Two Olive Trees and
by Chris Josephson
There are many facets of Gods dazzling Word. The
following is a study in Zechariah chapter 4 with shining truths which we recently noted,
and can apply to our day.
Verse 1 is a WAKE UP call: "And the angel that
talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep." This
verse indicates there is a tendency to be asleep concerning this important vision the
V. 2, Open your eyes. Look! "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:"
The candlestick Zechariah saw was all gold. The one God
commanded Moses to make was from one piece of gold. From Psalm 19 we learn that Gods
Law (Torah - teaching) is "more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine
gold...." (V. 10). And Psalm 119:128, "...I love thy commandments above
gold; yea, above fine gold."
The "gold" of the Word and "oil"
of His Spirit are inseparable. The light that results from the combination is "on
top". It shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot stifle it and cannot
comprehend, cannot understand it (John 1:5). There is no fellowship between darkness and
light. One has to conquer the other. Only those who give themselves to His Truth and His
Spirit can do His will on earth which is that LIGHT will dispell darkness. The
worldling is known by his\her rebellion while obedience to Gods Word is the
believers earmark of sanctification, distinction, set-apartness to coin an
Trees of Righteousness
V. 3, "And two olive trees by it, one upon the
right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof."
The Scripture brims with types, shadows, symbolism, signs.
Jesus favorite teaching method was by parable. The first rule-of-thumb in
interpreting these symbols or anything in Scripture is to find the meaning
in the Word itself. The symbol of trees is not hard to find. They represent men:
King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed he was a tree! (Daniel 4); a blind man who received
Jesus healing touch saw "men as trees walking." But the clearest
illustration is found in three passages of the Hebrew Scriptures:
But the clincher is found in Isaiah 61: "The Spirit
of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preached good tidings
unto the meek...." Then after a wonderful list of good things brought about by
this God-anointed Gospel, in verse 3 we read, "that they might be called TREES of
RIGHTEOUSNESS, the planting of the LORD, that HE might be glorified."
Zechariah saw TWO olive trees. But he didnt
understand what they represented, so he asked,
V. 4, "What are these, my lord?"
The angel answered the prophet in two ways:
V. 6, "Then he answered and spoke 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."
But the prophet still was stumped, and asked the question
twice more in verses 11 and 12 with the additional description of "...which
through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?"
into the bowl of oil which kept the lampstand burning. Then he received the second
answer to his question about the two olive trees, but not until he was told that he should
already know the answer without having to ask!
V. 13, "And he answered me and said, Knowest thou
not what these be? [The prophet confesses his lack of understanding.] And I
said, No, my lord."
V. 14, "Then said he, These are the two anointed
ones [Heb. "Sons of oil"], that stand by the Lord of the whole
earth." Two is the number of witness.
Two Witnesses Today
Some Christian commentaries see these olive trees as being
only two men. The initial meaning in Zechariahs day probably was that
they represented Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel (religious and governmental
personalities). But prophecy almost always has more than one application the
present and the future. These "sons of oil" that continually give of the oil of
their "trees" to the lighting of the candlestick proper are no exception.
Stay with us in careful consideration of the far-reaching
witness of these two "trees". A clear meaning emerges depicting: (1) the devout
of Israel and (2) true believers from among the nations who give themselves in studying
and declaring Gods Word; those who continually "empty" themselves, giving
to the world the anointed Laws of the Kingdom of God on earth, thus giving light and
dispelling darkness. These represent two "witnesses" of Messiah in
Judaism and in Christianity. Because they stand by the Lord, the oil flows into the
lampstand! The Menorah has 7 lights; seven is the number of perfection and completion. All
we need is in Him Who is the Light of the World.
From the 11th chapter of Romans, we know that the olive
tree represents Israel and believers from the nations are as branches grafted into this
olive tree and therefore ALSO of the olive tree. In Zechariahs vision, the two olive
trees could be as the "two folds" Jesus spoke of in John 10:16 when He said, "Other
sheep I have which were not of this fold; them also I must bring and they shall hear my
voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." The two olive trees of
Zechariahs vision have the same purpose: KEEP THE LIGHT BURNING!
When Messiah rules, the lampstands light will flash
as lightning from the East to the West. No one can control lightning and no one can stop
it. So will His Kingdom of light come to this world. Prophetic Scriptures for this
"latter days" show this process has begun and cannot be thwarted. Forces are at
futile work today to destroy Gods righteous Law continually trying to
substitute something else for it; put it in a shadowy gray area; subtract from it; add to
it; pervert it and change it to their own liking and intellectual concepts.
When Moses came down from receiving the Law at Mt. Sinai,
he did not know "that the skin of his face shone". He had to wear a
veil while talking to the people (Exodus 34:29,33). The rabbis declared that these rays of
glory originated with Moses at the time he stood in the cleft of the rock and God covered
him with His hand (33:22,33). Rashi (venerated and a most popular Jewish father) said, "How
overpowering is the effects of sin! Before they erred with the Calf, the Israelites were
not overawed by the appearance of the glory of God, although it was like a devouring fire
(24:17). But after their sin, they trembled even at the radiance of Moses face" (The
Soncino Chumash, page 566).
The text indicates Moses face sent forth beams and
kept on shining. The powerful effect of Gods Word and presence can only be light
When the Menorah light grows dim, conditions result as
Sforno* describes in the introduction to his commentary and which motivated him to
undertake writing it: "...because our people dwell in an alien land and
concentrate their efforts on the accumulation of wealth, feeling that this will protect
them from the exigencies of their time. This in turn results in a condition where they
have no proper time to consider the wonders and wisdom of our Torah, and even brings them
to question the importance of our holy Torah, becoming critical of its teachings for they
do not understand it properly" (xi/Introduction).
(Footnote) *Ovadiah ben Yaacov Sforno of Cesena, Italy
in the 15th century. He came into contact with the Christian community and apparently
moved with ease and comfort in high society. His philosophical work Or Amim (Light
of Nations) became famous. (From Sforno Commentary on the Torah translation and
explanatory notes by Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz).
Light, Begin & Return
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the
earth, LIGHT was the first spoken into existence. The Jewish Talmud again quotes Sforno
and explains, "...the unique powerful light of the seven days of Creation which
was capable of generating growth without the benefit of seed and which will shine again in
future time. According to tradition, this special light was deemed fit only for the
righteous and was therefore stored away by God, to be used at the end of
When God is setting up His menorah of light and truth in
Jerusalem again, let not any who call themselves followers-of-Christ seek to circumvent
its light. Since WW I, the Lord has been building that candlestick. The foundation, the
holder of the Light is of His making.
Isaiah 30:30: "And the LORD shall cause his
glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the
indignation of his anger and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering and
tempest and hailstones."
This anointed Son of God is so much greater than our puny
minds can fathom. Let us stretch our minds and spiritual concept of Him.
One more word of positive comfort concerning Israel today.
Since the beginning of this ingathering, the nation has been pressed, pushed and pressured
on every side by her enemies and by the nations of the world in their deliberations in the
Fifty years ago Israel became a sovereign nation again
after 2500 years. "Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall
the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as
soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children."
[Please note carefully the following verse: It is clear
that He will not allow a "late term abortion."]
"Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? Saith the LORD; shall I
cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God" (Isaiah 66:8,9).