Zechariah 6 – preached on 1 Jan 2012
So far, we have covered chapters 1-5 of Zechariah.
We have seen 6 visions of encouragement and 2 warnings in these 5 chapters.
I hope these studies have been helpful to you so far.
Today, we shall look at the 8th vision given to Zechariah in chapter 6.
There are clearly 2 parts in Zechariah 6.
Most of your study bibles probably have the following headings for these 2 sections:
1) The first section is “The vision of the 4 chariots” from verses 1-8.
2) The second section is the “Command to Crown Joshua” from verses 9-15.
We shall study chapter 6 using these 2 section headings.
So let’s first look at the vision of the 4 chariots – verse 1 to 8.
Now, what did Zechariah see in this vision and what did it mean?
Zechariah saw 4 chariots – you read this in verse 1.
These 4 chariots were coming from between 2 mountains made of bronze.
The first chariot was towed by red horses.
The second chariot was towed by black horses.
The third chariot was towed by white horses.
The 4th chariot was towed by dappled horses (NKJV) – which means horses with spots of different colours.
You see theses recorded in verses 2 & 3.
We are further told that the black & white horses were going towards the country in the north.
The dappled ones were heading towards the country in the south.
You see these in verse 6.
And you are probably wondering what all these meant.
So Zechariah asked the angel in verve 4: “…..What are these my lord?”
The angel answered in verse 5 saying that “…these are the 4 spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth”.
They are the agents of God who bring to pass His divine decrees throughout all the earth.
In other words, they carry out God’s will in exactly the way He has decreed.
For we are told in verse 8 “..see those who go toward the north country have given rest to my Spirit in the north country”.
In other words, God’s sovereign will was carried out and accomplished in the north country.
So what did these agents carry out and what did they accomplish?
We were told that these 4 chariots came through 2 mountains.
The reference to 2 mountains gives us a hint that the place referred to here was Jerusalem.
There were 2 famous mountains in Jerusalem: The mount of Olives and mount Moriah.
We are also told that these 2 mountains were made of bronze.
Bronze was a precious metal in those days.
Bronze was used to make weapons as well as all types of art work.
More importantly, it tells us that these agents of God were carrying out His sovereign will with Jerusalem in mind – a type of His precious Church.
Is there any significance in the colours of these horses and where they were heading?
Yes, most certainly.
In fact, you see a parallel description of horses of similar colours described in Revelation 6.
By this cross reference, we know that black represented death, moaning & bereavement.
White represented victory, while Red represented carnage and warfare.
Dapple represented disease, pestilence, plaques and disasters.
And these chariots brought about what they represented to the places they went to.
The black horses were heading towards the north where Babylon was located.
Indeed in 3 years, Babylon was destroyed and there was death, moaning and bereavement.
They were defeated by the Persians who moved up north and conquered Babylon.
This was represented by the white horses who also moved north – as we read in verse 6.
The Dapple horses moved to the country in the south, which was Egypt.
Indeed there in Egypt, they experienced disease, plaques and disasters.
So these agents of God go forth to execute the will of God with vigour.
They accomplish their mission and give rest to God’s Spirit accordingly – v8.
Now what do all these mean to us on this first Sunday of 2012?
Let me point out 2 applications.
First, God’s sovereign decrees will be accomplished and no one can frustrate them.
God has his chariots – invisible to our eyes executing His decrees in all the earth.
We may not understand the reasons for some events that take place in this world.
But all these that happen are within the control of our sovereign God who rules from His throne in Heaven.
There is a clear statement about this in chapter 3 of our 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.
I want to say reverently that for all the horrors that come with any war, they still fall within the decrees of God.
But that does not at all lessen the responsibility of man for the cause of war and all the atrocities that come with it.
James 4:1 reminds us “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”
Our problem is that our understanding is so dulled by sin that we cannot understand how man can be so sinful, but yet still fulfil God’s purposes.
Just as Joseph said to his brothers in Gen 50:20 “…you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good in order to bring it about as it is this day to save many people alive.”
Job puts it this way in Job 42:3 “…Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
The important thing for us is to ensure that God is for us and not against us.
Because God has his agents/his chariots carrying out His will for the good of His church.
The most important thing for you in 2012 is not your new schedule, job or school.
The most important thing for you in 2012 is not your exams – whether it is PSLE, GCE “O” or “A” Level or your tertiary exams.
The most important thing for you is to straighten your relationship with God.
To those who are Christians, may I asked if you have progressed in your Christian walk?
Have you progressed in sanctification and holiness?
Do you know your bible better compared to a year ago?
Your God who executes His decrees with you (being part of the Church) in mind deserves more devotion from you.
May I suggest that you begin by making a commitment to turn up for prayer meetings.
May I suggest that you begin by making a commitment to turn up early on Sunday so that you have sufficient preparation before you meet with your Holy God?
May I suggest that you commit yourself to at least one area of service in our Church?
Proverbs 11:25 reminds us that “…he who waters will himself be watered”.
Being involved with the work of God will help you be “watered”.
And to those who have not professed faith in Jesus, may I suggest to you that you wait no longer.
Do not think you need to become a better person before you should profess faith.
Because if you do so, your salvation will be dependent on your ability to become a better person and not by faith alone.
That would be a salvation by works and not faith.
And that is probably what Satan wants you to think so that you won’t rely on Christ alone.
Remember that becoming a better person is a result and not a reason of faith in Christ.
So on this first Sunday of 2012, let me ask you to profess your faith in Jesus.
Secondly, I want you to know that God intervenes when man becomes too proud of himself.
In any prophesy, there is this principle of continuous fulfilment.
The prophesy that brought forth an event that will happen also illustrates a truth that is constantly true.
In Zechariah 6, Babylon had experienced many years of military victory.
They were a strong nation and power in the region at that time.
But they had become too proud and arrogant.
When a person, organisation or nation becomes too arrogant because of its achievement to the extent that it defies the authority of God, you can be sure that something will happen to them.
This is true even for God’s children when they sin against Him.
He may send undesired situations in our lives so that we may be woken from our sin & slumber.
Someone has put it like this: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience and shouts to us in our pains”.
It is His microphone to get our attention.
What is the situation of your life as we commence 2012 my friends?
If God has allowed an unhappy situation to persist in your life, what is He teaching you?
Be sensitive to His voice as He speaks to you through the Bible that you read.
On a bigger picture, we see much uncertainty forecasted by many people for 2012.
Some people try to pin-point exactly which part of the book of revelation we are in right now.
But the book of revelation is not a book of sequential events.
It is a book of symbols that tell us the types of activities that will take place before Jesus comes again.
All these warrant another discussion.
You can talk to me later if you are interested.
But the important thing for us today as we start 2012 is to remember that all the uncertainties in the world today are meant to draw us to God.
Is He the ruler of your life or are there idols that you must get rid of?
My friends, do what is right as we start the year 2012.
Let there be repentance, let there be seeking after our eternal God.
We come now to the second section of Zech 6 – “The Command to Crown Joshua”.
In verse 10, we are told that Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah were returning from Babylon.
And they had gifts of silver and gold with them.
Zechariah was told to take these gifts from the 3 and go to the house of Josiah.
There, he was to use the gifts of silver and gold to make an elaborate crown – verse 11.
And he was to place this crown on Joshua – the high priest at that time.
And as he did that, he was to pronounce this (that is written here in verse 12):
Behold the Man, whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD….
Now this is a very symbolic action.
And associated with it is an important doctrine.
According to Jewish tradition, the high priest should always come from the line of Levi.
And the king should always come from the line of David, a descendent of Judah.
These were 2 separate offices altogether.
There is now a specific pronouncement that the Man whose name is the Branch will be both priest and king at the same time.
You see this in verse 13 …He shall sit and rule on His throne; He shall be a priest on His throne.
This was something that was totally unheard of for the Jews – A priest who would also be a king.
And This Man, whose name is the branch is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Reference to this has already been made in Zechariah 3.
There will be further reference in Zechariah 9.
Now, this elaborate crown is to be placed as a memorial in the temple of the LORD – v14.
Dear friends, this is the reason why the temple has to be rebuilt.
The temple and all that it typifies had to continue till He of whom they typify appears.
So the Jews who were called to reconstruct the temple must press on with the work.
It is difficult, it is challenging but they just have to persevere because it is the Lord’s work.
And because it is the Lord’s work, He will bring its completion to come to pass.
In the same way my friends, we do not know when Jesus will come again.
We may not understand the reason for many things that God allows to happen in this world or even in our own lives.
But what He has given us to do, we are to faithfully continue doing.
The work may not be easy.
But we are to persevere.
Because it is the Lord’s work.
And because it is the Lord’s work, He will bring His will to come to pass.
Dear friends, are you tired in your Christian walk?
Are you tired in your Christian service?
Are you questioning many things that are happening in your life?
God’s prescription for us is to stay close to the means that He has provided.
His word, His worship and Christian fellowship.
Give attention to these means which He has provided.
Press on faithfully in obedience.
And see His mighty hand work things out for His glory.
I wish you a blessed year ahead and to God be all glory. Amen!