II Peter 2


1 “But there were false prophets also among the people,” -  rather,

as in the Revised Version, but there arose false prophets also among the

people. The transition is simple and natural. Besides the true prophets

mentioned in the last chapter, who spake as they were moved by the Holy

Ghost, there arose false prophets, men who wore “a rough garment to

deceive(Zechariah 13:4), and assumed without warrant the prophetic

character. Such pretenders would commonly prophesy false things; but the

word ψευδοπροφῆται pseudoprophaetaipseudo-prophets; false

prophets -  seems principally to imply the absence of a Divine mission.

By “the people” (λαός - laos) is meant the people of Israel, as in Romans 15:11;

Jude 1:5, etc. It is plain from these words that Peter, at the end of the last chapter,

was speaking of the prophets of the Old Testament – “even as there shall be

false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies,” –

By the false teachers, again (the word ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι pseudodidaskaloi)

is peculiar to Peter), may be meant men whose teaching was false, or men who

falsely claimed the teacher’s office.  Peter describes them as such as (οἵτινες

hoitines - who) shall bring in damnable heresies. The verb (παριεσάξουσιν

pariesaxousinshall be smuggling) is found only here in the New Testament;

the adjective derived from it is used by Paul in Galatians 2:4, “false brethren

 unawares brought in.” It means “to bring in by the side of,” as if these false

teachers brought in their errors by the side of the true doctrine (feigning

legitimacy – CY – 2012); it implies also the secondary notion of secrecy.

Compare Jude’s use of the verb παρεισέδυσανpareisedusancrept

in unawares; slip in) compounded with the same prepositions v.4; and notice

the difference of tenses — Jude using the past where Peter looks forward to

the future; but Peter passes to the present tense in v.10, and maintains it for

the rest of the chapter.  We may, perhaps, infer that the false teaching referred

to was already beginning to affect the Churches of Asia Minor; but the errors were

not so much developed there, the false teachers had not gained so much influence

as it seems they had in the Churches which Jude had principally in his

thoughts. The literal translation of the words rendered “damnable heresies”

is “heresies of destruction,” the last word being the same which occurs

again at the end of the verse. These heresies destroy the soul; they bring

ruin both to those who are led astray and to the false teachers themselves.

The word for “heresy” (αἵρεσις - hairesis), meaning originally “CHOICE” –

(Let the reader beware – there has never been a more damnable heresy to their

proponents, in our time, than “PRO-CHOICE”  - It is a stain on American

that cannot be removed except by blood of those who shed it – Numbers

35:33 -  CY – 2012) became the name for a party, sect, or school, as in

Acts 5:17, “the sect of the Sadducees;” Acts 15:5, “the sect of the Pharisees;”

Acts 24:5 (in the mouth of Tertullus), “the sect of the Nazarenes;” then, by a

natural transition, it came to be used of the opinions held by a sect. The notion of

self-will, deliberate separation, led to its being employed generally in a bad

sense (see especially Titus 3:10, “A man that is a heretic, (αἱρετικὸς

hairetikos)” -  “even denying the Lord that bought them,” - literally, as in

the Revised Version, denying even the Master that bought them. The word

forMaster” (δεσπότηςdespotaes) implies that the deniers stand to the

Lord in the relation of slaves, bondservants. The Lord had bought them; they

were not their own, but his, bought with a price, “not with corruptible

things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter

1:18; see also the parallel passage Jude 1:4). These words plainly assert THE


 for every man” (Hebrews 2:9), even for those false teachers who denied Him.

The denial referred to may have been doctrinal or practical; most of the ancient

forms of heresy involved some grave error as to the Person of Christ; and

the germs of these errors appeared very early in the Church (see I John

2:22-23), denying sometimes the Godhead of our Lord, sometimes the

truth of His humanity. But Peter may mean the practical denial of Christ


form of denial appears most prominent in this chapter; probably the apostle

intended to warn his readers against both. It is touching to remember that he

had himself denied the Lord, though indeed the price with which our souls

were bought had not then been paid; but his denial was at once followed by a

deep and true repentance. The Lord’s loving look recalled him to himself; his

bitter tears proved the sincerity of his contrition (Luke 22:61-62) – “and bring

upon themselves swift destruction.  Literally, bringing. The participial

construction unites the two clauses closely; the latter expresses the consequence

of the former: they bring heresies of destruction into the Church, and by so


word for “swift” (ταχινν - tachinaen) is used by no other New Testament writer.

Notice Peter’s habit of repetition, he repeats the word ἀπώλειαapoleia

destruction - three times in verses 1-3; δίκαιοςdikaiosjust one;

righteous one - three times in vs. 7-8; the verb προσδοκάωprosdokao

looking; look - three times in ch.3:12-14.


2 “And many shall follow their pernicious ways;” - rather, as in

the Revised Version, their lascivious doings; the reading represented by

the Authorized Version has very little support (compare Jude 1:4, 8).

(For “shall follow” (ἐξακολουθήσουσιν - exakolouthaesousin), see

note on ch. 1:16.) – “by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil

spoken of.” The heathen were accustomed to charge Christians with immorality;

the conduct of these false teachers gave them occasion; they did not

distinguish between these licentious heretics and true Christians (sounds

like the news media today – CY – 2012).  Christianity is called “the way” several

times in the Acts (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23). It is the way of truth, because Christ is the

Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) and Christianity is the way of life

which is founded on the truth.


3 “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise

of you;” rather, in covetousness. Covetousness was their besetting sin, the sphere in

which they lived. Paul warned Titus against false teachers who taught “things which

 they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Titus 1:11; see also I  Timothy 6:6 and

Jude 1:16). Simon Magus, the first heresiarch (originator of a heresy), sought to trade

in holy things; the like sin seems to have been characteristic of the false teachers of

apostolic times. The word translated “feigned” (πλαστοῖςplastois) occurs

nowhere else in the New Testament; the words of these men were not the expression

of their real thoughts and feelings; they were invented, craftily contrived to deceive

men, and that for the sake of money. The last words of the clause will admit another

sense: “shall gain you,” i.e., “shall gain you over to their party;” and this

view derives some support from the use of the verb ἐμπορεύεσθαι

emporeuesthai make merchandise of you; they shall be trafficking.

But the verb is often used in classical writers in the sense of making a profit out of

people or things, and this meaning seems most suitable here. The false

teachers will work hard, as the Pharisees did, to make proselytes; but their

real motive is, not the salvation of souls, BUT THEIR OWN SELFISH

GAIN -  whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not.” Literally, for

whom the sentence of a long time idleth not. The sentence of judgment is for

them, for their condemnation; in the foreknowledge of God it has been

pronounced long ago, and ever since it has been drawing near; it doth not

tarry (compare Jude 1:4 and I Peter 4:17). The word rendered “of a

long time” (ἔκπαλαιekpalai – of old) occurs only here and in ch.3:5 –

and their damnation slumbereth not.”  Destruction: it is the word which

has been used already twice in v. 1. The verb means literally “to nod,” then “to

slumber;” it is found elsewhere in the New Testament only in the parable of

the virgins (Matthew 25:5).


4 “For if God spared not the angels that sinned” -  rather, angels

when they sinned ; there is no article. Peter is giving proofs of his

assertion that the punishment of the ungodly lingereth not. The first is the

punishment of angels that sinned. He does not specify the sin, whether

rebellion, as in Revelation 12:7; or uncleanness, as apparently in Jude 1:6-7, and

Genesis 6:4. Formally, there is an anacoluthon here, but in thought we have the

apodosis in v. 9 – “but cast them down to hell,” - The Greek word, which is

found nowhere else in the Greek Scriptures, is ταρταρώσας tartarosas

 having cast into Tartarus – signifying to consign to Tartarus, which is neither

Sheol nor Hades nor Hell, but the place where those angels whose special sin

are confined being reserved unto judgment.  This use of a word belonging to

heathen mythology is very remarkable, and without parallel in the New Testament.

(The word τάρταρος tartarosTartarus - occurs in the Septuagint, Job 40:15).

Apparently, Peter regards Tartarus not as equivalent to Gehenna, for the sinful

angels are “reserved unto judgment,” but as a place of preliminary detention.

Josephus, quoted by Professor Lumby in the ‘Speaker’s Commentary,’

speaks of the oldest heathen gods as fettered in Tartarus, ἐν Ταρτάρῳ δεδεμένους

en Tartaro dedemenous - (‘Contra Apion,’ 2:33) – “and delivered them into chains

of darkness  - The Revised Version “pits” represents the reading of the four oldest

manuscripts; but the variations in two of them (the Sinaitic and Alexandrine have

σειροῖς ζόφοιςseirois zophois chains of darkness), and the fact that σειρόςseiros

seems properly to mean a pit for the storage of corn, throw some doubt upon this

reading. The other reading σειραῖςseirais - cords, may possibly have arisen from

the parallel passage in Jude 1:6, though the Greek word for “chains” is different there –

δεσμοῖς –- desmois – bonds. . The chains consist in DARKNESS,

the pits are in DARKNESS.  Παρέδωκεparedoke - delivered, is often

used with the implied idea of punishment. It is simpler to connect the chains

or pits of darkness with this verb than with ταρταρώσαςtartarosas - having

cast them in bonds of darkness into Tartarus – “to be reserved unto judgment;” -  

literally, being reserved; but the readings here are very confused.  Jude 1:6 says

that the sinful angels are reserved “unto the judgment of the great day.”  (Compare

Luke 8:31; Ephesians 2:2)  But in the case of a mystery of which so little has been

revealed, we are scarcely justified in assuming the identity of the angels cast into

Tartarus with the evil spirits who tempt and harass us on earth.


5 “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person,” –

 rather, as in the Revised Version, the ancient world, but preserved

Noah with seven others. “The eighth” is a common classical idiom

(generally with the pronoun αὐτός – autos - him) for “with seven others.”

Mark the close parallelism with I  Peter 3:20, where, as here, the apostle

impresses upon his readers THE FEWNESS OF THE SAVED!

a preacher of righteousness,” -  the Old Testament narrative does not

directly assert this; but “a just man and perfect,” who “walked with God”

(Genesis 6:9), must have been a preacher (literally, “herald “) of righteousness

to the ungodly among whom he lived. Josephus, in a well-known passage (‘Ant.,’

1:3, 1), says that Noah tried to persuade his neighbors to change their

mind and their actions for the better  Josephus preserves, it would seem, an

old Hebrew tradition, witnesses not only to Noah’s just and pious character, but

to his ministry to the sinful generation among whom his lot was cast. After

describing the sinfulness of the people, Josephus proceeds, “But Noah was very

uneasy at what they did; and, being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to

change their dispositions and acts for the better; but, seeing that they did

not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid



and God ever raises up faithful men whom He empowers to discharge

amongst their contemporaries the duties devolving upon the preachers

 of righteousness – Every minister of religion is bound to INSIST UPON

A SCRIPTURAL RULE OF RIGHT, to apply the laws of morality to

all parts  of human nature, to all relations of human society.


The violators of the Law of righteousness HAVE TO BE REBUKED.  It is

not enough to say, “This is what men should be and do!” It is necessary to

address to the disobedient the remonstrances, the rebukes, the warnings,

which are authorized by the Word of God. Expostulation, reproach, and

admonition are not the most agreeable or the most easy parts of a preacher’s work;

yet they are indispensable, and are often most valuable in their effects. Many

faithful preachers have, like Noah, to lament that their rebukes and warnings seem

to have been in vain; yet they have the satisfaction of having done their duty and

delivered their soul (See Ezekiel 33:7-9). 


The restoration of righteousness by means of the Divine Mediator has to

be proclaimed. There is a righteousness which is by the Law; but there is

also a higher righteousness which is by faith in Christ unto those who believe

(Romans 10:1-4), and this is exactly adapted to the needs of sinful men, who

upon repentance and faith may become “just with God.” It is the privilege and

the delight of the Christian preacher to exhibit the beauty and

appropriateness of this spiritual righteousness, and TO INVITE MEN


FOR  THEMSELVES!   All too often, the false teachers are found

 endeavoring  to lower by their artistic work, the standard of human

morality, (but God be thanked that Christian thinkers and writers, in this age,

wield their pen, in all departments of literature, in the service of righteousness

and of God, i.e. Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, Chuck

Swindol, Chuck Colson, Billy Graham, etc., not to forget Charles Haddon

Spurgeon of the past, whose writings would literally fill a Encylopedia

Britannica  CY – 2012)  - “bringing in the Flood upon the world of the

ungodly.” The Revised Version renders, when He brought a Flood upon the

world.  In the Greek there is no article throughout this  verse. In v. 1 the ungodly  

are represented as bringing upon themselves swift destruction; here God

 brings the punishment upon them. The same Greek verb is used in both

places. In one place Peter gives the human, in the other the Divine, aspect of

the same events.


6 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned

them with an overthrow,” - The striking word τεφρώσας tephrosasturning

 into ashes, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; and the word for

overthrow” (καταστροφή - katastrophae) only in II  Timothy 2:14. It is

used in the Septuagint Version of  Genesis 19:29 of this same judgment.

Perhaps “to an overthrow” is a better translation (compare Luke 17:26-29;

Jude 1:7) – “making them an ensample unto those that after should

live ungodly;” -  rather, having made. The example is to be a LASTING

WARNING!  Literally, an example of those that should live ungodly; i.e.,

an example of their punishment, their end. In this verse the Vatican Manuscript

omits “with an overthrow,” and reads “an example of things to come unto the

ungodly.”  That tremendous overthrow is A SOLEMN WARNING TO

THE UNGODLY OF ALL TIME!   God will by no means spare the guilty;

if men will pollute God’s earth and their own bodies by sin and uncleanness, the

heavy wrath of God must sooner or later sweep them into utter ruin. But even that

frightful catastrophe showed how precious the souls of the righteous are in the sight

of God. Had there been ten such in that wicked city, he would have spared it for

the ten’s sake  (Genesis 18:32).


7 “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:”-

 literally, and delivered righteous Lot, who was being worn out (καταπονούμενον

kataponoumenonvexed; being harried; to wear down  - compare Acts 7:24,

the only other place of the New Testament where the word occurs) with the behavior

 of the lawless in licentiousness. The word translated “lawless” (ἀθέσμων

athesmon) is found only in one other place of the New Testament (ch.3:17); but it

is near akin to the ἀθεμίτοις athemitois - abominable) of I Peter 4:3.


8 (“For that righteous man dwelling among them,” literally, for

the righteous man. It was through his own choice that he dwelt among the

people of Sodom.  For Lot, once he made his choice, it was a steady decline!


  • Lot looked towards the plain of Jordan (Genesis 13:10)
  • Lot chose all the plain of Jordan (v.11)
  • Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain (v.12)
  • Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom (v.12)
  • Lot sat in the gate of Sodom  - (Ibid. ch.19:1)
  • Lot was unhappy - Sodom "vexed his righteous soul" (this verse)
  • Lot lingered when warned to flee - had to be drug out of Sodom



Apparently the sojourn in Egypt had a more depraving effect on Lot than it did on

Abram.  (Lot verified the fact that “It is much easier to lead  your children into

 Sodom than to get them back!” – Dwight Moody)  Learn from the case of Lot

that worldliness must lead to suffering in this world, if not in the world to



The recollection of this grave mistake must have added bitterness to the daily distress

caused by the sins of Lot’s neighbors (Genesis 13:11)  – “in seeing and hearing,

vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.”) The

words, “in seeing and hearing,” are best connected with the verb that follows,

not with “righteous” according to the Vulgate (though this would be the natural

connection, if with the Vatican Manuscript we omit the article), nor with

dwelling among them.” The literal translation is, “was tormenting his

righteous soul.” The sight of lawless deeds and the sound of wicked words

were a daily grief to Lot. He distressed himself; he felt the guilt and danger

of his neighbors, the dishonor done to God, and his own unhappy choice.


9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to

reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” We have

here the apodosis corresponding with the conditional sentence beginning at v.4.

The three examples cited by Peter show that THE LORD KNOWS  (and with




·         to PUNISH THE WICKED!


 The Greek words for “godly” and “unjust” are both without the article. The

word rendered “to be punished” (καλαζομένουςkalazomenous) is a

present participle, not future, and is better rendered, as in the Revised Version,

under punishment.” The wicked are already under punishment while

awaiting  the judgment; the Lord had taught this in the parable of Dives and

Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31); compare Jude 1:6-7, and v. 4 of this chapter). Also

Consider Jesus’words “he that believeth not is condemned already,

Because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of

God.” (John 3:18).  Aristotle makes a distinction between κόλασιςkolasia

chastisement inflicted for the good of those chastised;” and τιμωρία

 timoria - “punishment inflicted on the incorrigible for the satisfaction of

 justice (see ‘Rhet.,’ 1:10); but it is doubtful whether this distinction exists

in the New Testament (compare Matthew 25:46).  Therefore it seems dangerous

to lay much stress on the use of the word κολαζομένουςkolazomenous

punished; being chastised - here.


  • Contemplate that the godly are not exempted from temptation, but are

delivered out of it.  Consider Noah, whose lot was cast in a generation

of sinners and scoffers, but who was preserved from yielding to the

evil solicitations to which he was exposed; and to Lot, who, though

vexed with the lascivious life and lawless deeds of his wicked

 neighbors, was yet delivered from participation in their guilt

and their doom. Certain it is that Divine providence allows the purest

and the best to come into constant contact with the bond slaves of sin,

doubtless in order that their virtue may be tested and their character



CONDITIONS OF SAFETY!  The means by which He protects and

delivers His own are known to Himself, and He makes use of them in His

own time. Thus, however formidable may be the temptations to which the

godly are exposed, a way of escape is made for them, and they are delivered

from the hand of the enemy.  (I Corinthians 13:10)


10 “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness,” –

literally, in the lust of pollution. The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament,

but the corresponding verb is found in several places (Titus 1:15; Hebrews 12:15;

Jude 1:8). We observe that in this verse Peter passes from the future tense to the

present“and despise government.”  Rather, lordship (κυριότητος)

kuriotaetos ).  Jude has the same word in ch. 1:8. In Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians

1:16 it is used of angelic dignities. Here it seems to stand for all forms of authority.

“Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of

dignities.”  Literally, daring, self-willed, they tremble not when speaking evil

of glories; or, they fear not glories, blaspheming. The word rendered “daring”

(τολμηταί - tolmaetaipresumptuous; daring; audacious) occurs nowhere

else in the New Testament. These daring, self-willed men despise all lordship,

all glories, whether the glory of Christ (the excellent glory” (ch.1:17), or the

glory of the angels, or the glory of holiness, or the glory of earthly sovereignty.

They rail at things which they do not understand.  These wicked men talked wildly

and presumptuously about things above their comprehension (I often see

them acting as spin doctors on television  - CY – 2012). The Bible reveals to us

fools make a mock at sin.”  (Proverbs 14:9).  The next verse, however, makes

it probable that the glory of the angels was the thought present to Peter’s mind.

It may be that, as some false teachers had inculcated the worship of angels

(Colossians 2:18), others had gone to the opposite extreme (compare Jude 1:8). 


11 “Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might,

bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” The

conjunction is ὅπου - hopou, literally, “where” — they speak evil of glories,

where,” i.e., “in which case.” The literal rendering of the following words,

angels being greater,” makes it probable that the comparison is with the

false teachers of the previous verse rather than with the “glories.” The false

teachers rail at glories, where angels, though greater than they, bring not a

railing judgment against those glories. It seems certain that the words

against them” (κατ αὐτῶνkat auton) must refer to the “glories.”

Men rail at these glories; but the elect angels, when they are commissioned

to proclaim or inflict the just judgment (for κρίσις krisis - is “judgment,”

not” accusation”) of God upon the angels that sinned, the fallen glories, do


WERE, and speak solemnly and sorrowfully, not in coarse, violent

language. The apostle may be alluding to Zechariah 3:1-2, but

the resemblance to Jude 1:8-9 is so close that this last passage must have

been in his thoughts, even if he is not directly referring to the dispute

between Michael the archangel and the devil.  The angels of judgment

remember that they are in the presence of God, and perform their solemn

duty with godly fear.


12 “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed,” –

The order of the words in the best manuscripts favors the translation of the Revised

Version, But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be

 taken and destroyed. The word rendered “mere animals” is literally “natural

(φυσικά -phsusika - naturally); compare Jude 1:10, “what they know naturally

(φυσικῶςphusikos) as brute beasts” -  speak evil of the things that

they understand not;” -  literally, as in the Revised Version, railing in matters

whereof they are ignorant.  The context and the parallel passage in Jude show

that the δόξαιdoxai -  the glories -  are the things which the false teachers

understand not and at which they rail. Good angels do not pronounce a railing

judgment against angels that sinned. These men, knowing nothing of the angelic

sphere of existence, rail at the elect and the fallen angels alike. Men should speak

with awe of the sin of the angels; jesting on such subjects is unbecoming and

dangerous“and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” The best

manuscripts read here καί φθαρήσονται kai phtharaesontai - shall also

be destroyed in their own corruption. 


13 “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness,” -  The two

most ancient manuscripts read here, instead of κομιούμενοι komioumenoi

being requited with – have ἀδικούμενοιadikoumenoiunrighteousness.

This reading is adopted by the Revised Version in the translation, “suffering wrong

as the hire of wrongdoing.” But the other reading is well supported, and gives a

better sense, “receiving, as they shall, the reward of unrighteousness.”

Balaam loved the reward of unrighteousness in this world (v.15); the false teachers

shall receive its final reward in the world to come. Whichever reading is preferred,

this clause is best taken with the preceding verse – “as they that count it pleasure

to riot in the daytime.” -  literally, counting the revel in daytime a pleasure.

Peter has hitherto spoken of the insubordination and irreverence of the

false teachers; he now goes on to condemn their sensuality. The words ἐν ἠμέρα

en hamerain the day - cannot, with some ancient interpreters, be taken

as equivalent to μαθ ἡμέραν – math haemran -  daily (Luke 16:19). Many

commentators translate “delicate living for a day” — enjoyment which is

temporal and short-lived. But when we compare I  Thessalonians 5:7, “They

 that are drunken are drunken in the night,” and Peter’s own words in

Acts 2:15, it seems more probable that the apostle means to describe these false

teachers as worse than ordinary men of pleasure. They reserve the night for their

feasting; these men spend the day in luxury. The word τρυφή - truphae - means

luxury or delicate living” rather than “riot.” Christians imitate the Lord Jesus. 

They are to be “temperate in all things” (I Corinthians 9:25); for temperance

is one of the blessed fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23),  while drunkenness is

one of those works of the flesh WHICH DESTROY THE SOUL!  (Ibid. v. 23) –

“Spots they are and blemishes,” - (For σπίλοι, spiloi -  spots, Jude has σπιλάδες

spiladesreesf;  sunken rocks.) The word for “blemishes” (μῶμοι -  momoi - flaws)

occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. But  compare I  Peter 1:19, where the Lord

Jesus is described as “a Lamb without blemish and without spot (ἀμώμου καὶ ἀσπίλου

amomou kai aspilou flawless and unspotted).” The Church should be

like her Lord, “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Ephesians 5:27);

but these men are spots and blemishes on her beauty – “sporting themselves with

their own deceivings” – literally, reveling in their deceivings. The word for

reveling (ἐντρυφῶντες entruphontesluxuriating in) corresponds with τρυφή,

used just above. The manuscripts vary between ἀπάταιςapatais -  deceivings, and

ἀγάπαις agapais - loves, lovefeasts.  The former reading seems the best-supported

here, and the latter in the parallel passage of Jude 1:12.  It is possible that the

paronomasia may be intentional (compare the σπίλοι of St. Peter and the

σπιλάδες of Jude as explained above). Peter will not use the honorable

name for the banquets which these men disgrace by their excesses. He calls

them ἀπάτας, not ἀγάπας deceits, not love-feasts. There is no love in the

hearts of these men. Their love-feasts are hypocrisies, deceits; they try to

deceive men, but they deceive not God – “while they feast with you;” - The

Greek word συνευωχούμενοι suneuochoumenoicarousing together –

occurs elsewhere only in Jude 1:12. The false teachers joined in the love-feasts,

but made them the occasion of self-indulgence. Compare the similar conduct

of the Corinthians (I Corinthians 11:20-22).


14 “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin;” - literally,

of an adulteress. Compare our Lord’s words in the sermon on the mount

(Matthew 5:28), which may have been in Peter’s thoughts. For the second clause,

Compare I Peter. 4:1, “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” –

 beguiling unstable souls:” -  rather, enticing. The word δελεάζοντες -

deleaxontesbeguiling; luring -  from δέλεαρ –– delear - a bait, belongs to

the art of the fowler or fisherman, and would naturally occur to Peter’s mind.

He uses it again in v.18 of this chapter (compare also James 1:14).  The word

forunstable” (ἀστηρίκτουςastaeriktous ) occurs only here and in

ch. 3:16. It is a word of peculiar significance in the mouth of Peter, conscious,

as he must have been, of his own want of stability in times past.

He would remember also the charge once given to him, “When thou art

converted, strengthen (στήριξονstaerixon) thy brethren” (Luke 22:32) –

an heart they have exercised with covetous practices;” -  rather, trained in

covetousness, according to the reading of the best manuscripts, πλεονεξίας

pleonexiasgreediness.  This is the third vice laid to the charge of the false

teachers. They had practiced it so long that their very heart was trained in

 the habitual pursuit of gain by all unrighteous means – “cursed children;” –

rather, children of curse. Like “the son of perdition,” “children of wrath,”

children of disobedience,” “son of Belial,” etc.


15 “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray;

literally, forsaking (or having forsaken; there are two slightly differing

readings, both well supported) the right way, they went astray. The false

teachers in Peter’s time were like Elymas the sorcerer, whom Paul

accused of perverting “the right ways of the Lord” (Acts 13:10; compare

also v.2 of this chapter) – “following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor,” -

 The word rendered “following” (ἐξακολουθήσαντεςexakolouthaesantes)

is found also in ch. 1:16 and 2:2 of this Epistle, but nowhere else in the New

Testament; it means “to follow out to the end.” Compare Numbers 22:32,

where the angel of the Lord says of Balaam, “Thy way is perverse before me.”

The form Bosor,” instead of Beor,” arose probably from a peculiar (perhaps

Galilaean) pronunciation of the guttural ע in בְּעור.  Thus we, perhaps, have here

An undesigned coincidence, a slight confirmation of Peter’s authorship: he

was a Galilaean, and his speech betrayed him (Matthew 26:73); one

characteristic of the Galilaean dialect was a mispronunciation of the

gutturals. But some commentators see in the resemblance of the form

Bosor to the Hebrew בָּשָׂר, flesh, an allusion to those sins of the flesh

into which Balaam allured the Israelites. Compare the Jewish use of such

names as Ishbosheth in derision for Eshbaal (“the man of shame” for “the

man of Baal”), and Jerubbesheth (II Samuel 11:21) for Jerubbaal. The

references to Balaam here, in Jude, the Book of the Revelation, and

I Corinthians 10:8, show that his history had made a great impression

on the mind of thoughtful Christians.  John connects his name with the

Nicolaitanes in Revelation 2:15, much as Peter here connects it with

the false teachers of his time. Some, again, see in the etymology of the

word Nicolaitane an allusion to that of “Balaam,” as if the Nicolaitanes

were followers of Balaam. There is another explanation in the ‘Speaker’s

Commentary,’ that the word Bosor is an Aramaic form, and that “the

form possibly became familiar to Peter during his residence at Babylon,

and suggests the probability that Aramaic traditions were still current

respecting Balaam at the Christian era, and on the banks of the Euphrates

(additional note on Numbers 22:5). But the two oldest manuscripts

read Beor here – “who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” (Compare

v.13,  and also Peter’s words in Acts 1:18). Balaam is not definitely

accused of covetousness in the Old Testament narrative; but his conduct

can be explained by no other motive.


  • Consider the Sinner’s Illusion as to his work and wages.  The life is

represented as a bondman’s service. Men constantly engage and continue

in the service of sin under A DOUBLE ILLUSION!


Ø      First, he imagines the work which he undertakes to be easy

and agreeable. By many devices the tyrant sin disguises the

evils of his service, and induces his victims to continue in


pleasures of sin are for a season, and they who indulge in them

are like those who eat of the fair apples of the Dead Sea, which

turn to ashes in the mouth.  (Sin will take you farther than you

want to go and will cost you more than you want to pay)


Ø      Second, he imagines the reward of the service to be liberal and

satisfactory. As Balaam lusted for the gold which was to be his hire,

as Judas clutched the thirty pieces of silver which were the price

of his Master’s blood, so the bondman of ungodliness deceives

himself with the imagination that the reward he will partake will

enrich and satisfy his nature. Whether it be wealth or pleasure,

power or praise, he sets his hearts upon it, and it becomes to him

as the supreme good. In such an illusion years of sin and folly

 may be passed.


16 “But was rebuked for his iniquity;” -  literally, but had a rebuke for his own

transgression. The word for “rebuke” (ἔλεγξινelegxin) occurs nowhere else in

the New Testament. The guilt of offering the wages of unrighteousness rested with

Balak; Balaam’s own transgression lay in his readiness to accept them — in his

willingness to break the law of God by cursing, for filthy lucre’s sake, those whom

God had not cursed – “the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbade the

madness of the prophet.”  The word for “ass” is literally “beast of burden

(ὑποζύγιονhupozugion -  as in Matthew 21:5). “Dumb” is literally “without voice;”

naturally without voice, it spake with the voice of man. The word ἐκώλυσεν

ekolusenrendered forbade,” is rather “checked,” or “stayed.” The word for

madness (παραφρονίανparphronian) occurs nowhere else in the New

Testament. The ass checked the prophet’s folly by her shrinking from the angel,

and by the miracle that followed; the angel, while permitting Balaam to expose

himself to the danger into which he had fallen by tempting the Lord, forbade any

deviation from the word to be put into his mouth by God. Balaam obeyed

in the letter; but afterwards the madness which had been checked for the

moment led him into deadly sin (Numbers 31:16).


17 “These are wells without water,” - Peter has spoken of the vices of the false

teachers; he goes on to describe the unprofitableness of their teaching. They

are like wells without water; they deceive men with a promise which they do not

fulfill (In the desert it would be a mirage – CY – 2012). In Jude 1:12 there is a

slight difference — “clouds without water” (compare Jeremiah 2:13).  God is

 the Fountain of living waters (Ibid. ch. 17:13). True believers become, in a

secondary sense, fountains also (for forty-one years I have tried to teach God’s

Word over the radio and during that whole time, I consider myself as a pipe,

rusty at that, through which “living water” has flowed – CY – 2012). The

water that He giveth is in them a well of water springing up unto eternal

life  (John 4:14).  These men exhibit the appearance of wells; they profess to be

teachers, but there is no living water in them. They have none themselves;

they cannot give it to others. They are like clouds that promise rain, but are

driven away by the wind, and fail to satisfy the thirsty land. They speak

great swelling words, but they are words of vanity, empty and profitless,

not like the words of eternal life which the Lord Jesus hath; not like the

word of reconciliation which he hath committed to his faithful disciples.clouds

that are carried with a tempest;” -  better, mists driven by a tempest. The

best manuscripts have ὁμίχλαιhomichlai - mists, instead of νεφέλαι

nephelai - clouds; (My Greek New Testament from college days renders

ὁμίχλαι while Onlineinterlinear Greek version gives νεφέλαι – I cite this

just to verify what the Pulpit Commentary says here that was written a

couple of hundred years back – CY – 2012) - they are driven along by the

tempest; they give no water to the thirsty land, BUT ONLY BRING

DARKNESS AND OBSCURITY.. The Greek word for “tempest

(λαῖλαψ - lailaps) is used by Mark and Luke in their account of the tempest

on the Sea of Galilee“to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for

ever - rather, as in the Revised Version, the blackness of darkness. The

words are the same as those of Jude 1:13 (compare v. 4 of this chapter; also

ch. 3:7; and I Peter 1:4, where the same verb is used of the inheritance reserved

 in heaven for the saints). The words “for ever” are omitted in the Vatican and

Sinaitic Manuscripts; it is possible that they may have been inserted from the

parallel passage in Jude; but they are well supported here.


18 “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity,” - literally, for

speaking. Great swelling words” is expressed by one word in the Greek,

ὑπέρογκαhuperogka.  Jude has the same word in v.16; it is used in

the classical writers of great bulk of any kind, literal or figurative. The

genitive is descriptive — the words are swelling, high-sounding; but they

are only words, vain and meaningless; they have nothing but emptiness

behind them - “they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much

wantonness” - rather, as in the Revised Version, they entice (as in v.14)

in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness. The preposition “in” denotes THE


THEIR HABITS OF LIFE!   The dative ἀσελγείαιςaselgeiais -  literally

by lasciviousnesses,” that is, by acts of lasciviousness, is the dative of the

instrument; it states the means by which they entice men - “those that were

clean escaped from them who live in error.”  The Authorized Version follows

the Textus Receptus, τοὺς ὄντως ἀποφυγόνταςtous ontos apophugontas

the ones really fleeing from -  but most of the best manuscripts have τοὺς ὀλίγως

ἀποφεύγονταςtous oligos apopheugontas - those who are just escaping. 

This last reading gives a better sense, The adverb ὀλίγως may be understood of

time, or, perhaps better, of measure — “escaping by a little, a little way.” Those

who were“clean escaped” would not be so easily enticed by the false teachers.

These are only beginning to escape; they have heard the word with joy, but have

no root in themselves; they put their hand to the plough, but they look

back. They “that live in error” are the heathen; the unhappy men who are

led astray by the false teachers are just escaping from the heathen and from

their mode of life. It is possible to understand these last words as a

coordinate clause, a further description of those who are just escaping. The

false teachers entice “those who are just escaping, those who live in error.”

But the common rendering seems better. The verb translated “live”

(ἀναστρεφομένουςanastrephomenouslive; behave; behavior) is a

favorite word with Peter (see I Peter 1:15,18; 2:12; 3:1-2,16).


19 “While they promise them liberty,” -  literally, promising. The

words cohere closely with the preceding clause. Liberty was the subject of

their great swelling words of vanity; they talked loudly, made a great boast,

about liberty (My experience has been that the liberty desired is basically to do

what one wants, without consequences, a la, the attitude expressed in Psalm 2:1-3 –

CY – 2012).  Perhaps they were wresting to their own destruction (compare

ch.3:15-16) the teaching of Paul concerning Christian liberty.  Paul had spoken of

the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21); he had again and

again asserted the liberty of Christians in things indifferent (see II Corinthians 3:17;

I Corinthians 8:9; 10:23). But he had insisted on the paramount duty of giving no

offence (Ibid. ch.8:13), and had earnestly cautioned his converts to “use not

 liberty for an occasion to the flesh.” There were false teachers who maintained

that the true Gnostic was free from moral restraints, in fact, that liberty meant

libertinism, liberty to sin (compare I Peter 2:16) -  It  is a revolt against the

holy Law of God; IT IS A LIE,  for it contradicts both the moral instincts of

human nature and the truth of God. It is not liberty; FOR THOSE ONLY


which is perfect freedom. This false liberty is really slavery, bondage to sin -“they

themselves are the servants of corruption:” – The construction is still participial,

(ὑπάρχοντεςhuparchontesbeing inherently ) being from the beginning

servants of corruption. Those who talked about liberty WERE THEMSELVES


The word rendered “corruption” (φθορά - phthora) includes the sense of

destruction,” as in v.12 and ch.1:4 (compare Romans 8:21) – “for of whom

a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” “Of whom,”

or “by whatever;” by Satan, the personal tempter, or by sin, the innate

tendency; the Greek word will bear either meaning. Some good manuscripts

add “also,” which strengthens the assertion; “is he also brought in bondage.” 

Peter’s teaching corresponds exactly with that of Paul in Romans 6:16.



IS FALLACIOUS AND VAIN. In politics it has always been common for

those bound by their own lusts and vanity to make loud professions of

liberty, and to invite men to partake of its delights. These were the men of

whom Milton said they


“Bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,

      And still revolt when truth would set them free.

     License they mean when they cry, ‘Liberty!’

For who loves that must first be wise and good.”


These were the men who led Dr. Johnson to denounce “patriotism as the

last refuge of a scoundrel.” These were the men whose conduct during the

French Revolution led to the famous exclamation, “O Liberty, what crimes

have been wrought in thy name!” It has been, and is, the fashion with

socialists and communists, anarchists and nihilists, to sing the praises of

freedom; but the “mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty,” will have no homage

from such professed admirers as these. WHAT THEY WANT IS LICENSE


But freedom is worthless unless it be FREEDOM FROM SIN’S VILE

AND DEBASING CHAINS, unless it be the practical repudiation of

the tyranny of the PRINCE OF DARKNESS!   There is a servitude which

it is an honor for a free man to accept; it is the  service of Christ, which is



20 “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world” - literally,

for if, having escaped (ἀποφυγόντες - apophugontes). Is St. Peter in this

verse still speaking of the false teachers, or of those whom they had enticed

(v.18)?  Some take the latter view, thinking that the ἀποφυγόντες (“those

having escaped”) of this verse must be the same with the ἀποφεύγοντας or

ἀποφυγόντας (“those who are escaping,” or “those having escaped”) of

v.18. But it is far more natural to understand Peter as continuing his description

of the false teachers. The conjunction “for” connects the clause closely with

that immediately preceding, and suggests that  Peter is explaining the term

bondservants or slaves” applied to the false teachers in v.19; the

repetition of the word “overcome” also seems to imply that the subjects of

vs.20 and 19 are the same. The word for” pollutions” (μιάσματαmiasmata)

occurs only here - “Through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus

Christ,” - Several of the most ancient manuscripts read, “our Lord and Saviour.”

The word rendered “knowledge” is ἐπίγνωσιςepignosis - full knowledge

(compare ch.1:2-3, 8; also Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 2:2; 3:10; I Timothy 2:4;

Romans 1:28; 3:20). The preposition is ἐν – en - in. The full, personal

knowledge of the Saviour is the sphere in which the Christian lives; while

he abides in that knowledge grace and peace are multiplied unto him, and

he is enabled to escape the pollutions of the world. The apostle warns us

here that some of those who once enjoyed the blessedness of that sacred

knowledge have been entangled in sin and have fallen from grace – “they are

again entangled therein, and overcome,” -  The first clause is participial; the

connection seems to be, “If, having escaped… but being again entangled

they are overcome.” The word “entangled” (ἐμπλακέντεςemplakentes

being embraided; being involved) suggests the figure of fishes entangled in the

meshes of a net, and seems to point  back to the δελεάζουσιν - deleaxousin

entice) of vs. 18 and 14; they entice others, but they are entangled themselves

(compare II Timothy 2:4), and become captives and slaves to the pollutions of the

world from which they had once escaped – “the latter end is worse with them

than the beginning.” - rather, as in the Revised Version, the last state is become

worse with them than the first. This is a distinct quotation of our Lord’s words

in Matthew 12:45 and Luke 11:26. The evil spirit had been cast out from these men;

for a time they had lived in the full knowledge of Christ; but now the evil spirit

had returned, and had brought with him seven other spirits more wicked

than himself. This spontaneous adoption of our Lord’s words without

marks of quotation is not like the work of a forger.


It is a miserable condition!  They are slaves. They talk loudly about liberty,

but they are slaves themselves. They have yielded themselves up to the evil one;


CORRUPT OTHERES!   They are slaves of corruption, overcome by it, and

brought into bondage to it. Vice allures men at first. It offers a deceitful pleasure; it

makes the restraints of virtue seem irksome; it presents a show of freedom. It entices

men; then it ensnares them. (The chains of habit are too light to be felt until

they are too strong to be broken!).  Now and then they offer a feeble resistance:

it draws its net tighter and closer; their struggles become continually fainter; it holds

them secure; they are captive. (Watch a spider work when an insect enters its web.

I can remember as a child, seeing in my invalid Grandmother’s room, a slide

presentation of this very example.  It was shown by my uncle who was a preacher.

The spiritual truths of that presentation are in affect and are as real as they were

over half a century ago!  May this be a SPIRITUAL CAVEAT EMPTOR

CY – 2012)  They find out, ALAS, when it is too late, the deceitfulness of sin.

The false pleasure becomes REAL MISERY!  They feel it, but their strength is gone.

They arc overcome; they are in bondage from which they cannot escape. Such is the

pretended freedom of vicious men. Only those whom the truth makes free

are FREE INDEED!  (John 8:32)


21 “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of

righteousness,” - better, as in the Revised Version, for it were better. (The

verb - ἐπεγνωκέκαιepegnokekai - to have known - here, and the participle

ἐπιγνοῦσινepignousin - after they have known -  in the next clause, correspond

with the noun ἐπίγνωσις epignosisknowledge - of the preceding verse, and,

like that, imply that these unhappy men once had the full knowledge of Christ. (For

the way of righteousness,” compare “the way of truth” in v.2, and note there) –

than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment

delivered unto them.” The manuscripts exhibit some slight variations here: the

Sinaitic and Alexandrine give “to turn back.” By “the holy commandment’’

Peter means the whole moral Law, which the Lord enforced and widened in His

sermon on the mount; from this the false teachers turned away. For the word

delivered (παραδοθείσηςparadotheisaes), compare Jude 1:3. Like the

corresponding word παράδοσιςparadosis - tradition (II Thessalonians 3:6),

it implies the oral transmission of Christian teaching in the first ages (compare

also I  Peter 1:18).



22 “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb,” - The

conjunction “but” is omitted in the best manuscripts. The literal translation is,

“There hath happened unto them that of the true proverb (τὸ τῆς ἀληθοῦς παροιμίας

to taes  alaethous paroimiasto the true proverb);” compare Matthew 21:21,

τὸ τῆς συκῆς – to taes sukaesto the fig tree – “the dog is turned to his own

vomit again;” -  The construction is participial; literally, a dog

having turned.  They are spoken δεικτικῶςdeiktikos - as it were, with

reference to a case actually observed. Peter may be quoting Proverbs 26:11;

but his words are very different from the Septuagint Version of that passage;

perhaps it is more probable that the expression had become proverbial, and

that the apostle is referring to a form of it in common use with his readers; like

that which follows, which is not in the Book of Proverbs – “and the sow that

was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”  Literally, the sow that had washed

 to her wallowing; or, according to some ancient manuscripts, “her wallowing-place.”

Peter compares the lives of the false teachers to the habits of those animals which

were regarded as unclean, and were most despised by the Jews (compare

our Lord’s words in Matthew 7:6). The words ἐξέραμαexerama - vomit;

κυλισμόςkulismos - wallowing; and βόρβοροςborboros -  mire, are

not found elsewhere in the New Testament.


Perhaps some of them were once free, Christians have escaped from the bondage

of sin, Once, it may be, they loved the world and the things that are in the world;

once the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life filled their heart

(I John 2:15-17). The moral miasma of the corruption that is in the world was

defiling their soul; but they escaped, drawn by the powerful attraction of the

 cross.  They rose into a purer atmosphere; they lived in the knowledge of Christ.

The full knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις - epignosis) of Christ is the very sphere in which

the true Christian dwells. Within the range of that knowledge grace and peace are

multiplied unto him (ch.1:2). That knowledge is ETERNAL LIFE (John 17:3);

it more than compensates for the loss of all that the world can give (Philippians 3:8);

it is sweet, precious, holy, beyond the power of language to express. Those who

have that blessed knowledge escape from the pollutions of the world. Sensual

pleasures have no hold upon those who realize the holy joy of communion

with the Lord. But they must watch and pray, and keep themselves in the

love of God (Jude 1:20-21). It seems, indeed, almost impossible that any who

have known the Lord should fall away into sin; but “the heart of man is deceitful

above all things, and desperately wicked:  WHO CAN KNOW IT?”

(Jeremiah 17:9).  Satan is ever on the watch with his insidious temptations, and

sometimes, when all seems safe, the danger comes. Some of those who had

escaped from the snare of the evil one are again entangled in it, and, alas!

so entangled that escape becomes almost impossible. They are overcome;

they are captives, brought back into utter bondage. Judas, like Peter,

had forsaken all and followed Christ; and yet, oh strange and awful mystery

of the deceitfulness of sin! He was covetous, like these false teachers; he

sold his Lord for money. And if one of the chosen twelve who lived in

familiar intercourse with Christ, who saw every day that gracious face, and

heard those words such as never man spake, and witnessed his many works

of power and love, — if one of those could fall completely under the

dominion of Satan, how jealously ought we to watch against the first

suggestions of the tempter! How carefully should we take heed lest we fall

when we most seem to stand! It is impossible, we may whisper to ourselves.

We who have tasted that the Lord is gracious (Psalm 34:8) can have no taste

for the pollutions of the world. But Scripture tells us it is not impossible;

experience tells us it is not impossible. “What I say unto you” — such is

the emphatic warning of the Lord — “I say unto all, WATCH!”  (Mark 13:37)

All need that warning. The holiest saints of God do not count themselves to

have already apprehended, to be already perfect: THEY WATCH!.  (Philippians




False Teachers (vs.1-22)


  • THE DOCTRINES OF FALSE TEACHERS. One word indicates them

all: “heresies” (v. 1) — self chosen doctrines, developing into endless



Ø      Self-indulgence of intellect.

Ø      Self-indulgence of passion.


They are similar to the corresponding sins with which Paul and Jude deal

in their Epistles.


When we remember Judas Iscariot, we feel that the Church must be always

liable to this great misfortune; if in its very infancy, in the very presence of the

incarnate Saviour, one whom he had chosen could betray his Lord for money,

it is not to be expected that all those who serve in the ministry of the Church

should be pure and holy. False teaching, too, made its appearance very

early in the history of the Church. We soon meet with the name of the first

heresiarch, Simon Magus; he was one of the converts of Philip the deacon

at Samaria, one of the first candidates for confirmation. The existence of

false teaching is a great trial of our faith; but, like other trials, it is

overruled for good to those who in sincerity seek to know the truth.


All false doctrine is pernicious. The ancient forms of heresy (as do

today – no greater example have we than Pro Choice – a heresy

that has decimated 55 million children to date in the USA -  CY – 2012)

stood in direct opposition to the great truths of Christianity: they denied

the distinction of Persons in the one God, or the Divinity of the Lord Jesus

Christ, or the truth of His manhood, or the reality of His precious death;

they separated Jesus from the Christ, and the God of Christians from the

God of the Old Testament; while others, as apparently the Nicolaitanes of

the Revelation, indulged in licentious practices (it would be interesting to

know the breakdown of the percentage of abortions which are directly

associated with licentiousness – CY – 2012) and maintained that the

mind might be pure, though the body was defiled. These and such like

heresies were heresies of destruction; THEY LED TO THE


AND THE TAUGHT!  “It is a fearful thing to fall into the

Hands of the Living God  (Hebrews 10:31).  For these false teachers

denied the Master that bought them, some by rejecting either His Divinity or

His humanity, or the truth of His atonement, some by the practical denial



  • THE CONDUCT OF FALSE TEACHERS. More is said here, much

more, of their conduct than of their error. Their conduct is described:


Ø      In its relation to their teaching. That conduct is:


o       cunning (v. 1);

o       treacherous (v. 3);

o       daringly insolent (v. 10);

o       coveteous (vs. 14-16);

o       deluding (v. 19), promising liberty:


    “O Liberty, what crimes have been wrought in thy name!”


Ø      In its relation to their own life. it is


o       bitterly disappointing (v. 17);

o       enslaved and enslaving (v. 19);

o       degraded and yet ever degrading (v. 22).




Ø      It is SURE (v. 3). Lingereth not, is not idle, slumbereth not; justice is



Ø      It is in harmony with God’s past dealings. The apostle cites other ages

and other worlds. Their punishment is in harmony with God’s dealings:


o       with angels;

o       with the ancient world — Noah, Sodom, Gomorrah.


·         THE CHIEF SIN OF FALSE TEACHERS. Its central evil is “denying

even the Master that bought them.” (v.1)


Ø      In itself most guilty. Peter’s memory burnt that lesson into him.


Ø      Leads to terrible woe (v. 1-21).  The man who turns his back on

well-known ways of righteousness, and leads others from those

ways, is of all men in the most pitiable and terrible condition.

(“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe

in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about

his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Matthew 18:6)





Ø      insolence

Ø      rudeness

Ø      disrespectfulness

Ø      insulting

Ø      deception

Ø      fraud

Ø      treacherousness

Ø      unreliableness

Ø      betrayal


Where, then, those teachers are, there is generally an imperfect condition of

religious society which gives rise to them. Their policy would rather be to keep

up connection with the Christian circle, and to bring in a spurious Christianity,

having resemblance in form, but denial in substance (a characteristic of the

last days – see II Timothy 3:5 – CY – 2012). The authoritative teachings

were of a saving nature; what these would seek to bring in would be

heresies of destructions, i.e., not put forward with the professed intent to

destroy, but from their nature FITTED TO CONDUCT MEN TO

DESTRUCTION.   (Does this not describe the heresies proclaimed by

the secularist in America today that are FLAUNTED EVERYDAY

BY A GODLESS MEDIA? – CY – 2012)  Their heresies are SOUL-

DESTROYING for they would “deny even the Master that bought them.”

The language is altogether remarkable. Christ is regarded as having paid the

purchase money, which is not here mentioned, but is to be under stood, according

to I Peter 1:19, of His precious blood. By that buying He has become Possessor

and Master, i.e., with the right to command. The startling thing is that He is

represented as the Master, through purchase or redemption, of the heretical

workers of destruction. Nothing could more signally set forth THE WORLD-

WIDE CHARACTER OF THE ATONEMENT!   The Master that bought them

they, having once acknowledged, were to deny, to put away from them, to supplant

by a counterfeit Christ. But it is dangerous to deny Christ; by doing so, in the

counter-working of providence, they would only “bring upon themselves

swift destruction” (v.1). 


Where these false teachers are, sensuality is followed to the prejudice of

Christianity. “And many shall follow their lascivious doings: by reason of

whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of” (v.2).  It was to be an

aggravating element in their punishment, that they were to be successful in

spreading immorality.  SENSUALITY is the charge which Peter brings up

again and again. They were to allow themselves illicit gratification; and their

example would be followed by many. This would be greatly to the prejudice

of Christianity; for it would lead to its being misrepresented as pointing out

the way of truth, i.e., the way of life, corresponding to the truth. Men outside,

unable to distinguish between what properly belonged to it and what did not

properly belong to it, would very naturally say of it, from what they saw in

its professed representatives, that it encouraged licentiousness.  (Does this

not describe American culture today???????????? – CY – 2012).


These false teachers are of a mercenary character. “And in covetousness shall

they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose sentence now

from of old lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not” (v.3).  Money is

needed for the purchase of illicit pleasure. Covetousness was to surround

the false teachers as an atmosphere. Continually breathing it, they were as

teachers to use feigned words — not bound fast to the truth, but ARTFULLY

ADAPTED TO MAN’S PREJUDICES! The end of teaching is to do good; it

was to be to the disgrace of the false teachers that they were to have as their

end to make merchandise of those over whom they obtained influence. But

THESE TEACHERS who were to add to their other faults their being

mercenary, WOULD NOT GO UNPUNISHED!   Peter, in impassioned language,


sentence now from of old lingereth not, i.e., the sentence against such has gone

forth from of old, and, not delaying, IT WILL IN ITS COURSE OVERTAKE

THEM; and “their destruction slumbereth not,” i.e., not delayed by sleep, as it

were, it will follow hard on the sentence. Let them not think, then, that they will

 escape.  For example, take:




Ø      The fallen angels. “For if God spared not angels when they sinned,

but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness,

to be reserved unto judgment” (v.4).  This was the most ancient

example that there was to go back upon. Peter does not say what

the sin of the angels was. Jude is more informing, and suggests that

they did not place the right value on their own principality, on their

proper habitation.  (Jude 1:6). There was something else that they

placed before what they had, and, reaching after it, they fell

from their high estate. God, it is said here, spared them not when

 they sinned, near though they were to Him, but cast them down to

Tartarus.  This is, strangely, a word connected with heathen

mythology, and is to be understood of that division of Hades

which is the place of preliminary punishment, as distinguished

from Gehenna, which is the place of final punishments. In

Tartarus God committed them to pits of darkness.” There

was an irony in the appointment. They loved not the brightness

in which there was no feeling of being walled in; and so they

were cast down to be walled in on every side by gloom.

(Is this not somewhat similar to the situation of Adam and Eve

when they were allowed to eat of every tree in the Garden but

one?  That being the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil”

[Genesis 2:16-17].  Like the angels, they were not content, but

in their exploration and examination they became subject to

death and eternal sepation from God, except He provide a

remedy?  He did for men but not for angels!  Why are we

always pushing our good fortune? – CY – 2012)  In Tartarus

they are waiting judgment; and if they are imprisoned in gloom

before judgment, what must their state after judgment be!

There is no relieving of the picture for angels here as in the other

two examples that follow.


Ø      The Flood.  “And spared not the ancient world” (v.5). 

This ancient example comes home to us, as relating to our own



It was so extensive and overwhelming in its sweep. God spared

not the ancient world. Men multiplied on the earth for sixteen or

seventeen centuries, and then the Flood swept them away as

though they had never been. (Besides that, they did not know

what hit them!  - Matthew 24:39a – CY – 2012)  But preserved

Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when He

brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly” (Ibid.).  THE


salutary impression even of the existence of God, and had cast

off Divine restraints.  They did eat and drink; they lived a life

within the world of sense. There was one notable exception.

This was Noah, who is here styled “a preacher of righteousness,”

i.e., in the midst of the prevailing ungodliness he had so much of

the fear of God on his mind as to credit and proclaim, by word

and act, that, if they did not repent of their ungodliness, the

 righteousness of God would be manifested against them in their

destruction by water.  (Consider that it had never rained on the

earth until then – The earth was watered by a mist [Genesis 2:6] –

the lesson for us is that Jesus is coming again and to date, He

has not come – thus the negligence of men in our time – CY –

2012)  And so God preserved Noah, and seven others on account

of their connection with him, WHEN HE BROUGHT A



Ø      The overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. “And turning the cities

of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an

overthrow, having made them an example unto those that should

live ungodly.” (v.6).  The description in Genesis 19:24-25 is, “The

 Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and

fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities.”

Peter marks the punitiveness in THE COMPLETENESS OF

THE WORK OF DESTRUCTION!  God turned the cities into

ashes (Once again I recommend arkdiscovery.com and see the

section on Sodom and Gomorrah – CY – 2012), and thus punitively

overthrew them, i.e., SO THAT THEY WERE OBLITERATED

AS CITIES!   Nor was this an exceptional procedure. God dealt

thus with the cities because of their ungodliness, and He dealt thus




But that is not all the story!   God “delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the

lascivious life of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them,

in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their

lawless deeds).” (vs. 7-8) There is not brought into view the fact that Lot made

choice of Sodom from considerations of worldly advantage, and without

considering religious privileges. He was to blame for being in Sodom, and

yet, though he should never have been there, he is called righteous Lot, i.e.,

one who strived to live according to Divine rule. He was righteous in the

midst of those who had no regard for law either human or Divine, as seen

especially in their SENSUAL BEHAVIOR!   This had a wearing-down or

wearing out effect on righteous Lot. That righteous man, dwelling among

them, was forced to see and hear things which tormented his righteous soul,

and so he was worn out. When one has put himself in a wrong position, it is

often difficult to get out of it. (Remember, it is easier to take your children

in to Sodom than it is to bring them out!)  But because Lot did not allow his

 godly sensibilities to be blunted, God, with a certain sharpness (Lot lost his

wife and all his possessions that he had accrued in Sodom), effected for

him a deliverance.


The bright side of this is  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of

temptation (v.9).   Noah and Lot were godly; their temptation lay in their

being in the neighborhood of the ungodly. But the Lord found ways and means

of delivering them; the one deliverance involving:


o       the preservation of the human family, and

o       the other deliverance signifying rectification of position.


THE LORD THAT DELIVERED Noah and Lot out of their temptation will

Deliver all that, like them, are godly out of their temptation, whatever it is,

and it will be for His glory.  (See I Corinthians 10:13)


On the dark side, He can and will keep the unrighteous under punishment unto

the day of judgment”  (v. 9).  Three classes have been instanced of the

unrighteous, i.e. angels, the Antediluvians and the residents of Sodom and

Gomorrah;  those not right toward God. The Lord found ways and

means of checking them; so ALL LIKE THEM WILL BE CHECKED!

 The time will come when God will place them under punishment, to be kept

under it unto the day of judgment.




Ø      On account of sensuality # 1. “But chiefly them that walk after the

flesh in the lust of defilement” (v.10).  The evil of the false teachers

had already commenced, though it had not reached its height. They

are singled out for punishment on account of their walking

after the flesh in the lust whose object is that which defiles.


Ø      On account of lawlessness.  The lawlessness is described as

Those that despise dominion” (v.10) -  Daring, self-willed,

they tremble not to rail at dignities.” There is the same association

in Jude. They “despise” (Jude’s word means “set at naught”) dominion

or lordship, especially in Christ – Jude 1:8). In their objection to be

ruled they go great lengths (“daring”), making self their rule (“self-

willed”).  Lawlessness, or anarchy, is one of the signs of the

end of the world and Christ’s coming – Matthew 24:12.  The

reference seems to be to dignities belonging to the heavenly world.

They pay no regard, in what they say, to rank bestowed by God.

(see Luke 20:14)


Ø      The lawlessness is condemned and punished. “But these, as

creatures without reason, born mere animals, to be taken and

 destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall

 in their destroying surely be destroyed, suffering wrong as the

 hire of wrong-doing” (vs. 12-13).  These are as irrational brutes,

born with nothing higher than an animal nature, to be taken and

destroyed. They are also irrational in railing in matters beyond them, and

shall have a similar fate.


Ø      On account of luxurious living. “Men that count it pleasure to

revel in the daytime, spots and blemishes, reveling in their love-feasts

while they feast with you” (v.13).  The reference is to luxurious living.

Such living shows itself chiefly in banquets whose natural time is the

night. To regard banqueting in the daytime with peculiar zest was THE



Ø      On account of sensuality #2. “Having eyes full of adultery, and

that cannot cease from sin; enticing unsteadfast souls” (v.14).

The sensual look  was accompanied by restlessness in sin, reflected

also in the eye. Those to whom the bait was held out, and who became

their prey, were souls not yet established in faith.


Ø      On account of covetousness.  “Having a heart exercised in

covetousness; children of cursing” (v.14).  Here, again, greed follows

on sensuality. As greed increased, THE BLIGHT CAME DOWN

ON THEIR SPIRITUAL NATURE!   The ripe result was that,

in the ravenousness of greed, they became “CHILDREN OF

THE CURSE.”  (Ibid.).   That is the Hebrew way of saying that

The curse found its way deep into their nature.  A comparison is

made with Balaam.  Comparison with Balaam. “Forsaking the

right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the

son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrong-doing; but he was rebuked

for his own transgression: a dumb ass spake with man’s voice and

stayed the madness of the prophet” (vs. 15-16).  See Numbers,

chapters 22-25.  Like Balaam, these men were prostituting their

powers in the service of gain, and would not fare better in the end.


Ø      On account of false promises.  “These are springs without water,

and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness

hath been reserved” (v.17).  Peter uses natural imagery to

describe the false teachers. To a traveler in a desert nothing can be

 more grateful than the appearance of a well; but, when he comes up

to it, and finds it without water, he receives a bitter disappointment.

In a protracted drought the farmer keenly scans the face of the sky; a

misty cloud is hailed by him, and he watches its changes and course,

but it is driven past by the storm-wind, and not a drop of rain descends.

So those false teachers held out promises which they did not fulfill;

and in another natural appearance he sees their end foreshadowed —

a meteor seen for a little, and then passing into the blackness of



Ø      On account of sensual promises. “For, uttering great swelling words

of vanity, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness, those

who are just escaping from them that live in error” (v.18).  Their words

are regarded as swollen out beyond the ordinary size, while they are

filled with emptiness. It is in a sensual condition of mind that they use

their swollen words. (Think of comedy and entertainment today that

are GREAT PRACTITIONERS of this – CY – 2012)  The bait

they hold out is SENSUAL GRATIFICATION!  (Think of the

modern porn industry – CY – 2012)  Their guilt is exhibited as

aggravated by the fact that the persons whom they plied with the

vile bait of sensual indulgence WERE THOSE LEAST FIT TO

RESIST IT!  They promise  liberty, while themselves bound.

“Promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants

of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he

                        also brought into bondage.” (v.19


Ø      On account of their apostasy. Their last state worse than the first.

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world

through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state

 is become worse with them than the first” (v.20).  Peter thinks

of them, in conclusion, as PUNISHED IN THEIR

DEGRADATION!   They were once the prey of the miasmata

the defilements — of the world. There supervened a blessed time

of escape. This was when they had knowledge of the Lord

and Saviour Jesus Christ (the name being appreciatingly dwelt upon).

The word is used which means “appreciative knowledge;” and it

would seem to be implied that there was reality in their spiritual

experience. But the time came when they were again entangled in

the miasmata of the world, and overcome by them. In that case

they were the worse for the experience through which they had

come. We cannot have conviction of sin and appreciation of Christ,

and put away from us that experience WITHOUT OUR BRINGING



man that he had come into such nearness to Christ, than he would

otherwise have been. Therefore let us be careful how we treat

visitations of the Holy Spirit!   “For it were better for them not

 to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it,

 to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them”

(v.21).  Better for the false teachrs, that they had remained in heathenism

than, after knowing the new life, to turn back from the holy commandment

upon which it depends. There is a sacredness about Christian rules


“It has happened unto them, according to the true proverb,

The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that was

washed to wallowing in the mire” (v.22).  This double proverb is

not explanatory of the last state being worse than the first, but simply


Though they knew the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they were not

beyond temptation to sensuality. THEIR RELAPSE TOOK


ASCENDENCY!  The comparisons employed are not complimentary.

The false teachers are compared to the dog and the sow

animals abhorred in the East. They have returned to THE FILTH

OF HEATHENISM  as the dog to its vomit, as the sow that had

been washed to its wallowing in the mire. THEREFORE LET US



The way of righteousness has attractions far better and beyond that of any other

road in life!  It is the path that hath been trodden for centuries by the great and



AND ENJOYED!  (Compare this with the stimulus supplied by the powers

that be in Washington, D. C., from 2008-1012 – CY – 2012)  If righteousness

has been a hard road and has had to fight for existence here on earth, it is comforting

and inspiriting to be assured that the state to which we are advancing IS ONE


EVER UNKNOWN!  (See ch. 3:10-13)


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