It was on this day in 1958 that the foundation stone of the Israeli Knesset was laid in Jerusalem. Knesset is a Hebrew word that means a place of assembly and this is where the people’s representatives assemble together and adopt laws much like our Congress.
Just outside the gates of the Knesset grounds stands a large bronze menorah. On this menorah is depicted key events in Israeli history along with different verses from Scripture. The menorah’s proximity to the Knesset speaks to the issue that the seven-branched candlestick – not the star of David – is official emblem of Israel. To be more specific, the emblem of Israel is the menorah flanked on either side by two olive branches. Inspiration for this emblem from the prophet Zechariah who, when shown a vision, asks a question.
“‘What are these two olive trees at the right of the lamp stand and at its left?’ And I further answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?’ Then he answered me and said, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ So he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.’” (Zechariah 4:11-14)
Two anointed ones, represented by the two olive branches, standing on either side of the Lord of the whole earth is essentially the emblem for the state of Israel. This is fascinating and is thematically similar to the images described in Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration (Matt 17).
When Peter, James and John saw the transfigured Messiah, His face shone as the sun and standing there with Him were Moses and Elijah. The two “anointed ones” were standing by the Lord of the whole earth, perhaps one on each side of Him. Zechariah’ vision also brings to mind what Paul presents in Romans 11. He speaks of an olive tree comprised of both natural and wild branches – the wild branch being grafted in. The point Paul was making to the Romans is that Israel is a family of faith comprised of those who are ethnically Israeli and those who have been grafted in from the nations.
The olive tree in Paul’s analogy is the Lord of the whole earth, meaning that both of those branches have to be grafted into Him. This also suggests that one of the olive branches in Zechariah’s vision is most likely a natural branch and the other wild, meaning that the emblem for Israel is prophetic. When both of these branches are one in Him and begin to produce fruit to the fullest extent, Israel will truly fulfill its mandate of being a light to the nations. Based on what we can observe around us, that day seems to be close at hand. The prophet Isaiah spoke of those days when he said:
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)
It is important to understand our role in God’s purposes for the last days and that purpose being fulfilled in predicated upon this fundamental principle: we must be grafted into the Messiah, the Lord of the whole earth. Let us continue to press closer to Him as the darkness of our time descends upon the world.