Have you ever noticed how often characters in art and media possess horns? They are everywhere. There are the little ones with Sully (Monster’s Inc.), or the Beast (Beauty and the Beast). Then you have Dark, Powerful and Mysterious ones like Maleficient. Some characters have them protrude from their skulls while others are adorned with a helmet reflecting their majesty. Horns all through the centuries and still evident today. Many of my favourite characters in games and movies are dressed with the latest fashion of horns. So why all the fascination with horns? It’s because they are awesome. You know who else is awesome? God. And you guessed it, he has a horn in one of his names. Let’s take a look at Jehovah Keren-Yish’I “Horn of my Salvation”.
To look at this. Let’s start with a horn. Horns are used for fighting, protection, and securing dominance. They are symbols of strength, power, and victory. Often, Scripture’s mention of a “horn” is as a literary symbol representing potency and power. We could stop here and you would already get the point of the significance of the horn, but that is just the beginning.
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was inspired to prophesy about the physical and spiritual deliverance that Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David and Son of God, would bring. We see the symbolism of a horn—in this case representing the victorious power of God:
Luke 1:68-69 “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,”. The Bible uses many examples of horns as power, like in Psalm 75:10, God says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.” In other words, the righteous will prevail, no matter how strong the wicked seem to be. In Jeremiah 48:25, “Moab’s horn is cut off and his arm is broken, says the LORD” means that the strength of Moab is gone.
The next thing of significance was animal horns were also used as receptacles for oil. This is very significant. 1 Samuel 16:1 “The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, when I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for Myself among his sons.”
Oil is a symbol of the anointing of God. Anointing speaks to being set apart or consecrated. God’s grace falls upon the individual who is anointing with oil. The horn is a representing of power and combined with the oil within it is a powerful anointing that is produced. I once heard it described that God is the one who unplugs the oil in the horn during anointing. Such was the case of David’s anointing. God was the one who unplugged Samuel’s horn for the oil to pour out upon David. The horn was the vessel by which the anointing oil was carried.
So as we continue, the Horn of Salvation speaks to the power of God bringing salvation to mankind on multiple levels. Salvation by means of power, strength and victory. This is who God is, Jehovah Keren Yish’I. That being said, we can never capture the multiple facets of who God is, and the Bible speaks of another significant instance of the word horn in the Old Testament as God told Moses to build the altar for sacrifices with four hornlike projections on the four corners of it. (Exodus 27:2; 29:12; Revelation 9:13).
In worship, the horns of the altar were dabbed with blood to purify them and make atonement for sin (Leviticus 8:15; 4:6). How is that for a foreshadowing of Jesus’ atoning blood on the cross for our sins. The horns of the altar speak of the power of God’s salvation. It gets better too, that part of the altar also became a place of refuge, sanctuary and salvation for a fugitive At the time of Solomon, taking hold of the horns of the altar was seen as a way to seek mercy and protection, as both Adonijah and Joab did this (1 Kings 1:50 & 2:28 ).
So here we have it, God reveals to us more of his character in his name Jehovah Keren Yish’I. As we call upon him in our daily prayers, he is sure to bring the powerful salvation we all need in our lives.