The Hammering of the Four Horns

The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon was keenly aware of the dangers of pride. After his sermon one Sunday, Spurgeon was met by a woman who exclaimed, “Oh, Mr. Spurgeon, that was wonderful.""Yes, madam,” Spurgeon replied, “the devil whispered that … More


The second vision is divided into two parts: (1) The four horns (vv.18,19); and the four carpenters (vv.20,21) The horns are thought to be the four world powers, spoken of by Daniel, that oppressed Israel which were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The horn is often spoken of in Scripture as the symbol of power and authority, which refers to an animal whose strength is in its horns. In this case it represents the strength of governments which were proud Gentile powers (“horns of the nations,” Zech. 1:21) that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.

The vision is completed when the Lord shows the prophet four carpenters which represented craftsmen or skilled workers. The purpose of these powers is to strike fear into the hearts of the Gentile world powers. These Gentile world powers should not come to a false conclusion that they can operate above the law; for God will cause them to realize that they can only go as far as He intended for them to go and then they will be stopped.

For every horn (vv. 18-19) that comes into existence, God has His carpenter (v.20) who is capable of whittling the horn down to size. The significance of this vision for Israel was that the four carpenters would cut off the four nations that troubled them; so they could get on with the job of building the Temple. It shows how God raises up instruments of judgment to deliver His people Israel from her enemies. The four horns are thought to be the four world powers that oppressed Israel  (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Medo-Persia).


I must be careful to never get to the place where I think that I am something great in myself. The Apostle Paul said, “For by the grace of God I am what I am.”

Zechariah 1:18-21 (English Standard Version)

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