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Messengers of Judgment, War & Restoration
Four Chariots (angles)
Zechariah 6:1-15, “(1) Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two mountains. And the mountains were made of bronze.
(2) The first chariot had red horses,
the second chariot black horses,
(3) the third chariot white horses, and
the fourth chariot dappled horses–all strong horses.
(4) So I inquired of the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?”
(5) The angel told me, “These are the four spirits of heaven going out after presenting themselves to the Lord of the whole earth.
(6) The one with the black horses is going to the land of the north,
the white horses are going after them,
but the dappled horses are going to the land of the south.”
(7) As the strong horses went out, they wanted to go patrol the earth, and the LORD said, “Go, patrol the earth.”
So they patrolled the earth.
(8) Then He summoned me saying, “See, those going to the land of the north have pacified My Spirit in the northern land.”
I figured this had to do with Babylon since nearly all the books which have dealt with the Babylonian Exile (before, during or after) refer to the North as Babylon.
Horses when used in visions and prophecies nearly always represent something regarding war and God’s sovereign judgment regarding nations and people.
We are told in the text that these horses were actually “THE four spirits of heaven”.
Revelation 4:5 & 5:6 is near impossible not to reference in connection with this passage because it offers the potential of two answers as to who these spirits were.
Let’s read it.
Revelation 4:5, “From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and thunder. Burning before the throne were seven fiery torches, which are the seven spirits of God.”
Revelation 5:6, “Then I saw one like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth.”
In these passages we see 7 spirits of God. Once they are represented as torches and then as horns and eyes. So while the representation of them changes, that they ARE 7 spirits remains consistent. These spirits are also mentioned without metaphorical descriptions in Revelation 1:4 & 3:1 as well.
In Revelation 5:6 it says these spirits are sent into all the earth. Whereas in our passage here in Zechariah, we have 4 spirits which are sent out into 4 locations of the earth. Those in Zechariah are represented as horses of various colors. So I submit that these 4 spirits in Zechariah “may be” 4 of the 7 who appear in Revelation.
It is nothing more than a suggestion and even if it is true we are no closer to understanding their nature or overall purpose in God’s kingdom. It simply suggests a “WHO” in reference to these spirits.
A secondary possibility is also found in Revelation 5:6 which you may remember mentioned specifically 4 living Creatures.
Now we have before suggested that these may be Cherubs of a different breed due to their descriptions in scripture. The only thing which connects them potentially with our passage in Zechariah is that there are 4 of them who are before God’s throne.
That all heavenly beings are spirits is clear. For example, Hebrews 1:7 says of angels, “Who makes His angel’s spirits and His ministers a flame of fire”. That angels have bodies is well represented, but they ARE called spirits.
As such, these four living creatures before the throne of God might be them. That they are represented as having eyes throughout their bodies might make sense since these 4 spirits in Zechariah are sent out on patrol presumably to report what they saw back to God.
Since in the vision these were represented as horses, like I mentioned earlier this seems to imply something regarding war and God’s sovereign judgment regarding nations.
These spirits either had a part to play in the war, or simply were witnesses of it and reported the results back to God. It is significant that the horses in Revelation which are sent out in judgment are given their marching orders by the 4 living creatures before God’s throne.
At any rate that is all I have to say about who these spirits might be.
Now, the only place in the bible where the color of horses is given a meaning is again in Revelation.
In Revelation 6 the rider of the black horse had a balance scale in his hand. It was used to control the value of wheat and barley.
Also in Revelation 6 the rider of the white horse is represented as having a bow and a crown and as a conqueror rode out to conquer.
Assuming is generally bad form, but assuming that we can affix the same meaning to the color of these horses, then the first horse went out to the North which is Babylon in order to measure something in a balance and the second came as a warring king to conquer.
So my belief is that the first horse served much like the angels sent by God to Sodom & Gomorrah who spied out the land to see if what was reported regarding them was true – Genesis 18:20-23 so that a just judgment could be levied against them.
Upon confirming all that Babylon had done against the Jewish people, the second horse which no doubt corresponded to Cyrus the Great and the Persian Empire came and conquered them.
However, we need to always keep in mind that all prophecy is actually revealing God! So in the end all of this seems to build to God having been pacified by all of this.
It is noteworthy that God is often spoken of being at peace or pacified when His enemies are judged.
God’ people had been set free and not only allowed to return, but encouraged and empowered to return back to Judah TO restore and rebuild!
The Crown and the Temple
“(9) The word of the LORD came to me: (10) “Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go that same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah.
(11) Take silver and gold, make crowns and place them on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.
(12) You are to tell him: This is what the LORD of Hosts says:
Here is a man whose name is Branch; He will branch out from His place and build the LORD’s temple. (13) Yes, He will build the LORD’s temple; He will be clothed in splendor and will sit on His throne and rule.
There will also be a priest on His throne, and there will be peaceful counsel between the two of them.
(14) The crown will reside in the LORD’s temple as a memorial to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen son of Zephaniah.
(15) People who are far off will come and build the LORD’s temple, and you will know that the LORD of Hosts has sent Me to you.
This will happen when you fully obey the LORD your God.”
This clearly has messianic implications and more than likely the complete fulfillment of this will not occur until the time of the Millennial reign of Christ.