The Branch

In this study each letter of the word “branch” explores the different aspects as seen in Scripture.

The Beautiful Branch – Isaiah 4:2

“In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious” points us forward to that day when the cleansing and purging of the daughters of Zion and Jerusalem will have been accomplished. Over every dwelling place of Mount Zion and upon her assemblies will be the cloud by day and the fire by night. The beauty and glory of this branch would point us back to Aaron who was clothed with garments of beauty and glory. Aaron foreshadowed our Lord, our great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Along with this, we also have the reminder of the Lord’s presence with the children of Israel: the cloud covering by day and the fire by night as they journeyed through the wilderness. In that day when the King-Priest will sit upon His throne this will be of a permanent nature.

The Righteous Branch – Jeremiah 23:5-6

In these verses we have the character of the Branch: righteous. The King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. This will mark His reign in that millennial age. Israel shall dwell safely under that righteous scepter, something certainly unknown in that nation at present, where so much depends on their munitions to keep a measure of peace amidst much unease. We have the name of this prosperous King: “The Lord our Righteousness.” This is the reason for their safety and prosperity.

The Abominable Branch – Isaiah 14:19-20

It has been suggested that the king of Babylon is Belshazzar. No burial is recorded for this man, but he is cast out of the grave as something repulsive and distasteful, like the blood-caked garments of those who are slain in battle and their carcasses trodden underfoot by the victors in the conflict. It is hardly befitting for a fallen king; there is no lying in state for last respects at a viewing. The burial of a king is normally attended with pomp and ceremony to the beat of muffled drums and the notes of a single bugle. Then he is laid to rest in a special tomb; fragrant spices permeate the burial garments. Belshazzar’s doom was written on the wall on his last night of riotous pleasure. He defied God by the desecration of holy vessels which were taken, by Nebuchadnezzar, from the temple in Jerusalem. God would allow the captivity of His people, the destruction of the city and the temple, but this was an act that He would not pass over. The Persian armies were already in the city, the city fell, and Belshazzar was slain that night.

The Natural Branch – Romans 11:21-24

Romans 9-11 is the dispensational section of the book. Some would suggest that this is a parenthesis in the epistle, but it is, rather, as a careful reading will show, an integral part that is woven into the very warp and woof. Paul asks two questions, the first, “Hath God cast away His people?” (v 1). Paul gives himself as an example that He has not. The second, “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” (v 11). God forbid. But the fall of them was so that salvation should come to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy. In this is seen the goodness and severity of God. His severity is directed towards them in their fall and His goodness to the Gentiles in salvation. He uses the illustration of an olive tree and the natural branches being broken off and the wild olive branches being grafted in contrary to nature. Now they are enjoying the blessing of God in this day of grace. How long? Until the fullness of the Gentiles come in. This fall is not permanent, it is partial, and God will graft them in again. If their fall has resulted in such blessing to the Gentiles, what will their reconciliation and receiving of them be but life from the dead?

The Cleansed Branch – John 15:1-6

We now come to the True Vine, the Lord Jesus, in contrast to Israel. The Father is the Husbandman Who holds the pruning knife to cut off the fruitless branch, picturing the false professor. The vine has one purpose and that is to bear fruit. There is nothing in a vine that could be used for any other purpose than to be cast away, to wither, and then be gathered and burned. He purges or cleanses the fruitful branch that it may bring forth more fruit. This is what the Lord is looking for in His people. Further down the chapter He speaks of bearing much fruit. Then he mentions that your fruit may remain (v16). Fruit bearing is a process, an evidence of life. How beautiful it is to see that progress in young believers. As they develop spiritually they progress and mature and much fruit is evident. In older Christians it is a joy to see fruit remaining, not withering and dying with age. The secret is abiding in Him and obeying His Word.

The Hated Branch – Genesis 49:22-26

What a beautiful person Joseph is. His father Jacob has much to say about him and his brothers. He speaks of Joseph as a fruitful bough or branch, by a well, to feed the branch and produce the fruit. A wall is the place of separation and yet the fruit hangs over within reach of the hungry passerby. We read that the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him. He was hated of his brethren when he was in his father’s house and later was sold to the Midianites and into slavery in Egypt. Perhaps further hatred was seen in Potiphar’s wife when he refused her advances and fled; eventually he was imprisoned by Potiphar. The next verse is beautiful, “but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob” (v 24). God’s hands were on the hands of Joseph for his deliverance and ultimate exaltation in Egypt.