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FRAMEWORKS: Zechariah 4: The Provision & Power of the Spirit


v.1-7 The gold lampstand and the two olive trees

v.8-10 A word of encouragement for Zerubbabel

v.11-14 The two olive trees explained


[Preliminary Comment: The vision continues but the prophet is obviously wearying [in the middle of the night – 1:8] and needs to be prodded awake [v.1] and is then shown a lampstand [v.2] and two olive trees [v.3]. No meaning is given to the lampstand but some suggest it is Israel, called to be a light to the Gentiles by Isaiah [Isa 42:6, 49:6, Acts 13:47 - both Israel and the coming servant Messiah –

Lk 2:32]. The olive trees clearly resource the lamp to enable it to give light and they appear to refer to Joshua and Zerubbabel [v.14]. The big message of the chapter it that the work will be finished by the power of God [v.6], and however great an obstacle may appear, it will be removed [v.7] so that the temple WILL be completed [v.7,9,10] Again, a thoroughly encouraging chapter for the exiles.]



v.1-7 The gold lampstand and the two olive trees


v.1,2 The angel stirs the prophet awake & challenges him


v.1  Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep.

v.2  He asked me, ‘What do you see?'


v.2,3 He sees a gold lampstand, and two olive trees, one either side of it


I answered, ‘I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps.

v.3  Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.'


v.4,5 The prophet questions the angel further


v.4  I asked the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?'

v.5  He answered, ‘Do you not know what these are?'

‘No, my lord,' I replied.


v.6 The angel declares this principle


v.6  So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.


v.7 Whether a mountain of opposition, or just difficulty of building, it will be overcome


v.7  ‘What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of “God bless it! God bless it!”'


[Notes: The first part of the chapter doesn't explain meanings, just states what is seen, but an overriding principle is declared – future success will be by God's enabling [His Spirit] and whatever obstacles face the builders, they will be overcome and the house of the Lord WILL be completed!]



v.8-10 A word of encouragement for Zerubbabel


v.8  Then the word of the Lord came to me:

v.9  ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.

v.10  ‘Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?'


[Notes: There is a specific word of encouragement for Zerubbabel [see Ezra 2:2, 3:2,8, 4:2,3, Neh 7:7, Hag 1:1,12,14 etc.] – he will both start and finish the temple rebuilding. Don't despise the small start, because God is watching over this work and will see the last stone put in place by Zerubbabel.]



v.11-14 The two olive trees explained


v.11  Then I asked the angel, ‘What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?'

v.12  Again I asked him, ‘What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?'

13  He replied, ‘Do you not know what these are?'

‘No, my lord,' I said.

v.14  So he said, ‘These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.'


[Notes: The mystery of the two olive trees is partly explained – they provide the oil to keep the lamp burning and they represent the two who God has anointed to fulfil this work – presumably Joshua [priest] and Zerubbabel [ruler] who, as 3:8 suggested, would be symbolic of the priest-king to come, the Messiah, the Christ.]



Continue to Chapter 5