Zechariah Chapter Six


Read Zechariah 6:1-8 – The Vision of Four Chariots


v.1And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.”


            Zechariah had just viewed the vision of ephah which signified the sinfulness of the world being carried to Shinar that was ruled by Nimrod and the place where man rebelled against God after the flood.  This is the seventh vision recorded by Zechariah.  There is controversy among commentators concerning the meaning of this vision.  Some view the four chariots as the four kingdoms of the earth first prophesied by Daniel, i.e. Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome; others that they represent the power of God in four forms and are not related to any physical kingdom.  Faithful brethren whose work I’ve read contend that they represent the power of God in four forms and that is the approach we will use in this study.  This approach is also more in harmony with what we find in verse five.


v.2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;”


            In scripture and in prophecy red horses have always represented war and bloodshed.  The Apostle John in:


Revelation 6:4And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”


God did indeed use war and the power of great kingdoms to punish his people, Israel, throughout their history and to destroy those that stood contrary to his commandments such as Assyria and Edom.

            The black horses, not mentioned in the visions of chapter one, represent another form of punishment that God visits upon mankind:


Revelation 6:5And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.”


The black horses represent famine, pestilence and want that God used many times to bring his people down to a point where they would once again turn to him.  In Revelation 6:6, the balances are used to measure grain, oil and wine indicating the scarcity of these simple foods that are required to sustain men physically.


v.3And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.”


            The white horses represent the power of good, of righteousness.  Again we go to the Apostle John:


Revelation 6:2And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”


White also represents peace, prosperity and celebration or festivity; which come when righteousness and good are the power ruling the earth.  In the book of Revelation the one that sat on the white horse is thought to represent Christ, crowned king over his eternal kingdom, who went forth conquering the souls of men.

            The grizzled and bay horses seem to represent a mixture of the other three and that indeed is what life is all about.  We may not live in constant war, constant famine or want, or in constant prosperity but enjoy a measure of all of these things during our lives.


v.4-5Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?  5And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth.”


            The four spirits of the King James translation are called “THE FOUR WINDS OF HEAVEN” in the American Standard and other translations.  We see these simply as a representation of the power of God.  Jeremiah speaks of them this way:


Jeremiah 49:36And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.”


And in the prophecy of Daniel:


Daniel 7:2Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of heaven brake forth upon the great sea.”


v.6 “The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.


            The black horses, famine, want and pestilence will go into the “NORTH COUNTRY” followed by a period of peace and prosperity.  In a spiritual sense this parallels the spread of the kingdom of Christ, the power of God over the souls of men.  A spiritual famine existed in the world, then a period of spiritual peace with God was realized when the gospel was preached.  The record that the Holy Spirit has given us emphasizes the work of the Apostle Paul and others in the regions north of Jerusalem.

            At the same time the grisled or sorrel horses go into the south country.  With the exception of Ethiopia, the kingdom of Christ has never been as well accepted in the lands south of Jerusalem so we can visualize the “GRISLED” as a representation of spiritual peace in parts or regions of the south but not in others.


v.7And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.”


            The bay horses, neither black nor white but in God’s palette of colors a mixture, sought to “WALK TO AND FRO THROUGH THE EARTH”.  This is the basic condition of the world that we know.  As we pointed out in verse three this is the general condition of the lives of mankind.  We endure trouble, war and other situations that try us, but rarely destroys us; while also supplying us with a measure of peace and prosperity that sustains us.


v.8Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.”


            In Zechariah 1:15 God is very displeased with the heathen nations:


And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.”


            The work of the power of God represented by the white horses has been completed in this prophecy and now the Spirit of God is “QUIET” is at rest because his work is done.  This to me represents the peace that was found only in the coming of the Kingdom of Christ.


Read Zechariah 6:9-15 – The Temple and Branch


v.9-10And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,  10Take of them of the captivity, even of Hel-dai, of To-bi-jah, and of Je-dai-ah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;”


            Now God brings to Zechariah some specific instructions regarding work that he wants done that will include several of those of the priesthood.  Those who were apparently of the priests who carried the gold and silver provided for the house of God by Darius, the people of Babylon and the Jews who remained behind for the house of God in Jerusalem.  We find in the historical record:


Ezra 8:24-25Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them,  25And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered:”


These would be men that God trusted, men who had already proven themselves in their service.

            They were to be brought to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah.  This Zephaniah is most likely the prophet whose book we studied earlier in this series and as such Josiah would also be a descendant of Hezekiah one of the good kings is Judah.


v.11Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;”


            There they were to make crowns, more than one, and set them upon the head of Joshua, the high priest of Judah.  We know who this Joshua is; he was introduced to us in this series of study by Haggai:


Haggai 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,”


So Zechariah is commanded by God to go to Joshua the High Priest.


v.12And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, 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:”


            As the one who wears more than one crown, Joshua is representative of the “THE BRANCH”, the one who is to come and build His temple.  Who is the branch?  Christ the Messiah is the branch.  What is the temple of the Lord?  The church is the temple of the living God .  Zechariah here confirms the words of Isaiah:


Isaiah 11:1And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:”


We find that the one who is called the “BRANCH” will indeed wear two crowns; that of the ruler of God’s kingdom and that of the high priest of God’s people as the Holy Spirit through the Hebrew writer testifies that Christ is:


Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec Hebrews 5:10


And this is one of the main themes of the book of Hebrews.

            He will indeed build the temple of God.  Jesus testifies of this himself in various places, we will reference:


Mark 14:58We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.”


Where it was used against him at his trial before his crucifixion.  This temple “NOT MADE WITH HANDS” is the church of the living God, the saved (Acts 2:47), you and I as children of God as the Holy Spirit tells us through the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 3:16, I Corinthians 6:19, II Corinthians 6:16).


v.13Even 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.”


            Here we have further confirmation of the prophecy of David:


Psalms 110:1-4The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.  2The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.  3Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.  4The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”


            And that prophecy of Isaiah that is probably most familiar to us:


Isaiah 9:6-7For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”


Zechariah is indeed the minor prophet that is most like Isaiah and the minor prophet who is charged with foretelling the coming of Christ, a Messianic prophet.


v.14And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.”


            These crowns that Zechariah is to have made are to be placed in the temple of God.  They are to be a memorial, a sign, a reminder of the word of God who came to the prophet and to the priests that there would be one who would “GROW UP OUT OF HIS PLACE” who would “BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD”.  But this same “ONE” would be rejected and crucified, not because that the Jews had forgotten this promise, or this memorial, but because the one that came was rejected by the rulers and priests because he was not what they expected.


v.15And 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.”


            “THEY that are FAR OFF”; is a prophecy concerning the temple of the Lord being opened to those who presently are excluded from being children of God.  These will now be included in the kingdom that Christ will build.  The Apostle Paul writes:


Ephesians 2:14-19But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”


Just as God reassured Zechariah in our study of earlier chapters there will be no doubt that his “ONE”, this “BRANCH” will have been sent to them by “THE LORD OF HOSTS.”


Zechariah 2:9For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.”


Signs, wonders and proofs will be given that will verify and confirm that the one who will wear the two crowns, who will build His temple, will indeed be one sent by Almighty God.

            Finally in this verse we find that these blessings from God will be conditional.  This is something that man still hasn’t learned, and that many so-called Christians are moving further and further away from as each day goes by.  Citizenship in God’s kingdom, membership in Christ’s church comes only when we are saved through our obedience and we are added by God (Acts 2:36-47).  Mankind is warned again that he must “DILIGENTLY OBEY THE VOICE OF THE LORD”.


William L. Schwegler; Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, Louisiana; Sunday Morning Adult – September 6, 2009