And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked
When he saw another vision, as follows: and, behold, there came four chariots;
by which are meant, not the four Gospels; rather the apostles of Christ, who had their commission from Christ; were sent into all the world by him, and carried his name and Gospel thither; were the instruments Christ made use of in bringing many souls to him, and into his church, and for the defence of his Gospel, and of his interest; and were military chariots, who fought the good fight of faith; and triumphal ones, who were made to triumph in Christ, being more than conquerors through him; though others think angels are here meant, the chariots of the Lord, ( Psalms 68:17 ) since they are called the four spirits of the heavens; and are said to go forth from standing before the Lord of the earth, and are sent by him into each of the parts of it, ( Zechariah 6:5 Zechariah 6:7 ) and are represented by horses of various colours, as in ( Zechariah 1:8 ) these may be signified by chariots, for their glory, strength, and swiftness, in which Jehovah rides about the world, and executes his will; and are made use of for the destruction of the church's enemies, and for its protection and defence. The Jewish writers, after the Targum, generally interpret them of the four monarchies, the Persian, Grecian, and Roman, by whom were done the will of God in the world; and seem to be greatly the design of the vision: these came out from between two mountains: and the mountains were
mountains of brass;
such in which this metal is found, as in Chalcis, where it is said to be first found F15; and from thence it has its name in the Greek tongue; or in the island of Cyprus, from whence it may be is the name of copper; and such mountains were in Judea, Idumea, and Arabia, formerly; as Carmel, according to Hesychius F16; and Phinon in Idumea; and some mountains in Arabia, about eleven miles from Horeb, which, Jerom says F17, formerly abounded with veins of gold and brass: these may intend the decrees and purposes of God, which, like "mountains", are very ancient, earlier than the everlasting hills, high and deep, not to be reached and searched into; are dark, obscure, and hidden to men, till made known; and are firm, solid, and immovable, and are lasting and durable; and, like mountains of "brass", are never to be broken in pieces, revoked, made null and void; for they stand upon the unalterable will of God, upon the basis of infallible wisdom; are supported by uncontrollable power, and can not be disannulled by all the men on earth, and devils in hell: and, according to these fixed and immutable decrees, the said monarchies in succession have took place in the world; unless rather it should be thought, that by these mountains of brass are designed the power and providence of God, by which the several people that first founded those empires were restrained for a while from going forth to make war upon others, and subdue their kingdoms; until the time was come, it was the will of God they should. The allusion may be to race horses in chariots, formerly used for such exercises, which were held within the circus or bars, till the sign was given when they should start: in like manner these nations were kept within bounds for a while, just as the four angels were bound by the providence of God at the river Euphrates, until they were loosed; which signify the Saracens, and their numerous army of horsemen under their four leaders, who were restrained from overrunning the "eastern" empire of the Romans, until it was the pleasure of God to loose them, and give them liberty, ( Revelation 9:14-16 ) . Grotius understands this literally of the straits of Cilicia, and the vastness of the mountains there, through which the Babylonians and Persians, Alexander and his generals, used to pass into Syria, Judea, and Egypt; but rather these visionary chariots seemed to steer their course through a valley, which lay between two mountains, whereby they escaped the difficulties that lay in their way by the mountains; and may denote the low estate of these monarchies in their original, and the difficulties they grappled with, and got over, before they rose to the grandeur they did. Some interpret the two mountains of brass of the kingdom of Israel, after the Babylonish captivity, and the kingdom of the Messiah; and the four chariots, of the four kingdoms, in this order; the Persian, the Grecian, that of the Lagidae and Seleucidae, and the Roman, which is in course last; but was seen first by the prophet, because utter destruction was brought upon Israel by it F18: according to this interpretation, the red horses are the Romans; and the other, the above mentioned. So Cocceius is of opinion that the two mountains are two powerful and unshaken kingdoms, set up by God; or rather two manifestations of the same kingdom; the one the kingdom of the house of David; the other the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual, but as to the effect earthly, in the subjection of all nations to it, ( Daniel 7:22 Daniel 7:27 ) the kingdom of the house of David, as to the external form, is abolished, but notwithstanding remains in the root, until it appears in another mountain; and between these two, or in the middle space of time, four kingdoms with their armies would possess the promised land; and he observes, that in ( Daniel 2:35 Daniel 2:45 ) , mention is made of two mountains, and, that these chariots in part agree with the several parts of the image there.
F15 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 12. Vid. l. 7. c. 56. & l. 34. c. 2.
F16 Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 6. col. 886.
F17 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 90. A.
F18 Vid. Gurtler. Voc. Typ. Prophet. Explic. p. 58, 177.