Zech 1:20                                          Four Horns and Four Carpenters                                    3/15/2015

 

Š      Why Parables? (Mat 13:10-17, Rom 9:13, Rev 22:19)

 

 

#1.      Four Against Four (Zech 1:18-21, Rev 20:3,7-9)

           

           

Š      The Lord Is Our Protector (Zech 1:21, Gen 1:27)

 

 

#2.      Look at the Carpenters (Zech 1:20-21, Gen 3:16, Ezek 21:31)

           

           

Š      The Horns of the Gentiles (Zech 1:21, Ps 5:5, 7:11, 11:5, Rom 9:11-17, Ecc 7:20, Re 22:19)

 

 

#3.      Who Are They Who Dare to Lift up Their Horn over the Land of Judah?

           

           

Š      How Long, O Lord (Rev 6:9-11)

 

 

 

Š      Conclusion (Zech 1:18-21)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Mat 13:10 (2X). The sermon today is titled: “Four Horns and Four Carpenters.” We are going to read today in the prophecy of Zechariah about Four Horns and Four Carpenters. That sounds very cryptic and very mysterious. It is a parable. The prophecy of Zechariah is full of difficult parables. Why did God include so many parables in the Bible? The answer is found here in the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 13:10.

Š      Why Parables? (Mat 13:10-17, Rom 9:13, Rev 22:19)

“Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:  15  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.  17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Paraphrased the disciples asked the Lord Jesus: “Lord, why do you speak to the multitude in parables? They have a difficult time understanding what you are saying.” What was Jesus’ answer to this question? Most preachers today would say that the Lord spoke in parables in order to explain more clearly what He meant. Is that really so? Absolutely Not! Just the opposite is true. The Lord Jesus said that He spoke in parables because He did not want everyone to understand clearly, because to His elect was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but this was not given to the multitude. Most of them were left in the dark concerning the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Can we see the sovereignty of God in this action of Christ? Can we see that God favors some, but others He passes by? Most people do not want to believe that God has such favorites, but the Bible clearly states the fact that God has favorites. You see, the principle of election is everywhere in the Bible. Those who are the elect are loved by God, those who are not chosen are passed by. God does not love them, like God says in Rom 9:13, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. This is the God whom we serve. Therefore, we should not complain that there are so many parables in the prophecy of Zechariah. God has placed those parables there to encourage us to search out if we belong to His elect. And what a joy when we have discovered that we do belong to His elect. Up front, let me make very clear that we are not saved by our understanding. But when we do understand some of the parables it means that God the Holy Spirit has given us this wisdom. We must be grateful that God has given us this wisdom by His Holy Spirit, and we must pray for more wisdom, for we still know nothing. God is teaching us here an important principle. The principle is that God is the Sovern Ruler of the universe that He made. He can kill and make alive whom He will. He is in charge. The sovereignty of God is spoken of throughout the Scriptures, but very few people believe it. In fact, when most people have erased out of their memory those passages where God speaks of His sovereignty, they believe that God is a liar when He speaks of His sovereignty. This touches on the principle God stated in Rev 22:

Rev 22:19, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

What does it mean that “if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life?” It means that if anyone does not believe something that was written in the Bible, that person has in his mind taken out of the Bible those words, and God shall take away eternal life from that person. God will not abandon His promises, for He will defend His Word to the uttermost. Let us now read Zech 1:18-21.

#1.      Four Against Four (Zech 1:18-21, Rev 20:3,7-9)

“Zech 1:18  Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.  19  And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.  20  And the LORD shewed me four carpenters.  21  Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: (but) these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”

When we read this we have to understand what the horns represent. Horns, in the Bible represent power, or strength, either for evil, or for good. In this parable horns are contrasted with carpenters. The carpenters are there to fight or repair the damage done by the horns. And so, the carpenters are the good guys and the horns are the bad guys. Let us understand this now. The horns represent messengers of Satan who are creating turmoil in the church, or in the camp of the saints, since Judah, or Israel, or Jerusalem represent the church, or the saints. The horns represent people who act out the powers of the enemy, Satan. Remember, there are only two powers in this world, Christ or Satan. The Lord Jesus Christ was a carpenter. Carpenters are people who are Christ-like in their behavior. And is it not true that we are called to imitate Christ in all our actions? Therefore the carpenters represent those who are on the side of Christ, and the horns represent those who are on the side of Satan. Now we can understand this parable: The church is attacked. God will defend His church to the uttermost. Therefore He sends a group of people to defend us. And since His army is just as capable as the Devil’s army He sends in the same number of soldiers as the Devil has sent in: Four against four. That number four is only a symbolic number. God could have written, a billion against another billion. The forces that Christ has sent in to the battle, the carpenters, should be sufficient to defeat the number of horns that Satan has sent in. But then, we should also notice that God wrote this parable at a time in history when the nation of Israel had just returned from their captivity in Babylon. The enemy was very strong. The enemy spread many lies to hinder the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. The forces God had sent in were easily intimidated by the forces Satan had sent in. We can see that even today. Already we can hear from politicians that conservative Christians are the real enemy and that the Bible contains hate literature. And this is a teaching that is gaining ground. What should we do about this? We should do Nothing! If God does not protect us then it is His will that we will be persecuted. We should keep this in mind so that we will not be fighting against God.

Š      The Lord Is Our Protector (Zech 1:21, Gen 1:27)

But is it not peculiar that God chose the number four exactly two times. Where in the Bible do we find a similar occurrence of two groups of people with exactly the same number of people on each side? Please turn to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 1:27 (2X). As you remember, when God created mankind He first created Adam. Then God said in Gen 1:27,

Gen 1:27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Did you notice the switch in personal pronouns? As a first step God created mankind and so He created Adam. But God was not finished when He created Adam. He continued to create the second half of mankind and so He created the woman. They both together represent one mankind, one race, one organism, with Adam as the federal head. The words “man” and “mankind” are interchangeable. This union produced both boys and girls almost in the same proportions. Statistically there are born a few more boys than girls; but since boys take more risks than girls, by the time they reach adulthood their number is exactly the same. So, here are two groups of people with exactly the same number of people on each side. Let us now look at each group individually. God made boys and girls different, literally. Boys are made to fight and to hunt. We can see this in history throughout the centuries. Boys are made for war and for risking their life for the women they love. In our days we can say that boys are made to be canon-fodder, which means “food for canons.” They will be torn to pieces by the instruments of war that they serve. Then the ones who survive the war are called heroes. Look how people have been brainwashed. The real heroes are those who have been buried in graves, or who have been buried at sea. They have really given their lives. They should be honored as the heroes.

#2.      Look at the Carpenters (Zech 1:20-21, Gen 3:16, Ezek 21:31)

Who does God consider carpenters? In God’s sight carpenters are those people who can build something beautiful for the house of God and do not demand any payment for it. Godly carpenters are people who are Christ-like and who do not fight for their rights, because Christ will fight for them. They do not return evil for evil, for Christ is their Defender. Spiritual carpenters are those who fight the Devil not on his terms but on Christ’s terms, which is a strategy that the Devil does not know. Spiritual carpenters are those who are able to build something beautiful for the house of God; something that will be eternally pleasing to God so that He will place them in His spiritual house, which is the eternal church. And for their material they do not use wood, but the souls of men. This pleases God very much. When we build an edifice from wood, or from any other material, and bring it to God, it will be destroyed on the Last Day. That is a gift to God which is of no use whatsoever. But when we have been instrumental in bringing someone to Christ, that is a gift that will live forever. All in all we see that spiritual carpenters are those who will conquer the world not with wood but with kindness. For example, in the first three centuries AD Satan tried to stamp out the Christian religion. He persecuted them, he shamed them, he murdered them, he threw them to the lions, he tried all kinds of things to stamp them out, but nothing worked. The catacombs are full of those evidences. Instead the Christian religion increased by leaps and bounds. And what did the Christians do to defend themselves? They returned the favor with kindness and with love as Christ has said. And what was the result? God interfered on their behalf. Within about 300 years the Christian religion conquered the Roman Empire. That put an end to the persecutions and remarkably that also put an end to the growth of the church.

Let us now look at the second group of people: WOMEN! Women are uniquely built by God to fulfil the role of spiritual carpenters. First of all they are forced into the role of being a loving, caring and nurturing mother of a bunch of ungrateful children. She receives a small insignificant seed from the man, and from this material, with the help of God the Holy Spirit and nurturing with love and with care, she will grow a cute little baby capable of glorifying God. Then follows an infinite series of decisions she has to make for the welfare of the child and to dedicate her loving care for her child. And after everything has been said and done the child might be pleasing to God.

And so women have a twenty year training period in which to practice raising children whom God considers a beautiful ornament for the house of God. It is no wonder then that nurses are most often women who love their roles of being caregivers for those who are helpless and needy. For the first twenty years of their lives they have been trained to step into that role. Their bodies are uniquely built for that nurturing role, whereas boys have been built to fight and to be proud of accomplishments of their muscles. Women begin as caregivers for babies, or as soon as they begin to care for old and sick people, like me. We are like 130 pound babies to them. They are the spiritual carpenters referred to here in Zech 1:20-21, and Christ promises that they will conquer the world, not with force or with weapons, but with kindness, just like the Christians did in the first few centuries AD. Satan tried to stamp them out, but history showed that within 300 years they had conquered the Roman Empire. This was not a reward for their perseverance. God did that. God’s ways are not our ways. Before the Lord Jesus went back to heaven He told His disciples: “Render not evil for evil, but render evil with good.” To render evil for evil are the ways of Satan, and it is the natural way of mankind to defend ourselves, but it is not the way of God. And so, God gives women here an honorable boost by calling them “Carpenters.” I guess you never expected such a statement from me, a battle hardened fire and brimstone preacher, but it has to be said.

Let us see what the Bible has to say about women. As you know, the woman did a very dastardly thing in the Garden of Eden. First she violated God’s command, and she ate from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She believed the serpent rather than God. It was as if she declared God a liar, as if He could not be trusted. But then she also gave to her husband, who was with her, and he also ate from that fruit. What was God’s penalty on her for being so rebellious? Please turn in your Bibles to Gen 3:16. Here we read about the five curses on the woman for bringing sin into the world of mankind.

Gen 3:16  “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

The Hebrew text clearly says, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception.” Most preachers change this to “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow in thy conception.” That is absolutely wrong. The sorrow God is speaking about comes after the child is born, for the woman reads in the Bible, in Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Who are these wicked babies? The Bible teaches that everyone of mankind comes into the world as a wicked baby. We all are by nature children of wrath. This is the doctrine of Total Depravity. No one escapes this. This is how we begin our life. We all begin our life by being servants of Satan. We do not deserve any good thing from God, for our whole life was sinful from the beginning. We have to thank Adam for this. That is how Adam lived and that is how he died. And like begets like. Let us now get back to Gen 3:16.

There are five curses on the woman in this verse and the last one is: “He shall rule over thee.” “Lord, do You really mean this? He is that dummy who followed me instead of following You.” Let us be honest. Men would do anything stupid just to please the woman that they love. We see that firsthand in our daily life. Women tend to focus on serious things, whereas boys tend to play games. Already in high school I observed that girls are generally more intelligent than boys. They excel in math and in physics, which are typically branches of science that were thought to be suited for boys. And by math I do not refer to simple arithmetic, but to algebra and linear algebra, and calculus, and so on. Why does that not show in their careers later in life? The answer is that they simply have not been given the opportunity to show their talents, or they marry too early and have children, or they choose an easy career rather than a challenging career like boys do. And so, it is a curse for the woman that she must submit to a man who is less intelligent than she is. In general, women are more capable in multitasking, such as typing, and piano playing, and in serving as a personal secretary. In general, women live longer than men, and they are very wise in serving themselves after their husband dies. On the other hand men are somewhat lost in the affairs of this world when their wife dies. This is not to say that all women are superior to men in jobs which require their brains to work. There are many women who mess up important tasks they are required to do, for example, in raising children to be God-glorifying individuals. Our jails are filled with people whose mothers and fathers messed up their God-glorifying task.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that all women are honorable as Godly carpenters and all boys are labelled as those who become the war-like horns of the Gentiles like Zech 1:21 says. Far from it. I am saying that women are built to fit the role of spiritual carpenters, and boys are built to be warriors. God built them that way. But have they all learned discernment to an equal extent? The answer is NO! Women are more prone to be deceived than men. Women are more prone to be led astray into a false gospel than men. The story in Gen 3 shows it clearly.

In the meantime what are the boys doing?

Š      The Horns of the Gentiles (Zech 1:21, Ps 5:5, 7:11, 11:5, Rom 9:11-17, Ecc 7:20, Re 22:19)

Why did God choose horns in this place? Although horns represent power in general, we must be aware that horns are for war. Even in the animal world we can see universally that the males have bigger horns than the females. And so it is in the world of mankind. In case of war the men are the ones who are in charge. That is why God chose horns in this parable. The horns are those who are in power in the world of the Gentiles and are potentially the ones who are opposing the kingdom of God. They are generally men, with not too much brains above the shoulders. They show it by being at war with God, which is a certain losing proposition. And who are the Gentiles in this parable? They are the unconverted heathen. They always have been opposed to the true Gospel. Why are they opposed to the true Gospel? The true Gospel makes them uncomfortable. For example, the true Gospel tells us that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. Now, that is a very uncomfortable idea. People are rather taking the risk, or the gamble, that God does not exist. And so, they invented the theory of evolution where man evolved from apes, for this theory does away with the story of Adam and Eve and with the story of how sin entered the world, and this theory does away with man’s accountability of sins. People are deathly afraid of admitting that God exists, for then Judgment Day exists, and all our old sins are going to be dug up, and that is a frightening idea. But that is exactly what the true Gospel is dealing with. The Gospel, or the Good News, is that our sins can be forgiven. Our sins are not automatically forgiven. Our sins can only be forgiven if God has mercy on us. And only if we are one of God’s elect children will God have mercy on us. What can we DO to become one of God’s elect children? It is like asking “What can we DO to become Born Again?” The answer is: Nothing! We cannot do anything to become Born Again. This is entirely God’s business. Only God decides whom He will love and whom He will hate. Yes, God can hate people. God says in Psalm 5:5,

Psalm 5:5, The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 7:11, God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 11:5, The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Rom 9:11, (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Why did God write it this way? God answers in Rom 9:11, “that the purpose of God according to election might stand”. In other words: “in order that you may understand what election is.” It is not of works, it is not by the works of man that you have been chosen to be loved by God, but it is entirely by the decision of God that you belong to those who like Jacob are loved by God. This is how you were born. Already before God created the first speck of dust He decided that you should be one of His children whom He loves. You are either born like Jacob whom He loves, or you are born like Esau whom He hates. Now, think this through for a few minutes: If God hates certain people, why did He create them? Why did He create Pharaoh? The answer is here in Rom 9:17,

Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

And so, the purpose of God to create some to be loved like Jacob and others to be reprobate like Esau is for His glory. We do not know all the plans of God, but this we know: God did not arbitrarily choose some and reprobated others. Our God is not a Giant Ogre without feeling or compassion. Our God has a reason for everything He does, and whatever He does is righteous and good. The plan of God for this world and for this race of mankind is the best plan, because He is the Almighty, all wise creator, who created all things for His glory. And we also were created for His glory. Anytime we live our life and are not living our life to His glory we are sinning. And now we can understand what Ecc 7:20 says. You heard me quote this verse repeatedly:

Ecc 7:20, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”

In other words, there is not a man living on the earth who lives to the glory of God all the time. We cannot function in this ideal way. Let us now go back to the parable in Zech 1:21. And now we also discover what the horns are doing to attack the church of God and to weaken the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The strength of a church is their faith in the Word of God, the Bible. God spoke and these words came into being. When the Bible proclaims that God is an absolutely sovereign monarch we have to believe it, for God has said so. When the Bible proclaims the doctrine of election and reprobation we have to believe it, for God has said so. In fact, if we do not believe it, in our mind we have taken this passage out of our Bible, and we have declared God a liar at this point in the Bible. This is so serious that God has formulated a curse on people who have this attitude toward the Bible. Just before Christ went back to heaven He stated in Rev 22:19,

Rev 22:19, And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

What does this mean? It means that our unbelief has the same effect as ripping pages out of the Bible. Our unbelief is the application of Rev 22:19. And our unbelief will be rewarded with the penalty described in Rev 22:19. The penalty is that “God shall take away the sinner’s part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” It means that instead of going to heaven, the sinner shall go the other way: to Hell without remedy.

#3.      Who Are They Who Dare to Lift up Their Horn over the Land of Judah?

 Now we can see what in fact the attack on the church is. It is an attack on what God said in the Bible. But whatever God said in the Bible cannot be erased. We may not, by some clever reasoning of man, conclude that something God has stated in the Bible can be reversed, because God did not mean it this way. For example, if God has stated that no one can know the day or the hour of Christ’s return, then no one may conclude from Scripture that someone has calculated when Christ shall return. We cannot by our human reasoning come up with something that contradicts what God has said. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Let me repeat that. “Lean not on your own understanding.” And so it is with this parable of the four horns and the four carpenters. The four horns, are representing people within the church who do not like the sovereignty of God. They do not like that man has no control over his destiny. But the fact is that we cannot dictate to God. Whatever God does He has in His plans determined to do so, and we should simply accept that. The four horns represent people who want to fight for Christ, or against Christ, in a worldly manner. They lift up their swords, or any other tool of war, and try to win the battle by force. But this is not what God has instructed us to do. Where do they get these ideas from? This is a long story, and we are getting close to the end of this sermon. They get this from pictures by artists who make drawings out of their own imagination.

Briefly, boys are built for war. Boys also like games. The videogames that boys like are those where Christ and Satan are two different figures who are always at war with one another. But that is not reality. There is only one God. Satan is not another god who is also pulling the strings. Satan is only doing those things that God allows him to do, and what Satan does fits precisely in the plan of God. And thus, Satan is God’s busiest servant (2X). When Satan attacked the church in the first three centuries AD by throwing Christians to the lions, that was all in the plans of God. If it was not in the plans of God it would not have taken place. Boys do not understand this. We do not fight the Devil by his rules, which are all violent, but we fight the Devil by the rules Christ has given us, and that is by loving our enemies and by overcoming evil with good. That is where the carpenters come in. The carpenters are building something that will withstand the test of time, and in time the violent ways of the boys are superseded by the beautiful works the carpenters have made, which are beautiful in the sight of God. And the carpenters shall win this war.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that all boys are fighting against God with horns of violence, and I am not saying that all girls are gentle and kind and are on the side of Christ. I am only interpreting this parable by interpreting the type of work that is done by the horns and by the carpenters, and I am showing that God, in His wisdom, has built men and women in such a way that they are ready to fill the roles of the horns and of the carpenters. There is no sexual bias in what I am saying, just a beautiful demonstration of God’s wisdom in creating men and women in such a way that they may glorify God, in a battle between Christ and Satan. But girls can fill the role of horns of the Gentiles, and boys can fill the role of carpenters. For example when boys become missionaries and are spreading the true Gospel, they are filling the role of carpenters. This is a war which will continue till the end of time. Compare this now with another instance where the saints are pleading, “How Long, O Lord.” This is a parable of the same war.

Š      How Long, O Lord (Rev 6:9-11)

Please turn to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 6:9-11, where the saints are also pleading for God to end the war between Christ and Satan and to deliver the saints from that war.

Rev 6:9  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

Rev 6:10  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

Rev 6:11  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

   What was God’s answer to the saints? Verse 11 says, “until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” And when shall this fact be fulfilled? It shall be fulfilled at the end of time. That will be the moment in time when all the sins of the reprobate will be judged and avenged, for Christ is the Judge of the living and the dead.

Š      Conclusion (Zech 1:18-21)

The parable of the “Four Horns and the Four Carpenters” is a picture of the war between Christ and Satan, which is a war between the soldiers of Christ and the soldiers of the apostate church, from the beginning of time until the end of time. We see here in Zech 1:18-21 a parable of the church at war, and God comforts us with the fact that the carpenters shall win this war. The four horns are attacking the church from within, for if the church shall be destroyed, it will be destroyed from within. But Christ shall not allow the church to be totally destroyed, for it is His workmanship. No one can undo what God has done, for God cannot be frustrated.     AMEN.

Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.