“I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth (Rev. 11:3-4).
I have been intrigued by how many times in the book of Revelation it is said that an individual or a group of beings stand before the Throne. Then I noticed this passage about the two witnesses who are identified as the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy about the olive trees and lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth. They are not in heaven (like the other characters who are portrayed as standing before the Throne of God), they are on earth. But it is implied that in some sense, they are standing before the Lord of the earth.
I went to Zechariah’s prophecy about the olive trees and the lampstands:
Then the angel who talked with me returned and wakened me, as a man is wakened from his sleep. He asked me, "What do you see?"
I answered, "I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left."
I asked the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?"
He answered, "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 Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.
. . . Then I asked the angel, "What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?"
Again I asked him, "What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?"
He replied, "Do you not know what these are?" "
No, my lord," I said.
So he said, "These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth" (Zech. 4:1-6; 11-14).
It appears to me that the two olive trees are the Holy Spirit, whose oil fuels the lamp. This supernatural fuel is greater than any “might or power” of man, and will enable the Israelites under Zerubbabel to finish rebuilding the Temple, against great opposition and discouragement.
Each of the olive trees has a branch, through which the oil of Holy Spirit power flows to the lamp. These branches apparently are the two witnesses who are described in Revelation. They, too, have supernatural equipping for the task of prophesying in the face of great danger and hostility.
How does one receive supernatural equipping to do the works set before him by God? By being intimately attached to the Lord, as a branch is connected to a tree. By being connected to the right tree—the Holy Spirit. How does one stay connected to the Holy Spirit? By standing before the Lord of the earth; that is, positioning one’s heart to keep him in plain view, by maintaining loving attention to his Word and his purposes, and by keeping one’s ears open for his direction.