The Horns of the Unicorn?

As morning dawns on this Holy Week, we celebrate what is commonly called “Good Friday” because in Roman Catholic tradition this is considered the day Jesus of Nazareth was put to death on the cross. Many are unaware how many prophesies were fulfilled on the cross by Jesus but one of the most fascinating collections of them is found in the 22nd Psalm. A thousand years before the event, King David, being led of the Holy Spirit during his time of worship and meditation, wrote of our Lord’s suffering. Beginning with the symbolic cry “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” we find one prediction after a another that came true through Jesus on the cross.

Then comes a strange statement in verse 21:

Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

The horns of the unicorns? Looking back almost three thousand years, with so many words having changed meaning since then, these words seem absurd. Modern scholars have tried to help the Bible along in newer translations, adding “wild oxen” in the place of “unicorns.” After all, it would make no sense for the Bible to make reference to a fictional creature as if it were real! What most people don’t realize is a unicorn is not a fictional creature…it’s a creature that existed at one time but is now extinct! No, it’s not a horse with a paper mache looking horn on top of its head, it’s an ancient creature that had three horns on its head! The word translated unicorn is the Hebrew word reh-ame, which comes from a root word meaning “to rise, be lifted up” so when we think of uni as one horn it doesn’t mean that  at all, it means a head that is lifted up in such a way that you can’t help noticing its proud and powerful head. It’s hard not to notice a head with such powerful shields on it and jutting horns as you see on a triceratops. It did indeed have a body like a wild ox, only much bigger and much stronger and with more horns! God spoke of this very creature to Job when He questioned whether Job had enough understanding of the creation to question what God was doing in his life:

Job 39:9-12

Will the unicorn be willing to serve you?

Will he bed by your manger?

Can you bind the unicorn in the furrow  with ropes?

Or will he plow the valleys behind you?

Will you trust him because his strength is great?

Or will you leave your labor to him?

Will you trust him to bring home your grain,

And gather it to your threshing floor?

The time Job lived was perhaps only a few hundred years after the flood. Although most people of faith accept that Noah took two of each animal on the ark, it’s hard for them to comprehend that he took two of each dinosaur! Yet it was simply a matter of taking two young ones. Later, mankind hunted and fought these “dragons” to extinction, like he has so many creatures.

Joseph in the Old Testament was a picture of Jesus also, and what Jesus would accomplish by His coming. We hear of the unicorn again regarding a prophecy spoken by Moses in Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 33:17

His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth

The Holy Spirit speaking through Moses is using the “horns of the unicorns” as a prophetic symbol of the cross. Indeed, from the “horns of the unicorns” Jesus pushed people from every nation into the Eternal Kingdom! He used His death on the “horns” to save souls from all peoples and that cross continues to have such power to save people daily! It seems that during the time of Jesus, this creature we know to day as triceratops and they knew then as reh-ame was still around, although living out in remote places and not a common sight. Because of this, an early Christian writer about 135AD known as Justin Martyr mentions it and uses this very creature to describe how his head was used as a symbol for Jesus on the cross:

Now, no one could say or prove that the horns of an unicorn represent any other fact or figure than the type which portrays the cross. For the one beam is placed upright, from which the highest extremity is raised up into a horn, when the other beam is fitted to it, and the ends appear on both sides as horns joined on to the one horn. And the part which is fixed in the centre, on which are suspended those who are crucified, also stands out like a horn; and it also looks like a horn conjoined and fixed with the other horns.(footnote 1)

So Justin knew of this creature and understood that it had three horns! So once again we see evidence that these dragons or dinosaurs as we call them today lived within the time of man, not millions of years ago as modern evolutionists would like to pretend. It  is interesting to note that the town of Nerluc in France during the medieval times was renamed in honor of a dragon that was killed there. This dragon was described as having a body like an ox but much more huge and had horns jutting straight forward out of its head! (footnote 2) It’s seems the unicorn hasn’t been gone from our world nearly as long as evolutionists would like us to believe! And Dennis Swift points out in his book Secrets of the Ica Stones and Nazca Lines that carved stones have been found in Peru in graves that depict triceratops in detail, along with other dinosaurs we know today.

So, as we reflect this Holy Week on the Passion of the Christ as Jesus hung on the horns of the sacrificial altar, how powerful that altar was to push us into the Divine and Eternal Kingdom! And I can’t help but wonder if, when our Lord comes back to restore the Earth for His Kingdom of Heaven for that thousand years before fully transforming it into the New Earth along with the New Heaven, if He will bring back the creatures we have made extinct. If He does restore those long lost animals, perhaps we will once again see the unicorn. If so we know from the Word that it, along with the other creatures that were once un-tamable and hostile to man will be friendly to us, so maybe we or some child can enjoy a ride on its back rather than being hung on its horns!
Selah <><


Footnote 1–Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, chapter 91, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1, ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson, Christian Literature Publishing Company , 1885.
Footnote 2The Great Dinosaur Mystery, p. 49.

About Martin Britt

Martin Britt is a licensed, ordained minister, an Internationally Certified Addictions Counselor and an Internationally Certified Clinical Supervisor. Martin serves as pastor at Parkway Baptist Church. He served for more than fifteen years with Home of Grace Addiction Recovery Program in Vancleave, Mississippi and travels around the southeast conducting seminars and training in an effort to encourage discipleship in the local church.

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