The Bible, as a rule, gives Egypt pretty bad press, and hardly surprising because save for a few instances where she sheltered and favoured Israel, for the most part she was an oppressor and antagonist of Yahweh's people, in part because of her geographical location south of the Holy Land but principally because she was a pagan nation with the same imperial ambitions for power and wealth as comparable nations. Before the Moslem-Arab invasions and the imposition of Arabic as the national tongue, the Egyptian tongue was a hybrid of Hamitic and Semitic. Israelite encounters with her were, with the exception of Joseph who saved not only Egypt but the known world, negative. Abraham nearly lost his wife to a lusty Pharaoh and following Yahweh's intervention to rescue her, obtained an Egyptian slave woman and through her, and later Keturah, created the Arab peoples. Egypt gave shelter to Yah'shua's (Jesus') family during the Herodian persecution and to exiled Israelites in the time of Jeremiah. But it also attacked Judah when she was weak and vulnerable. It also educated Moses and provided a stark contrast for him when he met Yahweh in the desert of Midian and later was given the whole Israelite religious system.
Egyptian worship was a complete contrast to Hebrew worship in particular. The Egyptian temple was isolated within its own high-walled estate and only the officiating priesthood worshipped in such temples. It was only when the pagan deity went forth in glittering procession on great festivals that the populace actively shared in honouring their 'great gods'. Apart from this, they sought their solace in household and 'lesser gods'. The cult of the 'great gods' followed one general pattern, the 'god' being treated just like an earthly king. He was awakened from sleep each morning with a hymn, was washed and dressed (that is, his image or idol), and breakfasted (the morning offering), did a morning's business, and had midday and evening meals (corresponding offerings) before retiring for the night.
The contrast could hardly be greater between the ever-vigilent, self-sufficient God of Israel, Yahweh-Elohim, with His didactic sacrificial system, symbolising the need and means of atonement to deal with human sin, and of peace-offerings in fellowship at tabernacle or temple, and those of those earthly Egyptian nature deities. Egypt and Israel were worlds, if not universes, apart. Israel was patriarchal, Egypt matriarchal. Israel knew only one God, Egypt thousands. Israel's king was a servant of the people, Egypt's Pharaoh a reincarnated god.
Yahweh therefore provided Egypt as a temporary sanctuary for His people when refuge was needed but they were forbidden to remain there for long (e.g. Jer.44:13-14). The reasons should be obvious, hence the commandment to His people in all ages and dispensations, Old as well as New Covenant, to be a separate people from the surrounding nations (Ex.33:16; 2 Cor.6:17-18). In spite of their faith, the prolonged stay in Egypt by the children of Israel thoroughly contaminated them mentally and spiritually, requiring a long 40 year purging in the Sinai before they were deemed pure enough to enter the Holy Land under Joshua. We rightly view this journey, in all its various stages, as a model for deliverance ministry.
There is no complete exodus from Egypt and 'things Egyptian' without a fiery trial. The whole mindframe and false religious spirit of Egypt had to be extirpated under conditions of great deprivation. The second generation entered the Holy Land cleansed of these things but were soon contaminated by the Canaanite culture and people whom they were commanded to completely remove from the land, but which they failed to do. Liberal Christians criticise this commandment, failing to understand that compromise with false systems leads to demonisation and rejection by Yahweh. The story of Egypt is to remind us that Yahweh will accept nothing less than total separation from false systems, not because He is intolerant of people but because He, being holy, is intolerant of sin. To be separate is in our best interests. That is why deliverance from demons goes hand in hand with the pursuit of holiness.
Everybody knows the story of Joseph, beloved son of Jacob and Rachel. We are able to readily empathise with this man with his many, many trials, sufferings and tears - a man who, in spite of being abused again and again, remained true to faith and was rewarded at the age of 30 with glory. Our hearts are melted as we read the account of how he was reconciled to his wicked brothers, proving that forgiveness is always a thousand times better than revenge. He had none of the latter, though he must have struggled with feelings which, had he allowed them to go down a wrong path, would have resulted in hatred and bitterness. In this he remained pure, in close relationship with Yahweh, and free of demons. He fought and won over temptation, eschewing the temporary pleasures of sin without anticipation of reward, which he obtained nonetheless. He could have indulged his sexual appetite with his master's wife but chose to remain celibate and single through a long decade of singleness and aloneness. He was a man who had deep love for his own people and who happily served others, putting his best into everything he did. And Yahweh multiplied him.
You might have thought that after 30 long years, of which over half were in suffering and forced servitute, that Yahweh would have given him a lovely Hebrew bride. But He didn't. He allowed Pharaoh to give him the daughter of the head of what one might call the 'Church of Egypt', or in modern parlance, the 'Church of Satan'. Why? We cannot say that his marriage to Asenath was out of the divine will and that Yahweh had no choice but to allow Pharaoh to do what he wanted because we know from the accounts of Pharaoh with Moses that it was Yahweh Himself who hardened Pharaoh's heart and otherwise manipulated this pagan monarch into doing His bidding. And we know from the stories of pagan kings like Nebuchadnezzar that Yahweh-Elohim controls the destinies of all nations and monarchs. No, if we believe what the Bible teaches about God's Sovereignty, the marriage of Joseph - Yahweh's foremost representative on the earth - to Asenath, the daughter of Satan's foremost representative at that time, was divinely ordered. This was no accident of history.
If we are to understand why Yahweh connected his prized son to the daughter of a satanic high priest, and why He chose the leading tribes of the earth - Ephraim and Manasseh - to be half Egyptian and half Israelite, we must clearly understand the principle of salvation and how it works. This is important not only in the general Christian sense but also in how we conduct deliverance ministry.
When we think of the principal patriarchs of the Old Testament we usually think of three - Abaraham, Isaac, and Jacob - because our eyes are on the Messiah. And the Messianic seed, as we know, came through Judah. However, we are apt to forget that there are two important seeds that came through these men - the one the Messianic seed, and the other that of Heirship. For this purpose, Yahweh allowed the Kingdom of Israel to split into two following the death of Solomon: into Judah (the southern Kingdom), which would bring forth the seed of Christ in the days of Herod; and into Israel (Ephraim, the northern Kingdom), which would bring forth the rulers of Israel. These two nations went very separate ways but according to Ezekiel and Paul are to be reunited in the latter days as once again a single New Covenant Nation of Israel.
Joseph is the 'fourth great patriarch' after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Abraham we view the doctrine of divine election play itself out. In Isaac, the doctrine of divine sonship. In Jacob, the doctrine of the conflict between the two natures in man - carnal and spiritual. And in Joseph, we view the doctrine of heirship which is always preceded by suffering before the day of glory and of Yahweh's visitation. In these four men we see not only shadows of the Messiah Himself but those of the Messiah's sons and daughters, the children of election and of the Covenent. We see in them the course of our own lives, or to be precise, the course we are commanded to go. Most believers give up at the Jacob stage because they refuse to overcome, and so remain bound by their flesh and by demons and never see the glory of Yahweh in their lives.
The question we must ask ourselves is this: why, after such a long and terrible struggle, was Joseph required to marry a pagan, and a woman whose name means 'she belongs to the goddess (demon) Neit'? He married a woman who can only have been highly demonised, if not through her own choices, then at least through generations of ancestral curses.
Of the 192 different types of Christ in the Old Testament, Joseph is the greatest personal type, and herein lies our clue. Adam represents Christ's headship, Abel His death; Noah represents Christ's work, Melchizedek His Priesthood. Moses represents Christ's prophetic office and David represents His Kingship. But Joseph represents something superior to all of these which we learn from his Hebrew and Egyptian names.
In Hebrew, Yosef literally means 'may He [Yahweh] add [sons]' (see Gen.30:24), unlike Adam who was the great subtractor. His Hebrew name, Zaphnath-paaneah, means 'revealer of secrets' and 'saviour of the world' (see Luke 2:35). As a seer, Joseph revealed his father's heart and the wicked hearts of his brothers. He was the son of his father's old age or eternity (Mic.5:2), eleventh son of Jacob and first son of Rachel. Yah'shua (Jesus) was in like manner the son of Yahweh's eternity or 'old age' (the terms are interchangeable in Hebrew), being God's son in all eternity.
Joseph was initially, like David, a shepherd (Gen.37:2) and an object of his father's special love. Under the Old Covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd, but in the New the Shepherd died for the sheep. Joseph received a coat of many colours (Gen.37:3) as a mark of honour as the son of Rachel and the son of a free woman (Gen.37:2), signifying his position of authority as heir - above his brethren.
Joseph always spoke of beautiful virtues, characteristics and demonstrated sublime conduct in all things. No faults or sins of his are recorded. He was stripped of that mantle of authority twice - at Pottiphar's house (Gen.39:12; cp. Jn.17:5) and by his brethren (Gen.37:23; cp. Jn.19:23). He was hated three times (Gen.37:4,5,8) just as Yah'shua (Jesus) was hated in three ways - because of what He was (Jn.5:18; 6:41), because of what He said (Jn.7:7; 8:40), and because of what He did (Gen.37:7,9). Joseph was hated for his two dreams - the first of the field showing his earthly dominion (Gen.37:7; cp. Mt.28:18), and the one of the sun, moon and stars, showing his heavenly dominion (Mt.26:34). He was sent forth by his father Jacob just as Yah'shua (Jesus) was sent forth by His Father Yahweh (Gen.37:12-13; Jn.5:36), was completely obedient (Gen.37:13; cp. Phil.2:8), was sent to his own (Gen.37:13; cp. Mt.1:21; 18:1).
And now we come to the amazing part of this messianic likeness of Joseph. He was given a gentile bride (Gen.41:45) by Pharaoh - notice that the Pharaoh (King) made the selection himself, all the plans and arrangements, and even appointed the time of the wedding (cp. Mt.22:2; Rev.19:7-9). Joseph was promoted from slave to Prime Minister, exalted and authorised with power - instantly (Gen.41:42; cp. Mt.28:18; Gen.41:37-44; cp. Rom.1:4).
During the seven years of plenty his brothers were entirely ignorant of his marriage and promotion, which is a picture of the ignorance of Judah from the time of Christ two thousand years ago in respect of their understanding that they would retain the sceptre (rulership) until Shiloh (Christ) came. The seed of Leah are blind to the election and calling of Rachel's seed in the Christian dispensation which has always been under the government of Joseph, not Judah.
During this time of plenty, Joseph's family was, we suppose, completed after the births of Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen.41:50-53). After these seven years of plenty came the seven years of famine (Gen.41:53-56). There was famine in Egypt and the known world just as there was when Yah'shua (Jesus) was a boy (Gen.41:56; cp. Mt.24:8), a "sore" in the land of Canaan (Gen.41:56; 43:1; 41:57). Before he died he gave instructions regarding his bones (Heb.11:22).
Which brings us to Asenath, whose name, as we have seen, means 'one who belongs to the goddess (demoness) Neit', the heathen goddess of wisdom, daughter of Potiphera, the high priest of the sun god of On, meaning 'city of the pillar'. This was the home of one of Egypt's several theological systems. The temple of Ra and Atum contained many phallic obelisks - tall, tapering, monolithic shafts of square or rectangular section, each ending at the top in a pyramidally shaped point, which represented the benben or sacred stone of Ra, as first to catch the rays of the rising sun. Every Pharaoh from the fifth dynasty was styled 'son of Ra'. The name 'Potiphera' contains this name 'Ra'. A similar temple existed in Israel at Beth-shemesh, 'House (Temple) of the Sun'. Jeremiah threatens that Nebuchadnezzar will smash "the pillars of Beth-shemesh", the obelisks of On.
It is possible that Isaiah's 'city of the sun' (Is.19:18) is On.
Thus Joseph is married by Yahweh, through Pharaoh, to the daughter of the high priest of the Temple of Satan on earth! But before he received his bride, he had to be raised out of the pit of suffering, oppression and abuse, just as Christ had to descend and ascent from hell after the Cross before He could receive His Bride, the Body of the Redeemed. Before Asenath came onto the scene, it had been nothing but suffering for Joseph. Then he received his pagan bride, Asenath, and gloried in her, rejoicing in her, redeeming her through his love. This glorying in Asenath is a foreshadowing of the time when Yah'shua (Jesus) will glory in us in His allegorical espousals.
We pause for breath.
Asenath is first mentioned before we are told that Joseph was 30 years old (the age at which Christ began His ministry). He was 30 when he stood in the presence of Pharaoh (Gen.41:46), bespeaking the fact that the bride was in the mind of Pharaoh - before she became the bride of Joseph and before he began his life's work at the age of 30. As the brides of Isaac and Joseph were in the minds of Abraham and Pharaoh, the Bride of Christ (the Messianic Community/Church) was in the mind of Yahweh, our Heavenly Father. She was a gentile bride and was given by Pharaoh, King of Egypt. The Egyptian name, Zaphnath-paaneah, means 'Saviour of the world' (Gen.41:45). Joseph saved her out of the world and from heathenism. She, in her turn, presented him with two sons - Manasseh (which means 'made to forget', in the same way as Yahweh will forget Israel's past - Mt.24) - and Ephraim (which means 'fruitful').
Up until this point of time Israel has never been fruitful and is represented by the barren fig tree, but in the Millennium, when the Tribe of Joseph rules (as foreshadowed by the imperfect British Empire and United States). At that time, the Messianic Community (Church), as represented by Asenath, will see the earthly nation in the millennial Goshen as sheaves bowing to the great sheaf, the Lord Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself. She will enjoy with Him the riches of the earth, and see Him as Lord and King.
The Messianic Community (Church) will rule with Christ as King over the nations and share with Him the full glory of all the nations of the earth. Her first knowledge of Him in her espousals will be that of glory, the fruit of long suffering.
But there is another aspect of Asenath that we must not overlook, especially in our time where rampant satanism is to be found. Within the devil's own sanctuary today are victims who, like Asenath, belong to Christ, being predestined to salvation. As they awaken, or are awakened, by Yahweh, they bring calamity to the enemy camp, as the Ark of the Covenant did to the Temple and people of Philistia when they captured it off a semi-apostate Israel in the days of the Judges. Satanism is full of Asenaths waiting to be betrothed to deliverers on Mount Zion:
"And saviours (deliverers) shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be Yahweh's" (Obadiah 21, KJV).