The four blacksmiths (Zech 1:20-1:21)

“Then Yahweh showed me

Four blacksmiths!

I said.

‘What are these coming to do?’

He answered.

‘These are the horns

That scattered Judah.

Thus,

No head could be raised.

But they have come

To terrify them.

They have come

To strike down

The horns

Of the nations

That lifted up

Their horns

Against the land of Judah,

To scatter it.’”

Next Yahweh showed Zechariah 4 blacksmiths.  Of course, Zechariah asked what these blacksmiths were going to do.  The angel that had been talking to Zechariah told him that these blacksmiths had come to scare the 4 horns and strike them down.  Thus, these blacksmiths were agents or angels of Yahweh that had come to protect Judah.  They were going to scatter the other 4 horns, since those horns would be smashed down.

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The great power of the goat decimated (Dan 8:8-8:8)

“Then the male goat

Grew exceedingly great.

But at the height

Of his power,

The great horn

Was broken.

In its place,

There came up

Four prominent horns

Toward the four winds

Of heaven.”

This male goat became exceeding great, Alexander the Great. However, at the height of his power, at the age of 32, he died. Thus, the great horn was broken. Instead of one leader, there were 4 horns or leaders, equivalent to the 4 winds of heaven. These were Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, the successors of Alexander.

The goat attacked the ram (Dan 8:6-8:7)

“The goat came toward

The ram

With the two horns,

That I had seen

Standing

Beside the river.

It ran at him

With a savage force.

I saw it

Approaching

The ram.

The goat was enraged

Against it.

The goat struck

The ram,

Breaking

Its two horns.

The ram

Did not have power

To withstand it.

The goat threw

The ram down

To the ground.

The goat trampled

Upon the ram.

There was no one

Who could rescue

The ram

From its power.”

Next Daniel witnessed the attack of the goat against the ram. The goat was angry, so that it struck the ram, breaking its 2 horns. Here is an indication that Alexander the Great, the goat, had attacked the Persians and Medes, the 2-horned ram. The ram could not recover, as the goat threw the ram to the ground and trampled over it. There was no one there to rescue the ram from the power of this goat.

The last of the ten kingdoms (Dan 7:24-7:26)

“As for the ten horns,

Out of this kingdom,

Ten kings shall arise.

Another shall arise after them.

This one shall

Be different

From the former ones.

He shall put down

Three kings.

He shall speak words

Against the Most High.

He shall wear out

The holy ones

Of the Most High.

He shall attempt

To change

The sacred seasons.

He shall attempt

To change the law.

They shall be given

Into his power

For a time,

Two times,

Half a time.

Then the court shall sit

In judgment.

His dominion shall be

Taken away,

To be consumed,

To be totally destroyed

To the end.”

Next, he explained that the 10 horns on the beast were the 10 Greek kings that succeeded Alexander the Great in his kingdom. However, there was a vehemence against the little horn king that overthrew the 3 kings. This was, of course, a reference to the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), who was different from the other Greek rulers. He spoke openly against the Most High God. He wore out God’s holy ones. He attempted to change the holy seasons and do away with the religious festivals. He also tried to change the Jewish law. He had power for a little while, before the final kingdom would come. Then his dominion would be taken away. He would be consumed and destroyed. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.

The fourth beast (Dan 7:7-7:7)

“After this,

I saw

In the visions,

By night,

A fourth beast.

It was terrifying,

Dreadful,

Exceedingly strong.

It had great iron teeth.

It was devouring.

It was breaking in pieces.

It was stamping

What was left,

With its feet.

It was different

From all the beasts

That preceded it.

It had ten horns.”

Daniel described, in the first-person singular, this fourth or last beast as not really comparable to any other animal. This night vision of a beast was terrifying and dreadfully strong. It had great iron teeth that devoured and tore to pieces anything it wanted to. It even stamped on whatever was left with its feet. It had 10 horns, probably a reference to the Greek, Alexander the Great, with his 10 successive rulers.

The dedication of the altar (Ezek 43:18-43:20)

“‘On the day

When it is erected

For offering

Burnt offerings

Upon it,

For dashing blood

Against it,

You shall give

A bull

For a sin offering.

The Levitical priests

Of the family of Zadok,

Who draw near to me

Shall minister to me.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘You shall take

Some of its blood.

You will put it on

The four horns

Of the altar.

You will put it on

The four corners

Of the ledge.

You will put it

On the rim,

All around.

Thus,

You shall purify it.

You will make atonement

for it.’”

The first thing to be done on this new altar, after it was erected for offerings, was a burnt offering. The Levitical priests of the family of Zadok was based on a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. Zadok had aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, it was not strange that the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Levitical priests were the ones who came near to Yahweh to minister to him. The first of the sin offerings was a bull. These Zadok Levitical priests were to put its blood on the 4 horns of the altar, plus on the rim all around it for a purification and an atonement at the same time.

 

The altar table or hearth (Ezek 43:15-43:17)

“The altar hearth was

Four cubits.

From the altar hearth

Projecting upward were

Four horns,

One cubit high.

The altar hearth

Shall be square.

Twelve cubits long

By twelve cubits wide.

The ledge also

Shall be square,

Fourteen cubits long

By fourteen cubits wide,

With a rim around it,

Half a cubit wide.

Its surrounding base was

One cubit wide.

Its steps

Shall face east.”

Ezekiel continued with his description of the altar hearth or the altar table where the sacrifices would be laid. This was much bigger and higher. This altar hearth or table was 4 cubits or nearly 8 feet high. It had 4 horns that were on it, each one cubit or nearly 2 feet high. This was a huge square altar table or hearth of 12 cubits. Thus, it was nearly 24 feet long by 24 feet wide. There was a square ledge with a rim around it that was even larger, 14 cubits square or nearly 28 feet square. Thus, there were 3 square layers on top of each other. This altar also had a surrounding base with steps that faced east.