In our study of Zechariah chapter four, we look at the source of power that enables us to do work for God. In chapter 3, we saw how Joshua the high priest was saved and cleansed for service to God. Now, we will learn about the source of his power to serve and apply it to our lives as well.
"Then the angel who talked with me returned and wakened me, as a man is wakened from his sleep." NIV translation
We see that Zechariah had fallen asleep between the sixth vision and the one that is to come now. It is important to understand that these were not dreams as he was awake for each vision.
"He asked me, 'What do you see?' I answered, 'I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights." NIV translation
Now, he has his seventh vision of the night and sees a golden lampstand. A menorah (lampstand with seven lights) is the symbol for God's people and was used in the tabernacle and temple for worship of God. The high priest would fill the lamps with oil and light them each evening as well as putting them out in the morning. In this vision, the menorah is different in that there was a big bowl on top and channels that delivered oil to each lamp. The lamps are a symbol of being a witness to the world as Jesus was the light of the world and called us to be the light in His absence here on earth.
"'Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.'" NIV translation
On either side of the lampstand was an olive tree and olive oil was used to light the lamps. Throughout the Bible, the olive (and the olive tree) have been symbols of spiritual richness. It was on the Mount of Olives that Jesus would go to pray and the name Gethsemane which is the garden there means olive press. These two olive trees would supply the oil to the bowl on top of the lampstand and then it would be distributed to the individual lamps through channels. This reminds us that it is only through the power supplied by the Holy Spirit that we are ready and able to serve God by being the light in this dark world.
"I asked the angel who talked with me, 'What are these, my lord?' He answered, 'Do you not know what these are?' 'No, my lord,' I replied." NIV translation
Zechariah asked what it was that he was seeing and the angel answered by asking a question. The angel was in fact saying you should know what these things are. The items were familiar as they were used in the temple but still he did not understand their total meaning. God does expect us to study His word and to know why we believe what we believe.
"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.'" NIV translation
Now the angel tells him who the message is for and it is for Zerubbabel who was getting ready to rebuild the temple. The message was simple in that it was a reminder that it was only by the power of God through the Holy Spirit that it would be done. This is a very good message for us as well in that, no matter what we are doing for the kingdom, it will only be successful through the power of the Spirit.
"'What are you, O 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!"'" NIV translation
Throughout the Bible, mountains are a symbol of trials and struggles. God's people have these trials but God is the one that turns them into level ground just as He promised Zerubbabel here. The reason is so that God may be glorified. Do you have any of these glory stories to share with others how God has turned a mountain into level ground for you? By sharing the story with others, God is glorified.
"Then the word of the Lord came to me: '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.'" NIV translation
This glory will be seen as God uses Zerubbabel to complete what he has started. The same is true for us as God is glorified as we complete the works which He has prepared for us to do (see Ephesians 2).
"'Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. (These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range throughout the earth.)'" NIV translation
The plumb line may seem like a small thing but it was used to make sure that things were straight up and down when they were built. If walls were not straight as they were being built and leaned too far, they could collapse. The same is true for us and the building of our faith in that we must be plumb with the Word of God. The seven channels that were in the vision are the complete knowledge (eyes) of God. We stay plumb with Him by studying His word and by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our every step.
"Then I asked the angel, 'What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?' Again I asked him, 'What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?'" NIV translation
It is interesting to note that Zechariah wants to know about the olive trees and asks twice but the first time he calls them trees and the second time he calls them branches. God is revealing to him that the olive trees/branches are people powered by the Holy Spirit as we shall see. The same type of thing happens with us many times as God is trying to tell us something and we are kinda putting it together but not quite there in our understanding. As the patient Father, He allows us to ask questions and to learn as we go and you know that the Father is very proud when His child understands and grows. You can almost picture Jesus and Gabriel slapping high fives in heaven when they see us come to understand more about God and His plan.
"He replied, 'Do you not know what these are?' 'No, my lord,' I said. So he said, 'These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.'" NIV translation
Once again, when Zechariah asks about the meaning of the vision, the angel reminds him that he should know. Then, he tells him that the two olive trees are servants (witnesses) who have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to allow them to serve. These two witnesses are also described in detail by John in Revelation 11. As believers in Jesus Christ, that is the same power that is in us and gives us the power to serve and do great things for God.