Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #263 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2 Timothy 3 today and our focus is on What Will Be The Sign That We Are Living in the Last Days? + How To Survive the Last Days + Who are Jannes and Jambres?. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland,Manipur, India, Castelo Branco, Portugal, Parts unknown, Sweden and Finland, Selangor, Malaysia, Los Angeles, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Phoenix, Arizona. Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Three topics today,so let’s start with a fairly simple one. Who in the world are Jannes and Jambres? If you are unfamiliar with the names, Paul uses them as an example in today’s chapter:
8 Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth.
So, we have our first clue in the passage – these are people who were opponents of Moses. Unfortunately a quick Bible search reveals that these mysterious figures ONLY show up in 2nd Timothy 3. So- who were they? Most first century Jews, I suspect, would not have asked that question, as these guys were likely household names at the time. According to several ancient documents, including the apocryphal text “The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres the magicians,” as well as the Testament of Solomon, the Babylonian Talmud and what might be the book of Jasher, Jannes and Jambres are the names of two of Pharaoh’s court magicians/wise men who opposed Moses and Aaron during the ten plagues incident in the book of Exodus. The book of Jasher is mentioned in the Bible as being a historical book like 1 and 2 Chronicles, but the earliest copy that has survived of the book is dated to the 1500s, and it is not certain whether this copy is the same as the “Book of Jasher,” mentioned in Old Testament.
Next topic: What will be the indications that we are living in the last days? Paul gives us one of the clearest answers to this question at the beginning of our passage today:
But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people.
Let’s break some of these indicators down. What will the last days look like, Paul -could we possibly be living in the last days? Here we go:
- The Last days will be hard. Hard times. That’s a fairly general description, but he’s about to be more specific.
- People will be lovers of self. This is interesting, and I take it to mean that there will be a peculiar and noticeable amount of self-love and selfishness, because humans are always pretty selfish. I’m only 49 years old, but I see more people posting about self-love and talking about self love in the last year or two than any other time of my life. Is it wrong to love yourself? We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and that is the only verse I can think of that is remotely about self-love. The vast majority of the Bible pushes us to love others and put them first. People today don’t seem to be very into that idea.
- Lovers of money. Again – people always love money. Paul seems to be saying that this will be particularly so in the last days. Do people especially love money now? I don’t know. Maybe? I haven’t noticed a particular increase in my lifetime, at least. Maybe I’m missing it.
- Boastful. Given the advent of social media, our society certainly seems more boastful in the last decade!
- Proud. Ditto.
- Demeaning. Again, given the rise of social media, it seems to be that we are in an age of greatly increased demeaning. Just go check out the comments on a few Youtube videos, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
- Disobedient to parents. The amount of respect and obedience that parents warrant almost certainly seems to have faded over the past few decades.
- Ungrateful. Are we living in an especially ungrateful age? I dunno…
- Unholy. Most certainly- I think being holy and pleasing God with our lifestyle and choices is more derided now than at any time in the past. Very few value living a holy life.The focus is on living an affirming and fulfilling life, no doubt.
- Unloving. Are we living in an especially unloving age? That’s a good question – we seem to have redefined love to mean acceptance and tolerance and live and let live. I’m not really sure that is love at all.
- Irreconcilable. I’ve never known the U.S., at least, to be more irreconcilable than we have been over the past 2 years. This is politically speaking, but also other issues too like sexuality, race, vaccines, Covid, etc.
- Slanderers – Yes, that seems to have massively increased, just like demeaning has increased. People seem to have no hesitation these days in assuming the worst about somebody and then saying that – especially online. Does that mean slander and demeaning have legitimately increased, or does it just seem that way because of social media? I’m not sure how to answer that.
- Without self-control. Yes, current Western society seems to be highly characterized by a noted lack of self control. More so than the past? It’s hard to say, but it certainly feels that way.
- Brutal. Are we more brutal than the Romans, who put people to death in the colosseum? I’ve no idea. Considering the movies we watch…maybe? Our Olympians have more clothing and our football players probably die less than the gladiators did.
- Without love for what is good. Yes – I think this also defines our generation – both liberals and conservatives, young and old tend to love and make popular shady things, and not care very much about good things.
- Traitors. This is a very odd Greek word. It seems to mean somebody who breaks an agreement or a truce or a promise, perhaps. Does our word mean less in 2021? I think it probably does, but that is a very hard thing to quantify.
- Reckless – The Greek word seems to indicate impetuous, not thinking, something along those lines – not putting a lot of thought into your actions. This does seem an apt description of our current times, but it could also describe other time periods as well.
- Conceited. Yes – see boastful and proud.
- Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. I believe that this is an apt description of life in 2021 as could be penned. It seems almost uncannily accurate as a description of our age. The goal is pleasure, and few would rank love of God over pleasure in their hierarchy of importance.
- Holding to the form of godliness, but denying its power. Does this accurately describe our age? It sounds like a form of hypocrisy – going to church, labelling one’s self a Christian, but not living a life that shows the transformative power of knowing Jesus. This does seem very common today, but it also seems like it was very common in the past.
So – that is my breakdown of how Paul describes the sociological and psychological condition of the Last Days. As you can see, several of those qualifications are very difficult to quantify – we don’t have a numbers system that breaks down each century or decade based on a certain criteria. I see several descriptors that Paul uses which seems to absolutely nail our current climate- lovers of self, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, without love for what is good and irreconcilable. I see other descriptors that I’m not so sure of. What do you think? I do believe that the closer we get to the Last Days, the clearer it will be that we are in the last days. I imagine that these descriptors, and the way that Jesus describes things in Matthew 24 will undoubtedly describe the situation of the Last Days, and the fact that some of these descriptors could go either way makes me think that we aren’t there yet. But I am unsure.
What if we are there, however? Or what if we get there soon, and find ourselves living in Last Days? What should we do – build shelters, hoard food, dig tunnels, and acquire lots and lots of firearms? Paul’s advice is quite a bit more spiritual:
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
That’s it, friend. As the Last Days draw closer, we must draw closer to God’s Word. Continue in what we have known from God’s Word and keep going back to it, because we will have wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus from that Word of God, and it will be profitable for us in every situation – even a Last Days situation. I realize I didn’t answer the question of whether or not we are living in the Last Days, and that is because I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that God’s Word is able to equip us and train us and prepare us for whatever age we are living in.
Let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory verses for the month of September: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17
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