And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and I behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; and in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grizzled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? 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. The black horses which are therein go forth into the North country; and the white go forth after them; and the grizzled go forth toward the South country. 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. Then he cried upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the North country have quieted My Spirit in the North country.c-ZACHARIAH vi. 1-8.
THE text is a prophecy that doctrines for a new church will be drawn from love and charity; and that such a church will be formed from well-disposed persons who have been in ignorance of spiritual truth.
Four chariots were seen in vision. All vehicles are made to hold and serve men; and, therefore, they represent doctrines, forms of statement, which contain truths, in condition for practical use. In Psalm xx. 7 it is said, ” Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of Jehovah, our God.” To trust in chariots is to trust in doctrines; and to trust in horses is to depend upon man’s own natural understanding; but to remember the name of the Lord, is to trust in the Lord for instruction and guidance. There were four chariots, which, respectively, were supposed to travel to the four points of the compass, North, South, East, and West, whose significance we shall take up later.
MOUNTAINS OF BRASS.
These chariots came out from between two mountains. Mountains, as the highest points of land, represent the highest principle in the human mind, the principle of love, especially love to the Lord. Love is the origin of everything that is good. There were two mountains, to represent the two distinct forms of love, love to the Lord, and love to the neighbor.
And these mountains were formed of brass. Brass is a “base metal,” useful in many ways, but much less valuable than the “precious metals.” Brass represents natural goodness, the good of the natural mind, in the practical life, as distinguished from heavenly good, represented by gold, and spiritual good, symbolized by silver. Thus, the two mountains of brass represent natural goodness, goodness in the natural life, as relating to love to the Lord, and love to the neighbor. And the fact that the chariots came forth from between these two mountains of brass, means that the doctrines sent out from the Lord were on the mental plane of natural goodness, such goodness as the natural man could use, in his love of God and of the neighbor.
As the streams of water which fertilize the valleys, flow down from the mountains, so all the practical truths of our daily life, which keep our natural conduct in good order, flow down from the mountains of our highest loves, our profoundest desire for union with our Lord, and for the best consociation with our fellow-men. And, to illustrate the fact that all good comes to us from the tops of the mountains, when Moses, as the servant of the Lord, was given the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments of practical life, for the use of all men, he had to go up to the top of the mountain, to receive them. And every regenerating man, when in trial and temptation, and conscious of the need of Divine guidance, sings, with David, “I will lift up mine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh my help. My help is from Jehovah, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm cxxi. 1, 2.)
The chariots were drawn by horses. The horse represents man’s intellectual principle, the understanding, especially man’s understanding of the Divine Word.. In Ezekiel xxxix. 17, 20, it is said, “Thou son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovih: Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to My sacrifice, that I do sacrifice for you, upon the mountains of Israel. . . . Ye shall be filled at My table with horses and chariots, with mighty men and all men of war.” And a similar feast is proclaimed in Revelation xix. All these things symbolize a spiritual feast, in the truths and doctrines, etc., in the Word of the Lord.
In our text the chariots, drawn by horses, represent the doctrines of the church, carried along in man’s understanding, and by his knowledge of the Divine Word, by each mind according to the quality of its understanding.
The different conditions and qualities of human understanding are represented by the different colors of the horses, red, black, white, gray, and bay. Red is the color of love and of goodness, for goodness is love applied in action. A red horse represents the quality or character of the understanding, as to love, or goodness. And as the chariot drawn by red horses was sent out first,. it represents the condition of the mind at the beginning of the formation of the New Church, because . the degree and quality of the truth, in the doctrines proclaimed, is always such as is adapted to the states of the men who are to he helped by it. The Divine Truth is in all degrees, and it reaches all planes of the human mind. And so the Divine Word contains truth on every plane, and in every degree. But, in each particular case, the truth which reaches the man is that phase, or degree, of truth, which is on the level of the man’s present mental openness. For this reason, in our text, the chariot with the red horses represents doctrine given to reach men who are in natural goodness and love, but not yet in the knowledge of spiritual truth. For, in general, the New Church will not be formed from the remaining fragments of the First Christian ‘Church, but from the Gentile world; i.e., from those who have not been instructed especially in the doctrines of the First Christian Church, but who are good at heart, and in the simplicity of sincerity.
The black color represents mental darkness, ignorance of truth, such for instance, as is in those minds which look at everything in a literal and external way.
White represents the light of truth, and also purity, which is clean. The white horses represent the understanding of the Divine Word, when the mind has acquired some knowledge of truth, which shines in the understanding. In Revelation xix. 11, 13 ,14, it is said, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True: and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. . . . And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him, upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Grizzled, or gray, is a mixture of white and black, And the grizzled horses represent a state of understanding in which there are some truths known, together with some ignorance, and obscurity as to knowledge.
BAY, OR STRONG.
Bay horses were also seen. The Hebrew word here translated bay, means “deep red.” And it is the term often used for “strong,” as if a strong person would have a deep red color, rather than a pale color. The American Revised Version of the Scriptures gives the word as “strong.” “Bay” is defined to be reddish-brown, chestnut-color. As there is no other text in the Scriptures in which the same Hebrew word is used in the sense of color, we cannot gain any idea of it by comparison. The word is used in other texts, but with the meaning of “strong;” as, for instance, in Psalm xviii. 17, speaking of the Lord; ” He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me; for they were too strong for me.”
The idea of the color seems to be that of reddish-brown, a vigorous, healthy color. And the general idea is that of strength. And this idea is in agreement with the representative meaning. The bay (or strong) horses represent a state of the human understanding in which there is sufficient knowledge to enable the man to resist evils and falsities; and thus to be strong in the power of truth.
The different colors of the horses resemble similar things mentioned in Zechariah, and in the Revelation.
FOUR SPIRITS, OR WINDS.
When the prophet asked, concerning the horses and chariots, “What are these?” the angel replied, “These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” In the American Revised Version of the Scriptures it is said, “‘These are the four winds.” In, both the Hebrew and the Greek, the same word stands for wind, breath, and spirit, And so, at times, the exact sense is difficult to know. In either case, these horses would represent the Divine influence going out to men, in their different mental conditions, each according to his present mental needs; for it is said that these horses go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth; i.e., the God of all the church, in all its parts. In Psalm civ. 3, it is said of the Lord, “Who maketh the clouds His chariot; who walketh upon the wings of the wind.”
The literal idea refers to the four quarters of the earth; i.e., the four points of the compass. But the spiritual meaning relates to the fourfold influence of the Lord, going out to men, to reach each man on his own level of thought and life. For this reason there were four sides to the holy city, seen by John, in vision, and representing the New Church, which is descending from heaven, into the minds of men, according to their several capacity to receive such a Church. Jesus plainly told the Jews that they were excluding themselves from the kingdom of heaven by their evil character, but that the church would be formed from the Gentiles: “And they shall come from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South, and shall sit down in the kingdom ‘of God.” (Luke xiii. 29.) And, in John’s vision, the horses of different colors came into view “when the Lamb opened the seals” of the great Book, which was the Word of God, whose seals were opened by the Lamb, when the Lord revealed the inward and spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, and sent out its spiritual truths, to reach all men who were willing to receive such truth, in any of its phases.
THE SPIRITUAL QUARTERS.
In a general sense, the East, where the sun appears to rise, represents the Lord, because the sun represents Him. But, specifically, as referring to men, the East represents love to the Lord, and the goodness which such love forms in the man’s heart. A man is said to dwell in the East, spiritually, when he lives in spiritual love to the Lord. The West, opposite to the East, represents a state of love which is natural and external, rather than spiritual and internal. The South, where the sun is at noon, when its light is greatest, represents the light of spiritual intelligence. And the North, opposite to the South, represents a state of natural-minded intelligence, holding natural truth rather than spiritual truth, i.e., such phases of truth as are seen from the standpoint of the natural mind. Comparatively, the North and West represent such truth and love as are seen in the letter of the Scriptures, while the South and East represent such truth and love as are seen in the spiritual sense of the Divine Word.
The text assigns different colored horses to go in different directions. The black horses went to the North country, at first; and, afterwards, the white horses followed after them. The North represents the colder and darker state of mind, in which the man is in natural loves, and is in obscure light as to truth. And, as black represents a similar condition of mind, it is adapted to the spiritual North. The going of these black horses to the North represents the introduction of the letter of the Divine Word to the well-disposed but ignorant Gentiles, who were to be brought into the New Church, finally. And this was to be brought about, later, by the greater light of truth sent to them, when they should be ready to receive it; and which is represented by the white horses following after the black horses. Thus, after these Gentiles had received the letter of the Divine Word, and had conformed their conduct to its literal laws, they would be ready to have their minds opened to higher forms of the truth, applicable to their mental states, as well as to their bodily conduct.
The grizzled (or gray) horses went to the South country, as they represented a state of mind in much more light, of truth than the black horses represented; and they could communicate to the Gentiles intellectual knowledge and understanding of truth.
The bay (or strong) horses requested to be allowed “to walk to and fro through the earth;” that is, to have a wide range for their influence. In one sense, the earth represents the natural mind in man, as distinguished from his mental heaven, or spiritual mind. And, in this sense, to walk to and fro through the earth, is to carry the Divine Truth to the natural mind, with such strength of purpose as to enable the man to resist and overcome his natural tendencies to evil, in the light of the Divine Truth, and by its strength, and in the name of the Lord, and in the acknowledgment that His strength produces the change in the man, from sensuous to spiritual conditions.
QUIET MY SPIRIT.
The text ends with the peculiar expression, “Behold, these that go toward the North country have quieted My Spirit in the North country,” or, literally, “have caused My Spirit to rest in the North country.” The idea is not that anything could be done by the horses and chariots which would make any difference in the Spirit of the Lord, as He is in Himself; but the condition mentioned means a state of mind induced upon men, in their attitude towards the Spirit of the Lord. Representatively, the Spirit of the Lord rests, and is quieted, when men no longer strive against the Lord’s Spirit, working in them for their regeneration. The Lord rests in the heart of a regenerate man, whose mutual love affords a resting-place for the Divine Love. The Sabbath rest, after the creation of the universe, was not for the recuperation of a tired Creator, but it represented a spiritual condition of human regeneration, in which the Lord, could rest in peace and love, in the man’s heart. “Jehovah, thy God, in the midst of thee, is mighty: He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy;· He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with- singing.” (Zephaniah iii. 17.) And, in this state, there is mutual love, and the man rests in the Lord. “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for Jehovah hath dealt bountifully with thee.” (Psalm cxvi. 7.)
These conditions were to be brought about “in the North country;” i.e., among the Gentiles, who had been in ignorance, and without the Word of the Lord; but of whom the New Church shall be formed, by means of the Divine Word, first in its letter, and afterwards in its spiritual meaning, also. Little by little, our Lord is building His New Jerusalem, for the permanent Church, in heaven and on earth, various, perhaps, in forms, but one in love and truth. “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities : thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Jehovah shall be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams, . . . For Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our law-giver, Jehovah is our king: He will save us.” (Isaiah xxxiii. 20-22.)
Author: Edward Craig Mitchell 1903