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Read Introduction to Zechariah

 

18 Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns. 19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” So he answered me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 And I said, “What are these coming to do?” So he said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”

 

1:18

Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns.

“Horns” are a symbol of political and military power. As the horns of a ram or ox are powerful, the Gentile governments of the world held exceedingly great power. These governments were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia.

1:19

And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?”

 Zechariah asked the interpreting angel the meaning of the “hour horns.”

So he answered me, “These are the horns that have scattered [dispersed] Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”

The idea of “scattered” here indicates that Gentile nations used their power to scatter Jews across foreign lands into exile ruthlessly. “Judah” was in the southern part of the kingdom with “Jerusalem” as its headquarters. “Israel” refers to the northern kingdom. The “four horns” might be Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia, and Media-Persia.

1:20

Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen.

“Craftsmen” refers to skilled labor in metal, wood, and stone.

1:21

And I said, “What are these coming to do?”

 Zechariah asked the purpose of the four horns.

So he said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah,

The four horns sent Judah into exile. The word “scattered” is intensive—scattered thoroughly (piel stem). The Gentile governments placed the Jews in exile from the Promise Land.

so that no one could lift up his head;

The Jews were put in a place where they had little strength to contend with the Gentile governments of the world. It does not take much force to lift one’s head, but the Jews did not have enough strength for even that.

but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them [Gentile governments],

The craftsmen came to deal with the four horns, Gentile governments. They came to punish Gentile nations that took Israel into exile.

to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter [disperse] it.”

The craftsmen “cast out the horns of the nations,” that is, the Gentile nations that carried Judah into captivity.

PRINCIPLE:

God has His divine agencies to deal with world governments.

APPLICATION:

Although the world’s great powers may be hostile to Christianity, God controls those authorities (Da 2:44; 4:32; Isa 45:1). Nothing can touch the Christian, no government, no authority that our Lord does not permit. God has His particular means of dealing with them just as His four craftsmen dealt with the world government in Israel’s day.

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