Y’shua in Prophecy – Part 5 – The Branch

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olive branch_medY’shua is the Light of the world; the Word made flesh; He is the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life. We learned in a previous article ” Y’shua in Prophecy – Part 3 -The Servant,” that He is also the Suffering Servant, Who redeemed us with His life by being a guilt offering. It is fascinating to see how many times YHVH has revealed Y’shua to us through the prophets. It makes us marvel at Him, knowing that he had a plan of redemption from the very beginning.

In this article, we will learn that Y’shua is the Branch also. We need to know and understand all this in order to have a strong foundation, especially when we are confronted by those who have fallen away from the faith in Messiah Y’shua or those to whom Y’shua has not yet been revealed as the Messiah.

Of those who fall away, it is written that “some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons”

1 Timothy 4:1
1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

There are different facets to this falling away from the faith, which would definitely include denying Y’shua as the Messiah. If we do not have a strong foundation in Y’shua, it will happen! If we endure in our faith, we will reign with Him, but if we deny Him, He will also deny us.

2 Timothy 2:12
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

Will we be able to endure? Will you?

Those who deceive are indeed very canny in what they do. They mix enough truth with deception to make it sound like the truth, and if we don’t know the Scriptures, we will fall for the deception. Even if you do know the Scriptures, they may tell you that you don’t understand the Scriptures correctly because you are not a native Hebrew speaker. There is some truth to that too; however, lexicons are available to us and enough native Hebrew speakers, who believe in Y’shua, who could help. Don’t go to anti-missionaries to explain the Scriptures to you. We have seen so many people getting deceived and denying Y’shua as a result of their teaching. It has happened many times, and it is increasing.

It is more widespread than you may think. We have, for example, seen many people unsubscribe from our website since we started this series on Y’shua in prophecy. Maybe they are unsubscribing for other reasons, but I do not believe in coincidence; it seems to be a trend. A very sad trend…

However, this will not discourage us; Y’shua is the prophesied Messiah, and we will continue to share about His redemptive work. We are to take courage and be diligent.

2 Timothy 2:15
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to Elohim as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

So, let us be diligent and study the Scriptures to see who “the branch,” spoken of by the prophets, refer to.

The Branch in Scripture

There are many references in Scripture that mention a branch, but only six that specifically refer to the branch in a messianic context. Two in Isaiah (Isa 4:2; Isa 11:1), two in Jeremiah (Jer 23:5; Jer 33:15) and two in Zechariah (Zech 3:8 and Zech 6:12.)

There are also other related allegories in prophecy pertaining to trees that refer to the Messiah. Not only is he called a branch “semah,” He is also called a shoot, a root and a rod. Four different Hebrew words are used: “yoneq,” “hoter,” “neser,” and “semah.” It is not uncommon in Hebrew literature, or any literature; for that matter, to use synonyms. There is, however, definitely no redundancy, as you will see when we look at the specific words. Every word is significant. The use of words in this way, is also called Hebrew poetry and conveys, in this way, a much deeper message.

We shall now look at each of these to find its prophetic significance with regard to Messiah Y’shua as well as the historical interpretation.

A tender shoot in Isaiah 53:2

In Isaiah 53, we learn of many characteristics of the Messiah. One such characteristic is that He is likened to a tender shoot. What does this mean and how can we say it is about the Messiah?

Isaiah 53:2
2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

A shoot is “yoneg” in Hebrew and could mean the following according to the Dictionary of Biblical Languages.

3437 יוֹנֵק (yô·nēq): n.masc. [BDB qal ptcp.masc.sing.]; ≡ Str 3126; TWOT 874a—
1. LN 9.41–9.45 infant, suckling, i.e., a nursing infant (Nu 11:12; Dt 32:25; 1Sa 15:3; 22:19; Ps 8:3[EB 2]; SS 8:1; Isa 11:8; Jer 44:7; La 2:11; 4:4; Joel 2:16+), note: some place SS 8:1 as verb, see 3567;
2. LN 3.47–3.59 tender shoot, sucker, i.e., the very beginning stages of the growth of a plant (Isa 53:2+)1

From the Dictionary of Biblical Languages, we see that the word for shoot has a literal and figurative meaning. It is used here in an allegorical way to signify the offspring of someone. When we use scripture to interpret scripture, we find that this “shoot” is further identified, by Isaiah, as an offspring from the stem of Jesse (Isa 11:1). In this verse, this shoot from the stem of Jesse is also identified as a branch.

If we were to look at the historical interpretation, we see that this passage is considered to have been written about the Messiah, the suffering servant. You can refer to the article about the Servant for more detail on this.

The Shoot and Branch in Isaiah 11:1

Isaiah 11:1
1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

In Isaiah 11, the word shoot and branch is used to describe the Messiah. The Hebrew word that was translated here as “shoot” is “hoter” which also means “rod.”

2643 חֹטֶר (ḥō·ṭěr): n.masc.; ≡ Str 2415; TWOT 643a—1. LN 6.26–6.28 rod, switch, i.e., a relatively thin wood stick of unknown thickness or length, an instrument for punishment (Pr 14:3+); 2. LN 10.14–10.48 shoot, twig, i.e., new growth sprouting from a root-stock stump, as a figurative extension for a progeny from a particular lineage (Isa 11:1+), see also domain LN 3.47–3.59 2

This Hebrew word “hoter” of shoot denotes a lineage from Jesse. We know that Y’shua was a descendant of David, the son of Jesse. In Matthew 1, the genealogy of Y’shua is given:

Matthew 1:1
1 The record of the genealogy of Y’shua the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Why is this important? Firstly, for identification and secondly to show us that Y’shua was a kinsman; He was man. We have learned through the study about the Kinsman Redeemer, that the kinsman, as the word suggests, needs to be related to the one to be redeemed. Y’shua redeemed mankind, therefor He needed to be man. This is proven by His genealogy in Matthew. We find other references that confirms this (Joh 7:42; Rom 1:3 and Rev 22:16.)

The Hebrew word used for “branch” in this verse is “neser” or “netzer.” A “neser” is also a shoot, thus a synonym of the word “yoneg.”

5916 נֵצֶר (nē·ṣěr): n.masc.; ≡ Str 5342; TWOT 1408a—
1. LN 3.47–3.59 branch, bough, i.e., a secondary extension from the trunk of a tree, which can be broken off as a stick (Isa 14:19+);
2. LN 3.47–3.59 shoot, scion, i.e., the shoot, slip, or twig for planting, which may rise from root-stock or a stump, implying a plant of the same kind of the next generation (Isa 11:1; 60:21+);
3. LN 10.14–10.48 unit:
נֵצֶר שֹׁרֶשׁ (nē·ṣěr šō·rěš) family line, formally, a shoot from the root, i.e., persons of successive generations related by birth (Da 11:7+) 2

Why was the word “neser” used instead of “semah” for branch?

Y’shua the Nazarene

This is another example of how significant words are. Why is this significant? The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible names gives us the answer. The name of the town Nazareth is derived from the Hebrew word “netzer” meaning “branch”

Nazarene (naz-a-reen’) = A native of Nazareth = Branch. Preservation.

Nazareth (naz’-a-reth) = Branch. Preservation. 3

Y’shua was from Nazareth; he was called a Nazarene. The name of the town Nazareth comes from “netzeret.” “Netzer” meaning “branch” and “et” is the aleph tav in Hebrew. Y’shua was called a “Nazarene,” and it was written on an inscription and put on the cross” Y’shua the Nazarene” or “Y’shua the Branch.” Can those who knew the prophecies miss this? Can we?

John 19:19
19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “Y’SHUA THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Matthew 2:23
23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Those who knew prophecy would not have had any difficulty to understand what was meant by this. We have seen earlier how “the Branch” refers to the Messiah. The part “King of the Jews” was meant for mockery, but was also quite significant. YHVH was still giving those who did not believe revelation, similar to what we have seen in the previous two studies about the Sign of Jonah and Psalm 22.

However, critics would ask which prophecy was referred to in Matthew 2:23? Here is a good answer from David Stern:

This is a problematical verse. In every instance where Mattityahu is showing the fulfillment of a Scriptural prophecy (see list in 1:23N), a specific writer—Isaiah, Jeremiah, David—is named, or “the prophet,” or “the Tanakh,” followed by a verse or passage. Here the prophets (uniquely plural) are mentioned, and no text is quoted. This is clear from the fact that Mattityahu leaves out “legontos” (“saying”), the Greek keyword he uses to cite Scripture. Rather, he seems to be alluding to a general concept found in several prophets, capable of being fulfilled by the Messiah’s being what the Greek text here calls a Nazôraios? (in some other places the word is “Nazarênos”). The questions: Which prophets? What did they actually say? And what is a Nazôraios/Nazarênos?

Some have suggested that the verse has to do with Yeshua’s taking the vows of a Nazirite (Numbers 6:1–23). But this is improbable, since there is no record that Yeshua, who was not an ascetic (11:16–19), ever did such a thing.

A second possibility is that since Natzeret (Nazareth, see Lk 1:26N) was a place people made fun of—as in Natan’el’s remark, “Natzeret? Can anything good come from there?” (Yn 1:46)—Mattityahu is referring to the many Tanakh prophecies that say the Messiah would be despised (e.g., Psalm 22, Isaiah 52:13–53:12) and is informing us that these prophecies would be fulfilled, in part, by his having the onus of being a Natzrati, a resident of Natzeret.

The third possibility is that Mattityahu is speaking of the prediction that the Messiah will be a netzer (“branch”) from the stock of Yishai, King David’s father (Isaiah 11:1); but compare Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15; Zechariah 3:8, 6:12, where the word is “tzemach,” (“sprout”). Thus several prophets use the idea, though not the word “netzer.” (For more on “the prophets” see 5:17N.)

What I consider most probable is that Mattityahu is combining the second and third alternatives by means of wordplay, a technique very common in Jewish writing, including the Bible. Yeshua is both netzer and Natzrati. 4

We shall now look at the historical interpretation of this passage.

Historical interpretation

It is indeed fascinating when you read some of the older Jewish commentaries, even the Talmud, on some of these passages. Many have interpreted these passages as prophecies about the Messiah. However, when you read the more progressive commentaries, they have all kinds of other explanations. They say, for example, the son of David refers to the royal line, or a historical king. It is almost as if they previously had a broader, or clearer view, but it has somehow become obscured; they have become blind. This is also the fulfillment of prophecy (Isa 6:8-11 and is 29:13-14.) When you read these passages in Isaiah, you will understand. This spiritual blindness is progressive, as unrighteousness increases, so does spiritual blindness.

We shall share some of these historical interpretations with you; it will make this a lengthy article, but it will also serve as a great reference. We have found it very effective to be able to use these writings of the sages to refute the deception of the anti-missionaries, because they know it so well. You may find it as fascinating as we did.

Before we continue, just a word of counsel; we do not see the Talmud and other rabbinic literature as authoritative, nonetheless; they are great historical sources. The writers were native Hebrew speakers, so their understanding may be of value to us.

Here is the historical interpretation on Isaiah 11.

Isaiah 11:1.

Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations I. 16, 51.

… What is the name of the King Messiah?… ‘Did I not tell you at his coming [the Temple] was destroyed and at his coming it will be rebuilt’? R. Abun said: Why should I learn this from an Arab when there is an explicit text wherein it is stated, And Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one (Isa. X, 34), which is followed by, And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig shall grow forth out of his roots (ib. XI, I).

Isaiah 11:1.

Midrash on Psalms, Book Two, Psalm 72, 3.

… Another comment on Give the king Thy judgments O God, and Thy righteousness: here king means the King Messiah, of whom it is said And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse … And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him … And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the land (Isa. 11:1a, 3b–c, 4a).

Isaiah 11:1.

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets.

And a king shall come forth from the sons of Jesse, and the Messiah shall be anointed from among his children’s children. And upon him shall rest the spirit of divine prophecy, the spirit of wisdom and sagacity, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. And the lord shall bring him near to the worship of Him. He shall not judge according to the sight of his eyes, not shall he reprove according to the hearing of ears. But he shall judge the poor in truth, and shall reprove in faithfulness for the needy of the people. He shall smite the guilty of the land with the word of his mouth, and with the speech of his lips he shall slay Armilus the wicked. The righteous shall surround him, and the faithful shall be near him. 5

We are including some of the commentaries that refer to Isaiah 11:2-4 as well to show you that this entire passage was interpreted to be about the Messiah. We are only quoting one reference from each of the four, most used, commentaries. Quoting all references would make this article very lengthy. However, if you are interested in the other quotes, send us a mail, and we can send it to you. These quotes are from a book by Tom Huckel, “The Rabbinic Messiah,” which really is an invaluable resource.

Isaiah 11:2.

Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 93a-93b.

… R. Tanhum said: Bar Kappara expounded in Sepphoris: What is meant by, These six of barley gave he to me? What are ‘six of barley’? Shall we say it is meant literally? But was it Boaz’s practice to give [only] six barley grains? [93b] But [if it means] six se’ahs, can a woman take six se’ahs?—But he symbolically intimated to her [by giving her six barley grains] that six sons were destined to come forth from her, who should each be blessed with six blessings. Viz, David, Messiah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. David, for it is written, Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and understanding in matters, …

The Messiah—as it is written, And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge of the fear of the Lord. And shall make him of quick understanding [wa-hariho] in the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:2.

Midrash Rabbah, Genesis II, 4.

… AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD HOVERED: this alludes to the spirit of Messiah, as you read, And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him (Isa. XI, 2).

Isaiah 11:3.

Midrash on Psalms, Book Two, Psalm 72, 3.

… Another comment on Give the king Thy judgments O God, and Thy righteousness: here king means the King Messiah, of whom it is said And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse … And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him … And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the land (Isa. 11:1a, 3b–c, 4a). 5

From this we see that the historical interpretation is in line with how we see it as well, as a prophecy about the Messiah. We have also seen how it was fulfilled in Y’shua.

The Branch

We now have three different Hebrew words to describe this shoot or branch, “yoneg,”“neser” and “hoter,” but it gets even more interesting. We have mentioned some of the other references for branch already; in Is 4:2; Zech 3:8; Zech 6:12; Jer 23:5 and Jer 33:15, the word “semah” is used. Here is the definition from the Dictionary of Biblical languages.

7542 צֶמַח (ṣě·mǎḥ): n.masc.; ≡ Str 6780; TWOT 1928a—1. LN 3.1 vegetation, growth, i.e., any living plants which sprout and grow (Ge 19:25; Ps 65:11[EB 10]; Isa 61:11; Eze 16:7; 17:9+); 2. LN 59.62–59.71 growth, i.e., the process of living vegetation growing and so increasing the mass of the plant (Eze 17:10+); 3. LN 53.66–53.95 the Branch, i.e., title of a future king from the lineage tree of David (Isa 4:2; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12+); 4. LN 3.33–3.46 head of a stalk, i.e., a fruit part of a plant (Hos 8:7+) 2

The word “Branch” as used in Is 4:2; Zech 3:8; Zech 6:12; Jer 23:5 and Jer 33:15 all have strong messianic overtones. This branch is identified to be from the lineage of David in Jer 23:5 and in Jer 33:15.

This is what is written about the Hebrew word “semah” in the Theological wordbook of the old Testament.

There are thirty-two occurrences of this verb and half as many different translations involving the ideas of growing, budding, and sprouting. …Especially significant are the passages related to the coming up of a shoot from the root or seed of David, i.e. the future messianic person (II Sam 23:5; Jer 33:15; Ezk 29:21; Ps 132:17; Zech 6:12).

צֶמַח (ṣemaḥ). Sprout, growth, branch. The noun appears twelve times and is used as a messianic term in at least five passages.

A late Phoenician inscription discovered at Larnaka, Cyprus dating from the third century B.C. contains the phrase ṣemaḥ ṣedek “the rightful shoot” which meant that the individual was the legitimate heir to the throne. A similar idea is found in the fifteenth century B.C. Ugaritic Keret epic which calls Keret spḥ lṭpn, i.e. “the shoot or progeny of Lṭpn.” Thus ṣemaḥ is a technical term signifying a scion or son. While the idea is attested in Ugaritic with the root spḥ., so far the only use of the root ṣmḥ attested in Ugaritic is in several personal names.

As David reflects on the everlasting covenant which Nathan previously announced to him, he asks rhetorically; “Will not God cause all my salvation and all my desire to sprout?” (II Sam 23:5). The later biblical writers take up this theme and answer, as did one of the Psalms of Ascent (132:17), with a “yes!” In Jerusalem God will cause the horn of David to sprout up; in fact, it will spring forth for the whole house of Israel (Ezk 29:21).

The first writer to take up the thought of II Sam 23:5 and use the root ṣmḥ as a noun to designate the Messiah is Isaiah (4:2). Many deny that Isaiah is referring to the Messiah when he speaks of “the Branch or Shoot of Yahweh” because it is paralleled by the expression “the fruit of the earth.” Therefore, 4:2 is simply a reference to the agricultural prosperity of the land. But this view fails to notice that both of these expressions are elsewhere messianic. It also neglects to account for the unusual limitation of this fruitfulness “in that day”; the fruitfulness is for the survivors of Israel. Furthermore, they overlook the progressive nature of revelation, for certainly II Sam 23:5 and perhaps Ps 132:17 are controlling ideas when we come to the eighth century B.C. Thus the “Sprout of Yahweh” (or as clarified by the cognate studies, “the son of Yahweh”) is an obvious reference to the divine nature of the ṣemaḥ. Yet his human nature is also in view, for he is “the Offspring or Fruit of the Earth.”

In Jer 23:5–6 and 33:15–16, he is “the Righteous Branch [or Sprout)” raised up for David to reign as King. While focusing on his human, but regal nature, this passage also stresses his deity by calling him “the Lord our Righteousness.” Note that the context of both passages is the promise that Israel will return to the land. Even more pointedly, Jer 33:19–26 sets the ṣemaḥ promise in line with God’s previous promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Levite priests, and David!

Zechariah (3:8) pictures the Branch (ṣemaḥ) as the Lord’s Servant. No doubt the allusion is to Isaiah’s archetypal statements concerning Yah-weh’s Servant, Y’shua Messiah. In Zech 6:12 the prophet proclaims, “Behold the Man” who is “a priest on his throne,” a ruler, a counselor of peace, whose name is Branch. Zechariah sees the high priest Joshua as a type of the promise, but only a pledge of God’s future fulfillment in Y’shua Messiah.

The DSS use the phrase ṣemaḥ dāwîd as a Messianic term in explanation of the Davidic covenant of II Sam 7:14 (JBL 77:353).

The NT makes at least two references to this messianic title “Branch” using the LXX translation of the root ṣmḥ: anatolē and anatellō. Hebrews 7:14 is to be translated “our Lord sprang forth (or sprouted) from Judah.” But in Luke 1:78 with its anatolē exhypsous the equation of ṣemaḥ YHWH is complete. Therefore we translate the verse, “Because of the tender mercy of our God by which the Branch from on High shall visit us.” The only change needed is to convert the term “height” into the divine name and the OT expression appears again. Additional evidence for this messianic concept may be found in nēṣer “branch” and ḥōṭer “shoot” (Isa 11:1) and yônēq “young plant” and šōresh “root” (Isa 53:2). 6

Here are the mentioned verses with their historical interpretations.

The Branch in Isaiah 4:2

Isaiah 4:2
2 In that day the Branch of YHVH will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.

Historical interpretation

The first quote is from the Targum Jonathan, you can read more about what this Targum is in the article “Y’shua in Prophecy -Part 3 – The Servant.

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets.

At that time, the Messiah of the Lord shall be a joy and an honor, and those who fulfill the Torah shall be great and glorious to the remnant of Israel.

צמחbranch,” is a favorite Messianic term that is used here with the name of the Lord. 5

The Branch in Jeremiah 23:5

Jeremiah 23:5
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares YHVH, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.

Historical interpretation

Here is the historical Jewish interpretation of the passage.

Jeremiah 23:5.

Midrash Rabbah, Numbers XVIII, 21.

… This refers to the Messiah, of whom it also says, I will raise unto David a righteous shoot (zemah zaddik), and he shall reign as king and prosper, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

Jeremiah 23:5.

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets.

Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Messiah, and he shall reign as king, and prosper, and shall enact a righteous and meritorious law in the land. 5

The Branch in Jeremiah 33:15

Jeremiah 33:15
15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.

Historical interpretation

Jeremiah 33:15.

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets.

In those days and at that time, I will raise up for David a righteous Messiah, who shall enact a righteous and meritorious law in the land.5

My servant the Branch in Zechariah 3:8

We would like to show you that there is a connection between the servant and the branch. In the book of Zechariah, “the branch” is referred to as “My servant the Branch

Zechariah 3:8–10

8 ‘Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. 9 ‘For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares YHVH of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 ‘In that day,’ declares YHVH of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’ ”

This is clearly a Messianic prophecy as it later refers to “in that day.” It confirms what we said in the previous article about Y’shua being the Servant spoken of in Isaiah.

Historical interpretation

Zechariah 3:8.

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets.

Hear now, O Joshua, the High Priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are men worthy of having miracles performed for them: Behold, I bring My servant, the Messiah, who is to be revealed. 5

The Branch in Zechariah 6:12

Zechariah 6:12
12 “Then say to him, ‘Thus says YHVH of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of YHVH.

Historical interpretation

Zechariah 6:12.

Midrash Rabbah, Numbers XVIII, 21.

… The double zade is hinted at in the verse, Behold, a man whose name is the shoot (zemah), and who shall shoot up (yizmah), etc. (Zech. VI, 12). This refers to the Messiah …

Zechariah 6:12.

Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations I, 16, § 51.

… BECAUSE THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME, EVEN HE THAT SHOULD REFRESH MY SOUL. What is the name of King Messiah?… R. Joshua b. Levi said: His name is ‘Shoot’; as it is stated, Behold, a man whose name is shoot, and who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the temple of the Lord (Zech. VI, 12).

Zechariah 6:12.

Midrash on Proverbs, Chapter 19, 21.

… The Messiah has been given seven names, and these are: Yinnon, Our Righteousness, Shoot, Comforter, David, Shiloh, Elijah … Where [in Scripture] is Shoot? In the verse, Behold a man called the Shoot, shall shoot out from the place where he is, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord (Zech. 6:12).

Zechariah 6:12.

Targum Jonathan to the Prophets.

Say unto him: “Thus says the Lord of Hosts saying: Behold the man whose name is ‘The Messiah.’ He is destined to be revealed and to be anointed, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord”.5

Just so you know, we do not agree with the quote from the Midrash on Proverbs that David or Elijah are names of the Messiah. David was a messiah in that he was annointed, however, he was not THE Messiah and Elijah was an anointed prophet.

We also find references to “root,” the Hebrew word “soresh,” in various verses (Is 11:10; Is 53:2.)

What could be the relation between all these words, “yoneg”, “hoter”, “neser”, “soresh” and “semah,” except for the obvious explanation that these are all parts of a tree? We have learned that the Messiah is referred to as the branch, the shoot and the root. Could we liken the Messiah Y’shua to the tree of life?

The tree of life olive tree_small

Let us just take a step back to creation. Trees have been significant from the very beginning. Plants and trees were created on the third day (Gen 1:12.) On this day, YHVH also created two very important trees, which He put in the middle of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.

Genesis 2:9
9 Out of the ground YHVH Elohim caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Adam and Eve were prohibited from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the punishment would be death (Gen 2:16-17.) Was this only physical death or spiritual death as well? Lets see…

From these verses, we can deduce that they had free access to the tree of life. Thus, obedience to YHVH (not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil) would lead to eternal life in the garden. After they sinned, they were cast out of the garden, lest they eat from this tree and live eternally in their sinful, fallen state. (This is an example of YHVH’s great mercy and grace, because if man was allowed to eat from this tree also, he would live in eternal misery due to the results of sin.)

So, when they sinned the possibility of living eternally, through partaking of the tree of life, was taken away from them. They would now physically die.

It is important to realize that much more than the end of physical life is involved in the biblical concept of death. Death in Scripture involves not only a return of the body to dust, but also a terrible distortion of the divine order. Death involves a warping of the human personality, a twisting of relationships, and alienation from God and from God’s ways. 7

As we see from this quote, they were, through their sin, also spiritually removed from YHVH. The intimacy of walking and talking with YHVH in the garden was gone. They now felt like hiding away from YHVH…

Is there any way to restore this?

We read that Kain and Abel brought sacrifices. Sacrifices, as taught in Scripture, serves the purpose, when done as intended, of bringing the one making the sacrifice in right standing with YHVH.

Genesis 4:4
4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And YHVH had regard for Abel and for his offering;

We find many other passages referring to people making sacrifices to YHVH and so finding favor with Him. An equivalent message is conveyed through the Levitical sacrificial system. It serves the purpose of bringing the one doing the sacrifice closer to YHVH after the relationship was damaged by sin; the intimacy is restored.

You may now wonder what this has to do with Y’shua being the branch or the tree of life. There are two important things here. First, we have a sacrifice to restore intimacy and then, we have a means to eternal life. Y’shua is both. We have learned in the previous article that Y’shua was a guilt offering that restores the intimacy between us and YHVH.

We need to turn from our wicked ways (repent) and believe this. This faith, lived out in obedience, is partaking of the tree of life. For we know that if we believe in Y’shua, we attain eternal life.

Take note that we said “that faith, lived out in obedience” for this is very important. Faith is something we do. We are to live like Y’shua lived, in obedience to YHVH. He is the living Torah, the Word made flesh.

For this reason, Y’shua can be likened to the tree of life. Through our belief in Him, we attain eternal life.

John 3:16
16 “For Elohim so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 6:40
40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Conclusion

So what have we learned?

When The Messiah Y’shua is called the righteous Branch, it is done so in an allegorical way. Allegories are used in Scripture to relate a specific concept. The Israelites were an agricultural society; they knew trees. They understood what was meant by these allegories.

The righteous branch or shoot, firstly, literally, refers to the lineage of the Messiah, being from the stem of Jesse; the tribe of Judah. It secondly attests to the fact that He was man. In order for Y’shua to be the Kinsman Redeemer, He needed to be a kin of man. We have written an article about this previously. You can read it HERE. Y’shua is, thirdly, called a “netzer,” He came from Netzer-et (Nasaret). We have seen how very significant this is. Y’shua, being called the branch, testifies in the fourth place, of His Kingship, for being from the lineage of David, He is the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken in 2 Samual and confirmed in Jeremiah 33:17.

2 Samuel 7:16
16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”

Jeremiah 33:17
17 “For thus says YHVH, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;

The term righteous branch, we have learned, referred to the rightful offspring or the legitimate heir to the throne of a king in ancient times. Y’shua is this rightful offspring of the King of the Universe, Who will rule forever.

The following was also prophesied about Messiah Y’shua:

Isaiah 9:6–7
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Elohim, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of YHVH of hosts will accomplish this.

Could there be any misunderstanding here? Y’shua is the Branch, the prophesied Messiah!

Just consider this for a moment; there He was on the cross or stake, with a sign hanging above Him saying Y’shua the Branch, calling out the first line of Psalm 22 just before He died, thereby showing that He was fulfilling what was written in that Psalm. That, teamed with the sign of Jonah He gave them earlier and all the other prophecies that were fulfilled in so much detail. Could there still be any misunderstanding? It is just amazing that people could still miss this. Only spiritual blindness can explain it.

Y’shua furthermore, can be likened to the tree of life. When we partake of Him, through faith in obedience, we will inherit eternal life.

As we said before, it is just amazing to study and see how YHVH planned all this from the beginning.

Isaiah 46:10
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

May His glorious Name be praised forevermore!

 

References

  1. All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus.
  2. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  3. Smith, S., & Cornwall, J. (1998). In The exhaustive dictionary of Bible names. North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos.
  4. Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., Mt 2:23). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
  5. Huckel, T. (1998). The Rabbinic Messiah (Is 11:1–6). Philadelphia, PA: Hananeel House.
  6. Kaiser, W. C. (1999). 1928 צָמַח. (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke, Eds.)Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press.
  7. Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (p. 33). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
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Comments (1)

  • JewishPrincess

    |

    Good series. What most people don’t realize, is that with the vast sources of Jewish literature from ancient to modern times, you can always find something to back up your point of view. As some have said, “The talmud contains everything and its opposite.” I just received Rabbi Itzhak Shapira’s, “Return of the Kosher Pig.”

    I suspect that the Greek in the verse concerning latter day apostasy means to fall away from faith (emunah.) Emunah comes from a root that means, “to act as a foster mother or wet nurse.” One falls away from faith when on chooses to no longer nurture the seed and hold it within. It seems that the real source of falling away is more a fear of man snare; a desire to be loved an accepted instead of persecuted as we have been promised, than an issue of scripture or theological understanding. I know Michael Brown wrote a series of 4 or 5 books about this issue, but it would be more helpful to have something like this in searchable format.

    Reply

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