What does the “red horse” represent? Usually a horse is a doctrine or message that goes through the earth on a mission. Here is where the writings of the Pastor have proven very valuable, for they show that the color red refers to the Ancient Worthies. The red heifer that was slain in connection with the Tabernacle sacrifices is a picture of the Ancient Worthy class (Num. 19:2-10). As further confirmation, the memory or example of the Ancient Worthies is spoken of in the Book of Hebrews as the “ashes of an [red] heifer” (Heb. 9:13). After the flame of a fire goes out, smoke continues to ascend for a while. In the antitype, sometimes the smoke is favorable, and sometimes, as with mystic Babylon, it is the opposite. The figurative smoke of the burning (destruction) of the mother system will forever be a memorial to future generations; that is, what has happened in past history will forever be etched in memory.
The question is, When will this prophecy be fulfilled? Verse 5 refers to the deliverance of the Holy Remnant out of Jacob’s Trouble and the inauguration of the Kingdom. At the time of Jacob’s Trouble, God’s fury will rise up into His face, and He will make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations (Ezek. 38:18; Isa. 52:10). “God speaketh once, yea twice,” and the third time He thundereth from on high (Job 33:14). Pertaining to the inauguration of the Kingdom, He said, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psa. 46:10). The angry waves will be stilled. From other pictures, we see that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will be the central agent, but the Church will be with him. Eventually, so many Jews will be going back to Israel that there will not be enough room, and the people will burst over into the land of Gilead (Zech. 10:10; Obadiah 19).
Back there the priesthood was defiled, the prophets gave false messages, and the court (the judges) accepted bribes. When Jesus came as the Messiah, the scribes and Pharisees regarded him as a youngster. Their attitude was, “He is only 30 years old, yet he talks to us as if he is somebody.” Because Jesus lacked formal education, they detested him and considered him a pretender with ulterior motives. Moreover, the people were convinced he was a pretender when he was crucified and hanging naked on the Cross. “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:23). Although the people marveled when Jesus raised Lazarus shortly before the Crucifixion, they soon forgot the miracle when he was put to death as a criminal. Thus he was tainted as a false prophet and priest—until his resurrection.
Jesus is the true High Priest—he is the Christian’s High Priest now, and he will be the world’s High Priest in the next age—and he performed that function even during his earthly ministry.
In the Book of Zechariah, Joshua and Zerubbabel were both types of Christ, and what was done with Zerubbabel’s Temple back there will be done with Ezekiel’s Temple in the Kingdom Age. The Zadok priesthood, the Ancient Worthies, and civil authorities will all be part of the Kingdom arrangement. These types were not perceived at the First Advent, and Satan was an adversary of Jesus, doing everything he could to demean and defile the antitypical Joshua, especially at the beginning and the close of his ministry. The First Advent is contrasted with the next age, when Jesus will be reclothed.
“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.
“Therefore it is come to pass, that as he [Jehovah] cried [back there through the mouth of the former prophets, whose message was to repent and change their ways], and they [the Jews] would not hear; so they [the Jews] cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts.” This response was natural. Even in Old Testament times, God stooped down and humbled Himself to deal with fallen man, but the Jews would not hear. Yet when they cried, they expected God to answer. Today, in spite of their history, the Jews do not cry to the Lord as a nation. Isn’t that surprising? There is no national fast. Jesus said, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented [and fasted] at the preaching of Jonas [Jonah]; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here” (Matt. 12:41). The Ninevites, who were God’s enemies at one time, repented.
When Zechariah spoke to the Jews along this line—that ten men would take hold of the skirt of a Jew—it was simple for him to say, “If you listen to me, my people, and do what I say, this is what will happen.” God was not remiss in making this statement, even though He knew the people would not obey. Thank God that, in His mercy, He will go ahead with this promise and will accomplish it in His own way and time! Thus prophecy has always been helpful, even though it has not been fully fulfilled in the past. Seeing this wonderful picture as happening in the future does not minimize the grand view of what will occur, for God’s Word is an “amen” to His covenant. Zechariah, a young man, was quite enthusiastic about the promises, and no doubt when he mentioned them, he did it with an encouraging voice. Unlike Jeremiah, who wept and got angry with righteous indignation at times because the people paid no attention to the warnings and were so dull of hearing, Zechariah referred to the promises. He said in effect, “The Lord has brought you back to the homeland. Doesn’t that show He has had mercy on you? The very fact you are here and I am speaking to you proves the Lord will do things for you, so hearken and obey!” The tone of Zechariah’s message was different from the tone of some of the other prophets.
“Out of him [Judah] came forth the corner[stone], … the nail, … the battle bow, … [and] every oppressor [ruler] together.” It is important to get the correct thought, for based on the previous verse, the expression “out of him” can be considered as a cleansing, or it can be thought of from a favorable standpoint, that is, as an opposite of the preceding verse. Of the two possibilities, verse 4 indicates a very favorable situation. The NIV is a good rendering, as follows: “From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.”
The “corner” is the clue that all of these are favorable, for the cornerstone is definitely a reference to Jesus. He is the top stone, the “head of the corner,” the Lord over his body, i.e., the Church (Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11). He will be the King who governs the Kingdom Age—the mighty God, the age-lasting Father, the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).
Chapter 5 ends on a mysterious note. “And the wind was in their [the women’s] wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.” The arms of the women resembled the wings of a stork, which are almost like sails on a boat, billowing out to catch the wind. Zechariah then asked, “Where are the women taking the ephah?” The angel answered, “To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.” Hence the two women took the ephah to the land of Shinar (Babylon), where it would be established and set upon its own base, or pedestal. On a base she previously occupied. This ties in with the healing of the deadly wound in Revelation Chapter 13. The two that restore her to her own base, or position, would be the Two-horned beast, Protestantism, specifically the Church of England and Ireland.
However, the next words seem to be extraneous information: “Not by might, nor by power [strength of arms], but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” How are these words related to the candlestick vision in the first four verses of this chapter? The olive oil is the connection, for it signifies God’s Holy Spirit. In other words, the angel wanted Zechariah to focus on the oil, on God’s Holy Spirit. The angel was hinting—or almost teasing Zechariah—as if to say, “Do you want to know the meaning of the olive oil that starts with the trees? The meaning comes not by might or power but by God’s Spirit, which is the olive oil.” Then, in verse 7, the angel said something else that seemed to be completely irrelevant or extraneous.
Chapter 11 is perhaps the most difficult chapter to explain in the Book of Zechariah. We are not in a position to know all the details, but we will suggest clues that lead in the proper direction.
Now comes a strange picture about two “staves,” or staffs. “And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.” Zechariah had two staffs in his hand. The name of one staff was Beauty; the name of the other was Bands. The NIV calls them, respectively, Favor and Union.