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Friday, 17 May 2013

The Four Chariots (Zech. 6:1-8)


The final vision of Zechariah was of four chariots, each drawn by horses of a different colour, that came through a gap between two bronze mountains. The prophet was told that they represented angels who had appeared before the Lord and then had been sent out to patrol all the earth.

Gatherings of angels coming to report to God about what they see on earth are mentioned several times in the Bible. Probably the best-known are the gatherings that also involved the devil during which the Lord praised the character of Job (Job 1 and 2).

Three features are mentioned about the horses and therefore of the angels who are depicted by them. One is the unity with which they serve (in harness together pulling a chariot); the second is their powerful strength, which indicates they will fulfill their mission; and the third is their impatience to go and patrol the earth (the idea here is of eagerness to serve).

On this occasion, two of the chariots head north, one goes south and we are not told where the fourth went. Those heading north would go towards Babylon and the chariot heading south went towards Egypt. Presumably, they were sent in those directions to ensure that those locations did not do anything that would hinder the progress of the Lord’s cause in Jerusalem.

There seems to have been a particular concern about what was happening in the north, because two chariots were sent there. Perhaps something was being planned there to hinder the progress of God’s cause in Jerusalem. If it was, the heavenly patrol took care of it and rest and peace was the outcome.

Three applications can be made. First, we should be encouraged by knowing that God’s angels are always at work for the progress and protection of his kingdom. Second, we should be content with what is revealed to us – no details were given about what the fourth chariot did, although the angels it represented would have been as active as possible.

Third, we should note the interest that the Lord has in his cause. The statement that he was at rest after the angelic patrol depicts his prior concern for his cause and his subsequent delight that the threatened dangers had been removed.

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