C O M M E N T:
As the examples below show, vine and Branch allusions in the Old Testament sometimes refer to the Messianic Monarchy and its restoration. The DIDACHE harkens to King David and to Melchizedek, king of (Jerus?) Salem as the ‘branch’ or vine, and Jesus is the restoration.
The DIDACHE and its Eucharist seem to stem more authentically from these kingly antecedents, in the mind of the Twelve and of the Lord.
Partaking the Eucharist of bread and wine signified membership in the covenant community, in a rite recalling an older model.
However, in what was arguably a corruptive manner apparently derived from the apostle Paul, this authentic and original monarchic/ messianic implication of the Eucharist was supplanted. In its stead, the post-Apostolic Church sought to re-institute priestcraft, and thereby to eliminate or obscure the implication of Christ Himself as the living and ruling King. The establishment of a papacy actually competes with, or is redundant of, the spiritual Lordship of Christ.
IN this sense, the eventual Eucharist as we know it expresses the very opposite meaning Christ intended. The post-Constantinian Eucharist form became an inversion of the original, bringing about an institutionalized return to priestcraft, by a theological ‘hoc est corpus’ formula in which the Eucharistic elements were made to signify a bloody sacrifice. Again, the authentic original Eucharist was a re-enactment of the feast that old pre-Exilic Israelite kings celebrated (David, Melchizedek). Another, similar implication is the eschatological banquet. I believe that the respective implications of the two rites–the celebratory feasts of the monarchy on the one hand, vs. the recurring sacrifice of atonement, are rather antithetical.
In my understanding, the death of Christ signifies not an event to be commemorated, but just the opposite: the end of the age-old terrifying concept of a recurring [human or vicarious animal] sacrifice.
Thus too, in a rather hostile way, Christ’s gospel properly marks the end of a need for priests offering the the sacrifice host. Rather, in place of them, Christ begins a New Covenant without such offices. Instead we have the spiritual monarchy of the Risen Christ, supplanting priests. The spirit of Christ enters prophets in the Church and makes them the new high priests (DID. 13.3).
The same idea is conveyed in Revelation 1:4-6:
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne; (5) even from Jesus Christ the faithful Witness, the First-born from the dead and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, (6) and made us kings and priests to God and His Father: to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(Note this does not say the Lord washed the sins of only ‘some’ of us who are initiated, nor that only ‘some’ of us are made kings and priests. The stronger implication is that the offices of priest and king are collectively shared in the fellowship of those who are washed free of sin by His blood. Also, though, note that in Rev 5.10 the ‘kings and priests’ vocabulary comes from the mouths of the 24 elders in heaven and the four living creatures; this, along with the idea of the Seven Angels to the Seven Churches, may signify that the Lordship, kingship, and priesthood, while shared collectively on earth, are ‘administered’ and rule-over from heaven, by a celestial council.)
Concordance of “Branch” (and the related idea of springing therefrom):
Strong’s H6780 צמח
Total KJV Occurrences: 9; branch: 5; Isa_4:2, Jer_23:5 Jer_33:15, Zec_3:8, Zec_6:12
Isa 4:1-6 [DID. 9.2]
(1) And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread and wear our own clothing; only let us be called by your name, to take away our shame. [DID. 10.2]
(2) In that day shall the Branch of Jehovah be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely for those who have escaped from Israel.
(3) And it shall be, he who is left in Zion, and he who remains in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even everyone who is written among the living in Jerusalem;
(4) when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from its midst by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
(5) And Jehovah will create over all the site of Mount Zion, and on her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for on all the glory shall be a defense.
(6) And there shall be a booth for a shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge, and for a hiding place from storm and rain.
Jer 23:1-40 (v 6.=DID. 10.2)
(1) Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture, says Jehovah.
(2) Therefore so says Jehovah, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who feed My people, You have scattered My flock, and have driven them away, and have not visited them. Behold, I will bring on you the evil of your doings, says Jehovah.
(3) And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their fold. And they shall be fruitful and multiply.
(4) And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they shall fear no more, nor be afraid; nor shall they lack anything, says Jehovah.
(5) Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and act wisely, and shall do judgment and justice in the earth.
(6) In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is His name by which He shall be called, JEHOVAH, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
(7) Therefore, behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that they shall no more say, Jehovah lives, who brought the sons of Israel up out of the land of Egypt;
(8) but, Jehovah lives, who brought up and led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries where I have driven them. And they shall dwell in their own land.
(9) My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of Jehovah, and because of the Words of His holiness.
(10) For the land is full of adulterers. Yes, because of cursing the land mourns; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their power is not right.
(11) For both prophet and priest are ungodly; yes, in My house I have found their evil, says Jehovah.
(12) So their way shall be to them as slippery ways in the darkness; they shall be driven on, and fall in them; for I will bring evil on them, even the year of their judgment, says Jehovah.
(13) And I have seen frivolity in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to go astray.
(14) I have also seen in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing; they commit adultery and walk in falsehood. They also strengthen to the hands of evildoers, so that none returns from his evil; they are all of them like Sodom to Me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.
(15) So Jehovah of Hosts says this concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them wormwood, and make them drink poisonous water; for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone forth into all the land.
(16) So says Jehovah of Hosts, Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you vain; they speak a vision from their own heart, not out of the mouth of Jehovah.
(17) They still say to those who despise Me, Jehovah has said, You shall have peace! And they say to everyone who walks after the stubbornness of his own heart, No evil shall come on you!
(18) For who has stood in the counsel of Jehovah, and hears His Word? Who has listened to His Word and heard it?
(19) Behold, the tempest of Jehovah has gone forth in fury, a whirling tempest. It shall whirl on the head of the wicked.
(20) The anger of Jehovah shall not return, until He has done and until He has set up the purposes of His heart; in later days you shall understand it perfectly.
(21) I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
(22) But if they had stood in My wisdom and had caused My people to hear My Words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.
(23) Am I a God near, says Jehovah, and not a God afar off?
(24) Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? says Jehovah. Do I not fill the heavens and earth? says Jehovah.
(25) I have heard what the prophets said, who prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
(26) How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? But they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
(27) who plot to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which they tell, each one to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten My name for Baal.
(28) The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream. And he who has My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? says Jehovah.
(29) Is not My Word like a fire? says Jehovah; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
(30) So Jehovah says, Behold, I am against the prophets who steal My Words each one from his neighbor.
(31) Jehovah says, Behold, I am against the prophets who use their tongues and say, He says.
(32) Jehovah says, Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams and tell them, and cause My people to go astray by their lies and by their lightness. Yet I did not send them nor command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, says Jehovah.
(33) And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask you, saying, What is the burden of Jehovah? You shall then say to them, What burden? I will even forsake you, says Jehovah.
(34) And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, who shall say, The burden of Jehovah, I will even punish that man and his house.
(35) So you shall say each one to his neighbor, and each one to his brother, What has Jehovah answered? And what has Jehovah spoken?
(36) And you shall mention the burden of Jehovah no more. For every man’s word shall be his burden; for you have perverted the Words of the living God, of Jehovah of Hosts our God.
(37) So you shall say to the prophet, What has Jehovah answered you? And what has Jehovah spoken?
(38) But since you say, The burden of Jehovah; therefore so says Jehovah, Because you say this word; the burden of Jehovah; and I have sent to you saying, You shall not say, The burden of Jehovah;
(39) therefore, behold, I, even I, will completely forget you, and I will forsake you and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of My presence.
(40) And I will bring an everlasting reproach on you, and a never-ending shame, which shall not be forgotten.
Jer 33:1-26 [v 15 cf. DID. 10.2]
(1) And the Word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard, saying,
(2) So says Jehovah the Maker of it, Jehovah who formed it in order to establish it; Jehovah is His name:
(3) Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and inscrutable things which you do not know.
(4) For so says Jehovah, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to defend against the siege-mounds and against the sword:
(5) They come to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the dead bodies of men whom I have slain in My anger and in My fury, and for all whose evil I have hidden My face from this city.
(6) Behold, I will bring it health and healing, and I will heal them and will show them the riches of peace and truth.
(7) And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
(8) And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me; and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned, and by which they have transgressed against Me.
(9) And it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do to them. And they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the riches that I bring to it.
(10) So says Jehovah: Again there shall be heard in this place, which you say is a waste without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast;
(11) the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who shall say, Praise Jehovah of Hosts, for Jehovah is good, for His mercy endures forever; and the voice of those who shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of Jehovah. For I will cause the captivity of the land to return, as at the first, says Jehovah.
(12) So says Jehovah of Hosts: Again in this place which is a desert without man and without beast, and in all its cities, there shall be a home of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
(13) In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him who tallies, says Jehovah.
(14) Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will establish the good thing which I have spoken to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
(15) In those days, and at that time, I will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up to David. And He shall do judgment and righteousness in the land.
(16) In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely. And this is the name with which she shall be called, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS [DID. 10.2].
(17) For so says Jehovah, David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel,
(18) nor shall the priests the Levites lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle grain offerings, and to do sacrifice forever.
(19) And the Word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah, saying,
(20) So says Jehovah: If you can break My covenant of the day and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season,
(21) then also may My covenant with David My servant be broken, that he should not have a son to reign on his throne, and My covenant with the Levites the priests, My ministers.
(22) As the host of the heavens cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so I will multiply the seed of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.
(23) And the Word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah, saying,
(24) Do you not consider what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which Jehovah has chosen, He has even cast them off? So they have despised My people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
(25) So says Jehovah: If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not given the ordinances of the heavens and the earth,
(26) then I will cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will bring back their captivity, and have mercy on them.
Zec 3:1-10 [DID 9.2]
(1) And He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
(2) And Jehovah said to Satan, May Jehovah rebuke you, Satan! May even Jehovah who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?
(3) Now Joshua was clothed with filthy clothes, and stood before the Angel.
(4) And He answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy clothes from him. And to him He said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with ceremonial robes.
(5) And I said, Let them set a clean turban on his head. And they set a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the Angel of Jehovah stood by.
(6) And the Angel of Jehovah charged Joshua, saying,
(7) So says Jehovah of Hosts: If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My charge, then you shall also judge My house, and shall also keep My courts, and I will give you places to walk among these who stand by.
(8) Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your fellows who sit before you; for they are men of symbol.
(9) For behold! I will bring forth My Servant the Branch. For behold the stone that I have set before Joshua: On one stone are seven eyes [Rev. 5.6]. Behold, I will engrave its engraving, says Jehovah of Hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
(10) In that day, says Jehovah of Hosts, you shall call, each man to his neighbor, to sit under the vine and under the fig tree.
(9) And the Word of Jehovah came to me saying,
(10) Take from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, from the exiles who have come from Babylon; and in that day you go and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah.
(11) And take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.
(12) And speak to him, saying, So speaks Jehovah of Hosts, saying, Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH! And He shall spring up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of Jehovah.
(13) Even He shall build the temple of Jehovah; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne. And He shall be a priest on His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
(14) And the crowns shall be for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah to Helem and to Tobijah and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah.
(15) And the distant ones shall come and build in the temple of Jehovah, and you shall know that Jehovah of Hosts has sent me to you. And this shall be, if you will carefully obey the voice of Jehovah your God.
(Other renderings of Hebrew tsemach: “grew,” Gen 19:25, Eze 17:10; “spring,” Eze_17:9 “springing,” Psa_65:9-10)
(14) Return, we beg You, O God of Hosts; look down from Heaven, and behold, and visit this vine,
(15) and the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, and the Son that You make strong for Yourself.
(16) It is burned with fire, and cut down; they perish at the rebuke of Your holy face.
(17) Let Your hand be on the Man of Your right hand, on the Son of man whom You have made strong for Yourself.
(18) So we will not go back from You; make us live, and we will call on Your name.
(19) Turn us again, O Jehovah, the God of Hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved.