The background for this vision was the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (from 537 B.C. to 515 B.C.) by the exiles who returned from the Babylonian captivity. You can read about this in the book of Ezra. As we shall see, in Zechariah’s vision (in 4:1-14) he saw TWO OLIVE TREES and they picture the TWO LEADERS that God used in the building of the temple; Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel (see Ezra 3:13; 8-10). Now let’s read this interesting passage:

“Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’ So I said, ‘I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. TWO OLIVE TREES are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.’ So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, ‘What are these, my lord?’ Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ So he answered and 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 of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and from throughout the whole earth” (NKJV).

As we know, Israel was to be a LIGHT to all the heathen nations around them and when the captives returned from Babylon, the first thing they were to do was to rebuild the temple, which is why the “LAMPSTAND of solid gold” is mentioned (see Exodus 25:31-40). As already mentioned, the TWO OLIVE TREES would be God’s “anointed ones” (read verses 11-14); Zerubbabel (verses 8-10) and Joshua (Zechariah chapter 3). But there would be great opposition by Gentile leaders (pictured by the GREAT MOUNTAIN in verse 7), yet every obstacle would be removed, and the temple would be completed. How? “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (verse 6).  It would NOT be built by HUMAN POWER but by DIVINE POWER, by the Holy Spirit working through Zerubbabel and Joshua who would encourage the exiles to keep building despite their enemies opposing them. This, dear friend, is the main lesson. If God’s temple was to be rebuilt and Israel was to be a “LIGHT to the nations again,” it would have to by those who were EMPOWERED by the Spirit! The OIL from the OLIVE TREES pictures the Spirit who gives men the ability to be God’s “LIGHT in this dark world.”

And this is the lesson for us today! Christ is now “building His church, the house of God” (see Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20; and 1st Peter 2:4-5). The church is God’s present “LIGHT to the world” (see Philippians 2:14-15 and Ephesians 5:1-13). How is He building it? Ah, by men who are “EMPOWERED by the Spirit!” When the church of God began to be built, it was by Peter and other disciples who were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (see Acts 2:1-4), who then preached the gospel to their fellow-Jews who believed, were saved, and then added to the church (see Acts 2:22-41, 47). From that day forward God has been using Spirit-filled believers to spread His gospel so men and women can be saved and added to the church. Jesus had promised His disciples, “But You shall RECEIVE POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Every believer has the “anointing of the Spirit” (see 1st John 2:20, 27) but we must allow Him to “fill us” (Ephesians 5:18) in order to be used in the building of His church.  (DO)  (560.1)