HYPOCRISY OF ZEAL
49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
54 And He said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
Some get zealous in their beliefs, but often that zeal is based in ignorance. Then that zeal can be directed at family, friends, ministries, which are not at fault. The misguided zeal can therefore be sinful. Jesus addresses the leaven found in the Pharisees of misguided zeal. Paul was zealous, but in his zeal, he helped stone Stephen, he persecuted Christians, thinking he was doing God a favor. We need to beware of misguided zeal.
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Jesus came to ‘send fire’ to the earth. This is not literal fire, Jesus is not into ‘arson’. This is figurative language. Fire is used of jealousy, anger, God’s Word, sin, the tongue, ministers, Christ, angels, the Holy Spirit, judgment, and persecution and division because of one’s gospel ministry. Here, Jesus is referring to the persecution that comes due to ministry for our Lord Jesus. His name, His message, the witness of His word to this world brings fiery persecution.
Luke 12:51-52 (KJV)
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
Matthew 10:34-36 (KJV)
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Even then, standing with Jesus brought persecution. The Pharisees had zeal in persecuting, banning from the Temple, threatening stoning, etc for those who stood for Jesus. Soon, they would crucify Jesus and continue such fiery persecution.
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Jesus was speaking of a ‘baptism’ of suffering. He was about to suffer greatly for our sins.
1 Peter 3:18 (KJV)
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
When we take up our cross to follow Him, we too suffer for His sake. We are not to glory in our sufferings that are due to our own failures and sins. Yet, when we suffer because of our witness, our ministry for Him, we can glory in that suffering.
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Christ is not wanting division, but it comes due to the sin, the leaven in mankind. The anger of the carnal person against anyone or any message that includes the word ‘repent’.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (KJV)
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
A MOSTLY UNKNOWN EXAMPLE OF OPPOSITION
II Timothy 2:8-9
"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
But they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was."
In this passage, we are introduced to two of the magicians who confronted Moses in the book of Exodus. We are not given their names in that Exodus account, but Paul tells us that two of them were named "Jannes" and "Jambres". Paul tells us that like Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, in that same way, we will find some who will oppose and persecute us.
The names of Jannes and Jambres appear often in ancient sources. References to them are found in Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, Greek and Latin. There are Christian references, Jewish references, and even pagan references. The Damascus Document, found in the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran and in the Cairo Geniza referred to these two men. Eusebius quotes Numenius in Praeparatio evangelica 9.8. Numenius seems to have used the Book of Jannes and Jambres. Origen, later, informs us that Paul, in II Timothy 3:8, was referring to a book written by them, called ‘The Book of Jannes and Jambres."
These two ‘magicians’ are mentioned often in the Targums. In the Targums of Israel, the name "Mambres" was used for Jambres (which is the Greek form of the name). Jambres, therefore seems to have come from the Aramaic, a participle form of ‘he who opposes.’ Jannes is a corruption of "Ioannes," or "Johannes", from which came the name ‘John."
The account of Moses, in Exodus, does not tell us the names, but in ancient history, we find many mentions of these two by name. Pliny (23-79 A.D.) mentions them. Apuleius (130 A.D.) also mentions these two. Pliny (Natuarl History 30.1.11) and Apuleius (Apologia 90)both call Moses, Jannes and Jambres to be magicians of antiquity. The Pythagoran philosopher, Numenius, (second century), speaks of Jannes and Jambres as Egyptian ‘hierogrammateis" or ‘sacred scribes.
The reality of these two is well established, but since their book is no longer available, we, in our age, know very little of them. Many Christians have never heard their names mentioned in their church schools, or by the pastor in a sermon. Paul, in mentioning them, showed that the people of that day would have recognized their names, and the kind of persons they had been. Yet, in our time, the great majority have not heard anything about them.
The book that was written by them, has been found in fragments, partial manuscripts, and many references to it in other books. We cannot know from references to it, if the quotes are accurate in details. Some of the details given about it show inconsistencies, so we are not sure which are correct.
From what we can learn, and verify as likely accurate, we find:
1. Jannes and Jambres were sons of Balaam, the false prophet who for hire was willing to curse Israel, with the purpose being to allow the enemy then to be victorious over Israel. God would not allow it, and had a donkey speak to Balaam, and warn him of dire consequences from an angel sent to stop him. According to quotes about the book, Jannes and Jambres were with their father on that trip.
2. These two were the two magicians that withstood Moses at the time of the plagues and confrontation with the pharaoh.
Exodus 7:11, 22
"The pharaoh also called for the wise men, and the sorcerers, ...and they also, the magicians of Egypt did in like manner with their enchantments."
The Revised Version read ‘sacred scribes’ for ‘magicians’. The Hebrew word is ‘hartumim’, meaning ‘scribes who were skilled in the sacred writings.’
The evil spirit names ‘Abezi-thibod’ (other sources call this spirit "Uzza") hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and this spirit aided the magical sorceries of Jannes and Jambres. The Zadokite fragment says: "Belial raised Johannan (Jannes) and his brother." So, demonic and evil spirit power was helping these two men who opposed Moses and God’s plan. The book they wrote, and other Talmudic sources tell us that these two, Jannes and Jambres, could at times fly through the air with aid from the evil spirits. Simon Magus is said to have had this power also.
3. These two were discredited in Egypt due to their failure against the plagues sent by God through Moses. So, they pretended to be converts and left with Israel on the wilderness crossing. We find today, some who are pretending to be converts, for one reason or another. They, like Jannes and Jambres, oppose those who truly speak the message of Jesus.
4. These two magicians of Egypt, caused Aaron to see a vision of Moses on a bier, apparently dead, and ascending upward to heaven. Disheartened, Aaron was then easy prey for them to convince him to build the golden calf. They asked that he (Aaron) make a god to take with them, and threatened his life if he would not.
5. Jannes and Jambres died at the slaughter in the time of Phineas, after seducing Israel to fall into immorality. Balaam, their father, also died at that time. When Balaam saw Phineas and the leaders of Israel, he flew through the air (with the help of Jannes and Jambres). Phineas prayed and Balaam fell to the ground. Phineas had Zaliah kill Balaam with a sword. The corpse of Balaam was not burned, but it is said that his bones rotted, and from them came several species of harmful snakes, and worms came also and devoured his body. Jannes and Jambres also perished at this time.
The evil spirits that aided these two ‘sorcerers’ in their magic, and in their opposition against Moses and God’s plan, still work. These last days are seeing much opposition come from some ‘religious’ but not ‘Christian’ people. We were warned this would happen.
We hear so much of the ‘jezebel’ spirits, but, besides the jezebel spirit, another kind of evil spirit at work, that we need to learn to identify, is the evil spirit of Jannes and Jambres.
II Timothy 2:1-9
"This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was."
The devil's tactics never change. He still tries to get corrupters and hinderers into the ranks of Christianity. But God has a judgment arranged for these "resisters of the truth". There comes a time that God will call an end to such people.
Notice what Paul teaches here:
II Timothy 2:8-9
"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was."
There comes a time when God wants them to "proceed no further". There is a time coming very soon when "their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was."
Just as God allowed these two to hinder for much time, God has allowed 'tares' to hinder. Yet, soon these ones like Jannes and Jambres of our time will meet a death, unplanned by themselves, and be judged in a judgment sent by God.
Those who, like Jannes and Jambres, like Jim Jones, who hinder the church of today, are soon to be stopped by the Lord. Judgment is coming, for they have corrupted many. Sins of abuse against the children of God, (as the false attacks against Moses by Jannes and Jambres, for they challenged Moses whenever they could, they tried to inspire evil into the camp with the golden calf fiasco. They were the main opposers of that day, and we have many with the same kind of demonic spirits at work in these days.
These Jannes and Jambres demons encourage sins of perversion of real worship (as the golden calf). They seek to get the congregations to fall into sins of perverting righteousness (as the luring of the men to Midianitish women).
It is not a wise time to be in the ranks of backbiters, gossips, faultfinders, criticizers, etc. When God is done with the judgment upon the church, then the church will have the biggest revival the world has ever seen.
Just as when Jannes and Jambres were killed, the children of Israel soon went into the promised land. Following the judgment of those who promote the false, poison Koolaid doctrines of the last days, the great revival will soon come.
"THEN SHALL THE RIGHTEOUS SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN IN THE KINGDOM OF THEIR FATHER. WHO HATH EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR."
The choice for of Ananias and Sapphira, was to enter into the revival, or seek carnal security. This was the choice given Lot and his family. It was the same choice given Noah, and those of his day. It was the choice of the Israelites in the days of Jannes and Jambres. It was the choice of those following Jim Jones.
It is the choice of those today, to follow the attackers like unto Jannes and Jambres, and share their disgraceful end, or to stand with God. It is the very same choice given those in the church of the last days.
Peter warns us that
"JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF GOD... THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL SCARCELY BE SAVED."
The Pharisees were called the "straitest sect (hairesis)" [Acts 26:5]. They had chosen to add to the doctrines of the Old Covenant many restrictions that made it impossible for the average person to even attempt to be in right standing with God. They persecuted and troubled all who did not try to live by their added rules. This was leaven, and the persecution was sinful.
The Jewish people called the Christians to be "heretics" (Acts 24:14, 28:22). They thought that the acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah made them outside the doctrine of the Old Testament revelations. Of course, they were in error, and in reality, their denial of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, and Son of God made them to truly be the "heretics" for their doctrine kept them from salvation.
There is one goal, one truth for the Christian life. Any personal choice varying from that ONE TRUTH, and is inconsistent with that ONE GOAL given to us by God, is HERESY. Heresy is a sin we need to beware, for heresies can damn the soul. Any heresy that removes us from what the Lord said is necessary for salvation, can damn a soul.
Heresies are not the minor doctrinal differences that can be found between most saints, but they are variances from what the Lord has shown is vital to salvation.
Jannes and Jambres came into the camp of Moses, and perverted the truth whenever they could. They enticed the people to worship a golden calf, and not to await the "law and plan for the tabernacle" being received by Moses on Mt. Sinai. They encouraged the sexual license with the Midianitish women later. Both these sins, i.e. heresies, resulted in the deaths of many.
There are heresies today that are the leaven of the day.
Too many people in churches are eating the leaven of the Pharisees of today, unaware of the death the leaven possesses.
The devil is defeated, but he has not quit fighting. His own doom is securely settled, but yours and mine is not. We must choose and continue to choose, the salvation offered by God, and "put on the armor of light." (Romans 13:12)
The light, the armor of light, takes us out of dark ignorance of what the devil is scheming, to a new walking in the Light of awareness. The persecution from the Jannes and Jambres of today is meant to discourage, or to defile. We need to turn to the Lord often, and seek His salvation. The Word, the Scriptures of the Lord should be oft-consulted in these last days.
I Thessalonians 5:21
We must realize that the devil and his cohorts are real, and we struggle against these enemies daily. Alertness to their schemes and wiles is vitally necessary. The devil attacked Adam, Eve, and even Jesus, and the devil will attack our weaknesses.
Since you would not be fooled by a talking serpent, the devil is not using one anymore. Since you could not turn stones to bread, he does not tempt you to do so. But the devil has schemes and plans in these last days. The devil has clever disguises, deceptive bait, and will tempt you to fall away in these last days. The apostates are often friendly, likeable, and deceptive beyond natural realization.
Jesus has offered a wonderful plan of salvation. The devil wants to pervert, subvert, and destroy the effect of salvation on mankind. The apostates, and the evil spirits that obsess them, are so cunning and deceiving. Yet, we have One to Whom we may look for help.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Sometimes the opposition comes from family members. A father against a son, a son against the father, brother against brother, sister against sister, etc. These are encouraged by the satanic opposition to the gospel.
When one family member can be tricked by the devil to justify abortion murders, perverted sex of those of the same gender, corruption of the marriage bond by allowing homosexuals to marry, condoning of drugs and drunkenness, the opposition then against the others of the family can be a trying experience. The devil will work hard to corrupt one member of a family so that the whole family can feel the heartache of relationship with leaven inside it.
And He said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
Jesus speaks to the people about the leaven of misguided zeal that the Pharisees had. He says we know that rain is coming by signs. The wind out of the west, clouds coming from the west, indicated rain, and all would know that. The Mediterranean Sea was west of where Jesus was, and a cloud from that direction meant it would likely rain.
And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
South of where this sermon was preached was a hot desert. A wind from that direction would be hot.
Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
If people can discern weather, can figure out what the weather will likely be tomorrow, why can they not discern the leaven doctrines, the evil of misguided zeal? Jesus calls even the people who are fooled by the Pharisees to be ‘hypocrites’ here. For they knew that the Pharisees were not holy, respectable characters, but they wanted peace, were non confrontational with the evil, and they tolerated the sinful abuse from those leaven adders.
When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
When one is going before civil authorities, and has to speak in defense of what one has done, it is wise to make peace on the way. Yet, these people were not being taken to court by the Pharisees, but were jsut being abused by them.
Even to civil authorities one has to answer for complaints made against one. These people were offending the Lord, allowing Pharisees to zealously but with evil in their hearts to mistreat Jesus. They will answer for such hypocrisy. It would be wise for them to settle with God now, than to come to the judgment day, and have to answer then for their hypocrisy.
I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
A mite is from the Greek word, lepton (G3016), whice was the smallest copper coin, worth about one-fifth of a cent. God will require mankind to answer someday for all their wrongs, whether they zealously believed they were justified or not, they will answer. The Pharisees would be judged, but even the thousands of others at this sermon would be judged for their not recognizing what is obvious evil in the Pharisaical leaven.