June 5, 1996
Reve 11:1-4 And there was given me a reed
like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple
of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which
is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto
the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and]
two months. And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall
prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before
the God of the earth.
Two Witnesses are seen throughout scripture as standing by "the God
of the whole earth," as we see them here in John's Revelation. Although
they are not actually referred to as standing by the God of the whole earth
in every instance they are mentioned, nevertheless each instance is somehow
linked with that thought.
We read of two witnesses in Revelation chapter 11 who are also referred
to as two olive trees. And the manner in which John relates this
information to us seems to indicate that we are to look elsewhere in the
Bible for mention of another or other instances where they are referred
to. We read, "These are the olive trees, and two candlesticks standing
before the God of the whole earth," as if it is a common understanding
that a previous mention of them is given in the Bible. It was as
though John wrote: "These are the two olive trees previously noted in Scripture."
Through cross-referencing we indeed do find another mention of two olive
trees standing before the God of the whole earth in Zechariah chapter 4.
THE TWO OLIVE TREES AND ZECHARIAH
Zech 4:2-3 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: And two olive
trees by it, one upon the right [side] of the bowl, and the other upon
the left [side] thereof.
Here are the two olive trees, but they are seen in a vision, and not actual
physical trees. Visions were always symbolic of messages God desired
to show people, or symbolic of events that would come to pass. Sometimes
God Himself would provide the interpretation by way of an angel as in this
case. Zechariah was asked what the emblems of the vision actually
symbolized. He responded his inability to determine that factor.
So the angel proceeded to explain the meaning.
Zech 4:4-7 So I answered and spake to the
angel that talked with me, saying, What [are] these, my lord? Then the
angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what
these be? And I said, No, my lord. 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. 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.
The vision was interpreted by the angel, but yet was another elusive picture,
for the angel replied it was a message for Zerubbabel, and partly involved
the thought, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD
of hosts." It was a message saying that a mountain stood which would
be flattened down and made into a plain before Zerubbabel. A headstone
or capstone would then be erected at the removal of the mountainous obstacle
with shouts of "grace, Grace!" towards it.
We must understand the picture which historically involved this man
Zerubbabel in order to further determine the involvement of two olive trees.
He was a leader amongst the Israelites who returned to Israel from Babylonian
captivity. He worked with Joshua, the High Priest at the time.
Together these men rebuilt the altar and laid the foundation for the temple,
but were halted by opposition from people who dwelt in Palestine during
the exile. Haggai and Zechariah encouraged Zerubbabel by Word from
God to continue building.
Ezra 4:1-5 Now when the adversaries of
Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the
temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to
the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for
we seek your God, as ye [do]; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days
of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel,
and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto
them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but
we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus
the king of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened
the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired
counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus
king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
God continued to speak to Zechariah concerning Zerubbabel:
Zech 4:9-10 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. 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.
Here, we read of the seven eyes of the Lord which rejoice to see the weak
instrumentality of Zerubbabel used to accomplish a great work for God.
THE SEVEN EYES OF THE LORD
We see mention of the seven eyes of God running to and fro "throughout
the whole earth." Now, this is a point of connection with the reference
to the two witnesses in Revelation 11, for the two witnesses are there
said to stand before "the God of the whole earth." Added to the thought
of two witnesses associated with the God of the whole earth is the thought
of the seven eyes of the Lord. These seven eyes of the Lord are also
mentioned in the book of revelation!
Reve 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the
midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders,
stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven
eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent
forth into all the earth.
The Lamb is undoubtedly a symbol of Jesus Christ who was slain for our
salvation. He is seen in Revelation with seven eyes! And again
we read that these seven eyes are associated with "all the earth."
So, now, Jesus Christ is involved in the great picture of TWO WITNESSES.
Revelation 5:6 says the seven eyes are the seven spirits of God.
The reference to the seven eyes being the "seven spirits" of God
is also made elsewhere in Revelation.
Reve 1:4 John to the seven churches which
are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which
was, and which is to come; and from the seven
Spirits which are before his throne;
The number seven implies completeness in the Bible, and was first indicated
so in Genesis when God completed creation and rested the seventh day.
Having seven eyes is then interpreted as having full and complete vision.
Since Jesus has seven eyes, we can say that he sees all things. Nothing
is hidden from Him. And this is exactly what Scripture tells us about
Reve 3:1 And unto the angel of the church
in Sardis write; These things saith he that
hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven
stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art
Reve 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded
lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of
fire burning before the throne, which are
the seven Spirits of God.
Hebr 4:12-13 For the word of God [is] quick,
and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and
[is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither
is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things
[are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him
with whom we have to do.
"All things" are opened to His sight. In other words, He has,
as it were, seven eyes. We can understand the association of a God
of the whole earth and seven eyes, since seven eyes depicts the fact that
this God can see all things in the entire earth. So this thought
comes into play when we read about the seven eyes of the lord rejoicing
to see the work of Zerubbabel in laying the foundation of the temple.
Why would they rejoice?
JOY OF THE SEVEN EYES
Zech 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.
Zechariah heard God tell him that the eyes of the Lord rejoice.
In order to understand this phrase we must recognize that the seven eyes
of the Lord look for specific things in the world, as follows:
2Chr 16:9 For the eyes
of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect
toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth
thou shalt have wars.
Here, the "whole earth" is again indicated, because God sees all
that is in the entire earth and nothing is hidden from him. The thought
of God's seven eyes looking for one in whose behalf God might show Himself
strong is brought out in this passage. This is notable. It
is vital to our understanding of why God's eyes rejoice. The reference
to our admonition to not despise the day of small things (Zech 4:10) in
association with the work of Zerubbabel informs us that Zerubbabel's efforts
were despised by people as small and insignificant due to weakness in his
instrumentality. Yet God's eyes rejoice in such a spectacle!
God actually looks for weak instrumentality! When one is weak and
has not much ability, God can use such a one to show Himself strong on
that one's behalf. When one is weak, and knows it, and that one's
heart is complete and whole towards God, one receives God's complete attention
(seven eyes). TO reach out for the strength of God's help in recognition
of one's own inherent weakness, si to glorify God to the full!
God looks for weak people who rely upon His strength. That is
what Grace is all about. Shouts of GRACE are made to the mountain
before Zerubbabel to flatten it in order to show us that it is not our
power, but God's power, that accomplishes the deed. Grace is God's
power at work due to the inability of our power to accomplish the deed.
The Gospel of Grace is the POWER, not of man, but of GOD.
Roma 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel
of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that
believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
It is the power of God. Zechariah was shown that men who know they
cannot accomplish a deed for God, and look to Him for that power, are men
that God is looking for! His eyes rejoice to see such men, for they
are rare and few in number.
God told Zechariah, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,
saith the Lord of Hosts," to inform him that human might and human
power are indeed weak, and nothing can be truly accomplished through those
means. It must be by God's Spirit.
TWO ANOINTED ONES
Zech 4:11-14 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? 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? And he answered
me and said, Knowest thou not what these [be]? And I said, No, my lord.
Then said he, These [are] the two anointed
ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
Zechariah was told that two olive trees represented the two anointed ones
who stand by "the Lord of the whole earth."
Notice how they stood on either side of the seven branched candlestick.
The candlestick speaks of Christ who is a Lamb with seven eyes. Two
men are then indicated here. They are Joshua and Zerubbabel.
These men were God's anointed vessels who were seen by God who searched
the whole world for those who would recognize their inability and God's
ability, so that God might loose His power in the earth. This is
what the book of Zechariah was all about.
Another interesting parallel with Revelation chapter 11 is seen in Zechariah.
Zech 1:20-2:5 And the LORD shewed me four
carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These
[are] the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up
his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the
Gentiles, which lifted up [their] horn over the land of Judah to scatter
it. I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring
line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me,
To measure Jerusalem, to see what [is] the
breadth thereof, and what [is] the length thereof.
And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel
went out to meet him, And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man,
saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited [as] towns without walls for the multitude
of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall
of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
The two witnesses are seen in Revelation 11 after we read about John measuring
the temple, just as Zechariah saw a man with a measuring line (Rev. 11:1-2).
God indicated the restoration of Jerusalem by showing a man measuring the
City. Obviously the same thought is to be interpreted in Revelation
11. And this will give us insight as to Revelation's message!
At any rate, the two witnesses, Joshua and Zerubbabel, were two anointed
men. They were anointed for the purpose of being strengthened due
to their inherent weakness. God looked for such men! God will
not anoint proud men who think they can do it without His help. He
would not receive glory through such men, for they would take the credit
to themselves. So He looks for humble , weak instruments to
accomplish great things.
1Cor 1:26-29 For ye see your calling, brethren,
how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble,
[are called]: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound
the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound
the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which
are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring
to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Zech 3:8-9 Hear now, O Joshua the high
priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they [are] men
wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For
behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua;
upon one stone [shall be] seven eyes: behold,
I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will
remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Here, Joshua is associated with seven eyes. We already read where
Zerubbabel was associated with seven golden candlesticks.
Two men, whose weakness drove them to rely upon God in faith,
and who were targeted by God's seven eyes that look throughout the entire
earth to strengthen such people for His glory, are empowered by God.
It is not might, nor human power, but God's Spirit that accomplishes great
feats! Notice how God's power is given to the two witnesses.
Reve 11:3 And I will give power
unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and]
threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Reve 11:6 These have power
to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days
of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and
to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Their witness is one of power supplied by God's Spirit for the purpose
of restoration. As Joshua and Zerubbabel restored the temple, these
witnesses of Revelation are involved in a great restorative work concerning
a temple, for we read,
Reve 11:1 And there was given me a reed
like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure
the temple of God, and the altar, and them
that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out,
and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city
shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months. And I will give [power]
unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and]
threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and
the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Later we find:
Reve 11:15-19 And the seventh angel sounded;
and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The
kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his
Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell
upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord
God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken
to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry,
and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and
to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest
destroy them which destroy the earth. And
the temple of God was opened in heaven, and
there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings,
and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
A temple is opened after these witnesses complete their work. And
the Kingdoms of this world of earth become God's Kingdoms. All is
restored to God that originally was lost by Adam. And it all is accomplished
by God's Spirit strengthening mankind in anointing.
One might question the link that "anointing" has with God's Spirit,
even though the vision of Zechariah, showing two olive trees, was distinctly
interpreted as a picture of God's Spirit strengthening the weak men.
First of all, we read about the two olive trees:
Zech 4:14 Then said he, These [are] the
two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
Connect Jesus' words concerning anointing with our theme.
Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord [is]
upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the
captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them
that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Here we see anointing coupled with the aspect of seven spirits.
This is seen again in Isaiah 11.
Spirit of the Lord.
Anointing to preach the Gospel to the poor.
Anointing to heal the brokenhearted.
Anointing to preach deliverance to the captives.
Anointing to recover sight to the blind.
Anointing to set the bruised at liberty.
Anointing to preach the acceptable year (Year of jubilee) of the Lord.
Isai 11:1-2 And there shall come forth
a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and
understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge
and of the fear of the LORD;
One might say that the mention of "the Spirit of the Lord" amongst the
six other 'spirits' and 'anointings' does not make it a seventh spirit
or a seventh anointing since it is speaking about the Spirit of God in
general, whereas the following 'anointings' and 'spirits' are specific.
One might contend we cannot get seven spirits from these references.
Nevertheless, we do see a picture of the seven golden candlesticks in this
thought, that tells us otherwise. Notice what the candlestick looked
Spirit of the Lord.
Spirit of wisdom.
Spirit of understanding.
Spirit of counsel.
Spirit of might.
Spirit of knowledge.
Spirit of the fear of the Lord.
Exod 25:31-32 And thou shalt make a candlestick
[of] pure gold: [of] beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft,
and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the
same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches
of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick
out of the other side:
One main shaft had six "branches" protruding from it, indicating the "Spirit
of the Lord" with six "branching" spirits, or six anointings.
Could the picture of the six branches on each side of the shaft also
indicate two human witnesses on either side of Christ, the vine?
The number 6 represents mankind, since man was created on the sixth day
of Genesis 1. And the whole point of the Spirit strengthening the
two witnesses is that there are two humans whose inherent strength is comparatively
too weak for such monumental tasks as those accomplished in the anointing
of God's Spirit upon them.
Recall the vision of the two olive trees by the candlesticks, and the
reference to the cry, "Grace, grace unto it!" What is grace?
Grace is divine empowerment! Praise God!