A Coffin in Egypt

The story of Eugene,  an unknown traveler whose bones were put on display.  Who was he?  What was the character of his life?  Even though he was a celebrity for years, You could not tell by looking at his bones. But there was a coffin containing a man’s bones that spoke loudly to others about his life.


I.  A Coffin in Egypt:   A prophecy was given in Gen. 50:22-26. “So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father’s household. And Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were also brought up on Joseph’s knees. And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

A.  There is more in scripture about Joseph than any other O.T. character.  His whole life is before us.

1.  He was a man who lived in faith. He trusted in God to provide for him. Even at the end, after so many problems, he was still putting his trust in God:  Genesis 50:20 – 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

2.  Because of his faith, He died in hope that God was still working His purposes and keeping His promises.  Genesis 50:2424 And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” NKJV

3.  Joseph made an unusual request concerning the disposal of his bones after he died:  Genesis 50:25-  25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”

4.  The fulfillment of Joseph’s request. We might expect for such a request to go unheeded since future generations could easily forget or ignore it.  Joseph’s bones lay in Egypt for 300 years; however, the fulfillment finally came. – Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.”   Joshua 24:32“The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph.”


II.  Lessons we can learn from Joseph’s bones.

A.  Mortality – Every one of us must die. God had originally intended that man eat of the tree of life and live forever. But death is a reality that confronts us all in this sin cursed world. The passing of time lulls us into a false security, like the  rich man –  Luke 12:19-21 ” And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ‘  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

1.   However, Joseph said, “I die…and he died, being 110 years old.”  In his death there was a lesson for Israel and for us.

2.   No man is indispensable to God’s plan. Joseph had held the highest position in government, and he  was an important tool in God’s hand for carrying out the history of Israel. However, he was not indispensable in God’s plans. His death did not alter God’s course for His people. Others have been equally prominent, but none indispensable.

a.   Moses died and Joshua took over.

b.  King David died and Solomon reigned in his place.

c.  There is room for everyone in God’s kingdom, and a work for everyone to do. However, no one is indispensable in God’s plan. His purposes are not dependent upon anyone.

3.  Ex 1:6-8And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. 7 But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. 8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.  Was this the end of Israel?  No. God was still alive, and His work continued.

a.  What would this last statement mean to the people of Israel – a king that did not know Joseph. Their whole place in society seemingly relied on Joseph’s reputation and the Pharaoh’s favor. But now Joseph was in a coffin and the Pharaoh did not know him.  Despite this circumstance the coffin represented a hope…


  1. Hope of deliverance.  Genesis 50:24And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”   After the death of Joseph, there arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph, and because he feared the  strength of Israel, he enslaved God’s people. Ex. 1:7-14;   2:23
    1. Joseph’s bones lying in a tomb in Egypt, kept reminding them that God had promised to deliver them. It gave hope.
    2. God will do what He says He will do. God’s promise was fulfilled. God said He would deliver His people out of bondage, and He did. God also said He would remove Joseph’s bones out of Egypt, and He did. The promise to re-bury Joseph might seem like an insignificant thing, but nothing that God says will fail.  He always delivers.
      1. Not one jot or tittle, even the smallest of matters, shall fail. God will do exactly what He says He will do. 2 Tim 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.             1 Thess 5:24-25 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
      2. Others who were assured of the faithfulness of God…. Abraham – Romans 4:19-21 –  19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. NKJV


II.   Parallel Lessons from Jesus’ grave. The Bible tells of another man who died and was buried in a borrowed tomb. He did not lay in  the tomb 300 years, only 3 days and 3 nights. His death, burial,   and resurrection teach the greatest lessons of all.  Matthew 28:1-61  Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.


  1. Immortality – All men shall live. Just as the death of Joseph and his tomb taught that all men  must die, the empty tomb of Jesus proclaims that all men shall live. John 11:25-26Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
    1. Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.   2 Timothy 1:10 “but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel  – Through Jesus Christ, man forever has the answer to the question, “If a man die, shall he live again”? (Job 14:14)
    2. There is one man who is indispensable in God’s plan – Jesus  Christ. Our salvation is totally dependent upon this one man. Hebrews 10:11-14 “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,  from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctifiedJohn 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
      1. The death of Joseph reveals that salvation wasn’t dependent on him, but the death of Jesus reveals that salvation is totally dependent on him. Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
      2. Christ’s death and resurrection are the basis for our hope.  Joseph’s burial in an Egyptian tomb and the prophecy given concerning it, were the basis of Israel’s hope of deliverance. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are the basis of our hope.
  • Romans 6:5For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
  • 1 Corinthians 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:14 “knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you
  • Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. V
  • Philippians 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
  1. His death and resurrection teach us that God will do all He says He will do. Luke 24:44Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”  He fulfilled all that was written concerning Him. Therefore, God will do all that He says regarding us.
  2. Jesus’ empty tomb is a continuing testimony to God’s faithfulness and stand at the heart of our faith.


Conclusion:   Hebrews 11:22By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.  Some verses may, on the surface, seem insignificant.  However, in view of the things we have studied in this lesson, certainly the statements in Heb. 11:22 are not insignificant.

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