Yosef is known in our tradition as Yosef haTsaddik. Per Kabbalah, the righteous are from the sefirah of Yesod.
We have a principle, which is brought down in Sefer Yetzirah, called עש"ן. It is an abbreviation that stands for:
- עולם - world
- שנה - year
- נפש - soul
What this means is that for all of our principles, there is a correlation on the spatial plane (עולם), temporal plane (שנה), and the spiritual plane (נפש).
- In space, the Yesod is the Land of Israel (per Midrash Ne'elam on Zohar 1:114a, Eretz Yisrael can be considered as Yerushalayim and Tzion).
- In the soul, where the soul is the collective soul of the nation of Israel, the Yesod is the Tsaddik of the generation.
- In time, Yesod is the Sixth Millennium.
The common denominator is that Yesod brings all work from "before" it to its fruition, to its conclusion.
Yesod itself is divided in to 2 sub-parts. The first 2/3 are referred to as regular Yesod, and the last 1/3 is referred to as Ateret haYesod.
- In space, Ateret haYesod is the Final Beit haMikdash, located at the heart of the Land of Israel.
- In the collective soul of Am Yisrael, Ateret haYesod is Moshiach ben Yosef.
- In time, Ateret haYesod is Yemot haMoshiach (the days of the Messiah), in the last part of the Sixth Millennium.
The difference between Yesod and Ateret haYesod can therefore be seen as follows:
- The difference between just the Land of Israel and when the Beit haMikdash is built is that the connection between Jerusalem of Above and Jerusalem of Below will be connected with the Beit haMikdash in place.
- The difference between a regular Tsaddik (who is Moshiach ben Yosef of his generation, or a potential final Moshiach), and the actual Moshiach ben Yosef (of the last generation) is that Moshiach ben Yosef is able to make the theoretical in to reality. It is (theoretically) the end of the suffering of Moshiach.
- The difference between the period directly before and after the onset of Yemot haMoshiach is the cessation of the servitude of Israel to the nations of the world.
The natural flow of history dictates that no matter what, these three planes are bound together, and therefore there is no delaying Moshiach ben Yosef and the Beit haMikdash. "And a three-fold string will not easily break" (Kohelet 4:12). This means that, to an extent, we can also move things towards us. How so?
Moshiach ben Yosef, per the Ramchal (I believe in Milchemet Moshe), knows what needs to be done to bring the world to where it needs to be. The essence of his suffering is that he is unable to put this knowledge in to real action. He is missing that essential characteristic of Yosef from the Chumash: "And whatever he (Yosef) does, Hashem makes successful" (Breishit 39:23). Moshiach ben Yosef of the final generation, on the other hand, succeeds in bringing us towards our goals. The exiles are gathered, Yerushalayim is built. Truth reigns.
To advance the collective soul, we must allow Moshiach ben Yosef of each generation to truly lead us.
To advance our place in space towards the Beit haMikdash, we must gather the exiles and build up all of Eretz Yisrael. For the redeemer only comes when Tzion is already built (so says Chazal on the verse "And a redeemer comes to Zion", see Rashi there).
If we advance those two planes, the plane of time will come forward as well.
Now see the Sin of Mechirat Yosef. They sinned against the leader of their up and coming generation.
Now see the Sin of the Spies. They sinned against against Eretz Yisrael.
Fixing these two sins brings us the merit to be redeemed earlier than scheduled (if such actions are taken in time), or at least qualitatively improve our experience in this world (even if the actions are taken right before the end).
And of course that is perfectly logical. The redemption comes to right the wrongs of history.