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

Jesus or Yeshua: Which Name?

There is dissent in the Christian / Messianic world as to what name one should use, Jesus or Yeshua.

Throughout this site you will often see the text, “Jesus (Yeshua)” or Yeshua(Jesus).  Let me explain.

Jesus (Yeshua) was Jewish, and as such, he had a Jewish name.  A somewhat shortened, but popular form of that name is Yeshua.  The name “Jesus” is a poor transliteration of his name from Hebrew to English (though there was an intermediate step).  A better transliteration would have been Joshua, but for reasons not discussed here, “Jesus” was chosen.

There are many in the Hebrew / Messianic movement out there that would say that using the name “Jesus” is wrong based on various reasoning.  I don’t agree.  I see nowhere in scripture where such a stance is supported.  However, I prefer to use the name “Yeshua” as that was his name.   To avoid alienating people for no good reason, I also use the name “Jesus”.  Sometimes interchangeably, sometimes as “Jesus (Yeshua)”.

The point of this website is to build dialogue, acceptance, and love between those who claim to follow the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of Yeshua (Jesus).   Those insisting that one must use one or the other pronunciation or spelling of a name are missing the point of God’s words in Deuteronomy 6:4 to 9 and Leveticus 19:18, and are judging and condemning a huge group of people.  That should not be!

  • Yosef

Messiah Son of Joseph

The story of Joseph is well known.  How is hated by his brothers and sold into slavery, and his subsequent rise to leadership in Egypt.  In Jewish tradition, there will be two messiahs.  The first is Messiah son of Joseph who prepares the way for the Messiah son of David.  The Son of Joseph dies in an act of self sacrifice for his people.

It is interesting to note the similarities between the one called “Jesus” and Joseph.  Jesus was Jewish, but was hated by many of his brethren, and his death was really a self sacrifice (read the accounts of his death; He had to give the high priest the grounds for the death pronouncement – see the book of Matthew chapter 26, verses 59 to 66).

Christianity then took him and so made him up to be as a gentile that he is no longer recognizable by his brethren.  To a Jew looking at Jesus, they see a gentile who has little or nothing to do with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Yet the time will come, hopefully soon, when this Jesus will reveal himself to his people.  May it be soon!

This story paints a big picture of our God.  His love extends to all people, and He reveals Himself to all who will look.

-Yosef