The Minor Prophets Speak to Today
Zechariah 6:1-8 NLT
6 Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2 The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3 the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. 4 “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.
5 The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. 6 The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”
7 The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol.
8 Then the Lord summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.”
The Four Chariots With Horses
Zechariah's vision explodes with images of power. The scene reminds readers of another set of horse in Revelation 6:1-8. Another passage pregnant with power and action:
6 As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory.
5 When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.”
7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” 8 I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave.
If these horses represent the ones pulling the chariots in Zechariah, then:
- Red horses stand for war
- Black horses stand for famine
- White horses stand for victory and conquest
- Dapple grey or pale green horses stand for plagues and thus death
They are meant for action. They are meant to be sent out and search the earth and in Zachariah they are sent out to the North, to the East, to West, and to the South. It is not the first time they have gone out and it will not be the last. Those who have ears let them hear what the Spirit says about the chariots and horses.
Putting these horses and chariots with the vision in Revelation each spirit has a special power which can be unleashed. And in Zechariah the horses and chariots sent to the North vent the anger of God's Holy Spirit there in the North.
Under grace we make two errors.
Because God is merciful we visualize him as milquetoast almost a patsy or bound into inaction by his own mercy.
And because of our emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit as comforter, we treat the Spirit of God as intellectual, emotionally weak, or even emotionless, bound to only the gentlest of emotions.
AND WE HAVE THE AUDACITY TO SERVE
THIS MILQUETOAST GOD AND EMOTIONLESS SPIRIT.
Which God will you serve?
The one made in your own image and the image desired by your culture
or the God of strong emotions and power.
Under grace we make two error. Because God is merciful we visualize him as milquetoast almost a patsy or bound into inaction by his own mercy. And because of our emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit we treat the Spirit of God as intellectual and emotionless.
detail from Chariot Race by Jean-Leon Gerome, 1876, by Anne Petersen some rights reserved @flickr.com