Zechariah Chapter 6: The Horses, The Branch

Dec 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name), Zechariah

Zechariah Chapter 6: The Horses, The Branch

Zech. 6:1 And 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.

Zech. 6:2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;

Zech. 6:3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.

Zech. 6:4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?

In this seventh vision, two definitions are needed right away. A “horse” (a doctrine) draws a “chariot” (a vehicle). Hence a vehicle is affected by doctrine. Words are sometimes called “vehicles of expression”; that is, words convey, or carry, thought.

When we think of a chariot being drawn by horses, we anticipate that someone is driving or sitting in the chariot. Although the vision does not mention people or riders, it is understood that the horses and chariots are vehicles for carrying those in the chariots to a destination. The chariots would be going in a logical direction.

Verse 1 mentions “two mountains” of brass (bronze or copper in some translations). With a present-truth background, we are familiar with the thought that copper pertains to humanity.

Therefore, these horse-driven chariots are vehicles to draw individuals to a destination. The question would be, What destinations? But first, we will discuss the two brass, or copper, mountains. One mountain represents the kingdom of Adam before he sinned, for copper is a symbol of either perfect humanity or imputed perfection. Thus copper represents not only something down here on earth but also a form of justification. As a perfect being before he sinned, Adam was in communication with God. In that condition, he did not sense any nakedness, estrangement, or fear. There was friendship with God, as it were.

The second copper mountain represents the Kingdom under Christ. Obviously, something has been happening in the interim between Adam’s day and the inauguration of the Kingdom, and that “something” is the permission of evil, which has filled the hiatus, or gap. With these definitions, we are in a position to begin to understand the vision.

As stated in verses 1-3, Zechariah turned and looked up and saw, in vision, “four chariots [coming] out from between two mountains … of brass” and different-colored horses pulling the four chariots. “In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.” What is the signification? Doctrines (plural) went forth to the various parts of earth. No matter what age is involved—in whatever time period—the call of the Holy Spirit goes out to different people inhabiting the globe down here. As the mountains were seen above in the heavens and the horses and chariots were on the earth, so “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chron. 16:9). Zechariah himself said, “The eyes of the LORD … run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zech. 4:10). The horses are good doctrines, for they are “the four spirits of the heavens,” and a sequence of development is involved, as will be seen (Zech. 6:5).

First, we will consider the red horses. The color “red” has a number of meanings. For example, it can represent sin, as in the text “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). Red also pictures the blood of Christ, the blood of redemption, which makes us whole. It is interesting that under certain circumstances, red against red makes white. Here the red horse (doctrine, or teaching) developed, indoctrinated, and/or influenced a class of people, namely, the Ancient Worthies. (This interpretation is based on the precedent of the red heifer in the type.) The first chariot, drawn by red horses, came forth to develop the class of Ancient Worthies in the Middle East, mostly in Israel and Egypt.

The second chariot to come forth from between the two copper mountains was pulled by black horses. Likewise, the color “black” has several meanings. Although black can picture negative qualities such as sin, ignorance, and darkness, it can also have a good representation, as here. The black doctrine develops the Church, the Little Flock, but what are some scriptural proofs for this interpretation? The Bride class says, “I am black, but comely” (Song 1:5); the Tabernacle was covered with a black seal-skin curtain (Exod. 36:19); and Moses’ wife, Zipporah, was black. In addition, the black epaulette stones on the shoulders of the high priest, who represents Jesus, were engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel. These stones indicate that favor was shown to individuals who previously were in darkness (Exod. 28:9-12). Also, black, being the color of humus, pictures humility and meekness. Called out of the mire of sin, the Church class is humble, meek, and teachable.

The white horses in the third chariot are also favorable. White represents purity, spiritual virginity, and justification, or righteousness. In the type, a leper who was covered entirely with whiteness—that is, he was white all over the surface of his body—was considered clean. In the antitype, such a leper pictures a very depraved sinner who repents and openly and unabashedly confesses his sins, holding nothing back. This confession covers him wholly because it is like an admission that he was entirely beset with sin. The white horses, or doctrines, develop the Great Company class.

The fourth chariot was drawn by “grisled and bay horses.” In other words, horses of two different colors pulled this chariot. All four chariots come out from between the two copper mountains, but the destinations differ. Accordingly, the classes that are developed by the different-colored horses are not entirely confined to either the Jewish Age or the Gospel Age but can, under certain circumstances, enter into the Kingdom Age. And that is the case with the grisled and the bay horses. When mankind come forth from the tomb at that time, each person will have had a prior life on earth. Therefore, the individuals of all four classes had experiences during their own lifetime, no matter what period of time they lived in. When people are awakened from the sleep of death in the Kingdom, they will be in a different situation.

The horses are described in the footnote on pages 154-155 of The Keys of Revelation. In the final analysis, the grisled horses represent the saved world of mankind, whereas the bay horses picture the Second Death class in the Kingdom Age. When we give this representation of the bay horses, we seem to contradict the earlier statement that all of the horses are seen in a favorable light. However, this statement is still true, for generally speaking, Jesus Christ died for all mankind (Heb. 2:9). All will have an opportunity to walk up the highway of holiness in the Kingdom Age, but for an individual to actually attain the destination of life, he will have to change. Otherwise, he will die the Second Death, which is a perpetual sleep.

In verse 4, Zechariah said to the angel who talked with him, “What are these, my lord?” Seeing the vision, the prophet knew that the horses and chariots had an important representation.

Zechariah’s question shows that in proportion to our interest in prophecy as Christians, the Lord will bless us with understanding. Of course a time period is also involved, for nothing can unlock truth until it is the due time for understanding. When that time comes, the Lord is pleased to reward those who are hungering, and He gives them a sufficiency of understanding to reinvigorate their Christian walk. These deep visions need to be prayerfully studied.

Zech. 6:5 And 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.

Zech. 6:6 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.

Zech. 6:7 And 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.

Zech. 6:8 Then 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.

First, we will consider verses 6 and 8. The angel continued to give explanations to Zechariah. In regard to the black-horse doctrine, the one hope of the high calling goes forth for the very elect, and those who are faithful end up in the “north country.” “These that go toward the north country” and quiet God’s “spirit” are the complete Church, the more-than-overcomers, who have received their reward in this seventh vision (Rom. 8:37). The purpose of the initial call in the Gospel Age was to attain 144,000 such individuals, and the Little Flock are the most important class in the Lord’s sight.

Now we will treat verse 5. “These [the different-colored horses involved in pulling four chariots between the two mountains] are the four spirits [doctrines] of the heavens.” A proof text for “spirits” to represent doctrines is 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit [doctrine], but try the spirits [doctrines] whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Another proof text is 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing

spirits, and doctrines of devils.” In other words, the doctrine, the teaching of the Lord, reveals certain admonitions, and the understanding has an effect on us. The initial source of the calling and development of the four classes is from the heaven of heavens, and the intent is for a good purpose.

The four “spirits [doctrines] … go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” Here “the Lord” could be either Jehovah or Jesus, but God is the Author of the four spirits, the One who sends them forth. Thus there is a chain of command. (1) God Himself, who is a jealous God, is the Supreme Being, whom we are to honor to the utmost. (2) The Holy Spirit, the actual Word of God that comes from His own mouth in a most special sense, is second in command.

(3) Next is the Logos, the Word who was made flesh, becoming Jesus. (4) The apostles are fourth for Christians in the Gospel Age and for the world of mankind in the Kingdom Age. Beyond the Kingdom Age, in the ages to come, there may be changes in the fourth category.

“The black horses [the Little Flock] which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white [the Great Company] go forth after them.” The destination of the Great Company class, who are bridesmaids, is a secondary spirit resurrection. When Jesus said of the Little Flock, “I go to prepare a place for you,” it is very likely that the Great Company will end up in that mansion too or around it (John 14:2). It is logical that in the north country, they will remain in some type of close communication and fellowship with the Little Flock but not in the intimate sense of walking in fellowship with God and Jesus. The fact there are both black horses and white horses shows that differences exist not only in sin but also in righteousness and in glory.

The pearl that the Savior bought represents primarily the Little Flock (Matt. 13:45,46).

“And the grisled [horses] go forth toward the south country [picturing earthly restitution, a destiny of life here on earth].” When the Mount of Olives is split by an earthquake in the near future in connection with the deliverance of the Holy Remnant, the spiritual explanation given in the Volumes is that the north half of the mountain represents the spirit realm and the south portion pictures restitution, an earthly destiny and life.

“The bay [horses] went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he [the angel] said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they [the bay horses] walked to and fro through the earth.” The Hebrew word amutstsim, translated “bay,” means “strong.” From the standpoint of color, “bay” is a deep red, indicating that this class is deeply stained with sin. Hence those of this class reap a destiny of Second Death, and there are various reasons for such a conclusion. A disquieted class that walks to and fro, these individuals are strong-willed, proud, haughty, and high-minded. The Apostle Jude called the Second Death class “wandering stars” (Jude 13). In fact, Satan himself had the spirit of disquietude, and it worked harm. Although he did not actually, or outwardly, sin until he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, he previously entertained wrong thoughts and ambitions.

With regard to Second Death, it is not just the impure and evil thoughts that are harbored but the habitual enactment of those thoughts that results in such a destiny. Thus a “wandering” spirit is very dangerous. Originally the bay horses were in a chariot, but they wanted to get out of that chariot. The “grisled” (the speckled, or hailstone) type of individuals of different nationalities, who represent the saved world of mankind, remained in the chariot, but the bay horses, wanting to roam, felt shackled by the chariot. They wanted complete liberty.

There is a danger in trying to be too independent. On the one hand, we do not want to be fettered by false doctrine or false institutions, but on the other hand, one has to be very careful in espousing such freedom that he does not wander off into oblivion and darkness. The Lord expects all whom He calls to be governed by His principles, the principles that emanate from His Word. As long as we are underneath that governance, we are in safe parameters of thought. The King James reads, “The bay [horses] went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth,” but the literal Hebrew is stronger; namely, the bay horses “strained” to go.

Comment: The classes developed by the red, black, white, and grisled horses have direction in their life; they are going toward a destiny. The bay horses just wander.

Comment: As pointed out in previous studies, the horses are listed in the sequence of their development as they appeared on the earthly scene: (1) Ancient Worthies, (2) Little Flock, (3) Great Company, and (4) mankind.

Zech. 6:9 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Zech. 6:10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;

Zech. 6:11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;

Zechariah was to take three individuals—Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah—to the house of Josiah, who was the son of Zephaniah. It is interesting that Zechariah and two other prophets were contemporary in succession, one after the other. Zechariah was the first, Ezra was the second, and Nehemiah was the third. It takes many years of reading the Old Testament to realize that these prophets were relatively contemporaneous. The second chapter of Ezra and the seventh chapter of Nehemiah furnish a little information on Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah. While not much light is cast on their backgrounds, these chapters do provide some meager clues that are helpful.

Zechariah was instructed to make crowns of silver and gold foil and set them on the head of Joshua. He hastily cut the silver and gold foil into strips and a triangular shape with a little space in between to make a facsimile of a diadem. As a princess wears around her head what looks like turrets on a band, so Zechariah made two turrets, one of gold and one of silver, to symbolize a lesson that was about to be performed. These two makeshift crowns were hurriedly designed on the same day.

But why did Zechariah go to the house of Josiah? He was to take the rather heavy crowns of silver and gold foil to Josiah’s house to perform a ceremony. When he arrived with Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, he found that Josiah and Joshua were both there and that a ceremony was about to take place. Several other individuals would also have been present. Everyone there had returned from Babylonian captivity, but the reason for the presence of Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah was a little different. As visiting messengers, they had come from Babylonian captivity not with the intention of living in Jerusalem but with the purpose of getting information to answer a certain question that the Jews still in Babylon had asked.

Q: With Joshua being the name Jesus, was he a king-priest like Melchisedec?

A: Yes, that was the purpose behind the ceremony.

The silver and gold strips were interlaced and put around the head of Joshua, but in what sequence did Zechariah place the two crowns on Joshua’s head? The clue is in verse 13, as we will see. First, the gold crown, or tiara, was placed on Joshua’s head. Then Zechariah put the silver crown on top of the gold crown. Verse 11 might seem to indicate the opposite order, but a clue is later furnished that the gold crown preceded the silver crown.

Zech. 6:12 And 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 Zechariah placed the crowns, he was to say to Joshua, who was a type of Jesus, “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH.” Zechariah continued to speak to Joshua: “He shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.” The “temple” can be considered from several perspectives. Sometimes the Church is likened to the house of God, and at other times, it is pictured as the house of Jesus. From this spiritual standpoint, a “temple” is being built during the Gospel Age. Jesus said, “That thou art Peter [a rock], and upon this [mass of] rock [that is, the truth that I am the Christ, the Savior] I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18).

However, when the Father is considered the builder of the Church, Jesus becomes a master foreman or workman, the one who builds the Church but under the supervision, instruction, and specifications of the Father. For instance, the Father selects the stones and does the calling.

Then He uses Jesus to announce the call to the individual. The Christian is begotten of the Word of God (James 1:18). From that perspective, God is our Father, and Jesus is our brother. Thus both are involved in building the spiritual Temple.

Hebrews 3:5,6 is a text that shows Jesus over the Church: “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Paul was comparing the two houses: the house of servants under Moses and the house of sons with Jesus as the Head. Also, Matthew 21:42 reads, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.”

However, Zechariah’s contemporaries who heard his statement construed it as a reference to Zerubbabel’s Temple, that is, the natural second Temple. And for their benefit and enthusiasm, the Lord wanted them to conclude that the emphasis was on the rebuilding of the Temple in their day. The purpose of Haggai’s and Zechariah’s ministries was to get the Jews to resume and finish the work on the Temple.

But there is also an application to the Third Temple yet future. In the Kingdom Age, Jesus will see to the building of that Temple. Just as Solomon built David’s Temple, so Jesus will make sure that the Third Temple is built according to the proper specifications—not necessarily as a master foreman but as the one who gives instructions verbally, as it were. Someone else, whose identity will be revealed in the future, will be on the scene down here to see that the stones are quarried and put in place properly. Of course Ezekiel was given the prophetic vision of the Temple with its dimensions, but whether he will have the privilege of supervising the construction in the Kingdom remains to be seen.

“The BRANCH [Jesus] … shall grow up out of his place.” Zechariah 3:8 also mentioned “the BRANCH.” “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.” In each case, the Hebrew word for “BRANCH” is tsemach. That same word is used in three other Scriptures, as follows. “In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel [the Holy Remnant]” (Isa. 4:2). This reference is an end-time prophecy, to be fulfilled in the near future.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jer. 23:5). “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land” (Jer. 33:15).

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

Reply: The Hebrew word netser is used in that text, for the reference is to a different type of development. Out of Jesse, the father of David, came a twig that grew into a tender branch, and the tender branch grew into a strong branch. That same development is hinted at in the verse we are studying here in Zechariah: Jesus would “grow up out of his place.”

The earliest symbolic indication of a “branch” is Genesis 8:11, “And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.” God’s peace branch started with this little twig.

Zech. 6:13 Even 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.

In the Kingdom, every knee will have to bow and every tongue must confess that Jesus is the Lord and King of that age. That particular honor belongs to Jesus alone, even though the Church will receive praise, for they will come up in glory from another perspective. Jesus “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 [that is, between the two crowns].” Although the civil and the religious aspects will be separate in the Kingdom Age, they will blend together in harmony. The “prince” of the Third Temple will be the office of the Ancient Worthies (Ezek. 44:3; 45:7,16,22; 46:2,4,8,10,12,16-18; 48:21,22). The priesthood of the Third Temple will be the Zadok line of the Levites. This selectivity is retribution for what Aaron did when he and Miriam spoke against Moses (Num. 12:1-10). Because of his position as high priest, it would not have been proper for Aaron to receive a specific reprimand at the time, but that judgment hung over his head. Therefore, instead of his having the distinction of being a priest in the Kingdom Age, that honor will be given to Zadok. These principles are taught in the Law, so there were reasons why only Miriam was singled out for punishment on that occasion and not Aaron.

Now we can see the order of the crowns. The statement “he shall be a priest upon his throne” proves that the gold crown was underneath the silver crown on Joshua’s head. The throne was associated with kingship, so the priesthood was founded on the throne, the gold. The Melchisedec priesthood is being pictured here, but the foundation, or base, of Jesus’ authority is his Kingship. Jesus is both King and Priest, which is an oddity, for the King had to be of Judah and a priest had to be a Levite of Aaron. We believe it will be proven in the future that Jesus came from both lineages. The Book of Zechariah is very informative.

Zech. 6:14 And 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.

Of the three names listed in verse 10, Helem corresponds with Heldai, and Hen is Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. The latter correspondency might be disputed, but, for example, it was quite common for kings of the Old Testament to have three names.

The ceremony with the crowns was done “for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.” But how could that be when the ceremony took place in the house of Josiah? The two temporary tiaras were later taken off the head of Joshua and placed in the Temple as a memorial. We believe the crowns are among other artifacts that were hidden but will someday be found. A number of artifacts, including Jeremiah’s deed, are stored and preserved in God’s library down here to shut men’s mouths in the Kingdom and shame those who have said the Bible accounts are fables.

Zech. 6:15 And 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.

“And 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 [Zechariah] unto you.” The Jews back there thought the prophet was saying, “The Temple of Zerubbabel will come to pass if you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.” That interpretation was allowable, for the Holy Bible was written to be a blessing upon, and a stimulus to, those who were merely the types back there. Seeing that the real fulfillment is soon to come in our day is an encouragement to us.

(2000 and 2003 Studies)

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