There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And 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 the fear of the LORD.Isaiah 11:1-2
Every word, name, place, symbol, sign, and literary shadow in the Holy Bible is superintended by the divine author of Scripture — the Holy Spirit. As a result, the Bible is the most masterfully crafted supernatural revelation of God ever to grace mankind.
Today I will explore one of the most significant but often missed prophetic types in the Scriptures — the Branch. Like all types and shadows, once you begin to tug on this thread, it starts to unravel and reveal all kinds of wonderful and amazing discoveries that ultimately point us to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.Zechariah 3:8
The Old Testament prophets often depicted the coming Messiah in terms of a root, a shoot, or a branch. The word picture is self-evident in that a seed takes root and produces a shoot, which eventually grows into a mature tree with branches that produce fruit, starting the cycle all over again.
So which is it? Is the Messiah the root, or the shoot, or the Branch or the fruit?
And He is even more. He also is the stump of Jesse.
The Stump of Jesse
The language of the Scriptures is precise. In order to grasp the full scope of the Branch, it is important to begin first with the stump of Jesse. A stump is what remains after a tree is cut down, and Jesse was the father of King David. So how is all of this connected to the Lord Jesus Christ?
Of all the capable sons of Jesse, the LORD God chose the youngest son David to be His anointed king [see 1 Samuel 16]. The LORD later established an unconditional covenant with King David promising to preserve his throne forever and to bring forth one of his descendants as the Messiah — the Anointed King of Israel [see 2 Samuel 7]. The Hope of Israel was in Messiah ben-David — “son of David.”
So Jesse is significant as the patriarch of the house of David, and David is signifiant as the patriarch of the promised Messiah and King of Israel.
But why a stump? What happened to the “tree” of Jesse that it became a stump?
It was cut down — in more than one way.
First, the tree of Jesse was cut down at the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., when the last of David’s sons — Zedekiah — was deposed and taken into Babylonian captivity, bringing an end to sovereign rule of the house of David in Judah [see 2 Kings 25]. For the fist time in nearly 400 years, Jerusalem was without a “son of David” on her throne.
So the royal house of David was “cut down” in effect but not lost forever. For God is faithful to keep all His promises, and therefore David’s house did return and resettle the land after 70 years of captivity and the LORD did preserve his heritage — keeping the hope of the Messiah ben-David alive.
Until … “the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive our adoption as sons” [Galatians 4:4-5]. The time had fully come for God to take the stage and insert Himself into the drama of human history.
The promised son of David had arrived, and His name was to be called Yeshua (Joshua) — for He came to save His people. The angel Gabriel could not be any clearer that the righteous Branch — the son of David had arrived.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.Luke 1:26-33
Jesus, the son of Mary, of the house of David, was and is the long-expected Messiah and Savior. “He is here! He has arrived!”
That was the angelic announcement, and yet tragically the majority of His own people — the Jews — did not receive their King but rejected Him.
Even more tragic is the sobering reality that the religious leaders of Israel plotted and the nation at large participated in the public execution of the son of David — their Messiah!
In other words, Jesus is the stump of Jesse in that He was cut off for the sins of His own people and of the whole world! Perhaps no other chapter in Scripture communicates this tragedy like Isaiah 53.
“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground … But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed …By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?” [Isaiah 53:2,5,8]
In spite of this tragedy, the cross of Christ was not a failure but rather God’s greatest triumph! Only God could have conquered through death, which is why Jesus could say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” [Luke 23:34].
The Shoot of Jesse
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.Isaiah 11:1
If the stump of Jesse signifies Messiah being cut off, then the shoot of Jesse is the promise of resurrection life! And if the shoot is an allusion to resurrection life, then it’s branches and fruit become the promise of those who believe and receive the resurrection life of Jesus Christ!
What an intricate analogy all wrapped up in Isaiah 11:1!
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.1 Corinthian 15:20-22
Jesus is the first born from among the dead, and He is True Vine that provides eternal life to all who remain in Him! He is the root and we are the branches — both Jews and Gentiles. We remain in Him by faith.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:4-5
The Root of Jesse
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples— of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.Isaiah 11:10
Jesus is the stump of Jesse, the shoot of Jesse, the True Vine, the first fruits from the dead, and the son of David.
But perhaps the most telling typological title is found in the “root of Jesse.” Everyone knows that the root precedes the shoot or the tree or branches. The root is preeminent and necessary for the tree to live.
So it is with Jesus Christ — the root of Jesse! He precedes Jesses, being very God. He is before all things as Creator. He is preeminent as the Head of the body.
The root of Jesse is an allusion to the deity of Jesus Christ, as the Scriptures so agree.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,Micah 5:2
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.Revelation 22:12-13
The Lord Jesus Christ precedes Jesse in every way just as He precedes all men, which is why He is the root, source, our point of origin, our Creator God. Let us not forget what Jesus said to the Jews, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” [John 8:58].
So the promised Messiah who was to come from the lineage of Jesse and King David at the same time eternally existed before them both. He is before all things and the end of all things — the first and the last!
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”Revelation 5:5
The Righteous Branch
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’Jeremiah 25:5-6
So we have established that the Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect fulfillment of every type and shadow associated with the servant of the LORD — the Branch. He is the root, shoot and stump of Jesse. He is the True Vine bearing fruit unto eternal life. He is the son of David and King of Israel. And He is the Anointed One — the Messiah.
Jesus is the Tree of Life and all who partake of the fruit of His righteousnesses will live forever!
We are still awaiting the final fulfillment of the Branch, which will culminate when the Lord Jesus returns as King and establishes His throne in Zion to bless the whole world. Isaiah provides a beautiful description of this future Millennial Kingdom.
In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,4when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.Isaiah 4:2-6
We should not be surprised that of the very last words of the Lord Jesus, He reminds us of His true identity. He is both the root and the son of David.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”Revelation 22:16