For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2001 James Melough


There are several references in the OT, where under the figure of a branch, God presents us with a symbolic picture of Christ, e.g., Isa 4:2, “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious”; Isa 11:1, “And there shall come forth a root out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots”; Jer 23:5, “I will raise unto David a righteous branch”; Jer 33:15, “at that time will I cause the branch of righteousness to grow up unto David”; Zec 3:8, “I will bring forth my servant the branch”; Zec 6:12, “Behold the man whose name is the branch.” 

As with many of the Bible’s types, these few explicit references alert us to the fact that wherever we encounter any mention of that same symbol we should look for some reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.

One such reference is found in Nu 13:23, “And they came unto the brook (valley) of Eschol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff....”  The context is the occasion when Moses sent the spies to search the land of Canaan, the evidence of its fruitfulness being this cluster of such weight that it took two men to carry it suspended on a staff.

Spiritual minds have had no difficulty in discerning the meaning of God’s picture.  Recalling the symbolic meaning of the branches already listed, they have seen in this one at Eschol, another picture of Christ, this time, of His death and resurrection.  The two men represent the writers of the Old and New Testaments; the staff, as always, is the symbol of the written Word.  As the staff presented the branch and its cluster of fruit, so does Scripture present the true Branch, and the joy (grapes furnish wine, the biblical symbol of joy, Ps 104:15; Pr 31:6; Ec 10:19) available to men through His death and resurrection.

As the literal branch, with its huge cluster of grapes, was the evidence of a love that offered the Israelites Canaan, and encouraged them to take possession, so are the death and resurrection of Christ the evidence of a love that offers the riches of heaven to believers.  Israel would accept the testimony of that fruitful branch, and enter Canaan; or they would (as in fact they did) reject that testimony, and condemn themselves to death in the desert.  So is it in regard to Christ.  The Israel of a later day repeated the folly of their fathers.  Shown from the Scriptures (the staff) a Christ (the Branch cut down) Who had died to make atonement for sin; and Who, in resurrection (the cluster of grapes), lived for the justification and joy of all who would believe, they rejected the testimony, and thereby condemned themselves to eternal death.

Israel, however, is but the representative of all men.  As that early generation cut themselves off from the earthly blessings of Canaan, by rejecting the evidence of the staff with the branch and cluster; and a later generation cut themselves off from eternal blessings by rejecting a Christ delivered for their offenses, and raised again for their justification (Ro 4:25), so is it with the whole human race.  Rejection of the testimony of Scripture to the death and resurrection of Christ, deprives the unbeliever of peace here on earth, and of eternal blessing in heaven.  God’s command to men is, “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH,” Zec 2:12.  He bids men see Him as their Savior, delivered for their offenses, and raised again for their justification, for apart from faith in the Man portrayed by the branch, no one can enter heaven.


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough