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Animal horns, especially the curled horns of a ram, were used as trumpets.


God instructed Joshua concerning the battle against the fortified city of Jericho: “I have handed Jericho, its king, and its best soldiers over to you. March around the city with all the men of war, circling the city one time. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s-horn trumpets in front of the ark. But on the seventh day, march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the rams’ horns. When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the troops give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the troops will advance, each man straight ahead” (Joshua 6:2–5). Can you imagine the sound of trumpets blaring and blasting over the roar of God’s advancing army?


A trumpet, called a shofar in the Hebrew language, was used to sound an alarm or to call countrymen to attention. God declared, “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the residents of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; in fact, it is near—a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and total darkness, like the dawn spreading over the mountains; a great and strong people appears, such as never existed in ages past and never will again in all the generations to come” (Joel 2:1–2).


God established a fall festival called Rosh Hashanah or Feast of Trumpets. “You are to hold a sacred assembly in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, and you are not to do any daily work. This will be a day of trumpet blasts for you” (Numbers 29:1). This holy day foreshadowed the rapture of the church when Jesus “will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God … then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17).


Before the era of modern artillery and powerful mechanization, an oxen’s horn was the symbol of power. These giant beasts were the most powerful of the subjugated creatures. Harnessed into their yokes, an oxen could pull a plow or a heavy wagon with relative ease. Provoked, an oxen could gore its adversary with the devastating and deadly force of its piercing horns.


The horn symbolized power like the Nike swish symbolizes speed and agility. I suppose it was with this in mind that God instructed Moses to adorn the altar with horns at each of its four corners. “You are to construct the altar of acacia wood. The altar must be square, 7 ½ feet long, and 7 ½ feet wide; it must be 4 ½ feet high. Make horns for it on its four corners; the horns are to be of one piece. Overlay it with bronze” (Exodus 27:1–2). Likewise, the golden altar located in the Tabernacle’s Holy Place, set just before the Veil, was also adorned with four horns. “You are to make an altar for the burning of incense; make it of acacia wood. It must be square, eighteen inches long and eighteen inches wide; it must be thirty-six inches high. Its horns must be of one piece with it. Overlay its top, all around its sides, and its horns with pure gold; make a gold molding all around it” (Exodus 30:1–3). 


Interestingly, David, the Psalmist, used a horn to symbolize the Almighty. “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation” (Psalm 18:1–2, see also 2 Samuel 22:2-3). Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, also used this terminology. “Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and provided redemption for his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us … salvation from our enemies”(Luke 1:68–71).


Jesus has lots of names… He’s the “Horn of Salvation.”



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