Two bowls and a bit of oil
In Genesis 17, a ninety year old
‘Abram’ has an incredible experience which changes
not only his life, but our own. Romans 11 put the details of the
experience into context.
Galatians 3:7-8 “Know ye not
that they which are of faith, the same are the children of
Abraham. And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the
heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham
saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
So the olive tree has two branches
– from our Midrashic picture, one branch representing
Israel, and the other, the Gentiles who have come to God through
faith in Jesus Christ. With this background knowledge of the
significance of figs, olives and vineyards, so many biblical
pictures make sense.
In Zechariah 4 we read about an
angel who wakes Zechariah and asks, “What do you
see?” Kind of an unusual way of waking from slumber, but
Zechariah describes what he is seeing, a candlestick of gold
with seven lamps, and a bowl on top with pieces running to the
seven lamps. Zechariah points out that on the right and
left of the bowl are two ‘olive trees’ –
he asks the angel several times what this means!
The angel begins to outline a much
bigger picture than that which Zechariah is focused on. It no
doubt makes much more sense to us today than it would have back
than as the angel declares “Not by might, nor by power, but
by my spirit saith the Lord of Hosts…who hath despised the
day of small things?…”.
We have learnt that oil represents
the Holy Spirit of God, and truly, it’s not by our armies
that God will win victories, he requires no help to win his
battles – this is the ultimate army to belong to! The olive
oil or anointing of God would flow from the bowl, down in two
different directions to the seven candles… the eyes of the
Lord running to and fro throughout the whole earth.
Zechariah is still puzzled by the
two olive trees. The angel finally says to him “So you
don’t know what the two olive trees mean?” He says
“No my Lord.” In the last verse of the chapter the
angel declares, “…these are the two anointed ones,
that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
I’m thrilled to be part of
the mystery of Christ and His Church… Jews and Gentiles
who serve the God of Abraham!