and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28).

40:5.  “And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.”

It is clear that God today communicates with men only through His Word, but in former times He communicated also through dreams.  It is emphasized that the dream which revealed to each man his future, came in the night (men may dream also in the daytime).  The darkness of night speaks of a corresponding spiritual state: man in his natural state is in spiritual darkness.  The darkness reminds us also that just as it is the absence of the sun that makes literal darkness, so is it the absence of Christ that causes this world’s spiritual darkness.  The God Who spoke in dreams in the darkness of night to the butler and baker is the same God Who speaks today to Jew and Gentile while they are spiritually “asleep” (unaware of their spiritual state), in the midst of this world’s darkness, seeking to warn them and turn them to Christ. 

It is emphasized that each man dreamed his own dream.  The butler’s future wasn’t revealed in the dream of the baker, nor was the baker’s future revealed in the dream of the butler.  Salvation is an individual matter where each man himself must deal with God.  One is not held accountable for another’s sins, nor can one man believe for another. 

As the future of the two men was revealed in the darkness of night, so is the future of all men revealed here and now in the spiritual darkness of this world’s night. 

There was one great difference, however, between those two prisoners and the spiritual prisoners they represent.  They could do nothing to change the futures foretold in the dreams, but their spiritual counterparts do have a choice. 

Lest the Calvinist seize upon this as support for his erroneous view that some men are predestinated to be saved, and others lost, we would point out first of all that such a view is completely contrary to the whole teaching of Scripture, and secondly, in regard to the butler and the baker, there is nothing to justify the belief that the baker received anything but the just punishment his crime deserved.  Those who assume otherwise do what the Calvinist has always done: they fail to distinguish between God’s foreknowledge and His right to predestinate, with the result that they reduce Him to the level of a tyrant who foreknows only because he has already predestinated.  They can’t see that His omniscience enables Him to foreknow, while His omnipotence enables Him to predestinate that believers will be in heaven, and unbelievers in hell, and yet leave man free to chose his own eternal dwelling place.  The God of the Calvinist has already made the choice.  The Gospel, however, presents the sinner, not only with a choice, but with a God great enough to be able to leave him to make that choice. 

40:6.  “And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.”

Their sadness was due to the fact that they were unable to interpret their dreams.  It is significant that the one who represents Christ, the Light of the World, should come unto them in “the morning.”  Darkness and light can’t exist together, for light dispels darkness.  Where Christ is there is light. 

“They were sad,” and with good cause.  They were in prison for offenses against “their lord the king of Egypt,” and uncertain as to what punishment they would suffer.  The man they represent must also be sad, for they represent the man who has become aware of his spiritual state, aware that he is in a spiritual prison because of his offenses against God, and uncertain as to what the punishment will be. 

40:7.  “And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly today?”

It is significant that they are described as “Pharaoh’s officers,” and not as officers of the king of Egypt, as in verse one.  As we have noted already, the king of Egypt represents Satan, but Pharaoh, in this section of Joseph’s history, represents God the Father.  However much men may have sinned against Him, God doesn’t leave them to the mercy of “the king of Egypt” Satan.  If they will but repent of their sin, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, God will forgive, and restore them to a higher position than Adam in his unfallen state ever knew. 

40:8.  “And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.  And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.”

Their need was to have an interpreter.  In Job 33:23-24, Elihu also declares the need of an interpreter, “God’s voice may be heard if there is for the hearer ... an interpreter ... to show to man what is right ... how to be upright and in right standing with God.  Then God is gracious to him, and says, Deliver him from going down into the pit of destruction, I have found a ransom....” (Amplified Old Testament version).  The Lord Jesus Christ, of course, is the great Interpreter, presenting Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Joseph, as interpreter, continues to represent Christ. 

40:9.  “And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me.”

The vine is not only a symbol of Israel, it is also a symbol of Christ, “I am the true vine” (Jn 15:1).  The truth being symbolically revealed in the butler’s dream is that Christ the true vine is set before sinners, and their eternal state is governed by what they do with that “Vine.”

40:10.  “And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth, and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes.”

In Jn 15:5 the Lord declared not only that He was the true vine, He declared also that believers were the branches, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”  The branches, then, in the vine of the butler’s dream represent believers, those who are in Christ, and there being three of them announces that believers stand on resurrection ground: they have been raised out of spiritual death into spiritual life.  But in that the grapes hung from those branches we read in symbol that believers abiding in Him are those to whom the Lord has graciously given the privilege of presenting the Gospel to perishing men and women.

In Jn 10:10 the Lord declared, “I am come that they (believers) might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  The burgeoning branches in the vine of the butler’s dream were the symbol of that more abundant life.  The order in nature is first the bud, then the blossom, and afterwards the fruit.  The simultaneous appearance of all three tells us that the life they represent is not natural, but supernatural, it is spiritual, it is Divine, it is the eternal life found only in Christ.

40:11.  “And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”

The one thing essential for salvation is announced in those two words “I took.”  Salvation is a gift offered by God to all men, but it becomes the possession only of those who accept that gift.  Everyone in heaven will confess “I took the gift of life so graciously offered me by God,” and everyone in hell will confess with bitter remorse, “I refused to take.”

Those crushed grapes represent the blood of Christ, and in the butler’s giving that cup to Pharaoh we are being shown what sinners must give to God if they would stand accepted in His presence.  Pharaoh’s acceptance of that cup signified also his acceptance of the one who offered it.  God will also accept every sinner who presents Him with the blood of Christ. 

That cup of life and blessing is available to sinners only because Christ willingly accepted a cup of wrath, judgment and death so terrible that the very contemplation of it led Him to pray, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.... And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Lk 22:42-44).

A few things should be noted in connection with this vine.  The butler had no part in producing it, nor had he any part in causing it to produce the buds, blossoms, and fruit.  His part was to take what God had provided, and in this we are being taught that it is God Who has provided all that is necessary for man’s salvation, man’s only part being to take what God has provided. 

Wine is the Scriptural symbol of joy, and in Pharaoh’s taking the cup presented by the butler we are being shown the joy that is brought to the heart of God when a sinner comes to Him with no other plea than the simple faith to believe that, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7).

40:12.  “And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days.”

Here we have another demonstration of the truth that a Scriptural symbol isn’t necessarily restricted to one application.  From the Gospel of John we have seen that branches represent believers, and in the Old Testament branches are also used as symbols of Christ, e.g., Jer  23:5 “I will raise unto David a righteous Branch”; Zec 3:8 “I will bring forth My servant the BRANCH,” and Zec 6:12 “Behold the Man whose name is the BRANCH.”  Here, however, God has chosen to use three branches to represent three days, and the number of those days points to resurrection.  The prison represents the place of death, but in three days the butler would be taken out of it and restored to his former position.  He is clearly a type of a believer foreknown by God, for the believer experiences more than resurrection out of spiritual death: he is assured of participating also in the resurrection of life, when at the Lord’s coming to the air, the body also will be taken out of this earthly “prison” either by resurrection or translation.

40:13.  “Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.”

These glad tidings to the butler are but a faint echo of the glad tidings announced to every sinner through the Gospel.  Faith in Jesus Christ brings to the believer the assurance that he will participate in the resurrection of life, that he will be restored to a better position than that from which Adam fell, and that for all eternity he will bring joy to the heart of God. 

40:14.  “But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh and bring me out of this house.”

The first thing the butler was asked to do was to think on Joseph, or remember him, and surely recalls the Lord’s similar request on the night of His betrayal when He instituted the remembrance feast, “This do in remembrance of Me” (Lk 22:19).  But the butler forgot.  That was bad enough, but how much worse it would have been had he done what many Christians do - deliberately refuse to remember.  Do Christians deliberately refuse to remember?  Yes, often!  I refuse to remember when I absent myself from the Lord’s table for any reason other than one that I am certain would be acceptable to God.  There are many ways in which I may deliberately refuse.  I may accept employment that I know will make attendance at the Lord’s table impossible.  I may choose to vacation where I know there will be no place to meet with believers to eat the Lord’s supper.  The ways are legion. 

The second request was “and show kindness ... unto me.”  The Lord has made a similar request of us, “Be ye kind one to another” (Eph 4:32), and in fulfilling that command we are showing kindness to Him, for He Himself has said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Mt 25:40).

But again the butler forgot.  Do we?

The third request was, “And make mention of me unto Pharaoh.”  Since we have seen that Pharaoh, in the context of this section, represents God the Father, this request translates into the spiritual truth that we should “make mention” of Christ to the Father.  How?  Every time we pray.  Worship, in fact, is nothing less than the presentation to the Father of our appreciation of Christ.  And even in presenting our requests to God we are instructed, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Php 4:6).

And again the butler forgot.  Do we?

The fourth request was, “And bring me out of this house.” The house was the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.  In  our study of Ge 39:22 we noted that the prison seems to represent the small area of his life which the carnal believer permits to remain under the Holy Spirit’s control, while in its application to the Church, it may represent that part made up of the small spiritual minority as distinguished from the carnal majority.  It seems then, that this request translates into the Lord’s desire that His ministry through the Holy Spirit be freed from restriction, both in the life of the individual believer, and also in the Church.  God can’t bless us fully until we are yielded completely to His control.  As Joseph desired to be freed from the restriction of the prison, so does Christ desire to be free from the restrictions imposed by our refusal to submit our lives completely to His control.

And again the butler forgot.

It is significant that there were four things requested of the butler.  Four is the number of testing, and in all four areas he failed the test.  As we have seen, the literal requests made by Joseph translate into spiritual requests made by Christ.  We would do well to stop and judge our own performance while there is time to make amends.  It will be too late at the Bema. 

40:15.  “For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.”

We have already considered the circumstances surrounding his having been “stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews,” and noted that it represents Christ’s turning away from Israel to the Gentiles after being rejected by the former.  His being “stolen” (taken away against his will) reminds us that the Lord’s departure from Israel was also against His will.  It was only with the greatest reluctance that He turned away from them; it was only after “They had bound Him, and led Him away to Pontius Pilate” (Mt 27:2), only after they cried, “Let Him be crucified” (Mt 27:22).  But even their having crucified Him didn’t cause Him to abandon them and turn to the Gentiles, for after His resurrection, the assurance given Israel through Peter was, “And now, brethren, I wot (know) that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers” Ac 3:17.  It was their rejection of the Gospel expressed in their killing of Stephen that sealed their doom, and caused Him to finally turn to the Gentiles and offer them the riches which Israel despised and rejected.

Joseph’s treatment at the hand of the Egyptians, however, was no different from his treatment at the hand of his brethren, nor has Christ’s experience among the Gentiles been any different from what it was among the Jews.  As Joseph was cast into the pit (the place of death) by his brethren, so was he cast into the dungeon (the place of death) by the Egyptians.  As Christ was hated and rejected by the Jews, so is He also hated and rejected by the Gentiles. 

There was no reason for Joseph’s brethren to cast him into the pit, nor was there any reason, save a false accusation, for the Egyptians to cast him into the dungeon.  But Joseph’s experience simply adumbrates that of Christ.  Neither Jew nor Gentile has had any cause to hate Him of Whom it is written, “They hated Me without a cause” (Jn 15:25). 

40:16.  “When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head.”

We have seen the butler and the baker to be representative of the believing remnant in Israel, and of the unbelieving mass of the nation respectively, and also of believers and unbelievers in general.  The crucial difference between the believer and the unbeliever is portrayed in what each man said.  The butler said, “I took,” but the baker said, “I had.”  The believer, recognizing that he has nothing, “takes” (accepts) God’s gift of eternal life, but the unbeliever, failing to recognize that he too has nothing, says “I have.”  It may be that he thinks he has some righteousness, something which added to the work of Christ, makes him worthy of salvation.  The man who would have salvation must be willing to acknowledge that he has nothing to commend him to God, and that he is completely unworthy of God’s mercy. 

There was a three also in the baker’s dream: he had three baskets which represent three days, verse 18.  For him, however, “resurrection” from the dungeon was very different from that of the butler - he was lifted up out of the dungeon to be executed.  As there is a resurrection of life for the believer, so is there a resurrection of damnation for the unbeliever, Jn 5:28-29, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”  (As to the good that fits men for the resurrection of life, we read in Jn 6:29 “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.”  The only thing that fits a man for heaven is faith in Christ: the only thing that will keep a man out of heaven, and take him into hell, is lack of faith). 

Everything connected with the baker speaks of the unbeliever’s dependence on his own works.  The baskets were man-made, and they were white, the color of righteousness, but in this case, of self-righteousness.  Some translations give “full of holes” rather than “white.  If this is correct, the lesson, then, would be that the man whose hope of heaven is based on good works, will discover, too late, that as the contents of such baskets fall out and are lost, so will he find himself standing before God with an “empty basket” (nothing to offer). 

“On my head.”  This speaks of knowledge that is simply intellectual.  Hell is full of people who had an intellectual knowledge of Christ, but who never knew Him as their Savior. 

40:17.  “And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh, and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.”

The bakemeats, things prepared by the baker himself, speak of good works.  That uppermost white basket therefore, represents the good works which the self-righteous unbeliever hopes to offer God.  There was “all manner of bakemeats.”  The ingenuity of man can produce an infinite variety of works that he hopes God will accept, but acceptance with God isn’t based on good works.  The baker had wasted his time preparing those bakemeats, for none of them ever reached Pharaoh.  The man whose hope of heaven is resting on his good works will also discover, too late, that he has wasted his time.  The man who has no other hope than this will discover when he stands before God that all he has is an empty basket. 

The bakemeats had been eaten by the birds.  With the exception of the few “clean” birds like the dove and the pigeon, birds in Scripture are symbolic of evil.  In the parable of the sower, for example, the fowls that devoured the seed that had fallen by the wayside are described by the Lord as “the wicked one” (Mt 13:19).  The truth we may learn from the fact that the bakemeats were eaten by the birds is that Satan is the one who deludes men into believing the lie that God will accept good works.  His lie leaves them to face God in their sins, and with nothing to offer but an “empty basket.”

But we may learn something from the other baskets.  Since they were literally closer to the person of the baker than was that uppermost basket, they represent things that were of more concern than what the third basket represents.  That third basket represents the unbeliever’s preparation for eternity, and its being separated from his body by the other two, declares the truth that with the unbeliever the things of this world are of more importance.  The things of eternity are of little importance to him.

The contents of those other baskets aren’t disclosed, but it isn’t difficult to know what their contents portray.  They represent jobs, family, the quest for money or fame, the pursuit of pleasure, and all the other things that have first claim on man’s attention.  The baker had much upon his head, the three baskets represent all the activities of life.  But to what profit?  He lost his head.  The man who has nothing more than what those three baskets represent will lose something of even greater value - his soul. 

The essential element in the butler’s offering was the blood of the grapes, for it represents the blood of Christ.  The offering of the baker was like that of Cain, there was nothing in it that represented Christ’s blood, and “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb 9:22).

40:18.  “And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days.”

40:19.  “Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree, and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.”

As has been noted already, those three baskets point to the resurrection of damnation, and the fact that he was first beheaded, and afterwards hung on a tree, points to the fact that the unbeliever dies twice: once physically when his body goes to the grave, and his soul to hell; and then again following his judgment at the great white throne, when he will be cast, body, soul, and spirit into the eternal torment of the lake of fire, as it is written “... and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death (the body) and hell (the soul) were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Re  20:13-15). 

The significance of his being hung on a tree after being beheaded is revealed in Ga 3:13, “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.”  Such is the condition of all who die without Christ.  And the tragedy is that they make themselves a curse by refusing to believe that, “Christ hath redeemed us (believers) from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Ga 3:13).

The birds continue to represent Satan and the evil spirits which serve him.  Their eating his flesh declares the truth that it is Satan who accomplishes the destruction of all who heed his lies. 

40:20.  “And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants “

This great feast which brought joy to the butler, and corresponding grief to the baker, may foreshadow Christ’s judgment of the nations at the end of the Tribulation, when  unbelievers will be banished bodily into hell, and the believers will enter into the enjoyment of the millennial kingdom.  This, however, doesn’t exclude the fact that it points also to the eternal feast of joy in the new heavens and new earth following the judgment of the great white throne.

40:21.  “And he restored the chief butler unto his butlersh­ip again, and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”

Can there be any doubt that after his prison experience, the butler would value his restored state far more highly than he had ever done before?  This declares the truth that faith in Christ does more than restore the believer to the state forfeited by Adam’s disobedience: it lifts him into an infinitely higher one from which he can never fall.

“And he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”  The cup of salvation which the guilty sinner accepts as God’s free gift, becomes a cup of worship which the grateful saint can present to God in return, and thereby delight His heart. 

40:22.  “But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.”

Having already discussed the spiritual significance of the baker’s execution, it is unnecessary to repeat it here.

“As Joseph had interpreted.”  Each man’s future, foreknown by God, was revealed by Joseph.  The future of every man is foreknown by God, and revealed by the written Word, which itself is the revelation of Him Who is the living Word.  God’s foreknowledge, however, must not be confused with predestination.  Man has a free will, both before and after conversion, and within the limits of God’s permissive will, he has freedom of choice.  What the individual will do during his earthly life is foreknown by God, but not predestinated.  What has been predestinated are the consequences that must result from the use of that free will.  God has predestinated that the man who chooses to accept Christ as Savior will be in heaven eternally, and the man who chooses to reject Christ will be in the lake of fire eternally.  He has not, however, predestinated that choice.

As the futures of the butler and the baker were foretold by Joseph, so is the future of every man foretold by the Word of God.  He who trusts Christ will be in heaven eternally, and he who does not will be in the lake of fire eternally.

Regarding those who die without ever having heard the Gospel, the explanation is not that a capricious God has predestinated them to be lost, and others saved, but rather that according to His foreknowledge He knew that even if they had heard the Gospel they would not have believed, and in His sovereignty has chosen that they should not hear it.  In His sovereignty He has also chosen that some should hear the Gospel, even though He knows that they will reject it.  This exercise of His sovereignty according to His foreknowledge, however, is not predestination.  The Calvinist’s error is that he thinks it is.

40:23.  “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.”

To condemn the butler is to condemn ourselves.  He carelessly forgot one who had merely interpreted a dream.  We all too often fail to remember the One Who has died to make possible our deliverance from the present “dungeon” of spiritual death, and a future eternal “dungeon” - the lake of fire.

In closing our study of this chapter we might note also that it presents us with a beautiful picture of Calvary.  The dungeon, the place of death, represents Calvary.  Joseph is a type of Christ; the butler, a type of the repentant malefactor; and the baker, a type of his unrepentant companion.  From the dungeon Joseph went out to rule Egypt; one malefactor went out to life; the other, to death.  From Calvary Christ has gone to sit glory-crowned beside the Father until that soon-coming day when He will come forth to rule the world; one malefactor went out to eternal life; the other, to eternal death.

[Genesis 41]



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough