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The Branch

R. E. A. Retallick

In the Old Testament many names are used to speak of the Lord Jesus: The Holy One, My Servant, etc. In Isaiah 4: 2-6 we find another name for this blessed Person who was to come to the nation of Israel: "The Branch of the Lord." This description is very different from that which we find in Isaiah 53, "... despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Here we read of One who is beautiful and glorious and excellent and comely. He is portrayed as a Redeemer for His people Israel, as we find so plainly described in Matthew's Gospel. In that Gospel we read of His rights to the throne of David. The first chapter establishes His rights to that throne and the angel was able to tell Joseph that He would save His people from their sins. Although He was despised and rejected by His own people, the Lord Jesus could still promise His disciples that they would have a part in His future kingdom. Although the Nation as a whole rejected our blessed Lord, there were those that could look on to the day when they would have high positions in His future kingdom. In Jeremiah 23: 5-6 we read more about the future kingdom of the righteous Branch who would reign and prosper and also execute judgment in the earth. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples to be watchful and spoke in many parables of the future judgment which has been delivered into His hands. Although the disciples must have been staggered when they saw their Master taken captive and crucified, their sorrow was turned into joy when they saw Him in resurrection and received the commission to teach and preach in His Name.

In Zechariah 3: 8 we read again of the Branch. He is there called "My Servant, the Branch." This is fulfilled as Mark describes the faithful service of the Lord Jesus. In the first chapter we read: "Behold, I send My messenger beforeThy face," and John the Baptist prepared the way for Him as "One mightier than I... the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose" (Mark 1: 2, 7). As we know, Mark writes in detail of the works, the miracles and healings of our blessed Lord, the Perfect Servant of Jehovah. His ministry began with the voice from heaven: "Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1: 11). The divine record finishes with the fitting climax: "He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16: 19).

In Zechariah 6: 12 we read: "Behold the Man whose Name is the Branch... and He shall build the temple of the Lord... 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." This reminds us of the sacred record of our Lord's perfect manhood as described in the Gospel according to Luke. There we have the details of His birth and His childhood, including the words spoken to His mother: "wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2: 49). There too we read of His appearance in resurrection to His disciples. He is building a spiritual house today but the prophecy of Zechariah will be fulfilled in Him in a future day (Matt. 16: 18; 1 Peter 2: 5).

In Jeremiah 33: 15 we read: "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." The name given to the Branch here has its fulfilment in the Gospel of John-Jehovah-Tsidkenu, "the Lord our righteousness." "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not," John tells us (John 1: 10). In the midst of the hypocrisy all around Him, He was ever faithful and true. In the midst of moral darkness He was the true light. The Lord Jesus Himself said: "the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5: 22). Later on He says: "The Father... hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man" (John 5: 26-27).