Zechariah Chapter 4: The Vision of Olive Trees and Candlestick

Dec 17th, 2009 | By | Category: Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name), Zechariah

Zechariah Chapter 4: The Vision of Olive Trees and Candlestick

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,

Zechariah was awakened out of a dream into a dream and thus saw another picture—the fifth vision.

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:

The angel (the Logos) who talked with Zechariah said to him, “What do you see?” Zechariah replied, “I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it.” In other words, the bowl was positioned above the candlestick. From that bowl came down seven pipes, or channels, that led to seven lamps on the candlestick. The fact there were seven lamps indicates it was a giant candelabra with seven branches—a seven-branched lamp stand. The candlestick being golden reminds us of the lamp stand in the Holy of the Tabernacle, which also had seven lamps. Of course the seven lamps had to rest on something, so reason tells us that each of the seven branches had a flat top, on which a lamp was put. (A drawing of this lamp stand appears on page 25 of The Keys of Revelation.)

Page 25 of the Keys of Revelation

Page 25 of the Keys of Revelation

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.

Two olive trees were on either side of the bowl and the candlestick, one tree on the right side and one on the left side. The olive trees were sources of supply for the oil, which represented the Holy Spirit. By means of a pipe that went from each olive tree to the bowl, the oil flowed into the bowl. In other words, the two olive trees emptied their oil into the bowl, and exiting the bowl were seven pipes leading to the seven lamps.

The two olive trees represent the Old and New Testaments, and the seven lamps picture the seven stages of the gospel Church. What is the lesson? All of the oil comes from Jesus, our Head; the oil does not come to us direct. Therefore, we must be in covenant relationship with Christ in order to get the special anointing oil of the Holy Spirit in the sense intended in this picture. Initially, a lamp gets all the oil that is coming from Jesus.

We are reminded of another picture, namely, when the holy anointing oil was poured on the high priest’s head. In the type, the entire contents of the canister were emptied on Aaron’s head. Psalm 133:2 reads, “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.” Thus we see that Jesus had the Holy Spirit without measure, whereas the Church gets the oil in measure; that is, the Church gets only a measure of the fullness of the oil (John 3:34).

Originally, Moses (picturing God) anointed Aaron (representing Jesus) as high priest. When a high priest died, a son was chosen as his replacement—preferably the oldest son unless he was banished from office because of a deformity (Lev. 21:17-21). Since Moses was off the scene, the Levites went through the motions that were representative of him. Similarly at baptism, the one doing the immersing represents the Lord Jesus; he lowers the candidate into the water and then raises him up. This present vision of the olive trees represents that the oil from God (His Word) goes first to Jesus, next to the seven messengers primarily, and then to the Church at large. The vision is giving a broad-stroke representation of God’s general method of dealing with His people.

Q: While the Church gets the oil from Jesus, wouldn’t he get some of his enlightenment directly from God, rather than from the Old and New Testaments? The Church gets its understanding from Jesus.

A: That is true. For example, when Jesus went up into a mountain and prayed during his earthly ministry, he was strengthened and given further information. Some of that information may not have been in the Word. In other words, he got extraneous, additional, supplemental information. However, basically speaking, the oil in the lamps that feeds the Church comes from the two olive trees through Jesus.

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.

The clause “the angel that talked with me” (or a slight variation) is used multiple times in the Book of Zechariah (see Zech. 1:9,13,14,19; 2:3; 4:1,4,5; 5:5,10; 6:4). The fact that each time the expression was uttered with almost the same intonation and wording is a tie-in element of communication with the seven visions in chapters 1-6. The “angel of the LORD” spoke to Zechariah, who, after receiving the seven visions, first went to Zerubbabel, then to Joshua, and finally to the people and repeated to them what he had seen. The visions greatly encouraged the people who came back in the second year of Darius Hystaspes to continue building the Temple. This return was like a second going back from Babylon, whereas we usually think of the return when Cyrus issued his decree in 536 BC. The repetitive wording shows that this series of visions occurred one after the other in a short time sequence. The Lord used this same technique elsewhere in Scripture on other occasions.

Zechariah asked the angel (the Logos), “What is the meaning of this vision?” The angel replied, “Do you not know what you have seen and its significance?” Zechariah answered, “No, my lord.” Verses 4 and 5 are not very informative, but they are important because they show that a characteristic of the Heavenly Father in His communication with His people is to do things in a repetitive fashion. Zechariah was expected to say “no” to the angel’s question, and so it is with us. We have to admit that what we see does not in any sense originate with our own personal instruction and understanding. Only through God’s Holy Spirit are certain truths revealed, so we must guard against thinking we have discovered something on our own. The realization of this important lesson helps to keep us humble, especially when the vision or subject matter is very complicated. If we get an understanding of the meaning of a symbol, it is not of our own doing.

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.

Then the angel said to Zechariah, “This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ saith the LORD of hosts.” When this vision was repeated and narrated the next day or so, it was logical that Zechariah would first go to Zerubbabel. After that, Zechariah certainly went to Joshua, the high priest, because the previous chapter dealt with him. (Zechariah would have informed Joshua of the portion that particularly applied to him as a personal message from God.) And then Zechariah went to the people and explained what he had seen. Thus the prophet repeated each vision three times. We should keep in mind not only that the visions all occurred on the same night but also that the telling, or repeating, of the visions took place in a very short period of time. The time setting was the eighth month of the second year of Darius Hystaspes. The dates have been recorded in the Bible so that in the future, when the nation of Israel returns to the Lord with a whole heart, all the written minutiae can be shown to them. As a result, the Jews will be greatly humbled before the Lord God. They will realize that He had these things recorded for them, His own people, yet they did not remember the visions and perhaps did not even study them. The Jews will be humbled by God’s wisdom and foreknowledge—His ability to foretell events long into the future and to discuss them as if they were past events, already fulfilled.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” This humbling statement is addressed to us now, the spiritual Israel of God, as well as to fleshly, or natural, Israel in the future.

Verses 4-6 are telling us that unless we hunger and thirst for the understanding of God’s Word, we will not be rewarded in any depth. However, the hunger itself does not create the understanding. Rather, if it is the Lord’s due time to reveal the meaning, or significance, and if we have this hunger and desire, we are more apt to receive the benefit of that knowledge, which will come to us either direct from Jesus or through someone else. The promise is that those who are God’s children and who are in this attitude will all be taught of Him (Isa. 54:13). This is especially true with regard to prophecy, because we are prone to more continuously study and meditate on doctrine and the principles of righteousness. However, prophecy is one of the legs of the three-legged stool. We are told to “despise not prophesyings,” and that Scripture is not restricted to prophesying in a public-speaking sense (1 Thess. 5:20).

Comment: We are told, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).

Reply: Yes, prophecy comes from the Father through the Son to us, God willing.

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.

Much information—exciting information—is packed into each of these visions. “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” What “mountain” will become a plain? Spiritually speaking, Satan’s kingdom and mystic Babylon (Papacy) will be destroyed. From a literal standpoint—the real emphasis here—the Second Pyramid, which is next to the Great Pyramid will be leveled. The Second Pyramid has distracted mankind from the true Pyramid because (1) it has a top stone and (2) it is situated on higher ground, so to the casual observer, the Second Pyramid appears more majestic than, and superior to, the Great Pyramid. In reality, the measurements, design, and care that have been put into the Great Pyramid dwarf the significance of the Second Pyramid. The Second Pyramid, representative of Satan’s kingdom and particularly of Papacy, will be destroyed. The Third Pyramid, picturing Protestantism, will likewise be destroyed. Thus these structures on the Giza Plateau symbolize the true Church and the two false nominal Church systems.

“Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” In the natural picture, the Second Pyramid will be dismantled and removed by an earthquake. In the spiritual picture, Papacy, the false Church, will be utterly removed forever, and the true Church will be exalted with Jesus beyond the veil. Incidentally, the true Church will be represented by 144,000 casing stones that are to be put on the Great Pyramid in the future. In other words, 36,000 stones will be on each side of the Pyramid, and these new casing stones will be a little larger than the original ones.

Q: Will the earthquake destruction of the Second and Third Pyramids coincide with the destruction of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem?

A: Yes. The structures will be flattened and removed, leaving a level ground, and of course the debris will be cleared from the area. The Sphinx will likewise be removed. How wonderful that all these events have been, are being, and will be recorded in minute detail from all angles and with great clarity! It will be seen how these three pyramids were built, who built them, and how they were destroyed. The movies of the future will be TRUTH, especially after the Kingdom Age. During the Kingdom Age, the emphasis will be on repentance, forsaking sin, and being made right to become in union with the Lord (at-one-ment), so the entertainment feature will not occur in the Kingdom Age except as it pertains to particular events that would be especially helpful to mankind at that time. However, in the ages of ages, all kinds of material that is stored in God’s “library” will be seen. Many think these thoughts are fantasizing, but it would be very surprising if the Crucifixion, the Flood, the lives of Abraham and Moses, the Exodus, etc., were not recorded and preserved for posterity.

“He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” Here is a prophecy that the “headstone” will be found and placed on the now topless Great Pyramid.

At present, there is only a platform on the top of the Pyramid. Adam Rutherford suggested that when the Pyramid was being built, the top stone was one of the first items to be made. It was polished and finished and ready for placement on the top once the casing stones were all assembled and laid out on the desert plateau. Stairs, or ramps, were needed to put the stones in place. The techniques that were used in ancient times to build the Pyramid will be used again. It will be very instructional to see the future placing of the top stone.

Adam Rutherford also suggested that when the Great Pyramid is restored externally, it will be a larger structure than it was in the past. The top stone has already been engineered and finished, just as Christ was “engineered and finished” as the High Priest, having made his calling and election sure by dying faithfully on the Cross. As the Head of the Church, he was the first spiritual “Stone” to be completed.

At the time of construction, before the builders could place the top stone on the Great Pyramid, they saw that it was too large for the already-engineered casing stones. If they put the top stone on the Pyramid, it would be a monstrosity because the edges would overhang the finished, polished structure below. Therefore, the builders proceeded without the top stone and assembled the casing stones against the core stones all the way up to the flat top, which was left alone. Because of the immensity of the Pyramid, when the flat top is viewed from a distance, it appears to have a top stone. For this reason, Herodotus and another ancient historian wrote that they thought the Great Pyramid had a top stone at that time, but such was not the case. In fact, even in its imperfect state today with the present rough core masonry, which consists of broken-down stones of softer limestone that have been weathered by wind and sandstorms, the Pyramid appears to have a top stone when it is seen from ten or so miles away. However, it is known that the structure does not have a top stone.

Because of its size, the large finished top stone became a stumbling block to the workers—it was always in the way. Out of frustration, they took the top stone and placed it behind the Pyramid. In time, sandstorms completely covered it with sand, and there it remains, out of sight, to the present time. (Sand will cover any obstacle in the desert that is not high enough, like a mountain.)

The angel was telling Zechariah that the top stone was there intact and that it will be found in God’s due time. How appropriate spiritually! At present, we do not see Christ, the finished Top Stone, but we know he exists. In the future, the world will see that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, and in the natural picture, the top stone will be found and put on the completed, restored core masonry of the Great Pyramid.

Verse 7 is telling us not only that the Second Pyramid will be leveled but also that it will be out of sight. The implication is that the false Muslim structures on the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque) will also be removed. These two false temples correspond, respectively, to the two “mountains” next to the Great Pyramid—the Second Pyramid (picturing the Roman Catholic Church) and the Third Pyramid (representing Protestant churches). There is a division in the Muslim religion between the Shiites and the Sunnis, and Dome of the Rock represents the larger of these two branches. Thus a counterfeit condition also exists in the Muslim world.

Q: Is the top stone made of a different material than the rest of the Pyramid?

A: It would be made of better material, but there is no record of what that material is. Some of the original casing stones still exist, and they were made not of granite but of a superior type of limestone that is harder than the core stones. The top stone is probably not too different, but there will be some distinction between it and the future refurbished casing stones underneath. When the top stone is found, there will be some sort of celebration, perhaps a parade, as it is carried. The top stone is not as large as many people would think, so transporting it will be possible. Spiritually speaking, there will be a great festivity in Jerusalem when the world recognizes and sees that Jesus is the true Messiah, and also when Jehovah reveals, by miraculous events, that He is the true God, the God of Israel. It is logical to think that the occasion of the spiritual celebration will be when the Third Temple is finished. The Scriptures tell that Jehovah will enter that Temple as He did with the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple when those structures were finished (Ezek. 43:4,5; 44:4; Exod. 40:34,35; 1 Kings 8:10,11). With Solomon’s Temple, there was a celebration, and a great prayer was offered. In both cases, a revealment of the Lord’s glory filled the structure, and the Lord’s glory will likewise fill the Third Temple for a short while. Zechariah will be the book, the eye-opener, to Israel because it pertains, in a special sense, to events that will conclude this Gospel Age. No prophet of Israel has so explicitly, and with such multiplicity, recorded events of the last time as the Book of Zechariah. Therefore, this book will be seen by the Jew as the eye-opener—just as the Book of Daniel has been the eye-opener of prophecy to the Christian during the Gospel Age.

Incidentally, the Great Pyramid will be rebuilt only externally, not internally. The interior of the structure will be closed forever, and new casing stones will be put on the outside. This requirement harmonizes with the Tabernacle picture. As a type, the Tabernacle will end, or fade out of existence, when the symbolism of the Temple supplants it. And Solomon’s Temple becomes passé, for it will be supplanted by the Third Temple. The east gate of the Third Temple will be closed forever to mankind. Only the north and south gates will be used in the Kingdom.

The tomb of Zechariah can be seen in Jerusalem today outside the southeastern corner in the valley, and it is interesting that on top is a pyramid carved out of rock. The top stone of the Great Pyramid, which is a pyramid itself, pictures Christ. Just as the top stone is needed to perfect the Pyramid, so it is a beautiful picture of Christ with the Church underneath him. The exterior stones of the Pyramid represent the 144,000, with Christ as the top stone.

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.

Verse 6 states, “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel.” Now verse 9 speaks of “the hands of Zerubbabel.” In other words, back there this part of the vision was specifically addressed to Zerubbabel, but he represents Jesus in a special sense as a King, as a Prince, as a civil authority, administering the government of the Kingdom. In contrast, Joshua represents Jesus from the clerical aspect of the future government. Thus there will be two phases of rulership in the Kingdom Age. In Israel’s history, church and state were kept separate, and that is also the advice for the spiritual Church during the Gospel Age. In the nominal system, church and state were unlawfully combined, and through that grasping of power, it became the false Church. The true Church will not inherit kingship until after they have made their calling and election sure; then they will be both kings and priests for the world in the Kingdom Age. At that time, both the kingly and the priestly phases will be united. In the civil aspect of the Kingdom, Jesus will be the King, and the Church will be his Queen, his Bride. In the spiritual aspect of the Kingdom, Jesus will be the High Priest of the Melchisedec priesthood, and the Church will be the underpriests of that priesthood. The Church will have authority to rule, for the promise is that they will reign as kings with Christ. Not until the Kingdom Age can church and state legitimately be joined together in holy matrimony, as it were—the priestly and the civil aspects. The premature combination of church and state in the Gospel Age has been an unholy alliance. In this union, the false Church lost its virginity. In the Muslim religion also, the premature joining of the clerical and the kingly aspects has led to many problems.

Zerubbabel went back to Israel in 536 BC and began to build the Temple, and Joshua also returned at the same time. Subsequently the Jews stopped building the Temple for about 19 years because of discouragement over opposition. In Zechariah’s day, the great literal “mountain” to Zerubbabel was the neighbors who frustrated any further building of the Temple by sending messages to Cambyses, the Persian king. Then God used Darius Hystaspes, another heathen king, to give the Jews authority to go ahead and build the structure.

There are two applications for the last part of verse 9, “And thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.” In the first application, Zechariah was talking to Zerubbabel back in his day: “You will know that God has sent me, as His spokesperson, to you, Zerubbabel. I am telling you what the Lord showed me in a vision. God told me to tell you to go ahead and build the Temple, for He will be your might and strength. This big mountain ahead of you will be leveled, and you will prosper at least in completing the work on the Temple.”

The second application, which is more important, is a mini-picture of what will happen at the end of the Gospel Age. At that time, the Holy Remnant will know that Jesus was the Prophet sent unto them to inaugurate the Kingdom down here. Thus verse 9 has two meanings—the natural application took place in the past, and the other application will take place in the near future when it is seen that Jehovah has sent Jesus as the Messiah to build the Third Temple.

Q: What is the relationship of Herod’s Temple to Zerubbabel’s Temple?

A: Herod enlarged and refurbished the Zerubbabel Temple. There has been confusion on this point, but Herod’s Temple is actually Zerubbabel’s Temple enlarged. The sequence of temples is Solomon’s, Zerubbabel’s, and Ezekiel’s (the Third Temple).

Review of Zechariah 4:1-9

The candlestick was the fifth of seven visions that were given to Zechariah in a series of dreams on the same night. Thus far the visions were as follows:

1. Three kinds of horses of three different colors

2. Four horns and four carpenters

3. A man walking with a measuring line in his hand

4. A scene with Satan and Joshua, the high priest

5. A seven-branched candlestick

Each of these visions brings us down to the end time of the Gospel Age, but as we progress, we will be brought even a little further into the end time.

“Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord” (Zech. 4:5). This question pertains to the first four verses of chapter 4, in which Zechariah saw a golden candlestick with a bowl on top of, or over, the main stem (or branch). The bowl was a receptacle for the oil that came from two olive trees, one on the left and one on the right. The oil was channeled from the bowl through seven pipes to the seven branches of the lamp stand. The angel now asked Zechariah if he understood what the vision of the candlestick signified. Of course, the prophet answered in the negative.

As it was with Zechariah, so it is with us. When we come to a vision in Scripture that appears complicated, such as this one in the Book of Zechariah, the question is, How interested are we in understanding its significance? The prophet admitted that he did not know, but he was very interested in learning the meaning. He was given the details of what the candlestick looked like, and now the angel was about to explain to him the component parts of the vision.

“Then he [the angel] answered and spake unto me [Zechariah], saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel” (Zech. 4:6). Zerubbabel was suddenly brought into the picture. As one of those who had returned from Babylonian captivity, he was charged with the responsibility of rebuilding the Temple, which had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar more than 70 years earlier. It was now the second year of Darius Hystaspes, a Persian king. Zerubbabel was the governor, a civil servant, and Joshua, the high priest of that day, was charged with the ecclesiastical supervision of the services, ceremonies, and sacrifices that would eventually  take place when the Temple was complete. When the work was finished, these two personalities would be very well attached to the Temple. Called Zerubbabel’s Temple, this structure replaced Solomon’s Temple. The candlestick vision will have more meaning if we understand some of the background—when it took place, what happened, and why it was recorded in Scripture.

The angel, who was talking to Zechariah, would now start to explain the signification of the vision. He was saying, “Jehovah has sent me, as his angel, to explain to you, Zechariah, what this vision means. When I am finished speaking with you, you are to go to Zerubbabel and tell him what you saw tonight in vision and explain the meaning.”

However, the next words seem to be extraneous information: “Not by might, nor by power [strength of arms], but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” How are these words related to the candlestick vision in the first four verses of this chapter? The olive oil is the connection, for it signifies God’s Holy Spirit. In other words, the angel wanted Zechariah to focus on the oil, on God’s Holy Spirit. The angel was hinting—or almost teasing Zechariah—as if to say, “Do you want to know the meaning of the olive oil that starts with the trees? The meaning comes not by might or power but by God’s Spirit, which is the olive oil.” Then, in verse 7, the angel said something else that seemed to be completely irrelevant or extraneous.

“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” (Zech. 4:7).

What “great mountain” was “before Zerubbabel”? It was the Second Pyramid in Egypt. Even today this structure is mistaken by many for the Great Pyramid because it has a capstone and is a little higher. The Second Pyramid is actually smaller than the Great Pyramid, but at first glance, it appears to be more spectacular because it is built on higher ground. However, upon examination, the Second Pyramid is seen to contain numerous flaws and faults. This structure distracts and diverts attention from the Great Pyramid, the true Pyramid. Therefore, if the Great Pyramid is the true Pyramid, the Second Pyramid is the false Pyramid. Satan’s kingdom includes the Second and Third Pyramids, that is, Roman Catholicism (the Papacy in particular, the crowning feature) and Protestantism, respectively. Both of these systems have claimed to be the true Church, but they are not recognized by God, for His true Kingdom is a “little flock” of humble people who are considered relative nobodies from the world’s perspective (Luke 12:32). The world is impressed by numbers, and the Roman Catholic Church is especially prominent because of the Papacy and the pope, the man of sin over the woman (or mother) Catholic Church (2 Thess. 2:3,4; Rev. 17:5). Her daughters, represented by the Third Pyramid, are the Protestant denominations. This symbolism might seem rather far-fetched, but that is not the case when we examine the matter further.

“Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain” (Zech. 4:7). In the antitype, Zerubbabel is Jesus Christ, and the time setting is the end of the Gospel Age.

Verse 7 is telling us that when the Kingdom of Christ is set up, one of the works will be the destruction of the Second Pyramid—this “great mountain” will be leveled, dismantled, and made as a plain. Moreover, the Great Pyramid will be rebuilt and reshaped with the re-laying of new casing stones according to the proper dimensions, slant, and standard. When refurbished, the Great Pyramid will stand resplendently for all to behold.

And Zerubbabel (Jesus) “shall bring forth the headstone thereof [of the Great Pyramid] with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” The top stone of the Great Pyramid will be placed on the externally rebuilt and refurbished structure. Down through the centuries, the Great Pyramid has been devoid of a top stone and missing its casing stones except for about three fragments. The structure will be rebuilt because it represents the Kingdom of God.

Another great work will also be taking place in the Kingdom Age, namely, the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Contemporary with the rebuilding of the Great Pyramid will be a rebuilding in Israel of the Temple that is described in the Book of Ezekiel. These structures will be outward manifestations of a change of venue from the kingdoms of this world to the Kingdom of Christ (Zerubbabel).

The “headstone,” the top stone, is the Lord Jesus, the antitypical Zerubbabel (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10,11; Luke 20:17,18; 1 Pet. 2:6-8). Just as the top stone was literally a stone of stumbling to the builders in ancient times, so Jesus has been a stone of stumbling to the nation of Israel.

The top stone will be brought forth by Jesus with great acclamation, as indicated by the shouts and cries of “Grace, grace unto it.” The account is saying that the top stone of the Great Pyramid exists now in Egypt, but it has not been found. It is buried beneath the sand in proximity to the Great Pyramid. When the sand is removed, the top stone will be brought forth as a complete stone, which was quarried and prepared way back in the period of 2170 to 2140 BC. During those 30 years, the Great Pyramid was constructed—long before Christ’s First Advent. This stone has been preserved in the sand inviolate in its pristine beauty so that it can be brought forth and placed on the top of the refurbished Pyramid.

Acclamations of “grace” will accompany this event because at that time, the top stone will be recognized as representing Christ himself. In the New Testament, the top stone is called “the stone which the builders rejected,” “the head of the corner,” “a chief corner stone, elect, precious,” “the stone which the builders disallowed,” and “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.” It represented the Jews’ stumbling over Christ at the First Advent. The scribes and Pharisees stumbled over him for two reasons: (1) he was bigger and greater than they were, and (2) they were jealous of him. They reasoned that if his popularity was not checked, he would receive the chief attention, and they would be put on the sidelines. Thus the religious leaders of Israel conspired to have Jesus put to death. When Judas sought to betray Christ into their hands for a sum of money, they considered his offer providential. Based on what had happened on prior occasions, Judas did not think Jesus would be apprehended. Since Judas thought Jesus would use his power to circumvent being arrested, we can imagine his surprise when he heard that Jesus was being taken for crucifixion. However, the fact that Judas did not intend such a result does not excuse him one bit, because he had arranged the betrayal—and for money. When Judas saw that he had betrayed a just man, he tried to return the money to the priests, but they rejected it. Judas then went out and committed suicide.

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 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” (Zech. 4:8,9). How had Zerubbabel’s hands “laid the foundation of this house”? Jesus is the beginner and the finisher of the Christian’s faith. When he died on the Cross, he provided the redemption price, and the Ransom is the foundation of the Christian’s hope; it is the gospel foundation “stone“ to the Pyramid. The foundation of the Pyramid is the top stone up in heaven, whereas the foundation of the Temple is underneath the structure. Christ is the foundation in both senses. In fact, he is the foundation of three structures: the Great Pyramid, the future Temple of Ezekiel, and the Temple in the Book of Revelation—all are viewed from different perspectives but teach the same lesson.

The “hands of Zerubbabel [Jesus] … laid the foundation of this house” at his First Advent. “His hands shall also finish it” at his Second Advent. The angel continued to speak: “And thou [Zechariah] shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me [as his angel] unto you.” Then Zechariah was to transmit this information to Zerubbabel. Although Zerubbabel laid the literal foundation of the second Temple, which replaced the Temple of Solomon, that was only the type, and Jesus is the antitype of a much greater Temple building—whether we consider it as literal or spiritual. The spiritual house comprises the 144,000 with Jesus as the top stone, the Head, the beginner and finisher of the work in the Gospel Age. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” (1 Cor. 3:16). All of this information is compacted into the tiny picture here in the Book of Zechariah.

This review will help us as we continue to study the fifth vision, for some details will now stand out a little more clearly. In order to understand the vision, we need to know who the personages are in both type and antitype.

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.

As already explained, Zerubbabel represents Christ, who will be doing this work, and many other works, when he begins to establish his Kingdom at his Second Advent. Among other things, he will direct the rebuilding of the Great Pyramid and the Third Temple.

What “small things” are being “despised”? One answer is the gospel Church, which is not recognized. True Christians are nonentities in the present life. In the Song of Solomon, they are pictured as a woman, a virgin, who went to other women (the nominal systems) to try to get understanding about where Jesus is. When she asked where she could find him, the religious leadership replied, “Look for the footprints.” She followed the footprints and eventually found the Bridegroom. Thus we find that the information which directs the Lord’s people to Christ is the Word of God itself. The oil is not just the letter of the Word but also the spirit, or the understanding, of that Word. To repeat, the oil is the understanding and the appreciation of what the Word of God teaches. The oil is deep within the Word. Most people read the Bible externally, giving a certain respect from the historical standpoint that it is the oldest book, but that is not enough. Its message is not based upon might or power or lineage (we do not inherit the Kingdom because of who our forebears were). Rather, its message is given on an individual basis to those who follow the Lord Jesus and feast upon the Word. It is given to those who wholly commit themselves and their lives to obey and recognize Jesus Christ personally as the Head of the true Church of God that is being called in this age.

Another of the “small things” is Jesus, the “headstone,” the stumbling stone that was rejected.

The literal top stone was taken out of the way and cast behind the Pyramid. In time, it was covered with sand from the storms and has not been found subsequently.

From another standpoint, the “small things” include numerous disappointments in the time factor. It is now 2,000 years since the AD reckoning began, and there does not seem to have been much progress. Likewise, not much progress had been made when Zerubbabel started to rebuild the Temple. The harassment and distractions that occurred discouraged the Israelites and put them in a stupor, as it were. As a counterpart at the end of the Gospel Age, the wise and foolish virgins fell asleep. Thus a number of things have delayed the completion of this picture. Even the true saints have fallen asleep with regard to a fervent expectancy of being with Jesus and need to be awakened from their slumber.

“Who hath despised the day of small things [and small beginnings]? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.” Spiritually speaking, Jesus assembles and builds the Church, among other things. In 1878, he awakened the sleeping saints from their sleep in death. They have been up in earth’s atmosphere ever since, receiving instruction on how to judge the billions of humanity who will be awakened from the tomb. Thus a great work is taking place not in God’s heaven but in earth’s atmosphere. Ever since 1878, the few individuals who are selected and are faithful to become part of the Little Flock are being caught up individually when they die to join the others and the Lord in the air. Eventually, when the last gleanings are finished and the Church is complete, they will all go as a group up to the heavenly throne to meet the Heavenly Father. The marriage of the Lamb will then take place. Afterward the Great Company will be dealt with.

Among the dear brethren, we are not sure whether we ourselves will be members of the Little Flock. We are running the race and trying desperately to be more than overcomers. We hope, by the Lord’s grace, to be recognized as such, but it has taken a long time to gather the last members because they are few and far between. The knowledge of the truth in itself is not what makes our calling and election sure. It is necessary, yes, but obedience is the determining factor. He who does the will of the Father will be part of the Bride of Christ.

With the “plummet” being in the hand of Zerubbabel (Jesus), we get further insight into the third vision. When Zechariah saw a man with a measuring line and a plummet, it was as if the angel asked, “Do you know who just walked by?” Then Zechariah was introduced to the man who was holding the line for measuring the city of Jerusalem. Spiritually speaking, the line is the measure of one who is to become a man of Christ, one who is to be in the image of Christ, one who is to be perfected. We cannot be perfect in ourselves, but with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, God can recognize the intensity of our desire. If our fervor and intent are pure enough, we will make our calling and election sure. Therefore, the measuring line is the standard for the Christian, and that standard is to be a copy of God’s dear Son. A plummet is the lead weight at the bottom of a line; it comes to a point and shows true verticality. When something is perpendicular, it is perfectly upright, and the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel determines by gravity the proper right angle of righteousness. Christ is the standard-bearer.

“They … 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 “seven” are the channels, or pipes, to the seven branches of the candlestick; that is, they are the seven messengers to the seven churches down through the Gospel Age. The seven “eyes,” “horns,” and “Spirits” of God that “run to and fro through the whole earth” are mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 5:6).

The seven Spirits represent the seven phases of the Church down through the Gospel Age.

God addresses His people in each stage of the Church through a prominent dispensational messenger. The first messenger was the Apostle Paul. The second messenger, after Paul died, was the Apostle John, to whom the Book of Revelation was given in vision. The third messenger was Arius, considered by the nominal Church to be the greatest heretic who ever lived. To the contrary, Arius was a very holy man—so much so that no one could falsely accuse him, even though 300 women (virgins) assisted him in his ministry. Even his dread enemy Athanasius, who spoke violently against Arius, could not accuse him of anything immoral.

History records little about Arius, but we know about him indirectly—his doctrines as well as his character—through the mouths of his enemies. Arius was poisoned to death in his old age.

Succeeding messengers were Waldo, Wycliffe, Luther, and Russell. Dispensational messages have been sent through the seven messengers down through the Gospel Age, one at a time. The rejoicing will take place when the picture is complete. The path of the just shines as a light that grows brighter and brighter unto the perfect day (Prov. 4:18). We are nearing the completion, but we have not yet come to the perfect day. When we do, if we are of the very elect, we will see the completion. Then the seven messages will all have a full fulfillment.

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.

Zechariah was now getting interested. Instead of the angel prompting him with questions such as “Zechariah, do you know what this means?” the prophet asked his own questions. “What are the two olive trees that I saw on the right and left sides of the candlestick?” Verse 14 gives the answer: “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” The two “anointed [or holy] ones” are the Old and New Testaments, the source of the oil that comes to the candlestick. The two olive trees empty their oil into the bowl that is over the main stem of the candlestick. From the bowl, seven pipes conduct the oil to the seven branches of the candlestick. In the final analysis, all seven pipes will have received their portion of oil.

The two olive trees show the principle that out of the mouth of two (or three) witnesses is a thing established (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16). Also, in Revelation 11:3,4, the Word of God is called “two witnesses,” “two olive trees,” and “two candlesticks.” In God’s sight, the Old and New Testaments were complete long ago, so they cannot be separated from each other. The method of sacrificing a bird illustrated this principle; namely, the wings of a bird could be fractured (or folded), but they could not be completely severed because they pictured the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 1:14-17). In addition, the two tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments, which were put in the sacred Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy of the Tabernacle, were called the two “witness” tables in the Hebrew.

Zechariah asked again, “What are the two olive branches [trees] through which the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?” The angel answered that the two olive trees were “the two anointed ones” (the Old and New Testaments), for one golden pipe led from the tree on the right side to the bowl over the main stem of the candlestick, and the other golden pipe led from the tree on the left side to the bowl. The top of each of the seven branches of the candlestick, or lamp stand, was a flat “table” on which the seven lamps sat. The branches themselves were solid gold.

The pipes were “golden” because the source of the oil (the enlightenment, the Holy Spirit) is the Father. The oil comes from the Father directly to the Son. Jesus received the whole Word— in its fullness. In contrast, the Christian gets only a portion of the oil, and that oil comes indirectly from the Father through the Son (and through prayer, faith, and obedience) through God’s dispensational servant of the particular stage of the Church the Christian is living in. We are directed to the channel and are fed accordingly. Moreover, the oil comes to us individually, and what we do with it determines our future.

As with the preceding four visions, this vision brings us down to the end of the Gospel Age, so it is an end-time picture. Chapter 3, pertaining to Joshua, ended with the words “In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.” That text takes us right into the Kingdom, and chapter 4 brings us into the spiritual Kingdom. When we interpret Zerubbabel from the standpoint of the literal application down here on planet Earth, chapter 4 takes us to the refurbishing of the Great Pyramid and the building of the Third Temple, that is, a little way into the earthly phase of the Kingdom.

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  1. […] Zechariah 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?  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?  13  And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.  14  Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. [The oil being the Holy Spirit, which has its source in the Word of God, which in this picture is distributed to the 7 branches, which is the 7 lamp stands in Rev. 1, which is the 7 churches or stages of the Gospel Age] See our Verse by Verse study on Zechariah Chapter 4. […]

  2. […] Below is an excerpt from our verse by verse study on Zechariah which please see: […]

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