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God bless you and greetings in the name of Jesus Christ whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:28).

The third step down was that they resisted the truth.

II Timothy 3:8:
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood [anthistēmi] Moses, so do these also resist [anthistēmithe truth:  men of corrupt [kataphtheirō] minds, reprobate [adokimos] concerning the faith.

Not only can we question the integrity of the Word and not stay put on it, but when others lovingly remind us, we resist their words.  Then we become corrupt and reprobate.  It starts in our minds.  What thoughts do we entertain?  We can’t always stop bad thoughts from entering our minds, but we do not have to continue to think them.  We don’t have to incubate them.  God forbid that when our brothers and sisters lovingly remind us of the truth, we resist them and try to make them feel like they are the bad guys for speaking the truth.  Paul asked the Galatians, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16).

The next step down goes from erring concerning the truth to completely standing against it.  Anthistémi means “to set against,” “withstand,” “resist,” or “oppose.”  It’s a compound from antí, “opposite” or “against” and hístēmi, “to stand.”  It means to take a complete stand against, a contrary position.”  One so opposed establishes one’s position publicly by conspicuously “holding one’s ground” refusing to be moved.  Anthístēmi (“oppose fully”) is used of forcefully declaring one’s personal conviction.  It carries the idea of unswervingly standing without giving up or letting go.  This kind of defiance results in one being absolutely counterfeit.  “Corrupt,” kataphtheirō means completely corrupted or thoroughly degenerated.  It is used only here in the New Testament.  “Rebrobate” is adokimos which is a compoumd of “a,” a negative particle and dokimos which means “standing the test” or “approved.”  When compounded as it is here it means “failing to pass the test,” or “unapproved,” or “counterfeit.”  It is used eight times, all in Paul’s writings.

Hearing the comparison of how these who resist the truth are like Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses must have been striking for Timothy.  To one brought up, like Timothy, by a pious Jewish mother (II Timothy 1:5), knowing the Scriptures from an early age (II Timothy 3:15), such a comparison would be very striking.  These magicians, also called wise men and sorcerers (Exodus 7:11-12) in the court of Pharaoh, appear as the enemies of Moses.  The names “Jannes” and “Jambres,” though not given in the scriptures are preserved in the oral tradition of Israel.1  This illustration would have been very vivid to Timothy, and one he wouldn’t forget easily.

This step down showed the utter depravity of these men of corrupt minds.  These enemies to the truth would no longer ever come to a knowledge of the truth, for their minds were set like concrete.  Hence like verse seven said, they would never be able to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

  1. Their names are found in the Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 7:11 and 22:22.