Saturday, August 26, 2017

Isaiah Post 5 - The Branch of the Lord (Chapters 10-11A)

Welcome back to this walk through Isaiah.  If you have missed any of the previous posts, you can start at the very beginning by clicking here.  All posts are numerically ordered.  You can also click on the Isaiah label toward the lower right of this page to view all the posts.

Chapter 10 opens with a continuation from chapter 9, of judgment against the house of Israel.  Throughout scripture, judgment always begins with the household of faith.  In this section, the LORD's hand continues to be stretched out against Israel in judgment, as it was in chapter 9.

However, beginning in verse 5, the LORD rebukes Assyria, who was raised up by God as an instrument of judgment.  Assyria does so gleefully, arrogantly, with the king thinking it is in his own power.  

Indeed, verse 12 highlights the passage, saying:

Therefore it shall come to pass, when the LORD has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”

Following the judgment of Assyria, LORD now turns to the remnant of Israel with promises.  Even though the Assyrians were a fierce and terrible people - probably the original terrorists - the remnant of Israel is encouraged not to be afraid.

The end of chapter 10 uses trees, branches, and boughs to insert a picture into the prophecy.

Behold, the Lord,
The Lord of hosts,
Will lop off the bough with terror;
Those of high stature will be hewn down,
And the haughty will be humbled.
He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron,
And Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.

Isaiah has a lot to say about trees and branches.  We see here a picture of major tree demolition.  As I have said in previous posts, both Assyria and Rome cut down many, many trees when they conquered the land of Israel.  This act of tree demolition will decimate a land and cause desolation.  I am no scientist, but I know that trees make land thrive.  They provide oxygen and shade. They stabilize the soil, prevent erosion, enhance the land's capacity to store water, and moderate air and soil temperatures.

Today you can visit Israel and see the millions and millions of trees that have been planted since the 1800s.  I have had the honor of planting numerous trees in Israel.

Anyway, I digress.  This prophecy about trees is directed toward the surrounding nations that have come against Israel.  You do not want to be included in this indictment of the nations that come against Israel.

Chapter 11 switches gears but maintains the theme of trees. Just look at verse 1:

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Yishai (Jesse), and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

This verse is exciting and full of meaning, and was alluded to in post 3, on Chapter 6.  Let's unpack a few highlights.
  • Rod - The word means a twig, a rod, a shoot.  It is what comes out of a stump that has been hacked down and left for dead.  Some day this shoot would grow and bear fruit.
  • Yishai - This name of King David's father means I possess.  His name has a far-reaching fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.  (Don't know what that is?  See Genesis 15 and 17)
  • Branch - the Hebrew word netzer, the origin of the name of the town of Nazareth - Branch Town - the town where the Messiah grew up and began His ministry.  
Even today, Jews refer to Christians as notzrim -  a reference to those following the One of Nazareth.  This is even carried into the Arab world.  Perhaps you've seen this symbol that has been painted onto houses of Arabic believers. It is the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew letter nun or the English N.  It stands for the Arabic word nasrani, which also originates from Nazareth.

The house of King David had fallen into poverty when the kingly line was severed and taken into Babylon. Even upon the return of the Jews to Israel, the house of King David eventually had to flee from the area of Bethlehem (meaning:  House of Bread).  They resettled in the Galilee area which they named Nazareth, to keep the prophecy alive. 

A little history:  This flight took place at the time of the Maccabees in 165 BC. Even the Greeks knew that the Messiah had to be born to the House of David in Bethlehem. It was a very dangerous place for a kingly family. The New Covenant also shows us just how dangerous Bethlehem was for the line of David, when King Herod murdered all the baby boys at the time of Yeshua. 

 The prophetic connection of Yeshua to both Bethlehem (House of Bread) in the southern kingdom and Nazareth (Branch Town) in the northern kingdom identifies Him with both houses of Israel.

Yeshua was born into a very poor family.  We know this because His parents sacrificed doves at the Temple instead of a lamb at His presentation in Luke 2.  This was allowed for poor families according to Leviticus 12:8.  Yeshua came the same way David’s family did – in poverty.  A stump.  Pride and pomp isn’t the way of our God.  Humility is.

Matthew 2:23 says He would fulfill what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.  The One from Branch Town.

In John 1:46, Nathaniel asks, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"  He was under the fig tree when Jesus called him, which is a euphemism for studying the Messianic prophecies.  Nathaniel was probably looking for One from Bethlehem, not Nazareth.  (This little section deserves its own blog post... someday).

Jeremiah 23 gives us even more insight as to Who this Branch is in verses 5 and 6:

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:

The Branch is YHVH.  Yeshua is the Branch.  They are One.  (These are fun verses to share with the Jehovah's Witnesses.)

Back in Isaiah, he continues in verse 2, and gives us another prophetic picture of the One who was to come from this stump.

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 and of the fear of the Lord.

Here we see another glimpse of the menorah, the seven-branched lampstand of the LORD.  The oil of the lampstand represents the Holy Spirit.  All seven branches of the menorah are represented here.

 This is the fullness of our Messiah – Spirit (Ruach) times seven. 

We also see this theme in the New Covenant.  In John 3:34 – John describes Yeshua  as having the fullness of the Spirit, without limit.
Twice in Revelation, we see the seven spirits of God in Revelation (chapters 3 and 5).  As I have said before, seven is the Biblical number of completeness.  (I've probably said it seventy times seven).

This is the One that will reign on David’s throne forever. 

This is the same spirit that WE are indwelt with!  We have a menorah to shine. Don’t hide it under a basket.  We are branches of the Branch.

Click here to continue to my next post on the book of Isaiah.

To start at the beginning, click here.

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