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Summary: For us the big question is, ‘Are we ready for the return of Christ?’ Jesus warns us to be ready for His return at any time.

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God requires us to take care of Israel!

ZECHARIAH 6:1 – 8

INTRODUCTION.

Four chariots coming down from between two mountains of bronze. The eighth and final vision.

We have a wonderful pledge of love from God towards His people here. Despite all that the people of Israel had done in disobeying God, He still loved them.

He loved them so much that He was willing to punish or subdue all those nations who attack or abuse Israel.

Here God is affirming His power in creation; He is the ultimate authority and He has the power to overrule all the decisions of the surrounding pagan rulers.

The political structure of the region at that time was little different from what it is now. The actual nations which were large and small were different; the dominant and subservient nations were different from now, but there were still many pagan nations who wanted to crush, oppress or take advantage of Israel.

We saw this only recently with terrorists in Gaza capturing and holding hostage an Israeli soldier, followed by Hezbollah from Lebanon doing the same thing with two Israeli soldiers.

The leader of Hezbollah commented, after the ceasefire had been agreed, that he was surprised at the reaction of Israel and its supporting nations to their actions of taking hostages. Those of us who read and know our scriptures are not surprised at all. These reactions are the promise of God, that He will protect His people Israel.

God has found it necessary to punish the people of Israel over the centuries. They were sent into exile into Egypt until the time of Moses. Again they were exiled into Babylonia. After the time of Jesus they were exiled and dispersed throughout the world until the scattering was started to be drawn together again with the re-establishment of the country of Israel in 1948.

During WW2 millions of the Jews were oppressed and murdered, as they have been down through the centuries. This is all part of the rejection of God by the world. We need to be very careful regarding Israel. Israel believes that it is the chosen people of God, because they missed Jesus. This does mean that many of the people of Israel will not know an eternity with God, but this does not mean that God has consigned Israel to the scrap heap of history; they are still His chosen nation and will have a significant part to play in the final days leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus and the final defeat of Satan and the cleansing of the world of all that is evil.

This is not a vision of peace. This is a vision of war and punishment for the oppressors of Israel and for the oppressors of the people of God.

The chariots come out from between two mountains of bronze.

The mountains signify the gateway to heaven, where God dwells. These were God’s warriors going out to do His will amongst the pagan nations. To bring punishment to those who have rejected Him, who will not accept Him as their one true God.

Bronze was the metal used to fashion the weapons of war. Iron was still not a very common metal and was very expensive to obtain. Here is war, a holy war against the pagan nations.

Bronze is also a metal of judgement as seen in:

1. the serpent of bronze (Num 21:9);

2. the bronze altar, carried by the people of Israel through the desert. (Ex 27:2).

Four chariots, hitched up to horses of four different colours. The angel tells Zechariah “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.” (v5) these were the spirits of heaven going out into the world to bring the judgement of God.

What do the four colours mean? Rev 6:1-8.

The first chariot had red horses. 3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" 4Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

We are not told the direction in which the chariot with the red horses went. I suspect that it went out into all the world. We see from Revelation that the rider of the red horse was given the power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. If we look down through the history of mankind we can see the effect of this rider upon the nations of all the world. The awful death toll in the trenches of WW1 in Europe, as well as the death toll in WW2; the seemingly senseless killing of thousands in Cambodia, the brutality of the civil war in Congo, the genocide of Rwanda; the sectarian killing in Iraq, where the victims are even tortured before they are killed. These are but a few examples which can be taken from a myriad of events that have occurred down the centuries as mankind has shown a lack of peace.

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