There is a profound connection between Daniel and Joseph that underscores the importance of Daniel’s life. Like Daniel, Joseph’s story has a number of end-time parallels. For example, Joseph’s ultimate purpose in Egypt was to provide for his family when Israel entered into a seven year crisis and needed supernatural provision to survive. This is a picture of the seven year end-time crisis when Israel will need God’s help to survive.
Daniel is considered by many commentators to be a Joseph like figure because there are many similarities between their lives:1
- Both were taken out of their land. Both were carried away as slaves.
- Both were put in the service of gentile kings.
- Both interpreted dreams for the king.
- Both end up in a prominent position as a result of their dream interpretations.
- Both suffered unjustly.
- Both were given a place of leadership in a Gentile empire.
- Both play a role in the preservation of their people while passing through a great crisis.
There are many similarities between the two men, but there is also a profound difference we must recognize: Joseph is a type of Jesus, something not true of Daniel:
- Joseph was born as the favored son, but destined to rule the entire family.
- Joseph was rejected by HIs family and sold for the price of a slave.
- Joseph suffered unjustly at the hands of the Gentiles.
- Joseph was deeply joined to the Gentiles by marrying a Gentile woman.
- Joseph’s suffering among the Gentiles resulted in salvation for the Gentiles(Egyptians) and salvation for his family (Israel) during a seven year crisis.
- The story of Joseph ends with reconciliation when Joseph is received byHis family.
The prophets Hosea and Zechariah both made allusions to the story of Joseph when they described Israel’s end-time reconciliation with Jesus.2 Their use of Joseph’s story further emphasized the connection between Joseph and Jesus.
When we consider the similarities and differences between the story of Joseph and Daniel we find they are both end-time prototypes but they represent two different end-time characters: Joseph is a type of Jesus in His end-time deliverance and provision for his people and Daniel is a prototype of the end-time church. The differences between Joseph and Daniel’s stories reveal how one is presented as a picture of Jesus and the other as a picture of the church.
Joseph’s test preceded the great crisis. Once Joseph passed through his test (slavery and false accusation) and was exalted, he maintained a position of great power and influence. When Joseph came to a position of influence, he married a gentile bride (the grafting in of the Gentiles). During the seven year famine (a picture of the end times), Joseph had a position of power and supplied food (provision) for the Egypt (the nations) and for his family (Israel) so they would survive the crisis.
Daniel was in a very different position. Through he was put in a place of influence, his life consisted of numerous tests and trials. He was always subject to pagan kings. Even as an old man he was forgotten3 and later put into the Lion’s den.4 Daniel did not have the place of power Joseph did. He was not able to sustain his people. Daniel’s primary contribution was intercession. His intercession was the primary way he participated in the heavenly conflict related to the destiny of his people.
Joseph secured the future of his people through his ability and power, and Daniel secured the future of his people through intercession. Daniel’s intercession accessed God’s power on behalf of His people. During the end-time crisis, Jesus will be a Joseph to His people. When we pass through the crisis, He will sustain us. Daniel is a prototype of the church who shares the character of Joseph (Jesus) but does not have the same power and therefore survives through perseverance and intercession. Jesus will sustain us by His power and we will access that power through intercession.
Joseph’s story is a prediction of Jesus’ goodness at the end of the age and the utimate resolution of Israel’s story and the redemption of Israel and the nations. Daniel’s story is a prediction of the mature church who resembles Jesus, but overcomes through perseverance, suffering, and intercession. This underscores how important it is to properly grasp the book of Daniel. We need to recognize what it says about the mature end-time church.
1 Hamilton, James M., Jr.. With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology (NewStudies in Biblical Theology) (p. 222-223). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
2 Hosea 5:15; Zechariah 12:10-12.
3 Daniel 5.
4 Daniel 6.