2 Peter: Remember!

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” (2 Peter 3:4-6).

Scoffers always seem to have short memories. The Apostle Peter comments that false teachers indignantly mock the promise of Jesus Christ’s return in power, might and glory. They continually comment that all things in this world continue as they have from the very beginning of creation. What they conveniently forget is an event the Scriptures call the Flood.

Peter states that scoffers “deliberately overlook this fact.” The word deliberately (θέλω; thelo) means, within this context, to presently, purposely and actively have an opinion concerning something. What scoffers have a mind set upon is to overlook (λανθάνω; lanthano), forget, to lose sight of and to not remember a fact (οὗτος; houtos) or a reality. The reality to which the apostle refers is God creating the world out of water, and through water by the word of God (Genesis 1:1-2).

One commentary explains that, “Aristotle and his adherents (the Peripatetics) believed that the universe was eternal. His view caught on even outside Peripatetic circles, and Philo had to address the idea. (Like Plato, Philo believed that God created the world from preexistent matter, but unlike Plato, he believed that God had created that preexistent matter too.) Epicureans denied that God acted in the world; they also believed that matter was indestructible (on the atomic level) and that the universe was infinite. The Stoics believed that fire was eternal, that the universe would periodically be resolved into the primeval fire (see comment on 3:7) and that eternity was a cycle of ages. Whether matter was created out of preexisting substance in chaos (as in most ancient thought) or from nothing (as is most likely in Gen 1) was debated in Diaspora Judaism.In Genesis 1, God created the world through his word (also Ps 33:6–9). Some later Jewish traditions counted ten commands in Genesis 1 and suggested that they represented the Ten Commandments, the word of the law on which God founded the world.”

It was also with water that God deluged the ancient world and destroyed it, and its sin, with the Flood. Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “Peter met the arguments of the scoffers by reviewing some ancient history. Just as water by God’s command played a significant role in the early formation of the earth, so water also was the agent for destruction of the earth at God’s command. The heavens existed refers to the expanse or sky created on the second day of Creation (Gen. 1:6–8); and the earth was formed out of water and with water refers to the land appearing from the water on the third day of Creation (Gen. 1:9–10).

 Dr. Walvoord continues by stating, “God the Creator is also God the Judge. In His sovereign will, any change in process can occur at any time for He designed and controls these “natural” processes. The scoffers deliberately (thelontas, “willingly”) forget God’s Creation and the Flood, an interesting contrast with Peter’s constant reminders to his readers to “remember” (2 Peter 1:12–13, 15; 3:1–2, 8). The scoffers deliberately put aside God’s Word and then complained that God was not doing anything. Interestingly Peter was both a creationist and a believer in the universal Flood (cf. his other references to the Flood: 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5).”

 I wonder how many scoffers there are in the churches we are members of and where we serve the Lord Jesus. These would be individuals who play church and dismiss the sovereignty of God and His impending judgment upon this fallen world. The judgment to come will be as devastating as the ancient flood but it will not be by water, but rather by fire. More to follow when we meet again.

Soli deo Gloria!



2 Peter: The Scoffer’s Indignation.

“They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4)

How will scoffers mock and ridicule the prophesied and promised return of the Lord Jesus Christ? They will indignantly and persistently ask “Where is the promise of His coming?”

The word “where” (ποῦ; pou) disrespectfully implies that Jesus’ coming should have occurred by now. Since it hasn’t occurred, scoffers may reason, then it probably won’t.  

 The word “promise” (ἐπαγγελία; epangelia) means an agreement that is to be fulfilled. Since Jesus has yet to return to the earth in power, might and glory, scoffers gladly proclaim that Jesus’ promise to come again (παρουσία; parousia) will never be fulfilled.

There reasoning for this rejection of God’s promise is based on the continuing cycle of life and living which has continued unabated since Jesus’ ascension. In fact, scoffers reason that life continues as it has since creation. They conclude that ever since the Jewish forefathers (πατήρ; pater) feel asleep (κοιμάω; koimao) or died, all things are continuing as they always have since the beginning of creation.

The word all things (πᾶς; pas) refers to that which exists in the natural world. This is what sceptics and scoffers solely focus their attention upon. They do not believe in God’s revealed truth: the Scriptures.

Dr. John Walvoord comments that, “From the time of the promise of Christ’s coming as Saviour and King being given to the fathers, down to the present time, all things continue, and have continued, as they now are, from “the beginning of creation.” The “scoffers” here are not necessarily atheists, nor do they maintain that the world existed from eternity. They are willing to recognize a God, but not the God of revelation. They reason from seeming delay against the fulfilment of God’s word at all.

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “Peter points us to the predictions of the prophets and apostles in order to give us confidence that false teaching is in fact no surprise to God. For the apostles and prophets did predict that in the last days scoffers will arise deriding the promise of Jesus’ return (vv. 2–4). The questions and assertions of the false teachers described in verse 4 were not innocent inquiries regarding the second coming; rather, the teachers in question mocked the orthodox belief in Jesus’ return as Judge.”

“However, this should not be surprising to us. Peter does tell us that the scoffing of the false teachers is predicted by the Word of God. In view here are passages such as Malachi 2:17 where the prophet warns the people that they have wearied the Lord by speaking as if God is not concerned with justice. As false teachers do the same in these last days, Malachi’s warning is fulfilled and made all the more intense because those who deny judgment while living under the revelation of the new covenant are even more guilty of sin.”

Dr. Sproul concludes by saying that, “Peter’s quotation of the prophet Joel in Acts 2:16–21 makes it clear that the entire time between the first and second advent of Christ is to be regarded as the last days. As such, we are not to be surprised at the presence of false teaching throughout church history, nor are we to assume necessarily that the seeming proliferation of false doctrine in our own day means that Jesus will return in our lifetime. Jesus could return at any time, and yet the entire period between His two advents is indeed the last days. Thus, we must not be surprised that the predictions about the rise of false teachers (Matt. 24:11) are fulfilled in every generation of the church.”

 Are you frustrated by the increasing amount of false teaching that is occurring within the evangelical community? It seems the church is running headlong in rejecting objective, biblical truth and accepting anyone’s subjective opinion as a replacement for biblical truth. In a very real sense, it is good that believers in Christ are disturbed by the increase of false teaching. Therefore, we must resolve to do everything we biblically can to combat false teaching, where and when it occurs.

May the Lord find us faithful in doing so.

Sol deo Gloria!









2 Peter: Scoffers will come with Scoffing.

“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” (2 Peter 3:3)

It should come as no surprise that since Peter wrote his second epistle to remind his readers to remember the prophets and the apostles’ message concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ that it would be for a particular reason. That reason is given in 2 Peter 3:3. It is that scoffers will come with scoffing about Jesus’ return.

Peter wanted his readers then, and now, to presently and actively know and understand a truth that is of primary importance. The truth is that scoffers will come. Scoffers (ἐμπαίκτης; empaiktes) are those who mock and make fun of Jesus Christ and His followers.

I was recently at work and asked a fellow employee how her strained back was doing. The previous day she couldn’t even stand straight which necessitated her making an appointment with a local chiropractor. I told her, prior to her appointment, that I would pray for her. Another employee must have heard what I told her because the next day, after she said she was feeling better following her chiropractic appointment, he began to shout the word hallelujah exclaiming that God had healed this lady. Knowing this young man as I do, he clearly was mocking her, me, and the Lord Jesus. This is what scoffers do.

The reality of scoffers is a telltale sign that we are living in the last days. The last days is the time immediately prior to the promised return of Jesus Christ in power, might and glory. It is at this particular time in the church’s history that scoffers will come with scoffing (ἐμπαιγμονή; empaigmone) which is to make fun of someone by pretending that he is not what he is or by imitating him in a distorted manner—in order to mock, to ridicule.” This is what my co-worker did and what many entertainers, filmmakers and television programs do as well.

Why do scoffers do this? It is because they are following their own sinful desires. Note that scoffers are not following anyone else’s lusts, but their own cravings and evil desires. Those who do not follow them and their sinful cravings are mocked and ridiculed.

Believers can take heart that such mockery is an indication of Jesus’ soon return. The logical inference is that as scoffing increases in intensity against the church, the Lord’s return is that much sooner.

Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “Peter understood that he and his readers were living in the last days, the period of time between the Lord’s First and Second Advents. First of all means “above all” (as in 1:20), foremost in importance. Scoffers are the false teachers who deny Jesus Christ (2:1) and His return (3:4). Jesus had said these heretics would come (Matt. 24:3–5, 11, 23–26), and Paul had written the same (1 Tim. 4:1–3; 2 Tim. 3:1–9). Peter echoed the warning, adding that their scoffing is accompanied by their … evil desires (epithymias, also used in 2 Peter 1:4; 2:10, 18; Jude 16, 18). Arrogant snobbery and disdain for the idea of a coming judgment led to sexual perversion.”

These current days of scoffers mocking and ridiculing believing Christians for their faith, while at the same time celebrating their unbridled sin and licentiousness, should make us take heart that Jesus is returning soon. Let us call it anticipation in the midst of agitation.

Soli deo Gloria!





2 Peter: A Reminder to Remember.

“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,” (2 Peter 3:1-2)

The purpose of Peter’s second letter to the same collection of displaced believers he previously wrote (I Peter 1:1-2) was to stir up their sincere minds. The word sincere (εἰλικρινής; eilikrines) means these believers did not have any hidden motives. Their minds (διάνοια; dianoia), or their thinking, was in keeping with God’s truth.

The English word “sincere” is from the Latin words sine cera, “without wax.” Some pottery salesmen would use wax to cover cracks and weak places in pottery. Such a cover-up could be detected only by holding the jug up to the sun to see if any weaknesses were visible. Such a vase was called “sun-judged” (the lit. meaning of the Gr. eilikrinēs). The Lord wants believers in Christ to possess sun-judged minds, not minds which their sin have been covered over.”

Please notice that Peter referred to the recipients of his letter as beloved. These are people who are near and dear to the apostle’s heart. They are his dear friends. He will use the term beloved (ἀγαπητός; agapetos) four times in this chapter (vs, 1, 8, 14, 17). Most importantly,  they are beloved by God.

Knowing the sincerity of these believers, Peter wanted to remind them that they should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandments through the apostles. The word predictions (ῥῆμα; rhema) is referring to a message, a word, or a saying originating from a specific source. The word commandment (ἐντολή; entole) refers to an order. Both pertain to what God’s Word says about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The two sources Peter mentions regarding this message and commandment were respectively the holy prophets and the apostles. The word holy (ἅγιος; hagios) refers to that which is pure, dedicated and separate from sin. This adjective pertains to the Old Testament prophets of God. The prophets spoke utterances and messages from God. The apostles did the same thing with the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter was one of the apostles. Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of not only the holy prophets but also the apostles.

Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Peter again reminded his readers of the need to remember (cf. 1:12–15). Others, like Peter, referred to the holy prophets (cf. Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; Eph. 3:5), whose words were oracles regarding the day of the Lord and related topics. The command of our Lord and Savior refers to His teachings, which were then proclaimed by the apostles (cf. Jude 17). Peter’s linking the prophets and apostles placed them on the same level of authority (cf. Eph. 2:20). This also suits Peter’s earlier purpose of distinguishing the true servants of the Lord from the false. Believers do well to recall the writings of both Testaments regarding the Lord’s return.”

Believers in Christ are wise to not only study the New Testament regarding the Lord’s return in power, might and glory but also the Old Testament. Both testaments are inspired, inerrant and God’s revelation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Soli deo Gloria!








2 Peter: Conclusions and Comparisons.

21 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. 22 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 2:21-22)

“An apostate (false teacher) is someone who has the light but not the life, the seed but not the fruit, the written word but not the living word, the truth but not a love for the truth.” Dr. John MacArthur

The Apostle Peter concluded his striking and stirring remarks about false teachers, or apostates, but setting forth a conclusion and two comparisons. Both of these categories should prompt true believers to pause and consider the ultimate end of all false teachers.

To begin with, Peter stated, “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 did the apostle mean when he used the words “known” and “knowing” to describe the spiritual condition of false teachers? Were they then, and are they now, true believers who have abandoned the faith or are they simply pretenders who never were justified by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone?

Peter’s conclusion regarding the condition of false teachers was that it would have been better (κρείττων; kreitton), superior or greater to never to have known (ἐπιγινώσκω; epiginosko) or to have knowledge of the way of righteousness (ὁδός δικαιοσύνη; odos dikiaosyne) or doing what God requires or what is right. In others words, false teachers have knowledge about God and living righteously, but they give no evidence of repentance and personal, God-given faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

On the contrary, false teachers turn back from the holy commandment (ἅγιος ἐντολή; hagios entole). This is the pure, divine and superior direction solely belonging to and originating from God. This is the gospel message which not only delivers a sinner from the penalty of sin but also from the power of sin. It is a message of not only justification by Jesus Christ but also sanctification by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in each true believer’s life (Romans 3:21-26; Romans 8:1-9).

Peter was saying that false teachers possess a knowledge about Jesus Christ, which could produce true liberty and life. However, when that “head” knowledge is rejected, their ultimate end is deeper corruption by their sin and possibly a greater degree of punishment. Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “Indeed, they would have been better off never to have known the gospel, the way of righteousness, and the sacred (holy) commandment (i.e., the apostolic message) than to have known the truth and have deliberately violated it.”

 Peter then provided two striking comparisons about the behavior of false teachers’ ultimate rejection of the gospel. The first is that of a dog returning to its own vomit. Proverbs 26:11 says, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”  In the ancient world, Jews did not consider dogs to be household pets but rather mongrels which ran in ravaging packs. Additionally, the apostle mentioned a “sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” This was common knowledge by the Jews.

Dr. Walvoord comments that, “The underlying principle of both is the same: these apostates (whether false teachers, their victims, or both) never were what they seemed to be and returned to what they had been all along. Dogs and pigs can be scrubbed but not kept clean, for it is in their very nature to return to unclean living. Such apostates are in a tighter bondage, they are farther from the truth, and they are deeper in spiritual filth than ever before.”

Dr. Walvvord concludes that, “Believers today do well to heed Peter’s warning against false teachers, to learn how to discern truth for themselves, and to teach it to others. The false teachers will themselves meet destruction and others will be destroyed by them. But Christians can wage spiritual warfare more effectively if they know their spiritual enemies, the techniques that heretics use, and the end result of their deception.”

 What ultimately distinguishes a true believer, and teacher of God, from false teachers? A true believer pursues practical righteousness and holiness in their lives. This pursuit is not in order to attain justification but rather to reflect and demonstrate the justification they already possess by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. True believers in Christ still sin (Romans 7:15-25; I John 1:8-9), but with decreasing frequency and with a hatred of their sin. Ultimately, the true believer in Christ seeks to obey God, based upon God’s love for them and their love for God in grateful response. May this holy obedience to God be said of us and seen in us.

Soli deo Gloria!








2 Peter: The Ultimate End for False Teachers.

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.” (2 Peter 2:20)

One of the evidences of true conversion to Christ, aside from the repentance from one’s sin and faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, is a perseverance in one’s commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord. When an individual does not persevere in their faith in Christ, it is a biblical evidence that the faith they professed was not a faith that they truly possessed.

I John 2:19-19 says, 18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” The antichrist’s to which the Apostle John refers are also false teachers.

2 Peter 2:20 contains the phrase “after they have escaped” (ἀποφεύγω; apopheugo). This means to become safe from danger. From what have false teachers presumably escaped? Peter said “the defilements of the world.” Defilements (μίασμα; miasma) means to be tainted or stained by evil. This evil originates from the fallen world.

Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “Defilements” has the idea of putrid or poisonous vapors. Morally, the world gives off a deadly influence. Peter notes that at some point in time, these false teachers and their followers wanted to escape the moral contamination of the world system and sought religion, even Jesus Christ (on their terms, not his;). But these false teachers had never genuinely been converted to Christ. They heard the true gospel and moved toward it, but then rejected the Christ of that gospel.”

Therefore, once they are again entangled in the defilements of the world their spiritual condition will be much worse than before.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “These false teachers apparently professed to be Christians, but their return to their old, sinful way of life showed that their knowledge of Christ and the way of righteousness was only superficial and their escape from the defilements of the world was only temporary.”

False teachers are never truly converted to faith in Christ. They just pretend to be in order to gain a following. Resolve today to not allow false teachers and their teaching to get a foothold into your life.


Soli deo Gloria!







2 Peter: True Freedom.

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:19)

I am often times intrigued when I encounter individuals who tout their freedom in sin. Regardless of the ultimate consequences of their actions, they are willing to do whatever it takes for this nebulous concept they have conceived regarding the meaning of freedom.

Freedom (ἐλευθερία; eleutheria) means liberty, or living as we should and not as we please. Unfortunately, for many the meaning of liberty is living as we please and not as we should. This latter meaning for liberty has unfortunately become the philosophy of many believers in Christ.

False teachers promise people freedom. The irony is that these same false teachers are slaves of corruption. A slave (δοῦλος’ doulos) means to be subservient to someone or something. In other words, someone other than yourself controls you. Corruption (φθορά; phthora) means to have soul of which moral corruption and depravity originates.

False teachers are slaves to their own spiritual decay. They cannot promise or provide true freedom because they do not possess it themselves.

Pastor Burk Parsons writes, “The Psalmist declared, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97). Why would anyone love the law of God? Why would we love that which constantly tells us what miserable wretches we are, daily points out all our shortcomings, relentlessly reminds us of all our death-deserving sins, and keeps knocking us down to our knees, leaving us crying out for help?”

 “The truth of the matter is that not just anyone loves the law of God but only those who have been set free by our law-giving, law-keeping, and law-liberating Savior. We love the law of God not because we possess some sort of inherent self-inflicting, self-deprecating sadistic disposition toward ourselves, but because, in His electing grace, God set His glorious and enduring love upon us, laid His eternal claim upon us, took hold of us and clutches us in the palm of His strong and steadfast hand, and made us His dutiful bondslaves that we might be free to delight in His law in our inner being (Rom. 7:22–25) and strive to observe all the commands of Christ (Matt. 28:20), who by no means abolished the Law but fulfilled it perfectly in our behalf (Matt. 5:17). His death is our life. His fulfillment is our freedom. His duty is our delight.”

 “Our abundant life of freedom in Christ is not a freedom to do anything we want to do but to have the uninterrupted, Spirit-sustaining power to do what we know we ought to do as the Holy Spirit changes our wants and daily makes all of our God-given duties delightful as we rest in the finished work of Christ (Rom. 8:3–4).”

 Enjoy today a freedom in Christ which is true liberty. For further study, I encourage you to read Romans 6.

Solei deo Gloria!




2 Peter: Loud Boasters of Folly.

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.” (2 Peter 2:18)

False teachers are rarely silent. I would submit their favorite Bible verse would not be Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” They’re rarely, if ever, silent. They also would rather be exalted among the nations and in the earth.

When false teachers talk, according to the Apostle Peter, they are speaking loud boasts of folly. The word speaking (φθέγγομαι; phthengomai) is a present middle participle. This means that the false teachers are continually and personally speaking. What they say reflects their thinking, feelings and decisions.

What are they speaking? Peter called it loud boasts of folly. Loud boasts (ὑπέρογκος; hyperonkos) means to speak in such a way that makes no sense. In other words, to speak nonsense. The nonsense false teachers speak is folly (ματαιότης; mataiotes) or useless and futile words, empty of content.

False teachers not only speak empty nonsense, but they also entice. To entice (δελεάζω; deleaso) means to lead astray or to lure someone into sin. The enticement in question is the sensual passions of the flesh. This phrase refers to extreme immorality and sinful desires found in the fallen nature of man.

The individuals who false teachers endeavor to entice are those “who are barely escaping from those who live in error.”

Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “The false teachers deceive the weak with high-sounding words that masquerade as scholarship or profound spiritual insight, and even as direct revelation from God. They may contradict the plain historic teachings of Scripture, which in some cases they are not able to explain properly because of their lack of adequate training and divine wisdom (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14). In reality, they say nothing genuinely scholarly, or spiritual, or divine. Nevertheless, in spite of all the empty talk, false teachers entice others to their philosophies by appealing to people on the baser level. Seduction, rather than the winsomeness of truth, is their ploy. They offer people a kind of religion that they can embrace and yet still hold on to their fleshly desires and sensuality. Peter may also be implying that false teachers particularly aim to seduce women through sensual methods. The phrase “barely escaping” is a description not of saved people, but of people who are vulnerable because they have high levels of guilt and anxieties—people with broken marriages, people who are lonely and tired of the consequences of sin and are looking for a new start, even for religion or help from God. The false teachers exploit these kinds of people.”

Once again we witness from the apostle that no good thing comes from a false teacher. Make sure you expend every effort to remove and stay clear of false teachers and false teaching in your life.

Soli deo Gloria!








2 Peter: Peter’s Continual Denouncement.

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.” (2 Peter 2:17)

As we continue to study the Epistle of 2 Peter, and chapter two in particular, it is not lost on me that Peter continues to attack the character and behavior of false teachers. Some might conclude he is being neither gracious nor kind. Perhaps. Peter, however, is taking no chances that false teacher may become influential within the church. He is sounding a dire warning of which the church should take heed.

One of my favorite authors is Louis L’Amour. He has been called America’s foremost storyteller of the authentic west. He wrote dozens of books, many of which have been made into movies, chronicling the adventures of the brave men and women who settled the American frontier. Several of his stories, e.g. Hondo and The Burning Hills, are set in the desert of the American southwest.

In his novel The Burning Hills L’Amour writes, “In the moonlight even more than by day, the desert is a place of weird and strange beauty. One can live in the desert. There are plants that provide food; there are plants and places that provide water. But if one does not conform to the desert’s pattern, one can die in the desert.”

Peter identified false teachers as being waterless springs. He uses a figure of speech called an oxymoron. It is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. In the case today’s text, the oxymoron is “waterless springs.” The apparent contradiction here is that a spring is usually not waterless. However, the word for spring (πηγή; pege) can also be defined as a well of water.

Peter was saying that false teachers are like a dry well. There is the promise and hope of refreshment and life sustaining nutrients from their teaching, but unfortunately they are like a dry hole in the ground. One commentary says that, “Barren wells were worse than useless; they promised water in the arid East yet did not deliver on their promise.”

  Peter also called false teachers “mists driven by a storm.” The anticipated refreshment of an early morning or evening mist or fog is unrealized because a whirlwind has driven away the weather pattern of moisture.

What false teachers do have is a reservation from the Lord. Their reservation is the gloom of utter darkness. In other words, hell.

Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “In both cases one would look for some benefit or blessing (a cool drink from the spring; a refreshing shower from the clouds) but in each case he is disappointed. The very nature of hypocrisy is that one does not have what he pretends to have. Once again (cf. 2 Peter 2:1, 3, 9, 12–13) Peter wrote of their coming judgment. The blackest darkness (lit., “blackness” or “gloominess” [zophos; cf. “gloomy” in v. 4] of darkness) is reserved for them (cf. Jude 13). This blackness is presumably hell.”

 Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “Just as water sustains physical life, so true spiritual teaching nourishes spiritual life (Proverbs 13:14; John 4:13-15). This is a vivid image in a culture where water was a treasured resource. Like the dry well that only disappoints the thirsty (Jeremiah 14:1-3), the false teachers can only deceived and disappoint.

Take time today to guard your heart against the influence of false teachers and their instruction.

Soli deo Gloria!  







2 Peter: Astray. The Way of Balaam.

15” Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.” (2 Peter 2:15-16)  

What does it mean to go astray? The Prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 53:6 that, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The Hebrew word for astray is “tainu” meaning to wander, to err and to literally and/or spiritually stagger. It is a condition which the sinner brings upon themselves.

Within today’s text from 2 Peter, the apostle also used the word astray (πλανάω; planao) meaning to lead astray, to deceive, to cause someone to stray from the truth. Within the context of 2 Peter, the word astray takes on a darker and more ominous tone. False teachers are not only individuals who lead themselves astray from the Word of God but also lead others down the broad road which leads to destruction. These are they who are forsaking (καταλείπω; kataleipo) or abandoning the right way or the correct manner of life before God.

Having forsaken the truth of God’s Word, who, or what, are they following instead? Peter says they have followed the way of life demonstrated by the Prophet Balaam. Who exactly was Balamm? The following information is taken from the Tyndale Bible Dictionary.

Balaam was Beor’s son, a prophet or soothsayer from northern Mesopotamia who was hired by a Moabite king, Balak, to curse the Israelites who had arrived at the Jordan Valley opposite Jericho after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Israel’s defeat of the Amorites (Num. 21:21–25) had instilled fear in the heart of the Moabite king (22:3). Because curses and blessings were considered irrevocable (Gen. 27:34–38), Balak reasoned that if he could hire a prophet to curse the Israelites in the name of their own God, Yahweh, he could easily defeat them in battle and drive them away from his borders. Balak sent messengers to Pethor, where Balaam lived. The town is believed to be located near Haran along the Habur River, a tributary of the Euphrates. Balak offered Balaam an impressive sum to come down and curse the Israelites.

Balaam, however, was warned by the Lord that he should not go to Moab. The king of Moab would not accept Balaam’s refusal and sent his royal messengers back with offers of greater wealth and honor. Balaam revealed an inner lust for wealth and position by returning to the Lord to ask whether he should go. His words to the messengers, however, were very pious: “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God, to do less or more” (Num. 22:18, rsv). Although Balaam would do only what the Lord allowed, he became a prime example of someone who does the right thing for the wrong reason.

 Balak had sent along with his messengers “the fees for divination” (Nm 22:7, rsv), which shows that he considered Balaam a diviner of the type pagan nations commonly used. The Israelites were forbidden by the Lord to consult diviners or practice divination (Deut. 18:10–11). A true prophet would not have even considered the possibility that serving Balak might be right. God’s final permission to let Balaam go, with the stipulation that he say only what God told him, was the Lord’s way of frustrating Balak’s cause and showing God’s care for his chosen people.

 Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Balaam served as an illustration and example of such false prophets. He was an OT compromising prophet for sale to whomever paid him, who preferred wealth and popularity over faithfulness and obedience to God (Num. 22–24). Through a talking donkey, God kept him from cursing Israel (2 Pet. 2:16; cf. Num. 22:21–35).

 Peter’s text parallels Jude 10-11 when it says, 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.”

In a recent interview in the September 2019 issue of Tabletalk Magazine, Coti W. Hinn, the nephew of prosperity preacher and televangelist Benny Hinn, explains why he left the prosperity gospel movement. In the interview, Hinn explains what he believes are the most significant errors of the prosperity gospel movement.

There are numerous errors, but let me break down four. First, it’s an assault on the sovereignty of God because it teaches people that they can control God with an offering or positive confession. People think they are the puppet master and God is the puppet. Growing up, I viewed Him as a magic genie, thinking that if I asked Him right, I would get whatever I wanted.

Second, it’s an assault on the atonement. Prosperity theology teaches that health, wealth, and happiness are earthly guarantees because of the atonement. The truth is, Jesus took the full wrath of the Father as a substitute for His people. The purpose of the atonement is to provide salvation, not “stuff.”

Third, prosperity theology does not have a biblical theology of suffering. God’s Word has answers regarding trials, sickness, pain, and loss. People need those right answers.

Fourth, prosperity theology twists biblical teaching about wealth and stewardship. Money is not evil, but we all must keep an eternal perspective (Matt. 6:19–24).

False prophets may sound very pious, but inwardly they are seeking to fulfill their lust of the flesh, their lust of the eyes and their pride of life (Gen. 3; Matthew 4; Luke 4; I John 2:15-17). They want big houses, expensive clothes and private jets and they want their listeners and supporters to pay for it. Resolve to not listen to what these false prophets have to say.

Soli deo Gloria!