We recently discussed the two olive trees mentioned in Zechariah 4. If you have not read the article yet, click HERE to discover more!
The two olive trees mentioned in Revelation 11 represent the Holy Spirit’s endless supply of anointing, meant to keep the witnesses empowered and lit for the world to hear the Lord’s message.
The two olive trees on each side of the lampstand featured in Zechariah were a representation of God’s might and power, arming His people to complete His work of rebuilding the temple. The two witnesses in Revelation also have an important role that God will equip them for—to carry the mantle of prophecy.
Let’s look at this biblical passage a bit closer…
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’
“These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.”—Revelation 11:1-6 (emphasis added)
What a sight! The rich imagery in Revelation brings to life the seriousness of listening to these two prophetic witnesses. The divine protection that surrounds them is a compelling warning to anyone who might cross them.
We see the two witnesses prophesying and clothed in sackcloth. The sackcloth in ancient times was a demonstration of repentance.
And the act of measuring, as shown in verse 1, was to communicate the protection and ownership of a structure or land in biblical times.
The two witnesses testify of God’s truth to the world, illuminating the need to turn from evil and turn to God. They also are equipped, by the oil of the olive tree, with zeal and strength to tell all of humanity to let go of their idols in exchange for the hope of Jesus Christ.
Verse 4 says the witnesses are the two olive trees and two lampstands standing before God testifying. God will prepare them for their divinely ordained ministry of preaching the fullness of truth.
They have a role, just as the oil and light, to advance in the world by the power of God, and they have protection in their ministry.
Similar to any classic ‘good versus evil’ story, war will be waged against them. They will be killed at the same place Jesus was crucified. And just like Jesus, they will be resurrected with the breath of life and ascend to heaven in a cloud (Revelation 11:11-12).
Like an olive tree, the witnesses are sturdy and thrive under harsh conditions. Their olive tree-like qualities also provide them with never-ceasing declarations of truth. They continuously “burn by the oil” that runs through them that is supplied by the Lord Himself.
The Lord uses the olive tree as an instrument of communication to us and the world over and over again throughout His Word.
So, what then does God communicate through these word pictures?
Characteristics of the Olive Tree in the Bible
Biblical writers use the characteristics of the olive tree to provide a natural explanation for the supernatural realms.
It is used to describe our relationship with God, Israel’s relationship with God, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with Israel.
The Olive Tree Symbolizes…
God’s Relationship with Us | Unwavering
It has been said that an olive tree can be cut down or even burned, but its roots will still produce new shoots. And, the oil represents an anointing of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we are anointed with the “oil of the olive tree,” we can overcome trials in life because God supplies us with His strength.
- “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”—Isaiah 11:1
- “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.”—Psalm 52:8
God’s Relationship with Israel | Provision
God’s plan for Israel has not changed. He promises to give “good land” that produces everything Israel needs.
- “… a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing…”—Deuteronomy 8:8-9
How is God doing this today? Click HERE to find out!
Our Relationship with Our Family | Blessed
The connected parts of the olive tree—the branches, fruit, and roots—are bound together just as God intended the family to be.
- “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants, all around your table.”—Psalm 128:3
The Relationship between Israel and the Church | United
The Gentiles are “grafted” into the family of God. God has a covenant relationship with Israel, and because of Jesus, we can be part of that same relationship to be partakers of the fatness of the olive tree.
- “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”—Romans 11:17-18
The olive tree is more than an ancient tree with a uniquely twisted trunk and evergreen leaves. It is used in biblical accounts for a reason. And possibly, the most personal connection we have with the image of an olive tree is its oil.
We are consecrated and set apart in this world because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, just like the Levitical priests (see Leviticus 20:7). This allows us to be witnesses today. We can stand with God to finish His work—for Israel and the Body of Christ!
There is still more that is to be accomplished before the return of Christ, but we know how it ends! Let us be a part of God’s story together and prepare to usher in the return of the Lord!
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