More About "The Man They Call Zechariah"
Thu., Jun. 23. 2016 9:16am EDT
We got an email recently from Ron Whipple, a fan in Garfield Heights OH, who brought up a great question ...
Thanks for all that you do, encouraging God's people to get into His Word and reaching out to the lost. As always, you do it in such a creative and fun way! O.K., one question. In the song "The Man They Call Zechariah" what do you mean in the following line: "there's a man named Branch"?The line "there's a man named Branch" refers to several Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. According to Zechariah, this man named Branch will hold the offices of both a King and a Priest:
Then say to him, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, "Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the Lord. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices."'
Remember that previously in Israel, the high priest and the king were always two different people, because the Aaronic priesthood anointed somebody as priest but not as king. And when Saul, David, Solomon, and their successors were anointed as kings of Israel (and later, Judah), they were never levitical priests, nor were they even from the tribe of Levi.
But God did prophesy through David about Messiah being a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4). And if you remember from Genesis 14:18-20), Melchizedek was both a priest and king (this was before the levitical priesthood).
As Hebrews 7:1 says, Melchizedek was both "king of Salem" and "priest of the Most High God." And he is a type (symbolic figure) of Jesus (Hebrews 7:13-17). In fact, some theologians propose that Melchizedek was actually a Christophany, an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ.
God also refers to the Branch in Zechariah 3:8-9:
Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,' declares the Lord of hosts, 'and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Notice how God says he "will remove the iniquity of the land in one day." Of course, we know how God removed the iniquity of the land (and all of us who call upon His name) in one day.
But Zechariah wasn't the first one who called the Messiah "branch." Jeremiah said:
"Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord,
"When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
"In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
'The Lord our righteousness.'
And before Jeremiah, Isaiah said:
In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will bethe pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning,
Ezekiel also seems to allude to this branch:
Thus says the Lord God, "I will also take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and set it out; I will pluck from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it."
There are a number of other Messianic prophecies from Zechariah that we refer to in "The Man They Call Zechariah":
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
You remember how the Gospels show that Jesus rode into Jerusalem that way in fulfillment of that scripture.
"I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn."
The New Testament shows how they pierced Him in crucifixion.
In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
That is generally regarded as a prophecy of Christ's return. And do you remember the last place He was seen on earth in bodily form before He ascended into Heaven? The Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12). And after He ascended, what did the angels say?
They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."
Cool stuff, eh?