James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.2 Peter 2:1-3:18
OCCASION OF THE WARNING
We now consider the last division which treats of the occasion for this warning and exhortation, chapters 2-3. In brief, this occasion was in the incoming of false teachers in the church, 2 Peter 2:1, whose success is predicted in 2 Peter 2:2; whose punishment is certain and dreadful, v. 3-9; and whose description follows in verses 10-22.
We shall not enter upon this description in detail, and, indeed, it presents many difficulties of interpretation. The presence of such teachers, in the visible church, is almost inconceivable, but we should recall what Christ said about wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Their leading characteristics are carnality (2 Peter 2:10), presumption (2 Peter 2:10-12), reveling (2 Peter 2:13), and covetousness (2 Peter 2:14-16), but it is clear that the first-named played the largest part in the power exercised over their followers. Just what the features of this uncleanness were may come before us when we reach Jude, whose epistle contains the same picture of false teachers in about the same words.
CHARACTER OF THE FALSE TEACHING
No portion of this epistle is more important than the last one which we now enter, and which, in connection with the description of the teachers describes their teaching. The latter focuses upon the second coming of Christ (chapter 3).
In the first place notice the second verse concerning the authority of the New Testament as compared with the Old, and how the apostle places his writings on a par with the prophets.
What period is being referred to (2 Peter 3:3)? Remember that “the last days” means the last days of the present age, not the end of the world. What is the subject of the scoffing marking the period spoken of (2 Peter 3:4)? Of what fact do the scoffers seem to be in practical ignorance (2 Peter 3:5-6)? How will the next cosmic catastrophe differ from the last (2 Peter 3:7)? The reference in 2 Peter 3:7 is to the end of the world, but this will not be reached till a thousand years after the coming of the Lord. How does this fact seem to be alluded to in 2 Peter 3:8? For what reason is the coming of the Lord delayed (2 Peter 3:9)? To what period does 2 Peter 3:10 refer? We have seen in 1 Thessalonians the distinction between the coming of Christ for His church, and the introduction of The Day of the Lord which follows. This “day” begins and ends with judgment as Revelation reveals, although between the two series of judgments the millennium intervenes. We have been taught that the prophets see events in space rather than in time, often overlooking intervening occurrences between the objective points. In this way the church period is not alluded to in the Old Testament, while in the present instance Peter says nothing about the millennium. What application does he make of these words (2 Peter 3:11-12)? What hope is set before the believer (2 Peter 3:13)? With what warning and exhortation does he close (2 Peter 3:17-18)?
1. What was the occasion for the warning?
2. Name some characteristics of the false teachers.
3. What is meant by “the last days”?
4. When does The Day of the Lord begin and end?
5. How do the prophets see events?