The sixth chapter of Zechariah continues with the major theme of Adonai’s having retained His vision of Israel as His covenant people with all the bells and whistles He had ever had in mind for them, not diminishing their place because of their historic failings and flaws; His ultimate Plan would incorporate means and methods of dealing with these.
The chapter begins with four chariots emerging into view from between two bronze mountains of bronze. Mountains tend to be associated with power, majesty, security, etcetera. The Lord is often portrayed on the mountains, such as in Psalm 24, Psalm 121, and Habakkuk 3, just to give some examples. Adonai rules from the heights, and seeking His Face is often tied to scaling such heights. Isaiah 14 reveals that the ruler of fallen Babylon, believed by this writer to be satan, wishes to usurp God’s Crown by replacing Him on the Mountain of God. “Nechoshet”, or bronze, represents strength, as much of Biblical history takes place during the Bronze Age. Hence, the four chariots are being dispatched from God’s Presence.
Each chariot is being drawn by multiple horses, apparently, matched. One chariot, drawn by black horses, head north, followed by that drawn by white horses. The chariot drawn by dappled horses head south, while no more is said about the fourth one, that drawn by red steeds. “Tzafon”, or north, tends to be associated with great spiritual power, hence, satan’s desire in Isaiah 14 to ascend into the “parts of the north”. Two chariots head north to bring “rest to My Spirit” in the “land of the North”-apparently, to subdue evil spiritual forces for at least a time – in verse 8. This must be the major focus, as, there is no mention of the task of the dapple-drawn chariot in the South or the fourth chariot at all. One might link this with the casting of the Dragon into the Abyss in Revelation 20. This is a possibility.
What is key here in what follows is the ordered of fashioning a crown to place on the head of the Kohen Gadol, or, High Priest. He is a type, or model, of the coming one with the title of “Tzemach” or “Branch”, arguably the most commonly-used title for Messiah in the prophets. “Tzemach” will branch out and build the Temple of Adonai, will rule, and be a Kohen, or priest. Though Messiah is from Judah, Tzemach will also be a priest. He will combine the offices of King and Priest, establishing “’atzat shalom”, or, “counsel of peace”, between them. The major offices of authority in Scripture – prophet, priest, and king – had always struggled to be on the same page, but, not now. Tzemach brings them all together, establishing “shalom”, or well-being, bringing down the “Evil Empire” concentrated in the North. All those “far off’ will be brought near and participate in the Temple-building, a reference to new and right standing in the community and commonwealth of Zion.
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.