One of the prophecies written by Zechariah the prophet, the prophecy of Zechariah chapter four deserves our special attention. This prophecy was first interpreted by Mrs. Ellen. G. White, and later by Bro. Victor T. Houteff. And that is the reason why the application of this prophecy is in force for the Seventh-Day Adventists. This prophecy is especially dealing with how the Bible should be rightly interpreted, without fault, and free neither from human personal might nor from any organizational power. Because only through the same power of the Spirit, that led the prophets of old to formulate the Word of the Scriptures in the past, that the Bible should have been interpreted without fault. As of old the Bible came through the agency of God's own appointed men, even in this time of the end, the Lord will work through His appointed agency to provide us with the pure and unadulterated meat in due season. This agency is known in the Spirit of Prophecy to be the divinely appointed ministry, consisted of several jobs. We read them from the following quotation:
"God has a church, and she has a divinely appointed ministry. 'And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets, and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ : till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness ofChrist : that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." - Testimonies to Ministers, p. 52.
The appointed agency of God during the New Testament dispensation, consist of five jobs, namely:the apostles, the p r o p h e t s, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers. Since the apostles have died long before in the first century, they seemed no more to be implicated in our affairs in the time of the end. The other four jobs, however, have yet much to do with this prophecy. And now let us carefully read the whole chapter of Zechariah, and then observe the following picture as presented us by the prophet of the Lord, Bro. Victor T. Houteff.
Zechariah chapter 4
"And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. An said unto me, What seeth thou?And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof. And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, what are these, my lord?Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Who are thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.
For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven, they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlesticks and upon the left side thereof?And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves ?And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, these are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." - Zechariah 4 : 1 - 14.
There are several objects from this pictorial prophecy to be deliberated, namely:
1.A candlestick all of gold.
2.The two olive trees: the one on the left side of the candlestick, and the other on the right side.
3.The two golden pipes through which the golden oil flows into the golden bowl,
4.A golden bowl upon the top of the candlestick, and seven smaller pipes communicating the bowl at the top and the candlestick beneath.
5.Zerubbabel the servant of the Lord to lay the foundation of the house of God in this time of the end.
A Candlestick all of gold
Regarding the candlestick John the Revelator said:
"The mystery of the seven stars which thou saweth in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." -Revelation 1 : 20.
The number "7" denotes completeness. Since God has only one church during all the history of the world, then the "seven churches" would always mean the seventh church, which is the Laodicean church in the time of the end. This is the same church of God, which has lived along the whole periods of time of the churches since the beginning of the church of Ephesus. So this is the church symbolized by the golden candlestick in the prophecy of Zechariah. To this church, the servant of the Lord said:
"To the church of the present day this message is sent. I call upon our church members to read the whole of the third chapter of Revelation, and to make an application of it. The message to the church of the Laodiceans applies especially to the people of God today. It is a message to professing Christians who have become so much like the world that no difference can be seen." ---RH Aug. 20, 1903(Quoted from the Study Bible, p. 1381).
The two olive trees=The Old and the New Testament
The two olive trees symbolize the Word of God in the old and the New Testament Scriptures. This is also known from verse 14:"These are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." - Zechariah 4 : 14. And from Revelation 11. "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth." - Revelation 11 : 3.
To Zechariah the prophet, the angel said: "This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said the Lord of hosts." - Zechariah 4 : 6.
Zerubbabel must represent someone that is to be found in the Laodicean church, because this prophecy applies to the time of the end. And Zerubbabel must be found in the candlestick. Since the word of God to Zerubbabel does not come straight from the Lord in heaven, nor straight from the two olive trees on the sides of the candlestick, then it must come by the Spirit of the Lord Himself, through the procedure as laid out in the prophecy of Zechariah. And even we have been warned that the word of God to Zerubbabel could not come by human might nor by any organizational power of the Laodicean church.
The two main pipes of gold=The media of inspiration
First through the two main pipes, empty the golden oil out of themselves from the olive trees into the golden bowl. From Zechariah we read: "What be these two olive branches which through the two golden p i p e se m p t y the golden oil out of themselves ?" -- Zechariah 4 : 12.What is meant by the two golden pipes?Let us first read the following quotation:
"In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles(the Bible). Int h e s ed a y s(the time of the end). He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit (THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY). There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructed them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue." -Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 661. (1889). (In bracket is added).
"The golden oil represents the grace with which God keeps the lamp of believers supplied. Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the message of God's Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men." - (Review & Herald, Feb. 3, 1903) - Quoted from the Study Bible, p. 968.
The golden oil represents the grace, which is the Spirit of God, with which the message of THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY have been produced in our midst. Through a process of interpretation, from the Bible of ancient times to become THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY in these days, we have had several divinely appointed servants of the Lord to do the work. In the time of the end, we have had Mrs. Ellen G. White and Bro. Victor T. Houteff to make the golden oil flow out of itself through the golden pipes into the golden bowl, which represents THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, whose glory is now enlightening the earth, beginning in our churches.
A golden bowl upon the top of the candlestick,
and seven smaller pipes communicating the bowl at the top with the candlestick beneath
The golden bowl must represent a room to accommodate all the works of interpretation of the Bible in the time of the end. And that is why the golden bowl represents THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, which is a combination of the three angels' messages by Mrs. White, and the fourth angel's message of Revelation 18 : 1 by Bro. Houteff. Both the servants of the Lord, by their works and sacrifices, should be acknowledged to be the divinely appointed prophets. And the seven smaller pipes, communicating the bowl at the top with the candlestick underneath, must also be recognized to be the rest of the divinely appointed ministry of those: the evangelists, the pastors or ministers of the gospel, and the teachers.
The seven lamps of the candlestick must represent the complete lamps of the great light to lighten the earth with its glory. However, the lamps must be supplied with enough oil from the golden bowl. And the ministry who are dealing with the Word of God must themselves be fully supplied with the golden oil from the golden bowl. That is why those ministers of the gospel, who oppose the message of today in the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, are not worthy of edifying the body of Christ in this time of the end.The following is a quotation from Mrs. White writings:
"We all need to study as never before the parable of the ten virgins. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. This is the holy oil represented in Zechariah (Zechariah - 14 quoted). This representation is of the highest consequence to those who claim to know the truth. But if we do not practice the truth, we have not received the holy oil, which the two golden pipes empty out of themselves. The oil is received into vessels prepared for the oil. It is the Holy Spirit in the heart which works by love and purifies the soul ......" - E.G.W. Bible Commentary, vol. 7 - A, p. 189.
the last prophet of God in the time of the end
Let us read the following statement in Zechariah:
"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, 'T h i si st h ew o r do ft h eL o r dunto Zerubbabel, saying, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."
"Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me,saying, the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt knowthat the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you." -- Zechariah 4 : 6, 8, 9.
We have to know that in this prophecy the position of Zerubbabel is in the candlestick, which represents the church of God.So he got the word of the Lord not straightly from the two olive trees, but from the golden bowl, which represents the Spirit of Prophecy.
Due to the fact, that later "the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it", it is inescapable to conclude that Zerubbabel must be the appointed prophet of God, who is to lay the foundation of the house of God in this time of the end, and even to finish it. What is meant by the foundation of the house of God in this time of the end? The servant of the Lord said:
"Ministers should present the sure word of prophecy as the f o u n d a t i o nof t h ef a i t hof Seventh - Day Adventists. The prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation should be carefully studied, and in connection with them the words, 'Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world'."- Gospel Workers, p. 148.
Although Mrs. White was the first with her Spirit of Prophecy message to lay the foundation of the faith of Seventh-Day Adventists since the beginning in 1844, her hands failed to finish the house in her life time, because there is yet another message to come to unite with her message to illuminate the whole earth. And that is the message of the angel of Revelation 18 : 1 brought by Victor T. Houteff in 1929. The combination of the two messages now has met its fulfillment in Revelation 19 : 10 margins, which is the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. This is the sure word of prophecy to be the foundation of the house of God in this time, and even to the end of the time of probation. This is why Bro. Houteff said:
"It is our privilege therefore not only to bring the light of God(THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY) to the denomination where the "first fruits" (the 144.000 - Rev. 14 : 4) of the great spiritual harvest are, but even to bring the same light to the second fruits, to the great multitude that are gathered out of all nations, a multitude which no man can number (Rev. 7 : 9)." - Timely Greetings, vol. 1, no. 46, p. 6.
It is now proven by itself that "the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you." --Zechariah 4 : 6, 8, 9.
Great mountains of difficulties
blocked the way of Zerubbabel
In the following verses Zechariah the prophet said:
"Who are thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you." -- Zechariah 4 : 7, 8, 9.
Zerubbabel was known in the past as a project officer to restore the building up of Jerusalem in the time of king Artaxerxes of Persia. The servant of the Lord said:
"The very same difficulties which were created to hinder the restoration and upbuilding of the work of God, the great mountains of difficulty which loomed in Zerubbabel's way, will be met by all who today are loyal to God and His work." - Review and Herald, May 16, 1889.(Quoted from the Study Bible, p. 968).
We are now living in the time of the antitypical Zerubbabel, that is, in the time of Victor T. Houteff and his message, the last prophet of God in this time of the end. He has united his message of the angel of Rev. 18 : 1 with the third angel's message of Rev. 14 : 6 - 9, resulting in THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, which is now enlightening the earth, beginning in our churches. But how difficult it is for this very last message of salvation to make its way to gain access into the people. The great mountains of difficulty were created everywhere every time we come to proclaim the message to the people.
Mrs. Ellen G. White has died in 1915, and Bro. Victor T. Houteff died in 1955. Both the servants of the Lord have left behind THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. And we all should believe in the Lord, through His positive words of prophecy, that the present great mountains of difficulty before the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY shall become a plain.
Dear Reader may the Lord help you understand the prophetic words of His servants, the prophets. The Lord is now pleading with us. "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater : So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth : it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the things where to I sent it." - Isaiah 55 : 10 - 11.
Not by might nor by power,
but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
Since we are now living in the time of the end, wherein this prophecy of Zechariah chapter 4 must be fully observed. Let us again carefully look upon the pictorial chart, and then read the following words of Zechariah :
"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, this is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." - Zechariah 4 : 6.
The word of the Lord Jesus Christ to Zerubbabel is representing how the message of salvation from the Lord could successfully reach His people in the time of the end. Zerubbabel is representing every one of us in the Church, which is represented by the candlestick. And Zerubbabel also represents someone among us in the time of the end, whose hands would have laid the foundation of the house of God. The word of the Lord Jesus Christ to Zerubbabel, saying, 'Not by m i g h t (of those preaching from the pulpits), nor by p o w e r' (of the Organization of the General Conference of SDA through their Sabbath School Lessons Quarterly), but by My Spirit, whose testimonies were found in THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.To this end Sister White said:
"In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles(the Bible). In t h e s e d a y s (the time of the end). He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit (THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY). There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructed them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue." - Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 661. (1889). (In bracket is added).
The Lord would no more tolerate His people in this time of the end to fully dependent upon sermons from the pulpits, and upon the Sabbath School Lessons Quarterly arranged by the Organization at the General Conference of SDA, for their salvation. This should be seriously understood, because the Lord Jesus is now speaking to us by the testimonies of His Spirit, through the procedure as laid out in the prophecy of Zechariah chapter 4.He has warned us in the following words:
"There are men who stand in the pulpits as shepherds, professing to feed the flock, while the sheep are starving for the bread of life. There are long-drawn-out discourses, largely made up of the relation of anecdotes; but the hearts of the hearers are not touched. The feelings of some may be moved, they may shed a few tears, but their hearts are not broken. The Lord Jesus has been present when they have been presenting that which was called sermons, but their words were destitute of the dew and rain of heaven. They evidenced that the anointed ones described by Zechariah (see chapter 4) had not ministered to them that they might minister to others. When the anointed ones empty themselves through the golden pipes, the golden oil flows out of themselves into the golden bowls, to flow forth into the lamps, the churches. This is the work of every true, devoted servant of the living God. The Lord God of heaven cannot approve much that is brought into the pulpits by those who are professedly speaking the word of the Lord. They do not inculcate ideas that will be a blessing to those who hear. There is cheap, very cheap fodder placed before the people." - Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 336, 337.