1 & 2 Kings Part Three Deep Dive
SALVATION HISTORY IN KINGS | RYAN KERRISON
In a text like Kings, the over-arching motivation and plan of the sovereign God can be pulled a little out of focus. This Deep Dive’s aim is to relocate the salvation story within the wider historical narrative and to gather some of the scarlet threads together through the old covenant into the New.
As we jump into this topic, it is vital to remember the very reason for which God has established this nation: to bring blessing into the world through His people’s participation in the covenant the Lord made with Abraham. This mission is infused into the Hebrew Scriptures, no matter the circumstances.
Within this great scheme of God lies the story of the Davidic dynasty. More specifically, the compiler of 1-2 Kings details the litany of tragedies left in the wake of the kings, both Northern & Southern and, at pointed moments, compares them to the heavenly throne. The author performs a kind of ‘audit’ of each king, comparing them to the ultimate failure of King Ahaziah, establishing their failings, no matter their length of reign, and condemns them for their refusal or inability to cease being an idolatrous nation, to tear down the ‘high places’, and to lead the people in repentance before the Lord and restore trust to Yahweh for the protection, leadership, and preservation of the Nation.
Biblical commentator Thomas Constable summarises the book of 2 Kings, saying, 'Though people fail God, God will not fail people. This is foundational to the doctrine of eternal security'.* This is a concept that is unpackaged more completely in the New Testament, both by Jesus the epistle writers.
Furthermore, the model of healer, deliverer, miracle-worker, and cleanser are all motifs that are mirrored in later Messianic prophecy or directly embodied by Jesus in the New Testament, further displaying the divine plan of the restoration of humanity to Godself. Alongside this, we see the prophets, Elijah & Elisha, typifying Christ in the display of their miracles with power, mercy and ultimately grace.
Let me show you some examples of this typification:
Revivification: Elisha with the dead son of the Shunammite; Jesus with his dear friend Lazarus.
Elisha’s oil into more oil, Jesus’ water into wine.
The curing of leprosy.
The parallel of the floating axe-head & the floating apostle Peter, in Matthew’s gospel.
This leads us to the concept of the prefiguration of Jesus. 'Messiah' carries the meaning of both ‘king’ and ‘the anointed one’. God anointed the prophets of the Old Testament for a mission and a contribution to the social and spiritual state of the people. Jesus is shown in the New Testament to be the perfect occupier of this office. In Luke 21, He foretells of the destruction of the Temple, His teachings and interpretation of the Torah are unparalleled, and His prediction of His own death all display the mightiness of Jesus as the messenger of God.
Alongside this, He is the ultimate King. Coming to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45). This paradigm is a complete reversal of the understanding of earthly kingship, and brings into focus again the distinct realms of Heaven and Earth. Jesus is the great unifier, the only King to be able to unite the nation of Israel, and now the Church as one body.
This Deep Dive simply offers some reminders that the seemingly disjointed Testaments of scripture, when seen through the lens of Jesus, shed new light upon the meaning of events and narratives within. The book of Kings explores, among other things, the question of whether God will be faithful to the Mosaic covenant (implying the destruction of Israel), or to the Davidic promises (implying their blessing). The closing of the book preserves the lineage of David and reiterates the promise to deliver to Israel, a Saviour. One who is to come and reign as the perfect King, Prophet, and Priest for all eternity.
*Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Notes on 2 Kings. 2017 Edition