False Prophets and Teachers
2 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
2 Peter 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Jesus had warned they would come. He said they would rise up among them. Hearing these thoughts, Peter now was living it. False teachers had infiltrated the church. Wolves in sheep clothing, they were there to lead the flock away from truth.
False teachers were nothing new. Within the Old Testament, prophets encountered these who countered the words of God. Jeremiah is one such example who battled false teachers again and again. These men and women told people what they wanted to hear, turned a blind eye to sin and twisted God’s words. They justified their behavior that was completely opposite to the standard of God.
Peter comes out swinging, exposing the deeds and manipulation of these who now had wormed their way into the church. He spells out the destruction they bring but even more to the point, the destruction that is coming against them!
Consider that if these are wolves in sheep clothing, they may look like a sheep. They may be part of the flock. On some levels at first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything amiss. But as Jesus said by their fruit they will show themselves, in time these reveal the darkness of their hearts and motivations of the enemy. Beware of these who belittle the significance of Jesus’ life and resurrection. Stay clear of these who justify their immoral behavior and lace in and twist Scripture to live how they want. These tools of the enemy are out to destroy.
We are inundated with such wolves today. We must be careful to test the spirit within them and the words they speak. All words spoken must be laid out side by side with the Word of God. This takes absolute discernment and wisdom which the Spirit of God can give. Prophets of old battled them. Jesus said they would rise up again. Peter dealt firsthand with such people of destruction. This is a quiet war we all find ourselves in. Stay alert! Stand firm! Do not be misled by teachings that tickle your ears and justify behavior; mocking the very sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
2 Peter 2 opens by describing two different kinds of false people within the church. Maybe we have never taken the time to consider the difference between false prophets and false teachers? Maybe we have just lumped them into the same category? To Peter, the false teachers of his day are just as dangerous as the false prophets of long ago.
In the Old Testament, the primary path to understanding God’s divine will was from the mouth of His prophets. People were conditioned to hear a message from prophets. Now that we have the full canon of Scripture, people are more likely to listen to a teacher of the Word. To me, the difference comes down to what is the most effective contextually. In Peter’s time (and in our current era) more believers are looking to Bible teachers rather than prophets because the Word is what guides a Christian life.
Knowing all this, the most dangerous threat to the early church was a good-hearted person with bad doctrine. A teacher with a good reputation in the community could infiltrate the church with bad theology and tickle the ears of vulnerable believers, eventually leading them astray.
A false teacher will always make you choose between their doctrine and true Christian doctrine.
It may not seem that obvious, but that is essentially what’s happening. Seekers always want something new and fresh that allows them to compromise. False teachers provide the nourishment for these hunger pangs.
But there is another danger to false teachers. They damage the witness of true believers.
“Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth.”2 Peter 2:2 GNB
False teachers will profess to follow Christ, but instead, live a life of disobedience or compromise. This kind of lifestyle will destroy the reputation of genuine believers. People who follow this mindset do so utilizing all kinds of good intentions. It could be in the name of love, or for the “greater good.” It may just be what seems pleasurable or what promotes a more peaceful, enjoyable life.
Whatever the case, Peter boldly states that the real truth will be maligned. In other words, hypocrites will cause others to stumble. They may even use Biblical truth to justify it. Jesus’ words will haunt those who fall into these false doctrines as they will become the people who “he never knew” in Matthew 7.
Those who deny the Lordship of Christ will cause many others to falter in their walk and will be held accountable just like those in the past. The sad reality of a false teacher is not just the state of their soul, or those who are following them, but also the unbelieving world who looks upon the Name of Jesus with confusion, skepticism, and disdain.
The hope is that Jesus promises us that those who come to Him with a genuine, repentant heart will receive truth, forgiveness, and freedom. His Holy Spirit will guide those who are pure of heart.