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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


2 Tim 3:8-9 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

As he did in many of his writings, Paul, in this chapter of his second letter to the young preacher, Timothy, predicts, and describes, unrighteous preachers that teach false doctrines, which are contrary to the truths found in the Holy Spirit-inspired word of God. They feign piety and righteousness, in order to creep into houses, and lead the weak and unlearned in paths of sinfulness, and away from the true gospel message of Christ (2 Tim. 3:6). Along with his warning against their devious beguiling ways, Paul helps us to recognize, and avoid, false teachers by comparing them to two men named Jannes and Jambres, who withstood Moses.

Who were these men, anyway? Although mentioned a number of times in recorded Jewish traditions, they are not mentioned in the Old Testament. Reared by a religious mother and grandmother, the young man, Timothy, was probably well aware of the historical traditions that were told about these two Old Testament individuals that opposed Moses in Egypt. Numerous religious writers, of the first and second centuries, mentioned these two men as magicians of Egypt. But without other mention in the New Testament, the only thing we know about them is found in the lesson text. We cannot deny their existence because this inspired passage of the word of God confirms that they lived during the days of Moses. Jewish traditions say that they were magicians, in the service of Pharaoh. Biblical historians tell us that they were used by Pharaoh to challenge Moses and Aaron, during the time they inflicted the plagues on Egypt through the power of God (See Ex. 7:10-12 ff). As Moses called down plagues on Egypt, the magicians attempted to duplicate these feats. The fact that these two men were referred to as magicians, tells us that their attempts to match the miracles performed by Moses were mere "slight of hand" that deceived those witnessing their efforts.

In the lesson text Paul leaves us this teacing: just asJannes and Jambres opposed the power and will of God, which He demonstrated through His servant Moses, so do false preachers and teachers oppose God's truths, which have been revealed through His inspired messengers that penned His word, which is found in the New Testament. Like these two magicians, Ephesians 4:14 tells us that false prophets also use the art of "magic" and "sorcery" - they use the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive the children of God. Under the pretense of teaching the will of God, they pervert the gospel, of Christ (Gal. 1:7). Without being noticed, they enter various bodies of God's church, disguised as followers of Christ, in orderthat they might bring us into bondage with their ungodly teaching (Gal. 2:4). They bring into a congregation of God's people damnable heresies, even denying the Lord, ...and many shall follow their pernicious ways - their wicked, evil, and deadly ways (See 2 Pet. 2:1-2).

These "magical" characteristics are easily seen in the "religious, evangelistic preachers" of error today. Many claim to possess mysterious, miraculous powers. Many profess that biblical knowledge and additional revelation has been given directly to them by God, Himself. They reinforce their false teaching with fake "healing" of "sick and afflicted, which are known to be individuals in their audience that have been planted there specifically for the purpose of deceiving all in attendance, including all that hear and see them by way of radio and television. And without exception such deceptive false teachin, is followed with a plea for financial contributions from their audiences. This is exactly what Paul told the Christians in Rome about the deception of false preachers: For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18).

Like the magicians, Jannes and Jambres, false preachers resist the truth; they are men of corrupt minds; they are reprobate concerning the faith. In contempt and derision they wear the name of "Christian," because they have abandoned the true faith found in the word of God, and they do so for personal acclaim and material gain. The apostle John gives us this warning: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Just as Moses exposed the folly of Jannes and Jambres, so must faithful Christians, and righteous gospel preachers, use the word of God to make known the folly of all false preachers and teachers. Like Jannes and Jambres, their deceiving ways must exposed, and mademanifest unto all men.