The Name of the Branch

II.Name of the Branch

summary of the argument

(1) The Messiah is shown to have the same name as the high priest
(2) the name of the High priest is Jesus
(3) The two messiah (Davidic and Priestly) are shown to be aspects of
the same Messiah.

The two figures in Zachariah (the High Priest and the King) probably both refer to the same Messiah. Both are each two different symbols for the same figure. The high priest Joshua (Jesus) represents the Messiah's priestly function and his atonement for sin, and Zerubbabel (Davidic line) represents his genealogical line.This tags Jesus of Nazareth as the actual fulfillment becuase no other candidate for Messiah in history was every named Jesus, and this passage shows us that is to be his name. There's nt likely to be one in the future either, becuase of the taint put on the name for Jews by Christianity.

A.Zerubable line marked Messianic
In this point we see that the line in which Zerubbabel was born, the line that includes Jahoachin the last King of Judah, is the Davidic line going through Solomon and including the Kings of Judah. This is the Messianic line.

Zechariah 4:7
"What are you O mighty Mountain before Zerubbabel  you will become level ground, then he will bring out the capstone..." IT goes on to say Z will lay the foundation for the temple. That really happened. So that's not so amazing, but it is linked to Messianic prophesy as the language of the captone is seen by Rabbis Quoted by Edersheim as a reference to Messiah, and in Gospels of course that is what is meant when Jesus speaks of Himself as "the stone that the builders rejected."

Zech. 3:8
"Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch."
 This says they are symbolic of things to come. So the names of these men could very well tell us something about the  future. what they do and who they are is important as a guide to prediction of fulfillment.

"The designation 'Branch' is expressly applied to King Messiah in the Targum. Indeep this is one of the Messiah's peculiar names." Thus these branch references link Z to Messiah in some fundamental way.(Edersheim)
It is also undeniable form Isaiah 11 that Branch is a designation of the Davidic Messiah. It is clearly the Kingly David Messiah who ushers in the millennial kingdom to which that Chapter referrers.

Now look again at 4:7 where it speaks of Zerubbabel and the Capstone. Zech 4:7 is generally applied to the Messiah, expressly in the Targum and also in several of the Midrashim, thus as reguards both clauses of it Tanchuma (Par. Toledoth 14 ed. Warsh p. 56 at the top.) --Edersheim, 735).

So Zerubbabel is clearly linked to Messiah. He would have been king, and he's decided from the Messianic line. He is an ancestor of Jesus. He lays the corner stone, which, though it was literally something he did do in history, can also have a double meaning, especially since that very verse is linked Messianichally. So the Messiah comes through Zerubbabel's line, which links Jesus closer and removes the curse a priori.

B.Joshua is the Name of the Branch

In Zechariah 3: 3 The high Priest of Zerubbabel 's day "...stood before the angel. The angel said to those who stood before him 'take off his filthy clothes' Than he said to Joshua 'see I have taken away your sin and I will put rich garments on you.'" IN v8 "Listen Joshua and your men seated before you who are symbolic of things to come....I am going to bring my servant the Branch,....and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day."

In Zechariah 3:8 God tells Joshua the priest that he will bring a branch. In the Notes to the Oxford Bible (RSV), of Messianic prophesy, it says "8 Branch a Davidic figure who is to usher in the Messianic age (compare Psalm 132:17...) here refurs to Zerubbabel (see 6:9-15n) Now that note says "This section abounds with difficulties. Originally it probablly directed crowning of Zerubbabel as Messianic King but was revised to refur to Joshua."

But in this same passage, after the crowning of Joshua, "God tells the prophet, to say to Joshua "here is the man whose name is the Branch, an and he will branch out from here and build the temple of the Lord. It is he who will build the temple and he will be clothed with majesty and he will sit and rule on his throne."(6:12). He is speaking of the High preist Joshua as "the man whose name is the Branch, and that is who he is anointing:

Zec 6:11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set [them] upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; Zec 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Zec 6:13 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.

He is to be a Priest on this throne, that is a contradiction. There is a priestly Messiah and a Kingly Messiah, but they can't mix their functions,not unless they both symbolize the same figure; the true Messiah. So this gives the King a redeptive fucntion because it is the Preisestly messiah who redeems.

When he says "here is the man whose name is the Branch" he is crowning Joshua the high priest, whose name is actually Yesha (Jesus). But what is said next identifies "the man whose name is the branch" more with Zerubbabel. As stated above Zerubbabel may have been originally intended for Messianic crowning.

But I think what's really going on here is an intentionally confussing and melding of the two together because they both represent the true branch, the David Messiah who will come and sit on David's throne, and notice the fact that Joshua cannot sit on David's throne,but he shows us the name of the Branch, the name of the one who will.

But the two figures are united in v13 "he will be a priest on this throne." But this makes no sense because the Joseph Messiah can't have a throne, the priestly and Kingly functions are divided between the two, as is the point of having two of them. So this melding indicates the two really symbolize the same figure. Clearly both men are linked to the same Messianic figure. Zerubbabel through Rabbinical lore, the throne and the cornerstone, the Priest Joshua as "the man who brings the Branch" if not as the "name of the Branch."

Skeptics can counter with the objection that since this is the Priest, he is the symbol of the Priestly Messiah and not of the Davidic Messiah. Jesus must be the Davidic Messiah to sit on David's throne and be the branch of David and roote of Jessey. But my contention is that the two Messiah's are really one figure and Jesus has both functions. Thus they both represent Jesus. Thsu both Highpreist Joshua and Zerubabel both represent Jesus.

the two following arguments prove this point

I. Origin of Two Messiahs

A. Summary of Messianic beliefs

The Origin of Messianic beliefs can be seen in works such as Isaiah and Zacaraiah, as the exiles from Babylon anticipated return to their homeland, and as the new returnees struggled to get their new nation started in the patterns of restoration of the old. From Isiah's earlisest prophesies (chapters 9 and 11 proto Isaiah) they looked for a great political leader who would rule as God's agent and build a kingdom of total pace and justice. Cornfeld argues that when they first began to look for the political leader, great hope was placed in Zerubabel, but he died. After a string of other candiates, none of whom panned out, they began to spiritualize the anointed one. Finally, under Roman occupation they began to look for an eschatological disruption, and a cosmic Messiah who was the "Son of God." (see first page). Jurgen Moltmann, in Theology of Hope, tells us that the eschatological is the temporalizing of the journey through the wilderness. Once the journey is complete and the people are in the promoised land, they have no more need to long for the land. They possess it. But they must maintian their sense of God as the protector who journeys with them, so they temporalize the journey. Than under the pressure of occupation by the Romans they militarize the new promised "end of times" and the Messiah.

* Sibylline Oracles 3.285f:

"And then the heavenly God will send a king and will judge each man in blood and the gleam of fire. There is a certain royal tribe whose race will never stumble. This too, as time pursues its cyclic course, will reign, and it will begin to raise up a new temple of God."

* Sibylline Oracles 3.652-655:

"And then God will send a King from the sun who will stop the entire earth from evil war, killing some, imposing oaths of loyalty on others; and he will not do all these things by his private plans but in obedience to the noble teachings of the great God."

* Sibylline Oracles 5.108f:

"..then a certain king sent from God against him will destroy all the great kings and noble men. Thus there will be judgment on men by the imperishable one" with 5.414f: "For a blessed man came from the expanses of heaven with a scepter in his hands which God gave him, and he gained sway over all things well, and gave back the wealth to all the good, which previous men had taken. He destroyed every city from its foundations with much fire and burned nations of mortals who were formerly evildoers."

[from Glenn Miller:Christian Think Tank]

B. Origin of two Messiahs in Zachariah

1)Two Messiahs at Qumran.

Messianic Hopes in the Qumran Writings 1
Florentino Garcia Martinez 

Florentino Garcia Martinez is professor at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, where he heads the Qumran Institute. This chapter is reprinted from The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Florentino Garcia Martinez and Julio Trebolle Barrera (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995).

2 Priestly Messianism:

"Together with the King, the High Priest is one of the main individuals to receive an "anointing" in the Hebrew Bible. There is nothing unusual, then, that within the Old Testament we already find indications of the possible development of these references to the High Priest as "anointed one"&emdash;in the course of hope in a priestly agent of salvation in the eschatological era&emdash;together with the "anointed one" of royal character. It is in this sense, I think, that the vision of Zechariah 3 and its development in Zechariah 6:9-14 must be interpreted. In the first text, the future messianic age is clearly dominated by the figure of the High Priest Joshua, while the "shoot" only appears in passing and in a subordinate role. Neither of these two characters therefore is explicitly called "Messiah," but both texts are open to such an interpretation. As we will see further on, this interpretation will be developed within the Qumran community into a two-headed messianism."

2) Priestly Agent of Salvation


"However, a recently published text enables us to glimpse an independent development of the hope in the coming of the "priestly Messiah" as an agent of salvation at the end of times."

"It is an Aramaic text, one of the copies of the Testament of Levi, recently published by E. Puech,32 which contains interesting parallels to chapter 19 of the Greek Testament of Levi included in the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs. From what can be deduced from the remains preserved, the protagonist of the work (probably the patriarch Levi, although it cannot be completely excluded that it is Jacob speaking to Levi) speaks to his descendants in a series of exhortations. He also relates to them some of the visions which have been revealed to him. In one of them, he tells them of the coming of a mysterious person. Although the text is hopelessly fragmentary it is of special interest since it seems to evoke the figure of a "priestly Messiah." This "Messiah" is described with the features of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, as J. Starcky indicated in his first description of the manuscript."33 [some of the text of the fragment quoted at the top under the Martinez quotation]

[from Glenn Miller's Web site]

* Testament of Levi 18:2ff:

"And then the Lord will raise up a new priest to whom all the words of the Lord will be revealed. He shall effect the judgment of truth over the earth for many days. And his star shall rise in heaven like a king...This one will shine forth like the sun in the earth...The heavens shall rejoice in his days and the earth shall be glad; the clouds will be filled with joy and the knowledge of the Lord will be poured out on the earth like the water of the seas...And the glory of the Most High shall burst forth upon him. And the spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon him...In his priesthood sin will cease and lawless men shall find rest in him...And he shall open the gates of paradise...he will grant to the saints to eat of the tree of life..."

II. Two Messiahs are one.
A.Ben Joseph as War Machine Latter idea.

Edersheim argues that since this idea is not found in Rabbinical writings before the Middle ages it was a latter development. Of course, this is not true, but he could not have known about Qumran. Nevertheless, what is probably ture is that the fully developed notion of the Warrior Messiah was less well developed before the middle ages. It seems that the idea at Qumran of the Preistly Messiah was more oriented toward the cosmic redemptive priest rather than the war machine.

B. Double Messianism not Norm At Qumran

It can be seen that the double Messianism at Qumran may have been one minor voice. Recent scholarship finds far more emphasis upon the single Messiah.

Hebrew Scholars Michael Wise and James Tabor wrote an article that appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review (Nov./Dec. 1992) analyzing 4Q521:

"In short, there is not much evidence in the previously published scrolls that straightforwardly supports a putative doctrine of the two Messiahs.So the text that is the subject of this article (4Q521) is, in speaking of a single Messiah, more the rule than the exception.The Messiah of our text is thus much closer to the Christian Messiah, in this regard, than in any previously published text and requires us to reexamine the previously, rather restricted, views of Messianic expectations at Qumran."