Zechariah 6:5

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.

And the angel answered and said unto me,.... In order to grant him his request, and explain the vision of the chariots:

These are the four spirits of the heavens; or, "the four winds of the heavens"; the apostles and ministers of the Gospel may be compared to "the winds", because their ministry is the ministration of the Spirit, which is like wind that blows invisibly, powerfully, and where it listeth; and because in and by it the Spirit breathes life and comfort into the souls of men; and because of the powerful efficacy and penetrating nature of the word preached by them, and their swiftness and readiness to do the will of God: angels are called "spirits" or "winds", Ps 104:3 they are created spirits, and so differ from God; are incorporeal ones, and so differ from men; and are immaterial and immortal, and so die not: they are spiritual subsistences, and spirits of the heavens, or heavenly spirits; heaven being the place of their abode and residence; and they may be compared to "winds", for their invisibility, wonderful penetration into places and things, their very great swiftness, and prodigious power and strength. The Targum paraphrases the words thus,

"these are the four kingdoms, which are as the winds of heaven;''

and so the same are signified by the four winds in Daniel 7:2 to which they may be compared for their swift and forcible carrying all before them, and for their fickleness and changeableness; and to which, the several parts of the world, into which they went, agree:

which go forth, from standing before the Lord of all the earth: so the apostles of Christ, and ministers of the Gospel, stood before him in his eternal purposes and decrees from everlasting; and went forth, having their commission from him in time; and were sent by him into the several parts of the world he is the Lord of; and by whom they were filled with gifts, grace, and courage, fitting them for their work. Angels also stand before him, ministering unto him; always behold him; are in his presence, and enjoy his favour; and go forth from him, being sent forth by him on various accounts into all the parts of the world; which Jehovah is the Creator, Upholder, and Governor of: moreover, this is applicable to the four monarchies; these stood before the Lord in his vast and infinite mind; in the secret decrees of it, before the world was; and the sending and going forth of them from him show that they were powers ordained of God, who has the government of the whole world in his hands.