Zech. 4:1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,
Zech. 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:
Zech. 4:3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
Evidently, Zechariah had zoned out after the last vision or this next vision came a bit later. The same messenger from God that has explained the previous visions makes Zechariah aware that he is receiving another vision. He again asks Zechariah to describe what he sees. Having to verbalize what you see probably serves a similar purpose as these verse-by-verse studies do for me. It makes you notice things that you might not focus on otherwise.
Zechariah states that he saw a gold candlestick with a bowl on the top of it; it had seven lights and seven pipes leading to the seven lights above them. He also saw two olive trees standing by the bowl on top of the candlestick—one on each side of it. The description sounds similar to but not identical with the candlestick that was made for use in the temple as described in Exodus 25.
Zech. 4:4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?
Zech. 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.
Zechariah then asks GodŐs messenger a question—ŇWhat are these, my lord?Ó ItŐs either a question as to what this means or it is specifically in reference to the olive trees or it could be regarding the modifications on the candlestick. The angel answers with a, ŇDonŐt you know?Ó Zechariah honestly states that he doesnŐt.
Zech. 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.
Zech. 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.
The angel then proceeds to explain things to Zechariah and declares it to be a message to Zerubbabel, the governor of the people in absence of a king. I trust that Zechariah understood the answer with more confidence than I do.
Zerubbabel and Joshua were leading the people in the rebuilding of the temple and the reestablishment of GodŐs people in the land of Israel. God seems to be telling Zerubbabel that this work is not going to be accomplished due to physical force, strength or vitality. It is going to be accomplished through the empowerment of GodŐs Holy Spirit. Jerusalem is located in an area of hills and valleys, and the temple was located on a mount. Somehow, I think this question is a way of acknowledging all the obstacles they faced in the rebuilding of GodŐs house—not just location. God is basically saying that there is no obstacle that you canŐt overcome through the empowerment of My Spirit. Most of the translations consider the headstone to reference the capstone or the final stone that marks the completion of the building, and this makes sense to me. Once that final stone is in place, it will be a time of great rejoicing, a beautiful symbol of GodŐs faithfulness in providing for its completion.
Zech. 4:8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Zech. 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.
The Lord goes on to declare that Zerubbabel will have part in completing the rebuilding of GodŐs house just as surely as he has had part in laying the foundation for its rebuilding. This will be a sign that affirms ZechariahŐs message as coming from YHWH.
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.
The first part of this verse reminds me of the saying, ŇItŐs the little things that make you happy.Ó Zerubbabel, as the leader, would make use of the plummet to assure that the walls of the building were vertical and straight—a small thing, but very important to the success of the project.
Ňthose sevenÓ – This seems to refer back to the seven lights of the candlestick which are now compared to the eyes of the LORD, as was the stone that was laid before Joshua in chapter 3. This seems to be making a comparison to the purpose of the plummet and the purpose of GodŐs eyes as He observes what is happening among men on earth. He is looking for things to measure up correctly, for there to be justice and righteousness. In the immediate context—for the Jewish people to measure up according to the teaching of GodŐs word.
Zech. 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?
Zech. 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?
Zech. 4:13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Zech. 4:14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
Now Zechariah wants to know about the two olive trees that stood on each side of the candlestick; he then repeats the question and asks about the two golden pipes/spouts that empty the golden oil from the trees. I donŐt remember him mentioning the two golden pipes originally, so maybe he has just remembered that detail. Neither did he describe the oil as golden, but that is a natural description of olive oil. Again, the angel basically says, ŇDonŐt you know?Ó And again, Zechariah admits that he doesnŐt. The angel then declares that the olive trees/branches Ňare the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.Ó
Well, scripture is consistent in using oil to typify the Holy Spirit. The immediate application would seem to be to Joshua and Zerubbabel, but I am sure that they are types of others to come in reference to Ňthe whole earth.Ó I canŐt help but want to make a connection to the two tribulation witnesses that will be filled with the Spirit after the Spirit has been removed from earth at the rapture of the church. (See journal on Revelation 11.) Just as Joshua and Zerubbabel were standing as GodŐs spirit-filled representatives to Judah at the time of ZechariahŐs ministry, they will be standing as GodŐs spirit-filled representatives to the whole earth during the first part of that tribulation period. I believe the Spirit will be ministering on earth during the tribulation or 70th week, just as He did during the first 69 weeks of that time prophesied by Daniel. (See journal on Daniel 9.)
As usual, I never really understood the picture until trying to break it down verse by verse. I had always assumed that the olive trees were supplying the oil to the lights, but that is not what I see here. The bowl on top is the source of fuel for the lights on the candlestick and pictures the provision/empowerment of the Holy Spirit; the trees represent GodŐs Spirit-filled servants, and the seven lights, as mentioned above (v10), represent the SpiritŐs ministry as GodŐs eyes and presence as determined necessary on planet earth. As the two Spirit-filled servants minister before the LORD, they are abundantly supplied; they have enough to pour out ministry as needed. It is an important truth to note that GodŐs call always includes GodŐs enablement. (Note: The Hebrew for stand includes Ňcontinue, be employed, establish, serve.Ó)
Most of the commentaries assume that the olive trees are supplying the oil to the bowl at the top of the candlestick, but I donŐt see it in these verses. The empowerment of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural empowerment; His empowerment is a miraculous provision of God to the man/woman of faith.