two olive trees

Zechariah 4:3

4:3 two olive trees. The “two olive trees” are said by the angel to represent “the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:14), and are commonly identified by expositors as Joshua and Zerubbabel. They may have been so interpreted by the people of Jerusalem, whom Zechariah was encouraging to build the temple, but this could not have been the primary meaning (according to Revelation 11:3-4). Zerubbabel and Joshua, with their great ministry of building God’s temple, were actually types of two great witnesses, said to be still “standing before the God of the earth” five hundred years later in John’s day (Revelation 11:3-4), and who will be given “power” to “prophesy” for 3 years to the whole world during the future tribulation period. As to their identity, standing in God’s presence for 2500 years, then to be sent to prophesy, die and be resurrected on earth in the last days, see the notes on Revelation 11:3-12. There it is indicated they must be Enoch and Elijah, the only two men in history who ascended to heaven without dying in their natural bodies (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5; II Kings 2:11).

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