18 Then I looked up, and there before me were four horns. 19 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?” He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” 20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I asked, “What are these coming to do?” He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.” ~ Zechariah 1:18-21
In our last blog and podcast, we discussed the first vision in this first chapter of Zechariah which was the vision of the rider on the red horse among the myrtle trees. The myrtle trees were an illustration of Israel's humiliation. God uses the weak things of this world to dumbfound the strong and the foolish of this world to shame the wise. Israel has always been small and seemingly defenseless. And, even though many down through the years have wanted to snuff her out, she still remains.
Christ appears in the midst of the myrtle trees. And, the pictures is of the Angel of the Lord coming in defense of Israel. And, in our last blog and podcast, we saw that it wasn’t long after that vision, only four years, until the city began to be rebuilt and the temple was built. And 80 years later, the walls were built, and the prophesy came to pass. The rider on the red horse, the Angel of the Lord, miraculously reestablished Israel in the land.
God was comforting His people with the knowledge that they would be in the place of victory again, that they would be back as a nation with their temple, and with their city, and with their wall.
We also noted that there will be a future fulfillment of this prophesy, that there will come a day when the Angel of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, will come and once and for all finally establish Israel in the land in His millennial kingdom. And, they will reign with Christ as He will sit on the throne of David on Mount Zion.
In v.18-19 of today's text we read, "18 Then I looked up, and there before me were four horns. 19 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?” He answered me, 'These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem."'
Now, as we come to this second vision, these two verses set the stage for that which God will do. The Lord Jesus told us in Luke 21:24, that "Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles was fulfilled." In that context, Jerusalem is representative of all the land that God gave the Jews in the covenant promise, all the way from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea and all the north and south area as well. And all of that land will not belong to the Jews until the times of the Gentiles has ended, and Christ returns a second time to this earth.
In v.18 in today's text there are two elements in the vision: four horns and four craftsmen. These four horns were rams horns. The Hebrew word used means a horn for blowing. These horns were a symbol of power. And so, when Zechariah lifts up his eyes, he sees four symbols of power.
In Daniel 7:24 we read, "Ten horns of the kingdom are ten kings that shall arise." We can see here that the horns are used in Daniel’s prophesy to refer to Gentile kings. Gentile kings who are representative of Gentile nations.
In v.20-21 of today's text we read, "20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I asked, 'What are these coming to do?' He answered, 'These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people."'
So, these horns in today's text are Gentile kings associated with their kingdoms. And, when Zechariah looks up, he sees in this vision four Gentile kings and their kingdoms. And in v.19, God begins to give explanation of these kingdoms. And he said, "These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem."
According to Daniel 2,7,8, these four kingdoms are: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. And after their kingdoms come to an end will come Israel’s kingdom. By the time God brings along Zechariah, the Babylonian kingdom had ended, and the Medes and the Persians had taken over.
Now, the word "craftsmen" in v.20 can also be translated stonemasons, and stonemasons use hammers to break up stones. And, for every horn, there’s a hammer to smash it. For every one of these world empires, there is a crusher. God is saying, "Every nation that rises against Israel, will be crushed by the Lord."
History clearly reveals that the Babylonians were hammered by the Medes and the Persians. Then the Medes and the Persians were hammered by the Greeks under the rule of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. Then, in the second century B.C., the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks.
History proves the prophecies of the God of the Bible are true. And, in the end, we will see that God has always run history. In addition, God cares for and protects His people. And, we know history will consummate in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This leads us to the most important question any of us will ever be asked: Where will you be when it all ends?
God promises in Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." I trust you have invited Him into your life so that He will be in the position to invite you into His kingdom.