Anyone who has watched the Professional Bull Riders riding bulls will understand the power of the horns on those bulls. They can cause terrible damage to a cowboy, even kill him. There have been a few cowboys and a few of the “Bullfighters” (were called Rodeo clowns) who have been gored by those bulls and their horns.
On many farms which have raised horned cattle, there has been the annual roundup for de-lousing, vaccination, castration of bull calves, and dehorning of the calves as well. I can remember a couple of different dehorning tools used. There was one pair which was really large and could dehorn a larger animal, then, there was a smaller set used for smaller animals. Either one used was usually a bloody mess, and had to be done just right, in order to keep the horns from growing back.
I mention these things to illustrate the power of the horn. Most of the time when we see the horn mentioned it is a symbol of power, and refers to a king or kingdom. There is a reference in Scripture even to “The horns of the altar” (Leviticus 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34; 1 Kings 1:50-51; 2:28; Psalm 118:27; Jeremiah 17:1; Amos 3:14) , which of course would be speaking of grasping hold of God.
In the prophet Zechariah’s vision he sees four horns:
“Then I raised my eyes and I looked, and there were four horns. 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.’ Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. 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.’” Zechariah 1:18-21 (NKJV).
As you can see there are four horns, thus representing four nations, and the nations to which Daniel the prophet refers to in Daniel 7 which are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and all of them were the enemy of Israel, and oppressed them. These kingdoms were Gentile nations, and God used each of them to judge Israel, Judah and Jerusalem. However, they were often treated with disdain, hatred, and as though they were unworthy of life. Because of the way these nations treated them while they had them in captivity they [these nations] would be judged harshly by God.
The four nations were used to judge Israel, they were taken from their homeland, and they were gone for 70 years of judgment.
There are also “Four Craftsmen” whose work it is to cast out the horns. These “Craftsmen” are probably likened to the stone masons, metal workers and carpenters. Each one has a hammer. The hammer of the stone mason is used to chip away at the stone in order to form the object desired or just simply remove a large formerly immovable stone. The hammer of the metal worker is used to beat and form the metal to form objects. The hammer of the woodworker is used for building things of wood. The craftsmen are used to drive each of these horns into oblivion. In the writings of the prophet Jeremiah he uses the picture of a hammer, “Is not my word like a fire’ says the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). It is for the purpose, that each nation might know, that there is a God in heaven who oversees and directs the affairs of men.
When there is arrogance in the hearts of God’s children He will send oppressors to humble us before Him. It is better that we humble ourselves before Him never forgetting that it is God, and God alone who has blessed us, saved us, and by Him He will be glorified through us.
One thing by these verses we can be sure of and that is this. God will not allow nations to mistreat His people, except that He will destroy them when they do. God works in His people’s lives to accomplish His purposes, His will and His own glory.
-Tim A. Blankenship