New American Standard Bible
2 On that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the beauty of the survivors of Israel. 3 And it will come about that the one who is left in Zion and remains behind in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, 5 then the Lord will create over the entire area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 And there will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.
The branch of the Lord speaks of the coming Messiah. This term and phrase is used in other places of scripture (Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12). The branch of the Lord is the offspring of King David. The Lord established a covenant with King David that He would always have a descendant to sit upon the throne. That His descendant would never see decay. This can only be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
We know the examining the linage of Christ in both the gospels of Matthew and Luke that Mary and Joseph came from the line of King David. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she became pregnant with child. This child would grow to be a man and His name is Jesus. Jesus is fully God and fully man and He is the only one who is capable of saving all of humanity. It is only through the shedding of blood that forgiveness of sins could come. Because of this to fully atone for human sin you would need a perfect human sacrifice that was without sin. This can only be found in Jesus Christ.
The survivors of Israel are those who would come out of the tribulation period. When Jesus returns and places His feet on the Mount of Olives, they shall look on the one who they have pierced. They will weep and mourn understanding that when Christ came the first time that He was truly the Messiah, but it was the Father’s plan for Jesus to be rejected. It is through the rejection of Jesus that the way of salvation was made for all people. That any who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
The land will be fruitful when the Messiah returns because it will be a time of peace and blessing unlike any other. He shall establish His kingdom and He shall rule the earth. Satan shall be bound for 1000 years and all nations shall stream to Jerusalem to hear the words of the Messiah. It will be a time of total restoration and Jerusalem shall be the focal point of all things.
Those who are left in Zion and remains behind in Jerusalem will be called holy because it is God who will wash away their sins. Their hearts and lives will be given over to Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus that forgiveness of sins can be found. Those who trust in Christ will be written in the Lamb’s book of life. God’s desire is that people would come to salvation. That they would experience His grace and His mercy. He knocks on the hearts of people over and over again drawing them to give their lives to Him. God has not given up on Israel and will fulfill every plan and purpose He has established in scripture concerning Israel.
The Lord will wash away the filth and cleanse the wickedness of Israel through the coming judgement of the tribulation period. When we examine the book of Revelation, we find that when the first seal is broken and judgement begins on the earth that the focus is not the church. The focus is Israel. Many have wrongly used replacement theology stating that the church has replaced Israel. The covenant that God established through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob shall be fulfilled by the Living God. God is the faithful one and the coming judgement on the earth will thoroughly cleanse Israel of all wickedness like a mighty fire. When precious metals are place in fire the purpose is to remove all the impurities and that which comes forth is pure.
The picture of a cloud by day and flaming fire by night takes us back to God’s care and concern of the nation of Israel when they wandered in the wilderness. It is because of their rebellion that they ended up spending forty years in the wilderness in a journey that should have taken eleven days. But God never forsake them. Even though they continually complained and rebelled, the Lord in His grace and mercy still sustained them. The cloud by day protected them from the extreme heat of the wilderness. The fire by night protected them from the extreme cold and guided them in the darkness.
When the Messiah returns to establish His kingdom, it will be a time of peace and blessing. His protective care will be a canopy of glory over Jerusalem. Jesus in His glorified body will physical be upon the earth and will rule the earth. Many of us outside of the original disciples and the early witnesses of Christ ministry have only read about Him in scripture. We come to know Him as we draw near each day. But what an awesome time it will be to be under His rule and reign.
The Lord is our hiding place, and He is our refuge. Everything we go through now that is hard and difficult as a follower of Christ will not compare with His coming glory. Great and mighty things await those who faith and trust is in Jesus Christ. The language here of being our hiding place and protection from the storm speaks of the Messiah’s rule as one of peace, blessing, and prosperity. It was the Father’s will for Jesus to be rejected the first time so that the way would be made for Jesus to return and establish His kingdom upon the earth. This is why our citizenship is in heaven. Though we live on the earth and we live in the world, this is not our home. It is mired in sin and wickedness. But there is coming a day when the wickedness and sin of the world shall be cleansed by judgement and fire. When Jesus comes to establish His kingdom it will be a time of His glory and peace unlike we have ever known.