1Finally, I looked up and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2 The first chariot was pulled by red horses, and the second by black horses; 3 the third chariot was pulled by white horses, and the fourth by spotted gray horses.
4“Sir,” I asked the angel. “What do these stand for?”
5 Then he explained, “These are the four winds of heaven, and now they are going out, after presenting themselves to the Lord of all the earth. 6The chariot with black horses goes toward the north, the chariot with white horses goes toward the west, and the one with spotted horses goes toward the south.”
7The horses came out eager to patrol the earth, and the angel told them, “Start patrolling the earth.”
When they had gone on their way, 8he shouted to me, “Those that have gone to the country in the north will do what the Lord's Spirit wants them to do there.”
The Chosen Leader
9The Lord said to me:
10-11Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah have returned from Babylonia. Collect enough silver and gold from them to make a crown. Then go with them to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah and put the crown on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak. 12-13 Tell him that I, the Lord All-Powerful, say, “Someone will reach out from here like a branch and build a temple for me. I will name him ‘Branch,’ and he will rule with royal honors. A priest will stand beside his throne, and the two of them will be good friends. 14This crown will be kept in my temple as a reminder and will be taken care of by Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah.”
15When people from distant lands come and help build the temple of the Lord All-Powerful, you will know that the Lord is the one who sent me. And this will happen, if you truly obey the Lord your God.
Zechariah’s prophecy opens with a vision of a team of four mounted messengers sent into the world on a reconnaissance mission (1:7-11). Their report that there is “peace” angers the Lord, however, because it indicates that the nations believe that they have got away with their perpetration of evil against God’s people. Now, in the prophet’s eighth and final vision, four horses are again deployed, only this time it is with chariots of war as the Lord’s judgment is set into motion. From this point until the end of the book the prophet describes how Judah and Jerusalem will be purified and their enemies vanquished, thus demonstrating God’s sovereign rule over all the earth (6:5).
In the meantime, the prophet receives further instructions on the leadership of the Temple and the government. He is to seek out recently arrived exiles from Babylon who are bearing silver and gold, and with these precious metals a crown was to be made. Actually, there is some confusion in the text, as it literally says “crowns.” There are, apparently, two coronations in mind: one for the priest, Joshua (6:11); and the other for a figure called “Branch,” who will “rule with royal honours” (6:13). It is a name full of meaning, echoing the name of one in David’s line who would sit on the throne forever (2 Samuel 7:16, Jeremiah 33:15). In the new administration, priest and king will “be good friends,” and their crowns will be kept in the Temple as a memorial.
In Judaism, these two offices were distinct, but in Jesus Christ we see them come together. He is our Priest and King, having washed away our sins in his priestly work, and He is now seated in the place of executive power where He rules over all creation (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Lord Jesus Christ, look upon our divided world and make it whole again. For, as Priest and King, you are our sovereign intercessor, the source of justice and mercy, and the only hope for salvation. Amen.