The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Zechariah 6

Zec 6:1

Vv 1-8: The four chariots. There are several similarities between this last vision and the first one (Zec 1:7-17) -- indicating a return to ideas introduced at the beginning of this series of revelations. Again, there is a group of horses of various colors, but their order and colors are somewhat different. Zechariah mentioned a rider in the first vision one but no chariots, but in this vision chariots without horsemen appear. There is a similar emphasis on the fact that Yahweh controls history and subdues the nations that oppress Israel.

"They represent the resurrected saints in the execution of the judgment written, Psa 149. There are four of them, because there were four faces to the typical golden cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant in the temple; and four living creatures in Ezekiel's vision; and four living creatures in the Apocalypse; and the reason why there are four, and not three or five, is because in the military organization of Israel the twelve tribes were set off into four camps; the Camp of Judah, the Camp of Reuben, the Camp of Ephraim, and the Camp of Dan... Zechariah saw the four cherubic chariots going forth from between Two Mountains of Brass. This metal connects these mountains, or dominions, with the brazen part of Nebuchadnezzar's Image, the Body and Thighs; and with the Claws of Brass pertaining to the Fourth Beast; and the Band of Iron and Brass around the Stump of the Babylonian Tree. The two mountains of brass and the two thighs of brass are identical; and represent the Greek Element [Dan 2:39] of the 'Great Mountain that is to become a Plain before Zerubbabel, before the Two Anointed Ones, before the Four Chariots, and their horses: before Israel and the Saints In the days of the Maccabees the two mountains were the Greek Kingdom of Egypt, and the Greek Kingdom of Syria, including Assyria and other adjacent countries; the former styled in Dan 11 the King of the South; and the latter, the King of the North [Dan 11:40]" (Eur vol 1).

FOUR CHARIOTS... TWO MOUNTAINS... OF BRONZE: Chariots were instruments of judgment, and bronze is a color that often carries this connotation in Scripture (cp Exo 27:2; Num 21:9). God Himself is pictured as a charioteer in Psa 18:10; 80:1. These chariots are His "cherubim" -- the warlike manifestation of His divine glory in the earth.

Zec 6:2

RED HORSES: Prob indicating war and bloodshed: cp Rev 6:4; 12:3; 17:3.

BLACK: Prob indicating famine, and other ravages consequent upon war: cp Rev 6:5,6; Jer 14:1-6; Lam 5:10.

Zec 6:3

WHITE: The color of leprosy (cp Zec 1:8) -- here poss sym pestilence (Hab 3:5).

DAPPLED: Sym plague and disease, and Death and Hades -- the grave (cp Rev 6:8).

Zec 6:5

THESE ARE THE FOUR SPIRITS OF HEAVEN, GOING OUT FROM STANDING IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD OF THE WHOLE WORLD: Cp Zec 4:14. They were His messengers, the executors of His will (cp Psa 104:4).

Zec 6:6

THE ONE WITH THE BLACK HORSES IS GONG TOWARD THE NORTH COUNTRY: The direction from which most of Israel's enemy invaders descended on the Promised Land (eg, Babylonia: cp Jer 1:14; 4:6; 6:22; Eze 1:4).

THE ONE WITH THE WHITE HORSES TOWARD THE WEST: Evidently, "west" is not in the text. The chariot with the white horses went out next and probably followed the previous one north.

AND THE ONE WITH THE DAPPLED HORSES TOWARD THE SOUTH: Egypt lay to Israel's south, and it was another implacable enemy. Presumably the red horses went in the same direction -- since "east" is not mentioned.

Because of the geography of Palestine all of Israel's enemies came against her from the north or from the south; the Mediterranean Sea on the west and the Arabian Desert on the east prohibited major foreign invasions. Since the chariots went in compass directions we should probably understand their judgment to be universal (cp Zec 2:6; Jer 49:36; Eze 37:9; Rev 7:1). They went north and south out of Palestine, but they executed judgment in every direction. The total picture is of God executing His judgments against all nations that opposed Israel.

Zec 6:7

GO THROUGHOUT THE EARTH: When these horses went out from between the bronze mountains they were eager to patrol the earth (or the "eretz", or "Land"); they were anxious to carry out these judgments. The LORD gave them permission to patrol it, so they did. In the first instance these would be the cherubim, and angelic powers. In the Last Days, these could refer to Christ's glorified saints.

Zec 6:8

THOSE GOING TOWARD THE NORTH COUNTRY HAVE GIVEN MY SPIRIT REST IN THE LAND OF THE NORTH: The horses that had gone out into the north had appeased God's wrath in the land of the north. This probably represents judgment on Babylon specifically, but it probably hints at the total destruction of all enemies of Israel.

Zec 6:9

Vv 9-15: The symbolic crowning of Joshua. "The position of this actual ceremony after the eight visions is significant. The fourth and fifth visions, at the center of the series, were concerned with the high priest [Joshua] and the civil governor in the Davidic line [Zerubbabel]. Zechariah here linked the message of those two visions to the messianic King-Priest... Thus restored Israel is seen in the future under the glorious reign of the messianic King-Priest" (EBC).

"Immediately following the overthrow of Gentile world power by the earth judgments symbolized by the horsed chariots (Zec 6:1-8) occurs the manifestation of Christ in His kingdom glory (Zec 6:9-15) typified by the crowning of Joshua the high priest. This is the usual prophetic order: first, the judgments of the day of the Lord; then full kingdom blessing (cp Psa 2:5 with Psa 2:6; cp Isa 3:24-26 with Isa 4:2-6; cp Isa 10:33,34 with Isa 11:1-10; cp Rev 19:19-21 with Rev 20:4-6).

"The eight night visions have ended, but the coronation of Joshua is closely connected with these revelations which extend in scope from Zechariah's day to the full establishment of Israel in blessing. The crowning of King-Priest Messiah is thus set forth symbolically by the coronation of Joshua, which is not a vision, but an actual historical act, which evidently took place the day following the night of visions" (Unger).

See Article, If I forget you, Jerusalem.

Zec 6:10

TAKE SILVER AND GOLD FROM THE EXILES: Evidently a special offering brought to Jerusalem and the Temple. Silver = the price of redemption (Exo 30:12-16; Lev 5:15). Gold = a tried faith (1Pe 1:7).

Zec 6:11

MAKE A CROWN, AND SET IT ON THE HEAD OF THE HIGH PRIEST, JOSHUA: Cp Zec 3:1. The Heb text has "crowns," not "crown." The plural could indicate a composite crown (cp Rev 19:12), a superlative crown, and/or a sacred crown. This crown was not the regular turban of the high priest (Heb "nezer") but a kingly crown with many parts (Heb "ataroth": cp Rev 19:12). He was to crown the high priest as a king, not as a priest. The combination of high priest and king in the same personage suggests the Melchizedek priesthood -- and obviously points to Jesus Christ (cp Psa 110:4; Heb 7:1-3).

Zec 6:12

HERE IS THE MAN WHOSE NAME IS THE BRANCH, AND HE WILL BRANCH OUT FROM HIS PLACE AND BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD: Zechariah was then to announce in the name of sovereign Yahweh that those present should behold Joshua, whom Zechariah would designate as Branch (lit. Sprout, Heb "semach": cp Zec 3:8; Isa 11:1; 53:2; Jer 33:15; Hag 2:23). Joshua was a type of the coming messianic Branch. This name signified that the coming Shoot would shoot up from his humble place of origin (cp Isa 53:2; Mic 5:2). His kingdom would be widespread. Furthermore, he would build the temple of Yahweh. Zerubbabel, not Joshua, was God's choice to build the restoration temple (Zec 4:9,10), but Messiah, whom Joshua prefigured, would build the future temple for Yahweh (cp Isa 2:2-4; 56:6,7; Eze 40 -- 43; Mic 4:1-7; Hag 2:6-9). How appropriate therefore that both the type (Joshua) and the antitype (Jesus) have a name meaning 'the LORD saves' (cp Mat 1:21)!

HERE IS THE MAN: The very words used by Pilate when he brought Jesus out for the crowds to see: "Here is the man!" (John 19:5). This king was then crowned, but mockingly, with a crown of thorns thrust down cruelly upon his head.

HE WILL BRANCH OUT FROM HIS PLACE: Cp Isa 53:2; Jer 33:15; John 12:24.

AND BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD: Both the literal temple (Isa 56:7; Mar 11:17) and the spiritual (1Pe 2:5; 2Co 6:16; Eph 2:20-22).

Zec 6:13

IT IS HE WHO WILL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD: The Lord repeated this assurance for emphasis.

HE WILL BE CLOTHED WITH MAJESTY: The Branch would bear the honor of royal majesty (cp Dan 11:21; 1Ch 29:25). The Heb word is used quite often for divine splendor: cp Psa 8:1; 45:3; 148:13; Heb 3:3; 1Ti 6:15; Rev 19:16. Because he humbled himself he will be exalted (Phi 2:7-10).

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: Israel's priests never sat while ministering -- but this priest will rule on David's throne (cp 2Sa 7:16; Isa 9:7; Luke 1:32). He would be a priest ruling as a king, and a time of peace (Heb "shalom") would mark his dual offices (cp Eph 2:14; Psa 85:8-10; Luk 2:14).

Along with Psa 110, this v is one of the clearest statements in the OT that the coming Davidic king would also be a priest (cp Heb 5:1-10; 7:1-25).

"Christ Himself is the builder of his spiritual temple, and he has built it on the mountains of his unchangeable affection, his omnipotent grace, and his infallible truthfulness. But as it was in Solomon's temple, so in this; the materials need making ready. There are the 'cedars of Lebanon', but they are not framed for the building; they are not cut down, and shaped, and made into those planks of cedar, whose odoriferous beauty shall make glad the courts of the Lord's house... There are also the rough stones still in the quarry, they must be hewn thence, and squared. All this is Christ's own work. Each individual believer is being prepared, and polished, and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ's own hand performs the preparation-work. Afflictions cannot sanctify, excepting as they are used by him to this end. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready... apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashioneth our hearts aright" (CHS).

Zec 6:14

The ceremonial crown that Zechariah made for Joshua was to remain in the restoration temple as a reminder -- to the returned exiles, and doubtless to others as well -- of this wonderful promise.

Zec 6:15

THOSE WHO ARE FAR AWAY WILL COME AND HELP TO BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD: A promise for the Kingdom Age: when the Branch appears, Gentiles from afar will come and help build the temple of Yahweh (cp Zec 2:11; 8:22; Isa 2:2-4; 56:6,7; 60:1-7). The donors mentioned earlier (vv 10,14) were typical of Gentiles who would come from afar in the last days to help build the Lord's house (cp Isa 60:2,6,9).

AND YOU WILL KNOW THAT THE LORD ALMIGHTY HAS SENT ME TO YOU: When this happens, the people will know that Yahweh had sent Messiah to His people (cp Zec 2:8-11; 4:9).

THIS WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DILIGENTLY OBEY THE LORD YOUR GOD: All these people could participate in the building of the future temple, by bringing gifts (Isa 56:7), if they were faithful to obey the Lord by doing all that He commanded (cp Deu 28:1,2,15; 30:1-10).

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