6 I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. 2 The first chariot had red horses, the second black, 3 the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. 4 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”
5 The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. 6 The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”
7 When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.
8 Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”
9 The word of the Lord came to me: 10 “Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak. 12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’ 14 The crown will be given to Heldai,Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord. 15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God.”
(Zechariah 6:1-15 NIV)
Today’s passage is the eighth and final vision given in this first section of Zechariah’s book. Let’s do a quick review of the previous visions:
- Peace on earth
- Favor with God and divine retribution (punishment) for wrongs done to Israel
- Protection from enemies
- A righteous spiritual leader (Joshua the high priest) who models what Messiah will be like
- A godly governor (Zerubbabel) who will finish the rebuilding of the Temple
- Evil and sin within Israel will be dealt with – this is to be a holy nation
- Israel’s sins will be removed from its people
The last vision closes the loop with the first vision, using horses as part of the vision. The first vision starts in the evening (1:8), with horses used to portray the patrolling of the earth. The horses were at rest, as all the earth was at rest and in peace (1:11).
This last vision starts in the morning, as indicated by the color of the mountains (bronze, as in a sunrise, 6:1), and the horses’ eagerness to be let loose to patrol the earth again (6:7). The morning also represents the dawn of a new era in the life of Judah and the world. God’s purposes as set forth in these visions will be realized.
As we look into this vision, we see four chariots coming forth from between the two mountains. The first question we must ask ourselves is where are these chariots coming from? What is on the other side of those mountains? Verse 5 gives us the answer – they are coming from the verse presence of the Lord.
The two mountains were like the two columns on either side of the entrance to Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 7:13-22) – silent sentries guarding the very presence of God, and reminding everyone that this a holy place where God resides.
The first vision with horses only (no chariots) represents messengers, the news of rest and peace. The last vision, with horses and chariots, represents action. The Lord’s anger had been against the nations (primarily Babylon) that came against Judah (1:15); now the Lord’s wrath would be satisfied by what was to happen to Babylon (6:8).
Verses 9 – 15 give a glimpse, a brief look forward in time to Messiah who will fulfill both the office and role of priest (like Joshua the high priest) and ruler (like Zerubbabel the governor). Messiah will wear a crown of honor and will receive His due glory.
The Temple that Messiah builds will be permanent. The crown (actually a circlet) that Zechariah is told to construct is to be put on Joshua and Zerubbabel is a reminder of their responsibility to live for the Lord and obey all His commands, not to earn their salvation, but out of their relationship with Him.
May we take comfort in knowing that we serve the God who was, who is, and who is to come. He alone transcends history and assures us of eternal life with Him through His Son Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
May we live out our calling and purpose today.