“Vision of the Lampstand and Olive Trees”
The reason we bring up this particular lesson is due to a statement made by our friend Jacob (on the Bible Students Forum) where he states:
“I notice you use reprint quotes to support your thoughts I use to do the same but try now to think out of the box and find the answers through my direct connect by the anointing with and from spirit and mind of Christ.”
You are not the first my friend to have attempted this method of study; however the flaw in this type of study is that each individual (professing to be led by the Holy Spirit) is left to his own mind, his own imaginings as to what the spirit is saying, thus two different individuals might interpret the scriptures completely different. Are we to believe the Holy Spirit gives out a different answer depending on the individual? Heaven forbid!
Others claim that their intention is simply to divest themselves of all outside materials less these inadvertently influence their thoughts, such claim they rely solely upon the Holy Spirit to teach them.
It is however important to note that the Holy Spirit does not teach us the truth, but rather guides us to the truth, this through such divine channels as the Lord is pleased to use. History itself has shown that the Spirit often uses human agencies in communicating the truth; therefore we would be negligent in our search if we did not heed the counsel of these agencies.
In Zech 4:1-14 a valuable lesson is taught in these regards. In the narrative Zechariah was given a vision, and the angel (messenger) asked him, “What do you see?”
Zechariah answered saying, “I am looking, and there is a lamp-stand 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.” Zechariah was at a miss as to what this vision represented, and sought answers.
Now in the account only part of what is seen has been explained, the rest is left up to us to decipher using what we have learned from our studies of God’s Word. God often does this; He would have us exercise our God giving ability to reason things out.
The two olive trees are said to be “dripping” oil (Verse 12). We understand that the “oil” represents the Holy Spirit, the “spirit of truth” in other words the “Word of God”.
Where does this oil come from? It comes from the two olive trees, which the angel refers to as the “two anointed ones” (Verse 14). The answer as to what or who is being referred to here is found in Rev 11:3-12, these two anointed ones are none other than the Lord’s “two witnesses”, also referred to as the “two olive trees”, the Old and the New Covenants or Testaments.
As for the lamp-stand all should agree that this represents the church as a whole from its first to its last, it’s every member complete, as is alluded to by our Lord in Rev 1:20, the only difference there being that the church was pictured as seven separate distinct lamp-stands, representing the seven stages or periods of the church throughout its history.
Now for the difficult part, we know that the Word of God, the “truth”, the “oil” comes to us through the “two anointed ones”, but what does the bowl represent, and what do the seven pipes below the bowl represent?
The answer should be obvious, God is the author of the divine plan as it is recorded in his word, (the two olive trees), but He has chosen Jesus Christ our Lord as the hub or central channel (the golden bowl) through which understanding and blessings (the oil) of this plan should flow to the Church, and subsequently to the world in general.
Now as the work of preparing the Church has been committed into the hands of our Lord, our Lord has seen fit to choose seven specific “stars”, angels, messengers, channels (the seven pipes) to dispense the “oil” or truth to the body.
That is to say, “The seven pipes represent the seven channels of outpouring or distribution of the Holy Spirit from the head (Jesus) to the Church throughout the seven stages of its development, the seven stars or messengers to the Church being the agencies used to convey this supply of oil. All the anointing oil was poured upon, or emptied into, the bowl; from there the oil was distributed to the various branches.
Here then is an important lesson: Whereas the Bible contains all the necessary oil to supply a person’s every need, it becomes available only in proportion to his relationship with Christ (his identification as a member of Christ’s body, the Church, pictured by the candlestick) and to his harmony with the agencies or channels which God uses, His chosen messengers or Stars.”
Another very important observation which confirms this fact: “It is interesting to note that in all of the seven church messages the direction is “To the angel… write.” It is as if the angel himself, more than the church, needs to know these things. Historically the angels seem very much to have acted and preached based on the content of these messages. It is not, of course, that these messages are not to the churches themselves, but rather that they are to the churches THROUGH the angels. Without recognizing (identifying) the angel (the specific messenger chosen by the Lord to each stage of the Church, specifically appointed to relay the message, i.e. to give to the household “meat in due season”), and what he has been given in the way of understanding, the Church cannot hope to receive much of the message.”
If we chose to ignore God’s chosen channels, then we have cut ourselves off from receiving the “oil” the truth, which flows from the Father through his Son and then through the various human agencies the Lord has chosen.
I know that many are wary of human teachers, but the Lord has made used of them all throughout the age, it is for us to “test the spirits”, to “prove all things” to verify that the channel through which we are receiving our nourishment is of the Lord and not of man.
“To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word there is no truth in them” Isa 8:20