When Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem in 586 b.c., he carries her chief citizens off into exile in Babylon. Thousands don’t survive the brutal journey. Those who do must start their lives over in a hostile land where they are subjects of violence, slavery, and every manner of wickedness. That’s why Babylon becomes synonymous with evil. In this vision, the wickedness of Judah is contained and sent far away to Babylon, where it is not only tolerated but is worshiped. Civilization reaches its nadir when wickedness is worshiped.
6 That night I had an eighth vision. I looked up and saw four chariots emerging from between two mountains made of bronze. 2 The first chariot was pulled by red horses; the second was pulled by black horses. 3 The third was hitched to white horses and the fourth to spotted, strong horses.
A final vision echoes the first vision as four great spirits of heaven unleash judgment upon the whole earth.
Zechariah (to the heavenly messenger): 4 What are these, sir?
Heavenly Messenger: 5 These are the four winds of heaven that disperse His power and enact His will. They have been standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole earth awaiting His command. Now the Lord has dispatched them to patrol the earth. 6 The chariot pulled by black horses will travel to the north land, followed by the white horses and then the spotted horses, which travel to the south land.
7 The strong horses and their chariots went on their patrols of the earth with great speed and excitement at God’s command: “Go now. Patrol the entire surface of the earth.” They did as they were told.
Eternal One: 8 Watch, Zechariah. The horses going to the north land have appeased My restless, vengeful Spirit.
9 The word of the Eternal came to me describing how He would fulfill His promise of restoring Jerusalem and His temple.
Message: 10-11 Find three men who have returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. Their names are Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah. Then collect money, silver and gold, from the Babylonians for rebuilding Jerusalem, and travel to the house of Josiah (Zephaniah’s son) who has also returned from Babylon. You will find Joshua (Jehozadak’s son) there. With the money you took from the Babylonians, fashion a crown for Joshua, the high priest, and place it on his head.
12 Once Joshua accepts the crown, tell him these words from the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies: “Pay attention to a man who is named ‘Branch.’ He will branch out from where He is and will build the Eternal’s temple. 13 Yes, He is the temple builder of the Eternal One and will carry honor. He will sit on the throne of His kingdom to rule, and He will sit on a throne as a priest. Between those two there will be a peace agreement.”
14 The crown will then be taken from Joshua’s head and placed in the temple of the Eternal One as a reminder to Heldai,[a] Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah[b] (Zephaniah’s son). 15 People will come from great distances to assist with the building of the Eternal One’s temple. Tell the men, “If you do exactly what the Eternal, your True God, says, this will happen as you have seen and heard it. Then you will know for certain the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, sent me to you.”