Zechariah 6


‘I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black, the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ 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. 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.’ 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. Then he called to me, ‘Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.’ Zechariah 6:1-8

Four Chariots

Zechariah has now received seven visions up to this point and in this chapter, he receives the last of them. Remember that all of these visions happened on the same night. This vision is about God’s judgement being poured out against Babylon.

In the vision, Zechariah sees four chariots and two mountains. The chariots represent the power of God and were symbolic of divine judgment upon the world, Revelation 6:1-17. The angels of God are often called the chariots of God, Psalm 48:17 / Psalm 18:10 / Revelation 9:14.

These four great war chariots came with strength from between possibly Mount Zion and Mount Olives. The four spirits are four angels of God who are sent forth to the four corners of the earth, Psalm 104:4 / Hebrews 1:7.

Although some people don’t see any significance in the colour of the horses, most indicate that the red horse stands for war, Revelation 6:4, the black horse stands for famine, Revelation 6:5-6, the dappled, that is pale horse stands for death, Revelation 6:8, and the white horse stands for triumph and victory, Revelation 6:2 / Revelation 19:11.

The black horses were sent to the north country, that is Babylon and the chariot with the white horses was sent with the chariot that was drawn by the black horses. The dappled horses were sent to Egypt but we’re not told where the red horses were sent, although some commentators suggest they were sent throughout the earth, Zechariah 6:7 / Revelation 9:14.

God says His Spirit has been given rest in the north, the word ‘Spirit’ is used to represent the wrath of God, Proverbs 16:32. It’s the idea that God’s Spirit is only at rest when His enemies and the enemies of His people are judged. When God’s judgment had come upon Babylon, then His wrath was appeased because justice had been served.

A Crown For Joshua

‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘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. Take the silver and gold and make a crown and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak. 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. 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.’ The crown will be given to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the LORD. 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 6:9-15

We’re not told how God spoke to Zechariah here, Hebrews 1:1, but he tells him to take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah.

The names of those who arrived from Babylon have real significance, in terms of their meaning. The name Heldai means the Lord’s world, the name Tobijah means the Lord is good and the name Jedaiah means the Lord knows. In other words, all three of these men had great faith in God.

Zechariah was asked to receive the gift from the three men and he was to use the gold and silver to make a crown that would be used in a coronation ceremony for the office of the high priest.

The coronation would be for Joshua, whose function as a high priest would be symbolic of the work of the Branch, that is the Messiah who would come, Zechariah 3:6-10. By placing the crown on Joshua’s head implies that he would be both priest and king. Joshua was crowned because the next descendant of David to rule would be Jesus.

We made reference to the Branch earlier and we know this man is the Messiah, Zechariah 3:8 / Isaiah 4:2 / Isaiah 11:1 / Jeremiah 23:5 / Jeremiah 33:15. The Branch is associated with fruitfulness and life, John 15:5, and ‘he will branch out’, that is, His life will be fruitful and outreaching.

Notice that the Branch will ‘rebuild the temple’, this isn’t speaking about the one that is going to be built by those who have returned from Babylonian captivity, this is referring to the church, Ephesians 2:19-22 / 1 Peter 2:5.

Notice also, that the Branch will be a priest on His throne, in others Jesus will rule as both King and priest, Psalm 110:4 / Zechariah 7:17 / Zechariah 7:21-28 / Hebrews 4:14 / Hebrews 5:6 / Hebrews 7:3 / Hebrews 7:23-24 / Hebrews 8:1.

Earlier, Josiah was said to be the son of Zephaniah, and Zechariah apparently gave this prophecy in his house. Since the name Hen means ‘gracious’, it’s almost certainly another name and an appropriate name for this Josiah the son of Zephaniah.

Baldwin, in his commentary, says the following.

‘We are surprised here by the names apparently being changed from those mentioned in Zechariah 6:9, any of those mentioned could have borne two or more names and it may be that Heldai preferred to use his more dignified name for official purposes, or the names could have been interchangeable.’

Notice that those ‘who are far away’ will come and help build the temple of the Lord. It’s the Branch who builds the temple but it’s those who are far away who will help.

This is obviously speaking about the Gentiles, as Peter uses the exact same words in the New Testament, Acts 2:39. The ones that were far off were those not included with Israel in the covenant. They were the nations or Gentiles of the world. In the new era, however, even the Gentiles would be admitted to fellowship with God.

The completion of the temple will happen ‘if they diligently obey the LORD’, that is the Messiah’s glory as the priest and King of Israel won’t be shown to the Jews until they turn to Him in obedience, Zechariah 3:8 / Zechariah 12:10-12 / Matthew 23:39 / Romans 11:16-24.

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