Branch Prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah
Three Hebrew prophets over the span of 200 years – Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah – had one specific prophecy in common. All foretold of the “Branch” or the “Sprout” as interpreted in Jewish Bibles.
Generations after King David’s reign, some 700 years before Jesus of Nazareth was born, the remnants of Israel were in a downward death spiral. For centuries, despite many warnings from numerous prophets, the Hebrews and their kings failed to abide by their contractual Covenant made with God at Mt. Sinai.
Renowned as a prophet of God by both Judaism and Christianity, Isaiah warned kings Ahaz and Hezekiah of the consequences their nation faced. Isaiah prophesied the “King of Babylon” would one day take away their own descendants to serve as eunuchs in his palace.
Is 11:1-2 “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”(NKJV)
A century after Isaiah’s prophecies, defiance by the Hebrews had continued leading to the fulfillment of his prophecy that judgement would come from the King of Babylon. Reality came with the attack of Nebuchadnezzar and his destruction of Jerusalem.
After a devastating defeat, the Hebrew’s finest were taken captive back to Babylon where, as written in the Book of Daniel, at least three upstanding Hebrews served King Nebuchadnezzar. Prophet Jeremiah added more bad news prophesying that the secession of sitting kings in the House of David would end with Jeconiah aka Jehoiachin.
Amidst the doom and gloom, Jeremiah also predicted good news about the coming Messiah. Twice the prophet foretold that God would raise up another King in the lineage of David, “a Branch of Righteous.”
Jer 23:5 “”Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth…”” (NKJV)
Jer 33:15 “‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth…’” (NKJV)
Moving ahead another century since Jeremiah’s prophecies, the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity had ended with the Medes and Persian invasion. One of Isaiah’s prophecies was fulfilled two centuries after he had foretold that a ruler named Cyrus would rise who would allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt the Temple. Cyrus was the name of the new Persian Empire ruler who did exactly that.
Darius honored Cyrus’ decree for the Hebrews to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.” 
Describing his fourth vision, Zechariah was present when Joshua the Priest stood before the angel of the LORD along with Satan who was there to accuse the priest. Satan was rebuked by God and Joshua was given fine new clothes. In the vision, God then spoke directly to the high Priest:
Zech 3:8 “‘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.’” (NASB)
God identified the Branch as “My servant” in Zachariah’s prophecy. “My servant” is the focus of Isaiah’s parashah prophecy of Isaiah 52-53 issued two hundred years earlier where he is subjected to unusual cruelties consistent with a Roman crucifixion described in the Gospels.
Narrating his eighth vision, Zechariah received instructions from God to choose people from among the exiles to make a crown of gold and silver, then set the symbolic crown upon the head of Joshua, the high Priest. Zechariah was then directed to deliver this message to the Priest:
Zech 6:12-13 “…‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’’” (NKJV)
In the vision prophecy, no one person present at this event is the focus of God’s message. The prophecy pointed to someone else in the future named the Branch would sit upon the throne as both king and priest who would build the Temple.
Rabbi Rashi commented he believed the prophecies were in reference to Zerubbabel while acknowledging others viewed it as referring to the Messiah. Jewish sage Rabbi Maimonides viewed the Isaiah and Zechariah prophecies to be about the Messiah.
Prophecies from Isaiah before the Babylonian captivity, Jeremiah during the Babylonian captivity and Zechariah after the Babylon captivity, point to a future figure called the Branch in the lineage of King David. Viewed as Messiah prophecies, at least in part, by both Judaism and Christianity, what are the odds that Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of the Branch prophecies?
Updated March 4, 2022
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