God has always had two witnesses. Even though we could trace this back to the beginning with Adam and Eve, in this study we will focus from the point of Moses and Aaron forward, mentioning only a few examples.
First there was Moses and Aaron. Moses represented YHVH's civil and moral authority by which mankind was to live, and Aaron represented the priesthood authority, or the means by which mankind could approach unto a Holy God.
We also have Joshua and Caleb. Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph) and Caleb was from the tribe of Judah. They were the only two spies who brought back a good report regarding the land of Canaan. It is not by coincidence that these two men were from Ephraim (Joseph) and Judah. Nothing is a coincidence with God. There is a much deeper meaning.
In addition, we have Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon and heir to the throne, while Jeroboam was the founder of the northern kingdom of Israel. Rehoboam was of course from the tribe of Judah, and Jeroboam was from the tribe of Ephraim. Here we see again- Judah and Ephraim. Coincidence? I don’t believe so!
In Zechariah 6:9-13 we read about the “Branch” who is to come and the coming together of the “King” and “High Priest”.
Zechariah 6:9-13; “ And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (KJV)
Most Bible scholars agree that this prophecy is speaking about Zerubbabel, governor of Israel, true heir to the throne of David, and Joshua the High Priest. While this is a truth, Bible scholars also understand that there is a deeper meaning to these scriptures and that is that they are giving a prophecy concerning Yeshua our coming King and High Priest.
In Psalms 110:4 we read that Yeshua is a king forever after the order of Melchizedek. This scripture is repeated regarding Him in the book of Hebrews (Chapter 7). Melchizedek was both priest and King, as will be Yeshua.
The High Priest, Joshua, who is mentioned in these scriptures and was indeed the High Priest at the time, was never a King on this earth. The scriptures here speak about the crowning of the High Priest. Never in the history of Israel has one man ever been both a High Priest and King of Israel. Priests and Kings came from two different tribes in unified Israel. The priests came from Levi and the Kings from Judah. Something much deeper is being spoken about in these passages.
These scriptures clearly speak about the Messiah who is the “Branch” and He will clearly be both High Priest and King of Israel in the future. This will be the first time that this has ever happened. Therefore, we have here a testimony, or sure Word of Prophecy, that TWO signs will take place, the TWO SIGNS are that the coming “Branch” will be both High Priest and King.
Yet, one could ask, how do we get two witnesses/anointed ones out of this?
In Zechariah 4:11-14 we are given some more prophecy concerning this same event - “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.” (KJV) (Capitalization and boldness added by me)
The words “anointed ones” in Hebrew would be: “bane yitshar” meaning “sons of oil”. The further meaning would be that these are the two anointed “sons” that are being “pressed” to make oil or to bring forth light to the Menorah into which they are dripping. In Messianic understanding, the Menorah is represented in Yeshua who is the light of the earth, and further signifies the seven ways in which the Spirit of YHVH rests upon Him as He is manifested in the flesh throughout the earth. Read Isaiah 11:1-2.
(See my teaching on Yeshua in the Tabernacle - Part IV.
These two “sons of oil” relate/OR WITNESS to Messiah's holy ministry on earth and His righteous judgments on earth. They represent two sons of authority on earth. Zechariah said that these two sons “stand by the Lord of the whole earth”.
In Ezekiel 37:15-17, 24-27 we read:
"The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. ….. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”
This scripture speaks of the TWO sticks of Judah and Joseph/Ephraim becoming ONE, and having ONE King to rule over them forever. It also mentions that they will both be keeping Yahweh’s statutes and judgments (Torah) forever. Please understand that Ephraim and Joseph are the same thing.
These two witnesses, Judah and Ephraim, relate to the dual anointing of Yeshua as a King and as a High Priest, forever. This is showcased in our scripture passage in Zechariah chapter four. Zachariah saw two olive trees, one representing the King and the other the High Priest. Both of them were supplying the oil of anointing to a bowl. The anointed ones/witnesses were the ones being pressed to supply the oil to the bowl supplying the seven branched candlestick or menorah, the true symbol of Israel and representation of Yeshua and the seven spirits of Yahweh that were upon Him.
The pressed oil from the two sons of fresh oil gave life to the Menorah (Yeshua). They kept the light of Yeshua bright through their witness in all the earth.
The son Judah represents or witnesses to the coming Messiah and His righteous rule as King? The throne of David is in the royal Jewish tribe of Judah. Out of Judah comes the Lawgiver, ruling the Throne of David. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, our coming King. Judah (the Jews) have always witnessed to the Messiah coming from the tribe of Judah, lineage of David, and that He will be King and lawgiver (Torah giver); in His righteous rule over all of the earth. In Micah chapter 4 and Isaiah chapter 2 we read how Messiah will be teaching from His throne in Jerusalem and how that His Law (Torah in Hebrew) will go forth throughout the whole earth. It is Judah (the Jews) that we have to thank for maintaining the integrity of the scriptures, as witnessed to by Yeshua Himself. This has been the hope of the Jews (Judah) throughout the ages, that their King Messiah will come. They have held tightly to this and they have been a good witness about His coming kingship throughout the world. Yeshua is coming back as a Jewish King.
Judah was separated from Israel in the breach of Jeroboam. Judah became the southern kingdom who went off into captivity in Babylon. These people, the Jewish nation, returned from their exile. They restored the royal and holy city of Jerusalem. The Jewish people never forgot their heritage. They know and remember their earthly roots in Israel.
And what about the other witness?
Looking back to the two sticks of Ezekiel, we see that it is the stick of Ephraim who is the second witness. Ephraim testifies to the ministry of Yeshua as High Priest. Ephraim testifies to Yeshua's grace and mercy in the shedding of His blood and the forgiveness of our sins. Ephraim took Messiah Yeshua the High Priest to the world as salvation; the redeemer of the world, the mediator between mankind and the Father.
While Judah is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the Torah and the truth, Ephraim is responsible for spreading the atoning work of Yeshua around the world.
The two sons of authority need each other and each have a separate witness to make to the world. Judah has traditionally witnessed of Messiah the Jewish King to come and Ephraim witnesses of Messiah the High Priest to come; who alone gives us salvation.
Historically, Ephraim has rejected Torah (most Christians believe Yeshua destroyed or canceled the Torah) and Messiah Yeshua as a Torah giver, and most of Ephraim doesn’t truly understand the concept of kingdom and a coming King. Judah has rejected Yeshua the High Priest/bringer of salvation.
Historically, there has been rivalry between these two brothers. In I Kings 12:19 we read how Ephraim rebelled against the House of David. Look at the same antisemitism that exists in the world today.
Yahweh has used both “sons” as witnesses in this present world. Judah without Yeshua Messiah and Ephraim who wants to reject Torah and a coming JEWISH KING.
Who is Ephraim? Christians/Followers of The Way/Nazarenes are Joseph/Ephraim. Just as Joseph was carried away into Egypt and took on Egyptian qualities, likewise, Christians today have forgotten about the origin of their faith.
Yahweh will bring the two sticks back together. All of Joseph will accept and obey Torah when the lawgiver teaches from His holy mountain in Jerusalem and Judah will accept Yeshua as High Priest and bringer of salvation. Does not the scripture say, “and all Israel shall be saved?”
In Revelation we read about the two witnesses. This word “witness” means “judicially, witness, martyr, record.” These two witnesses are being martyred for their testimony of Yeshua and for keeping Yahweh's commandments. These two witnesses represent “Judah and Ephraim” as people groups not just two individuals. His two witnesses in the world have not changed. Just as Joshua came from the tribe of Ephraim and Caleb came from the tribe of Judah.
The problem with most people today is that they have an identity crisis. They don't really know who they are.
The Apostle Paul speaks to us in the book of Romans about the cultivated olive tree and the wild olive tree. Notice that they are both olive trees. In the Scriptures, Israel is referred to as an olive tree. The cultivated olive tree is Judah. Judah has always remained with Yahweh and He has cultivated or pruned them. He is the elder son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Ephraim is the wild olive tree. He (the northern kingdom) has been scattered all over the world and they lost their identity. A wild olive tree or one that doesn’t bear fruit is analogous to a disobedient people group. The book of Hosea and Amos tells all about this. He has floundered out there with Torah – the truth. A wild growing olive tree. He is the youngest son in the parable of the Prodigal son.
Yeshua stated from His own mouth that “He came not but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. (Matthew 15:24)
So, who are you, Ephraim or Judah? The cultivated olive tree or the wild olive tree? The eldest son or the youngest?
How does a Messianic Jew fit into this scenario? Quite nicely! They can testify to the coming of the Jewish King Yeshua Messiah and they can testify to Yeshua as being the redeemer of the world; bringer of salvation; and Mediator of mankind and YHVH.
He will bring them both back together at His return. In the meantime, they are both witnessing about Him in their own way. We are commanded to love one another, for we are brothers!