What can the Book of Zechariah teach us about the relationship between the Two Witnesses, the menorah and the number seven?
As mentioned in "Part 3: Zebedee’s Wife’s Request" (this will open in a new page), Revelation 11:4 uses the phrases “the two olive trees” and “standing before the God of the Earth”, which are references to chapter 4 of the Book of Zechariah. So let’s turn our attention there.
1 And he (the angel, the one speaking to me) returns to me and he rouses me, like a man being roused from sleep,
2 And he says to me “What are you seeing?” And I say “I look, and behold! A menorah, all of gold, and a bowl on top; and its seven lamps, and seven pipes to the lamps on top of it.
3 And two olive trees over it, one on the right of the bowl, and one on the left.”
4 And I reply, and I say to the angel speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”
5 And the angel that is speaking to me, he answers me, and says to me, “You don’t know what these are?” And I say, “No, my lord.”
6 And he answers me, and he speaks to me, to say “This is the word of Yehovah [God] to Zerubbabel, to say, ‘not by courage, and not by effort, but rather, by my Spirit, says Yehovah of hosts.’”
7 “Who are you, mountain? A plain before the great Zerubbabel. And he brings forth the headstone, with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”
8 And it is the word of Yehovah to me to say,
9 “The hands of Zerubbabel, they laid the foundation of this house; and his hands shall complete it. And you will know that Yehovah of hosts, He sent me to you.
10 Who is he that despises the small things of today? These Seven Eyes of Yehovah, which roam over all the land, they see the plumb bob in the hand of Zerubbabel, and they rejoice!”
11 And I answer, and I say to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right of the menorah, and on the left?”
12 And I answer a second time, and I say to him, “What are the two limbs of the olive trees, which have in hands the two gold conduits (the ones that are emptying the gold [oil] from themselves)?”
13 And he speaks to me, to say, “You don’t know what these are?” And I say, “No, my lord.”
14 And he says “These are the two sons of pure oil, the ones standing by the Lord of the whole Earth.”
According to Zechariah 4:11-14, the two olive trees are “standing by [such as to the left, and to the right] of the Lord of the whole Earth.” (Note: the expression “sons of pure oil” in Zechariah 4:14 is more commonly translated as “anointed ones”. When people receive a spiritual anointing, it is with oil, as in Psalm 23:5.)
So, since we have already seen from Revelation 11:4 that the “two olive trees” are also the Two Witnesses, we can conclude that it is the Two Witnesses that stand by--to the left and right of--“the Lord of the whole Earth”, which is Jesus. The privilege requested by Zebedee’s wife for her two sons has been granted to the Two Witnesses. They are the ones to whom Jesus was referring when He said it was “…for those for whom it has been made ready by My Father” (Matthew 20:23). That resolves one very old question.
But what about the menorah? As we have seen, the two olive trees are also associated with the seven-lamp menorah; and the seven lamps are called “the Seven Eyes of Yehovah” (or, “the Seven Eyes of God”, in many translations). What are these seven “eyes“? And how do they relate to the Two Witnesses / olive trees?
According to Exodus 40:24-25,
“24 And he [Moses] placed the menorah in the Tent of Meeting, across from the table [of the bread of the Presence], on the southern side of the Tabernacle;
25 and he set the lamps before Yehovah (God), as Yehovah had instructed Moses.”
So the menorah was one of the articles of the Tent of Meeting, set before God, just as the menorah in Heaven stands “by the Lord of the whole Earth”.
Now, the “Tent of Meeting” is known by a few different names. As you can already see, it was also called the “Tabernacle”. Some people refer to it as the “Tent in the Wilderness” (2 Chronicles 1:3).
But there is another name that it is known by that is particularly relevant here. It appears in the Old Testament in Numbers 17:7-8, and 18:2; and in 2 Chronicles 24:6. And in the New Testament, it is called this name by Stephen the Martyr, in Acts 7:44. The name is “the Tabernacle of Witness” (or "Testimony", which is what a "witness" gives).
Why was it called the “Tabernacle of Witness”? Because it was where God, the King of Israel, held His Royal Court on Earth (for example, 1 Samuel 12:12 says that “the Lord your God (Yehovah Elohim) [was] king over you”).
In a court, there is a Judge: here, it was God Himself.
There is evidence: the Tabernacle of Witness contained the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark, in turn, contained the staff of Aaron which budded; a gold container of manna; and the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments (Hebrews 9:4); all of which were evidence of the relationship between God and the people.
And there are, of course, witnesses. As we have seen in Zechariah, God has seven “eyes”. These “eyes... ...roam all over the land” and testify as to what they see. Thus, they are God’s “eye”-witnesses (His eyewitnesses).
Why seven eyewitnesses? In
"Part 2: Why TWO Witnesses?" (this will open in a new window), we established that two (OR three) witnesses
are sufficient; and no larger number of witnesses is needed. So, again,
why seven? Why so many witnesses?
And again, how are the seven lamps of the menorah--the seven eye(witness)es of God--related to the Two Witnesses / olive trees?
To move forward, let us first note how, in Zechariah 4:11-12 above, the two olive trees empty their oil into the seven lamps of the menorah. This flow of oil from the two olive trees to the seven lamps is a flow of spiritual anointing from two spiritual witnesses to seven physical witnesses.
The two spiritual witnesses may be thought of as archetypes of the seven physical witnesses; and the seven physical witnesses may be thought of as seven physical manifestations of the two archetypal witnesses. So in some sense, the two are the same as the seven; and the seven are the same as the two.To further establish this, consider Revelation 1:4, which says:
"John, to the seven churches in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from the One who is, and was, and is to come; and from the seven spirits that are by His Throne."
(The "seven spirits", also called "seven eyes" and "seven horns", are also mentioned in Revelation 5:6.)
Compare this verse to Zechariah 4:14, above (and Revelation 11:4, in Part I), with the mentions of "two sons of pure oil, the ones standing by the Lord of the whole Earth". We see that there are "two... ...by the Lord"--and there are also "seven... ...that are by His Throne." The two are the seven; and the seven are the two.
This should not be too hard to believe for those who accept that Jesus, His Heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit, are all God; and yet, there is only one God. It is understood that all three are "manifestations" of the single Godhead. One God, but three manifestations (actually, the Church--the "Bride" of Jesus--is a fourth manifestation).
As for the question "Why seven eyewitnesses?" (asked above), rather than only two (or three), we can now answer it by seeing that the seven are two, in the sense described here.
Let us move on now to Part 5: Elijah and Elisha.
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