Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
Four (Part VII) Four Chariots in Zechariah
We continue our series of essays on the relationship of the number four and the subject of the work of the Holy Spirit as found in the scriptures.
Zec. 6:1 “And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. 2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; 3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. 4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? 5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. 7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. 8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country."
It will be noted that the horses in this passage are somewhat different from the horses in Revelation. First the order of the horses are different. In Revelations the horses are in order, white, red, black, and pale. In Zechariah the horses are in order, red, black, white, and grisled and bay. Second, there is no pale horse in Zechariah, but rather grisled and bay horses. In studying the horses in Revelation we noticed that only the Lord could successfully ride the horses there. In Zechariah there are multiple horses in each chariot, suggesting that many people could ride the horses.
The four chariots came out from between two mountains of brass. Brass is indicative of affliction and suffering. When God’s people in their experiences first get a glimpse of God’s holy law they see themselves under the affliction and suffering of the commandments contained in that law. The two mountains of brass would be typical of the law and the prophets.
Red is used in the scriptures to represent the shedding of blood in warfare. After that a child of God is born of the Spirit of God he begins to encounter a warfare, whereby the flesh lust against the spirit and the spirit the flesh. Paul described the warfare this way in Rom. 7:15 “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
This warfare takes place because of the two-fold nature of a born-again child of God. He has a carnal nature that Paul says “dwelleth no good thing.” He also has a spiritual nature that John says “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” Thus these two natures are at war within the child of God. There is an inward longing within the child of God to get right with God. But with all of his efforts to do so, sin keeps dragging him down and showing him that he has failed to satisfy the laws demands.
This leads to the second chariot in which there are black horses. Black is used in the scriptures to represent sin. The more we fight to get right with God, the more that we see our sins under God’s just and holy laws keeping us from accomplishing our goal. We end up saying as Isaiah said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” We are as the publican who came to the temple to pray and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” As we engage in this warfare we become more and more aware that we are sinners under the law. Paul wrote in Rom. 3:19 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” This knowledge of sin and the exceeding sinfulness of sin, eventually leads us to the third chariot.
In the third chariot are white horses. White is used in the scriptures to represent righteousness. In the second chariot as the publican we have concluded ourselves to be devoid of any righteousness of our own, and thus cry out for God’s mercy. It is when we are deeply convicted of our sins that we begin to see the need of a Saviour. The scriptures tell us that Jesus came to save sinners from their sin. But to be able to save sinners from their sin, it was necessary that he be without sin. As he was born of a virgin by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. It was also necessary that he keep the law that we could not keep. He said in Matt. 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Thus Jesus fulfilled the law to the very jot and tittle. Next, it was necessary that he make an atoning sacrifice for the sins of his people in order to deliver them out from under God’s wrathful judgment of sin. This he did on the tree of the cross. He suffered the just for the unjust. As it is written in 2 Cor. 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Thus all for whom Christ died are made to ride in the third chariot of white horses.
The fourth chariot had grisled and bay horses. The word grisled means spotted and the word bay means deep red. The word spot in the scriptures is associated with sin. However, we have been redeemed from our sins as stated in 1 Pet. 1:18 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” While we walk in this life we know that we are sinners still, but we also know that we have been sprinkled by the blood of Christ in the new birth as the following verses show:
1. Heb. 10:22 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
2. 1 Pet. 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
Thus we go forth in this life with the knowledge that we are sinners (spotted) and that we are cleansed by the sprinkled blood (bay) of Christ.
Four (Part VIII) The Four Beasts
Rev. 4:6-8, “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty which was, and is, and is to come.”
In Revelation chapter four we see four beasts round about the throne of God and giving glory and praise to God. These four beasts were looking both to the future and to the past as they were “full of eyes” both “before and behind.” They were also unlocking and revealing some great mystery as they were “full of eyes within.” Furthermore, these four beasts are continually vigilant in their testimony as they “rest not day and night.” Furthermore, they declare unto us the characteristics of the triune God as they say, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” They declare the holiness of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. They also declare him to be the master, the creator, and the omnipotent one or “Lord God Almighty.” In addition they declare him to be the eternal one who never changes as they said, “which was, and is, and is to come.”
While these four beasts are in harmony with their testimony, yet they are different as they have different appearances. The appearance of these four beasts match the appearance of the four gospels. The first beast had the appearance of a lion, which in the scriptures is used to denote kings and kingdoms. The book of Matthew shows Christ as the king, who is over the kingdom of God. The lineage of Matthew chapter 1 shows Christ as the lawful heir of the throne of David of which the old testament prophesied that he would live and reign forever. Also there are more references to the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God in Matthew than in the other three gospels. Also in Matt. 21 we see his marvelous ascent up to Jerusalem according to the prophecy of the coming King. Furthermore in Matthew we see him as the triumphant King as he conquers sin, death, hell, and the grave on behalf of his people.
The gospel of Mark is like the ox or calf in its depiction of Jesus Christ. Mark gives us a picture of Christ in his labor or work even as an ox is a beast of burden. The key word in Mark is the word, “and,” as most verses begin with this word. Mark’s testimony is of Christ continually in his work. Mark begins with Christ being baptized and going immediately into his High Priestly work. Mark ends with Christ giving commandment to the apostles and laying out their work for them.
The gospel of Luke gives us a picture of the “man” Jesus Christ. Luke has much more detail of the humanity of Christ than the other three gospels. Luke begins by telling us of the conception of Christ, then of the birth of Christ, and then of the ceremonial fulfillment of the Christ child as he was brought into the temple to do for him after the custom of the law. Next we see Jesus at twelve years of age tarrying behind in Jerusalem and both hearing the doctors and asking them questions astonishing them with his understanding and answers. More details of the character of Jesus, the man, are given to us in Luke than the other gospels including the agony of Jesus in the garden “and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
The fourth beast had the face of a flying eagle and the gospel of John gives us an eagle’s eye view of Christ and his deity. John begins unlike the other gospels, declaring Christ to be the Word who was the creator of all things and the eternal God. In John we read clearly of the great doctrines of God’s sovereignty in the new birth and of his choice or election of a people to be his. We read of him being the great I AM and of his declaration of being the seven I ams (light; door; way, truth, and life, true vine; good shepherd; the bread of life; the resurrection and the life. We also read of the glory that he had with the Father before the world began.
In conclusion, while the four gospels are in perfect harmony and testify of our glorious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, yet they give us four different views of Jesus - the King, the burden-bearer, the man, and the eternal God.
Four (Part IX) The Four Quarters, Four Winds, Four Directions
"Four quarters" is simply by definition four equal parts of the whole. "Four winds" refers to the directional blowing of the wind and the four directions are used as a navigation guide. As we have already shown there is a strong scriptural correlation between the number four and the subject of the work of the Spirit.
We begin by listing the scriptures that have the phrase "four quarters:"
1. Deu 22:12 "Thou shalt make thee
fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest
Four quarters in the above represent the four parts of the vesture, four parts of the city, four parts of the heaven, and four parts of the earth. In addition, we note that in #2 the four quarters are equal to the four directions (east, west, north, and south).
Next, we list the scriptures that have the four directions:"
1. Gen 28:14 "And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
2. Num 35:5 "And ye shall measure
from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the
south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand
cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be
in the midst: this shall be to them the suburbs of the cities."
From the above we gather that generally when the directions are used together that things are often gathered or scattered in the four directions. The Holy Spirit gives us direction in our lives. The Spirit leads, guides, and directs the children of God:
1. Matt. 4:1 "Then was Jesus led
up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."
Thirdly, we list the scriptures that pertain to the four winds:
1. Jer 49:36 "And upon Elam will I
bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter
them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the
outcasts of Elam shall not come."
Often times in the scriptures the Holy Spirit is represented by the blowing of the wind:
1. 1 John 3:8 "The wind bloweth
where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell
whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of
The scriptures plainly teach that there is more than one spirit in the world:
1. 1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." Thus there are the spirits of Antichrist.
2. Matt. 12:45 "Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." There are 32 verses of scripture in the New Testament in which the plural form of spirit appears and each of these has reference to some spirit other than the Holy Spirit.
The wind is sometimes used to represent these false spirits:
1. Eph. 4:14 "That we henceforth
be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every
wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby
they lie in wait to deceive."
With these thoughts in mind, we
can go back to our verses and scripture and see both the working of the
Holy Spirit in some verses, and the working of false spirits in others.
Generally, we see the Holy Spirit gathering the Lord's people (from the
north, south, east, and west) both in the resurrection and in the gospel
ministry, whereas, we see the false spirits scattering them (to the
north, south, east, and west). Furthermore, we see this work going on
throughout the whole (four quarters) of the earth, and of the heaven
(spiritual warfare). We also see the Holy Spirit working in the vestures
of the porters, and in the twelve oxen (representing the gospel
ministry) who were being directed (north, east, west, south) to their
labors by the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we see ourselves being gathered by
the work of the Holy Spirit both in the resurrection, in the new birth,
and in the gospel calling. We have leadership and direction through the
leading of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.