“I saw the night and behold, a man riding on a red horse!” –Zechariah 1: 8a
It may seem to be an odd expression to “see the night.” But isn’t this so often the gift that God gives to his servants? We look out into this world and we begin to recognize how dark it really is out there. Even when the sun is shining brightly, if the people of God are suffering, then darkness abounds. It is impossible for the unbeliever to understand this, for their eyes have grown accustomed to the darkness of their sin, but when the eyes of a Christian are opened they will often become overwhelmed by the darkness around us.
This is the same idea, I believe, that Jude is getting at when he speaks of the fallen angels being bound in darkness until final judgment. They are bound, but bound on earth. How is this earth dark? For when you have been in the presence of the Lord of Glory, even the brightest day on earth is but pitch-blackness.
Yet, God does not leave his people to mourn over the darkness alone. Here he sends Zechariah a series of visions. The pre-incarnate Christ has come to him riding on a warhorse, surrounded by angels on warhorses. This is a vision that is a reminder to all of us that though this world might be dark with sin, God is still sovereign over it. God is in command of all things. It is also a reminder that if we look to Revelation 6, we will see the power of these horsemen and the things which they have been doing as they have been at work in the world. These images in Revelation, then, are no demonic horsemen, but angelic heralds of judgment at the beck and command of the Son of God!
Though we oftentimes feel the darkness of the world closing in on us, let us be reminded whose hands we are in. God is in command of the night as well as the day. It is interesting that “Carpe Diem!” is the cry of the secular world. “Seize the day,” indeed! Yet, a life consumed by sin does not know the light of day at all. Our cry as Christians, in a sense, should be “Carpe Noctum!” for it is our job, as Christians, to seize the night, shining the light of Jesus Christ into this sin-darkened world and proclaim the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Not only can we seize the night, but we can also walk confidently in it, knowing that the God we proclaim is the God who is in control of all things.