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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Behold, the Man Whose Name is the Branch (6.9-15)

That I will equate the title BRANCH with a messianic title demands biblical proof for doing so. Our previous study of Zechariah 3 certainly concluded the BRANCH referred to is divine (see 3.8). The title indicates that which sprouts up from an existing growth which was cut down (stump of David and sprig of Christ shooting forth from it; see Isa 11.1; 53.2; Jer 33.15).

As established, Joshua is the priest while Zerubbabel the king. Both men point to the Messiah, the BRANCH. He is the one who would perfectly fulfill His role as the great Priest-King. He is the BRANCH “from [out of] His place” or “He shall branch out, and build the temple of the LORD” (12). The temple constructed is described in the latter chapters of Ezekiel. It will be built during an earthly millennium. It is Christ who will rule, and the Gentiles shall come to worship at this millennial temple. Christ has come to fulfill the Davidic line (stump to sprig; a new growth).

The BRANCH shall bear the glory of this temple (13c) putting to rest any idea that this could be anything other than a messianic reference. He shall sit and rule on His throne; He shall be priest upon His throne (13d). There will be no division between priestly and kingly roles because both functions are performed by the same Man, the God-Man. “The counsel of peace shall be between them both” (13e).

Behold His Dominion (9.10; 14.16-21)

The all-encompassing dominion of the BRANCH is clear: over all the earth (see 9.10). The center of worship for the earth has now become Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom (14.16). Those failing to worship at Jerusalem will be judged immediately (14.17-19).

“In that day ‘HOLINESS TO THE LORD’ shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 14:20-21). These verses indicate that a sacrificial system will be reinstated during the millennium. Certainly not to look forward to the once-for-all sacrifice of Messiah! That work has been accomplished. Why will sacrifice take place?

The answer is found in contemplating the Lord’s Supper as a memorial to the church in the dispensation in which we live. It helps us to remember His death until He comes. Just so with sacrifice in the millennium; there is a danger that those who populate the millennial kingdom may forget the one they pierced. The memorials of animal sacrifice will no longer look forward; they will look back.