Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth…” (2 Tim 3:8).
The thrilling story of the redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt is punctuated by the resistance of the hartumim, sacred scribes, magicians, astrologers, “men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” At best their names are lost amidst the hieroglyphics of Egypt – but not to God. One thousand five hundred years after they breathed their last their names were God-breathed into the ear of a ready, incarcerated scribe named Paul. Writing to his son in the faith, Paul warns Timothy of certain men in the perilous times of the last days. In those days, says Paul by the Spirit, “as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth.”
How did they resist the truth? Was it as Pharaoh, who, as a roaring lion, mustered all his military strength to pursue the unarmed former slaves with six hundred chosen chariots? No. It was the much more subtle resistance of imitators. Moses, the aged man of God, with all the dignity of a man fresh from the presence of God, demands of Pharaoh the release of God’s people that they might serve Him in the desert. To prove to Pharaoh the power of this God, the rod of Moses is used to strike the waters of Egypt to convert them to blood – and the fish did die and the river did stink and the Egyptians did loathe to drink of their sacred river. The imitators, by the power of Satan, did the same.
A week passed before Moses returned in the power of the Spirit of God to demand the release of God’s people. Again the power of God is displayed. This time frogs overran the houses and the bedrooms and the beds and the ovens and the kneading troughs. The imitators, by the power of Satan, did the same except that they could not reverse the plague and Pharaoh was obliged to humble himself to ask Moses to pray to God to remove the frogs.
God’s answer to this twofold resistance, imitating His power by Satanic power, was to convert the dust of the earth into lice. The imitators tried to do the same, striking the earth and raising clouds of dust. But life, even the life of a loathsome lonely louse, is outside the realm of Satan’s power.
Jannes and Jambres continue their Satanic resistance against the gospel of the grace of God in Chile today. Imitators abound everywhere. The most virulent strain is those cursed by the apostle Paul in his defence of the gospel in the letter to the Galatians. They are those who preach another gospel which is not another but is a perversion of the gospel of Christ. In many parts of Chile there is a gospel preached that announces Christ as the Savior of sinners – and man as the preserver of his salvation. Salvation by grace – but heaven by works. To fall into sin is to lose one’s salvation. Grace is mixed with works. Paul’s harshest words, “Let him be accursed,” are reserved for such. Why?
1. Because it is false. Just as any man-imagined religion, this one is another road of human endeavor that leaves the work of Christ as insufficient.
2. Because it results in mixed gatherings. Such gatherings are often a mixture of truly saved folk and truly deceived. There are those who have experienced the new birth but are wrongly taught while others trust their works, their musical gift, and their tithes to get them to heaven.
3. Because it produces “burn out.” Many have conceded defeat after such an experience. Those who with some degree of sincerity seek the Savior, “get saved,” and then find out they can’t live a sinless life; so what’s the point of even trying? “If salvation is Christ plus persevering – I cannot.” So they give up.
4. Because it is an imitation. It sounds so much like what we preach that we are all lumped together and have nothing new to offer.
Yet, despite it all, Christ continues to build His Church in Chile one stone at a time. An indirect proof of it is the demand for gospel literature.
By the grace of God, and through the generosity of a brother from Canada, digital duplicators have been incorporated into the work of the Lord in Chile. A digital duplicator is an office machine. It is not meant to compete with an offset press. It does not have a good registration and so can only be used for spot color at best. It is really a glorified mimeograph. Very simple to use, it is designed for runs of 10 to 3,000 impressions.
But this is the year 2008 and in many countries, people really prefer full color, glossy, attractive literature. The same is true in Chile on a slightly lower scale. The digital duplicators are great for printing text but to add a bit of color we have laid hold of another modern tool – the humble inkjet printer. Supplied with some form of bulk ink, these inexpensive printers are being used to add full color. As a result we can produce attractive and personalized literature, on demand, for every assembly and individual that requests them. Last year 110,000 tracts were printed along with 36,000 calendars, 25,000 Sunday School papers, 1,000 books, and 1,000 Daily Diaries.
For Praise and Prayer
The imitators, like Jannes and Jambres, continue their nefarious work. But, by the grace of God, the duplicators and their cousins, the inkjets, are being used of God to put attractive literature into the hands of exercised Christians. Today, in Chile, the good seed is being sown in the dry desert of the north, the freezing fiords of the south, and everywhere between – and it is impossible that it will return void to God.