4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith Yahweh of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith Yahweh.
The world says, in its little, passing wisdom, that if you desire a better position in life: act and dress for it NOW. Live mentally in its atmosphere. Adopt all the ways and views constant with it. Eliminate from your life those things that are beneath its dignity and importance. Lift your conduct to comport yourself on its level.
This is the world's meaningless "advancement": but the principle is so true in eternal things. If we expect to be made "equal to the angels" and "stand in the presence of God" throughout eternity, we MUST start acting like it NOW. We must live in harmony with it. Many things must be put away which -- though not really "bad" in themselves, and quite suitable for earthlings -- are quite out of place in the environment we seek, and for which we must prepare ourselves.
Do not carelessly indulge yourself at present with things inconsistent with divinity, in the vain delusion they'll be miraculously and conveniently, at the last day, cleaned out of your mind and interests, to make you suitable for God's company. It will be too late then. It's your whole life's PRESENT purpose (and opportunity) to labour fervently on it NOW -- with, of course, God's offered and essential help.
Time is short! Don't drift in fatal self-delusion.
8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.
9 Then said I, O my Adon, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.
10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom Yahweh hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
Like John in Patmos, Zechariah had a Vision of Horses of divers colours - red horses, bay horses, and pale horses, ranged behind a Man upon a red horse, standing among myrtle-trees. The branches of myrtle-trees were used in the construction of booths under which Israel dwelt in celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. In their rebelliousness the Jews are regarded as briers and thorns; but in restoration, because of righteousness, they are olive-branches, pine-branches, myrtle-branches, and palm-branches.
When, therefore, it is prophesied in Isa. 55:13,
"Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree: and it shall be to Yahweh for a name, for an Aion-memorial that shall not be cut off";
and in ch. 41:19,
"I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah-tree, and the myrtle, and the olive-tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the pine, and the box-tree together; that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Yahweh hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel (Christ) hath created it:" -
when these things are declared, it not only imports that the land previously desolate shall become like Eden, the Garden of Yahweh (Ezek. 36:35), but that all its inhabitants in Messiah's Olahm, the Millennial Aion, shall be
"trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he might be glorified" (Isa. 61:3).
11 And they answered the angel of Yahweh that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.
These considerations fix the time of Zechariah's horses at rest, -- at the Feast of Tabernacles first ensuing, when the Holy One of Israel, the Man on the Red Horse, shall have completed his conquests, and shall be Prince of Peace in the midst of Israel. He and his cavalry march to and fro through the earth with blood, signified by redness, famine by the bay, and pestilence by the pale or whitish, until the earth is reduced to submission, and obtains rest from these calamities. This vision is reproduced in the Apocalypse, only on a more extended scale; but with the same result.
15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.
Now, if this were the state of Yahweh's mind in the days of Zechariah, what must be the intensity of his jealousy for Jerusalem and Zion at this day!
The Chaldeans destroyed Jerusalem, and burned the temple, and overturned the kingdom and throne of David; and he punished the Chaldean Babylon with the loss of empire, and a conversion into heaps of ruins as at this day.
The Roman nations followed in their steps; and have aggravated the affliction and their own guilt, by great cruelty towards Israel, and slaughters, or rather torments inflicted upon the brethren of Jesus, the Saints. The Little Horn Babylon, therefore, of our times, will be subjected to a more terrible vengeance than hitherto experienced by any power, or confederacy of powers, hostile to the Jews.
The decree of Yahweh concerning Jerusalem and Zion hath gone forth; and he commanded Zechariah to proclaim it v 17.
16 Therefore thus saith Yahweh; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith Yahweh Tzvaoth, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
To afford them some idea of the fact in relation to this matter, another vision was granted to the prophet.
20 And Yahweh shewed me four carpenters [or artificers].
21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns [of the Gentiles] which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.
He is told that the Horns represent the powers by which Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem are scattered; answering to the Lion, the Bear, the Leopard, and the Fourth Beast of Daniel; whose oppression has so completely scattered the power of Judah, "that no man doth lift up his head." And in this prostrate condition the Jews and Jerusalem must remain until the "Four Carpenters" are apocalypsed or revealed for the work assigned them.
This work the prophet says, is to terrify the horns; to make them afraid; to cast out the horns of the nations, which "lift up their horn, or power, over the land of Judah to scatter it." No such power, with such a mission, has appeared since the days of the prophet: on the contrary, all the powers that have arisen have been Gentile, and ambitious of exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem and Judea, as at this day.
These "Four Carpenters" are, therefore, not Gentile, but of Jewish nationality; and are yet to be apocalypsed, or revealed. We may here say in passing, that they are the Brethren of the Carpenter's Son; the squadrons of the Man in the midst of the myrtle-trees; the Seraphim of Isaiah; the Four Cherubim of Ezekiel; and the Four Living Ones of the Apocalypse.
'To cast out the horns of the Gentiles...'
These are they by whom the Horns of the Gentiles are to be broken, and the Holy Land and City are to be avenged, and Zion comforted. But the prophet and his friends would, doubtless, delight to know "the times and seasons" when Jerusalem should be exalted to the dignity of Yahweh's throne" (Jer. 3:17).
The Israelites dwelling in this Babylon-Confederacy of Greeks and Latins are thus addressed in the proclamation stirring them up to war,
"Ho! ho! Come forth and escape from the land of the north, saith Yahweh; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon."
Here is a call upon the Jews to rise against the governments of the nations, and doubtless because those governments will not regard the proclamation of the Apoc. 14:6, 7. Zion, thus appealed to, will respond to the invitation; and in concert with the Four Carpenters (the resurrected saints and the true believers living at the time of the proclamation) proceed to break in pieces and consume the power of the nations. These are to be spoiled and subjugated by their servants, the Jews; and after that the glory will be apocalypsed.
Things will proceed very much upon ordinary principles before the public; only those who carry on the insurrection, or revolution, will know the reality of things. This is the import of the words spoken to Zechariah in connection with the call upon Zion to "arise and thresh the nations" (Mic. 4:13).