The Regathering & Restoration Recasted to the Last Days
God knew that this generation, like the former, would backslide and fall short of the Covenant promises and prophecies, perhaps the most prominent of them being those which foretold the coming of “the Branch”. Nevertheless, God’s foreknowledge of their fall does not make the promises given to Zerubbabel and Joshua inauthentic or unreal (Hag. 2:2-9, Zech. 4:6-10, Hag. 2:20-23, Zech. 3:8-10, Zech. 6:9-15; God in the Ways of Man) as if there was no intention in the mind of God to accomplish these things in and through the Restoration Generation of that time. For, remember, Joshua is called “the Branch” (Zech. 6:12) and Zerubbabel is called “a Signet” (Hag. 2:23), and moreover Zerubbabel is said to be the builder of God’s House and the promised finisher (Zech. 4:9), while Joshua is also promised to be a builder (Zech. 6:12-15) – and all of this, speaking of a greater and more glorious House than what Solomon built! If these promises were not authentically meant and genuinely intended for this time period, we would read of unconditional prophecies rather than promises bound with conditions! Instead, we read of conditions to these promises being strategically verbalized in Jer. 12:15-17, Zech. 3:6-7, & Zech. 6:15! Hence, the breached promises given especially to the Restoration Generation live-on to be eventually fulfilled in the Messiah, just like the breached promises that were authentically delivered to the Exodus Generation of the Abrahamic Covenant and the Generational Seed of David in the Davidic Covenant. To quote a wise Preacher concerning this cyclical happening, “There is no new thing under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9).
“And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him.” – Isa. 59:16, 50:2, 64:7
Jesus Christ is the mystery of every prophecy, promise, salvation, and Covenant. The purpose of God for Christ to descend into incarnation, ascend back up in Heaven, and then come again – this purpose was eternal – hereby in Jesus Christ, all things draw their significance. Nevertheless, besides this eternal purpose there were temporary purposes in God by way of condescension. God was intent on other salvations, promises, and Covenants (willful of them in the counsel “God in the Ways of Man”), but because of the sins of the persons to whom these salvific promises were given, they never came to pass. It was therefore – “through their fall” (Rom. 11:11) – that God changed His mind from the performance of the promises given to them, thus in another plan arising in a later time, but bounding thereto from eternity past, lo, “salvation is come” to us in Christ (Rom. 11:11)! They all fell from the good will of God in their lives (God in the Ways of Man), but it was for a mysterious, predestinated, and eternal purpose of Jesus Christ to become manifest in the sovereign will of God (God in the Ways of God). Men fell from the will of God in the ways of man because of the determination of the will of God in the ways of God.
It must needs be that these men – Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all others! – were found unfaithful and unworthy, though genuinely sought-after and sincerely covenanted with, for the arising of One who is Faithful, Worthy, and True! For, after all, there’s only one Man from the tribe of Judah that is worthy to embody all the promises and prophecies of old (Rev. 5:2-5). The duality of God’s intentions here and elsewhere convey the two simultaneous and genuine wills in God at all times; a glorious and necessary doctrine for all saints to understand! For, from the beginning (Prov. 8:30-31), ultimately (Rev. 19:13), and forevermore (Rev. 21:6), Biblical History & Futurity exists to prove that all things were created by Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ, and “by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:16-17)! This being the case, and notwithstanding, put yourself as one among the Restoration Generation, one who is a close friend of Joshua the High Priest, the one called “the Branch” in that generation (Zech. 6:12; a title ultimately assumed by the Messiah and nevertheless genuinely intended for Joshua), and consider the inestimable significance of what was prophesied to this unfit and unworthy man!
Isaiah, who was one of the first to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem and the dissolving of the Davidic Throne (Isa. 13:1-14:32), is very pointed in prophesying of the restoration and revival of the Davidic Throne. The most memorable prophecies of this revival, accomplished by the redemptive purpose of God’s judgment of Judah through Babylon, are those in reference to the Branch. From the beginning of Isaiah’s prophecies, the prophet was purposefully forthright in declaring the restoration of that which was in jeopardy, namely the status of Judah’s eventual restoration in that, God said, “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The City of Righteousness, The Faithful City. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness” (Isa. 1:26-27). Pause and contemplate the actual fulfillment of this prophetic word, my reader! Given the tumultuous course of Judah and Jerusalem theretofore, this is a staggering pronouncement!
With respect to the nigh-unwavering constancy of backsliding from generation to generation (Isa. 1:21-22, Jer. 2:2-3, 21, Isa. 5:1-7), I mean, this would be a profound difference, a staggering contrast, a glorious restoration! In terms of Isaiah’s prophecy, this meant: no more murderers, dross, mixing, rebellion, and impurities (Isa. 1:21-28), meaning a complete eradication of all transgressors and sinners from Zion (Isa. 1:28-31, Ps. 101:1-8)! What a difference? I mean, because the LORD desired to destroy Jerusalem and dissolve the Davidic Throne because of the sins of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21-24), and for the oath’s sake repented (2 Sam. 7:12-16, 2 Chron. 12:13); and seeing that the same sequence of events transpired because of the sins of Abijah (1 Kings 15:3-5) and Jehoram (2 Kings 8:19), repenting for the oath’s sake; and seeing that the divinely provocative and short-of-perfection sinfulness continued from Jehoram to Ahaz, who was Hezezkiah’s father, insomuch that in the days of Hezekiah the LORD did once again pursue the utter destruction of Jerusalem, which was thwarted for the oath’s sake (Micah 3:12, Jer. 26:17-20, 2 Chron. 32:20, Isa. 37:35); and, at last, upon observing the same thing happen with Josiah (2 Chron. 34:27-28), what profoundly glorious restoration is Isaiah speaking of in Isaiah 1:26-27? What unearthly man could break this cycle of the sons of Adam (Rom. 5:12-21, 1 Cor. 15:21-22)? Well, Isaiah says that it’s all because of the Branch (Isa. 11:1-12:6)!
In the Tribulation Period the LORD upbraided the seated Kings of Judah, the possessors of the Throne of David, because of their unethical hopefulness for partiality to wit God would forgive their impenitent sins and forbear to destroy Jerusalem yet again, but time had run out! The sons of Josiah, the Kings of Judah, were fearfully ignorant that the Davidic Throne shouldn’t have survived theretofore on account of the sins of their predecessors, their fathers, whose deeds they followed! They hoped that as always, the oaths of the Davidic Covenant would be preferred, the Davidic Throne would continue to be eternal, and the City of Jerusalem indestructible, but all in vain (Jer. 17:24-27; see “Bewilderment & Blindness by a Covenant Breached”)! Isaiah’s foretold restoration, however, is radically different than pastime situations. Why?
Isaiah says it’s all because of “the Branch” (Isa. 4:2-6): a Man said to be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) and, notwithstanding, “a root of Jesse” (Isa. 11:1, 10; “of the seed of David according to the flesh” – Rom. 1:3), having a shoulder’s breadth that can carry the weight and responsibility that comes with “the Throne of David” (Isa. 9:6-7), whose lineage will effectively rebuild “the Tabernacle of David” (Isa. 16:5), having unsurpassed authority as one who possesses “the Key of the House of David” (Isa. 22:22), one upon whom rests “the sure mercies of David” (Isa. 55:3), so that in this Branch the saying of Amos would be fulfilled, “in that Day will I raise up the Tabernacle of David” (Amos 9:11). According to Isaiah’s prophecies, this Man is identified by God to be, “My Servant” (Isa. 52:13-15, 53:1-13; Php. 2:5-8, 1 Cor. 15:45-47). According to Ezekiel, the Man is called “My Servant David” and also the “One Shepherd” and “Prince” of God’s people (Ezek. 34:23-24). Again, in Ezekiel 37:24-25, the LORD says that “David My Servant shall be King over them; and they shall have One Shepherd…”, and, “My Servant David shall be their Prince for ever”. Speaking of the same Man, an Elder of Heaven’s Court said, “behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Rev. 5:5), but this declaration was long after the Restoration Generation of Zerubbabel and Joshua fell short of the promise.
All of this was originally calendared to happen (God in the Ways of Man) in the regathering and restoration directly after the 70-year Babylonian Captivity (Jer. 29:10-14, 25:11-12, 27:22). Then, with a remnant returning (Isa. 10:20-22), they would seek David their King like Hosea the prophet prophesied (Hos. 3:5); strikingly, the regathering and restoration happens at the same time as the Branch (Jer. 23:3-8, Isa. 11:1-12:6) to wit: the Lord will regather them just like he did in bringing them out of Egypt (Jer. 23:3-8, Isa. 11:16, Hag. 2:5) and dwell in the midst of them for the rebuilding of the Temple unto unprecedented manifestations of divine glory (Isa. 12:6, Zech. 1:16, 2:5, 10, 6:12, 8:3)! Knowing this, and hearing God speak of Joshua the High Priest as the Branch (Zech. 3:8-10, 6:9-15), the God-fearing Jews of the Restoration Generation would have been in great wonder and expectation of what was about to take place, and for obvious reasons! Beholding the selfsame events pertaining to the Branch, Jeremiah prophesied, “I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jer. 23:5), and, “…they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jer. 30:9, 33:14-26)! In retrospect, of course, we know that God ultimately intended (God in the ways of God) all these prophecies to be fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, though they were conditionally delivered to Joshua the High Priest of old. Moreover, seeing that acts of redemption and glory would come from the Branch, the likes of which are unprecedented and unachievable except by the Millennial Reign of Christ and the regeneration of the world (see Isaiah Chapters 4, 11, 12, & 60), the prophet Zechariah is compelled to look yonder into the distant future in a recasting of the prophecies to the Latter Days (see Zechariah Chapters 7-14).