Peter, speaking for God, promises fiery judgment on the false teachers who misrepresent His truth. The whole chapter of Matthew 23 is also devoted to that, particularly from verse 13 through verse 33. They are strong, penetrating, scathing rebukes of those who say they speak for God but in fact do not.
Throughout Scripture the Lord has always had strong words for people who teach lies and teach perversions and live ungodly lives. But the strongest words of all are reserved for those who teach and live like that and say they represent God.
As we come to the second chapter in this wonderful little epistle, we really come to the heart of his message here and that is to warn us of the danger of these false teachers. And as we look at this section on the judgment of false teachers, we're looking at several important points that arise.
We first of all noted the promise of their judgment. In verse 1 at the end it says that they bring swift destruction upon themselves. At the end of verse 3 it says their judgment from long ago is not idle and their destruction is not asleep. In both of those verses they are promised condemnation and judgment.
And then the last time we studied 2 Peter in January we began to discuss the reason for them being judged. And as verse 4 unfolds and all the way down through verse 8, Peter gives us three historical precedents that have been laid down in the past to guarantee the reality of the future judgment on false teachers.
Since God didn't spare angels, who were His special creation, when they sinned, but cast them to hell, to pits of darkness reserved for judgment, do these false teachers think somehow they will escape? (v. 5) And now we come to the second illustration which is also at the time of Noah, the ancient world. From fallen angels Peter gives us examples of the ancient world.
And he says if God condemned, the whole world and drowned them all, sending them all into eternity forever to be punished, except for eight people, Noah and seven others, then why would He spare those false teachers? Millions of people that occupied the globe were caught in the devastation of that flood and plunged into eternal doom.
Let's look more closely at verse 5. "If God did not spare the ancient world," that means the whole unrighteous system that had developed since the Fall of Adam. It had become a totally wicked world. At that very time when these fallen angels did what they did, it says in Genesis 6:5-7, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth."
Genesis 6:6-7, “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved and said, I will block out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, for I am sorry that I have made them."
So Peter says, if God is so committed to righteousness that He would drown the entire world, why should we believe that He would spare the lesser group, a smaller group of false prophets who have lived the same way, corrupting His truth and living in unrighteousness?
Jude 1:14-15, "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
At that flood God brought a cosmic catastrophe that changed the whole world and its environs and changed the sky. Prior to the Flood there was no rain, a canopy covered the earth that watered the earth with a mist. God dumped all those waters and even the waters came out of the deep, so the whole globe was drowned.
But in the middle of 2 Peter 2:5 it says, "But preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others." Here's a principle to keep in mind, and you're going to see it again in a moment, that in the midst of this cataclysm of universal judgment, God preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others.
God told him to build an ark. The ark was about the size of the Queen Mary, a rectangle. And God told him to take his wife and his three sons and their three wives and go in and take two of each living thing and take care of them in the ark so that the world could be repopulated.
The word here is preserve, phulasso, which means to be put in a guarded place, to be put in a protected place. And, of course, in their case it was an ark. And the ark could ride out the judgment because it was build by God to float on the water.
The Lord is going to make sure there is protection for His own. Rapture comes first, then the Day of the Lord, He's going to put all believers in a safe place during the Tribulation period to be brought back afterward to a new world of righteous people.
When the ark finally settled on Mount Ararat, the water subsided, it was a new world, a world of righteous people. So it is after the judgment of God in the future. After God comes in fury and judgment and judges all the false teachers and all the people who follow the false teachers, having guarded His own who were left in the world in a protected place, He will bring them back to a new world of righteous people.
And Peter now follows through to the next judgment, the third one, Sodom and Gomorrah. Verse 6, "And since He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter."
Peter names the two major cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 13:12 calls them cities of the valley. Actually there were more than just those two. There were Sodom and Gomorrah, and according to Deuteronomy 29:23 there was also Admah and Zeboiim.
The word "condemn" has the idea of a sentence executed on the wicked. The judgment was like the Flood, totally devastating so that it killed every single human person and everything else that was living, not by water this time but by divine incineration. And all that was left now was only ashes.
In fact, the devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah was so wholesale, that they can't find those cities now. For many years it was believed that the reason they couldn't find them was because the Dead Sea had grown larger and as the Dead Sea went further south covering more and more land, it had covered the place where Sodom and Gomorrah once was.
Archaeologists around the land of Palestine have found almost every ancient city. They can uncover the rubble of almost all of them. But they have never been able to find these cities, or any remote indication of where they were. Up till now they have no idea where these cities were.
Why did God totally obliterate and incinerate that whole civilization? Answer: they rejected His truth and followed liars, false teachers. So verse 6 says, "He made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter." He wanted to send an message to all future generations that false teachers and those who follow their lies will feel the fury of God's vengeance.
Now what did they do to deserve this? Let's look at Genesis 19:1, "Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening," these were two holy angels who had paid a visit to Abraham with God Himself, who had appeared to them in human form and spent time in fellowship with them.
"When Lot saw them he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, `Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house and spend the night, wash your feet, then you may rise early and go on your way.'" He knew they were angels, and, of course, angels are spirits but they can take on physical form and they always appear in the form of men when they do that.
And they said in Gen. 19:2, "However no, but we will spend the night in the square." Lot knew that that was dangerous. Verse 3, “So he pleaded with them, those two holy angels, not to stay in the square. And he prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread and they ate.” You know what it says in Hebrews 13:1, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Verse 4-5, "Before the time for sleep and rest and the family was to lie down, and perhaps the angels were to rest, the men of the city of Sodom surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. And they called to Lot and said to him, `Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.'"
They were homosexuals and they want to have a homosexual relationship with these magnificent creatures. Remember last time that the sin of the fallen angels was the reverse of the sin of Sodom. Here homosexuals went after angels, back in Genesis 6 fallen angels went after women, another perverted act was on their minds.
Genesis 19:6-7, "Lot went out at the doorway, shut the door behind him, said, `Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Don't do this.” But they tried to crush Lot against the door and break the door down. Verse 10 says, "But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door." The angels protected him.
And verse 11says, "They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great." What did they do, repent? No, look at this, "So they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway." They've just gone blind and all they can think about is getting those angels. That's how wretched they were.
The angels said to Lot, in Genesis 19:15, "Up, take your wife, your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city. 16 But he hesitated so the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his daughters."
You know how earthbound we get and how in to our possessions? So the angels just grab them and drag them out. "For the compassion of the Lord was upon him," they brought him out and put him outside the city. There was Lot, there was his wife (who looked back and became a pillar of salt), and two daughters, only three who survived.
And if you read the New Testament, repeatedly Sodom and Gomorrah is held up as an illustration of what happens to people who fail to understand and believe the truth. Matthew 10:15, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for that city."
So God judged that society. But notice now 2 Peter 2:7-8, and I want you to see this because this is a potent truth. Verse 7, "And if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men, 8 for by what he saw and heard, that righteous man, while living among them felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds."
You know how you know he was righteous? Because he hated sin! Sure he might have been a weak father, and yes, he might have been on the worldly side and enamored with possessions and somewhat selfish, and yes, he had a bit of hesitance in moving out, and yeah, he did drink a little too much in the trauma of all of that moment. But he wouldn't have any part with the filth of the sin of the culture he lived in.
That should be able to be said of every Christian. He was oppressed by sin. In his heart he loved righteousness. And verse 8 makes the point even stronger, "That he had a righteous heart for by what he saw and heard..." Like Noah and his family, Lot stood against sin in his day. The whole society had followed lies, rejected God's truth, followed the false teachers of Satan but not Lot and God was gracious to him.
And that leads us to the pattern of their judgment. It comes in verses 9 and 10a, then we can conclude this, "The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh and its corrupt desires and despise authority."
Do you remember Malachi where the prophet is talking about how God is going to come in devastating judgment? Malachi 3:16, "Those who feared the Lord spoke to one another." Oh, what's going to happen to us? "And the Lord gave attention and heard it and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and esteem His name” (Malachi 3:16-18).
And a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. 17"They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
God knows His own and God will rescue His own. It's hard, but the Lord knows how. The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation. In Mark 8:11 these words are used, "And the Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, that is Jesus, seeking from Him a sign from heaven to test Him," to attack Him.
In Luke 4:12-13, "And Jesus answered and said to them, `It is said you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.' And when the devil had finished every test..." What was the devil trying to do? Destroy Him, devastate Him.
And then the most important Scripture; Revelation 3:10 says this, "Because you have kept the Word of My perseverance, I also will keep you out of the hour of testing." I will keep you out of the hour of testing in the sense that it is destruction and devastation.
God is going to judge and God is going to rescue the godly out from that time of trial and judgment and then He is going to judge those who are kept under punishment now and brought finally to the ultimate judgment.
What did we say at the very outset several months ago about the false teachers? They were characterized by those same two things. First of all, they are those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires. They are sensual and lustful. They indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires. They want defilement, like the homosexuals in Sodom.
And the second characteristic, they despise authority. They want Christ as Savior, but they don't want anything to do with Him as Lord and Master. It's a cheap, shallow thing. They identify with Christ, they name His name, but they do not live under His authority. They name His name, but they don't want to live by His commands.
So God is a God of truth and all who teach lies about Him and all who deny His lordship will be judged, especially those false teachers who come in His name but live sensual lives of disobedience to His sovereignty. And God is going to destroy them all and with them those who believe their lies.