Zechariah and Jewish Renewal
Chapter VIII and IX
The David and Branch Prophecies
The David Prophecies Zechariah contains prophecies of David and the house of David. These prophecies can only be understood in the light of other Old Testament prophecies of the restoration of the house of David and the Messianic King-Priest who is associated with them. David had been dead for over 500 years when Zechariah added to the other prophecies of the King who was to be of the family of David and would restore David's reign over all the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus it is necessary to have an acquaintance with the David prophecies to understand similar references in Zechariah.
The Messianic prophecies using David as a type of the King-Priest who was to come to save the nation of Israel can all be paralleled with Jesus of Nazareth. There has not arisen anyone else who could include in his life all the characteristics of the David prophecies as well as the other prophecies that are ascribed to the Messiah, like the Psalms, (especially Psalm 22) and Isaiah 53, except Jesus. He is the Messiah. If he were not, what would the chances be of a person fulfilling all the passages that are included here and also those others in Daniel where he is called the Messiah and those others who refer to Messiah as the coming King? The fact is that all these previews of the Messiah can be shown to parallel characteristics or events in the life of Jesus. This fact also creates a mathematical probability that is overwhelming. What would be the odds of any one person fitting all the pieces of the puzzle and not being the one promised?
There are many "David" prophecies in the Bible which all point to the same individual who is promised to come as a savior of his people. There are "David" prophecies in Zechariah. As with the return of the "Shekinah" prophecies, there is also a dual nature to the fulfillment of these David prophecies. That is, that the first stage of the restoration of the physical nation and physical Temple is necessary before the second stage of the Messianic Kingdom and call of the Gentiles is possible. In reading them you will notice that the coming of the Davidic Messiah is dependent on the restoration of all twelve tribes to their land first and after that event they will seek the one who will unite them and the Gentiles. This duality and dependency, as the recurrent theme in these passages, is to be compared with the duality of the fulfillment of the "Shekinah" events. They all say that the physical nation and Temple are to be restored first. God's "Shekinah" will be restored to the physical Temple. The period of this restoration, called "in that day," began in the days of the return under Zerubbabel and the foundation of the second Temple and extends through a Golden Age to the coming of the Messiah. The Davidic King is to come "in those days." That is, in the period of the restored nation and before the destruction of the nation and second Temple. Else the "days" have changed. These following verses are collected here so you can compare the total of all those things predicted with those that are in Zechariah:
(50) Great deliverance gives he to his king; and shows mercy to his anointed, to David, and to .his seed for evermore.
(67) Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim; (68) But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved... (70) He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds.
(3) I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn to David my servant, (4) your seed will I establish for ever, and build up your throne to all generations. Selah.
(20) I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him; (21) With whom my hand shall be established; my arm also shall strengthen him. (22) The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. (23) And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. (24) But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted... (27) Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.(28) My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. (29) His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (30) If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;...(33) Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. (34) My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. (35) Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie to David. (36) His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. (37) It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.
(11) The Lord has sworn in truth to David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne. (12) If your children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon your throne for evermore... (17) There will I make the horn of David to bud; I have ordained a lamp for my anointed.
(13) And he said, Hear you now, O house of David; is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? (14) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel... (16) For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both her kings.
(6) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
(3) Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (4) Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. (5) Behold, you shall call a nation that you know not, and nations that knew not you shall run to you because of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he has glorified you.
(5) Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. (6) In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. [When?] (7) Therefore, behold, the days come, says the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord lives, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; (8) But, The Lord lives, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
(3) For, lo, the days come, says the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, says the Lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it...(9) But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up to them. (10) Therefore fear you not, O my servant Jacob, says the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel; for, lo, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
(7) And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first...(15) In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up to David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. (16) In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness. (17) For thus says the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;... (20) Thus says the Lord; If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; (21) Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.(22) As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister to me.
(23) And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. (24) And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. (25) And I will make with them a covenant of peace,...
(24) And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. (25) And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever; and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. (26) Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. (27) My tabernacle [mishkan, ,] also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (28) And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
(4) For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim; (5) After-ward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.
(11) In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; (12) That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, says the Lord that does this.
(8) In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (9) And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (10) And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness...(6) And one shall say to him, What are these wounds in your hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (7) Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, says the Lord of hosts; smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn my hand upon the little ones.
(42) Saying, What think you of Christ? whose son is he? They say to him, The Son of David. (43) He says to them, How then does David in the spirit call him Lord, saying, (44) The Lord said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool? (45) If David then calls him Lord, how is he his son?
(32) He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David.
(34) And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
(25) For David speaks concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on .my right hand, that I should not be moved; (27) Because you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption. (29) Men and brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us to this day. (30) Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; (31) He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his did flesh see corruption. (33) Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear.
The prophecies in Zechariah of the one whose name is "the Branch," use Joshua, the High Priest, as a symbol of the one to come. The symbol of the Branch does not refer to Joshua himself. It is again important to have an acquaintance with other "Branch" prophecies in the Old Testament if we are to understand these in Zechariah.
These prophecies are so wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus yet unwittingly completed by those who reject him.
(Zec. 3:8) Hear now, O Joshua the High Priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you; for they are men wondered at; for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. (Zec. 6:12) And speak to him, saying, Thus speaks 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;
These two references to the Branch must speak of the same person as other Branch prophecies, all of which follow:
(Isa. 4:2) In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (Isa. 11:1) And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch [natser, ,] shall grow out of his roots; (Isa. 11:2) And 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; (Isa. 11:10) And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious. (Jer. 23:5) 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. (Jer. 23:6) In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jer. 33:15) 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. (Jer. 33:16) In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name wherewith he shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
There are two Hebrew words translated branch in these Messianic prophecies. It is obvious from reading them that they refer to one and the same hoped for Messiah who shall be called the Branch.
The man, the Branch, to come shall be of the house of David, he will be a judge, he will be a .king, he will be a priest, he will be the Lord Our Righteousness, he will save Israel and Judah, he will build the Temple of God, in him will the Gentiles trust. Attention given to the context of these Branch prophecies will show that the Branch is the same person who will fulfill the David prophecies. They clearly refer to the Messiah and Jesus of Nazareth has astonishingly paralleled these predictions, especially the last; "His name is the Branch."
The two Hebrew words for Branch are obviously interchangable. One is "tsemach," , (Translit. zemach) used in all the above verses for branch except Isaiah 11:1 where "Natser" , (transliterated Nazer) is found. Jesus is called this latter word literally. The hometown of Jesus is Nazareth (Fem. plural of Nazer is Nazeroth). Many religious Jews will not mention Jesus' name. They certainly will not call him Christ (Messiah.) He is most often referred to as The Nazarene (Heb. Notsri, , and Christians as Notsriym, .) In Hebrew The Nazarene literally means "the one who is the branch!" Consequently his name is "The Branch" literally fulfilling this prophecy and so called by those who believe in him least. (See also notes in the commentary on Zec. 3:8; and 6:12)
A Further Introductory Note
Zechariah son of Barachias - Not the Same Person
Jesus did not refer to the prophet Zechariah in the following passages, even though the text says he was son of Barachias.
(Mt. 23:34) Wherefore, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them you shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; (Mt. 23:35) That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, (Jehoida) whom you slew between the Temple and the altar. (Mt. 23:36) Verily I say to you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (Mt. 23:37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
The O.T. Prophet Zechariah is the son of Berechiah (Zech 1:1). He is not the Zechariah the Lord referred to. The name Barachias is taken to be an alteration or interpolation of a later copier. The incident referred to is of Zechariah son of Jehoiada killed by rebel princes at the command of king Joash in whose long reign the Temple was restored, and who surely knew better. Zechariah, son of righteous priest Jehoida, rebuked the princes of Judah for turning to idols. He was killed in the Temple environs. Jesus likens his own circumstances and the Jews of his day to that incident. See 2Chr. 24:15-25 and these verses:
(2Chr. 24:20) And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, Thus says God, Why transgress you the commandments of the Lord, that cannot prosper? because you have forsaken the Lord, he has also forsaken you. (2Chr. 24:21) And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king [Joash] in the court of the house of the Lord.
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