Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Four Angels in Four Chariots of Judgment

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Four Angels in Four Chariots of Judgment

Chapter Thirteen
The Four Angels in Four Chariots of Judgment

          Within every conglomeration of professing believers there are numerous levels of belief along with numerous levels of what those various levels define as faithfulness.  Within these various levels of self-describe faithfulness there are even more levels of commitment to beliefs.  Most of the people who describe themselves as faithful and committed believers are delusional and self-deceived about the reality of their faith.  The majority of those with professed beliefs never really translate those professed beliefs into any tangible expression of implementation – WALK WITH GOD.  A proclaimed commitment to doing what God wants is not the same as doing it.  Therefore, proclamation without implementation is self-deceiving.  James gave this distinctly, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

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” (Zechariah 6:1-8).

Pretended Faith

          The Judaism by the time of the captivity was almost completely corrupted.  In fact, it was these corruptions of the Mosaic Covenant that created Judaism.  The purpose of God’s giving the Mosaic Covenant to the children was corrupted by the priesthood of Israel to become a source of man-kind righteousness.  Almost every aspect of Law Keeping was mere externalism and ritualism.  Even most of the faithful Jews lived by this corruption; if they kept the rules, God would bless.  Yet, over and over God repeatedly rebuked the Jews for a heartless obedience.  God makes a definitive statement of disgust over Israel’s repeated heartless ritualism and heartless externalism in Isaiah chapter one.

2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children {Israel}, and they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:2-15).

Clearly, the reason God makes this pronouncement of condemnation upon Judaism is because the priesthood of Israel had allowed the practices of the Mosaic Covenant, which were sanctificational in their purposes, to become mere ritualism and externalism without any heart connection to God.  The Shammah proclamation of the children of Israel had become just words without any connection to a heart relationship with God.  They had lost the purpose of God giving them the Mosaic Covenant.  This is equally the problem of most of Christianity.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

A chronological order of the prophets might clarify our understanding of most of the Old Testament prophecies.

Chronological Order of the Prophets (According to Ussher’s Chronology)

1. There were four prophets sent to the ten northern tribes, which were called Israel. Obadiah was the first to prophecy to Israel in 887 B.C. Joel prophesied to the ten northern tribes in 800 B.C.  Amos prophesied in 787 B.C., and Hosea from 785 to 725 B.C.
2. There were four prophets who prophesied to the combined tribes of Benjamin and Judah before the Babylonian captivity.  The combined tribes of Benjamin and Judah are referred to just as Judah throughout most of Scripture.  Isaiah was the longest and first prophet to Judah and prophesied to Judah for sixty-two years from 760-698 B.C.  Micah was contemporary with Isaiah beginning to prophesy ten years after Isaiah began.  Micah prophesied to Judah for forty years from 750-710 B.C.  Nahum prophesied in 713 B.C., but he was sent to the Assyrians in Nineveh one-hundred years after Jonah was there.  Zephaniah prophesied to Judah in 630 B.C. and Habakkuk prophesied to Judah in 626 B.C.  Habakkuk was the last prophet to Judah before the captivity.
3. There were three prophets during the exile.  Jeremiah was first and prophesied for ninety-one years both before and during the exile from 687-586 B.C.  Jeremiah began to prophesy twelve years before Isaiah’s ministry ended.  Daniel was second and prophesied for seventy-three years from 607-534 B.C.  Daniel’s prophecies were during the whole seventy years, foretold by Jeremiah, of the captivity before the remnant returned to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.  Ezekiel prophesied for twenty-one years during the captivity from 595-574 B.C.  Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel all deal mostly with end time prophetic events, which are expanded upon in the book of Revelations. 
4. There were three prophets after the exile who spoke mainly to the returned remnant, but also to those Jews that remained in Babylon.  Haggai prophesied in 520 B.C. Zechariah prophesied for three years from 520-518 B.C.  Malachi prophesied in 397 B.C.  Haggai and Malachi prophesied mainly to the Levitical priesthood and God’s future removal and replacement of that priesthood under the New Covenant. 

Christianity too, using the term in its vaguest sense, has evolved into a similar abstract conglomeration like apostate Israel.  It is almost like worship is a game where every person is his own referee who is constantly changing the rules.  Referees are supposed to be impartial to the players in a game.  Referees are supposed to know the rules of a game and apply them without partiality to ensure that the game is played fairly.  True worship is not a game!  True Christian worship is a daily lifestyle of self-sacrifice and complete dedication to the missional vision of Christ in winning souls and making disciples.  The TRUE Christian lives everyday with these purposes in mind.  

          Understanding the vision of Zechariah 6:1-8 is dependent upon the statement of Zechariah 6:5; “These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.”  Therefore, the four chariots with there different colored horses are not four different world empires as many Bible commentators propose.  The preincarnate LORD Jesus (“the angel answered”) tells us specifically that these are four judging angels.  Angels are spirit beings used of God to minister to believers (Hebrews 1:14) and judge unbelievers by administrating God’s wrath upon sin.  

Zechariah 6:1-8 is about God’s judgment upon the Gentile nations of the world during the seven-year Tribulation for their rejection of His Word and for their persecution of the nation of Israel.  In the process of this judgment, God will still be offering His gift of salvation to those willing to repent of sin and unbelief and turn to faith in Christ (Revelations 7:9).  Revelations chapter seven gives us the details of these “four spirits” of Zechariah 6:1-8.

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. . . 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:1-3 and 9-17).

According to Revelation 7:3, it appears that certain angels will restrain the forces of evil for a short period until God works a mighty work like the day of Pentecost for the Church Age.  I believe this is to what Joel 2:28-32 refers.

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).

          This will “come to pass” (Joel 2:28) after the opening of the sixth seal.  The “it shall come to pass” of verse 32 is what is taking place in Revelation chapter seven.  The 144,000 Jews will be sealed and innumerable Gentiles (Rev. 7:9-14) will call on the Name of Jesus for salvation. 

          Some have applied Joel 2:28-31 to the day of Pentecost, but contextually it obviously refers to something like the Day of Pentecost taking place just prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation (second half of the seven-year Tribulation period) and that it refers to Israel, not the Church.  Peter’s use of the prophecy of Joel was applying certain aspects of what Joel had said to the day of Pentecost.  Confusion about this has led to the corruption called Pentecostalism.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:16-21).

          Peter was referring specifically to three things that were fulfilled of Joel’s prophecy.  (1) Prophecy would be restored as a gift of God to all classes of people, Jew and Gentile, as opposed to only the nation of Israel.  The Apostles’ speaking (and everyone hearing in their own language) was an example of the Spirit empowered individuals of which Joel spoke.  The door of new revelation was opened in the Apostles.  (2) The Holy Spirit’s coming in such a special way was also a fulfillment of what Joel had said.  (3) Anyone who called on the Name of the Lord could be saved; Jew or Gentile (Joel 2:32).  Peter was not saying that the prophecy of Joel was being completely fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, only things of which were LIKE Joel had spoken.  This would become the normal experience of the Kingdom Age. 

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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