“When I lifted up my eyes and looked, behold, there were four horns. So I said to the angel who was speaking with me, ‘What are these?’ And 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?’ He said, ‘These are the horns that have scattered Judah so that no man lifts up his head, but these craftsmen have come to terrify them, to throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter it.'”
Through the PREPPU platform, I am grateful to share a message for the third time today.
In the first message, we discussed a story from the Book of Jonah, emphasizing that God cares for the souls of those returning to Japan.
In the second message, we explored the question, “What can we do for returnees?” Drawing from Luke 11, we learned that even if we cannot provide the necessary bread for the traveler, we can ask a friend for bread, highlighting the power of intercessory prayer.
Today’s third message is titled “The House of Prayer Breaks the Horns.” In the Bible, the term “horns” symbolizes power. For many saved Japanese returning home, the challenge is not just the lack of necessities but the various difficulties they face upon return. Sinister forces work to prevent them from leading a life of faith, causing many to drift away from the church.
So, what can we do? Today, let’s turn to the book of Zechariah for guidance.
Israel, once held captive in Babylon due to their departure from God, repented in Babylon and turned back to faith. Through God’s miraculous guidance, they were able to return to Israel. Joyfully arriving in Jerusalem, they began reconstructing the temple, intending to center their lives around worship.
However, obstacles arose. The Samaritans, neighboring Israel, envied their new beginning and sought to hinder the reconstruction. Through threats and deceit, they tried to obstruct the rebuilding of the temple.
As a result, the people’s spirits waned, and the flame that should have burned bright dwindled. Facing difficulties upon their return, they were unable to engage in worship. To encourage the desolate Israel, God sent the prophet Zechariah, who presented visions.
One of these visions, the one opened today, depicts the scene of four horns, representing the threatening powers of Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Persia—the nations that posed a threat to Israel. The horns symbolize various forces that surrounded Israel, posing a threat to God’s people.
When we think of animals with horns, we may imagine deer, rhinos, or goats. When these animals fight, what do they use? Their “horns.” Thus, in the Bible, the term “horns” is used to symbolize a formidable power.
As those rebuilding the temple faced hindrances, horns approached from the north, south, west, and east. Forces opposed to the temple construction exerted pressure on those starting the work.
Similarly, in the journey of faith in Japan, various forces often hinder progress through worries, temptations, trials, and persecutions. In such times, what should one do? Should they rely on military strength, as Israel did in the past? Or should they seek help from a reliable kingdom?
No, that’s not the solution. God showed Zechariah a vision of four craftsmen breaking the horns in a way that was not accomplished by warriors or kings but by craftsmen.
It was the hammer wielded by these craftsmen that could break the horns. Upon waking from the dream, Zechariah likely heard the sounds of construction continuing outside his window. Quietly, the voice of God may have reassured him: “Do not be afraid; just build the temple.” Above all, build the “house of prayer.” This is the key to breaking every horn. God, through the vision, had already shown the victory.
In Israel, there were craftsmen building the temple to break every opposing horn. Therefore, prayer could be offered.
For EC, who are the builders of the “house of prayer”? It is us, isn’t it? So, let us, as God’s craftsmen, pray for the scattering of the souls returning to Japan, breaking every horn that seeks to hinder them.