Here A Little, There A Little
2 Kings 12:16-17 (16) The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the LORD: it was the priests'. (17) Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. A very important rule for studying the Bible is the principle of “...comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1CO 2:13). Oftentimes the information on a given topic or event in Scripture is presented “piece-meal,” or as the prophet Isaiah described, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” (ISA 28:10). We do well to be cautious to not omit information on a given topic or event in Scripture which is recorded in some place other than the immediate context that we are studying. We are, after all, to be fed and governed by “...EVERY word of God” (LUK 4:4 c/w PSA 119:128). Drawing conclusions based upon incomplete information, or intentionally excluding information that militates against a predetermined conclusion is a logical error called inadequate sampling, which results from the personal error of inadequate research or inadequate honesty. 2KI 12 is a record of the boy-king Joash's ascent to the Davidic throne, he being the sole survivor of the house-cleaning slaughter by the wicked queen, Athaliah (2KI 11:1-3). The faithful priest, Jehoiada, had sequestered him in the temple until the time was right for his coronation (2KI 11:12). Under Jehoiada's tutelage, Joash was a good king (2KI 12:2) and he ordered necessary repair work to be done on the house of God (2KI 12:4-16). But Joash was assassinated by conspirators among his servants (2KI 12:20-21). As the Holy Spirit records it in this chapter, it sounds like the next thing that happened, chronologically, after the repair of the temple, was the threat of the Syrians against Jerusalem. Note in today's text, v. 16 completes the account of the repair work on the temple, and “THEN Hazael king of Syria went up....” (v. 17), as if that was the most immediate subsequent event. But it wasn't. The parallel record of Joash's reign in 2CH 24 describes two profoundly important things that happened after the temple's repair but before the Syrians came: the apostasy of Joash upon Jehoiada's death and Joash's ordering of the slaying of that faithful priest's son, the prophet Zechariah (2CH 24:15-22) and of Zechariah's brothers (2CH 24:25) who had anointed Joash king (2CH 23:11). It was that horrific official act that prompted Joash's servants to conspire against him and kill him. It was that horrific official act that prompted Joash's servants to conspire against him and kill him. Zechariah's last words, “...The LORD look upon it, and require it” (2CH 24:22) should be compared with the Lord Jesus' mention of Zechariah / Zacharias' bloodshed, “...It shall be required of this generation” (LUK 11:51). Interestingly, Jesus sealed the list of martyrs with Zacharias, overlooking the so-called martyrs of the apocryphal era when the Maccabees fought for Israel's glory (for the blood of prophets is more valuable to God than the blood of patriots). The word, “then” (when speaking of sequence in time, order, consequence, incidence, inference), means, “At the moment immediately following the action, etc. just spoken of; upon that, thereupon, directly after that; also in wider application, indicating the action or concurrence next in order of time: next, after that, afterwards, subsequently (often in contrast to first).” (Oxford English Dictionary). Thus we see that “then” may imply immediacy but it may also indicate whatever is next in order of time. That order of time would obviously depend on the perspective of the author (or the desired perspective of the Holy Ghost directing the writer). As recorded in 2 Kings, the order of events simply omitted what was left in the order of events as recorded in 2 Chronicles: the apostasy of Joash and the murder of Jehoiada's sons. This example of “here a little, and there a little” is paralleled in the Olivet Discourse of the Lord Jesus Christ (MAT 24:2-51). A close examination of the Olivet Discourse reveals that two separate events are under consideration: (1) the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans which would come upon that generation to which Jesus was then speaking (the occurrence of which would be discernible by specific events that preceded it), and (2) the Second Coming of Christ in glory to judge the whole earth (the occurrence of which is secret and absent of specific heralding markers). The season of “great tribulation” (MAT 24:21) that climaxed in the Roman overthrow of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the Jews, are referred to as “those days” but the Second Coming of Christ is referred to as “that day.” MAT 24:29 speaks of amazing astronomical signs that would immediately follow “...the tribulation of those days...” which demands that those signs were associated with the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem and the divine abolition of the Jewish economy. The next verse (which completes the sentence begun in v. 29) says, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.....they shall see the Son of man coming...” (MAT 24:30). It kind of looks like the Holy Spirit was saying that the Second Coming of Christ was basically concurrent with the events of v. 29 which occurred in about 70 A.D. However, as the Holy Spirit purposed to leave out a critical piece of history in 2 Kings yet provided it in 2 Chronicles, He likewise omitted in Matthew's account of the Olivet Discourse what He added in Luke's account: Jerusalem would be “...trodden down of the Gentiles, until the THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES be fulfilled” (LUK 21:24). A major chunk of world history here called “the times of the Gentiles” must occur before the Second Coming. During this period the kingdom of God on earth would be delivered unto the Gentiles (MAT 21:42-43 c/w ROM 9:22-33) and a judicial blindness in part concurrently imposed upon Israel “...until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (ROM 11:25). Why would God write the Bible in such a way? Why didn't He simply spell things out plainly in one place instead of “here a little, and there a little?” An answer to these questions is actually found in the portion of Isaiah's prophecy where this principle is laid out: it is to frustrate and confound men who harden their hearts against the truth because it interferes with their own agendas. Isaiah 28:12-13 (12) To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (13) But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Willful inadequate sampling (or being willingly ignorant, 2PE 3:5) results in willing judgment from God.