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2 Peter 2 (Whole Chapter)

2 Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A sermon on God's judgement on false teachers and God's provision of care over His people.

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2 Peter 2 ESV
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 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. 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 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. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 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. 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.”

Introduction

Dictionary of Bible Themes 8750 false teachings

Scripture repeatedly warns against false teachings, which deny or distort some aspect of the gospel. The origin of such teachings is attributed either to human error or to demonic inspiration.

Polycarp
which deny or distort some aspect of the gospel. The origin of such teachings is attributed either to human error or to demonic inspiration.
Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 160–161.
“Let not those that seem to be plausible and yet teach strange doctrine dismay thee. Stand thou firm, as an anvil when it is smitten. It is the part of a great athlete to receive blows and be victorious. But especially must we for God’s sake endure all things, that He also may endure us.”
Dictionary of Bible Themes 8750 false teachings

Qualities of false teachings

They are valueless Mt 15:9 pp Mk 7:7 See also Isa 29:13; Eph 5:6; Col 2:20-23; 1Ti 1:3-7

They are destructive in their nature 2Pe 2:1 See also Mt 7:15; Ac 20:29-30; Tit 1:10-11

They have the capacity to lead people astray Ac 20:30 See also Eph 4:14; 1Ti 6:20-21; Heb 13:9; 2Pe 2:14-15; 1Jn 2:26

They may be popular 2Pe 2:2 See also Mt 24:4-5 pp Mk 13:5-6; 2Ti 4:3; 2Pe 2:18-19; 1Jn 4:1-5

They may be accompanied by miraculous signs Mt 24:24 pp Mk 13:22 See also 2Th 2:9-10; Rev 13:11-15

The origin of false teachings

Demonic inspiration 1Ti 4:1-2 See also 2Co 11:3-4; 1Jn 4:1-3; Rev 16:13-14

Human error 2Pe 2:3 See also Col 2:8; 1Ti 6:20-21

There are many that seem to be plausible and yet teach strange doctrines today.
This has always been the case. Even since Old Testament times.
In the New Testament we are given descriptions of what strange (false) teachings are.
Descriptions of false teachings according to the New Testament.
Descriptions of false teachings according to the New Testament.
They are valueless
They are destructive in their nature
They lead people astray
They may be popular
They may be accompanied by miraculous signs
All of which comes to deceive the people of God.
The origin of false teachings according to Scripture comes from:
1. Demonic inspiration.
1 Timothy 4:1–2 ESV
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
See also ; ;
See also ; ;
2. Anthropic inspiration. Greed. (Man Centered)
2 Peter
Colossians 2:8 ESV
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
2 Peter 2:3 ESV
3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Peter 2:3 ESV
3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
1 Timothy 6:20–21 ESV
20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
Peter begins this portion of Scripture with a warning.
And his concern comes from, according to , a desire to remind them of the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandments of Christ given through the Apostles.
False teachings are, as Polycarp noted, blows that seek to knock a believer down.
But God knows how to preserve His own even when inundated with false teaching and doctrines that seek to decimate our faith.
Our passage shows the seriousness of false teaching, how God will deal with it and how God will preserve His people.

Outline

1: The warning of false teachers (v.1-3)
2: Three Examples of how God brought judgement and rescued the godly (v.4-11)
3: Descriptions of false teachers (v.12-19)
4: The end result of false teachers (v.20-22)
A quick note: you can side by side read with Jude and find almost exactly the same concerns.
is a warning of false teachers coming. And Jude speaks of them as arrived already.

1: The warning of false teachers (v.1-3)

Verse 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Prior to our text in the end of chapter one, Peter spoke of Jesus receiving glory from the Father at what is called the Transfiguration.
Jesus was “glorified” on a mountain in the presence of Peter, James, and John. Which was recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. Found in , and .
Jesus was transfigured meaning that (according to Luke’s account) the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And Moses and Elijah appeared with Him.
Found in , and . Jesus was transfigured meaning that (according to Luke’s account) the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And Moses and Elijah appeared with Him.
Peter wanted his readers to know that they did not follow cleverly devised myths but that they were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
They were not speaking of something that they made up.
They were eyewitnesses of His majesty and they heard the voice from heaven.
But Peter knew that their experience was not enough to give God’s people a firm witness.
He did what they had always done in the book of Acts. He spoke of the prophetic word. The Scriptures.
He said in ,
2 Peter 1:20–21 ESV
20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 2:20–21 ESV
20 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. 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.
2 Peter 1:20-21
2 Peter 1:20–21 ESV
20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
“knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
He appealed to the Scriptures to prove that they did not follow cleverly devised myths.
They had a more fully confirmed witness because of the prophetic writings given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
This is an important lesson for us. Especially when dealing with false teaching.
What Peter does here is exactly what false prophets and teachers don’t do.
A false prophet or teacher is someone who:
1. Comes with their own interpretation of Scripture.
2. Attempts to produce prophecy from their own will. Or we can say someone who attempts to produce from themselves what God can only produce.
Peter spoke of how false prophets arose among the people which is past tense in verse 1. Speaking of the people of Israel.
We can find an example of what they (the false prophets) were doing in .
Jeremiah 23:16–17 ESV
16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’ ”
Notice what they did there. They were:
Filling people with vain hopes
They spoke of visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.
They continually said to those who despised the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you
And to everyone who stubbornly followed their own hearts, they said, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’
So, just as false prophets spoke then, so also were false teachers out to speak and lie to the people of God.
In verse 1, He pointed out two things they would do.
They will secretly bring in destructive heresies.
They will deny the Master who bought them.
They will deny the Master who bought them.
Notice he says secretly and not openly. Meaning that they would creep into the church.
Burk Parsons wrote an article called, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.”
False teachers creep into the church not because they look like false teachers but because they look like angels. They disguise themselves just as their master Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. When false teachers attempt to creep into the church, they typically don’t look like wolves because they wear sheep costumes and use some of the same language that the sheep use. They regularly quote Scripture, and they are often able to quote more Scripture than the average Christian. False teachers are not always argumentative or divisive; often they are some of the nicest people we know. They usually creep in not with scowls on their faces but with big smiles. They don’t normally creep into churches and teach obvious heresies and falsehoods; they usually subtly question the truth and teach partial truths, and they are not always identified by what they actually teach but by what they leave out of their teaching. They often speak of Jesus, salvation, the gospel, and faith, but they twist the words and concepts of Scripture to fit their own versions of the truth, which is no truth at all. They typically don’t attempt to creep into churches where the Word of God is preached boldly and passionately, in season and out of season, and where the people are eager for the sound preaching of Scripture and are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, they usually target those churches where people are indifferent to doctrine and apathetic about the preaching of the Word of God.
They will secretly bring in destructive heresies. Secretly not openly.
When Peter speaks of destructive heresies he is talking about divisive doctrine that is taught to cause damage (beyond repair). Teaching that causes strife and division in the people of God.
An example of a destructive heresy would be the teaching that:
denies deity of Jesus Christ
denies salvation by Grace
denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ
denies the Gospel
denies that the Christian faith is monotheistic
Denying these as true and only true is to deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter also pointed out that...
2. They will deny the Master who bought them.
This has for many been a debate as to who they were.
Were they actually teachers who had been bought by the atoning work of Christ?
Can someone who is a false teacher, according to how they are described here, have been bought with the blood of Christ?
I do not believe so.
Reasons why I believe this.
John 10:15 ESV
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
John 10
John 6:37–40 ESV
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Jesus came to lay down His life for His sheep.
And Jesus will lose none of what the Father gives Him. He will never cast them out.
The atoning work of Christ is efficacious. Meaning that it will accomplish what it was meant to accomplish. Namely, the eternal salvation of the believer. Which cannot be those here in our passage.
If it is possible to deny the Jesus to the point of losing or forfeiting salvation, then Jesus would cast out those whom He said He would never cast out and it would mean that He would lose some of what the Father gives Him. Which are those who’s sins He atoned for.
I believe Peter is referring to the blood at the Passover when Israel was delivered from Egypt.
Moses spoke the words of a song to the whole assembly of Israel.
In , he used the term bought to speak of God’s deliverance.
This was a song of warning to them. So that they would teach it to themselves and their children in order to be careful about God’s commands. Reading from the NASB in Deuteronomy 32:6,
Deuteronomy 32:6 NASB95
6 “Do you thus repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you.
D
The Master who bought them I believe comes from the first passover which may have meant that the false teachers Peter was warning about were of Israel. Who were bought and delivered corporately from slavery.
It makes sense since they were the ones skilled enough to twist Old Testament passages.
So, false teachers will secretly bring in destructive heresies and they will deny the Master who bought them.
They will deny the Master who bought them.
Verse 2 tells us that many will follow them.

Verse 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.

Sensuality meaning their indulgence in sinful pleasure.
sinful abandon n. — indulgence in sensual pleasure unrestrained by convention or morality.
Because of them the way of truth, the gospel, will be blasphemed.
Paul had this same concern when dealing with hypocrisy.
Romans 2:24 ESV
24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Peter was telling them what people would say about the Gospel because of their hypocrisy.
In verse 3 Peter speaks of what is behind their exploitation. Meaning how they would take advantage of them.
In verse 3 Peter speaks of what is behind their exploitation.

Verse 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

There are warnings in the New Testament about them. Which include greed as the motivation of their deception. Greed for self gain and self pleasure.
, Jesus spoke of them coming in sheep's clothing who inwardly are ravenous wolves. Ravenous meaning that they would be out thieving people.
Romans 16:17–18 ESV
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
There were false teachers then as there is now. Out thieving people by teaching doctrines that cater to their desire for money and sensuality.
Peter then turns to how God is not idle about this. God is not asleep. He will deal with them. And to reinforce what Peter is saying, he does what he did earlier. He went to God’s word.

2: Three Examples of how God brought judgement and rescued the godly (v.4-11)

1. God judged sinful angels (v.4)

Read Verse 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

gives us some insight into this.
Jude 6 ESV
6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
Because they did not stay within their own position of authority and left their proper dwelling place, God did not spare them.
This example shows us the severity of sinning once.
Every sin committed is deserving of eternal punishment and judgement.
God does not slack in His judgements.

2. God judged the ancient world with a flood and rescued Noah and his family (v.5)

Verse 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Notice the severity of God’s judgment! Where only 8 out of many were spared from the judgement of God.
God does not slack in His judgements.

3. God judged Sodom and Gomorrah with sulfur and rescued Lot (v.6-8)

Verses 6-8, 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

Notice that it calls Lot righteous. If you know his story you can see that he was full of flaws. As are we.
I believe the the use of righteous here speaks Lot’s judicial righteousness.
God condemned Sodom and Gomorrah making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly (false teachers).
God does not slack in His judgements.
So, If God did not spare angels when they sinned, if he did not spare the ancient world and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them...

Verse 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,

So Peter pointed out these examples to prove that:
The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials
The Lord will keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment

b. By divine protection of the godly: to rescue godly men from trials.

c. By divine reservation of the ungodly: and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment.

So by divine protection God preserves the godly from trials.
And by divine reservation God reserves judgment for the ungodly.
And by divine justice God reserves judgment for the ungodly.
The false teacher is under punishment and will end with God to answer for their sin. Especially....

Verse 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,

They fit the description of what Paul spoke of in
Romans 3:18 ESV
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
No fear of God. They are bold and willful, desiring to deceive the people of God. They do not tremble.

Verse 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.

So false teachers would go as far as angels wouldn’t even dare go.

Unlike false teachers who are defiant towards higher powers, the holy angels so revere their Lord that they will not speak insults against any authority. Even the archangel, Michael, recognizing the great presence and power of Satan, refused to speak evil of him (see notes on Jude 8, 9), but called on the Lord to do so (see note on Zech. 3:2). No believer should be so boldly foolish as to mock or command the power of supernatural demons, especially Satan.

Unlike false teachers who are defiant towards higher powers
Which was to appeal to their own authority instead of God’s authority.
Its difficult to know exactly what Peter is referring to when speaking of the glorious ones.
can help us understand what Peter is talking about here.
Jude 8–9 ESV
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
Different translations say a “condemnation of slander” or a “railing accusation.”
False teachers are worse off than the angels since they would even speak insults before the Lord and before His people.
We see here that when angels deal with Satan they appeal to a higher authority and not their own.
False teachers appeal to their own authority while despising the authority of God. False teachers are worse off than angels because of this. Which is madness!
False teachers are worse off than angels because of this.

3: Descriptions of false teachers (v.12-19)

Verse 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction,

the holy angels so revere their Lord that they will not speak insults against any authority. Even the archangel, Michael, recognizing the great presence and power of Satan, refused to speak evil of him (see notes on , ), but called on the Lord to do so (see note on ). No believer should be so boldly foolish as to mock or command the power of supernatural demons, especially Satan.
Descriptions from verse 12.
like irrational animals: meaning without reason
creatures of instinct: meaning that their minds are set on earthly things
born to be caught and destroyed: showing again God’s reserved judgement
blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant: Meaning that they are slandering God while disregarding and lacking a true knowledge of God.
The conclusion
will also be destroyed in their destruction,
They will be destroyed in their destruction.
These descriptions go well with calling them wolves.

Verse 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.

Descriptions from verse 13.
1. Suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing: meaning that the wages of sin is death.
2. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime: Paul spoke of this in
Romans 13:13 ESV
13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
They revel in the daytime meaning they love to overindulge in their desires. The pride of life.
3. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you
God’s people are to be found without spot or blemish. But false teachers are blots and blemishes who revel or indulge in their deceptions while they feast among even the people of God.

Verse 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

Descriptions from verse 14.
1. They have eyes full of adultery. The actual language says “eyes on an adulteress”
2. Insatiable for sin: meaning that they have an appetite for sin that is impossible to satisfy
3. They entice unsteady souls: They lure in unstable people
4. They have hearts trained in greed: which is the cause for their deceptions
Conclusion
Accursed children!

6. Hypocrisy: They are blots and blemishes (verse 13). The idea seems to be that these false and evil teachers associated themselves with the Christian love feasts and yet all the while were living in sin.

They are accursed. Children of their father the devil.

Verse 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,

Verse 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

The Westminster Bible Dictionary Baʹlaam
The MacArthur Study Bible Chapter 2

Baʹlaam [devourer], the son of Beor or Bosor, and a resident at Pethor, a city of Mesopotamia (Num. 22:5; Deut. 23:4). He was an eminent “soothsayer” or diviner (Josh. 13:22); a man of genius and of rare poetic power (Num. 23:18–24); a prophet who, among heathen peoples, possessed a greater than ordinary knowledge of the one true God, and whom Jehovah used to accomplish certain gracious purposes toward Israel (Num. 24:2–9). Conscious of his great gifts, and elated by the extraordinary influence which these gifts gave him, he conceived the thought of making merchandise of them; of acquiring by means of them both fame and fortune. Among many nations of antiquity there existed the custom of devoting enemies to destruction before entering upon a war with them. When the Israelites were marching to the occupation of Palestine, and had signally defeated and dispossessed of their lands the warlike Amorites, Balak, the king of Moab, apprehending a similar doom if energetic measures were not employed to avert it, entered into a league with five kings of the Midianites. Whilst the confederate kings were mustering their armies, Balak, to leave no expedient untried, sent once and again an embassage to Balaam with promises of money-gifts and distinguished honors if he would come and curse the dreaded foes. Balaam now saw the golden opportunity he had long coveted, and, although he was forbidden by the Lord to accede to Balak’s wishes, he yet stifled the convictions of conscience and undertook the commission. He yielded himself body and soul to his royal employer. He resorted to enchantments. He built altars and sacrificed oxen and sheep. He ascended high places and put himself professedly in direct communication with Heaven. He did everything he could do to impress with awe the superstitious Moabites and to further the ends of the crafty monarch. He was not permitted, however, to utter the desired curse. He was restrained by the overmastering influence of God’s Spirit, and in the stead of a curse was forced to pronounce on Israel a blessing. Foiled in the project of cursing, he conceived another and, as he judged, a more effectual stratagem. At his suggestion, Balak threw into the way of the Israelites the most alluring temptations to idolatry and lewdness. Assuming that he, and no one else, could curse the Israelites so long as they remained faithful to God, Balaam would make them curse themselves by a wicked departure from the ways of righteousness. The stratagem succeeded only too well. Israel was ensnared by the impure and idolatrous worship of Baal-Peor, and in the visitation of God’s anger therefor twenty-four thousand of the people were cut off by plague (Num. 25:9). The punishment of the covetous prophet was signal and sudden. Accompanying the armies of Midian to the battle-field, Balaam, with the five Midianite kings, was slain with the sword (Num. 31:8).

Baʹlaam [devourer], the son of Beor or Bosor, and a resident at Pethor, a city of Mesopotamia (; ). He was an eminent “soothsayer” or diviner (); a man of genius and of rare poetic power (); a prophet who, among heathen peoples, possessed a greater than ordinary knowledge of the one true God, and whom Jehovah used to accomplish certain gracious purposes toward Israel (). Conscious of his great gifts, and elated by the extraordinary influence which these gifts gave him, he conceived the thought of making merchandise of them; of acquiring by means of them both fame and fortune. Among many nations of antiquity there existed the custom of devoting enemies to destruction before entering upon a war with them. When the Israelites were marching to the occupation of Palestine, and had signally defeated and dispossessed of their lands the warlike Amorites, Balak, the king of Moab, apprehending a similar doom if energetic measures were not employed to avert it, entered into a league with five kings of the Midianites. Whilst the confederate kings were mustering their armies, Balak, to leave no expedient untried, sent once and again an embassage to Balaam with promises of money-gifts and distinguished honors if he would come and curse the dreaded foes. Balaam now saw the golden opportunity he had long coveted, and, although he was forbidden by the Lord to accede to Balak’s wishes, he yet stifled the convictions of conscience and undertook the commission. He yielded himself body and soul to his royal employer. He resorted to enchantments. He built altars and sacrificed oxen and sheep. He ascended high places and put himself professedly in direct communication with Heaven. He did everything he could do to impress with awe the superstitious Moabites and to further the ends of the crafty monarch. He was not permitted, however, to utter the desired curse. He was restrained by the overmastering influence of God’s Spirit, and in the stead of a curse was forced to pronounce on Israel a blessing. Foiled in the project of cursing, he conceived another and, as he judged, a more effectual stratagem. At his suggestion, Balak threw into the way of the Israelites the most alluring temptations to idolatry and lewdness. Assuming that he, and no one else, could curse the Israelites so long as they remained faithful to God, Balaam would make them curse themselves by a wicked departure from the ways of righteousness. The stratagem succeeded only too well. Israel was ensnared by the impure and idolatrous worship of Baal-Peor, and in the visitation of God’s anger therefor twenty-four thousand of the people were cut off by plague (). The punishment of the covetous prophet was signal and sudden. Accompanying the armies of Midian to the battle-field, Balaam, with the five Midianite kings, was slain with the sword ().

2:15 forsaken the right way. The “right way” is an OT metaphor for obedience to God (cf. Acts 13:10). Balaam. Cf. Jude 11. 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 (v. 16; cf. Num 22:21–35).

From verse 15-16
Jude 11 ESV
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.
The “right way” is speaking of the way of obedience and righteousness.
Acts 13:10 ESV
10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
Peter uses Balaam as an example because Balaam was willing to compromise by wanting to pronounce a curse for wealth and popularity.
But it was through an animal that God kept him from cursing Israel.
is an OT metaphor for obedience to God (cf. ). Balaam. Cf. . 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 (). Through a talking donkey, God kept him from cursing Israel (v. 16; cf. ).
He forsook the right way for greed. Which Peter calls madness.
Again, an example and description of what a false teacher is.

Verse 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

Verse 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

Verse 18 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.

Verse 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Descriptions
1. They are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm: meaning that they may seem to give them what they need but they do not.
2. Speaking loud boasts of folly. The NASB says, speaking out arrogant words of vanity
3. They entice by sensual passions of the flesh
4. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption
Conclusion
For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

4: The end result of false teachers (v.20-22)

Verse 20 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.

Verse 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.

Here, they had a escaped worldly defilements.
And it was through a knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 13:20–21

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.

There is an example of this given by Jesus in in the parable of the sower.
Matthew 13:20–21 ESV
20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.

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.

In this case, the one who escaped worldly defilements and having a knowledge of Jesus showed to be one who was never rooted.
They were the type.
They were the land that had rain fall on it but is proved to worthless bearing thorns and thistles. Being cursed and reserved to be burned according to .
They ended up being what the proverb said in Proverbs 26:11,
2 Peter 2:22 ESV
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.”

Verse 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.”

Close with exhortation!
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