2 Peter 2:10-22

Don't Believe All You Hear!

Click Here to Read 2 Peter 2:10-22

This lesson continues with those mentioned in the first part of this chapter in verse 1: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."

There were false prophets in Old Testament times and there would be false teachers in New Testament times. The chapter continues with scathing statements describing false teachers and warning of their coming judgment by God. A new sentence about false teachers begins in the middle of verse 10.

2 Peter 2:10b-11. "Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
11: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord."

God describes the false teachers as headstrong and rebellious against the will of God (verse 10b). Even worse, they didn't care about the consequences, “not afraid to speak evil of dignities.”

It's definitely wrong to speak evil of dignities, the authorities God has ordained, both in our civil government and in the church. The person may be corrupt, but the office is ordained of God.

I say "person" because, too often, man has given up his place of headship ordained by God. In many cases, the woman has had to step forward and take the position of authority, or leadership, in the home, the churches and in civil government.

The false teachers, defying God, had the gall to bring accusations against the dignities. The point here is that good angels wouldn't dare to speak evil even of less powerful fallen angels because God is the judge of those things. We need to be very careful ourselves and not take a place of judging where it isn't ours to judge.

There's a passage in Jude, that gives a similar warning:

JUDE 3-10. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." [today we would say "defend the faith"]
4: For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
5: I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those that believed not.
6: And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
7: Even as Sodom and Gomorra, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8: Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
9: Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
10: But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
Jude seemed to have the same opinion of false teachers that Peter has.

2 Peter 2:12-13. "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
13: And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you;"

Peter calls these teachers "brute beasts," men with the attitude and the carnal desires of animals. It's their nature. They live only to gratify their passions, and are slaves to sin. They're compared to wild predatory animals that were to be caught and destroyed. God didn't create them this way, they choose to live like this.

They "speak evil of the things they do not understand." Those who aren't saved can't understand the Bible or the ways of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

They claim special knowledge and may even have a great education, but they can't understand the true knowledge of God because they have never been saved. They are educated and yet they criticize the Bible they don't understand. The Bible teaches morality for the true Believer and they even ridicule that. Peter states these false teachers "will utterly perish in their own corruption." Their rejection of the truth of God will lead to punishment in Hell forever, and "will receive the wages of unrighteousness." They've earned what they'll get in the end and they'll be paid in full. They have practiced wickedness so long that they no longer recognize it as wickedness, and they don't even try to hide it, even in broad daylight.

They stand out like "spots and blemishes" when they keep company with Christians. Their character is the opposite of Christ, who is "without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:19).

Verse 14. "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:" The description of false teachers just continues with one condemning phrase after another. They have "eyes full of adultery" which is literally "eyes only for adultery." They look at every woman to mentally lust for her.

These thoughts soon dominate their thinking and then it's impossible for them to see women in any other way. I might add, there are women who have the same motive as the men written about here.

Peter says, "They cannot cease from sin," which probably means sinning with their eyes as well as their bodies. Matthew 5:28. "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." If you entertain any thought long enough you will eventually try it.

Those thoughts, as well as other sins, never satisfy. They leave the sinner looking for something more, and even more sin fails to satisfy. That's the bondage of sin, and habitual sin indicates they have never been born again.

Those that mislead "unstable souls" actually are recruiters for Satan. Many followers are lured into sexual sin by religious leaders who they trusted. Also, think of all the cult leaders that have lead people to commit mass suicides. Most of those leaders advocated illicit sex.

Too often people become victims because they don't realize those who mislead them "have a heart exercised in covetous practices." They make their promises sound so good that it's hard to resist them. They promise all kinds of prosperity and sensual satisfaction, and yet it's never enough. It's no wonder Peter calls them "accursed children." God’s curse certainly is on them.

Verses 15-16. "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16: But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet."

The "right way" is a common expression for obedience to God from the Old Testament. Forsaking the right way is disobedience to God. The Midianite prophet Balaam was paid money by the king of Moab to curse Israel (Numbers 22-24). Like the false teachers in Peter’s day, he used his ministry as a means to obtain money for himself. He had to compromise obedience to God in order to get that money. This is the fourth Old Testament illustration in this chapter.

Balaam tried to curse Israel, but when the donkey he was riding on saw the Angel of the Lord, the donkey stopped and refused to go on. Balaam whipped the donkey and the donkey rebuked him in human language. In spite of the fact that God gave the donkey the miracle of speech, Balaam didn't give up his lust for money, even though he knew he was disobeying God. He later paid for this act with his life.

The spirit of Balaam is alive and well in our world. A lot of false teachers are following the way of Balaam and are so mercenary they don't pay any attention to the warnings of Scripture.

Verses 17. "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever."

Their teaching is like trying to get a cool drink of water from a dry well, or a soaking rain from a cloud that just blows over. There's only disappointment. Teaching that doesn't center on Christ can't satisfy and can't reward. False teachers want you to look for satisfaction in the things they teach, not in the true knowledge of Christ.

Old Testament prophets warned the people of their day of this:

Isaiah 29:13-14. "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
[14] Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."

For the teachers who make those false promises, "the gloom of darkness is reserved forever." That means they will spend eternity in Hell.

Verses 18-19. "For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19: While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."

They preach deceptive words which have a spiritual sound, but no spiritual significance. Some people may be impressed by their flowery speech but those words may lead them to hell.

The false teachers taught that the soul was all that mattered. They said it didn't make any difference what you did with your body, be it with food or sexually. Paul witnessed a similar situation in Corinth, back in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. He gave the Corinthian believers explicit instructions from God to have no sexual activity outside marriage. Christian liberty has it's definite moral boundaries.

The victims of verse 18 are those who were clean and were enticed back into sin. "They allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error."

They reformed their lives morally by separating themselves from their former lifestyle but never actually got saved. Then they accepted the false teaching of those who encouraged sexual sin. They had to be surprised by this, because they probably thought that “religion” included moral behavior. They had forsaken the lifestyle of those who live in error only to be drawn back into it.

The false teachers promise freedom, but they themselves were the slaves of corruption. They found that the more they preached and practiced self expression of moral freedom, the more they became slaves to their own selfish desires.

Verses 20-22. "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21: For 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.
22: But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

The last three verses in the chapter talk about those who have escaped the "pollutions of the world" but are later "entangled ---and overcome." They had the knowledge, they had the opportunity to accept Christ and leave the sinful life. They may have been convicted of their sin and temporarily escaped the pollution but never really got saved. They are people who periodically reform their lifestyle only to be drawn back into immorality by the false teachers. They were never really true believers.

They're like sheep without a shepherd. The reformed lifestyle didn't last, and they went back to the "pollution of the world" which was their former lifestyle.

Peter says, "The latter end for them is worse than the beginning." It would have been better for them if they had never known the "way of righteousness," than having known it to turn away. The Bible teaches that greater knowledge brings greater responsibility.

When we know that God requires holiness, and understand the way of salvation is the only way to that holiness, and then deliberately reject it, we will incur the worst possible eternal punishment God can award. This, and some other scriptures, imply that there are degrees of punishment in Hell.

Verse 22 finishes the chapter with illustrations of the habits of two unclean animals that the Jews considered the lowest of all, dogs and pigs. The proverb said, "The dog returns to his own vomit again, and, the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire." He is making a comparison here. The false teachers, and those who follow their teaching, are likened to these animals.

Notice how this includes both male and female. The dog, his vomit: the sow, her wallowing. It refers to both inward and outward corruption, vomit and mud. Both animals had temporary relief, the dog from its internal corruption and the sow from its external filth. The main point is this: They both returned to what they were before. The dog returned to his vomit and the sow to her wallowing in the mire. They returned to being what they were because their natures weren't changed. Unbelievers may temporarily reform without being saved but will revert to what they were.

Just as surely as the angels who sinned, the wicked who perished in the flood in Noah's time, and the immoral people of Sodom were judged, God will judge these people severely.

The chapter ends with their empty lives exposed and their inability to improve as long as they are apart from the power of God. It is an indictment on the teachings of the modern world and a warning to the church to teach God's Word.

Don't become a part of this. God doesn't want you to live this way nor to spend eternity in hell. He promised a Savior who can take the penalty of your sins and free you of them.

We have false teachers among us today who claim the writings of a man equal to the Scriptures. Some teach that good works will get you to heaven. Others teach that baptism into the church will save you. No basis for any of these is found in the Bible. John 14:6: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

God has recorded how we are to come to Him, through Jesus Christ, for salvation:
1 John 3:23-24. "And this is His [God's]commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
24: And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Holy Spirit which He hath given us."

Again, in:
Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."