Noah & Joseph as kings at the end of the age

At important moments of crisis in the book of Genesis, the Lord raises up new sons of Adam to save a remnant from the old world and bring them through the crisis into the new world on the other side.

Both Noah and Joseph are just these sons of Adam, and they are hints to us of the godly King that a faithful and obedient Adam might have become.

Sons of Adam

The first Adam considered god-like knowledge of good and evil something to be grasped, and thus he was never exalted to God’s right hand. His “rule” over the creation did not bring it life and glory; the rule of Adam amounted to the reign of death and chaos.

Adam toiled in the field, but he never entered into God's rest. The land fought back against Adam and his wicked sons by bringing forth thorns and thistles, but the fruit-bearing trees never brought forth wine for him, and he never sat down for leisure at God’s table.

However, God does not utterly cast away Adam, nor does he give up on the vision of Adam ruling the world. He raises up New Adams to bring a remnant from the old world safely into the new world. On the other side of the crisis is a seat at the king’s table and a cup full of wine.

Noah's ark

But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you… (Genesis 6:18-19)

God reveals to Noah that judgment is coming upon the world, and commands him to prepare the ark which will be the salvation for those who are with him.

The flood will soon destroy the heavens and earth that then were, and Noah is given to the world just in time as their only hope of making it through to the new heavens and new earth on the other side. Noah builds the ark as a small realm of habitable dry land to preserve earth-dwellers from the flood.

Only Noah’s own household are saved through the judgment.

Following the Flood, Noah enters rest and is enthroned as a king: he plants a garden, he "gets drunk" on wine, and he pronounces judgment upon the serpent Ham and he justifies Shem and Japheth.

Joseph's table

And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Genesis 45:5)

Joseph seems in many ways like a variation on Noah, and it is fitting that he closes the book of Genesis.

A crisis of famine has befallen the world: the earth itself refuses to bring forth food for the sons of Adam! God wisely raises up Joseph to the right hand of Pharaoh of Egypt before the crisis, so Joseph becomes the world's only hope of coming through the crisis and making it to the new world on the other side.

In addition to becoming the “baker” of Egypt, giving bread for the life of the world, he also becomes the great cupbearer: he invites his brothers to “get drunk” with him at his table, sharing with him in his rule. Though he initially presents as the harsh judge of his brothers, Joseph at last reveals to them that he is their brother, full of mercy and ready to forgive them for their sins against him and justify them.

As the famine rises up and overcomes the world, Joseph marvels that God in his kind providence has sent him ahead of his brothers into Egypt to preserve the seed of Israel. Joseph has turned Egypt into a little realm of habitable land to preserve the remnant from the famine. And not only are Jacob’s household saved, but the whole world is saved in Joseph.