Then said he, These [are] the two anointed ones
Or "sons of oil" F20. Some think the gifts and graces of the Spirit are meant, which come from the God of all grace, remain with Christ, are given freely by him to the sons of God, and are always for the service of the church, and sufficient for it; others, Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. Christ is the anointed One, or son of oil, being anointed with the Holy Ghost to the office of Prophet, Priest, and King; and with which oil he has supplied his candlestick, the church, in all ages. The Holy Spirit is the oil of gladness, and that anointing which teacheth all things. And this is the sense of Capellus, as has been observed on ( Zechariah 4:2 ) . And the learned and judicious Pemble makes a "query" of it, whether Christ and the Comforter; or Christ in his two natures; or Christ in his two offices of King and Priest of his church; or how else the words are to be understood: and this was the sense of Origen long ago, though censured by Jerom; it may be the rather, because he interprets the candlestick of the Father. But these epithets, "anointed ones", and "sons of oil", are very suitable to them; the one being called the Messiah, or anointed; and the other the unction, and the oil of gladness: and indeed, if by the golden oil emptied out of them is meant the grace of God, as it frequently signifies in Scripture, no other can be meant; since they are the inexhaustible fountain of all grace and gifts to the church in all ages, whereby it is supplied and supported; and may be said to "stand before the Lord of the whole earth", God the Father; who does not immediately by himself administer to the church, but by Christ the Head of it; and Christ communicates by his Spirit, whom he sends from himself, and from the Father: and the rather they may be thought to be meant, since the ministers of the word seem to be designed by the seven lamps which receive the oil, or gifts and graces of the Spirit, fitting them for their work, from the bowl on the top of the candlestick, which is supplied with it from these two olive trees; and therefore must be distinct from them, or otherwise they will be said to be supplied from themselves: though, whereas both Christ and the Spirit communicate by the word and the ordinances, administered by the faithful dispensers of the word; hence those witnesses of Christ, in all ages, may with propriety enough be called two anointed ones, and "the two olive trees", as they are in ( Revelation 11:4 ) where there is a plain allusion to this passage. The Targum renders the words, "these are the two sons of princes", or "great men". Some Jewish writers interpret them of their two Messiahs, Messiah ben Joseph, and Messiah ben David F21. Some interpreters understand by them Enoch and Elias; others Peter and Paul; others, better, with Kimchi and Ben Melech, Joshua and Zerubbabel, the one anointed for the priesthood, and the other for the kingdom; of which two offices Jarchi interprets them; and others the two churches, Jewish and Christian. That stand by the Lord of the whole earth;
the Creator and Governor of the universe: ministers of the word are on his side, abide by his truths and ordinances, and are faithful to his cause and interest: or, "before the Lord of the whole earth" F23; they are his ministers, and serve him; they "stand", as it becomes them, which shows their work is not done; and that it is the Lord's work they are engaged in; and that they continue and persevere in it: likewise it shows that they are under his eye, notice, dispose, care, and protection; that they are in his favour, and enjoy his presence. How this may be applied to the two divine Persons standing by or before God the Father has been before observed, and to be understood of them as in their office capacity.
F20 (rhuyh ynb) "filii olei", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Tigurine version, Vatablus, Cocceius, Burkius.
F21 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 114. 3.
F23 (Nwda le) "super Dominum", Montanus.