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The Book of Zechariah
Chapter 4

We now come to Zechariah's seventh vision. Think back over the visions he has had so far, and you can see a story unfolding. He has seen #1. the riders on horses under the myrtle trees, #2. the four horns, #3. the four smiths or carpenters, #4. the man with the measuring line, #5. Joshua and Satan, and #6. the Branch and the Stone with seven eyes in it.

The first four visions symbolize the outward deliverance from the slavery and oppression of Babylon. The visions also look to the end times when Israel again will be scattered throughout the world, as they certainly are today, then returned to their land when the Lord Jesus comes to bring them back.

The fifth and sixth visions symbolize inner salvation. Joshua, the high priest, is seen in filthy garments which God replaces with clean ones. This tells the story of Israel brought back to their land for a purpose . . . BUT they cannot and will not be used in their sin. They must be cleansed; BUT they cannot cleanse themselves, and their religion certainly cannot do it! NO "religion" can! The cleansing must come from Someone besides themselves. Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (KJV)

ONLY Almighty God Himself can provide the redemption. 1 Peter 1:19-21 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (KJV)

Only when a person is washed in the Blood of Jesus are they cleansed! Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (KJV)

Joshua, the high priest, has been cleansed, but he is not quite ready for service. The following vision will show us how Joshua is to fulfill the office of high priest.

Vision Of The Candlestick And Two Olive Trees Zec.4:1-14

Zechariah 4:1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, (KJV)

And the angel that talked with me . . . (Zec.1:9; 2:3).

Came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep . . . it seems Zechariah went to sleep after the last vision. If you remember, Zechariah had been wide awake when he received the other visions; six tremendous visions thus far. He must have dozed off. The angel has to wake him up because this vision will not be in a dream; he will see it all, just like the others.

Zechariah was surely overwhelmed by the greatness of the visions, and must have sunk down in a sort of stupor, similar to Daniel, after the vision of the ram and he-goat, as Gabriel was speaking with him, Daniel says, "I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground, and he touched me and set me upright" (Dan.8:8); and again, at the voice of the angel, who, after his three weeks' fast (Dan.10:2-9), who had come to declare to him "the Scripture of truth" (Dan.10:21); and at the Transfiguration, "Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they were awake, they saw His glory" (Lk.9:32). Such wondrous mysteries were shown to godly men.

Zechariah 4:2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: (KJV)

And said unto me, What seest thou? . . . after Zechariah was awake, and had looked around, the angel asked: "What do you see?"

And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold . . . this is the seven-branched candlestick which stood in the Holy Place of the tabernacle and later in the Temple. Today the menorah, the candlestick, is a symbol of the nation Israel. In the tabernacle, and later in the Temple, the seven-branched candlestick was one of the most beautiful of the pieces of furniture. It was made of solid gold, made by Bezaleel (Ex.38:22). The candlestick is the seven-branched candlestick of the tabernacle (Ex.25:31), and I think here it symbolizes the abundant and constant supply of the oil; oil being the symbol of God's Holy Spirit, who enables with perpetual light (Jn.14:16-17).

For more on the candlestick, see:
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3964-candlestick

Here in Zechariah's vision, the picture is of the nation Israel, represented by the menorah, which will in the future become a witness for God in the world (Rev.7:4-17).

With a bowl upon the top of it . . . there were three branches going out on each side of the main stem, and on top of each were "bowls" beautifully made like open almond flowers, where the lamps were placed. The high priest was in charge of the candlestick; lighting them and filling them with oil. He also trimmed the wicks and to see that they burned continually. In the Book of Revelation we have a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, walking "in the midst of the seven candlesticks" (Rev.1:12-18), which represented the seven churches in Asia Minor (Rev.ch.2 & 3). He warned them that if they did not repent of their sins He would remove their lampstands. "I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick" (Rev.2:5).

And He did just that. In modern Turkey today, not one of those churches exists. They all lie in ruins. Christ removed their candlesticks Here in our own land our Great High Priest has closed the door of many churches which were not preaching the Truth in the Word of God.

The "oil" is a very important factor in the vision. The candlestick speaks of Christ, the Light.

The lamps with the oil in them speak of the Holy Spirit (Jn.7:37-39). We have no better picture of the Holy Spirit than the oil of the candlestick Oil is one of the most clearly defined symbols in the Bible, and the symbolism is that of the Holy Spirit. Oil represents the Holy Spirit, and the light which is given out from it represents Christ because He is the Light of the World. The "candlestick" (lampstand) is probably the most complete picture of Christ that the symbolism of the tabernacle gives to us. The measurement of the candlestick was not given because it is impossible to measure deity. It was designed in a very wonderful way with open almond blossoms at the top into which the little lamps were placed after they had been filled with oil and their wicks trimmed.

Christ, the Light of the world: (Num.24:17; Isa.9:2; 30:26; 42:6; 49:6; Mal.4:2; Mat.4:16; 17:2; Lk.1:79; 2:32; Jn.1:4,9; 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35,46; Acts 22:6;26:23; 2 Cor.3:14; 4:6; Eph.5:14; 1 Jn.1:5; 2:8; Rev.1:16; 21:23; 22:16).

And his seven lamps thereon . . . seven was the number of lamps were on the candlestick in the tabernacle (Ex.25:31-37). TRUE Christians are called lights and lamps (Mat.5:14-16).

And seven pipes to the seven lamps which were upon the top thereof . . . these pipes, infusers or funnels were at the bottom of the bowl, in which were holes, that let out the oil into them, by which it was carried to the lamps; a pipe to every lamp.

When the Lord Jesus was preparing to leave this Earth, He told His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit. John 16:13-14 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (KJV) . . . Doesn't this Passage from Jesus, harmonize with the "seven lamps"? The candlestick supported the lamps with the light shining from them, and the light clearly revealed the beauty and glory of the golden candlestick It is just that way with the Holy Spirit . . . He does NOT speak of Himself, but He reveals the glory and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ, and too, the Holy Spirit within all believers is also "lamps" or lights, that also reveal the glory and beauty of our precious Saviour! Let us NEVER hide our light "under a bushel" (Mat.5:15-16).

The idea of the oil of the Holy Spirit being used for a proper light is also shown in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Mat.25:1-13) . . . there the supply of oil distinguishes the one group from the other, illustrating how TRUE Christians with a sufficiency of the Holy Spirit become a part of the final wedding party with Christ, while those having no oil do not (Rev.19:7-9).
Oil: (Ex.25:6; 27:20; 35:8,14,28; 39:37-38; Lev.24:2; Ps.23:5; 45:7; 141:5; Zec.4:12; Mat.25:1-13)
Candlesticks: (Ex.25:31-37; 35:14; Lev.24:1-4; Num.3:31; 4:9; 8:1-4; 1 Ki.7:49; 2 Chron.4:7-8,20-22; 13:11; Jer.52:19; Zec.4:2; Heb.9:2; Rev.1:12-13; 2:5; 11:4).

Questions 10-12. Next, Zech. 4:7.

Zechariah 4:3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. (KJV)

And the two olive trees by it . . . they are explained in Zec.4:14.

One upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof . . . in Zec.4:11, they are said to be on the right and left sides of the candlestick. These two olive trees did not arise out of the Earth, nor the top of the candlestick; but out of the base of the candlestick, one on the right hand of the bowl, which hung in the middle of the candlestick; and the other on the left.

The two olive trees were identified in Zechariah's day as Zerubbabel, who was the governor or king in the line of David, and Joshua, the high priest. They would be the two instruments God would use to bring back some "light" into the nation Israel.

I believe that this prophecy is also looking forward to a future day, in the Great Tribulation period. Revelation 11:3-4 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (KJV) . . . In the Great Tribulation period there will be no witness on the Earth because the Antichrist, by the power of Satan will stop the mouths of every witness who dare try to speak . . . with the exception of these two. God says that always in the mouth of two witnesses a thing is established (Deut.17:6; 19:15; Mat.18:16; 2 Cor.13:1; Rev.11:3).

Our God will never leave Himself without a witness. During that period there will be these two men who will wonderfully witness for Him. Who they are is speculation, for the Bible does NOT tell us outright who they are. But, it is my humble opinion, that these men are Enoch and Elijah. Why? Because neither of these men died a physical death (Gen.5:24; Heb.11:5; 2 Ki.2:11-12,17-18), and Heb.9:27 says that "it is appointed unto men once to die." If these two are Enoch and Elijah, they did not die but these two witnesses shall die in that day (Rev.11:7-8).

Many think that Moses will be one of the witnesses. To me, their identity is not important. God will have two witnesses, and they shall speak in the power of the Holy Spirit in that day. They will be God's witnesses. That is what is important.

Isaiah 2:2-3 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (KJV) . . . In that future day, Israel will be witnesses in every corner of the world, and the Word of God shall go out from Jerusalem.

Zechariah 4:4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? (KJV)

So I answered, and spake to the angel that talked with me . . . the same angel that woke him, and asked him what he saw.

Saying, What are these, my lord? . . . that is, what do they mean? What do they represent? What are they symbols of? He knew what they were; they were a candlestick, and two olive trees; but he wanted to know the meaning of them. What are these: (Zec.1:1,19; 4:12-14; 5:2,6; Dan.7:16-19; 12:8; Jer.1:11-13; Mat.13:36; Rev.7:13-14).

Zechariah 4:5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. (KJV)

Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me . . . to sharpen his attention, and that of others, to the interpretation of what he was about to give.

Knowest thou not what these be? . . . "Don't you know what is meant by them?"

And I said, No, my lord . . . Zechariah made an honest confession of his ignorance, along with great respect to angel that spoke with him.

Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)

Then he answered, and spake unto me, saying . . . he would tell him the true meaning of the vision.

This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel . . . this means what was said by the Lord, was for Zerubbabel, by the prophet sent unto him.

Saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts . . . this was the the message. "Might" is a word for human resources such as physical strength, human ability or efficiency or wealth. "Power" means mere human strength: physical, material and mental strength. So, what this is saying is: "It is not by your brawn or brains, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." This would be tremendous encouragement to Zerubbabel, the civil ruler. He and Joshua, the religious ruler, were represented by the two olive trees who were supplying oil to the candlestick The message is simple: It will not be by your cleverness, ability or physical strength that the temple will be rebuilt, but by the Spirit of God.

My friend, if the Spirit of God is NOT with you in your efforts, they will fall. Anything that you or I do in the flesh (by our own effort), God hates. He will refuse it! It is going to be consumed by fire (1 Cor.3:15). God wants us to do His work by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Having given this key of the whole vision, without explaining its details, God speaks to Zerubbabel, as He had in the preceding chapter to Joshua (Zec.3:8-10.)

Zechariah 4:7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. (KJV)

Who art thou, O great mountain? . . . "O great mountain" . . . I have found several ideas: #1. those who opposed the building of the Temple, as Sanballat, and others; or the Persian monarchy, and Babylon the capital of it; a mountain being a symbol of a kingdom, or capital city; so Babylon is called (Jer.51:25), for they are accounted a foolish kingdom before Zerubbabel! #2. The great mountain was symbolic of a great man, Darius I, who made a decree that the work on the temple should cease (Ezra 4). His opposition was to cease like a mountain being removed or becoming a plain (Ezra 5-6). #3. I think this "Great Mountain" could also refer to Christ and His future Kingdom.
Daniel 2:34-35 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (KJV)
Daniel 2:44-45 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. (KJV)

Before Zerubbabel thou shall become a plain . . . as all opposition and difficulties were overcome by Zerubbabel in building the temple; so too, shall all vanish and disappear before Christ, the Antitype of Zerubbabel, in the building up of His church, by the conversion of sinners, and in the protection and preservation of it.

And he shall bring forth the headstone thereof . . . he, Zerubbabel, shall finish the building of the temple (Zec.4:9), the headstone being the last and uppermost stone in the building, which is the last to be laid, completing the entire building.

With shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it . . . as the Jews shouted, when the first stone was laid in the foundation of the temple (Ezra 3:11), so shall their shouts be when the last stone would be brought in, and the building finished, which they would ascribe the grace, favor and good will of God to them (Rev.19:6).

The 6th prophecy in Zechariah (Zec. 4:7-10, fulfilled). Next one, Zec. 5:3.

Five Prophecies . . . Fulfilled:
#1. Who are you, O great mountain? You will become a plain before Zerubbabel (Zec.4:7).
#2. He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings of Grace, grace (Zec.4:7).
#3. The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of the house, and his hands will finish it (Zec.4:9).
#4. You will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you (Zec.4:9).
#5. They shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven, which are the eyes of the Lord running to and fro through the whole earth (Zec.4:10).

Question 13. Next, Zech. 4:10.

Zechariah 4:8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (KJV)

Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying . . . what follows is God's Promise that the work will be completed by Zerubbabel.

Zechariah 4:9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. (KJV)

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house . . . the angel is still speaking (Zec.4:4-6). The Temple at Jerusalem, which foundation was laid, or had been renewed, after a long period of neglect, on the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, two months before this vision and prophecy (Hag.2:18; Zec.1:7).

His hands shall also finish it . . . Zerubbabel has laid the foundation, and his hands will finish the building of it.

And thou shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you . . . when the House is finished, they would know that the Lord of hosts had sent me unto you. Zerubbabel and all the Jews, would know, and be fully assured, that the Lord of hosts, the God of Truth and mercy, the God of their fathers, who remembers His covenant, had sent Zechariah to the returned captives and builders of this magnificent house.

Zechariah 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth. (KJV)

For who hath despised the day of small things? . . . this literally refers to the building of the second temple, which was contemptible to the enemies of Judah, Sanballat and others; and little in the eyes of many of the older Jews who had seen the former temple . . . BUT . . . it was NOT so in the eyes of the Lord of hosts (Ezra 3:12). "Who hath despised the day of small things?" . . . the poverty, weakness and hated state of the Jews. "Will they build?" No, BUT God will build by them, and His building shall be perfect!

Questions 14-18. Next one, Zec.4:11

The interest in Christ in general is many times "a day of small things" and it was so among the Jews at the time of Christ's ascension; and among the Gentiles when the Gospel was first preached to them. So it was at the time of the Reformation, and is so now! More and more people shun Jesus! Hosea 1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel. (KJV)

For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven . . . this may literally refer to the building of the second temple; and that was expressed not only at the laying of the foundation (Ezra 3:11), but the carrying of it on, and especially at the finishing of it (Ezra 6:14) when they saw the building rise under the direction and encouragement of Zerubbabel, who is represented here as a master builder, with a "plummet" in his hand, which is an instrument used by masons and carpenters, to see that the building is straight and upright. A "plummet" is a piece of lead fastened at the end of a cord or thread (2 Ki.21:13; Isa.28:17). "Those seven" are the eyes of the Lord, which were upon the Jews who were in favor of the building, that it might not be stopped (Ezra 5:5).

They are the eyes of the Lord . . . "those seven" are the eyes of the Lord, referring to His particular and special providence over the Jews; most likely to His ministering spirits, whom He has employed in behalf of the Jews, to dispense the blessings of that providence (Zec.1:10-11; 3:9; 2 Chron.16:9; Pro.15:3; Rev.5:6).

Which run to and fro through the whole earth . . . these are the angels, who walk to and fro through the Earth (Zec.6:5-8), and the graces of His Spirit (Rev.5:6), which refer to the infinite providence of God. This is great assurance and encouragement that God's watchful providence is over the whole Earth, and helps them onward in the restoration of the Temple.

Prophecy of Response Zec.4:7-10

If that work is to be done, it must be done through the energy of the Spirit of the Lord, for the task that lies ahead is like an actual mountain, huge and difficult. The prophet is confident that this mountainous project can be completed only with God’s help and so, addressing the mountain of obstacles, asks a rhetorical question: “Who are you, O great mountain?” (Zec.4:7). "Mountain" is a symbol for insurmountable opposition or resistance (Mat.21:21), and is common in the O. T., especially when it is overcome and reduced to a valley or plain (Isa. 40:4; 41:15; 42:15; 64:1-3; Mic.1:4; Nah.1:5; Jer.4:24; 51:25-26; Hab. 3:10; Zec.14:4-5). Zerubbabel will be able to face this mountain, level it to a plain, and completely achieve the rebuilding committed to his charge. Zechariah describes the whole project from site preparation to finished structure. The foundation had already been laid (Ezra 3:10) over great opposition, but the building lay still unfinished as of 519 B.C., the date of the prophecy.

Not only would the capstone mean the completion of the Temple, but shouts of acclamation as it was set in place would explain how it was done. “Grace! grace!” the crowds would declare, testifying to the faithfulness of the Lord in bringing it to pass. This is in line with the Lord's own affirmation that what Zerubbabel would accomplish would be “not by might and not by power but by My Spirit.” Haggai had also promised Zerubbabel that the Lord would be with him (Hag.1:13; 2:4), overcoming any obstacles that stood in his way (Hag. 2:21-23).

He reminds Zerubbabel that nearly 20 years earlier, preparation for the Temple foundation was made (Zec.4:9; Ezra 3:8-10; 5:16; Hag.2:18); and the hands that had begun the work would finish it, a promise repeated in Zec.6:12-13 and fulfilled four years later, in 515 B.C. (Ezra 6:15). As a result, Zechariah says, the covenant people would know that the Lord had sent him as a prophet to them (Zec.4:9). The test of the reliability of his message would be the Lord's endorsement in terms of fulfillment (Zec.2:11).

The prophet admits that one can easily look down on or be little impressed by small things, here being the meagerness of the Temple (Zec.4:10; Hag.2:3). The people had reason to think that the project would not amount to much, for sparse were their resources and terrifying the opposition.

The number seven is prominent in Zechariah (3:9; 4:2,10), signifying usually in apocalyptic literature (Eze.40-48), the idea being full or complete. In the vision of the priest, Zechariah had seen a stone with seven eyes (3:9), a symbol representing omniscience. The matter is far beyond doubt here, for the prophet declares flatly that the “seven” that rejoice are the eyes of the Lord that “run to and fro through the whole earth” (4:10).

Seeing the seven lamps as symbols of the Lord's eyes and then associating the whole with the stone and eyes of Zec.3:9, the eyes of the Lord rejoice when human eyes cannot because the Lord sees all (omniscient), and knows "the end from the beginning" (Isa.41:26; 46:10; 48:3). Zerubbabel can rejoice because the Temple foundation is laid, something he saw with his own eyes (Ezra 3:11). The Lord can rejoice because He can see the completion of the work. There is NO day of small things with the Lord, because the end is as firm and fixed as the beginning. Praise God!

Zechariah 4:11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? (KJV)

Then answered I, and said unto him . . . to the angel that talked with him (Zec.4:1).

What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick, and upon the left side thereof? . . . in (Zec.4:3-4) they are said to be on each side of the bowl. The mystery of the candlestick being explained to Zechariah by the angel, now the prophet wants to know the meaning of the two olive trees that were on the right and left of it, one on one side, and the other on the other side.

The vision, as a whole, had been explained to him. The prophet asks as to lesser parts, which may have seemed to be inconsistent with the whole. If the vision's entirety determines that everything would be done by the Spirit of God, not by human power, what is the meaning of these two olive-trees? When the Angel gave no answer, possibly to get closer attention and a more definite question, he asks again.

Question 19. Next one, Zec.4:12.

Zechariah 4:12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? (KJV)

And I answered again, and said unto him . . . before he could have an answer to the former question, he asks it again.

What be these two olive branches . . . really confused by what he has seen, the prophet asks another question before he gets an answer to the other one. Zechariah asks about the two olive branches.

Which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? . . . "golden" probably means the color of the oil. It was the color of gold metal. The pipes were the same color as the oil.

Question 20. Next one, Zech. 5:6.

Zechariah 4:13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. (KJV)

And he answered me, and said . . . the angel answered the prophet's questions:

Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord . . . "Don't you know?" the angel asked the prophet. And Zechariah had to answer "No."

Zechariah 4:14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. (KJV)

Then said he, These are the two anointed ones . . . the "anointed ones" are Joshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel the civil ruler, who must first be anointed with grace themselves, before they can be the instruments of furnishing it to others (1 Jn.2:20,27).

That stand by the Lord of the whole earth . . . the Lord is the Creator and Governor of the Universe. His ministers of the Word are by His side, abide by His truths and ordinances, and are faithful to His cause. They "stand" because it reveals that their work is not done; whereas the Lord Jesus "sits" at the right hand of God the Father (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Rom.8:34; Eph.1:18-23; Col.3:1; Heb.1:3; 8:1; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22). Jesus "sits" because His work is completed!

Anyone in the Lord's work must continue and persevere in it, because they are under His watchful eye, care and protection. They are in His favor, and enjoy His Presence. How this may be applied to the two divine Persons standing by or before Almighty God has been before observed, and to be understood of them as in their office capacity. Christ Jesus, the Messiah, is both all-holy Priest and supreme eternal King.

Zerubbabel's role is further clarified in the interpretation of the second half of the vision, Zec. 4:11-14. Zechariah is once more at a loss to understand the vision he has seen, and asks the identity of the two olive trees. This time the location of the trees is not as specifically defined. The vision had placed them on the right and left sides of the upper bowl or reservoir, whereas Zechariah, in the interpretation, points out that they are to the right and left of the menorah as a whole. The meaning is unchanged. The difference in perception may be explained by Zechariah’s interest not in the menorah and its various parts but in the two trees. That, is his question: “What are these two olive trees?”

He is so anxious that he does not wait for an answer to this question before he asks another: “What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?" What Zechariah sees here is not completely disclosed. The word “branches” means literally “ears,” usually ears of grain (Gen.41:5). It may be the most outstretched branches.

There are two of these "branches" that are either near the two golden pipes or by means of these pipes are discharging their oil. This seems to complete the picture of the vision, for in it the only pipes were the seven on both sides of the menorah whose function apparently was to connect the seven lamps to the reservoir above (Zec.4:2). There was nothing said as to how the oil was conveyed from its ultimate source (the trees) to the reservoir . . . this lack seems to be addressed by the two golden pipes, for the total process seems quite clear. From points of issuance on the two trees, two golden pipes conduct their oil to some destination, presumably the reservoir from which the seven other pipes feed it to the lamps.

The two golden pipes and its meaning can be determined only by the fact that these objects convey something from the branches of the trees to another location. Some kind of pipe, trough, or something of this kind is needed. The fact that they are gold only matches them with the golden candlestick (menorah). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3964-candlestick

What are they conveying? Since the trees are olive trees and the menorah lamps are burning olive oil, one can only conclude that “golden” is referring to the color of the oil. The menorah and all its equipment are pure gold, and so is its oil.

So far, Zechariah has described what he has seen, but he does not understand its importance. For a second time the interpreting angel questions the prophet’s inability to comprehend by asking him if he fails to determine the parts of the vision, and again the prophet must say no (Zec.4:5,13). It is here, the angel declares that the olive trees are “the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zec.4:14).

Only two kinds of officials were anointed in O.T. Israel, the high priest and the king. This anointing set the individual apart for special service and also symbolized him as having the gifts necessary to carry out the work for which he had been chosen. In Zechariah's vision, the oil of anointing was associated with the Spirit of God. It spoke of both His Presence and His enablement.

Anointing is especially prominent in reference to Aaron and his sons (Ex.28:41; 29:7; 30:30; Lev.4:3; 6:22; 7:36; 8:12) and to David and his dynasty (1 Sam.16:3,12-13; 2 Sam.2:4; 12:7; 22:51; 23:1; Ps.2:2; 18:50; 84:9; 89:20,38,51). There can be little doubt that Zechariah, by referring to “the two anointed ones” has in mind these two anointed offices, priest and king; Joshua and Zerubbabel.

In Zechariah’s own time and viewpoint, the two anointed ones probably of refer to the latest generations or representatives of the respective offices of Joshua and Zerubbabel. Both were direct descendants of the heads of their lines, Aaron and David. Both have already been singled out (Zec.ch.3; 4:6; Hag.1:1,12,14) as contemporaries of the prophet who have been greatly involved in the restoration of the post-exilic community. And both have been chosen by God (Zec.3:2; Hag.2:23) to serve Him in major capacities. More will be said about this in Zec.6:9-15.

The apostle John spoke of a candlestick vision in his apocalyptic description of the Temple (Rev.11:1-13). What is important is that the two olive trees are accompanied by two candlesticks (Rev.11:4), not just one as in Zechariah. John does not intend to imitate or even comment precisely on the menorah vision of Zechariah, but only to use it as material to support a different message.

The two visions DO share some things in common, besides the olive trees and candlesticks. They both focus on the Temple (Rev. 11:1-2; Zec.4:9-10; 2:1-5) and its measurements and rebuilding. They both indirectly refer to military confrontation (Rev.11:3; Zec.4:6); and most importantly, in both the two olive trees are “standing before the Lord of the (whole) earth” (Rev.11:4; Zec.4:14). To John it is very clear that the candlestick vision of Zechariah has something to do with the two olive trees as witnesses to the saving and reigning purposes of the Almighty God! His understanding of who they were historically, seemed to be of little importance to him in his presentation of his apocalyptic message. Thus it should be with us.

Book of Zachariah

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