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In our study of Zechariah chapter six, we look at the prophet's final (tenth) vision of the night. We are told of the coming judgment on Gentiles (non-Jews) and the rebuilding of the temple of God.
"I looked up again - and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains - mountains of bronze!" NIV translation
Once again, the prophet is awake when he is given this vision. The two mountains refers to Mt. Zion and the Mt. of Olives in Israel. The reference to bronze reminds us of the fact that bronze was used to make the furnishings for the courtyard of the tabernacle and temple. This was the only area that Gentiles were allowed into and, as we shall see, this vision concerns the Gentile nations.
"The first chariot had red horses, the second black, the third white, and the fourth dappled - all of them powerful." NIV translation
Each of the chariots were pulled by horses and the colors of the horses match those described by the Apostle John, in Revelation 6. The red horses are a symbol of war while the black are famine and the white is a false peace or the anti-christ. The dappled is the same as pale and, in fact, was a light green color which is death.
"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.'" NIV translation
Zechariah asks about the vision and the angel explains that they are spirits (winds) that are sent out from the throne of God. This reminds us that God is in control and, though He may be using the devil and demons, they are not free to do whatever they want whenever they want to. They are simply tools that God is going to use to bring the judgment.
"'The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.'" NIV translation
When God gives directions in the Bible, it is always based on Jerusalem so, when He says "north country", He is speaking of countries that are physically north of the city of Jerusalem. We are told here that famine is heading to Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Germany and that after that will come an anti-christ with a false hope. Meanwhile, we see that death and a plague is headed south of Jerusalem and this is talking about Libya and Ethiopia. We notice that we are not told of an area where the red horses (war) are going and this is because war is going to be widespread. All of this is to bring these countries and their allies against the the city of Jerusalem as described in Ezekiel 38:4.
"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." NIV translation
What starts with the six countries mentioned in verse six quickly spreads throughout the entire earth. Once again, we see that God is in control and lets these spirits expand into all 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.'" NIV translation
This verse describes the period of peace (three and a half years) that is based on this false hope. This anti-christ will promise peace and prosperity as well as religious tolerance for all. The world will love the message and this brief period of peace will be celebrated. If you pay attention to world news, you can see this spirit at work even today as everyone is looking for peace in the Middle East. They want peace but they want it without the Prince of Peace which is Jesus Christ.
"The word of the Lord came to me: 'Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon.'" NIV translation
Now, God instructs Zechariah to collect silver and gold from the exiles but God gives three specific men to get it from. As we have seen many times, God is in charge of even the smallest details and we see it again here. Each of the names given have a meaning: Heldai means robust, Tobijah means goodness, and Jedaiah means God knows. The three of them together are a reminder that God knows His people and, in His goodness, He provides abundantly for their needs. That is the same God that we serve today and He will provide abundantly for us as well (if its God's will, its His bill and He never runs out on a check).
"'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 Jehozadak.'" NIV translation
The people had turned away from the rule of God in their lives and had been judged and sent into exile. Now, they have returned and this passage speaks to the fact that they are not only returning to the land but to the rule of God in their lives. This reminds us that, when we come to Jesus, we do so asking Him not only to be our savior but also to be our Lord. The Savior brings you back into the family of God while the Lord rules over the things of your life.
"'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."'" NIV translation
This passage tells of the return of the leaders to following the ways of God. The priests were meant to be the leaders of God's people and it will be so again. The passage tells of the coming of Jesus Christ to reign for a thousand years (Revelation 20). This is the time in which there will be "harmony" as those that have been martyred for their faith in Jesus will reign with Him.
"'The crown will be given to Heldai, Tobijah, and Hen son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord.'" NIV translation
The crown was passed down as a reminder to the leaders as well as the people. God has always desired to be at the center of the governing of His people but many times that has been forgotten and it is even happening today. We can take heart in the fact that Jesus is coming soon and His reign will never end.
"'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.'" NIV translation
This vision/prophecy was fulfilled and the temple was rebuilt but it also referred to the fact that Gentiles would be saved. This vision points to the fact that, through Jesus Christ, a new temple would be built and that temple is called "the church". That temple is being built even now and we, as Christians, are a part of those who this verse predicted would come to build it.