Insights With Rabbi Jeff | Zechariah 4: “Sons of Fresh Oil”
Zechariah 4 Continued ( 3rd installment )
We are paying extra attention to chapter 4 because of its centrality to the message of the overall book.
To briefly review, Zechariah sees a vision of the Temple’s menorah, a seven-branched lamp made of a single chunk of hammered gold. However, he sees an addition to the one in the Temple – two olive trees flanking the Menorah and arching their branches over it. Curious as to its significance, he asks the angel speaking with him to explain. The angel responds with the time-honored practice of answering a question with a question. Imagine how the prophet’s curiosity fuels his frustration! I’m sure he is thinking, “If I knew what it means, I wouldn’t be asking!” However, he is speaking with a heavenly being!
Students of Scripture are often so anxious to get to names and dates with prophecy that we miss the point of the passage. Are these Moses and Elijah, or, two other figures? There is some validity to that pursuit, but, remember the context; Israel/Judah, led by Zerubbavel, is trying to rebuild a devastated country of a devastated people, seriously lacking in resources for the task.
The angel refers to the olive trees literally as the “sons of fresh oil”. He means that just as the Menorah needs a constant supply of fuel to burn and brighten, and , God has provided, in the absence of such a supply the two trees to directly drip fresh oil into the lamp’s bowls, so He will supernaturally provide whatever the prince and his people need and lack to finish their goal. And, so He will do for us. Again to paraphrase verse 6, “Never by might, and never by human power, but through My Spirit decisively says Adonai of forces.”
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.