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The Horns and the Tradesmen – Zechariah 1:18-21


The Horns and the Tradesmen!

Text: Zechariah 1:18-21

In chapter 1:18-21, we have Zechariah’s second vision. Four horns appear, symbolising the various enemies of God, following which four craftsmen appear to dehorn their bearers!


Four Smiths

1.  The Four Scatterers!

This vision builds on the previous vision, where God exposed his anger over what other nations had been doing to His people, Israel. Zech. 1:15  Now, we see these oppressors described:-

  1. The Arrogance of the Oppressors! Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. The first thing that we can see here is that these people are described as HORNS.
    1. The horn symbolises STRENGTH! The horn is a symbol of great strength. Psalm 75:4-5
    2. The Position of the horn is significant. Sometimes the Bible speaks of a horn as being LIFTED UP. To lift up the horn is a symbol of victory. 1 Samuel 2:1 Job 16:15
    3. The Strength of God is also described as a Horn. Naturally, because God is all-powerful (omnipotent), He is described in the Bible as being the Horn of Israel – the strength of His people. 2 Samuel 22:3
  2. The Amount of the Oppressors! There are four of these horns. Immediately, with Zechariah, we must ask why! And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? Do you see here, that Zechariah has a great attitude! He is very teachable.   John 16:13  
    1. Specific or subsequent Nations? Are they the nations of the day, those nations which surround the city of Jerusalem and which are being obstructive in the rebuilding of the new temple? Some people will want to compare these four horns with the four beasts of the vision of Daniel. Daniel 7:7  
    2. A Symbolic Representation of All Gods Enemies? The fact that there are four of these ‘horns’ suggests to most commentators that they are symbolic of the totality of the enemies of God’s people. There are four cardinal points of the compass, and the enemies of God and His truth come from all directions!   This is a totality of opposition.
  3. The Aim of the Oppressors! These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. This is an oppression that will be common to the whole of God’s people! To Israel at large, to Judah, and to Jerusalem! The result of such oppression is to scatter the people of God. Jeremiah 23:1

So, we have four horns, the totality of the enemies of God, raised up and proud and belligerent, and consumed with a passion to destroy the work of God through scattering His true people! But wait…

2. The Four Avengers! And he answered me And the Lord shewed me four carpenters.

God will raise up four ‘carpenters’ to dehorn these four ‘scatterers!’   He will raise up those who will take away their pride and their belligerence!

  1. The Description that is given. These men are ‘’ The Hebrew is the same as the word SMITH. Cf 1 Samuel 13:19 God always supplies ‘smiths,’ skilled craftsmen, for to work in the building up of His church today!
  2. The Work that they do! Let us see then what these smiths will achieve… (Amp) Then said I, What are these [horns and smiths] coming to do?There is a comparison being made:-
    1. They will address the SCATTERING of the Lords people! These are the horns which have scattered Judah. The person charged with being a craftsman, a smith in God’s house, will be a gatherer of God’s people.   .
    2. They will reverse the DOWNCASTING of Gods people! so that no man did lift up his head The smiths will be great encouragers in God’s house.     But the cry of the encourager of God’s people will be lift up your heads!
    3. They will bring great fear to the Lords Enemies! but these are come to fray them, The Amplified reads, These smiths or workmen have come to terrorize them and cause them to be panic-stricken. These smiths bring terror to the enemies of God!
    4. They will THWART THE PURPOSES of the Oppressors! to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.. The whole desire and motivation of these ‘smiths’ will be to cast out the power of the Devil from within the church

What about us? Am I a ‘scatterer’ or am I one of God’s ‘craftsmen’ raised up by Him to quietly build up His church through prayer and encouragement of other believers? Finally, a general, overall assessment of the passage. We see:-

3. Gods Response to Our Enemies!

This passage is not too difficult to understand. There are major lessons to be learned from it:-

  1. For every enemy that the devil raises up against Gods people, God has an answer already in place! The matching numbers of ‘scatterers’ and ‘avengers’ is highly significant. Amp:- Then the Lord showed me four smiths or workmen. [one for each enemy horn, to beat it down]. For every barb, every temptation, every doubt, every spiritual weakness, God has already ordained an answer! 1 Cor. 10:13
  2. God is SOVEREIGN! The Nations are in His Hands! His purpose will always prevail!   Daniel 4:35    
  3. Often the very answer to the problems of the church is for God’s own people to exercise an upbuilding ministry in the church!
  4. Zechariah realised the Sovereignty of God when he LOOKED UP! See how Zechariah began this passage, this vision. He learned these great truths when He lifted up His eyes! Psalm 108:12,  

© BobMcEvoy May 2019

From → Zechariah

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