Everyone has always wanted to know the future. From ancient times, man has consulted fortune-tellers, spirit mediums, and Psychics. He has gazed into crystal balls, studied the zodiac to uncover the mystery of the future but never able to find a single truth. Because nobody knows the future, and whatever they claim or predict is a lie. At best, man is just less than elementary in his grasp of ultimate knowledge.
Only God knows the future, and only He knows the end from the beginning. He knows everything in the past, present, and future. God determines and charts the course of the ultimate destiny of man and His world. As for the Christians, God has given a unique gift to know the certain elements of the future with 100% certainty. They were given a written revelation which details precisely the things to come in the future. The only source of the truth about the future is the Bible.
In the revelation of God, we find there are four kinds of prophecies.
Prophecies concerning the spiritual destiny of Israel
End times prophecy
- Prophecies already fulfilled
- Prophecies being fulfilled
- Prophecies to be fulfilled in the future
Now, the book of Zechariah is one of the fascinating books of the Old Testament that is full of future prophecies. It presents to us the plan of God as He looks at the destiny of Israel and the nations. Like many of the prophets, Zechariah saw isolated snapshots of the future. For the Jews who returned from exile, Zechariah gave a specific prophecy about their immediate and distant future.
While the book contains its share of judgments on the people of Judah and beyond, it overflows with hope in the future reign of the Lord over His people. Imagine a world where justice always prevails, where righteousness and goodness is the rule, where there are total peace and joy. Imagine a world where health is perfect, where children can play with snakes and lions, and lambs live together with bears. It’s easy to get caught up in the oftentimes depressing events of day-to-day life, to lose our perspective and live as people without hope. But that is God’s plan for the future. God will judge and vanquish the enemies of Christ, and establish Christ’s kingdom on earth. This is the topic of chapter six.
Condemnation of God’s enemies (v1-8)
The vision of Zachariah details the condemnation of God-haters, and things to be taken place in the future. This is the recurring theme of the Bible -God punishes the sinful and rewards the righteous. In this vision of Zachariah, the elements of God’s judgment are unfolded.
Symbols of the vision
In his vision, 04 specific symbols were mentioned: (1) four chariots, (2) two bronze mountains, (3) four-color horses, and (4) four winds (spirits). Four chariots represent war chariots and they are the representation of divine judgment on the nations. Mountains represent strength and the bronze in scripture symbolizes judgment. So, what we have here is a powerful imagery of judgment.
The two mountains
Bible scholars agree that the two mountains in this text are Mount Zion and the Mount of Olives. Zachariah likely saw these war chariots coming down the Kidron valley between these two mountains. The judgment prophecies from other prophets also fit this interpretation. Joel 3:2, “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will judge them there”. Jehoshaphat means Jehovah judges. It is the valley of judgment. Bible scholars have equated that with the Kidron Valley. On another note, Jews and Muslims both regard the Kidron Valley as the place of the final judgment of the world.
Four colors of horses
The details of the judgment are further revealed in verse 2, where God discloses to us the colors of the horses. Now, the number Four is significant in the bible, because it represents the universality. The Bible talks about the four winds of Heaven, the four corners of the earth -north, east, south, and west. It is the idea of global judgment. Now, these four-color horses appear in the same context (the final judgment) in the Revelation ch.06.
Red Horse represents the war and bloodshed. Black Horse represents the famine. At the end time, there will be wars, unimaginable bloodshed, and world-wide famine. This is how God is going to judge the wicked in the last days. This is the exact message echoed in Revelation 6. Now, the white horse represents victory and triumph. The dappled horse (pale horse in Revelation), a reference to death and Hell. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth (Rev 6:8).
What are these? “These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth” (v5). These are four angels (divine agents of judgment) who stand before God to receive His commands in heaven (Zec 4:14; 1 Ki 22:19; Job 2:1; Lu 1:19). So, four angels are pictured by the four horse-driven chariots. (“The Lord of all the earth” > millennial title of Christ).
The black horses, famine and death, and the white horses, victory, and conquest, go to the North (v6). Historically, the greatest enemies of Israel always came from the North. No one had attacked Israel from the East. It was nearly impossible for an army to cross the great Syrian Desert. And, they never attacked from the west either because it is the Mediterranean Sea. The enemies always came from the North.
The dappled (pale) horses went to the South. Here what you see is God bringing His judgment against nations who have mistreated Israel. Israel had suffered under the cruel hand of Egypt that is to the South, for 430 years. So the armies of God go to the North and the South, none of them go to East and west. Now, where did the red horse go? Interestingly, the destination of the chariot drawn by red horses is not explicitly given. The North and South are merely doorways, and God’s final judgment will cover the whole earth (v7).
The coronation of the priestly King (v9-15)
Many people today do not believe the literal return of Christ, and His physical kingdom on earth. The crowning of Joshua the high priest (v11) is only a picture pointing to Christ. There is only one king in the history who is a priest, other than Melchizedek (Heb 7:1), that is Christ. Melchizedek is a picture and Christ is the fulfillment. The prophecy says that Christ will rebuild the temple (v12), and Ezekiel gives the detailed description in ch 40 to 43. Christ will be clothed in full glory and will rule on His throne as the king and the priest. There will be perfect harmony between the two (v13). That means, there won’t be a separation between the church and the state. There won’t be a dichotomy between religion and politics. Every knee will bow before Him and every tong will confess that He is the Lord (Philippians 2:10). Jesus will be not only King over all the nations but also their Shepherd. He will rule them with a rod of iron (Rev 2:27). The whole world will worship Christ, or they will be judged instantly.
The everlasting gospel
This is the everlasting gospel that angels preach, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come” (Rev 14:7). The coming judgment on the ungodly and the establishment of the earthly kingdom of Christ is inevitable. The fulfillment of the kingdom is going to happen because God has planned it that way before the foundation of the earth. But our participation in the kingdom is dependent upon whether we obey His voice (v15).
My question to you is, are you a part of that kingdom? If you do not belong to God then you’re an enemy of Him. You will bear the full weight of judgment if you refuse to obey. Today is a Day of Mercy; now you have an extraordinary opportunity, in which Christ has flung open the Door of Mercy wide, and calling out to you to repent of your unbelief and believe in Him. Now is the time of God’s favor: you may put your trust in Christ and cry out for Mercy. But, when once the Day of Mercy is gone, your most mournful cries and screams will be in vain; you will be completely lost and thrown away into the misery. “Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them” (Ezekiel 8:18). If you are a Christian, then take seriously the responsibility of walking worthy of one who is called into His kingdom.
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