The reality of God’s glory cannot be described easily. As a consequence, the Spirit of God sometimes resorts to figurative language in order to help us better “see” His glory. One such figure by which the Lord is revealed is the unusual term the Branch. Isaiah remarks that “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious” (Isa. 4:2). The Scriptures seem to express four truths about the Lord under this figure.*
The Branch of David. Jeremiah twice refers to Christ under this figure. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. . . . and this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (23:5, 6); and “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. . . . and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness” (33:15, 16). As the Branch of David, the Lord is presented as “made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3). He is the promised Messiah and the King of Israel, the character of whose reign will be perfectly righteous. The Gospel of Matthew presents Christ in this aspect as the righteous King of Israel.
My Servant the Branch. The Lord speaks through His prophet Zechariah concerning His eternal Son: “I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH” (3:8). As a branch can do nothing of itself, as it can produce only what comes from the nature of its root, as it manifests the fruit of its stock, so Christ in the character of God’s Servant the Branch is set forth as the humble, obedient Servant of the Father. He does nothing of or for Himself, doing only the will of the Father in perfect submission. The Gospel of Mark reveals Christ in this aspect of His perfect humility and obedience.
The Man whose name is the Branch. Zechariah also reveals Christ in this character. He writes: “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord” (6:12). Under this figure, Christ is presented as the Son of Man, very man in every regard, apart from sin. He is the “last Adam.” The first man brought universal sin and death. This one brings eternal righteousness and life. The Gospel of Luke portrays Christ thus as the Son of Man.
The Branch of the Lord. As quoted above, Isaiah prophesies that during the coming Millennium “shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious.” Just as a branch reveals the nature of the root from which it springs, so Christ as the glorious branch of the Lord will reveal the glorious character and work of God-in-the-flesh to a redeemed Israel and the nations that come to worship Him in Jerusalem. In contrast with His first appearing in humility, He will then be revealed as the glorious Son of God manifest in the flesh. The Gospel of John presents Christ as the Branch of the Lord, very God manifest in flesh.
In summary, under the figure of the branch, the glory of the Lord is revealed in His perfect humility, complete obedience to the Father, absolute submission to suffering and death, but ultimate exaltation as King of Israel, and Savior of Men. As the Branch, He exhibits the full character of men (apart from sin) and the perfect character of God.
*I am indebted to Walter Wilson and C. I. Scofield for the observations appearing above.
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