6:1-8 This vision may represent the ways of Providence in the government of this lower world. Whatever the providences of God about us are, as to public or private affairs, we should see them all as coming from between the mountains of brass, the immoveable counsels and decrees of God; and therefore reckon it as much our folly to quarrel with them, as it is our duty to submit to them. His providences move swiftly and strongly as chariots, but all are directed and governed by his infinite wisdom and sovereign will. The red horses signify war and bloodshed. The black, signify the dismal consequences of war, famines, pestilences, and desolations. The white, signify the return of comfort, peace, and prosperity. The mixed colour, signify events of different complexions, a day of prosperity and a day of adversity. The angels go forth as messengers of God's counsels, and ministers of his justice and mercy. And the secret motions and impulses upon the spirits of men, by which the designs of Providence are carried on, are these four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from God, and fulfil what the God of the spirits of all flesh appoints. All the events which take place in the world spring from the unchangeable counsels of the Lord, which are formed in unerring wisdom, perfect justice, truth, and goodness; and from history it is found that events happened about the period when this vision was sent to the prophet, which seem referred to therein.
Zec 6:1-8. Eighth Vision. The Four Chariots.
1. four chariots—symbolizing the various dispensations of Providence towards the Gentile nations which had been more or less brought into contact with Judea; especially in punishing Babylon. Compare Zec 6:8 ("the north country," that is, Babylon); Zec 1:15; 2:6. The number "four" is specified not merely in reference to the four quarters of the horizon (implying universal judgments), but in allusion to the four world kingdoms of Daniel.
from between two mountains—the valley of Jehoshaphat, between Moriah and Mount Olivet [Moore]; or the valley between Zion and Moriah, where the Lord is (Zec 2:10), and whence He sends forth His ministers of judgment on the heathen [Maurer]. The temple on Mount Moriah is the symbol of the theocracy; hence the nearest spot accessible to chariots in the valley below is the most suitable for a vision affecting Judah in relation to the Gentile world powers. The chariot is the symbol of war, and so of judgments.
of brass—the metal among the ancients representing hard solidity; so the immovable and resistless firmness of God's people (compare Jer 1:18). Calvin explains the "two mountains" thus: The secret purpose of God from eternity does not come forth to view before the execution, but is hidden and kept back irresistibly till the fit time, as it were between lofty mountains; the chariots are the various changes wrought in nations, which, as swift heralds, announce to us what before we knew not. The "two" may thus correspond to the number of the "olive trees" (Zec 4:3); the allusion to the "two mountains" near the temple is not necessarily excluded in this view. Henderson explains them to be the Medo-Persian kingdom, represented by the "two horns" (Da 8:3, 4), now employed to execute God's purpose in punishing the nations; but the prophecy reaches far beyond those times.