A Vision of Four Chariots
6 Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains. And the mountains were mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses, the third white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses—all of them strong. Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” And the angel answered and said to me, “These are going out to the four winds of heaven, after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. The chariot with the black horses goes toward the north country, the white ones go after them, and the dappled ones go toward the south country.” When the strong horses came out, they were impatient to go and patrol the earth. And he said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth. Then he cried to me, “Behold, those who go toward the north country have set my Spirit at rest in the north country.”
The Crown and the Temple
And the word of the LORD came to me: “Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’ And the crown shall be in the temple of the LORD as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.
“And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”
Zechariah 6 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The horse hooves hit the ground hard, riding with all their might. Saddled behind were chariots holding four spirits going out from heaven taking a message to throughout the earth. The same 4 horsemen are found in Revelation 6, emissaries of God’s judgment, whose mission is similar. But their purpose is different than the 4 that ride at the beginning of the end of time – they are riding to crown Joshua the High Priest. The message, strange to initial hearers, for priests were never crowned. There was something more to this. It was the prophetic crowning of Jesus – the ultimate King and Priest. And it is here He is also called the Branch.
“Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the Lord. 13 Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.”Zechariah 6:12-13
These words are a beautiful prophecy of Jesus, the Messiah. This is the triumphant King. He will spread out in fruitfulness of His message. He will build the temple, not the same as the one the people were working on but one that is indestructible. He will sit on the throne and rule as King and Priest. Even those from afar shall come to Him.
This picture is such an incredible reminder to all. It is one of hope and distinguished purpose. Jesus is the King. He does reign. Jesus is the Highest Priest. He does take our sins and makes us clean. Jesus’ words do branch out and go forth – as the Word of God will not return void.
The people who heard these words could only hope and long for such a rising of the Messiah. We have Him! Many would and do look toward the future end of this life and more importantly the ushering in of His all-encompassing blessing of the future when He returns. But folks, we have work to do now! There is a current work He has given to all of us until that time. He is King. He is Priest. He is over all who calls you by name to go forward and live in such purpose.
Zechariah 6 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The scene here is connected, though it might not seem like it on the surface. In the Bible, divine warfare follows a pattern that was common in the Near East: War-Victory-Kingship-Building-Celebration. Zechariah 6 shows us four of them: War (v.1-7), Victory (v. 8), Kingship & Building (v. 9-15).
The chariot vision feels like a heavenly court or divine counsel scene that we see in Job 1-2. It’s strikingly similar to Zechariah 1:7-17, however, in that vision, the horses had mounted riders and in this vision there are chariots. The first vision was a spy mission so mounted riders would make sense, and in this vision (v.1-8), the chariots are also appropriate because the mission is punishment – specifically “the land of the north.” This is a judgment on Babylon!
Zechariah prophesied during the time of King Darius. This is important to know because historically, the Jews in exile believed that Babylon would eventually be punished by God for their wicked treatment of the Jewish people. However, Babylon did not feel much of an effect from the king who rose to power prior to Darius – King Cyrus of Persia. During the transition between Cambyses and Darius, tensions arose as Babylon repeatedly revolted against the Persian forces. Because of this, Darius brought the hammer down on Babylon and in doing so, many believe he was fulfilling this long-awaited promise which was foretold in Zechariah 2:10-13.
The chariots come from four different directions but there are only two destinations: north and south. The “land of the north” is consistently identified as Babylon, especially in Jeremiah. Unfortunately, the “land of the south” is not as clear. It may be Egypt or Edom, but as we read on, the focus is clearly on the north. In fact, two of the chariots go to the north with only one going to the south, indicating the severity of Babylon’s judgment.
This was a huge promise being fulfilled for the exilic community. This would pave the way for the Jews to return to their land to restore the temple and city!
God is good on His promises. Every single one. Our timing is nothing like His, but He’s always good on His promises. It’s the only genuine guarantee in this life.