We have seen in the recent articles about the Zabur that Allah had promised a Coming Kingdom. This Kingdom would be different from human kingdoms. Look at the news today and see what happens in human kingdoms. Fighting, corruption, atrocities, killings, the strong exploiting the weak – this happens in all human kingdoms whether they be Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or secular Western ones. The big problem in all these kingdoms is that we who live in them have a restless thirst as we saw with Prophet Jeremiah (PBUH) which leads us to sin and so many of these problems in all their various descriptions (i.e. corruption, killings, sexual harassments etc.) are really just the visible effects of sin so the major obstacle holding back the coming of this Kingdom is us. If Allah set up his new Kingdom right away none of us could enter it because our sin would ruin that Kingdom as much as we ruin the current kingdoms. Jeremiah (PBUH) also prophesied the day when Allah would set up a New Covenant. This Covenant would be new because it would be written in our hearts rather than on tablets of stone like the Law of Musa was. It would change us from the inside-out to make us fit to be citizens of this Kingdom.
How was this going to be done? The plan of Allah was like a hidden treasure. But a few clues in the messages of the prophets of Zabur were given so that those who were seeking this Kingdom would understand, but the rest who were not interested would remain ignorant. We look at these messages now. The plan centered on the coming Masih (which as we saw here = Messiah = Christ). We have seen already in the Psalms of Zabur (inspired by King Dawud) that the predicted Masih had to come from the line of King Dawud (see here to review this).
The Prophet Isaiah about the Tree, the Stump … and The Branch
The Prophet Isaiah (PBUH) revealed that this plan of Allah would happen in a roundabout way. Isaiah’s book in Zabur was written during the period of the Dawud/David’s Royal dynasty (ca 1000 – 600 BC). When it was written (750 BC) the dynasty and the entire Israelite kingdom was corrupt – due to the thirst of their hearts.
Isaiah (PBUH) was inspired to write a plea for the Israelites to return to Allah and to the practice and spirit of the Law of Musa. Isaiah also knew that this repentance and return would not happen and so he predicted that the Israelite nation would be destroyed and the royal dynasty would be shattered. We saw here how this happened. In his prophesy he used a metaphor or image of the dynasty being like a great tree that would soon be cut down and only a stump would remain. This happened around 600 BC when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and since that time no descendant of King David/Dawud has ever ruled in Jerusalem.
But along with all these prophecies of coming destruction in his book, came this special message:
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him–the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
Jesse was the father of King David/Dawud, and thus the root of his Dynasty. The ‘stump of Jesse’ was therefore a prophecy of the coming shattering and ending of the dynasty of kings from David/Dawud. But Isaiah, being a prophet, also saw past this time and predicted that though the stump (line of Kings) would look dead, it would not be totally so. One day in the future a shoot, known as the Branch, would emerge from that same stump he declared. This Branch is called a ‘him’ so Isaiah is prophesying about a coming man from the line of David. This man would have such qualities of wisdom, power, and knowledge it could only be from the very Spirit of God resting on him. Now remember how we saw that the Masih was also prophesied to come from the line of David – this was most important. The Branch and the Masih both from David/Dawud? Could this be two titles for the same coming person? Let’s keep exploring through the Zabur.
The Prophet Jeremiah … about the Branch
The prophet Jeremiah (PBUH), coming 150 years after Isaiah, when the dynasty of David was actually being cut down before his very eyes wrote:
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD our Righteousness”. (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
Jeremiah (PBUH) directly continues from the Branch prophecy started by prophet Isaiah (PBUH) 150 years earlier. The Branch will be a King. We saw that the Masih was also to be a King. The similarity between the Masih and the Branch is growing.
The Prophet Zechariah … names The Branch
The prophet Zechariah (PBUH) continues the messages for us. He lived 520 BC, just after the Jewish people returned back to Jerusalem from their first expulsion into Babylon, but while they were being ruled by the Persians.
(Please do not confuse this Zechariah with Zakariyah the father of Yahya/John the Baptist. It is the same name but this prophet Zechariah lived 500 years before Zakariyah and in fact Zakariyah is named after this Zechariah, just like today there are many people named Mohamed and they are so named after the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH)). At that time (520 BC) the Jewish people were working to rebuild their destroyed temple and re-institute the sacrifices of Harun (PBUH), brother of Musa (PBUH). The descendant of Harun who was the High Priest (and only a descendant of Harun could be a High Priest) at the time of the Prophet Zechariah was Joshua. So in that time (about 520 BC) Zechariah was the prophet and Joshua was the High Priest. Here is what Allah – through Zechariah – declared about the High Priest Joshua:
‘”Listen O High Priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. See the stone I have set in front of Joshua!” …, says the LORD Almighty, “and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day”.’ (Zechariah 3:8-9)
The Branch! Again! But this time he is also called ‘my servant’. And in some way the High Priest Joshua is symbolic of this coming Branch. The High Priest Joshua is thus a Sign. But in what way? And what does it mean that in ‘a single day’ the sins will be removed by the LORD (“I will remove…”)? We continue on in Zechariah and learn something astounding.
‘The word of the LORD came to me: “… [about] the high priest Joshua. Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says, ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch … ’’ (Zechariah 6:9-10)
Notice that Joshua, his very name, is the name of the Branch. Remember what we learned about transliterations and translations of Hebrew into English. We read ‘Joshua’ here because we read an English translation. But what is the original name in Hebrew? The figure below tells us.
Going from Quadrant 1 -> 3 (like we did in understanding where the title ‘Messiah’ or ‘Masih’ came from) we see that the name ‘Joshua’ is transliterated from the Hebrew name ‘Yhowshuwa’. This name is transliterated to ‘Joshua’ when the Old Testament is translated into English. Also remember that the Taurat/Zabur was translated into Greek around 250 BC. This is Quadrant 1 -> 2. These translators also transliterated the Hebrew name ‘Yhowshuwa’ when they translated the Old Testament into Greek. Their Greek transliteration was Iesous. Thus ‘Yhowshuwa’ of the Hebrew Old Testament was called Iesous in the Greek Old Testament. When the Greek New Testament is translated into English the name Iesous transliterates to ‘Jesus’. In other words, just like Masih=Messiah=Christ=Anointed One,
‘Yhowshuwa’ = Iesous = Joshua = Jesus (= Isa)
In the same way that the name Muhammad = محمد, Joshua = Jesus. What is amazing, which everyone deserves to know, is that 500 years before Isa al Masih, the Prophet of the Injil ever lived, it was predicted by the prophet Zechariah that the name of the Branch would be Jesus (or Isa – the transliteration from Arabic). Jesus (or Isa) is the Branch! The Branch and the Masih (or Christ) are two titles for the same person! But why would he need two different titles? What was he going to do that was so important? The prophets of Zabur now explain further in greater detail – in our next article on the Zabur.