Zechariah 6:1 - 8
ESV - 1 Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains. And the mountains were mountains of bronze. 2 The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses.
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Horses in the Bible often represent God's activity on earth. In Zac. 6:1-8 for example, horses are agents of God's wrath and vengeance upon sinful men. In the Book of Revelation also they serve the same purpose. Chapter 6 of Book of Zechariah and chapter 6 the Book of Revelation are both identical as far as horses are concerned. In Rev.6:2 there refers a white horse. The rider of the horse is Jesus because of a similar description in Rev.19:11. The rider of the white horse in Rev.6 has a bow but does not have arrows. The bow is a symbol of military power in Old Testament. It seems the white horse with the rider carrying a bow symbolizes military conquest. But here he comes with a bow without arrows. He will rise on a platform of peace, by a temporary economic prosperity and real or manipulated miracles. The Antichrist will offer amazing and practical peaceful solutions to the world's most perplexing problems and He will be hailed. The type of crown he is wearing is not a royal crown. It is a victor's crown (Rev.19) which is awarded to the winner of an athletic contest. The Antichrist will ride out to victory (6:2). He will win some big races. He will win public opinion polls, perhaps an election. The purpose of Red horse is to take out peace from the earth along with its prosperity on which so many people are depending. The color denotes terror and death. The red horse indicates a time of unbridled bloodshed when there will be crime in the streets, people butchering one another when the world has become a seething caldron of bitterness and hatred. The rider of the black horse carries with a famine and economic collapse signified by exorbitant food prices. During this time food may be available in certain areas of the old but with a steep price. The fourth horse is pale, more accurately a sickly, pale green horse. This horse will bring death, plague, pestilences. Today all these horses are on the run. This means that the end time has come. Let us wait and watch.
Zechariah is perhaps the most difficult prophetic book in the bible. My opinion expressed here is subject to change with new insights from others. Before the Israelites entered the land they divided into two groups of 6 tribes each, one group for blessings of the law on Mount Gerizim and the other for the cursings on Mount Ebal. (Deut. 27: 11-14). The two bronze mountains represent the blessings and cursings arising from the Jews being governed by a Gentile power (during the times of the Gentiles). The bronze metal indicates the power would be Greek in nature, as shown in the vision of the Great Image in Daniel. However, what is translated as Greece in the Bible would be better understood as Javan, which I personally believe actually includes the Romans due to their quite similar religions and ethnicity. These chariots and horses represent the four spirits of the heavens. They would be spirits of righteousness. The black and white horses went north and the grisled went south. The direction of the red (or bay) horses wasn't given, but it might also have been north. The chariots with their horses are suggestive of the military means used by the Gentiles attempting to enforce their rule. The Jews rose up against the unrighteous Antiochus Ephiphanes IV from the north, but were unsuccessful against the Romans twice, also from the north. In the south the Ptolemies, a Greek dynasty originally inherited Egypt and Israel, but lost Israel to the Seleucid Empire after a short while. This doesn't mean that the controversy between the Jews and Javan is completely over, since Zechariah 9:13 describes a time in the future when Israel is victorious in battle against Greece (translated from Javan, Strong 3120). Zachariah's vision may also apply to the last days. The question is who exactly Javan would be, if not the people of the antichrist.
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