2 Peter 2:1 “…false prophets also among the people…”
The old testament mentions the existence of the false prophets and occasionally mentions them by name, but not often. Would be interesting to know how many there were or how prevalent it was for the false ones to speak out.
1 “…false teachers among you…denying the Lord that bought them…”
It is amazing to me the number of “religious teachers/preachers” we have today who blatantly deny the tenants of the faith. They deny the virgin birth of Christ, His divinity, and even His bodily resurrection. If you’re going to deny all of this, which is supposed to be the very foundation of what you say you believe, why are you even in the ministry? Do they not realize they are actually telling people to not believe what they are preaching because it is false? How can someone live with that type of illogical behavior? I know personally one Presbyterian minister who told me we can’t know exactly what Christ said on any given topic because we cannot trust the Bible to be true and accurate. Without a standard for your beliefs, you are left with preaching or teaching nothing but platitudes based on experience and the circumstances at hand.
2 “…by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of”
People tend to believe the false teachers. Then when the false teaching doesn’t pan out, they accuse the real ones of being at fault. They try to label true Christianity as false based on those who are not really Christians.
3 “…whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not”
It may look like the false teachers are getting away with their sins, but the judgment has been there all along. If they don’t change their ways and repent, it will catch up to them eventually. As will be seen in chapter 3, God is longsuffering to them because He is not willing that any should perish. He holds time for them as long as possible. More on that when we get there.
4-9 Peter gives examples of how God judged the unrighteous while preserving the righteous as an example of what he had just said. He concludes in verse 9.
9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished”
10-11 “…Presumptuous are they, selfwilled…are not afraid to speak evil of dignities…angels…bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord”
Appears self righteous pride is a characteristic of false teachers. They aren’t afraid of authority and aren’t afraid to speak evil of those in power or authority. God reminded Job he was displaying some of this attitude toward Himself during Job’s lamenting. Job didn’t realize he was doing it and quickly repented when God mentioned it. Peter suggests as an example the angels who are far more powerful than humans. They don’t bring accusations to those whom they know are wrong in God’s presence out of respect for God who is the true judge of all. Jude mentions this in his epistle also. Jude 9. When pride arises, we easily forget our status as servants and act as though we are the judge. We must remember to separate the actions from the actor. We can observe the actions as compared to God’s righteous law, and even warn those who perform those actions of the predetermined condemnation awaiting them. But we must not cross the line into trying to pass that judgment on them. I can warn someone they are headed to Hell, but I’m not the one who can send them there. It’s hard to see the difference from the outside, but the determining factor is in the heart and the intention. One is warning out of care, the other is judgment without compassion.
12 “…speak evil of the things that they understand not…”
Job’s problem. And mine sometimes. Speaks of distrust in God. Questions are ok, but we must not cross the line into distrust.
15 “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness”
Balaam was a soothsayer who was hired to curse the Israelites. God spoke to him and told him not to, but he was too enticed with the reward offered. God used his donkey to get his attention, and he agreed to speak only what God told him. However, the reward was too much, and he gave Israel’s enemy another idea to harm them. God judged him, and he was later killed for his actions. He knew the truth, but was tempted by the promise of a big pay day. Personally, I don’t think he ever realized who God was. I think he thought God was just another local deity or spirit which he had dealt with before. Someone he thought he could manipulate or go around. That would make an interesting study.
At any rate, false prophets and teachers are in the same boat. They know they are not speaking the truth, but are too greedy for the promises of rewards for what they are doing. And most probably think there is nothing to what they are saying anyway, so what difference does it make? If I don’t believe in God or Christ, but I see that many do, I could jump on the false teacher bandwagon and have my own followers who would gladly pay me to say what they wanted to hear. As far as I’m concerned, the only ones hurt are the poor suckers who actually believe in that Christian garbage. But since it’s not really real, it’s no skin off my nose. Unfortunately for them, it is real. And the true God is paying attention. One day they will stand before Him and give an answer. That is not going to be pretty.
18-19 “…they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure …those that were clean escaped from them who live in error…While they promise them liberty…servants of corruption…brought in bondage”
False teachers are very dangerous to those who are trying to escape sin and are looking for the truth. They think they are finding relief, but are actually given another lie.
20-21 “after they have escaped…through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…again entangled therein…latter end is worse with them than the beginning…it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them”
If someone trying to escape sin is given false teaching, when the false fails, they will return to their old way of living. They were lured toward the truth, but were intercepted by false teachers and fed more lies. Since they never actually received Christ, they have no power to continue and return to their old ways.
I once tried to witness to a young man. He was high on drugs so it was an uphill battle anyway. But the problem was that he had been reared somewhat in a church and knew the doctrines. Unfortunately, no one had ever made sure he knew Christ. The judgmental attitude of those in the church condemned him in his lifestyle, and he totally missed the forgiveness of Christ. Even though I was telling him the truth, it sounded like what he already knew, and he refused to listen.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!