Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. (Genesis 45:1-2)
After seeing that his brothers were remorseful about how they mistreated him, how the loved their father as he did and were devoted to Benjamin, his emotions came spilling out in a visible and audible way. He sent the Egyptians from the room because he didn’t want them to be there when he revealed himself — it was to be a family moment not intended for everyone to share in.
Some commentators believe that, in “making himself known,” Joseph revealed his circumcision. The Bible doesn’t specify that this is the way he was revealed but what is clear is that his words were no longer conveyed to them through an interpreter; he spoke directly to them in Hebrew saying, Ani Yosef — “I am Joseph.” No doubt, this startling development left them dumbfounded and that is why he called for them to approach him in order that they might be convinced it was really Jospeh speaking to them. In a sense, Joseph had been “resurrected” right before their eyes and, in that instant, their world changed.
Prophetically, this points to what happened centuries later on the day Messiah was resurrected. When He first appeared to His disciples they, too, were stunned. One of them, Thomas, was not present to witness this and thus declared that unless he could touch the wounds for himself, he would not believe. Later, Yeshua appeared to them again, this time with Thomas present. John’s Gospel records that:
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)
It was after the resurrection that the Messiah’s disciples began to better understand God’s plan and purposes. Likewise when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, then they began to understand why all these things had happened. The Biblical pattern seems to suggest that only in moments like these do past events, not perceived at the time, make sense to us. What we do not understand in the moment is made clear to us when God’s plan is revealed.
Rabbis say that, in the future, God will reveal Himself through the Messiah and say, “I am Yahweh.” They teach that, at that moment, the veil will be lifted from men’s eyes and they will understand God’s purposes and why things have happened they did. At that time what has been a mystery will become very clear to us. In Scripture, mankind’s reaction to this revelation is stated thus: “And you shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 13:21).
There is coming a day when everyone will KNOW that He is the LORD. That is not to say that everyone will attest to this mentally or even vocally. It is to say that, through their own experiences, whether good or bad, they will have first hand knowledge that He is the LORD. For many it will be a day of jubilation; for others it will be a day of reckoning. At any rate, all will be intimately acquainted with the fact that He is the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe and will be compelled to bow before Him. As it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11-12). As His people, let us choose to bow before Him now and acknowledge His authority in our lives as a testimony to all.
Blessings and Shalom,