TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
THE BRANCH OF
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.