Read Zechariah 6:1-15
The interpretive challenges of the Scriptures . . . particularly the prophetic books of the Old Testament . . . can seem almost impossible at times. The symbolic language of multi-colored horses headed north and south to “patrol the earth” seems to defy simple explanation. Meanwhile, the double entendre of a crowned priest who rebuilds a temple may escape our notice. In spite of the challenges, let’s seek to understand.
Horses headed north and south (vv. 1-8). Similar imagery is used in Revelation 6. These horses are representative of God’s judgment going out over the earth. In particular, attention is drawn to the horses going north, the general location of Israel’s enemies (the Assyrians and Babylonians). Remember, at the time Zechariah wrote this book, God’s people had recently been released from the captivity of these two world powers. No worry, though. God was going to bring judgment on them. After the expression of His righteous anger through punishment, His Spirit would rest.
By the way, it is important to know that the book of Revelation also depicts the rise of “Babylon” as a world power and ungodly influence, especially during the days of the Tribulation (Rev. 16-18). But, just as in Zechariah’s prophecy, God will bring judgment.
The crowning of Joshua (vv. 9-15). Joshua was a priest, not a king! In these verses, however, Zechariah used present realities to depict a prophetic future. Joshua was a picture of the coming Messiah, “the Branch.” Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King! While Joshua was instrumental in the reconstruction of the temple during the days of Zechariah, Jesus will, one day at His return, rebuild the temple. At that time, He will reign as King.
As God superimposed the prophetic future over the then present realities, He made clear that He is sovereignly in control. The events of this life are not random. He is leading this world towards an end where unrighteousness is punished, where He rescues His people, and where He reigns supreme.
In the seemingly confusing events of your personal life and in the horrors of the headline news of our world, step by step He is taking us to a time and place when He will be the visible ruler of all the earth. Rest in that reality today.