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The Four Chariots, And The Crowning Day
This chapter concludes the first division of the prophecy, and is itself divided into two parts. Verses 1 to 8 give us Zechariah’s final vision. Verses 9 to 15 set forth the glorious climax of all prophetic instruction, in figure; the crowning of Joshua the high priest representing the coronation of our Lord Jesus Christ when He shall be manifested to Israel as “a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek,” who combined in himself the kingly and priestly offices.
The vision is simple, yet comforting, and requires but little explanation. Zechariah saw four chariots, drawn respectively by red, black, white and speckled bay horses. No mention is made of drivers. It would seem as though the horses were directed by unseen agency, which is fully in keeping with the explanation given afterward.
The chariots and their horses were seen coming out from between two mountains of brass. The prophet inquired as to the identity of the symbols, and was answered by the angel, who said, “These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grizzled go forth toward the south country. And the bay34 went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth.” Then the angel addressed the restless steeds directly, bidding them, “Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth.”
At once they started on their mission, whereupon the angel turned again to Zechariah, and said, “Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country” (vers. 1-8).
The vision evidently sets forth God’s control of all destructive agencies used by Him in the punishment of the nations that have deserved His wrath. It was intended to give repose of heart and confidence of mind to the remnant, making known to them the fact that the God of Israel was the Lord of all the earth. “All things serve His might.” In His own way and time, therefore, He would send the chariots of His government against the nations that had made a prey of and spoiled His people. “Mountains of brass” speaks of power in righteous judgment. From between two such mountains the chariots go forth.
God’s providential agencies may seem, to unbelief, like restless, uncurbed horses rushing here and there according to blind chance or their own uncontrolled energy. But the man of faith, though he cannot always see the Hand that guides the reins, yet knows that divine wisdom orders all according to righteousness.
The special prophetic application of what Zechariah had beheld was at that moment connected with the kingdom of Babylon on the north and Egypt on the south. Between these two powers God would sustain His feeble flock, checkmating every effort to destroy them till Messiah should Himself appear. Alas, that when He came they knew Him not! therefore they have been driven from their ancestral home and scattered among the Gentiles. But in the last days they will again be found in a similar, though more serious, state than that in which they once failed so grievously. Then the lesson of this vision will be for their comfort and cheer, bidding them look up in confidence to Him who controls all agencies that would seek their overthrow. Compare Revelation 7:1-3, where four angels are seen holding the winds, or spirits of destruction, in check till the sealing of the remnant who are to be preserved for the kingdom soon to be established.
We have thus gone over the apocalypse of Zechariah, seeking to understand his visions in their prophetic and moral bearing. They harmonize perfectly with those of Daniel and the Revelation, as also with the unfolding of the ways of God in Hosea.
We are now to notice a symbolic action on the part of the prophet, which sets forth the bringing in of the glory, or the crowning day-the coronation of the once-rejected Jesus as Priest-King over all the earth.
Zechariah was bidden to go to some of the returned captivity, and to take from them gifts of silver and gold to make crowns. One he was directed to set upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; but even as he did so, he was to speak of a greater than Joshua, 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” (vers. 12, 13).
Upon the brows of the associates of Joshua crowns were also placed, as setting forth the dignity of restored Israel when they shall all be a kingdom of priests. This was done “for a memorial in the temple of the Lord” (ver. 14). Then followed a declaration that “they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God” (ver. 15).
Those directly addressed by Zechariah did not diligently obey Jehovah’s voice, and so forfeited the promised blessing. But in a future day an obedient remnant will be found who shall be born again, and in whose hearts and minds will be written the law of God so that they shall delight in His testimonies. Then shall the Branch of Jehovah be glorious throughout the whole earth, and the crown be placed upon that brow that was once pierced with the mock crown of thorns, when Pilate led Him forth, uttering unconsciously the very words of the prophet, “Behold the Man!” There he stopped, for the hour had not yet come when that lowly Man was to be invested with His regal glories. But when God brings His First-begotten into the world again, He will call upon all created intelligences, human and angelic, to do Him homage. Then shall the promise of the 110th psalm be fulfilled, and His Melchizedek priesthood, in relation to Israel and the earth, be ushered in.
The words, “He shall build the temple of the Lord,” together with the prophecy of verse 15, make it clear that another and more glorious temple than that of Zerubbabel was contemplated. That house, “exceeding magnifical,” is fully described, together with its surroundings and order, in the last eight chapters of Ezekiel. It is to be built when the long-looked-for King has come, and in His Person the two offices of Priest and Ruler combine.
“The counsel of peace shall be between them both,” we are told. That is, the new covenant will rest, not on an agreement entered into by man and God, but it will be established forever on the ground of “the counsel of peace” made between Jehovah of hosts and the Man whose name is “The Branch.” He, the Man of God’s purpose, settled every question as to sin when He died upon the tree; and now, “having made peace through the blood of His cross,” He is the agent through whom the reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth will be effected (Colossians 1:20).
Thus have we been carried in spirit from the days of Judah’s first restoration to her final blessing in the land, when “this Man shall be the peace,” and “in His own times He shall show, who is that blessed and only potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords.”
This is the ultimate goal of prophecy, and closes the first division of our book.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 6". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19