Last week, the first part of this reflection ended with a tiny piece of Zechariah’s prophecy noted in Luke 1 v 69.
“…and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.”
This week I intend to explain Old Testament (OT) meanings and their exemplary representations of Jesus relating to Luke’s verse.
As a growing Christian, I don’t typically pull one Bible verse to produce an example because as noted in a previous blog, I approach the Bible culturally, historically, and contextually. My efforts as a student have always been to speak upon the Bible’s truth and not on what I believe, it is saying. In most cases, this approach takes loads of research, study, and tons of cotton-ball-stuffed ears to get at God’s certainty.
The horn translated in the OT is not significant of an animal per se, but it refers to the tabernacle. This word in Hebrew is qeren. Dr. Clayton J. Williams wrote, “In priestly service and the worshipping life of Israel, the altar horns were indelibly associated with the provision of atonement through the shedding of blood. They held no small place in the ritual symbolism of God’s forgiveness that would be fulfilled by Christ (pg. 5). Dr. Clayton continued to say that perhaps this is the reason so many in the OT held on to the horns of the altar while fearing for their lives.
In the OT, the horn was a symbol of power and strength. Highlights of the horn are shown in Ex. 30 vv. 2-3. First Samuel 2 v 10, Ps. 18 vv. 2-3; 132 v 17; and 148 v 18 in addition, refer to these symbols. Some theologians note that the two axes of the cross symbolize horns. Leviticus 16 v 18 shows us that the blood of goats was likewise placed on the horns of the altar! We see also in Lev. 4 v 7 that the blood of bulls was also used!
Yet, no matter how much the priests of the OT sought after redemption, redemptive salvation only came through Jesus Christ (Heb. 10 vv. 1-14). Jesus is our “horn of salvation” who God raised (Luke 1 v 69). Many in the OT wanted salvation to come. They pleaded for mercy while holding on to the horns of the altar (e.g., Ex. 21 v 12; 27 v 2; 29 v 12; 1 Kings 1 v 51). But God’s mercy and grace come to us in Christ alone.
Dear reader and friend, no matter your pace in coming to know Christ, make every effort to discover symbols and designs of Him located in the Old Covenant replicated and fulfilled in the New. I don’t know about you, but when I discover the many layers of the Bible, which show me, Christ, I want more of Him in my life. And I want to be better!
On holding an intellectual reach for understanding God’s words, the great apologist C.S. Lewis stated:
“On this view, the thing has happened: the new step has been taken and is being taken. Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth. Some, as I have admitted, are still hardly recognisable: but others can be recognised. Every now and then, one meets them. Their voices and faces are different from others: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are I say, recognisable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of ‘religious people’ which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do but need you less” (pg. 223).
When we truly get God’s teachings, changes in us are evident. However, it is impossible to understand His meanings when we live from make-belief viewpoints or when we take shortcuts. I’ve used a plethora of verses this week to validate my stances. I’ve also included a few quotes to support my perspectives. However, it is up to you to see God’s lessons of the OT and how they apply to His son Jesus Christ and the love He gives us. The OT prepares us repeatedly and consistently as it leads us to Christ. As I’ve said before, the entire Bible teaches us of no one else!
We end for now, but I am quite sure the lessons of who Christ is do not stop here. I want more of Him in my life. And I eagerly await to share with you as I continue to discover more of His glory and representations in my life. A good Bible expositor, likewise, helps me in this process, too.
“To take hold of Him alone by faith alone is to find peace with God and the forgiveness of sin.” (Dr. Clayton J. Williams, Pg. 6).
But recognize this, when God forgives, He wants us to learn how to maneuver through this forgiveness (1 John v 9). More on this later.
In His great love, we grow together, inside, and out!
Lewis, C.S. (1952). Mere Christianity. Harper Collins: San Francisco
Williams, C.J. (2022). Horn of salvation. Table Talk Magazine, 46(8). Pgs. 5-6.
All written Bible verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishing