There are many prophecies in the book of Isaiah that were fulfilled in the life and ministry of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the great word pictures used in various places in the Old Testament is that of a sprout, or branch, that springs out of the dried-up stump of the house of David and becomes a life-giving tree (see Isaiah 6:13; 11:1; 53:1-2; Psalm 132:17).
Though the initial chapters of Isaiah warn of coming judgment, hope springs forth along the way of redemption, of a way of righteousness that God Himself will provide for the blessing of His people. In Isaiah 4:2-6, there are two main points to be found from v.2, which says, “In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.”
Though the initial chapters of Isaiah warn of coming judgment, hope springs forth along the way of redemption
In this post, we will consider only the first point that concerns a Branch that will be beautiful and glorious. The second to follow is a remnant that produces fruit that shall be excellent and comely (we will look at this in a separate article).
There is much discussion in the church about fruit-bearing, about what it means to be fruitful in our lives as those who are organically connected to the living vine — Jesus Christ. Hopefully, we can gain insight from the present passage and go forth in the power of new life, bearing the fruit of righteousness in a world that is increasingly and shamelessly manifesting the fruit of death.
There are four aspects of this beautiful Branch that we want to consider in light of other prophecies.
The first is in Isaiah 11:1: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” The Branch that will be beautiful and glorious shall grow out of the stem of Jesse.
I find it a point of interest that this unique Branch is not like the gourd in the book of Jonah that springs up suddenly, but rather grows out of the roots of Jesse. What an accurate description of a genealogy and the exact way that God the Father would bring His Son into the world. What mystery is found in the incarnation of the Son of God! What profound depths there are of the wisdom and ways of God in providing a Saviour who would be fully human and fully God in one person without mixture or confusion!
Here we have a reference to the mighty work of God in incarnation: “a Branch shall grow” that will be beautiful and glorious. How beautiful and glorious is the earthly life and ministry of the Son of God! What a sweet-smelling incense was His obedience to the law of His Father — an obedience that compelled Him to drink the entire cup of the wrath of God upon the cross of Calvary. How glorious is the entire work of Christ summed up in the words “It is finished”.
This unique Branch is not like the gourd in the book of Jonah that springs up suddenly, but rather grows out of the roots of Jesse. What an accurate description of a genealogy
God is very careful to inspire and preserve a lengthy family tree to allow verification of the historical validity of the birth of Jesus to the root of Jesse and, ultimately, to the first Adam, who was directly created by God (see Matthew 1 and Luke 1).
The second aspect of the Branch is found in Jeremiah 23:5: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch…”
Here, the Branch is said to be raised unto David, and we will not find a clearer interpretation of this passage than that given by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:29-32. Listen carefully…
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
We find here a glorious reference to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The hope of life after death is found in many cultures of the world, but none share in the sure foundation and absolute certainty that someone has gone through that dark valley and returned in the power of new life. If Christ is not raised from the dead, we are of all men most miserable.
The third consideration of the Branch is that He shall build. Zechariah 6:12 says, “‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.”
God has, from the beginning, sought to dwell and fellowship with man. We are told in Zechariah that this Branch will grow up out of His place, and I believe that we can understand this in light of the Great Commission. That the gospel would be preached to every kindred, tribe, tongue and nation, and that from that He would build the temple of the LORD.
Let’s consider this in light of Ephesians 2:19-22, which says:
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
The church is likened to a body that is knit together and a building that is fit together, both according to the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit — each part of the body and each block of the building reflecting the glory and majesty of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The hope of life after death is found in many cultures of the world, but none share in the absolute certainty that someone has gone through that dark valley and returned in the power of new life
This leads to the fourth and final point of the Branch, that is, He shall bless the remnant, even every one that is written among the living (Isaiah 4:3b). Notice that v.2 says that “the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely…”
Psalm 85:11 says, “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” Isaiah 45:8b says, “Let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together.” What a beautiful and compelling description of salvation wrought by God!
Hear what Paul says in Colossians 1:3, 5-6:
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you… because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”
I said this is a compelling description because we should pray for those who are bringing forth fruit, according to the truth of the Word of God, wherever they may be found. Brethren, pray.
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