The Horn of Salvation

When Zechariah’s tongue is loosed in Luke chapter 1, he begins prophesying about his newborn son and that of the coming Messiah. He blesses 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 from of old” (Luke 1:68-70). Not only have I never strung the words “horn of salvation” together in a sentence, I hold little understanding of why they would be included in this Holy Spirit inspired prophecy. What is a horn of salvation? I first wondered if this “horn” referenced an archaic musical instrument used in battle cries. However, a small amount of research proves this consideration erroneous and instead unveils a valuable and victorious response, upon which I secured a new appreciation for this epithet of Christ.

Scriptural context found in Psalm 132, 2 Samuel 22, and Micah 4 identifies the horn as a weapon and means of victory. Moreover, Zechariah’s prophecy calls back to another man’s song of praise found in Psalm 18. When David had been delivered from the hand of Saul, he says: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:1-2). David experiences the Lord’s horn of salvation as a source of protection, as he is rescued from a paranoid king and violent enemies. 

Why, then, does Zechariah refer to Christ as the horn of salvation which has been raised up? Sin threatens to end our life, and we need saving. We are unrighteous, unworthy, unable to save ourselves, and fall short of His glory. This is why we anticipate and celebrate the birth of the incarnate Word. As our horn of salvation, Christ took our place in the spiritual battle that claimed our souls; His death and resurrection delivers us from the hand of the enemy; and in return, we wear a victor’s crown. 

Zechariah’s prophecy speaks with confidence that although not yet born into human flesh, the coming Messiah “has visited and redeemed His people.”  This child is our stronghold, our fortress and deliverer, our mighty horn of salvation. 

By Bethany Taylor

Bethany has been calling Immanuel Baptist her church home since 2014. A graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, she is an obstetric nurse here in Lexington.

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