OLIVE TREES AND CANDLESTICKS
“These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:4).
The title, “God of the whole earth” is a reference to a new relationship with Israel. During this dispensation, God is not the Lord of the earth in relation to Israel. He has put Israel aside as an adulteress wife, calling her “Lo-ammi.” “Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:9). He is now the Lord in Heaven. However, at this point in the Revelation, He is once again given the title in anticipation of His soon dominion over the whole earth.
Today, there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile. For two thousand years God has ignored the cries of Israel. Their land has been given to the Gentiles to be trampled down. This will continue until Christ returns.
The title given to these two witnesses as two olive trees and candlesticks is obviously a figure of speech. A metaphor is used when one thing is representing another. It is a symbol. What do these figures or symbols mean? Comparing a similar situation from the Old Testament can help us see the answer to that.
After the restoration from Babylon, God had two witnesses whom we read about in Zechariah 4:1-3, “And the angel that talked with me…And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which were upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” In Zech. 4:4, the prophet asks who the two olive trees represent. Verses 6-7 reveal that one is the prince, Zerubbabel, and Zechariah 3:8-9 says, Joshua the High Priest is the other. These two represented God on behalf of the nation of Israel and restored the temple, its worship, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The two witnesses in Revelation 11 will have the same ministry. Their power is through the anointing of the Holy Spirit and their prophecy cannot be resisted. As the “pipes” brought a constant supply of olive oil for the lights, so the Spirit’s anointing would abide on them for power, protection, and prophecy.
When the restoration of the Hebrew people takes place and the temple is rebuilt, these two witnesses will appear on the scene in the middle of that week. They will have the combined power of Moses and Elijah as their light shines forth in testimony before Israel and the Antichrist.
We are not told who these two witnesses are. Some assume they are Enoch and Elijah, or Moses. They argue that the Bible teaches, “it is appointed unto men once to die,” (Hebrews 9:27), and since two of them never died, it must be Enoch and Elijah.
However, it should be understood that Hebrews 9:27 is not a statement of fact. Every man will not die. Hebrews 9:27 speaks of mankind in general. Many in the church will never die; they will be translated to heaven without seeing death. Many will come through the Tribulation without dying. There is no Scriptural proof as to who these two men are, and it is not important. The point is their ministry, not their identity. God will have His two witnesses with an abundant supply of God’s Spirit and power for their prophecies against the beast.
“And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Revelation 11: 5-7).
The retribution inflicted on those who would hurt these witnesses (vv. 5-6), shows that they are not connected to the church of this dispensation. Christians are not permitted to hurt those who harm them. That which transpires in the Day of the Lord is in harmony with those days when Israel was in idolatry and gross immorality under Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah the prophet was sent to pronounce that there would be no rain for three and one-half years. These two witnesses will once again bring those judgments upon Israel and the kingdom of the Beast.
Verse 7 should strike fear in the heart of man and at the same time bring him peace of mind. Not one servant of God can be killed or die until God is through with him. This ought to encourage and motivate every servant of Christ. On the other hand, one should keep in mind this truth; no matter how important or influential a man’s ministry may appear, when God is through with him, he too, will take his flight to heaven.
In verse 7, another beast shows up and will incarnate the Antichrist, who is also call a beast. The first was in 6:2. In this prophecy, the word beast appears thirteen times and occupies thirty-one verses.
This beast ascends from the pit at the mid-point of the Tribulation. However, permission to kill these two witnesses is not granted until the end of the three and one-half years, just prior to the return of Christ.
The two witnesses are still on the earth during chapter 13 and the beast (Antichrist) is also on the earth in chapter 11. Verse 7 states that a beast comes from the pit. This is done in order to explain the source and nature of the death of the two witnesses. The ascent of that beast is explained in detail in chapter 13.
It is customary to bury even one’s enemies. However, in order to make a show of his power to the world and his contempt for God, the beast (Antichrist) leaves the dead bodies of God’s two witnesses in the streets of Jerusalem three and one-half days.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.