False Teachers by 2335fv


									Bible Study from 2 Peter 2:10-22
How to smell a rat!
By I Gordon


I was listening recently to a tape by Billy Strachen in which he was talking about
spiritual gifts. He said that while a lot of people are talking about the gifts, the one gift
that is being mentioned the least is the one most needed in our age – the gift of
discernment. He said that what we need in our churches are people that have the
God given ability to be able to smell a rat at fifty paces! I had to laugh… and agree.
This study then, from 2 Peter 2:10-22 is about that very thing and I have stolen his
phrase for my title… How to smell a rat! Instead of doing a verse by verse analysis of
this passage, I am going to divide the study into the following three sections – the
rat’s characteristics, the rat’s prey, and the rat’s end.

The Rat’s Characteristics

2 Pet 2:10-16 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and
despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even
angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against
such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand.
They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts
they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of
pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while
they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable;
they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to
follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for
his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained
the prophet’s madness.

Amongst others, the following characteristics are mentioned above.

1) They follow the corrupt desire of their sinful nature – Or, as another version
states it, they induldge the flesh. If a person is not lead, controlled, and taught by the
Spirit of God, then the only other alternative is to be influenced by their own fleshly
desires. Major Ian Thomas, in his book ‘If I perish, I perish’, has a great chapter on
this called ‘Pig is Pig’. In it, he shows that you can tidy a pig up, throw a dress on it if
you like, and even allow it to eat at your dinner table! But the fact remains that pig is
pig and before long that pig will be heading back to what it enjoys the most… the
mud! Well, these false teachers of 2nd Peter 2 are just like that. They might change
their appearance for a while, but pig is pig and before long their desire to follow and
indulge their fleshly nature will become evident. So, enough ‘Christianese’. What
does the Bible mean by ‘indulge their fleshly nature’? Probably the best definition is
given in 1 John 2:16-171

   In Pilgrims Progress, Faithful is met by ‘Adam the first’ from the town of deceit and is offered his
daughters in marriage! As Faithful recounts his experience to Christian - ‘He said he had but three
daughters: The Lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and that I could marry them all
if I liked. Then I asked him how long he wanted me to live with him, and he said as long as he himself
lived. At first I was somewhat inclined to go with this man... but looking at his forehead as I talked with
him, I saw written "Put off the old man with his deeds."

Unfortunately many have accepted Adam the first’s offer and have married his daughters and have gone
to be his heir down in the town of deceit. Faithful knew better… "Put off the old man with his deeds."
‘For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the
boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives

2) They Despise Authority – The second characteristic is that these people despise
authority. Or, as Jude 8 says they ‘reject authority2’. Devoid of reverence for God and
God ordained authority, false teachers aren’t willing to submit to others because they
need control. They have to be the top dog and have the final say3. How different this
is to what Jesus taught concerning leadership –

Matt 20:25-28 “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their
high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants
to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first
must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

3) Boastful, while lacking knowledge – In short, the false teachers are talkers, they
have the gift of the gab, but are simply masters of the bluff4. And, as John Darby said
‘the devil is never more satanic than when he quotes the Bible.’ 2 Peter 2:185 states
they ‘mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful
human nature, they entice people…’

4) Sexual Sin – As we have said, pig is pig, and despite fine sounding words, a pig
will return to the mud. It says above that ‘with eyes full of adultery, they never stop

  Jude also goes on to classify false teachers into three categories. The way of Cain, Balaam, and
Korah. The way of Cain is at the heart of man made religion – works righteousness. The way of Balaam
is greed and the love of money. And finally, the way of Korah is rebellion against God’s appointed
authority. Which, obviously enough, is what Peter is talking about in point 2 above when he says that
false teachers ‘despise authority’. They have to be the top dog. Beware of those that exhibit these
 What is scary, if I am seeing things clearly, is that there seems to be a move within the church at the
moment away from the plurality of eldership and more to a one man dictatorship. It’s not the way it’s
meant to be and is a very worrying trend.
  As an extreme example, let it be remembered that most of the German church was deceived by Adolf
Hitler even though his goal was to destroy the church. I recently read a very interesting book called
‘Hitler’s Cross’ and the following are a couple of quotes –

‘Privately Hitler prepared for war, while publicly he gave speeches about his desire for peace. He
revealed in his ability to deceive.’ (Hitler’s Cross – page 16)
‘Hitler believed in lies. He said that “the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility
since the masses… more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one.’ (Hitler’s Cross – page 113)
   Commenting on 2 Peter 2:18, The Believers Bible Commentary says ‘they use fine phrases that have
no meaning… As an example, here is a quotation from a well known theologian of our day:
‘It is not a relationship of either parity or disparity, but of similarity. This is what we think and this is what
we express as the true knowledge of God, although in faith we still know and remember that everything
that we know as ‘similarity’ is not identical with the similarity meant here. Yet we also know and
remember, and again in faith, that the similarity meant here is pleased to reflect itself in what we know
as similarity and call by this name, so that in our thinking and speaking similarity becomes similar to the
similarity posited in the true revelation of God (to which it is, in itself, not similar) and we do not think and
speak falsely but rightly when we describe the relationship as one of similarity.”

Oh my goodness! What on earth is this person talking about? Fine sounding words that have no
meaning at all!
sinning.’ How many ministries have fallen into sexual sin lately? More than we need

5) Greed for money – ‘They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the
way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.’ Balaam is a very
interesting case. Read about him in Numbers chapter 22-24. He certainly consulted
the Lord at times. He certainly prophesied correctly at times. And yet, there is nothing
good written about him in the New Testament for he had a heart that loved money
and what he could get out of his gifts. What is even scarier than this, is the fact that
greed and a love for money is openly taught in many churches as Biblical.6 It was
certainly considered biblical in the church of Laodicea but Jesus wasn’t overly
impressed with them now was he? (Rev 3:14-21)

The Rat’s Prey

Just quickly, it is important to have a look at what 2nd Peter 2 says about the prey of
these false teachers. We read above that ‘they are like brute beasts, creatures of
instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish…
they seduce the unstable.’ Peter likens these false teachers to animals. In the
animal kingdom, predators go after the young and the weak. I’m sure you’ve seen the
documentaries. Not pretty! Well, it’s the same here. They go after and seduce the
unstable. Paul speaks about this as well in Eph 4:14 saying that some are ‘tossed
back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching
and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.’

So what is the result of this preying on the unstable? The prey are ‘just escaping from
those who live in error.’ But some don’t escape. And even those that do escape
seldom do it without scars. Stay alert young Christian! For not all that you see and
hear within ‘Christianity’ is well for your soul.

The Rat’s Evil End

Vs 12 ‘They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done.’

Vs 17 ‘Blackest darkness is reserved for them.’

Vs 20 ‘If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at
the end than they were at the beginning.’

While these false teachers may think that they can get away with whatever they like,
the reality is that no one gets away with anything. The Phillips translation of vs 13
says ‘their wickedness has earned them an evil end, and they will be paid in full.’


We live in difficult times. The false abound and will, according to the word of God,
only increase. So we should know their methods. We should know their ways. But
always remember that the best way to know that which is false, is to be intimately

  A local pastor where I live was recently teaching a series on ‘You need more money’. I pointed out to
him that the Apostle Paul didn’t say that ‘having more money’ was the great secret, but that
‘contentment’ was the great secret. (Phil 4:12) ‘You need more money’ might be a normal title for a
finance seminar, but to put it across as biblical??? Hmmmm.
aware of that which is true. After speaking about the false in 1st Timothy 6, Paul’s
words to Timothy seem relevant for us all.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the
eternal life to which you were called.

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