The Two Olive Trees
The Two Olive Trees – The Bible addressed the two witnesses with the name of “the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” This prophesy gives the indication about the two witnesses is directly linked to a prophecy in Zechariah 3-4 about two individuals called the “two olive trees. We should pay attention to the below statement as carefully as possible :
* Bible, Revelation 11:4 calls the two witnesses “the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” This prophecy indicates that the prophecy about the two witnesses is directly linked to (or foreshadowed by) a prophecy in Bible, Zechariah 3-4 about two individuals called the “two olive trees.” Since Bible, Revelation 11 links the two witnesses to information in Bible, Zechariah 3-4’s prophecy, a digression into Zechariah’s prophecy is necessary to understand more about the two witnesses.
* The prophecy in Bible, Zechariah 3-4 gives the names “Joshua” and “Zerubbabel” to the two men called the “two olive trees” in Bible, Zechariah 4:11, and it reveals that they are alive at a time “the foundation of this house” (verse 9) has been laid down. Zechariah and Haggai were two prophets who lived at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (Bible, Ezra 5:1, 6:14), and Zechariah’s prophecy about the “two olive trees” likens them to two of their actual contemporaries who were named Joshua and Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was a political officer and Joshua was a High Priest at that time (Bible, Haggai 1:1, 12). Since the two historic figures called the “two olive trees” are referenced in Revelation 11 as types of the two witnesses, it could indicate that one of the two witnesses will have a political background while the other “witness” will have a priestly/ministerial background.
* Bible, Zechariah 4:6 states that Zerubbabel’s power will flow from God’s Holy Spirit. This is consistent with Bible, Revelation 11:3 that God’s power will energize the two witnesses at the time of their calling. Verse 7 prophesies that a “great mountain” will become “a plain” before Zerubbabel. Mountains are used in prophecies as types of human nations (Bible, Isaiah 1:1-4 is one such example). Zerubbabel will be able to turn “a great mountain” (a very powerful nation or alliance of nations) into “a plain.” In other words, God’s power will be so strong in Zerubbabel that the military power of mighty nations (or the “beast” power” of Revelation) will be “leveled” before Zerubbabel. No human military power will be able to stand before the Divine power that will flow through the Two Witnesses. Zerubbabel had been involved in “laying the foundation of the house” (i.e. an earlier Temple) in Bible, Zechariah 4:9, which may indicate that one of the two witnesses will be involved with the effort to build a temple of God in Jerusalem in the latter days, and that these efforts will proceed from a time of very humble beginnings (“the day of small things” in Bible, Zechariah 4:10). Zerubbabel uses a “plummet,” a tool used in construction measurements. This parallels the fact that the two witnesses will emerge at a time the latter-day temple is being “measured” (Bible, Revelation 11:1-2).
* Bible, Zechariah 3 is a prophecy about “Joshua,” the other “olive tree” of this prophecy and a type of the other “witness” of Bible, Revelation 11. Bible, Zechariah 3:1 mentions that Joshua was serving as the high priest in Ezra’s time, and Joshua is personified as being between an “the angel of the Lord” and Satan (who is resisting or opposing him). This “Joshua” is at a nexus of a battle being waged between good and bad angels, but the Lord decides the contest in favor of a good outcome. The Lord rebukes Satan from opposing Joshua any further and then likens Joshua to a “brand plucked from the fire.” Joshua is further depicted as being clothed in “filthy garments” as he “stood before an angel.” A “brand plucked from the fire” pictures a stick or branch that is in the process of being ignited or burned in a fire, but which is “plucked” or rescued from the fire so it is not consumed.
*This “Joshua” does not emerge unscathed from the spiritual contest between good and evil angels which has raged around him. His “filthy garments” indicate he is in a sinful or personally damaged state when he is “plucked from the fire” and rescued by God. In verses 4-5, God removes Joshua’s “iniquity” and he is figuratively given new, clean garments and a fair miter (the clothing of a priest). In other words, this individual is “cleaned up” or “restored” so he can perform the duties assigned to him by God. In verses 6-8, an angel gives Joshua a charge to walk in God’s ways in order to perform the priestly duties assigned to him. This is not the first time that God has chosen a spiritually-damaged or “unfit” individual to serve him in a prophetic capacity. When Isaiah was called to be a prophet, he protested that he was unworthy because he had “unclean lips” (Bible, Isaiah 6:5), and the Apostle Paul had previously been an enemy of God when known by his earlier surname of “Saul” (Bible, Acts 8-9).
* Bible, Zechariah 4:11-14 describe Joshua and Zerubbabel not only as the “two olive trees,” but also as “the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” [Emphasis added.] This strongly parallels the role of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 who will serve as two “anointed ones” who will wield Divine power in a global ministry in the latter days. The separate descriptions of “Joshua” and “Zerubbabel” apparently give us clues about some aspects of the lives of the two people who will be called by God to be the two witnesses in the latter days. If not, why would God tell us in Revelation 11 that the two witnesses are the “two olive trees” and then give us specific information in Zechariah 3-4 about the two individuals personified in these roles?