By  D. M. PANTON, B.A.


Our Church Age, now rapidly closing, is separated from the Age of Antichrist by three and a half years - the first three and a half years of the final seven; an intervening, indeterminate epoch - a ‘no man's land’ - neither pure grace nor pure judgment, which is dominated by the two mightiest Prophets the world has ever known.  The Church Age had its Pentecost.  "And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues" (Acts 2: 2).  So the intervening epoch, after the Church Age but before the Reign of Antichrist, has an identical descent of the Spirit.  "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Joel 2: 28).  Linking the two together, Peter says - "This is that" (Acts 2: 16): that is, they are identical in nature, but differ only in date.  And it is exceedingly thrilling that one chapter in Zechariah presents the whole drama, probably only a few years ahead, which will leave us - whatever people of God are on earth - no longer void of miracle and power.




In the background rises, massive and alone, one divine object:- "A LAMPSTAND ALL OF GOLD" (Zech. 4: 2).  It is the one object that fills the Day of Grace, the catholic Church of Christ: not, as when judgment dawns in the Apocalypse, seven isolated lampstands, individual churches being judged for their works; but one massive golden Lampstand - the universal Church in its indivisible unity.  A "bowl upon the top of it" feeds the seven lamps through seven pipes: that is, the Holy Spirit of God, having descended upon the Church at Pentecost, remains upon it as a bowl of sacred oil, feeding all the flames throughout the earth, which, together, are "the light of the world".  "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, and were all made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12: 12).




The one solid golden Lampstand here stands on the brink of the world’s chaos.  The words of The Evangelical Christian, of Toronto, are apt:- "With a world rocking upon its foundations, with the sword of Damocles suspended over us, with half of Europe gone pagan and the rest of the world teetering on the edge of a precipice there is no time to-day for fine denominational distinctions.  Some stupendous event draws on apace, and if that should be the culminating struggle of the present age, and the end of civilization as we know it, as it may well be, our little denominational affiliations are going to matter little.  When his house is on fire a man does not consider how his wife and children should be dressed before he saves them, and in a world that may shortly be engulfed in a conflagration such as never was since there was a nation on the face of the earth, the wood, hay and stubble of denominationalism will be swept away."




But now in the immediate foreground rises a completely new object; the equally God-endowed embodiment of the Holy Spirit, but in a new age:- "Two OLIVE TREES", on either side of the bowl.  The New Testament leaves us in no doubt at all who and what these are.  "My two witnesses," God says in the Revelation, "shall prophesy" three and a half years: "these are the, two olive trees standing before the Lord of the earth" (Rev. 11: 4).  That they are standing before the Lord of the whole earth when Zechariah wrote, long after the rapture of Elijah, is alone sufficient to reveal who the two Witnesses are - namely, the only two men thus standing, then or now, before God, Enoch and Elijah, both rapt into the presence of God in Heaven.  These are the second reservoir of oil.  One olive tree can contain not less than a thousand pounds of oil: so Oil-filled are these two Sons of Oil that "they have the power to shut the heaven, and power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague" (Rev. 11: 6) - incomparably mightier miracles than any ever shown by any Prophets in the world’s history.




The perplexed Prophet then challenges the Angel:- "What are these?"  And the Angel reveals what we might have guessed:- "This is the word of the Lord" - what you have seen embodies, in pictorial vision, what God is teaching; namely,- "Not by might, nor by power, BUT BY MY SPIRIT saith the Lord of hosts."  The Bowl of Oil, which did not appear on the Lampstand in the Temple, and which here both lights the Lamps and feeds the flame, is the Holy Spirit as God’s omnipotence, working everything in and through the Church in the Day of Grace; and, across the frontier in the new age, the two mightiest Prophets in the history of the world contain and outpour the power of God - again the Holy Spirit - no longer in grace, but in judgment.*  So the whole drama, the Angel says, is to reveal the Holy Ghost as the dynamic of all good.  An infidel, a Communist marked down by the police, entered a Salvation Army meeting in Switzerland to report satirically for a Constantinople paper.  Before the meeting closed, with tears running down his face he said: "I believed in dynamite to set the world right; but now I see there is another Power, and the only One."


[* The idea that the Olive Trees pour their oil into the Lampstand has no foundation in the passage, and would mean that the whole Church is on earth with Enoch and Elijah throughout their three and a half years - when as a matter of fact, church-standing will be gone.  All that the passage states (see R.V.) is that the Olive Trees pour forth oil spontaneously.]




So therefore we are now shown the ultimate destruction of colossal difficulties.  "Who art thou, 0 great mountain? before Zerubbabel" - a type of Christ - "thou shalt become a plain" : literally, "into a plain!" be wiped out!  A mountain, in Scripture symbolism, is a kingdom or world-dominion; and so mighty is the Kingdom of Antichrist that it destroys even the two Olive Trees: but lo, a Stone descends, "cut out without hands; and the stone became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth" (Dan. 2: 35).  That is, Zerubbabel's rebuilding of the Temple is symbolic of the coming Kingdom: the First Temple is the spiritual Kingdom, the Church; but, like the literal Temple, it disappears in storm and blood: so the Temple is built again, the literal Kingdom; and though even the Sons of Oil are swept away, the Anointed of Jehovah, the only Son of Man baptized with the Spirit without measure and so containing limitless Oil, establishes the Kingdom.


"And he [God] shall bring forth the head stone" - the finishing or gable stone: the head stone of the corner (Mark 12: 10) - "with shoutings of grace, grace unto it".  No universal cry will go up in eternity to any but the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, who sums up in Himself that foreign word in all languages, for its source is Heaven-GRACE.




One immensely practical consequence of the vision is slipped in before its final phases.  Jehovah says, almost in contempt: "For who hath despised the day of small things?"  It is Jehovah’s word, not the Angel’s: who - He implies - can be so foolish as to despise things only because they are small?  It is immensely practical for us, as it is meant to be.  What the Church must experience before the Sons of Oil appear are ‘small things’:- falling membership, freezing love, dwindling funds, dying faith: therefore the temptation to depression and despair will be overwhelming.  But God’s dynamic can be stored in pebbles.  If Angels in heaven, remotely distant, rejoice over a single sinner saved - even a dying tramp - small things’ need never discourage us: all the enormous future lies, in germ, in what we are witnessing and what we are doing.  Our brief moment gives birth to an eternity: our dwarf is the parent of a giant: our every acorn holds an oak.  If twelve men, so endued with the first outpour, turned the world upside down, what may not another handful of men do, again so endued?




For the vision now shows how a triumphant future is assured.  For they shall rejoice, even these seven, which are the eyes of the Lord; they run to and fro through the whole earth as Jehovah had already said (3: 9) :- "Upon one stone" - the Head Stone of the Corner - "are seven eyes".  The Apocalypse gives the clue.  "I saw a Lamb standing, having seven eyes, WHICH ARE THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD, SENT FORTH INTO ALL THE EARTH" (Rev. 5: 6).  The Plummet in Zerubbabel's hand is watched by the Seven Eyes: the Kingdom is prepared in the years immediately preceding the Advent, and the work is watched with joy by the Holy Ghost sent forth into the whole earth.  "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come" (Joel 2: 28, Acts 2: 17).*  So the whole drama is solved.  The Oil in the Bowl flanked on either side by the Oil in the Olives is the Divine Spirit, the sole Operator in both dispensations.


[* Since the Spirit is now on earth, He cannot be poured out again from Heaven, and "sent into all the earth", until He has first re-ascended; so therefore the second ‘pentecost’ can occur only after "One that restraineth now" (2 Thess. 2: 7), has, with the watchful, disappeared.  Therefore all alleged outpourings in between - Montanism, Irvingism, Pentecostalism - are not outpourings of the Holy Ghost; and all ‘apostles’, uncreated by either divine effusion, are ‘false apostles’.]


"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord; and there are diversities of working, but the same God, who worketh all things in all" (1 Cor. 12: 4).




And now comes the crowning revelation.  When and how will this second divine flood come?  Zechariah’s bewilderment had prompted him to ask for light four times (vers. 4, 5, 11, 12): the way he puts his fifth and last question reveals our answer. "What be these two other branches, THAT EMPTY THE GOLDEN OIL OUT OF TREMSELVES? "These are the two sons of oil", the Angel replies: that is, these are the two fountains which in that day will supply oil from God himself: in other words, Enoch and Elijah will restore the miraculous gifts.  It was said of Elijah - "He shall restore all things" (Matt. 17: 11); and since only that can be ‘restored’ which has been ‘lost’, and the principal loss the earth has suffered in our Age is the loss of miraculous orders and gifts, Elijah must restore them; he who alone of mankind has brought down fire from heaven, and has prayed down floods after prolonged drought, on his second appearance on earth brings down the second Pentecost.  They "empty the golden oil out of themselves".*  This accounts for the millions of the redeemed on the right hand of the judge: this accounts for the martyr throng rapt into heaven just before Satan descends (Rev. 12: 11): this accounts (in a sense) for a Lake of Fire a thousand years earlier than for the rest of the lost, for it reveals God on the earth, and therefore humanity knowingly hurling itself at Him.


[* The Oil pours from their hands.  After the downpour at Pentecost, it was by the laying on of an Apostle’s hands that the Holy Ghost was given (Acts 8: 18), with consequent miraculous gifts.  Since ‘apostles’ (in the plural) are to be ‘crucified’ (Matt. 23: 34 compared with Luke 11, and only Peter suffered crucifixion among the early Apostles, it would seem that Apostles - who were an order, not a select number (1 Cor. 12: 28) - will reappear at the end.  Crucifixion has occurred in the Spanish War.]