King David, Arent de Gelder (1645-1727)
Source: Art and the Bible
Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH!
‘The Branch’ is a descriptive title belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. By taking a closer look at the credentials attributed to ‘The Branch’, we will benefit from a greater understanding of Christ’s relationship to David and His right to sit on David’s throne.
Why Jesus is ‘The Branch’
The Hebrew word ‘tsemach’ was translated ‘The Branch’ in the KJV, with a little research it becomes apparent ‘tsemach’ also means ‘sprout’ or ‘shoot’. Taking this into account a clearer understanding will gradually unfold.
A Quote from Brown, Driver and Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions
‘Branch, H6780 tsemach BDB Definition: 1) sprout, growth, branch1a) sprouting, growth, sprout1b) growth (of process)1c) sprout, shoot (of Messiah from Davidic tree)
A Quote from Dictionary.com
‘Branch: A line of family descent stemming from a particular ancestor, as distinguished from some other line or lines from the same stock; a division of a family.’
2Sa 7:16 KJV And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
David the son of Jesse was chosen to be King Saul’s successor and God made a covenant with him promising his throne would last forever.
1Ki 2:4 KJV That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
The covenant required the obedience of David’s descendants and heirs to the throne; however, on numerous occasions wicked kings led Israel into idolatry.
David’s descendants were invariably rebellious and incapable of meeting the demands of the covenant. As long as David’s ‘sons’ were unrighteous kings, the Kingdom could not be established forever.
Jeremiah and ‘The Branch’
Jer 22:28-30 KJV Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? 29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. 30 Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.
The throne of David reached an all time low when king Jeconiah was deposed.
Jeconiah, also called Jehoiachin, ascended to the throne when he was 18 years old and reigned in Jerusalem for three months during 597 BC. Deposed by Nebuchadnezzar and taken captive, he died while still in Babylonian captivity after 36 years of imprisonment. Although Zedekiah took his place on the throne, the exiled Jews still acknowledged Jeconiah as their rightful king… Ezekiel 1:2
Zedekiah was the uncle of Jeconiah and reigned from 597-586 BC, having been placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar. Imprisoned following a rebellion, and made blind after he witnessed the execution of his sons; he was considered a weak king and died in Babylonian captivity.
‘for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah’ Jeremiah’s prophecy is a dilemma for proponents of Dispensationalism who adamantly maintain that Christ will reign on earth from Jerusalem… Acts 2:29-36
A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Jeremiah 22:30 ‘Childless – No child to sit on David’s throne. See 1Ch_3:17 note. Jeconiah was the last king of David’s line. His uncle indeed actually reigned after him, but perished with his sons long before Jeconiah’s death (literally 10): and yet from so dead a trunk, from a family so utterly fallen, that spiritual King came forth whose name is “Yahweh our righteousness” Jer_23:5-6.’
Jer 23:5 KJV Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
‘I will raise unto David a righteous Branch’ The Lord kept His promise to David; provision already existed in the plan and purpose of God.
‘The Branch’, God’s righteous and obedient Son would sit on David’s throne in Heaven, and would meet the demands of the covenant that David’s descendants could not keep.
Jer 33:15 KJV In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
A Quote from John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes
Jeremiah 33:15 ‘The branch – The kings they had hitherto had of the line of David, were most of them unrighteous men, but God promises that after the captivity, they should have a branch of David who would execute judgment and righteousness in the land, for the protection and government of those that feared him.’
Isaiah and ‘The Branch’
Isa 4:2 KJV In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
‘In that day’ This is a reference to the day of the Messiah.
‘for them that are escaped of Israel’ What judgement did Jesus execute? The judgement of the great and the terrible day of the Lord on His return to His generation in AD 70; the evidence being the destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jews, and the deliverance of the remnant from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 4:2 ‘for them that are escaped of Israel; not beautiful and glorious; excellent and comely, in the view of all men, only them that believe, who have seen his glory, and have tasted that he is gracious; these are the remnant according to the election of grace, the preserved of Israel, the chosen of God, and precious, who were saved from that untoward generation, the Jews, and escaped the destruction of Jerusalem, and were saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.’ — John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible
Isa 11:1 NIV A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
A Quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
Isaiah 11:1 ‘stem — literally, “the stump” of a tree cut close by the roots: happily expressing the depressed state of the royal house of David, owing to the hostile storm (Isa_10:18, Isa_10:19), when Messiah should arise from it, to raise it to more than its pristine glory…’
On this occasion, Isaiah used the Hebrew ‘netzer’ instead of ‘tsemach’. John Gill’s explanation is interesting.
A Quote from John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible
Isaiah 11:1 ‘The branch is a well known name of the Messiah; See Gill on Isa 4:2 the word Netzer, here used, is the name of the city of Nazareth (q); which perhaps was so called, from the trees, plants, and grass, which grew here; and so our Lord’s dwelling here fulfilled a prophecy, that he should be called a Nazarene; or an inhabitant of Netzer, Mat 2:23.’
Isa 53:2 KJV For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
Isaiah described the character and ministry of the Messiah in detail and alluded to ‘The Branch’. Luke wrote ‘And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.’
Isaiah 11:10 KJV And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
The Lord kept His covenant with David and caused ‘The Branch’ to grow out of the root of Jesse. Jesus is ‘The Branch’ of Jesse in whom the remnant of Israel and the Gentiles would put their trust.
Rom 15:11-12 KJV And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
Paul wrote to the Church at Rome exhorting them to ‘praise the Lord’ because Isaiah’s prophecy had its fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In my article entitled ‘Jesus Never Mentioned the Millennium Temple’, I identified and expanded on the Lord’s imperative pre-requisites for the construction of the tabernacle and the temple during the Old Covenant Age. The men chosen and commanded were equipped for the task. I cited Moses, Solomon, and Zerubbabel to substantiate my premise, and compared their success to the failure of the magnificent but ill-fated temple of Herod.
One other ‘man’ was chosen, commanded and equipped to build one more temple… Matthew 12:18; 1 Peter 2:4 It was not Dispensationalism’s millennium temple, but the temple of the New Covenant Age, and His name is ‘The Branch’.
Zechariah and ‘The Branch’
Zec 3:8 KJV Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai and prophesied around 520 BC, during the rebuilding of the second temple. Both prophets encouraged Zerubbabel and Joshua when ridiculed by unbelieving Jews. Zechariah went on to prophesy ‘The Branch’ would build an even greater temple.
Zec 6:11-13 KJV Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; 12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: 13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
‘he shall build the temple of the LORD’ How many temples would ‘The Branch’ build? Only one, but surely this cannot be Ezekiel’s temple with the Levitical priesthood led by the sons of Zadok, complete with animal sacrifices, circumcision, and separation of Jew and Gentile.
Zechariah’s’ prophecy was the fulfilment of the spiritual temple of the New Covenant.
Jesus never referred to Ezekiel’s temple during His ministry, but John alluded to Ezekiel 37:26-27 in Revelation 21:2-3. By doing so, he affirmed the New Covenant fulfilment of Ezekiel’s prophecy. The New Covenant, established in AD 70, is synonymous with the ‘covenant of peace’ and the ‘everlasting covenant’. God’s dwelling place is not a future temple made with hands, He tabernacles within the hearts of His people today.
A Quote from John Wesley
Ezekiel 37:27 ‘My tabernacle – The tabernacle wherein I will shew my presence among them. Their fathers had a tabernacle, but the Messiah shall bring with him a better, a spiritual, and an heavenly. They shall be my people – By my grace I will make them holy, as the people of a holy God; and I will make them happy, as the people of the ever blessed God.’
‘and he shall be a priest upon his throne’ Not only would ‘The Branch’ build the temple; He would be both High Priest and King. The Lord Jesus Christ is the antitype of Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the prince and builder.
A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Zechariah 6:12 ‘And he shall build the temple of the Lord – The material temple was soon to be finished, and that by Zerubbabel, to whom this had been promised, Zec_4:10, not by Joshua. It was then a new temple, to be built from the foundation, of which He Himself was to be “the foundation” Isa_28:16; 1Co_3:11;Eph_2:20-21, as He said, “On this rock I will build My Church” Mat_16:18; and in Him “all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple to the Lord” Eph_2:21…’
Paul and the Temple
Act 17:24-25 KJV God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Even although Paul preached to the men of Athens that God ‘dwelleth not in temples made with hands’, Dispensationalism intransigently declares the Messiah will build Ezekiel’s temple in the millennium, surely this assumption is contrary to the Scriptures.
Eph 2:19-22 KJV Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
When Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus, he described the spiritual temple of the Lord, Jesus being the chief cornerstone, the Apostles and Prophets the foundation. Those who are in the Body of Christ constitute the ever-growing building, the spiritual temple in which dwells the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Paul neither mentioned a millennium nor Ezekiel’s temple vision in any of his Epistles.
Rev 5:5 KJV And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Jesse was of the tribe of Judah and the lion was its ensign. Studying Christ ‘The Branch’ directs us to Christ ‘The Lion of the Tribe of Judah’.
‘The Branch’ has taken His rightful place on the throne of David in Heaven, having established it forever.
Jesus came figuratively as ‘the lamb’ and returned as ‘the lion’!
The ‘Lion of the tribe of Juda’ is a worthy appellation for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
What do you think?