a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Eighth Vision: Four Chariots


And 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 gray 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 toward the north country, the white ones go toward the west country, and the dappled ones go toward 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 toward the north country have set my spirit at rest in the north country.”

The Coronation of the Branch

9 The word of the L ord came to me: 10Collect silver and gold from the exiles—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah—who have arrived from Babylon; and go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak; 12say to him: Thus says the L ord of hosts: Here is a man whose name is Branch: for he shall branch out in his place, and he shall build the temple of the L ord. 13It is he that shall build the temple of the L ord; he shall bear royal honor, and shall sit upon his throne and rule. There shall be a priest by his throne, with peaceful understanding between the two of them. 14And the crown shall be in the care of Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah, as a memorial in the temple of the L ord.

15 Those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the L ord; and you shall know that the L ord of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the voice of the L ord your God.

He repeats the last thing which he had said, Even he shall build the temple of Jehovah. The Prophet seems here to reiterate to no purpose the same words without any additions of light: but it seems evident to me, that he meant in this way to confirm and sanction what seemed difficult to be believed. As the temple, then, begun at that time to be built, had but little splendor and glory connected with it, and could hardly be expected to become a better or more adorned building, the Prophet reiterates this promise, He, he shall build the temple of Jehovah; by which he means, “Let not your eyes remain fixed on this temple, for to look at it weakens your faith and almost disheartens you; but hope for another temple which ye see not now, for a priest and a king shall at length come to build a better and a more excellent temple.”

He afterwards subjoins, Bear shall he the glory, and shall sit and rule on his throne. He fully confirms what we have already referred to — that this man, who was to grow by God’s hidden power, would be made both a king and a priest, but by no earthly instrumentality. In the words, bear shall he the glory, there is no doubt an implied contrast between Joshua and Christ, the true priest. For Joshua, though he discharged in his time the office of a priest, was yet despised; but the Prophet bids his people to hope for more than what could have been conceived from the view of things at that time; for an illustrious priest was to come, full of royal dignity. And hence he adds, sit shall he and rule on his throne. This did not properly belong to the priesthood; but the Prophet affirms, that the man who was to come from above, would be a king, though he exercised the priestly office. He was then to be a priest, and yet to be on his throne and to rule as a king; and ruling is what belongs to a king and not to a priest.

At length he concludes by saying, The counsel of peace shall be between the two. I do not think that the discords which had been between kings and priests are here indirectly reproved. I indeed allow that such discords had often been seen among that ancient people; but the Prophet had regard to something far different, even this — that the priesthood would be united with the kingly office. He therefore did not refer to different persons who were to be at peace together; but, on the contrary, spoke of things or of the two offices; there shall then be the counsel of peace between the two, that is, between the kingly office and the priesthood. 6767     There are especially two interpretations of this sentence; the one adopted by Calvin, and also by Jerome, Marckius, Drusius, Dathius, Scott, and Henderson; and the other is, that the “two” are Jehovah, and the Branch or Messiah, and that the “throne” mentioned is the throne of Jehovah. This is the interpretation of Vitringa, Cocceius, Henry, M‘Caul, and Adam Clarke. The objection of Dathius to the last view, that is, that Jehovah is the speaker, and therefore cannot be understood here as the third person is used, seems not to be valid, for the third person is used before in the words, “the temple of Jehovah.” But the first interpretation seems the most appropriate and significant — the concord and agreement between the two offers.—Ed. We hence learn that which I have already stated — that what is here promised had not been found under the law, and could not have been expected under it; and that the fulfillment of this prophecy is the renovation which took place at the coming of Christ. It follows —

VIEWNAME is study