Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse.
Think about the contrast between what was found shocking in the 1940’s or 1950’s and what is taking place today in the workplace, in the field of entertainment, in sports, and in fashion. Extreme violence and immorality are now commonplace. People compete to be seen as more fierce, lewd, or ruthless than anyone else. What was considered edgy television in the 1950’s is now rated as suitable for families. Also, shocking reports have become all too familiar: A 15-year-old student opens fire on his classmates, killing 2 and injuring 13. A group of intoxicated teens brutally murder a nine-year-old girl and beat up her father and cousin. Youths in one Asian land are said to be responsible for half of the crimes committed in the preceding ten-year period. Can anyone reasonably deny that things have got much worse?
There’s no denying that people of the world are becoming more selfish, loveless, lustful, fierce and violent. But are they really imposters who advance from bad to worse?
In context Paul was warning Christians to be on guard because of the presence of those who would slyly work their way into households and who would oppose the truth. So, the imposters whom Paul was saying would be on hand during the last days are Christians, or at least they pretend to be Christians.
The apostle went on to write Timothy regarding two men who opposed Moses, namely Jannes and Jambres.
Although those two men are not named in the Hebrew Scriptures according to the Insight on the Scriptures under the topic of Moses the Society proposes that Jannes and Jambres were two magic-practicing priests in Pharaoh’s court who were called in to duplicate Moses’ initial miracles. And that is certainly plausible.
But in likening Christian imposters to Jannes and Jambres, Paul went on to say: “Such men are completely corrupted in mind, disapproved as regards the faith. Nevertheless, they will make no further progress, for their folly will be very plain to all, as it was with those two men.”
Before going any further please take note of the fact that Paul was not saying that men will become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, and all the rest, during the last days. The apostle was emphasizing that the last days would be critical times hard to deal with because people would be so wicked.
To restate matters: The prevalence of evil in human society is not the result of the last days. So while it is true that people are becoming more and more evil that is not evidence that we are in the last days. According to Paul the identifying characteristic of the last days is that there will be critical times that are difficult to deal with for the reason that civilization will have become so corrupt prior to the last days.
So what did Paul mean when he foretold that the folly of these imposters will be very plain for all to see and that they will make no further progress?
As readers of this website know the last days or, alternatively worded, the conclusion of the system and the time of the end, as well as the final part of the days, is a relatively brief period of time. It certainly does not stretch out over a century or successive generations. And, the last days have not begun yet. Also, the last days of this world are the beginning days of the new world. It is when Christ begins his judgment work; starting first with the house of God.
Then those who have been accepted into the Kingdom will embark on a final witness to the world. This is what is symbolized by the two witnesses in the 11th chapter of Revelation. Regarding these two witnesses the account says: “during the days of their prophesying, and they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every sort of plague as often as they wish.”
Moses, of course, temporarily turned the Nile River into blood. But so did Pharaoh’s magic-practicing priests. Paul’s reference to the madness of Jannes and Jambres who resisted Moses likely will find fulfillment during the revelation of Jesus Christ, when the remnants of the leadership of the then-discredited and rejected Watchtower organization will oppose Christ and his brothers.
Their deception is what Jesus alluded to when he forewarned that the false prophets and false Christs will be so convincing – like Pharoah’s priests turning water to blood – that if it were possible even the chosen ones would be deceived. In other words, Jannes and Jambres are evil slaves and imposters, antichrists, the same as the man of lawlessness. And like the man of lawlessness, Jesus’ powerful manifestation will reduce them to nothing. Their madness will be manifest to all the faithful.
Already the Governing Body’s badness is on public display. (See Commentary for Friday, August 21st, 2015) But we may expect that institution to go from “bad to worse” during the last days, when Christ actually arrives. Then they will become outright opposers —just like Jannes and Jambres.