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. Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord 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. Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? (Zechariah 1:8-12)
In Zechariah’s first vision he saw horsemen. The most prominent one, stood among the Myrtle trees which were situated in a low, wet place. This man standing among those low trees, is none less than the Angel of the LORD, the Messiah, who is also called “The Messenger of the Covenant”.
The Myrtle trees, (lit.) Haddasah trees, are lowly, yet fragrant, and in this vision are partially submerged in a watery ditch. In prophetic language, trees represent nations, such as the Cedar of Lebanon, the Oaks of Bashan, and in Israel’s case, at times the fig or olive Tree.
In the day of the return from Captivity, the tree which best symbolized Israel, was the lowly Haddaseh, partially submerged in a watery ditch , in the Hebrew, Metsulah, sinking in water, the same word is found in the 88th Psalm,
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps(metsulah) .
.The nation was at a low point, for she had just returned after being ‘cast into the sea”, the world of the Gentiles. For Israel, there was no capitol city, only a ruin. There were no walls around Jerusalem, the Temple had been destroyed, and only a trickle of Jews returned to the Land after her captivity.
But even in this depressed condition, The Angel of the LORD is seen, standing with her in her degraded and weakened state.He sits on a Red Horse and speaks to a small band of Angelic horsemen.They have just returned from a patrol across the earth and have now brought their report.
“All of the earth sits still and is at rest…”.
So the Nations of the World are unconcerned about the ruined state of the Covenant people, they are fine, whilst Jerusalem is a wreck, ruined, and humiliated.
There is also a very modern application to this vision so far.
I can remember a time in my own lifetime, when Islamic terrorism was Israel’s problem to solve, not the rest of the modern world. Europe, the USA, The UN and Russia didn’t have to deal with it, just the Jews. Everyone had a lot of council for the Jews, as to how best to solve this problem, such as “the two State Solution”, “Land for Peace” and endless negotiations were urged as if the only Democratic and free state in the Middle East was morally equivalent to the people who slaughtered the Israeli Olympic team in 1972.
The nations were at ease, they didn’t care as long as the oil kept flowing.
So the Angel of the LORD who stands with the lowly Haddasah tree, intercedes for Jerusalem and for all of Zion, asking God, How long will it be before the LORD shows mercy to Jerusalem?
And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 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. Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.(Zechariah 1:13-17)
The comforting words? The LORD is jealous for Jerusalem,He will not leave it in such a ruined state forever, He has a purpose to fulfill in Zion, regardless of what the indifferent Gentile world thinks!
In fact the LORD who was displeased with Israel, is now sore displeased at the Nations of the world, for their indifference to the plight of his own people. God had used the nations at one rime, to chasten his people, but the nations have taken God’s chastening further than he intended! “They helped forward the affliction”.
Yes Israel has endured a long night of exile, suffering, shame and debasement for centuries, exactly as Moses predicted she would, as punishment for her sins.
But evidently the Babylonians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and yes the Germans, British, French and Americans, all have been used to chastise the Holy people, at various times, but all of the nations stand guilty of taking the assigned affliction too far by varying degrees. God is angry at the nations!
Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns 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.(Zechariah 12:18-21)
Horns symbolize worldly powers, governments and Empires. The Gentiles are depicted as four horns which were used to “scatter” the Holy people. Why four? Four is a universal number, for example, North,South, East , and West. The center if the world is Israel, the center of Israel is Jerusalem and the center of Jerusalem is the temple mount. All around are the Gentiles, to the North, South,sat and West.
Nebuchadnezzar the King had a vision of the four major gentile Powers Israel would be subservient to, (until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled), two eastern powers and two western, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, powers which would rule until Jesus comes back.
Currently there is a olitical entity of Gentile powers called “the Quartet” which was organized to solve and implement the “two state” solution in Israel. The Quartet consists of The U.N., the European Union, the USA and Russia.
All of the major gentile powers are guilty of scattering Judah,Israel and Jerusalem. We know of course the ways that the Babylonians, the Seleucid Greeks and the Romans literally scattered Israel from one end of the earth to the other.
But didn’t the Germans also scatter the Jews, and has not the British Empire, and Modern America scattered Israel also? Who turned away the ship the ST Louis, full of Holocaust survivors, desperately seeking refuge, but being turned away at every port, in Europe, America and in South America, until the Ship was resigned to returning to German held Europe, and most of the escapees perished anyway?
Which Nation, after World War 2 rammed another ship of literal holocaust survivors on their way to Israel to make Aliyah? The British Navy rammed the Exodus, boarded the ship and arrested the captains, towed the ship back to Europe and confined the would be escapees to internment camps in Europe!
Which US President conspired with Ariel Sharon to force Jews out of the Gaza, land God gave to Abraham and his seed forever, only to cede it over to savages who have been rocketing Israel ever since?
The horns are so powerful, they are musclebound nations compared to the little Haddasah tree in the wet Ravine, but the LORD has an answer to the “Four Horns”, four carpenters.The ‘carpenters’ are raised up by God to deal with the mighty horns. For every horn there is a carpenter, to “Fray” the horn.
What does the word “Fray”mean in the text? David Baron, whose commentary on Zechariah is invaluable, says that the Hebrew word translated “Fray” means “Terrorize”.
Have not the musclebound, most powerful nations on earth, any of which in a classic “set piece” battle could crush any other armies, proven to be ineffective in the current style of guerrilla terror war of the Muslims, Hezbullah, Abu Sayef, Isis and Alqueda?