But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!
For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all, as theirs was also.
This is a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to his disciple, Timothy, and it spoke so distinctly to me this week. I don't know if you are having this experience or not, but as these perilous times advance, I am beginning to gain new and powerful revelations about Scripture passages that I have read dozens of times. They speak to me anew and in fresh interpretations that are now so clear, I am left wondering why I never understood them before! These particular verses are a prime example.
Perhaps it is because of the controversy that I am facing over the understanding of Freemasonry and its infiltration within the Church; or the falling away I am seeing among the Christian youth in this nation; or the hesitation on the part of church leaders to even believe that new revelation is possible. All I know is that when I read 2 Timothy 3:1-9, I felt my spirit quicken and I knew I had to share my understanding.
It almost goes without saying that the long description in the first verses affirms the state of society today. The people of the world are definitely lovers of money, proud, blasphemers, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. But notice how Paul finishes up his letter to Timothy and the description of these people ... holding to the form of godliness, but denying its power. He is talking about people who profess a faith in God! He is talking about Believers! And I have to tell you that it is getting more and more apparent to me that these Scriptures are being fulfilled.
I have personally come up against such opposition regarding the power of God. Somehow Christians today see themselves set apart from the experiences of the early Church and the followers of Christ; as if we somehow have gained a special status that prevents us from needing to call on the power of God and Jesus in our present circumstances. I don't know if we have been deceived into believing false doctrines that teach that our salvation experience makes us immune from the attacks of the Enemy ... that somehow that awesome power Jesus transferred to men in the first century, and to those who would follow Him, does not apply to us. But is there anyone who thinks that the attacks from the Enemy ended when those who were given the power finished out their lives on this earth? So does that mean we are supposed to fight our Adversary under our own power? Because from where I sit, those who do that are not exactly winning the fight!
From where I sit, too many modern-day Christians profess faith in God ("holding to a form of godliness") but they deny His power in their lives, and their ability to call upon it to bring His covenantal promises into existence. Too many Christians think it is just a matter of prayer; and I, by no means, am diminishing the power of prayers. But He gave us so much more! He is waiting for us, His representatives, to act using our authority through prayer and spiritual warfare to activate His desired will. Remember this: Anything that Jesus modeled while He was on earth can be expected to be realized through us because He said the works He did would also be done by us. (I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do -- John 14:12). Can it be any clearer? How else can you interpret that verse? To deny it or somehow limit or distort the meaning cannot be justified!
The second aspect of this passage is a result of the first ... we are always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. We profess knowledge of what the Bible tells us about God, but once again, I suggest that we see ourselves today differently than the people of the Bible. And we don't just separate ourselves from the people of the Old Testament. We somehow set ourselves above the New Testament believers in Jesus Christ, too.
We are no different in our actions or character than the disciples or the early Church. We don't have some special dispensation that allows us to avoid compromise with the world, or to be invisible to the cosmic powers over this present darkness, or the spiritual forces of evil that Paul warns about in Ephesians 6. Do we think Paul was telling us the truth in this passage? If so, how can we say it no longer applies to us? Where is the evidence that says it was only a temporary condition in the first century? So, we say that we study our Bibles, and we memorize our favorite Scriptures, and we ignore those that speak uncomfortably to us... we are always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Finally, there is made mention of Jannes and Jambres, who resisted Moses. Who were these men, and how do they relate to this conversation? According to GotQuestions.org, long-standing Jewish tradition says that Jannes and Jambres were the two chief magicians who withstood Moses and Aaron in Exodus 7. “Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs” (verses 10-12).
There are several other stories regarding these two men in the Talmud, but they are not confirmed by Scripture, so therefore I will not relate them. But I believe that God made sure we would know about them, by inspiring Paul to mention them this one time in His Holy Word. I believe they are an illustration of a widespread, active rejection of God's truth in the Last Days. And I believe that at the center of this truth is the power and authority that Jesus gave us to use in His stead ... to help liberate our fellow Believers from the oppression and defeat they experience at the hands of the spiritual forces of evil. I believe that our commission to spread the gospel and baptize in the name of Jesus would be so much more effective if Christians, who were set free, could share their amazing testimonies.
Once again, from where I sit, our attempts to carry out that commission, and to evangelize here in the United States has not produced the amount, or kind, of fruit that I believe our Lord desires. Our attempts have centered around huge, palatial sanctuaries; stadium seating; bright lights and flashy entertainment. But is that what the spirit of a lost soul needs? I have seen what the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit can do in a person's life, and it is done through a quiet, peaceful, and loving invitation for Them to enter a life and heal the wounds caused by the Enemy. That's the Truth and the Knowledge that we need to embrace! It's that simple ... and it's that profound!
Just as the Scripture says, these are Difficult Days. And they are not going to get any easier. But we do not need to approach them in a state of helplessness, or hamstring ourselves with diminished authority. Please ask God to show you His Truth concerning this passage, and to remove the scales from your eyes and the chains from your spirit. Come into the full knowledge of the Word and seek uncompromised understanding. Become the representative of His Divine Will that He wishes you to be!