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The Vision of the Candlestick and of the Two Olive-Trees.
After the prophet had been a witness of the first four visions, he was so overwhelmed by the revelations vouchsafed him that he fell into a trancelike condition, somewhat like Peter and his companions on the Mount of Transfiguration. Cf Luke 9:32; Matthew 17:5-6.
v. 1. And the angel that talked with me, he who acted as the interpreter of the Lord in making known the message concerning the future, came again and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, out of his state of exhaustion. The angel had evidently left the prophet for a short while and now returned for the purpose of interpreting further visions.
v. 2. And said unto me, What seest thou? thus calling the prophet's attention to a new vision, whereas in the other instances Zechariah had asked for information. And I said, I have looked, he was even then observing very closely, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, a round vessel, or reservoir, for oil, and his seven lamps thereon and seven pipes to the seven lamps, or seven feed-pipes to each of the seven lamps, to insure a plentiful supply of fuel, which are upon the top thereof, the candlestick in general being formed after that in the Tabernacle, Exodus 25:31-37;
v. 3. and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl and the other upon the left side thereof, this being a new feature, indicating the source of the oil for the lamps.
v. 4. So I answered, the prophet having meanwhile recovered to some extent from his dazed condition, and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? He could not quite grasp the significance of it all.
v. 5. Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? He was surprised that a man of Judah, and he of priestly descent, should not find some meaning in the vision of such a candlestick. And I said, No, my lord.
v. 6. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, that is, the force of armies, nor by power, namely, that of any earthly agency, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. The candlestick of the Tabernacle was a type of the congregation of the Old Testament, which was supposed to be a light shining in the darkness of the world. Its oil was a type of the Holy Ghost, and the high priests of the Old Covenant received the strength for the performance of the duties of their office from the Spirit symbolized in the light of the great candlestick. Thus the candlestick of the vision was a type of the Church of God to be established anew in the midst of Judah. Moreover, Zerubbabel, the governor of the people, was to be informed that the great work which he was to perform could be carried on only through the Spirit of the Lord.
v. 7. Who art thou, 0 great mountain? the building of the Temple being thus represented. Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain, he would easily overcome all the difficulties connected with the completion of this momentous work; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof, the uppermost stone of its walls, with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it! that is, May God grant grace to this stone and to the building which it represents, so that it may stand forever! But the Temple of Zerubbabel was only a type of the true Temple of Jehovah, the Church of the New Testament.
v. 8. Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
v. 9. The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, this having been done some sixteen years before; his hands shall also finish it, as they did some four years later; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you, whence it follows that the entire situation has a deeper significance than that of a mere earthly temple, namely, that the Lord Jehovah, in the Word that was made flesh, was coming to the temple of His Church.
v. 10. For who hath despised the day of small things? It seemed indeed that the days in which Judah was then living were days of insignificant things, when the entire nation was living in deepest poverty and contempt; yet these days were the forerunners of the most momentous period in the history of the world. For they, the people concerned, shall rejoice and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, as the chief builder of the Temple, with those seven, they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth, Cf Zechariah 3:9. But if the eyes of God's majesty rest upon this building with such evident joy and satisfaction, it surely must be a Temple of the greatest importance, and the days in which it is being built must not be despised.
v. 11. Then answered I and said unto him, anxious to get some further information on this most interesting point, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? The candlestick was in the center with its arms extended on either side, and next to these arms stood the two olive-trees which were puzzling the prophet.
v. 12. And I answered again and said unto him, What be these two olive-branches, literally, "ears," because they were bunched to resemble ears of grain, which through the two golden pipes, special spouts, or funnels, placed under them, empty the golden oil out of themselves? so that the oil was fed directly from the trees into the pipes connecting with the reservoir of the candlestick.
v. 13. And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
v. 14. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, literally, "the two sons of oil,". that stand by the Lord of the whole earth, as His servants. They were symbols of Zerubbabel and of Joshua, the temporal and the spiritual leader of the people, respectively, anointed by God for the performance of the work of their office. The meaning for our day and age is clear. The Church is the Lord's candlestick, Matthew 5:14, and therefore has a great and important duty to fulfil in this world. This duty may not be performed by the power and might of men, but solely and alone through the Spirit of the Lord given to His Church and to its ministers in and through the Gospel.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Zechariah 4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany