Please turn to 2 Peter 2:10b-14 where we continue what we discussed last Sunday. We're going to be looking again at the matter of false prophets and false teachers who secretly introduce destructive heresies as it says in verse 1 of this chapter.
Now I want to warn you as we continue that this section is a stream of violence vented on false teachers that in some ways leave us, the reader almost breathless. These seducers of men's minds and hearts who work for Satan against God are consumed in this text in a blast of divine fury put into words by the Holy Spirit through the pen of Peter.
Peter speaking on behalf of God calls the false prophets in verse 12 “irrational animals, creatures of instinct,” who have no rational capability. They operate on unthinking passion compelled only by instinct. Animals do not think. They cannot reason.
The only benefit that animals provide is that of physical food. So he is saying that false teachers are equally mindless, equally self-indulgent, equally driven by the instincts of their own passion and they serve men best when they are dead. Wow, very strong language.
Why has Peter exploded in such a fury on these false prophets and false teachers?" In John 21, three times Jesus said, "Feed My sheep, feed My lambs, feed My sheep." From the very outset, Peter was called to be a shepherd who fed the sheep. And he is very irate at false shepherds who are feeding poison to the sheep.
This chapter is set aside from the other two chapters to very clearly describe false teachers. The first three verses gave us a general sketch or outline, then in verse 4 through 10a he described the inevitability of their damnation.
Now he goes back to that sketch he gave in verses 1 to 3 and fills it in full color so that it becomes a complete portrait of false teachers. Remember now, the whole epistle is to warn the church that these false teachers are very dangerous and how to defend ourselves against them.
If you know your salvation is sure, if you know what Scripture teaches, you have a defense against them. And so this epistle really is to arm us for defense against false teachers. Part of it is recognizing them and recognizing how God views them.
And so, as Peter gives this blistering diatribe against the false teachers, we're going to notice several points. And tonight I want to give you the first two. Number one, their exaggerated self-opinion.
Notice verse 10b-13a, "Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord, 12 but these like unreasoning animals born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, 13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong."
Now here is a text that describes their attitude. The first word says it all in the middle of verse 10, daring. They dare to defy God and His truth. They give no thought to the consequence of what they're doing against God and to the ramifications that are going to come.
And then he adds, self-willed. This means they are stubborn. They're arrogant and they are determined in their own way. And nothing will stop them, not the truth, not the lordship of Jesus Christ, nothing. And you get the feeling here that Peter is almost aghast at their unbelievable presumption.
And how presumptuous are they? He wants to give us an illustration. In verse 10, he says, this is how presumptuous they are, this is how stubbornly obstinate, brash and brazen they are, "They do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties."
Historically people have interpreted it in a number of different ways. What does it mean? Well the word "revile" means to blaspheme, to speak evil of, to mock, to ridicule, to denigrate and to degrade. They do that to angelic doxa, it means glories, dignities, dignitaries. And in the context they are angelic dignitaries.
Now, what angelic dignitaries is he talking about? It is a reference to demons. They fearlessly, they daringly ridicule and speak disparagingly of demons, of fallen angels. They ridicule, they mock them.
So how can demons be called glories? Are they glorious beings? The answer is yes, they can be called glories in the sense that they have a persona and a level of existence in the supernatural world that has a dignity and a transcendent quality about it that is beyond us.
Paul said in Ephesians 2:2 that he is the prince of the power of the air. Jesus said in John 12:31 that he is the ruler of this world. There is a glorious persona that is possessed by even fallen angels, for they still retain the imprint of majesty, even like fallen, sinful, unregenerate man retains the imprint of the image of God.
In fact, in Ephesians 6:12 they are called by Paul principalities and powers and rulers. They are called spiritual beings in high places. And if we were to look carefully into 1 Corinthians 15:40-41 we see that “there are heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies, there is the glory of the heavenly that is one, and the glory of the earthly that is another.”
Verse 41, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory. And what is Paul saying but that there are different kinds of levels of glory.”
There is a certain dignity that belongs even to the sun, and the stars, though they too are in a fallen universe, there is a certain imprint of dignity in the image of God that belongs to man. And there is a certain majesty that belongs to angels even though they're fallen.
How can already cursed demons be blasphemed? Even fallen angels have an angelic majesty of sorts and they are not to be taken lightly. We are to avoid irreverence toward them. Listen, they are very serious beings. And God is very serious about them. And so are holy angels serious about them.
So what's the practicality of that? It can be applied to the foolishness of the Charismatic demon chasers. Arrogant false teachers underestimate the power of Satan and they underestimate the dignity of the host of angelic majesties and they think they are stronger than demons. They assume that there will be no retaliation because there feel a certain kind of invincibility.
And then there are the liberals who come along and just flatly deny they even exist. Anytime you despise or degrade or minimize the power of Satan and his fallen angels, that's a foolish act. Speaking against those glorious beings is elevating yourself to a level you really don't belong on. It's a form of terrible presumption.
And in contrast, look what he says in verse 11, "Whereas angels," and anytime you see the word "angels," it refers to the good and holy angels of God. "Whereas angels who are greater in might and power." Greater than who? Well certainly greater than us and greater than those false teachers, right? "Do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord."
Holy angels don't judge or demean demons that are inferior to them. The angels so revere their Lord as they live all their lives in His presence that no insulting language is allowed to pass their lips, even though it would be richly deserved.
Turn over to Jude 1:8 and 9, we have a very helpful parallel text, "In the same manner, these men also by dreaming defile the flesh and reject authority and revile angelic majesties." They reject authority and lordship. It's the same thing Peter said.
But then Jude says here these false teachers are not blaspheming angelic majesties, but Michael, the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses."
What is that all about? I don't know, apparently there was a conflict between Satan and Michael over the body of Moses. Satan wanted the body of Moses. And you remember, Moses never was allowed to go into the Promised Land.
I suppose we'll find out and we get to heaven and ask Michael. Certainly Satan would have been up to no good. We don't know what he would have done but it would have been to create some kind of satanic false worship that would cause many to go astray..
They argued about the body of Moses. "But even Michael, the super angel, the archangel, did not dare pronounce against the devil a railing judgment," but he left it in God's hands and he simply said, at the end of verse 9, "The Lord rebuke you."
But, back in 2 Peter, false teachers are not afraid to do what holy angels are afraid to do. They are so brash. The brash self-willed presumption of false teachers makes a direct assault on beings that even holy angels would not assault.
He goes to describing them now. "12 But these, referring to these false teachers, they're like unreasoning animals born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge." They don't even know against whom they're talking about.
Jude 1:10 says the same thing, "But these men revile the things which they do not understand and the things which they know by instinct like unreasoning animals."
"Unreasoning animals," he says, just have instinct, not reason. They can only respond to preprogrammed, prepared stimuli that are built into their physical being, through the act of God's creation. They only make a physical contribution as food for some other animal or for man. It's all a part of the food chain.
Scripture says that these false teachers are in the same category as these instinctive animals, who don't understand what they're doing but who like brute beasts operate only on the passion of their own instinct and serve man best when dead.
The end of verse 12 says, "In the destruction of those creatures they'll also be destroyed." They're going to be fodder for the fire of the glory of God. When God consumes the world and all the creatures that are on it, He's going to consume them, too. The Greek text actually reads this way, "In their destroying they shall be destroyed."
And down in verses 19 to 22 we will see the details of that destruction. So in destroying others they bring destruction upon themselves. They behave like dumb beasts, leading others to death who themselves will perish in the same slaughter house.
And so, he sums it up in verse 13, their presumption, saying, “Suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong." Or suffering harm as the wages of doing harm. That's a self-evident truth. They're going to get what they deserve.
Galatians 6:7 calls that the law of sowing and reaping. If a man dedicates himself to lies, false teaching, to a daring, brazen, brash presumptuous lustful passionate approach to the things of God, it will destroy him.
So these false teachers first have such an exaggerated self opinion. The second point is that they practice an unholy life style. We go from attitude to action in verse 13, "They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime." Now normally sinners do their debauchery at night (1 Thessalonians 5:7). But these sinners are so wretched that they do it in the daytime.
Further describing their action, Peter with obvious disgust says further in verse 13, "They are stains and blemishes." It is the idea of dirt spots, defects, filth spots and scabs. They're diseased.
And he says they're reveling in their deceptions. What does that mean? Living in luxury...living in sinful pleasure, living it up by the passions of their animalistic instincts, deceiving those under their influence into the same dissipations. They deceive others.
They do it, verse 13 says, as they feast together, or to eat together. When they show up for your church celebrations, they pollute it. 2 John 9 -11 says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring the right doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”
And then in verse 14 Peter moves from their public action to their more private setting. "They're having eyes full of adultery that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children."
These people have lost moral control that they cannot look on a woman any time without seeing her as a potential adulteress. Living by lust brings sinful thoughts, animal instincts which dominate so that lust can never be satisfied and never be turned off. And so every woman becomes an object of adultery.
Go back to verse 14. "They entice unstable souls," which means they get other people to behave like this. They draw in the unwitting, the weak to their sexual deviation, to their error, to their lies, to their passions and instincts. They prey on those who are young in the faith or who are barely escaping from error and haven't even come to Christ.
And then he closes this little section by saying, "They have a heart trained in greed." Sexual lust, passion and the eyes of the false teacher that are consumed with adultery, have as a partner a heart trained in greed. Sex and greed always go together with false teachers.
Then Peter says simply at the end of verse 14 "Accursed children!" which means they're marked by a curse. When you see the word "child" here, it's the familiar idea that whatever is the dominant influence in one's life, one is a child of that, that's a Hebraism.
We have only touched the beginning of this description. Beloved, this is so important and essential because it is the pastor's duty to prepare his people for such dangers, Amen?