Zaphenath-paneah and the Christmas Tree

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

Salvation and the Gospel in Exodus

Exodus 6:6 to 7 states, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement.  I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”  (ESV Bible)

Salvation and redemption are God’s idea and have been around a long time.  The above verse shows the gospel (good news – God’s idea) in short form.

“I am the LORD.”  He is God, creator of all, and His name is Yehova (some say Yahweh).  If everything in your life and belief is not based on this then you have erred.

“bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” We are made in His image, no longer needing to simply serve this life to live, to feed, clothe, house and reproduce ourselves.  No longer need to serve others.  Now free to serve Him.

“deliver you from slavery”:  no longer need to be slaves to sin.  We can have control over our lives through what He has done.

“will redeem you”: He has chosen and selected His people.  He has done this, not we ourselves.

“I will be your God”: He will guide and keep His people.

To Christians, the above should appear as a short form what is taught in the gospels.   God declared what He will do long ago, and it has been done, first for the Jews, then also for the gentiles.  It is the same salvation, the same offer.

It didn’t stop there.  Immediately after this the “Law” was given.  In other words, after redemption comes obedience.  Did Yeshua (Jesus) say anything different?

Return to Him.


“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”