TODAY’S READING: 2 KINGS 9-10
The last words concerning Jehu are found in 2 Kings 10:36, which says, “The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.”
From the moment Jehu was anointed king by Elisha (2 Kings 9:1-13), Jehu was a murderer. In 2 Kings 9:14-29, Jehu murdered Joram, the king of Israel, and Ahaziah, the king of Judah. Then, in 2 Kings 9:30-37, Jehu killed Jezebel. Next, in 2 Kings 10:1-17, Jehu slaughtered the descendants of Ahab and the relatives of Ahaziah. Finally, in 2 Kings 10:18-27, Jehu struck down all the prophets of Baal.
Jehu was quite the killer!
Now, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, then you are probably wondering why I say a man whose only recorded deeds during his 28-year reign as king of Israel were murder reveals Jesus since Jesus never did any violence.
It is only possible to see Jehu as a revelation of Jesus if we move beyond the literal letter of the Old Testament that kills to the inspiration of the Spirit of the New Testament that gives life.
So, let’s read some key events of Jehu’s 28-year reign as the king of Israel with the inspiration of the Spirit and see how they reveal Jesus.
WHO IS JEHU?
Jehu was the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi.
Jehu means Yahweh is he or Lord is he.
Jehoshaphat means Yahweh has judged or the Lord judges.
Nimshi means rescued from danger.
Perhaps we can think of Jehu as one rescued from danger by the Lord who judges. The Lord is he.
JEHU SLAUGHTERED AHAB’S 70 SONS
Ahab means brother of the father. Ahab served and worshiped Baal. Perhaps we could think of Ahab as a brother to Baal who was a father to the people of Samaria since they worshiped him.
Ahab had 70 sons. Jehu slaughtered Ahab’s 70 sons. So, how do we see Jesus in Jehu because of this?
After the flood dissipates, one man, Noah, and his family leave the ark. Genesis 10 lists all the descendants of Noah. If you count all the names of those that were fathered, that were sons, then you will find there are 70 descendants of Noah listed in Genesis 10. This list is often called The Table of Nations and is representative of all the nations of the earth. This number 70 is a key number and shows up repeatedly in the Bible. Therefore, when we see the number 70, in many instances we should think of the nations.
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 says, “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.” It is possible that there were 70 sons of God, which is why the people were divided into 70 nations, or peoples, after the flood. But, it also is possible that Israel was not counted as one these 70 nations or peoples. They were God’s people, sojourners and without a land.
Psalm 2:1-2 says, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed.”
But, Isaiah 40:15 says, “The nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales.”
Therefore, Psalm 2:7-8 says, “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”
God’s plan has always been to give Jesus the nations as his inheritance or possession. God begins regathering the nations in Acts. Acts 17:26-28 says, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘”In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘”For we are indeed his offspring.”‘”
Paul said in Ephesians 2:15 that Jesus “by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.” The two men were Israel and the Gentiles, comprised of the 70 nations. Therefore, Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek…for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
By creating one new man through his death on the cross, Jesus “slaughtered” the power, the sons of God, over the 70 nations, which were pictured by Jehu’s slaughter of the 70 sons of Ahab.
JEHU SLAUGHTERED 42 RELATIVES OF AHAZIAH
After Jehu slaughtered the 70 sons of Ahab, he went to Beth-eked. There Jehu slaughtered 42 relatives of Ahaziah.
Beth-eked means the house of binding.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:2-4, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.”
Jesus continued in verses 13-15, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
The Pharisees bound the people under the weight of numerous laws without ever lifting a finger to help him, thereby shutting them out of the kingdom of heaven. The Pharisees may have gone to great lengths to convert people, but the weight of their laws bound the converts so much that they made the convert twice as much a child of hell.
And, in John 8:44, Jesus even said the Jews were of their “father the devil, and you will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Throughout the New Testament, Satan is called the god of this world. He ruled the nations. But, Satan did not rule the nations forever. Revelation 11:1-2 says, “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar of those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.'” Satan’s rule over the nation was limited to 42 months.
Revelation 13:3-5 says, “And the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast, and they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’ And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.” The best, the government of this world, ruled and given authority by Satan, ruled for the same 42 months.
This period of rule by Satan would be marked by his nature of murdering and lying. But, 1 John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Therefore, Satan’s rule coming to an end after 42 months because Jesus destroyed his works, which the Jews were participating in because the devil was their father, was pictured by Jehu slaughtering the 42 relatives of Ahaziah.
JEHU HAD 80 MEN STRIKE DOWN THE PROPHETS OF BAAL
Jehu gathered all the prophets of Baal in one place. He tricked the prophets into thinking they were going to have a solemn assembly for Baal. But, outside the house of Baal, Jehu had 80 men waiting. The 80 men struck down all the prophets with the sword and destroyed the house of Baal.
The first mention of the number 80 is in Exodus 7:7, which says that Moses was 80 years old when he spoke to Pharaoh. Moses was bringing a the law, a testimony, the number 10, that would take the people to the promised land. The promised land is a picture of Jesus and the new creation, the number eight. So, we can see the number 80 as the testimony of the new creation.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, Paul said, “Therefore, it anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
But, this message of reconciliation, the testimony of the new creation, was not just for men but for the spiritual rulers and authorities, which could be symbolized by the prophets of Baal. Ephesians 3:8-10 says, “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plant of the mystery hidden for the ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
By preaching the testimony of the new creation, the message of reconciliation, we “destroy” by the spiritual sword, the word of God, all that is against God. Therefore, we reconcile men and spiritual beings, every created thing, to God.
JEHU’S 28-YEAR REIGN
All of this took place during Jehu’s 28 year reign as king of Israel.
But, what is the significance of his reign lasting 28 years?
The first mention of the number 28 is in Exodus 26:2, which gives the length of the fine twined linen curtains of the tabernacle as 28 cubits. Fine twined linen is symbolic of the truth and righteousness of Christ. Revelation 19:11 says, “The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Christ was righteous and worthy because he was willing to obey the Father and lay down his life for us. Therefore, he was able to judge with forgiveness and make war by dying on the cross (he defeated death through death – Hebrews 2:14).
In John 17:1-2, Jesus was given authority or power over all flesh because he was willing to glorify the Father. Having done that in his death, Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority [power] in heaven and and on earth has been given to me.”
Every Hebrew letter is also a number. So, Hebrew words can be reduced to numbers. It’s interesting that the the Hebrew word for power, koakh, reduces to the number 28.
1 Corinthians 1:24 says that Christ is the power of God. When we read through scripture, we see that the power of God is love. It is love that casts out fear. It is love that kept Jesus on the cross to defeat death through death and destroy the works of the devil.
Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that the what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
So, the universe was created by Jesus, the word of God, the power of God. Jesus was given power over all heaven and earth. And, the Hebrew word for power reduces to the number 28.
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s interesting that in the Hebrew this sentence has 28 letters in it. There is Jesus, the power of God, right in the first sentence of the Bible.
The work of creation was completed in six days and God rested on the seventh. So, the full work of creation was done in seven days.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 = 28
Once again we see the number 28 related to God’s power to create and then rest, which signifies ruling from the throne – power. And, Ephesians 1:10 says, “With a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” The number 28 gives some new context to that verse.
There are many other interesting things about the number 28. It’s actually quite a significant number mathematically.
But, as we have seen, it’s a significant number in understanding Jesus. And, the number 28, the length of Jehu’s reign, helps us see through the literal letter of murderous ways to the Spirit’s inspiration that testifies of the work of Jesus to defeat sin, death, and the devil.