[June 13]—Four Horsemen, Parts One and Two

Zechariah 1:7-17; 6:1-8

            Zechariah had a pretty rough and long night. He had no less than eight emotionally stirring and perplexing visions in one night. Keep in mind that these weren’t dreams, they were visions, so he was awake for every one of these.
            Visions number one and eight (the final one) are obviously connected with each other, since they’re so similar. In both of them, an angel leads three other warriors on horses--in the 1st group, it’s the "Angel of the Lord," probably the Second Person of the Trinity. The horses’ colors are slightly different, but red probably symbolizes warfare and bloodshed while white might symbolize victory. Brown? Not sure. Dappled? Not sure about that either, unless it’s referring to a mixture of the others. What do the Myrtle trees represent? Some say they symbolize Israel, but we’re not sure about that either. Also in the eighth vision the riders are on chariots.
            But in both visions, we see angelic warriors ready to go forth to pronounce judgment on the nations. They oppressed Israel—true, they were under direction from the Lord, but they apparently went further than he wanted them to, and he was taking note of how his people were being treated. In the first vision, the Angel of the Lord is pleading for the benefit of Jerusalem, and as a corollary he asks for the Lord to finally take vengeance on the surrounding nations who’ve done terrible things to her.
            In the second vision, the angelic warriors are only going to the North and South, not to the East or West. Why only those two directions? Because the enemies of Israel always came from the North (Babylon, Assyria, etc.) or from the South (Egypt). On the East was the desert and on the West was the Sea.
            If you’ve noticed that I’ve used words/phrases like “might” or “not sure”; there’s a reason. There are passages in prophetic literature in which we’re pretty sure of what the symbols mean, and in others we can make a reasonable guess. Today’s passages require a little guesswork as to the details.
            But here’s what we do know for sure. Our Father is the Lord over the nations. Yes, he lets his people undergo hardship, dire hardship at times. But he hasn’t forgotten them, and he keeps track of everything done to them. Each little insult a prison guard hurls in mockery at the poor deluded Christian in jail for his faith. Each little indignity afflicted on believers as they live in hostile regimes. Every believer who’s “disappeared” and who’s never heard from again, whose name is all but forgotten. That name hasn't been forgotten by him. He sees. He knows. He cares. He remembers.
            When Saul was on the Road to Damascus and the Lord Jesus appeared to him, what was Jesus’ question? “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul asked him “Who are you, Lord?” and the Lord replied “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Twice in two sentences he accused Saul of persecuting him. But as far as we know, Saul never even met him while Jesus was on earth. How could he be persecuting Jesus? By hurting his church. We're the Body of Christ. You can't harm the Body of Christ without hurting Christ any more than you can stick a hot poker in my arm without hurting me. You touch his Bride, you touch Christ.
            I don’t know much about the details about how the Lord is going to end human history as we know it. If you’re looking for someone who can confidently unravel every symbol in Revelation, keep looking. But I do know this: If you’re suffering for the Savior, he knows. He remembers. And one day he'll make wrong into right. And I pity anyone who’s hurt his Bride.
            So I urge you to pray for the persecuted Bride in the world. But I also urge you to pray for her persecutors as well. They need it more.

Lord Jesus, I certainly can’t claim to have suffered much for you. But I thank you that you’re closely watching over me: protecting, providing, giving me everything I need. If you choose to grant that I suffer for the Name, please give me the grace to honor you with my life or my death. 

No comments:

Post a Comment