Nazarene Space


The Branch of My Planting
By
James Scott Trimm


In Matthew 2:23 we read:

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
(Matthew 2:23 KJV)

Some critics have attacked this verse saying that there is no such prophecy in the Tanak.  However the truth is that such a prophecy concerning the Messiah is found throughout the Tanak.

To begin with it is important to know that “Nazareth” in Hebrew is “Natzret” from the Hebrew word “Netzer” meaning “branch” and there is a whole series of prophecies in the Tanak that identify the Messiah as “the branch”.

Perhaps the most obvious of these is Isaiah 11:1:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
(Isaiah 11:1 KJV)

There is no question that this is a Messianic prophecy, in fact the Targum renders this verse as follows:

And a King shall come forth from the sons of Jesse,
and from his children's children the Messiah shall be anointed.
(Is. 11:1 Targum Jonathan)

And in another passage Isaiah says:

In that day shall the branch of the LORD [YHWH] be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
(Is. 4:2 KJV)

The Targum also interprets this verse as speaking of Messiah:

At that time shall the Messiah of the Lord be for joy and for glory to those that are escaped and those that keep the law shall be for greatness and for praise.
(Is. 4:2 Targum)

This is actually only two of a number of passages which refer to the Messiah as “The Branch” (sometimes with the Hebrew word NETZER and sometimes with the Hebrew word TZEMACH ).  

The various uses of the term “Branch” in the various passages reveal to us four major aspects of the Messiah:


MESSIAH THE SERVANT

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH [TZEMACH].
(Zech. 3:8 KJV)

Although the immediate context refers to Joshua the High Priest at the time of Zechariah (whom Rashi identifies as Zerubbabel), it is also clearly presenting Joshua as a type of the Messiah designated as “my servant the BRANCH”.

Of course the name “Joshua” in the Hebrew (Yahushua) is a variation of the Hebrew name Yeshua (Yeshua is short for Yahushua).

The Messiah is called “my servant” in several passages in Isaiah known as the four servant songs (Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-12; 50:4-11 & 52:7-53:12).  These passages describe a suffering servant Messiah who suffers and dies to redeem his brothers.

As we read in the Wisdom of Solomon:

12: Therefore let us trouble the Righteous One; because he is not pleasant to us, and  he stands up against our doings: and he reviles us for our transgression of the  Torah, and records against us the trespasses of our audacity.
13: He professes that the knowledge of Elohim is his: and he says concerning himself  “I am the Son of Elohim”  
14: He is a rebuker of our thoughts.
15: He is heavy upon us even to behold: because his way of life is not like others,  his ways are different.
16: We are esteemed by him as impure: he abstained from our ways like from impurity:  he blesses the ways and the end of the righteous, and he boasts that Elohim is his father.  
17: Let us see if his words are true: and let us test him by his departure.
18: For if the Righteous One is the Son of Elohim, he will receive him, and deliver  him from the hand of those who rise up against him.
19: With despitefulness and with torment let us examine him, that we may know the  concern of his humility, and be harmful to him.
20: To a shameful death let us condemn him: we shall be upon him and shall question  his words.
21: These insipid things they did think, and were deceived: because their own  wickedness has blinded them.
22: And they did not know the mysteries of Elohim, neither hoped they for the reward  of the pure, and they did not discern an old soul without blemish.
(Wisdom of Solomon 2:12-22 – from my ongoing work on the HRV Apocrypha- Translated from the Peshitta Aramaic)

This actually recalls an account in the Torah concerning the life of Joseph.  When his brothers cast Joseph into the pit we read:

20 Come now therefore and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits. And we will say, An evil beast has devoured him. And we shall see what will become of his dreams.
(Gen. 37:20 HRV)

Joseph’s life was a type of the first coming of Messiah which parallels the Rabbinical Messiah ben Yoseph.  The Suffering Messiah is called Messiah ben Yoseph because his brothers were redeemed by his suffering.

Like Joseph the Patriarch, Yeshua was betrayed by his own for a few pieces of silver (Gen. 37:28) he was cast into “the pit” (death) and raised back up so that he might redeem his brothers,  Like Joseph, Yeshua’s teaching and revelation angered his brothers, who sought to put his claims to the test by casting him into the pit (of death).

So one aspect of the Branch is the Suffering Servant Messiah with Yosef (Joseph) as an antitype.


THE PRIESTLY MESSIAH – THE MAN

11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH [TZEMACH]; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
(Zech. 6:11-13 KJV)

This passage is again speaking of Joshua (identified by Rashi as Zerubbabel) in its literal meaning, but also presents Joshua as a type of the Messiah who will rebuild the Temple and who serves has a heavenly Priest.  

Here Messiah is portrayed in type as “the man whose name is The BRANCH” which recalls the Messiah as a mortal man, as we see in the “Son of Man” in Daniel:

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
(Daniel 7:13 KJV)

When the Essenes of the Qumran community wrote of the two Messiah they spoke of a priestly Messiah and a kingly Messiah.  

Zerubabbel was a type of the priestly office of Messiah which parallels the Qumran concept of the “Messiah of Aaron”.  He is the Messiah of Aaron because he ministers in the heavenly Holy of Holies, and will restore (either rebuild or purify) the Temple on earth.  Zerubabbel is an important figure in 1Esdras in which is an important type of the restorative work of Messiah ( see: 1st Esdras: A Picture of the Restoration  http://nazarenespace.com/profiles/blogs/1st-esdras-a-picture-of-the...)

So one aspect of the branch is the man called the Branch, with Zerubbabel as an antitype, a priestly Messiah.


KING MESSIAH

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
(Isaiah 11:1 KJV)

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. 23:5 KJV)

The Branch also reveals the Messianic King who will come and reign from David’s throne forever.  

In the Torah we read:

10 The scepter shall not depart from Y’hudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes. And unto him, shall the obedience of the peoples be.
(Gen. 49:10)

Who is this “Shiloh”?

This Gemara also asks “What is Messiah’s name?” Rabbi Shila offers the answer: “His name is Shiloh, for it is written, ‘until Shiloh comes.” (b.San. 98b)

The Targums (Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan and Yerushalmi) all have “until Messiah comes” in place of “until Shiloh comes”.

We read also in Isaiah:

5 (9:6) For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us, and the government is upon His shoulder: and His Name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty El, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
6 (9:7) That the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom: to establish it and to uphold it, through justice and through righteousness, from henceforth even forever. The zeal of YHWH Tzva’ot does perform this.
(Is. 9:5-6 (6-7))

King David was a type of the second coming of Messiah which parallels the Rabbinical Messiah ben David.  The Suffering Messiah is called Messiah ben David because he comes and reigns from David’s throne forever..

So one aspect of the Branch is the Kingly Messiah with David as an antitype.


YHWH THE BRANCH

In that day shall the branch of the LORD [YHWH] be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
(Is. 4:2 KJV)

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.
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 [YHWH] OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
(Jer. 23:5-6 KJV)

Isaiah calls Messiah “the branch of YHWH” and Jeremiah says “he shall be called, YHWH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”.

Here we are told in no uncertain terms that the Branch would be YHWH HIMSELF.  

Man was created in the Image of Elohim and that Image of Elohim that served as the blue print for man’s creation was the Messiah.  

Isaiah writes:

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
(Isaiah 60:21 KJV)

In this passage it is the Assembly of Israel that is being identified as “The Branch”, however as we will see later, there is an identification between Messiah and his people.  

The Zohar sites this passage (Is. 66:21) as follows:

AND THE LORD GOD FORMED MAN. “Man” here refers to Israel, whom God shaped at that time both for this world and for the future world..... Forthwith at that time He planted Israel in the holy Garden of Eden, as it is said: “and YHWH ELOHIM planted” (Gen. 2:8). The two names here refer to the Father and the Mother; the “Garden” is the Shekinah on earth, and “Eden” is the supernal Mother; “the man” is the Middle Pillar; the Shekinah was to be his plantation, his spouse who was never to depart from him and was to be his perpetual delight. Thus God at that time planted Israel as a holy shoot, as it is written, “the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, in which I glory” (Is. 60:21).
(Zohar 1:26a)

The Zohar is here commenting on a verse from Genesis:

8 And the YHWH Elohim planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
(Gen. 2:8)

The Zohar brings this together with:

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
(Isaiah 60:21 KJV)

The Zohar then identifies  the two names “YHWH” and “Elohim” as indicating “the Father and the Mother” because we know that man was created “male and female” in the image of YHWH (Gen. 1:26-27 see Zohar 1:22a).  Eden represents the Heavenly Mother and the “garden” represents the Shekinah on earth.  The “man” is the “Middle Pillar” and “The Branch of My planting” (Is. 60:21).    Elsewhere in the Zohar we are told that the “Middle Pillar” is the “Son of Yah”:

Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother far off.  This neighbor is the Middle Pillar in the Godhead, which is the Son of Yah.
(Zohar 2:115)

So now lets “decode” the verse as understood by the Zohar:

8 And the YHWH Elohim [Father and Mother] planted a garden [the Shekinah on earth] eastward in Eden [Heavenly Mother]; and there he put the man [The Son of Yah] whom he had formed.
(Gen. 2:8)

The Father and Mother planted the Shekinah on earth eastward in the Heavenly Mother and there they put the Son of Yah, the BRANCH.  the Shekinah was to be the BRANCH’S plantation, his spouse who was never to depart from him and was to be his perpetual delight.

Here we have a picture of the Branch as the Image of the Father and Mother symbolized in antitype by the first Adam [at this time both male and female] symbolizing the Son of Yah and the Shekinah on earth.

So we have two aspects of the BRANCH: male and female.  As we read in Jeremiah “he [the Branch] shale be called”

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.
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 [YHWH] OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
(Jer. 23:5-6 KJV)

And then later “she [the Branch] shall be called”:

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.
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 [YHWH] our righteousness.
(Jer. 33:15-16 KJV)

The BRANCH is therefore the “fullness of the everlasting Godhead” (Col. 2:9) because in Him are both the Father and Mother reconciled as one.  

The First Adam [Adam with Eve still within him] was a type of the Messiah which parallels the Rabbinical Middle Pillar, the Son of Yah, and Eve (extracted from Adam) is a type of the Shekinnah on Earth.  

So one aspect of the Branch is the Messiah as YHWH.  


FOUR ASPECTS OF THE BRANCH

The four aspects of the Branch are represented by the four faces of the “four living creatures” Ezekiel sees in his vision of the throne:

As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
(Ezekiel 1:10)

As well as the faces of the four beasts seen by Yochanan (John) in his vision of the throne:

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
(Rev. 4:7)

An ox/calf is a beast of burden and represents the BRANCH as “My Servant”.

The face of the man represents the “man called the BRANCH”.

The face of the lion, the symbol of the Tribe of Judah represents the Kingly BRANCH.

The eagle, which flies high above man and looks down upon all from above, represents the BRANCH as YHWH.

There is of course much more to be learned from these types and antitypes of the BRANCH which will help us better understand the Messiah.


ISRAEL: THE BRANCH OF MY PLANTING

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
(Isaiah 60:21 KJV)

We mentioned above that this passage refers in its primary meaning to the Assembly of Israel, but also to the Messiah.  This is because the Assembly of Israel is the Body of Messiah, an allegorical representation of Messiah.  When Mattitiyahu 2:13-15 quotes Hoshea 11:`1 and applies this sonship to Messiah he is referring to the reality behind the allegory of Hosea 11:1 and Sh’mot 4:22-23. In effect Matthew is saying that Yeshua the Messiah is the figure that later Rabbinic Judaism came to call “The Son of Yah”. Therefore the Torah in Sh’mot 4:22-23 is prompting us that there is an allegorical relationship between Israel and Messiah:

So how is the Messiah allegorically like Israel?

* Both made a major impact on the world.

* Both were born through a biological miracle on their mother’s womb.

* Both were taken into Egypt to save their lives.

* Both are called up out of Egypt.

* Both have been despised and rejected by man.

* Rome attempted to execute each of them.

* Both are resurrected never to die again.

By saying, “Israel is my first-born son”, ELOHIM is saying that by oppressing Israel, it is as if Pharaoh was oppressing the Son of Yah, the Messiah himself.

In fact the Tanya makes use of this same allegory which connects the Son of Yah as spoken of in the Zohar with Israel:

So, allegorically speaking, have the souls of Jews risen in the [Divine] thought, as it is written, “My firstborn son is Israel,” and “Ye are children unto the Lord your G-d”. That is to say, just as a child is derived from his father’s brain, so— to use an anthropomorphism— the soul of each Israelite is derived from G-d’s (blessed be He) thought and wisdom.
(Tanya; Likutei Amarim; Chapter 2)

Similarly is it with the human soul, which is divided in two— sechel (intellect) and middot (emotional attributes). The intellect includes chochmah, binah and da at (ChaBaD), whilst the middot are love of G-d, dread and awe of Him, glorification of Him, and so forth. ChaBaD [the intellectual faculties] are called “mothers” and source of the middot, for the latter are “offspring” of the former.
(Tanya; Likutei Amarim; Chapter 3)

So the Branch is not just the Messiah, but the Branch is also the Assembly of Israel as well.  Thus he is the Nazarene (Mat. 2:23) and we are “Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).  The Hebrew NETZER (Nazarene) means “Branch” and the Hebrew NETZARIM (Nazarenes) means “BRANCHES”.   Yeshua said of the Assembly “you are the branches” (Jn. 15:5).  And in Romans 11:16-27 believers are called “branches” (NETZARIM) and proselytes are referred to  as “branches” that have been “grafted in”.  

The Zohar also uses the imagery of being “grafted in” to describe a proselyte’s being “grafted in” to Judah:

For this reason proselytes will no longer be admitted in the days of the Messiah (that is in the Messianic Kingdom). The Shekinah will be like a vine on which there cannot be grafted any branch from another species, and Israel shall be “every tree pleasant to see”, and their former beauty shall be restored to them, of which we are told: “He cast from heaven to earth the beauty of Israel” (Lam. 2:1).
(Zohar 1:26)



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Views: 402

Comment by David L Johnson on June 20, 2015 at 10:31pm

The Branch is  very descriptive of the Lord and his people,  living in peace and safety,  during the Millennium; who have survived the threshing, the separation of the wheat from the tares. 

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