My question is on your interpretation on the two olive trees on pg 102 of
you book “From Shadow to Reality.” You said ” The two who are anointed are
a reference to the high priest Joshua and the governor Zerubabbel, both of
whom were foreshadows of the anointed one: the Messiah”. I was wondering
why you believe them to be the two anointed men? I have read from other
scholars that the olive trees symbolize the two witnesses of Rev. 11:3-11.
I have also read that the two witnesses were Enoch and Elijah (Mal.4:5-6).
Some claim that Malachi is predicting the Christ, but I get confused at
verse 5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet “before” the coming of
the great and dreadful day of the Lord”(KJV). Also, John the Baptist
claimed he wasn’t Elijah(Jn. 1:21). Besides, Elijah and Enoch didn’t die,
so wouldn’t they have to come back to die physically? If they didn’t die
physically then they would be the “first-fruits” of the resurrection
instead of Christ(1 Cor. 1520-23). Thank you for your help on this subject!


First of all, it does not make sense for the olive tree to
symbolize the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-11. In this case, you
would have a symbol being a symbol of a symbol, which is not logical The
two witnesses in Revelation 11:3-11 are clearly part of apocalyptic
writing and are certainly symbols. Now, it is conceivable that the two
witnesses of Rev 11:3-11 could be a symbol of the same thing which is
symbolized by the olive tree, or by the two witnesses in Zechariah chapter
four. To decide this one, we would have to look carefully at the text.
Let me consider Revelation 11:3-11 first. Let me confess that I am
definitely not an expert on the book of Revelation. I would suggest Jim
McGuiggan?s book on Revelation (ISBN 0932397107)or that of Gordon Ferguson
( for more detailed ideas about this chapter. I believe
the scene in Revelation chapter 11 is highly symbolic. It does not
represent any actual physical war on the earth. It is about the attacks
of Romeon the young Christian church. The two witnesses, like the two
olive trees in this vision represent the fact that God is guarding his
“temple”?that he will protect his people. I understand many commentators
take Revelation chapter 11 literally, but I believe that is not justified
by the context and by the tenor of the entire book of Revelation.

Let me move, then, to Zechariah chapter four. I will admit
that there is certainly some parallel in the details of the two passages.
Both have two olive trees. Both have a lampstand, (although there is
just one in the Zechariah passage, not two). Both have the olive trees
and the lampstand representing the power of God. In the case of Zechariah
4, the vision gives a clear interpretation. To quote: He answered me,
“Do you not know what these are?” “No, my Lord,” I replied. So he said
to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ?Not by might nor by
power, but by my Holy Spirit,? says the Lord Almighty.” The olive tree,
and the oil of the olive tree which is burned in the lampstand are defined
by the Bible writer as symbolic of the Holy Spirit in Zechariah. I think
it is questionable to say that the two olive trees and the two lampstands
in Revelation chapter eleven represent the Holy Spirit. Maybe they do.
One thing I can say for sure is that the olive trees in Zechariah chapter
four do not symbolize the two witnesses in Revelation chapter eleven.
That definitely does not make sense.

Your next question is whether the two witnesses (in Revelation chapter
eleven?) could be Enoch and Elijah, based on Malachi 4:5-6. First of all,
Malachi 4:5-6 does not mention Enoch at all. Second of all, Malachi does
not identify Elijah as a witness in Malachi 4:5-6. It is a common thing
for certain Bible teachers to try to spin together prophetic scenarios
about the last days by cruising the Bible for little snippets of passages
which they can rip out of their context to try to support their modern-day
interpretation of last-day events. It is my experience that such efforts
are almost without exception very bad hermeneutics (the science of correct
interpretation). It is very common for people to fixate on prophecies of
the last days. We would do well to fixate on Jesus and on becoming like
him, and leave speculations about the last days to those with plenty of
idle time on their hands. Bottom line, Revelation is principally about
the attack of the Roman persecutors on the early Christian church. Little
if any of the first nineteen chapters of Revelation have anything to do
with events at the very end of the world. I would refer you to the books
above for a thorough treatment of this claim.

By the way, Malachi is predicting the coming of John the Baptist. Malachi
4:5 is a prediction of the coming of John the Baptist “in the spirit and
power of Elijah” as a sign or witness of the coming of the Messiah (see
Luke 1:17). That much is certainly true. I will admit that the reference
of “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” is confusing
here. In what sense did John the Baptist?s coming precede a dreadful day
of the Lord. I believe this is a reference to the destruction of
Jerusalemin AD 70. The coming of Jesus, and the rejection of him by the
Jews in about AD 30 led soon thereafter to a great judgement and
destruction of Jerusalemin AD 70 by the Romans. I will have to admit that
the fact that John appears to reject being labeled as Elijah makes this
whole thing even more confusing, at least at first glance. I am not sure
of the correct understanding of John 1:21. One possibility is that John
the Baptist was simply mistaken. Perhaps he did not completely understand
his role in fulfilling Malachi 4:5. Another possibility is that John the
Baptist is correct in saying “I am not Elijah.” Clearly he was not
Elijah, but he was one born in the spirit and power of Elijah, as
predicted in Malachi 4:5 and as confirmed by Luke 1:17. Was John the
Baptist confused, or was he being cautious and somewhat elusive in his
response? I am not sure, and will leave that one to you.

Elijah and Enoch are not the first fruits of the resurrection, since they
did not die. The firstfruits of the resurrection is Jesus. He is the
first one to die physically, after which to be resurrected for eternity.
Others were resurrected, but died later (John 11 and Lazarus for
example). Others never died (Enoch and Elijah, for example), but Jesus is
the first to be resurrected for eternal life. Therefore he is the first
fruits from the dead (Colossians 1:18, 1 Cor 15:20-23). I will admit that
this can be a bit confusing, but I believe that is the resolution of the

To conclude, there are obvious parallels in the details in Zechariah
chapter four and in Revelation chapter eleven, but this does not mean that
they are about the same thing. Either way, there is no reasonable
connection between Elijah, Enoch and the two witnesses in Revelation
chapter eleven. This would be to take things wildly out of context. Yes,
John the Baptist is the Elijah who was to come of Malachi 4:5, and no, his
is not the firstfruits from the dead since, as you point out, he did not

John Oakes, PhD

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