On the night of Feb. 15, 519BC (Zech. 1:7), Zechariah saw eight visions. As you recall, the first was that of a man atop a red horse among the myrtle trees at the bottom of a ravine, with other horses behind him.
The second showed four horns which were subsequently thrown down by four craftsmen.
The third was that of a man going to measure Jerusalem.
The fourth was Joshua the high priest being accused by satan, who was rebuked by the Lord. Joshua's filthy clothes were then replaced by clean ones.
The fifth was an oil lampstand being fueled by two olive trees.
The sixth was a flying scroll.
The seventh was a woman named Wickedness sitting inside an ephah, which was then capped and taken to Shinar.
We have discussed these visions and their meanings over the course of the last five studies. Tonight, we come to the last of these eight prophetic visions.
In this eighth vision, Zechariah sees four chariots coming forth from between two mountains.
Before he sees the chariots close enough to describe them, it becomes evident to the prophet that the mountains are made of bronze.
This seems to be a mystery with almost no explanation. Are the mountains representative of something, or are they two actual mountains? We are encouraged to figure it out by the use of the definite article "the" (many of the translations like the KJV and the NIV miss this point).
Mountains in the Scripture do sometimes picture governments (Isa. 13:4; 25:7; Hab. 3:6), sometimes demonstrate the power of God (Amos 4:13; Matt. 17:1; Rev. 21:10), other times are representative of impossible barriers (Isa. 40:4; Zech. 4:7), and still other times describe high points in our lives (Isa. 40:9).
Of course, they could also be actual mountains on the earth. If that is true, then the question to pose is, "Which mountains are these?"
Some ideas to suggest would be:
- Psalm 36 describes "the mountains of God," but most commentators believe that the context shows that it simply refers to the largest of the earth's mountains.
- In Zechariah 14, the Lord mentions "the valley of My mountains," but those mountains are actually both the Mount of Olives after it is split in two.
- The comparison is also drawn in the book of Hebrews between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion, to illustrate the difference between God's law and God's grace.
- Many commentators agree with another interpretation: To quote Charles Fienberg, "The mountains are none other than Mt. Moriah and the Mount of Olives; the chariots ran through the valley of Jehoshaphat." In our more commonplace names, we would call this Mount Zion and the Mount of Olives, the valley being the Ked-RONE.
Personally, I don't see these as literal mountains that have been seen on this earth, because the mountains are bronze. Now we know from numerous studies that the symbolism of bronze denotes judgment.
So, I believe the real key is not found in the commentaries, but instead can be found right here in the Scriptures, and in fact I think that these mountains represent all five of the ideas we've seen already: government, the power of God, an impossible barrier, a high point, and judgment.
"How can they represent all these things at once," you might ask. Look at the parallel language of Zechariah's description in verse one and the angel's interpretation given in verse five. The four chariots were...
Zech. 6:1 ...coming forth from between the two mountains...
Zech. 6:5 ...going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth
The same Hebrew verb is used (Yaw-TSAW) in both verses, which tells me that the mountains were in between the Lord and the earth.
I believe that these mountains are those which stand between the heavens and the earth, between God and man. The separation between God's administration and ours. A barrier impassible by man in his own strength, because of the judgment of God against sin.
We often describe the separation that sin put between God and us as a chasm which needs a bridge. I believe this may represent the same thing - mountains of judgment which we cannot pass in our own strength.
How, then, can they represent high points? Because by the power and grace of God, those mountains have been bridged. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ gave us passage over these bronze mountains, and brought us into the presence of God.
Coming from the presence of the Lord over to the earth were four chariots pulled by horses.
Like the first vision of Zechariah's evening, four colors of horses are describe, once again there is some contention on the translation of the Hebrew words of one of those colors ("strong" may actually be a color), and if there are any drivers controlling the horses, they are not mentioned.
But unlike the first vision, the colors of the horses are somewhat different, as well as the fact that these are not horses being ridden, but rather pulling chariots.
Now remember, chariots in the days of the Bible were like tanks or warplanes in our day and age. Those with chariots were the powerful ones, the vehicles and weaponry which no one could stand against.
The Lord has chariots far more powerful than those of any nation. He has clearly demonstrated His strength over the chariots of man.
- The chariots of Egypt He buried in the Red Sea (Exod. 14).
- Elisha later prayed for the eyes of his attendant to be opened when the city they were in was encircled by Aramean chariots. He wanted the man to see that "those who are with us are more than those who are with them." The man's eyes were opened to see the spiritual realm, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and that Elisha was surrounded by chariots of fire (2Kings 6:17)
David wrote in Psalm 68,
Ps. 68:17 The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands...
Now, when God's chariots are mentioned, they often refer to His wrath and judgment:
Isa. 66:15 For behold, the LORD will come in fire and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.
Jer. 4:13 "Behold, he goes up like clouds, And his chariots like the whirlwind; His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined!"
These chariots of God's judgment are coming to the earth between the two mountains, which are made of bronze, the metal of judgment. When the black horses were sent into the north, they appeased God's wrath in that land. This chariot seems to be bringing God's judgment upon Babylon.
Although it is difficult to say for sure, I believe that based on the context of the Word of the Lord given to Zechariah immediately after this vision, that this speaks of the final judgment of Babylon that we read about in Revelation 18.
As with most of the other visions, it was followed with a prophetic Word from God to Zechariah. The Lord told him that three men, Khel-DAH-ee, To-bee-YAW, and Yed-ah-YAW, had come to Josiah's house with an offering from Babylon for the temple.
Zechariah was to take this silver and gold and make a crown for Joshua the high priest.
Now, this crown placed on Joshua was not to crown him as king. Rather, it was to make a prophetic statement about someone who would be both a priest and a king. This man's name is Branch, and as we saw clearly in chapter three, this is one of the titles of Jesus Christ which will be given to Him in the Millennial Kingdom.
In that day, He will build another temple on Mount Zion - not the one being worked on during Zechariah's day, which we read of in Ezra. Not the one which will be defiled in the Great Tribulation by the antichrist. No, this will be the Millennial Temple - a project which Jesus Himself will oversee.
People will come from all over the world to bring offerings and participate in the project. Isaiah wrote,
Isa. 60:4-6 "Lift up your eyes round about, and see; They all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you. A multitude of camels will cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba will come; They will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news of the praises of the LORD."
In that day, the gifts brought to Jesus will be gold and frankincense. That should sound familiar from your knowledge of the Christmas story, when the Magi...
Matt. 2:11 ...presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
These are each symbolic gifts. Gold is a metal which is representative of kingly rule. Frankincense was the spice that was used by the priests in the temple. Lastly, myrrh was the spice that was used in embalming bodies for burial.
When the magi brought Him these gifts, they were prophetically symbolic. He would become a king and a priest, but He would also die. Now, in the Millennial Kingdom, He is never to die again. He sits on a throne in the temple as a king and a priest. Thus, the gifts brought during that period will be gold and frankincense, but no myrhh!