Meaning of Numbers: The Number 87
The possible meaning of the number 87 is derived primarily from the frequency of certain words found in Scripture.
The Hebrew word Chizkijah (Strong's #H2396) occurs 87 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is written the most in 2Kings (43 times) followed by Isaiah (32). It is translated in the King James Bible as "Hezekiah," one of the most righteous rulers to reign over Judah.
During Hezekiah's rule he built a now famous tunnel that redirected Jerusalem's only freshwater source at the Gihon Spring to the pool of Siloam (2Chronicles 32:1 - 8). He also witnessed the greatest military defeat in history when God had 185,000 Assyrian troops instantly killed while they surrounded Jerusalem to attack it (2Kings 18 - 19)!
The Greek word hepta (Strong's Concordance #G2033) occurs 87 times in the original language of the New Testament. It is recorded the most in Revelation (54 times) followed by both Matthew and Mark (9 times each). The word is translated "seven" in the King James translation, the name of the Biblically perfect number. It is sometimes used in modern compound words such as heptahedron, which is a solid object that has seven faces.
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven (hepta) stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven (hepta) golden candlesticks (Revelation 2:1, KJV).
The Hebrew word emoriy (Strong's #H567) is found 87 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is recorded the most in Joshua (20 times) followed by Deuteronomy (15). In the King James it is translated "Amorite" or its plural.
The Amorites were a fierce, determined and influential enemy of ancient Israel (see Genesis 15:16). They battled the Israelites several times over control of the Promised Land. One of their leaders, King Og, was so big that his bed was roughly 13 1/2 feet (4.1 meters) long (Deuteronomy 3:11)! Even after they were soundly defeated, their pagan culture negatively influenced the Israelites for many years (Ezekiel 16:3, 45).
Appearances of Number Eighty-Seven
The book of 1Chronicles delineates, in chapter 7, Issachar's descendants. Issachar was one of the three youngest sons of Jacob and his wife Leah (the ninth of Jacob's twelve sons produced through four women). At the time of King David, the tribe had eighty-seven thousand (87 x 1,000) fighting men (1Chronicles 7:5).
Methuselah was 187 years old (100 + 87) when he produced his first son (Genesis 5:25). He would ultimately live to become the world's oldest human, dying at the age of 969 (verse 27). Methuselah holds the distinction of dying in the same year, 2313 B.C., that God floods the earth as punishment for man's sins (Genesis 6 - 8).
Catalyst for Persecution
Roman Emperor Titus' death in September of 81 A.D. brought his brother Domitian to the throne. Domitian, in the middle period of his rule in 87 A.D., began to demand he be worshipped as if he were a god. This act made him the first emperor to deify himself during his own lifetime (1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Domitian). Christians, who refused such outright idolatry, were persecuted and many times martyred.
The Apostle John suffered under Domitian's rule, being exiled to the tiny remote island of Patmos "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9, HBFV). It is also highly likely that the martyrdom of Antipas, mentioned in Revelation 2:13, was also carried out during his reign.
Domitian was so zealous in his persecutions that he is known to have put to death Christians found in his own family on the charge of atheism. He would ultimately be murdered in 96 A.D. by a group led by his own wife!
Number 87 and the Psalms
Psalm 87 is one of eleven songs created for the sons of Korah (the others are Psalms 42, 44 - 49, 84, 85 and 88).
This Psalm reveals that God has chosen Zion as his dwelling place ("the city of God"). It will be the focal point for the entire world to worship their Creator when the Kingdom is established on earth by Jesus Christ.
His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah.
I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to those who know me; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there (verses 1 - 4 of Psalm 87, HBFV).
Psalm 87, in the King James translation, is one of thirty-one songs in the book that mention Zion (e.g. Psalm 2, 9, 14, 20, 48, 50, 51, etc.). Psalm 48 and 102 record it the most with three occurrences each.
The name Rahab found in Psalm 87:4 is not referring to Rahab the Harlot, who was one of four Gentile (non-Israelite) women in Jesus' legal lineage through his stepfather Joseph (Matthew 1:5). Bible commentaries believe that Rahab is a symbolic or poetic name for Egypt.
More Info on Biblical Meaning of 87
87 is the product of 3 x 29. Both 3 and 29 are prime numbers.
87 is also equal to the squaring of the first four primes added together or (2 x 2) + (3 x 3) + (5 x 5) + (7 x 7).
God commanded ancient Israel, ever seven years, to observe what is known as a Sabbatical year (Leviticus 25:1 - 7, 19 - 23). One of these special years began on September 20 in 88 B.C. and ended on September 9 in 87 B.C.
The English word "dream" or its plural is found 87 times in the KJV Old Testament. The book with the most occurrences is Genesis (33 times) followed by Daniel (27 times). Also recorded eighty-seven times is the Hebrew shelem (Strong's #H8002) which is translated "peace offerings."
The Tetragrammaton is the four Hebrew consonants (Yod, He, Vav and He or YHWH) that represent God's name in Scripture. According to a 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia on the Tetragrammaton, it occurs 87 times in the original language version of Proverbs. It occurs the most in the Psalms (645) followed by the book of Jeremiah (555).