Life-Study of 2 Peterby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the evils of the false teachers and their punishment under God’s judgment (2:10-22).
In 2:10 Peter says, “And especially those who go after the flesh in defiling lust, and despise lordship. Darers, self-willed, they do not tremble while reviling dignities.” From here to the end of the chapter, the exposure returns to the false teachers and their followers, a continuation of the exposure in verses 1 through 3. In God’s governmental dealing, they will be especially kept under punishment for the day of judgment because they go after the flesh, indulging in defiling lust and corrupting luxury for pleasure, and despise the Lord’s government, rebelling against His authority (vv. 10, 13-14,18). Thus, they become persons like animals without reason (v. 12), spots and blemishes to the believers as God’s treasure (v. 13), Balaam, in forsaking the straight way for unrighteous gain (v. 15), springs without water and mists driven by a storm (vv. 17-19), and dogs and sows that become defiled both inwardly and outwardly (vv. 20-22).
Peter says that the false teachers despise lordship. Here “lordship” must refer to the lordship of Christ, which is the center of the divine government, dominion, and authority (Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16).
Peter also says that the false teachers are self-willed and do not tremble while reviling dignities. They are self-willed in that they are self-pleasing, seeking pleasure for self. The Greek word rendered “dignities” literally means glories. It probably refers both to angels and men in power and authority (v. 11; Jude 9; Titus 3:1-2).
In verse 11 Peter continues, “Whereas angels, being greater in strength and power, do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.” Here “angels” and “them,” referring to dignities in verse 10, are mentioned in a general way. But in Jude 9 regarding the same case, the archangel Michael and the Devil are singled out. Because Michael realized that in the angelic order the Devil was higher than he, he did not dare to bring a reviling judgment against him. The words a “reviling judgment” in 2:11 actually mean a condemnation. To refrain from bringing a reviling judgment against them before the Lord is to keep the order of authority in God’s government.
In verse 12 Peter goes on to say, “But these, as animals without reason, having been born natural for capture and corruption, reviling in things of which they are ignorant, shall also in their corrupting be corrupted.” Here “animals” literally means living creatures (including man) and refers to men living as animals. The King James Version adopts the rendering “natural brute beasts.”
“Without reason,” or “irrational” here means having no sense of moral issues. The highest sense within man is his spirit with the conscience as its leading part. Conscience governs man under God’s government since man’s fall. Some have “ceased from feeling” (Eph. 4:19) by giving up the consciousness of their conscience through their denial of God (Rom. 1:23-32). The first century heretics, like the Sadducees in ancient Judaism (Acts 23:8) and the Modernists of today, are in this category. They have denied the Lord to the uttermost so that their conscience is seared and has lost its consciousness (1 Tim. 4:2), as if they do not even have a spirit (Jude 10, 19). Thus, they become as animals without reason, as creatures of instinct, born natural to be captured, through their lust, by Satan the destroyer of man, that they may be corrupted unto destruction.
Peter says that those who become as animals without reason have been born for capture and corruption. The word “for” literally means unto and indicates that they are destined to be captured for corruption, to be made slaves of corruption (v. 19). But by the supply of life through the divine provision (1:3-4) we are able to escape this corruption that brings in destruction.
Peter tells us that the false teachers will also “in their corrupting be corrupted.” This means that while they are corrupting others, they themselves will also be corrupted.
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