A MAN RIDING A RED HORSE…About 2700 years ago during this time of the year, the ancient prophet Zechariah's night-visions began with a man riding a red horse. These revelations continue to encourage God’s people, reminding us He is interested in every detail of our lives, and is working behind the scenes with a perfect plan for restoring His heavenly and earthly Temple on this earth and in the hearts of His people.
Zechariah began his prophetic ministry a few months before when he delivered God’s message that Judah must repent of their sin or there would be NO future with Him. “’Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the LORD. Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?’ Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’ Zechariah 1:2-7.
Zechariah came on the scene at a time when God’s physical and spiritual throne was no longer in Jerusalem. The nation had been judged mightily for their sins, and God’s glory had departed the Jerusalem Temple. In a matter of centuries, the physical Temple was decimated, and Israel was reduced to the exiled remnant of Judah. Several generations had lived in Babylon and surrounding areas and had been slowly assimilated into its mindset, forsaking the God of their ancestors. Though they had been given permission to return to the rubble of what was once their mighty, Holy City, the remnant nation of Judah desperately needed their Lord God to return to them.
In the first vision, when Zechariah saw a man riding a red horse standing in a group of myrtle trees, there can be little doubt that the man was the Pre-Incarnate Son of God, appearing again as He had to so many others in the Old Testament. In Joshua 5:13-15, He appeared as Commander of the army who brought down the walls of Jericho, telling Joshua, who was standing alongside him, “take off your sandals for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” In Ezekiel 1-7, Jesus appeared to Ezekiel in glory and radiance, handing him a scroll of his words, instructing him to eat it and speak to the House of Israel. In Daniel 7:13, Jesus appeared “like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, claiming His kingdom that would never be destroyed. And again in Daniel 10:6, He appeared as a man dressed in linen, “His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.”
This is the accounting of Zechariah’s first vision in the 1st chapter: 7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.
8 During the night I had a vision, and there before me was a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.
9 I asked, “What are these, my lord?” The angel who was talking with me answered, “I will show you what they are.”
10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth.”
11 And they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace.”
12 Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?” 13 So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.
14 Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, 15 and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment.’
16 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty.
17“Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’”
Through this vision, we can clearly see Jesus interceding on our behalf, despite what is happening around us. Even though He appears to be silent, He is valiantly fighting in the background, unseen by human eyes, aided by warrior angels, focused on our restoration to His kingdom, and the coming judgment on those who would try to keep that from happening.
While the chosen people of God are struggling, and bereft, the rest of the world is "at rest and in peace" and doesn’t have a care in the world, failing to intercede on behalf of those who need their help and support. This is what the Lord Almighty says in verse 14: “I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure.”
The people of Judah learned the hard way that the only way they were going to be restored to God was through the presence and power of a heavenly warrior whom they could trust with their very lives. They understood that focusing on achieving physical peace and security above all else was, in fact, idol worship. They finally bowed to God as the one true judge, and trusted that, not only would He right every single wrong, He would give them the kind of peace and security they could never accomplish on their own.
There is much more to be learned through Zechariah's visions. Next week’s lesson will continue with another vision of a young man who attempts to measure God's plan in human terms, leaving us all to grapple with His chastising message: "Jerusalem will be a city without walls... And I myself will be a wall of fire around it," declares the Lord, "and I will be its glory within."
The 24th day of the eleventh month of Shabbat, recorded as the date of the beginning of Zechariah's visions, begins the evening of January 26 on our 2022 Gregorian calendar. Today, God is sending us visions of deliverance and hope that never change. They began and continue right this very minute through our Intercessor Warrior, The Incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." Revelation 1:6
A MAN RIDING A RED HORSE...