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Archive for May, 2017

Zechariah 3:8-10 The Branch

Posted by Ez1 Realty on May 19, 2017


PF Proverbs to Malachi

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Zechariah 3:8-10 NLTse “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. (9) Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. (10) “And on that day, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”

This seems to be one of the more unusual prophecies about Jesus. In it Zechariah refers to Jesus as a Branch. I’ve seen people use this as proof texts to identify a symbol in other parts of the Bible, but I’ve never seen anyone try to explain this prophecy as it stands. Once again we have a prophecy in a chapter that is divided into two parts. One of those parts is the prophecy and in this case summation. The other part of course is the introduction. As we already know from previous studies, the introduction and summation are vital parts of a chapter. They explain the context of the chapter. When associated with a prophecy, the introduction and summation also ensure we apply the correct theme to the prophecy.

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Once we highlight the key words, two things are apparent. Branch is not repeated. Although it is associated with the LORD, that is not apparent until we identify the symbol. So we can see, the symbol is not the most important feature in the Texts. Branch is not a word we would use to search for a parallel chapter or the fulfillment of the prophecy. What conclusion does that lead us to? Context is more important than symbolism. The author wants us to understand the theme and lesson in scripture before we go off hunting to solve the meaning of a symbol.

When you think of it, what is more important, solving a symbol or learning the lesson locked away within the scripture? The lesson of course. When you discipline a child, which is more important? What the belt symbolizes, or the lesson you are teaching? The biggest belt in the world is not going to make a difference if the child keeps making the same mistake. No wonder the world views God as a tyrant and wants nothing to do with Him. Preachers keep emphasizing symbols of gloom and doom while they have absolutely no idea what the lesson is. As a spokesman for God they’ve failed. Their success rate at leading people to God is as miserable as the message they create.

My dad always said, “don’t complain unless you got a better idea.” Well let’s do something completely different from what the world does. Let’s let God’s Word explain this prophecy and see what He wanted it to say. In this case we are limited on key words to use to search for related texts. We can use either priest or the combination of engrave and inscription. I put the study away for a night and prayed about it. I thought this study wasn’t going to lead anywhere.

In the morning I thought of a few texts in Hebrews. I could see how Hebrews explained how priests were used as a symbol. After all, a great deal of Hebrews explained that very subject in detail. Now it was a matter of searching the New Testament texts with the word priest. There are more than a few. Reading each one will tell you which fit the context of Zechariah 3 and which do not. A few in Hebrews seemed to be the best fit. The introduction and summations in Hebrews 2 appear to add the most amount of detail to those in Zechariah 3. The lessons unfold as we compare key words and texts in each chapter.

Hebrews 2:10-18 NLTse God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (11) So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. (12) For he said to God, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.” (13) He also said, “I will put my trust in him,” that is, “I and the children God has given me.” (14) Because God’s children are human beings–made of flesh and blood–the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. (15) Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (16) We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. (17) Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. (18) Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

The prophecy in Zechariah 3 used the key word priest to draw our attention to one verse. “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. Hebrews 2 is one of those chapters that explained how that prophecy was fulfilled. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. So we see how using key words leads us to the correct interpretation of the symbol Branch, in addition to showing us the lesson that goes hand in hand with the prophecy. Using the symbol to search for its spiritual meaning may or may not lead to the correct interpretation and in most cases will not lead to the lesson associated with the symbol. In most cases, teachers use the symbol to search for a meaning, and what do they do after they locate something they think fits? They preach what they think it means. In this example we let the key words lead us to scripture which told us, Jesus became like us and then became God’s High Priest. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Every symbol points to a much greater fulfillment. In this case we see Branch does point to Jesus and two very important aspects of His ministry. He left His throne in Heaven to become like us. What lessons does that bring to mind? We are also shown Jesus had to go through a process to become that sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. This example showing how to study within context reveals not only the proper interpretation of the symbol, but the lesson.

Zechariah repeated another series of words. Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave and inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. We see engrave and inscription are related to the removal of sins. At this point we have a choice. We can try to explain the symbolism ourselves, use the symbols to search for an answer, or stick to the context by looking for related words in the recorded fulfillment we located.

Hebrews 2:10-18 repeated key words brothers and sisters, children, human beings, and descendants. We can see an emphasis on Jesus’ close connection with us, human beings. From this point we could go on with a number of verses from a number of books describing that connection and love. We can see a spiritual connection between engrave and inscription with human beings. After we understand that relationship, we can look at scripture that connection reminds us of. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. (Revelation 2:17 NLTse). Here we see the related word engraved as well as the word stone. Now here is an important detail to always remember when a symbol is used to search for a related texts. Always check the context. We verify context by looking at the introduction and summation.

Revelation 2:1-3 NLTse “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: (2) “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. (3) You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

Revelation 2:26-29 NLTse (26) To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. (27) They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. (28) They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! (29) “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

We see the introduction and summation both deal with a message. Both the introduction and summation tell where that message comes from. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. This is the main theme in the chapter and shows us how the stone engraved with a new name relates to the main theme. Look at other key words and phrases concerning that stone. I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. A new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. Manna is another spiritual word with a physical and spiritual meaning. We also see when that name is received, those who receive the new name with understand it.

How does Revelation relate to the Branch in Zechariah? Both refer to a stone. Zechariah referred to a symbol. Revelation tells us how to understand that symbol and others. The message given in Revelation is from Jesus, the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands. We receive understanding from His Spirit. This may seem like simple details but we are accumulating a list of details about the Branch and symbol the high priest Jeshua in Zechariah points to. It is also a lesson showing how context will develop its own list.

The branch tells us:

Priests are symbols of things to come.

Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.

Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father.

Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.

The Son also became flesh and blood.

Only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.

Jesus is our merciful and faithful High Priest before God.

Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

The stone tells us:

I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance.

You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not.

You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven.

The stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

What would you learn if you followed the general method used to find the meaning of a symbol? I’m sure you would have found out the Branch represents Jesus. But what would you learn? Would that simple method teach any lessons? Look what context showed. Which Bible Study method leads to the greater understanding of God and His Word you are looking for?

I don’t want to miss a detail. When scripture tells me there is a name I am going to understand, I’m going to look back on scripture to see if there is a name I need to understand. There is one, Jeshua. The only thing to do is look it up in the Hebrew dictionary.

H3091 יהושׁע יהושׁוּע yehôshûa‛ yehôshûa‛

yeh-ho-shoo’-ah, yeh-ho-shoo’-ah

From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader: – Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954, H3442.

H3068 יהוה yehôvâh

yeh-ho-vaw’

From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God: – Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050, H3069.

H3467 ישׁע yâsha‛

yaw-shah’

A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: – X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

We can see the name itself tells us, God will open up a way to free us, to be saved. There is one more thing we have to compare, the introductions. We’ve already compared the summaries in the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment.

Zechariah 3:1-7 NLTse Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. (2) And the LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” (3) Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. (4) So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” (5) Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the LORD stood by. (6) Then the angel of the LORD spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, (7) “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.

Hebrews 2:1-9 NLTse So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. (2) For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. (3) So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? (4) And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. (5) And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. (6) For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are people that you should think of them, or a son of man that you should care for him? (7) Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. (8) You gave them authority over all things.” Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. (9) What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.

Both chapters deal with angels. The angel showed Zechariah a vision of Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. We already know Jeshua is a symbol pointing to Jesus. We found this information by following general rules of context. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. This reveals the war Jesus and Satan are fighting this very moment. As usual, symbols always point to a greater fulfillment. Hebrews showed us how Jesus became human to share the same conflicts we face. Being accused by Satan is included in those trials. So Jeshua the high priest represents both Jesus and us. Jesus had to endure Satan’s accusations longer then we have. The LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This gets into a long process. We have to ask how and why God rejected Satan’s accusations.

Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. Zechariah introduced another symbol, clothing. Once again we stick with context and allow God’s Word to explain both the symbol and the lesson. “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” Most of the time symbols are explained in the chapter it is found in.

General rules of context tells us the summaries should follow the same theme and teach the same lesson. Zechariah described a trial where God changed Jeshua’s clothing, representing removal or cleaning of sins. Hebrews introduced another view or concept of a trial. So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. The key point in Hebrews 2 is to listen to the message. Hebrews added the concept of punishment to the theme of a trial. If we looked at judgment from the any view point without considering the chance of punishment, we would never understand the full message. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? God knew the world would find a way to introduce concepts that would make people ignore or forget the concept of a trial on all its levels. Satan not only used accusations, but deceptions. One of those things he is going to accuse people of is not knowing the truth because they never took salvation seriously. Look at who first announced that salvation – Jesus. When Satan accuses people of not knowing the full story of salvation, he is accusing them of not knowing Jesus. And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. Not only do those people not know Jesus, they can’t see or understand God’s signs, wonders, miracles, gifts, or Holy Spirit.

We see another rule of context to follow. When scripture is quoted, we need to review the entire chapter. Psalms 8 is a short chapter that will not take long to review.

Psalms 8:1-9 NLTse O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. (2) You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. (3) When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers– the moon and the stars you set in place– (4) what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them? (5) Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. (6) You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority– (7) the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, (8) the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. (9) O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Psalms 8 begins and ends with praise to God by describing His position. Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! When we see texts like this creating an introduction and summation, we know every word in between must fit the theme. We are lower than God. There’s no question about that. Jesus chose to take a position to be like us, to be tempted like us, to experience pain, suffering, heat, cold, and heartache like us. And to be accused like us. How many court trials did Jesus face? Satan was there at all of them Review them for yourself. Were those trails fair?

The key words we needed to pay attention to in Hebrews 2 told us how we need to listen to the message announced by Jesus Himself. That’s the same theme recorded in Revelation 2. Zechariah 3 told us we should see what the symbol the high priest Jeshua pointed to. The most important point is to see the connection. Knowing the message is just as important as knowing where to get the information from.

Many of you have heard sermons or read other studies about the Branch mentioned in Zechariah 3. How deep did those lessons go? I can tell you one thing. Knowing that Branch represents Jesus will not get you very far. Knowing Jesus existed is not enough. Salvation requires more than knowing Jesus existed as a historical figure. You have to know Him and His Spirit. What is Jesus going to answer when Satan points out you don’t know Him? Is Jesus going to be able to introduce evidence of time you spent together, conversations you had, signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus performed in your prayer list you recognized and praised Him for? Have you acknowledged Jesus like David did in Psalm 8? Is your life putting evidence on Jesus’ side of the courtroom, or Satan’s?

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