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Zechariah 1:8; 6:1-8 – The Four Horsemen

Summary

The four "winds" or "spirits" of heaven descend to earth on chariots, each with different colored horses.

Analysis

The four horsemen of chapter 1, each on a horse of a different color, reappear riding chariots in chapter 6. They are reminiscent of the "four living creatures" in Ezekiel 1:5-12 (see also Ezekiel 14:21). The four creatures and the four horsemen appear together in Revelation 4:6b-8; 6:1-8, where each of the four living creatures summons one of the "four horsemen of the apocalypse," as we know them from numerous depictions in art and literature. As in Zechariah, the horses have different colors, but whereas in Zechariah their role is to "patrol" the four corners of the earth, the horsemen in Revelation bring judgment--capture, slaughter, economic hardship, and death.

Zechariah 1:8; 6:1-8

8In the night I saw a man riding on a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in the glen; and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses.

Eighth Vision: Four Chariots

6And again I looked up and saw four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. 2The first chariot had red horses, the second chariot black horses, 3the third chariot white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled grey* horses. 4Then I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ 5The angel answered me, ‘These are the four winds* of heaven going out, after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. 6The chariot with the black horses goes towards the north country, the white ones go towards the west country,* and the dappled ones go towards the south country.’ 7When the steeds came out, they were impatient to get off and patrol the earth. And he said, ‘Go, patrol the earth.’ So they patrolled the earth. 8Then he cried out to me, ‘Lo, those who go towards the north country have set my spirit at rest in the north country.’

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10 February 2011

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