Thursday, November 22, 2007

False Prophets

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep

(2nd Peter 2:1-3)

[But false prophets also arose among the people,]

False is defined as:

  1. Contrary to fact or truth.
  2. Unfaithful or disloyal.
  3. Not real or artificial.

Therefore we see false prophets and teachers as being not real in the sense that they are speaking contrary to truth and are unfaithful and disloyal to the cause of Christ.

The apostle tells us that there were not only holy men of God among the members of the early Church, who prophesied by divine inspiration, but there were also false prophets, whose prophecies were from their own imagination, and they perverted many. We see in today’s congregations there are those who prophesy by divine inspiration, but there are those who prophesy contrary to biblical truths and they also are leading many astray.

Now some of these people did not choose to be false prophets and teachers; just as Satan used the serpent to deceived Eve through the lust of her eyes, lust of the flesh and boastful pride of life, others that Satan had prepared long before hand to do his bidding deceived them through lust. And then there are those who, like Adam, are not deceive but are driven by their worldliness and greed.

[Just as there will also be false teachers among you,]

At a very early period of the Christian Church many heresies sprung up; but the chief were those heresies of the Ebionites, Cerinthians, Nicolaitans, Menandrians, and Gnostics. And in today’s gatherings there are false teachers, by many different names, among the people who secretly introduce destructive heresies; destructive as in, if followed, would destroy the soul in hell.

[Even denying the Master who bought them,]

Here we find something very interesting. The Apostle Peter seems to state that these teachers were bought by the blood of Jesus but had turned away teaching false doctrine “bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” Could it be that the riches and pleasures of the world aroused these teacher’s sensual appetites and they turned to a Jesus conjured up in their minds, thus deserting and denying their true Savior, and they are to be destroyed? If the answer is yes to this question it would go against the popular teaching of “once saved always saved;” but there seems to be no other suitable answer.

[Many will follow their sensuality,]

The word “sensual” relates to the gratification of the physical appetites, or affecting the senses. One might describe a sensual person as being fleshly or worldly. This would be in opposition to spiritual or spirituality. Such people follow the false teacher because of their sensuality; they come together, as in a social event, to be entertained with stories and jokes and a whisper sweet “gospel” containing little or no truth, designed to appeal to their fleshly ears, that their sinful conscience not be disturbed. Their fleshly religious appetite being satisfied they continue their sinful ways because the word they have heard has no saving power.

[And because of them the way of the truth will be maligned,]

These false teachers and their followers make up a false Church and “because of them “The way of the truth,” the true Church, is being spoken evil of.

The Apostle Paul says this of the false Church, yes, the false Church. Pay close attention to the first line of verse five.

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power;.” (2nd Timothy 3:1-6 NASU)

[Difficult times will come.]

The true Church is within the hearts of the true believer and difficult times will come upon these children of the Spirit because of persecutions from the fleshly people within the congregations and from opposing religions. We see a type of this in the Holy Scripture: Ishmael, the son born unto Abraham through an act of the flesh, persecuted his son Isaac born unto him according to the word of God. The children of the flesh will persecute the children of the Spirit as Ishmael persecuted Isaac (Genesis 21:8-10).

[Holding to a form of godliness,]

The people of the world do not hold to “a form of godliness,” or “deny its power” because they know nothing of it; thus the people the apostle is speaking of must be of the “Church.”

Now we return to 2nd Peter, chapter 2, verse 3.

[And in their greed they will exploit you with false words;]

Exploit means to make use of selfishly or unethically. With itchy ears and shallow hearts as their fertile ground these false teachers selfishly and unethically sow their seed of corruptness, feeding their greed and enlarging their bank accounts.

[Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep]

From the beginning God has condemned sin, and inflicted suitable punishments on transgressors; and has promised in His word from the earliest ages, to pour out His indignation on the wicked. The punishment, therefore, so long ago predicted, shall fall on these impure sinners who are incapable of being corrected; and the condemnation which is denounced against them does not sleep, it is alert and on its way; God’s judgment will soon overtake them and their destruction is imminent.

James C Sanford

3 comments:

Ang said...

I agree with this passage of Scripture, and I believe that we are seeing more fulfillment of this today than ever before. There are a plethora of false teachers and false prophets in the church today. They are shipwrecking the faith of millions of people all around the world. I believe we need to "test the spirits," "mark them," and "avoid them" as God tells us to. The best way to do this is to show their teaching alongside the Bible. That shows people how clearly wrong it is. The false prophecy part is easy--if their prophecy doesn't come true, they are false prophets and we "should no be afraid of them."

Anonymous said...

"The children of the flesh will persecute the children of the Spirit as Ishmael persecuted Isaac (Genesis 21:8-10)"

Isnt "persecute" a rather strong word to use to describe a young Ishmael mocking Isaac. How does Gen 21:8-10 ever compare to "children of the flesh persecuting the children of the spirit".

Ishmael reunited with Isaac at their fathers funeral and was far from being a "persecutor" of Isaac.

Anonymous said...

The following is in response to the anonymous comment of Mar. 5, 2008.

The Apostle Paul wrote the following concerning Ishmael and Isaac.

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free (Gal. 4:28-31KJV).