“Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began.'”
(Luke 1:67-70)

“…for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us…”

As I’m writing this I keep thinking of the song, Emmanuel. Sing with me…

Emmanuel, Emmanuel.
His Name is called, Emmanuel.
God with us. Revealed in us.
His Name is called Emmanuel.

If we could only grasp the magnitude of the miracle of our Messiah.

Throughout the Old Testament there are occasions of God’s visitation through His Spirit. His Spirit came upon the people at their point of need. (See Exodus 3:16, Exodus 4:31, Genesis 50:24) In today’s passage of Scripture, Zacharias understands that once again, the Spirit of the Lord has visited earth and this time the Redeemer has been revealed. Can you imagine the awe and wonder Zacharias must have experienced as he witnessed God’s faithfulness to His Word? Wow!

Now, verse 69 thrills me. It reads, “…And has raised up a horn of salvation for us…”

Are you ready?

The Hebrew word for horn is qeren (keh-renn) meaning “strength”. This refers to the horn of an animal such as oxen, goats and rams which, in Jewish tradition, symbolizes strength, power and victory. Throughout the Scriptures the word “horn” is used when referring to the strength of Israel, or the strength of a leader.

Why would Jesus be referred to as the “horn of salvation”? There are probably several reasons for this. Certainly Jesus would come as the Strength of Israel and the world, but there is one reason that fascinates me: the use of horns in the Tabernacle.

While wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, God gave instructions for the Tabernacle – His dwelling place among the people. When entering the gate of the Tabernacle, the first object encountered was the Altar of Burnt Offering where the blood sacrifice of animals was made for the atonement of sin. No one could enter the Presence of a Holy God without this sacrifice.

The Altar of Burnt Offering was a huge bronze structure. Extending from each of its four corners were stone outcroppings overlayed with bronze. These outcroppings were in the shape of animal horns. The sacrificial animals were secured to the altar by these horns. After the slaughter, the priest sprinkled blood on each of the horns so that the sinner who provided the animal could be forgiven for his sins. The priest then washed and entered the Holy of Holies on behalf of the sinner.

Scholars believe that the Altar of Burnt Offering is a type of crucifix for Jesus Christ. HE was the perfect Lamb of God – the sacrificial lamb – secured to the cross. Through His blood we are forgiven of our sins. Through His blood we have been made priests that we might enter the Presence of God! (Revelation 1:6)

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us.”

Jesus Christ. The horn of our salvation.
Jesus Christ. God’s perfect plan of Redemption.

And its fulfillment began in a lowly manger.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Lord God, You never cease to amaze me! When I think of all the details You put in place in order to deliver Your children from the throws of sin…incredible. Thank You for going to so much trouble for us. And thank You for revealing these truths to us so that our faith and knowledge might increase. We want to spend this Christmas season with You, Lord. Teach us Your wonderful Word.