Around the time that the Jewish exiles had begun their return to Judah after seventy years in Babylon, the prophet Zechariah was given a series of nine visions from the Lord, all occurring in one night.
In reverse order, these visions included the woman in the basket, the flying scroll, the golden lampstand with the two olive branches, the Branch and the stone with seven eyes, the High Priest Joshua being accused by Satan, the man with the measuring line, four horns with four craftsmen, and the red, sorrel, and white horses found among the myrtle trees. There is a meditation provided in this series for each of these visions.
Zechariah’s ninth vision is of four different color horses, each with an accompanying chariot driven by four spirits from heaven. Leaving Jerusalem, they carry out a global reconnaissance patrol at God’s request.
If God is everywhere, why does He need reconnaissance? He doesn’t. God is omnipresent, but His created beings such as angels can only be in one place at a time. Just as He does with humans throughout the Bible, perhaps the Lord loves to include angels to work alongside Him as He goes about His work. This allows the spirits to see for themselves what is happening.
Zechariah’s ninth vision begins as follows:
1 Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two mountains. And the mountains were made of bronze. 2 The first chariot had red horses, the second chariot black horses, 3 the third chariot white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses—all strong horses. 4 So I inquired of the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?”
5 The angel told me, “These are the four spirits of heaven going out after presenting themselves to the Lord of the whole earth. 6 The one with the black horses is going to the land of the north, the white horses are going after them, but the dappled horses are going to the land of the south.” 7 As the strong horses went out, they wanted to go patrol the earth, and the Lord said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth. 8 Then He summoned me saying, “See, those going to the land of the north have pacified My Spirit in the northern land.” Zechariah 6:1-8 (HCSB)
The Lord’s pacified Spirit in the northern land is possibly a reference to the returning exiles from Babylon, as one usually travels north first when embarking for there. The two bronze mountains that the four spirits left from are likely Mount Zion and the Mount of Olives. These are prominent elevations in Jerusalem, a place repeatedly referred to in His word as God’s special home upon the earth, His portion of the Holy Land.
Although there are differences, there is an apparent correlation between this vision and the vison of the Four Horses of the Apocalypse given to the apostle John in Revelation 6. Rather than a reconnaissance, John’s later vision tells of an end times judgement period when a final global rebellion against God led by Satan and the Antichrist will be put down once and for all by the Lord. A new era of peace without tears will begin.
What were the angels looking for as they made their way across the surface of our planet? The next big event on God’s calendar after the exiles return from Babylon and the reconstruction of His temple will be the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Perhaps the angels were taking an inventory of the state of the world, measuring the readiness of the population for this ultimate event. Human empires would still come and go, but a much bigger thing will be taking place in Bethlehem when Jesus is born – the first step in the salvation of people and the installation of God’s eternal kingdom on earth. It is far too good of a gift to pass up on.
Looking at your spiritual condition, how would you assess your own inventory in preparing for the presence of the Lord today? What are your biggest obstacles? May the Lord bring you peace today.
Lord, we present to You the problems, difficulties, and obstacles that lie before us today. Some are external but others are strictly internal – they are within us. We confess our sins and shortcomings and admit that we are unable to overcome many of these in our own power. We humbly ask Your forgiveness and healing, and for Your help in forgiving those who have harmed us. We rely upon Your grace, mercy, and love to make a way for us to walk in peace and serenity with Jesus today. We ask this in His name, Amen.