Appendix: The Righteous Branch and the LORD Our Righteousness
On pages 123-124, Dr. Belcher writes (including footnote 19 on page 124):
"The rest of Jeremiah 33 focuses on the promise of a king in the Davidic Covenant and the implications for God's people (vv. 14-26). Without a king there can be no kingdom and no full restoration of the people. It is not a surprise that the prophecies of restoration end with an emphasis on the Davidic Covenant as a capstone to it. In 33.14-16 God declares that at some point in the future He will fulfill the promise of someone from the Davidic line to be raised to execute righteousness in the land and to save His people. This one is identified as 'a righteous Branch to spring up for David' (v. 15) and the name of Jerusalem will be the 'Lord is our righteousness' (v. 16). This passage seems to allude to Jeremiah 23.5-6 where the word 'branch' (ṣemaḥ) is also used and the king is named ‘The Lord is our righteousness’. The image of a new shoots sprouting from the stump of a tree fits the condition of the diminished Davidic dynasty. The name is given to the king in Jeremiah 23.5-6 is given to the city of Jerusalem in 33.16 as an embodiment of the character of the king who established the city once again as the capital of the Kingdom." [ch 8, pg 123-124]
"19. Mackay, Jeremiah, p. 278. Just as the term 'branch' is also used of the remnant in Isaiah 4.2 and 6.13, so 'The LORD our righteousness' is applied to the city of Jerusalem."[ch 8, pg 123-124]
Because the referenced texts are the heart of the discussion below, let's review them now:
‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the Lord is our righteousness.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.’
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
“In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
‘The Lord our righteousness.’
The texts clearly state:
- The Branch that will sprout forth will be called "the LORD our Righteousness".
- Jerusalem will be called "the LORD our Righteousness".
The phrase has a dual use; this is not surprising because Jerusalem/Israel will be named after her LORD and Messiah at His return!
When I read Dr. Belcher's comment above, along with the referenced footnote, the only conclusion to which I was able to come is that he desperately wants to minimize #1 and maximize #2 of the points above. The reason for this implicit emphasis is that if point #1 comes to the forefront, it will be evident to anyone honestly reading these texts for exactly what they say would be forced to admit that the "spiritual rule" of the Lord Christ does not match the prophecies.
Specifically, note the statements of the Scripture and the corresponding question which must be asked of the CT:
- He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.
Where is this rule of justice and righteousness?
- He will reign as king and act wisely.
Where is this king? Where is his wisdom shown in the rule which can't be seen?
- Judah will be saved.
This has not happened. National Israel is not a safe place to live.
- Jerusalem will dwell in safety.
This has not happened. National Israel is a very dangerous place to live and must be surrounded by barriers as an attempt to live with continued terrorist attacks.
- Jerusalem shall be called "the Lord is our righteousness".
This is not the current name of Jerusalem.
- A son of David shall be seated upon the throne of David.
Where is this Son of David? Where is the 'throne of David' upon which he is seated?
- The Levitical priests shall never lack a man before the LORD to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.
This last point, which I've made in another place in this article is that when the Son of David, the Messiah, returns, the Levitical priesthood will be reestablished. The Millennial rule of the Lord Christ will be a time of Law as a global Sabbath day is imposed for a thousand years. The people of God (Israel) will get their Sabbath rest. (Heb 4.9)
Since there are so many fatal discrepancies, for the CT it appears that it is better to emphasize the new name for Jerusalem and hope the followers of CT don't notice the "bait and switch" about using the term "the LORD our Righteousness" for the Lord Christ Himself, the prophesied Son of David, the Messiah!
Remember, Jerusalem is "the city of David":
cf., 2 Sam 5; 2 Sam 6; 1 Kin 2; 1 Kin 3; 1 Kin 8; 1 Kin 9; 1 Kin 14; 1 Kin 15; 2 Kin 8; 2 Kin 9; 2 Kin 12; 2 Kin 14; 2 Kin 15; 2 Kin 16; 1 Chr 11; 1 Chr 13; 1 Chr 15; 2 Chr 5
The city is named after the one chosen by the LORD to rule her. Prior to the return of the Messiah, it remains the "city of David", Jerusalem. After the Messiah comes—the Lord Christ—the city will be named after Him: "The LORD our Righteous".
Not even the ancient king David had that lofty name and could never hold that name, though he was a "man after God's own heart". This is the reason that Dr. Belcher's comment that "someone from the Davidic line" is more than a little misleading and why I believe that he attempted to deemphasize it. Is it true that the Lord Christ is "someone from the Davidic"? Yes! He is from the Davidic line, but He is the pinnacle, the end and fulfillment of the Davidic line! The Davidic line stops with the Lord Christ and His rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem until the end of the age!
This great truth can't be stopped by the mere declaration that the Lord Christ has returned to an invisible "spiritual rule" which has none of the global signs of that rule. Amillennialism is perfectly named: it is the denial of the literal Millennium (hence the alpha privative). Stated another way, it must be a denial since the signs of the rule of Messiah in Jer 23 and Jer 33 are not present! Amillennialism is eschatological gaslighting, something which is somewhat present in Dr. Belcher's comment above.