1 I looked up again and saw four chariots coming out from between two mountains; the mountains were made of bronze. 2 The first chariot had red horses, and the second chariot had black horses. 3 The third chariot had white horses, and the fourth chariot had horses that were heavily spotted. 4 I responded and said to the messenger speaking with me, “What are these, sir?” 5 The messenger answered and said to me, “These are the four winds of heaven that are going out after presenting themselves to the Lord of all the earth. 6 The one with the black horses is going to the north country; the white ones are going to the west; and the spotted ones are going south.” 7 Then the powerful ones approached, intent on going to patrol the earth. He said, “Go! Patrol the earth!” So they patrolled the earth. 8 Then he called out and said to me,“Look, the ones going north have provided rest for my spirit in the north.” ~ Zechariah 6:1-8
Today, we come to another vision in Zechariah 6. This is the eighth vision so far in the book of Zechariah. Today's vision helps us to see how God will judge the world and set up His millennial kingdom in the end.
In v.1 of today's text we read, "I looked up again and saw four chariots coming out from between two mountains; the mountains were made of bronze."
In this verse God references two mountains, Mt. Zion and the Mt. of Olives. These two mountains are geographical places in Jerusalem. And the valley between them is the Kidron Valley. At the Second Coming of Christ, He will set his feet on the Mount of Olives, causing a massive earthquake, and the valley will be widened all the way down to the Dead Sea.
Bronze is a symbol of judgment in the Bible. The bronze altar was the altar of sacrifice that took place for sin, out in the outer court. Judgment will come at the Second Coming of Christ and it will be felt on these two mountains and in this valley. If we haven’t trusted in Christ’s atonement, God will judge our sin by banishing us from His presence for eternity. Today’s passage describes the latter.
In v.2-3 in today's text we read, "2 The first chariot had red horses, and the second chariot had black horses. 3 The third chariot had white horses, and the fourth chariot had horses that were heavily spotted."
These four chariots are chariots of war. Chariots in those days formed the storm troops of an ancient army. These will be vehicles of divine judgment on the unbelieving nations of the world. These four chariots will come out from between these two mountains.
In Revelation 1:15-16 we are given the image of Christ with feet of burnished bronze. And so, we have here a powerful scene of judgment, and the war chariots will come down this valley between these two mountains.
According to Zechariah 14:4, "His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in its midst thereof toward the east and toward the west and half of the mountain removed toward the north, and half of it toward the south."
God will create a whole new valley there, a huge, massive one and that will be the place the judgment of God will be hurled out onto rebellious man. This will happen at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As you may already know, in the Bible the number four stands for universality. And, here in v.2-3 we have four chariots. According to Revelation 6, when the tribulation period begins, there will be four horsemen that are parallel in terms of color with the four that we have here in today's text. They will appear in the same context of final judgment.
In v.4-5 of today's text we read, "4 I responded and said to the messenger speaking with me, “What are these, sir?” 5 The messenger answered and said to me, “These are the four winds of heaven that are going out after presenting themselves to the Lord of all the earth."
These angels will come out of heaven to carry out God’s judgment. Notice, they will stand before the Lord to do His bidding. In Revelation 7:1-2, we have a similar designation of the angels. So, as is always the case, the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.
In v.6-7 of today's text we read, "6 The one with the black horses is going to the north country; the white ones are going to the west; and the spotted ones are going south.” 7 Then the powerful ones approached, intent on going to patrol the earth. He said, “Go! Patrol the earth!” So they patrolled the earth."
The black horses will go to the north country. And, most often, in the Bible, the north country refers to Babylon. The white horses will go out after them and the spotted ones are going toward the south country, which is almost always a reference to Egypt.
So this angelic army of God will go out throughout the earth from the presence of the Lord to do His bidding. God’s final judgment will cover the whole world. Nothing will escape His worldwide judgment. And, according to Matthew 24-25, it will be at that time Christ will come in His glory. And at that point, the nations of the world will be gathered into this valley, the valley of Jehoshaphat, and they will be judged.
Finally, in v.8 of today's text we read, "Then he called out and said to me,“Look, the ones going north have provided rest for my spirit in the north."
God’s Spirit will be appeased by His judgment. He will be satisfied from those who have gone to the north country because it will be from the north that the worst of all enemies will come. According to the book of the Revelation this final evil will be Babylon.
Sadly, it doesn't have to be this way, because as we read in Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Since many will not receive the free gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, God's righteous requirements will have to be exacted on them. For us who believe on the Lord Jesus, God has exacted His righteous requirements on His Son at the cross.
All of this is to say, the Bible can be completely trusted. The Bible reflects consistently the mind of God. God inspired it, and therefore the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. This is not to say that we all do not have many questions about the Bible and we struggle to figure out its meaning. Ultimately, inspiration is a matter of faith, and no matter how fervently it is believed that doesn’t mean it is comprehended. Our problem is we do not do the hard work to understand the culture within which a certain passage was written. I have found that when I do the hard work of understanding a passage, its veracity is always born out.
I think of the Hittites who are mentioned many times in the book of Genesis. And, because no ancient historian mentioned them, and because they appeared to leave no archaeological footprint, critics of the Bible relegated them to the realm of myth. The critics reasoned that, since they had no archaeological evidence of a Hittite civilization, it must never have existed, and the Bible must be wrong. However, many archaeological discoveries, beginning in 1876, have since proved that the Hittites were a powerful people in the 15th and 16th centuries B.C. You see, when we do our homework, the Bible is proved to be God's word and it can be trusted completely. No archeological finding had ever proven the Bible wrong.