False, False, False Teachers! – 3

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Scripture Text – 2 Peter 2:1-9

We continue with Peters warning to the church to be alert and vigilant. This is the second of the three aspects addressing the subject of false teachers in the church.

The False Teachers Destroyed

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.

Then the Lord knows how to . . . reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment. – 2 Peter 2:4-6, 9b.

Peter saw no hope for these apostates; their doom was sealed. His attitude was different from that of “tolerant” religious people today who say, “Well, they may not agree with us, but there are many roads to heaven.” Or my favorite, “Well if they say they love the Lord, we can’t judge them.” Peter made it clear that these false teachers had “forsaken the right way and gone astray,” – 2 Peter 2:15, which simply means they were going the WRONG way! You can’t state it much clearer! Their judgment was sure, even though it had not yet come. The trial was over, but the sentence had not yet been executed. It would not linger or slumber, Peter affirmed; it would come in due time.

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In this section, we see how Peter proved that judgment finally does come, no matter how secure the sinner might feel. He used three examples to verify this truth (see also Jude 6–8).

The Fallen Angels (verse 4). We wish we knew more about the creation of the angels and the fall of Lucifer and his host, but most of these details are still shrouded in mystery. Many Bible students believe that Isaiah 14:12–15 describes the fall of Lucifer, the highest of the angels. Some students feel that Ezekiel 28:11–19 also deals with the same topic. It would appear that Lucifer was God’s deputy, in charge of the angelic hosts, but that his pride made him grasp after the very throne of God. (John Milton imaginatively portrayed this in the famous poem, Paradise Lost.) Also, Revelation 12:4 suggests that perhaps one third of the angels fell with Lucifer, who became Satan, the adversary of God. However, we don’t know how many angels there were to begin with.

Where are these fallen angels now? We know that Satan is free and at work in the world (1 Peter 5:8), and that he has an army of demonic powers assisting him (Ephesians 6:10–12), who are most likely at least some of the fallen angels. But Peter said that some of the angels were confined to Tartarus (“hell”) already, which is a Greek word for the underworld. Tartarus may be a special section of hell where these angels are chained in pits of darkness, awaiting the final judgment. It is not necessary to debate the hidden mysteries of this verse in order to get the main message: God judges rebellion and will not spare those who reject His will. If God judged the angels, who in many respects are higher than men, then certainly He will judge rebellious men.

The Old World (verse 5). Genesis 6:3 indicates that God waited 120 years before He sent the Flood. All during that time, Noah ministered as a “herald” of God’s righteousness. If you want to read a description of the world before the Flood, read Romans 1:18 in reference to the Flood. Gentile civilization had become so corrupt that it was necessary for God to wipe the earth clean. He saved only eight people, Noah and his family, because they had faith in God (Hebrews 11:7).

The sad thing is, nobody believed Noah’s message! Jesus made it clear that people were enjoying their normal lives up to the very day that Noah and his family entered the ark! (Luke 17:26–27). No doubt there were plenty of “experts” who laughed at Noah and assured the people that a rainstorm was out of the question. Had anybody ever seen one? The apostates in Peter’s day used that same argument to “prove” that the Day of the Lord would not come (2 Peter 3:3-6).

When you compare our world with Noah’s world, you can certainly see some frightening parallels. The population was multiplying (Genesis 6:1), and the world was filled with wickedness (Genesis 6:5) and violence (Genesis 6:11-13). Lawlessness abounded. Much like today the corruption and wickedness was blatant and out in the open. True believers were a minority, and nobody paid any attention to them! But the Flood came and the entire population of the world was destroyed. God does indeed judge those who reject His truth.

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Sodom and Gomorrah (verses 6, 9b). The record is given in Genesis 18–19, and God’s opinion of the people of these cities is found in Genesis 13:13, “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.” Peter said they were “ungodly,” and Jude said they were given to “sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh.” – Jude 7. The men of Sodom practiced filthy conduct and lawless deeds (2 Peter 2:7–8). Since the Law of Moses had not yet been given, the word lawless or unlawful cannot refer to some Jewish law. In what sense were their filthy deeds “unlawful”? For one, they were blatantly contrary to nature (see Romans 1:24–27). The flagrant sin of Sodom and the other cities was unnatural sex, sodomy, and/or homosexual behavior, a sin that is clearly condemned in Scripture (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

In spite of Abraham’s intercessory prayer (Genesis 18:22-33) and Lot’s last-minute warning, the people of Sodom perished in fire and brimstone. Again, up to the very minute that Lot left the city, the people were confident that everything was safe, just like in the days of Noah; but then the fire fell (Luke 17:28–29). God did not spare them, nor will He spare sinners today who willfully reject His truth and deny His Son. God buried Sodom and Gomorrah, probably under the Dead Sea. They are examples to sinners today to beware the wrath to come.

Having cited these three examples of certain judgment, Peter then applied the lesson to the subject at hand, the false teachers (2 Peter 2:9b). God has reserved the unjust for special punishment on that day of judgment. The false teachers may seem successful (for “many” follow them), but in the end, they will be condemned. Their judgment is being prepared now (“has not been idle,” – 2 Peter 2:3), and what is prepared will be reserved and applied on the last day.

What a contrast between the false teachers and the true children of God! We have an inheritance reserved for us (1 Peter 1:4) because Jesus Christ is preparing a home for us in heaven (John 14:1–6). We are not looking for judgment, but for the coming of the Lord to take His people home to glory! “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

Peter next turned his attention to the believers themselves. How could they stay true to the Lord in such a wicked world?

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 2.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture links provided by Biblia.com

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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2 Responses to False, False, False Teachers! – 3

  1. Yes, we can definitely see some parallel s between Noah’s world and ours. As I’m reading this, news reports are showing scenes from Florida… ’nuff said.

    Liked by 1 person

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