As I am reading the Book of Zechariah, I thought how nice it would have been if I have Joseph from Genesis who interpreted Pharaoh’s dream or Daniel from the Book of Daniel who interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar to help me with interpreting Zechariah’s visions. After breaking down the scriptures and analyzing the possible meaning of the vision, I decided to go out on a limb on my interpretation with the help of the Holy Spirit and some commentaries.
This is probably the eight vision Zechariah had witnessed so far. The prophet probably saw judgement coming from angels who came from the presence of God (v. 5). Judgement was going to be carried out by the angels who rode the chariots of horses. God’s determination to bring judgement could be characterized by the immovable, unbending bronze mountains which the chariots came out from between the two mountains. The nations that over-afflicted God’s people would face the consequences of a swift and powerful judgement (Isaiah 47:9) from the angels who rode the straining powerful horses. There were four chariots driven by four different colors of horses: red, black, white and dappled. The colors of the horses probably carry its significance, but the passage only illumines the purpose of the black horses- the angel who rode this chariot brought judgement upon the nation toward the north (v. 8), probably referring to the nation of Babylon (Isaiah 47). God’s fury was appeased (just as the angel’s was) after judgement was unleashed upon the land of the north (Babylon) where evil was done against God’s people (v. 8, Zechariah 2: 6-9; Psalm 137).
God used the nation Babylon as an instrument to punish His people when they disobeyed Him. However, the Babylonians were very wicked, and arrogant people who lived in defiance of God. They treated God’s people with such brutality that God had enough (Isaiah 47:6). He sent the angel to destroy and break up this great empire (Jeremiah 50:9, Jeremiah 51:1-14). God reminds me of a parent who loves his child and one who keeps his word! He punishes us for our own good, but His love toward us is unfailing. The covenant He made and promises to His people that they would return to their land after 70 years in captivity would be fulfilled. God had compassion on His people when they repented and cried out to Him. Praise be to God! If not for His compassion, faithfulness and love, none of us will live because He is a holy and righteous God.
Zechariah was to collect silver and gold offerings from certain exiles who returned from Babylon (v. 9). Specific instructions were given to Zechariah regarding where and what to do with the precious metal (v. 10-11). A crown of silver and gold was to be made and set upon the head of Joshua, the high priest. But God wanted Joshua to know there was going to be another individual by the name of Branch who would branch out and build the temple (v. 12). This person will also be a king and a priest (v. 13). There will be peace in the political and religious arenas (v. 13b). The crown of Joshua was to be kept in the temple as a memorial as to what is to come (v. 14). Zechariah encouraged the leaders and people to be committed to God. By doing that they would receive help that came from afar and then they would know that the Lord had spoken through Zechariah to them (v. 15).
In this day and age, it is so easy to be distracted with the busyness of life. The above passage reminds me to be careful in following the Lord and to stay committed to Him. Whether in possession, time or energy, I must remember the Lord’s work and to do it unto Him. May the Lord help me to stay focused and to persevere even when I am ready to throw in the towel. The Lord encouraged His people through His words and teachings of His servants. May all who endure will rejoice at the coming of our King and Lord Jesus Christ who is the spiritual Branch. We will live with Him and there will be peace, harmony and joy in the New Jerusalem. — Lai Yee Leong