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Eyes Wide Open: 2 Peter 2:10-17

Eyes Wide Open: Watch for False Teachers
Chad Melton

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.—2 Peter 2:10–17 (ESV)

False teachers are nothing new. People have always been willing to
manipulate others for evil in the name of God. Their goals might be to
teach false doctrine, or, more sinisterly, they might be predators of the
vulnerable. You might have encountered one of these in your life.

WATCH—This clip from today’s message: 

ICE BREAKER— When have you, or someone you know, been deceived
or misled by someone who appeared to be a sincere Christian? Why wasn’t
the person’s deception evident at first? What was the outcome?

READ—2 Peter 2:10-14

The devastating thing about false prophets and teachers is that they sound
all too plausible. When you listen to them, your first impression is, “Yes:
this is good; this is what we need to hear. It might not be quite what I
expected, but I like the sound of it.” So, Peter puts up a sign which says,

QUESTION— If the marks of false teachers are so obviously repellent, why
do you think Christians sometimes fall for them?

READ— 2 Peter 2:10-11, Jude 8-9, Romans 8:37-39, Ephesians 1:13 and
Acts 19:11-16

These verses offer a curious peek at the spiritual world, indicating some
structure of authority. See also the Dig Deeper section of these notes.

QUESTION— Do you believe that angels and demons coinhabit our
world? If so, what is our relationship with them? Do you think you have
ever encountered one?

QUESTION— How does Peter contrast false teachers with angels?

READ— 2 Peter 2:12-13

QUESTION— Does Peter say the false teachers know more about the
spiritual world than we do?

QUESTION—What is the fate of false teachers?

READ— 2 Peter 2:17

QUESTION— What is a “waterless spring and mists driven by the storm?”

QUESTION— Peter’s language throughout this passage is harsh. Why do
you think he uses such strong imagery for false teachers? Have you ever
been mistreated by a false teacher in the name of God?

DIG DEEPER: Glorious Ones
Second, Peter 2:10 and Jude 8 both speak of the doxas—literally, the
“glorious ones.” More specifically, 2 Peter 2:10 says of human blasphemers
who rail against the glorious ones while angels, though more significant than
those blasphemers, would not dare to do so. This wording suggests a
distinction in rank between angels and “glorious ones.”

In Second Temple Jewish literature, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, references to angels of the council of God of glory may be analogous to the Greek terminology here (1QHa 18:8; 2 Enoch 22:7, 10; Philo, On the Special Laws 1.45).The Greek archangelos occurs only two times in the New Testament (1 Thess 4:16; Jude 9, of Michael). The term speaks of an angel who has authority over other angels.
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