17 ¶ And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: 18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: 19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: 20 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: 21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: 23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: 24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me. 25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. 27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. 28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. 29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: 30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; 31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. 32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
Pharaoh recounts his memory of the dream to Joseph. With a little embellishment and adding some emphasis, which is very human, he tells Joseph what was troubling him. There are very few people who do not read back their thoughts into previous experiences. Many Christians embellish upon the day they announced their belief on Christ by reading back into that experience things they think should have happened or wish had happened. We do the same thing with other events and moments in our lives but we are often not honest enough with ourselves to admit it.
These two dreams are actually one dream explaining how God intends to provide Egypt with seven years of plenty and then seven years of famine. The fact that God repeated this theme to Pharaoh twice establishes it as a definite prophecy of the soon-to-be future. This reminds you of how things are emphasized by God and in the Bible generally and established as definite and not merely if you or they do this then I (God) will do this propositions. For instance, when Jesus says verily, verily from the word we also get amen from when He is telling Peter of Peter’s future martyrdom.
John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
It is questionable to make a doctrine out of one verse and can lead to error but when many verses comment on a thing you can be sure that God has established it as an eternal decree such as everlasting life, for instance, which is reflected clearly in many verses.
I apologize for digressing but another thought-provoking statement is the reference to these dreamt events, interpreted by God through Joseph, as happening shortly. We know this is true because it happened within a relatively short period of time as recorded in Genesis. However, when John brackets end-time events in Revelation 1:1 and 22:6;
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Revelation 22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
…we find that shortly does not carry with it the immediacy of the events described. Why, we must ask?
The writers of the Bible books were given inspiration from God.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God…
Inspiration is not word-for-word dictation but understanding and wisdom.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
(Do not be fooled by a compound word that modernists translate as, “God-breathed,” a meaningless phrase in this context. All life is God-breathed, for that matter. How does that help in understanding the foundation of Scripture? ‘Theopneustos,’ the Greek word for inspiration, can no more can be understood as, “God-breathed,” than computer can be understood as, “makes calculations,” or a television as, “far-off seeing.”)
2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
In the 1800s the Princeton Theological Seminary developed the doctrine that only the original autographs were inspired; documents we no longer have and no one on earth today has seen or can question. This was a retreat from the hammering away at faith by the proponents of the theory of evolution. The fact is, the writers of the Bible wrote based on the understanding they were given and often interjected their opinions or beliefs that were not strictly from God. Read Jeremiah 36:23-32 to see what God thinks of the originals.
Paul in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians and John seemed to believe that the end of history must happen soon and, perhaps, expected it in their lifetimes, although Paul seems to realize his death was imminent. Peter believed he would be martyred soon in his letters. God did not give anyone a date for the end of history although many modern Christians try to come up with one, usually, much to their embarrassment when it doesn’t happen. We must use common-sense when studying the Scriptures and not mistake every word recorded for our learning as coming straight from God’s mouth…
Job 12:6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
…and remember that things are recorded for us for our learning and for our confidence in God.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
And end-times prophecy was not given so that we could set a date but so that when events occurred we would realize that God had foretold them, making it even more important to teach our children in the Lord. When Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection He gave us a pattern for prophecy given for events after it.
John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
We, in this age, while we discuss and study end-time events should not put those things ahead of our simple obedience to Christ and the further explanation of His commandments in the rest of the New Testament.