The Two Witnesses of Revelation:
Joshua and Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel: the Signet of the Lord
Joshua's Final Task
The Two Olive Trees
The Judgment Seat of Christ
Zerubbabel, the Signet of the Lord at the time of the End
Haggai 2:21-23 (KJV)
"Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts."
The events that take place when Zerubbabel is chosen to be God's signet are the very same events that take place at the beginning of the tribulation as described in Ezekiel. The most important event is the shaking of the heavens and the earth that begins the Day of the Lord, as described within the sixth Seal of Revelation. This is followed by the destruction of the great army led by Gog of Magog that invades Israel. The first part of the invasion's destruction is characterized by internal fighting within the armies. The final destruction of the invading force (which also affects the heathen nations that are a part of the alliance) comes directly from God in the form of the first Trumpet judgment of Revelation. This is also described in Ezekiel 38:22, "And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone."
The following table describes the similarities between the events predicted by Haggai and Ezekiel:
"...I will shake the heavens and the earth..."
38:20, "...the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence..."
"And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen..."
38:3, 5-6, "I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and TubalPersia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters..."
39:4, "Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured."
"...and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders..."
38:4, "and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords..."
"...and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother."
38:21, "And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother."
The appearance of Zerubbabel as God's "signet" comes after the destruction of the invaders of Israel, and it comes at the very beginning of a specific seven year period referred to in Ezekiel 39:9. This seven year period is the very same as the 70th Week of Daniel. Zerubbabel will be God's "signet" in that he will be one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation, who minister for the first half of the 70th Week, before being killed by the Antichrist when he takes over Jerusalem.
Joshua's resurrection, judgment, and final task
Zechariah 3 (KJV)
1. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
2. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
3. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
4. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
5. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.
6. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying,
7. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.
8. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
9. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
10. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
Joshua will be resurrected at the time of the end, after the Rapture of the Church, to be given the job of Witnessing to the earth for the first half of the 70th Week of Daniel. Joshua is one of only a few Old Testament saints resurrected prior to the mass resurrection of Old Testament saints at the end of the Tribulation period (Daniel 12:1-2). Zechariah records that Joshua is resurrected and his past life as a servant of God is judged. He is forgiven and then he is clothed with new clothes and rewarded with a clean turban, but his work for God is not complete. The "angel of the Lord" (Jesus Christ) tells Zerubbabel that there is yet a "charge" for him to "keep," and that if he is successful he will be given a place to stand among those already standing in heaven (the raptured and resurrected members of the Body of Christ, or New Testament saints).
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by." Zechariah 3:7
The timing of the resurrection of Joshua is proven to be at the beginning of the 70th Week of Daniel through Zechariah 3:2, when the Lord rebukes Satan saying that He has "chosen Jerusalem." This is the renewal of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks given concerning the Jews and Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24), it marks the end of the gap after the Sixty-Ninth Week and it also marks the start of Joshua's ministry as one of the Two Witnesses.
The two tables below show that Joshua is indeed resurrected near the beginning of the Tribulation period as described in Revelation, and that he is judged according to the New Testament "Judgment Seat of Christ" manner with the same methodology and imagery.
Zechariah describes a scene in heaven right out of the book of Revelation
Joshua in Zechariah 3
Jesus is present
7:17, "...the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne..."
3:1-4, "...Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord... And unto him [the angel of the Lord] said, 'Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.' "
(This "angel" is Jesus because none other has the authority to forgive sins.)
Satan is present
(Satan is present in heaven until the midpoint of the 70th Week of Daniel when he is cast down to pursue the saints on the earth for 1260 days - Rev.12:6,14.)
3:1, "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest... and Satan standing at his right side..."
The 24 Elders sit on thrones surrounding the Great Throne
4:4, "Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders."
3:8, "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee..."
A great multitude of saints stand around the Great Throne
7:9, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count... standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb."
3:4,7, "The angel said to those who were standing before him, 'Take off his filthy clothes.' ...This is what the LORD Almighty says: `If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then... I will give you a place among these standing here.' "
Joshua at the Judgment Seat of Christ
Themes of the
Resurrection and Judgment
New Testament descriptions
Joshua in Zechariah 3
Satan our accuser
Revelation 12:9-10, "Satan, who leads the whole world astray... the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night."
3:1-2, "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!"
Jesus our advocate
1 John 2:1, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."
Trial by fire
1 Corinthians 3:14-15, "If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."
3:2, "Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
1 Corinthians 15:52-53, "For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality."
3:3-4, "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you."
A crowning reward
2 Timothy 4:8, "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
3:5, "Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by."
The Two Olive Trees
"The two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth."
Zechariah 3 shows Joshua's resurrection and then Zechariah 4 mentions Zerubbabel. Zechariah 4:7-10 also offers a hint that Zerubbabel may have a hand in rebuilding the Jewish Temple,
"What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of `God bless it! God bless it!' Then the word of the LORD came to me: "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel."
While in vision Zechariah sees two olive trees that catch his eye. He senses their importance, but does not understand,
"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...
Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick 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."
The two olive trees symbolize Joshua and Zerubbabel, God's two anointed ones. In Revelation 11:4 the Two Witnesses are described as,
"...the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth."
The Judgment Seat of Christ
Defined by three texts
1. Romans 14:10-12, "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: "`As surely as I live,' says the Lord, `every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God."
2. 2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
3. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum comments on the Judgment Seat of Christ, from p.107 of The Footsteps of the Messiah, 1982, "...the Judgment Seat of Christ, is a judgment of the believer's works, not his sins. This is a judgment that will take place in heaven after the Rapture of the church... The basis of this judgment will be the believer's works done in the body since he became a believer. It is not the believer's sins which will be judged since this has been settled forever at the cross, and there is now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). This is not a question of the believer's sins, but a matter of reward on the basis of the believer's deeds."
Fruchtenbaum comments (p.108) on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
"In verses 10-11 Paul again points out that the basis of the judgment is the works of the believer. This is portrayed as building on a foundation that has already been laid; the judgment is based on how one has built on this foundation (Jesus Christ)...
In verse 12 this judgment of works will not be based upon quantity, but upon quality... The concern of this judgment is whether the believer followed what God's will was for him or not. If a believer is doing the will of the Lord... then he is building on the foundation with gold, silver, and precious stones. But where he falls short of these things, he is building wood, hay and stubble.
In verse 13 the means of testing is said to be fire... Regardless of how little or how much wood, hay, or stubble there will be, fire will burn it all up. Regardless of how much gold, silver, or precious stones there may be, fire refines them all. So some believers will find all their works burned up, and others will merely see them refined."
Fruchtenbaum writes that 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 does not describe the rewards that may come as a result of this judgment, but other passages reveal that believers will be rewarded for their works by being given crowns. Fruchtenbaum notes that the New Testament describes five such crowns (He uses the ASV Bible):
1. The Incorruptible Crown - 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
2. The Crown of Rejoicing - 1 Thessalonians 2:19
3. The Crown of Righteousness - 2 Timothy 4:7-8
4. The Crown of Life - James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10
5. The Crown of Glory - 1 Peter 5:2-4
Fruchtenbaum continues (p. 110):
"These rewards of crowns are for the purpose of determining degree of authority in the messianic kingdom and not for the Eternal Order. In eternity all believers will be equal, but not so in the kingdom where believers may have different positions of authority. In parabolic form, this truth is found in Luke 19:11-27.
The result of those who have built with wood, hay, and stubble is given in 1 Corinthians 3:15. [It] will all be burned up. Hence, he shall suffer loss. But the loss is merely one of rewards and authority, nothing more. He will not be punished for his sins any more than a runner in a race is punished for not coming in first. But he does lose out on this reward. Lest anyone conclude that the person loses his salvation, the text in no uncertain terms states, but he himself shall be saved. His works do not determine his salvation. His salvation is assured for he trusted Christ, and salvation is by grace through faith apart from works. But he will spend the kingdom period with nothing to show for his Christian life."