Updated: Feb 5
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
In this chapter of Jeremiah, he has been banished from the temple and sent into the court of the prison. Things were not going well for the split nation of Israel. When we read here of “the promise made” by Yahweh, the Hebrew word translated as “I have promised” is “dib·bar·tî.” The root Hebrew word, “dabar,” more properly means, “to speak.” Therefore, rather than thinking God had promised to give something good to Israel and Judah, which was like a father promising a reward for his children, the reality is God had spoken what would happen in the future [and God knows all].
When the one nation of Israel began its demise under David, and more so under Solomon, when it split into two nations under two kings, one has to recall what God said through Samuel, after the elders of the tribes demanded Samuel anoint them a king to be like other nations. After Samuel said how much sacrifice the people would have to give to a human king, God ended by saying, “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
The promise spoken is, “You make your bed. Now you have to lie in it.” The ‘reward’ given was their wish to be like other nations had been granted. They had turned away from the One God Yahweh, thus they had no King protecting either nation’s people. Jeremiah was told Israel and Judah had reached the point of being overrun by other nations and would then have to live under foreign domination, or be scattered to the four corners of the earth.
When God then told Jeremiah, “In those [future] days and at that [future] time I will cause a righteous branch to spring up for David,” this was initially prophesying Jesus. It is important to know that Hebrew does not have capital letters, but names (such as the Lord, Israel, Judah, and David) receive that honor as proper names, not simple words.
In this statement by God, the translation has capitalized the Hebrew word “tsemach,” showing it as “Branch.” The capitalization is not necessary, as Jesus was a direct descendant of David. Isaiah said, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse,” (Isaiah 11:1a) which implies the tree of Israel (born of Saul and David) was dead [like the fig tree that bears no fruit]. Jesus began a new tree.
This means the “righteous branch” would be the fruit produced from the Jesus tree, as Isaiah also prophesied: “from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1b) The word “tsemach” means, “sprout, growth [especially of a vine], or a bud of a plant.” Jesus would then be new “growth” from the same root of God’s holiness. The fruit of Jesus would be Christianity, which is the Christ Spirit reincarnated in Apostles, all reborn as Jesus Christ.
This is how a “branch” has greater significance as a continuous vine that spreads as it grows. With its roots in Holy soil [God], from which the fruit [Apostles] receives its nutrients, it is the tree or the vine [Jesus] that always grows from the root and always produces new fruit. Israel had failed to be one nation serving that role. Therefore, Jesus would be sent to “execute justice and righteousness in the land.”
The “vine” metaphor, as the “growth, shoot, or branch,” keeps the same root, which is God. The tree metaphor has family branches, but real trees produce fruit that falls from the branches and makes its own roots. Israel and Judah were like a forked tree that died; but Jesus was like a new vine.
When God then told Jeremiah, “In those [future] days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety,” this certainly was the case when Jesus was born. Judah was then called Judea, as a province of Rome. The Persians secured that region for the returning exiled Jews, who were the remnant of Judah. The Persians rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem for them to safely practice their religion. Jesus came after a beautification process had begun on the Temple; and his ministry was during times when there were no Roman hostilities directed at the Jews.
Still, it should be realized that this prophecy has not ceased to be applicable to today’s world. The name “Judah” [Hebrew “yə·hū·ḏāh”] means, “Let Him (God) Be Praised.” Christianity would become the salvation of what Israel had squandered, because it requires all disciples to fall deeply in love with Yahweh, so He will marry His wives and become one with them [individually]. At that point in the future, when Apostles were made, all would praise God. Because Jerusalem’s name means, “Possession Of Peace” or “Foundation Of Peace,” each Apostles becomes representative of Jerusalem, so each will “live in safety,” protected by the Lord.
As the key component of Jerusalem was the Temple, each Apostle is that sanctuary of God, with the heart of each Apostle where the Ark of the Covenant is kept, with Jesus Christ as the High Priest within. Therefore, Jeremiah spoke of the fruit of the vine of Christianity as being Judah and Jerusalem.
This then led to God saying, “And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” In this name prophesied by Jeremiah, the Hebrew written is “Yahweh [YHWH] ṣiḏ·qê·nū,” where the root word “tsedeq” means “righteousness.” The modification to that then says, “Yahweh is our righteousness,” in the plural number. Certainly, Jesus professed his righteousness was not self-made, but from the Father, meaning he was righteous because he was the Messiah of God. The plural number then means many will share in one name, where all will be like Jesus, proclaiming, “Yahweh has made us righteous through the Christ.”
As the Old Testament reading selection for the first Sunday of Advent, Year C, we are told of the times when Christians will be the extensions of Jesus of Nazareth, all born as the Christ. The association of this reading with Jesus telling his disciples of future times, when the Temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed, is now seen as the future times shown to Jeremiah, when Jerusalem would live in safety. The paradox is that Jerusalem will be both – destroyed and secured by God’s Peace.
Christians today are that paradox, as some are reflections of a worldly Jerusalem and others are reflections of a spiritual Jerusalem. One professes belief that birthright is all one needs to be blessed. During Jesus’ time on earth, the Jews that saw the worth of a fabulous and splendid building of stone and timber, they would be destroyed just like it. Just like going back to Jerusalem and rebuilding a dead tree on the stump that once was a mighty living tree of God, that dead reconstruction was like the fruitless fig tree Jesus cursed and made to wither and die. Christians that act like Pharisees and resist the teachings of Jesus today are just like a worldly Jerusalem that will face destruction.
Those Christians who are reflections of a spiritual Jerusalem, where the Law has been written on their hearts by the presence of God, through marriage and being cleansed by His Holy Spirit, they are the salvation of Judah. They praise God for taking their eyes off the worldly, through self-sacrifice, which allows them to be reborn as Jesus Christ – the fruit of the living vine.
This reading supports an End Times theme, meaning one has to see the folly of ignoring the urgency of one’s call to choose between destruction and salvation. Those who will survive must take on the name that identifies with God – Yahweh is my righteousness. Righteousness is impossible without God. Self-righteousness is a death sentence – destruction by mortality. One’s personal End Time is faced once again with divine judgment placed on an immortal soul: reincarnation or eternal damnation?
The promise to Israel and Judah are the promises made by God with all who swear an oath to a Covenant, only to find righteousness without the presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is too much hard work. If a sworn Christian today is demanding to have a king to be like other nations: by having a politician to worship; by having a political party to align with; by thinking one has a birthright to privilege that allows one to sin and write it off as safety in numbers; or if one simply demands a “right to be me, because I am somebody!” then guess what. Your wish has been granted by God.
Your ‘reward’ is you will become a slave to your addictions; and your addictions will destroy you. The clock is ticking towards a personal End Time, with God only saving those who wear His face.
The decision is up to the individual.