If you recognize the name of Zaphenath-paneah (as spelled in the ESV Bible) as being the name of a very well known Biblical character who lived roughly 1500 years before Yeshua (Jesus), then you should enter Bible trivia contests!
Zaphenath-paneah is the name Pharaoh gave to Joseph (the son of Jacob and Rachel) when he elevated him to 2nd in command over Egypt. What did Joseph have to do with a Christmas tree? Well, nothing really, but the title leads into the topic of this blog post.
The teaching where Joseph is presented as a shadow of Yeshua is fairly well known. If you haven’t heard of such an idea, google something such as “Joseph as a type of Jesus”. You’ll get many hits, some from some very good sources. One source I see there is from the group Jews for Jesus.
This post is about one aspect of that idea. After the famine hits Egypt, Joseph’s brothers travel to Egypt to buy food. They appear before Joseph but don’t recognize him, and bow before him. (It’s a really fun story – read it in Genesis 41 through 44). Why don’t they recognize him? Well, he looked and talked Egyptian!
One of the reasons today that Jews do not accept Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised Messiah is that he has been made over to look like a gentile.
(By the way, ‘gentile’ is not a bad word. It simply means ‘of the nations’.) All manner of lifestyle and traditions have been painted over him; so much so that he is no longer recognizable as the pork avoiding, Sabbath observing, Jew that he is.
The difference between Yeshua and Joseph, though, is that Joseph was truly dressed up and talked as an Egyptian, whereas Yeshua never actually wore the costume that is over him. But it has been taught as tradition for so long that only the made up Jesus (Yeshua) is visible.
For this Christmas, then, I challenge you, the reader, to peel back some of the trappings that have been put around Yeshua (Jesus) and see if you can’t find the real man. The one born to Jewish parents (see the next blog for a neat fact about them), and raised in Jewish surroundings. One who never violated any of God’s Torah, and even observed some Jewish traditions!
All of this can be discovered simply by reading the gospels and paying attention to what is really being said – not what traditionally has been put in his mouth!
Shalom! – Yosef