The second chapter of Peter’s letter marks a considerable change in content as Peter writes about three things:
- Who is a false teacher
- What is false teaching
- How do we avoid following them
Peter’s words were practical in 2:1-3 but the remainder of the chapter is darker as Peter first offers three illustrations: One from the angelic realm, and two from their history in Noah and Lot and those could be divided in pre-flood and post-flood. This morning we shall take up only verses 4-5 and leave 6-9 for the following week. This section has inherent challenges as it relates to interpretation and application. First we will need to ask and answer the question from the point of Peter:
- What do these illustrations have to do with false teachers and false teaching that his readers are to avoid?
- What are the teaching points that Peter wishes to convey to his readers?
The context of these illustrations are to be found in verse 3 as the word “FOR” in verse 4 is a connective word linking what Peter had just written to what he is about to write. This had to do with the reader remembering three things could do to avoid following false teaching.
- First, that God will judge those who teach such lies. Those that teach “Destructive heresies” “Bring on themselves swift destruction” the outcome of false teaching far exceeds the temporary benefits that the lies promise!
- Second, that what is “certain” is the judgment upon false teachers. Often times we tend to forget that God’s promises are the only thing that is certain and fixed!
- Finally, that “their destruction does not slumber”! We tend to think that if we follow after such lies that we will have time to get it right, but we don’t know that. Also following such lies will only hinder the possibilities of our own spiritual growth and maturity!
Vs. 4 Angels who sinned
Vs. 4 The first illustration is difficult to break down as we need to determine what is the situation of the illustration that Peter is referring too. What the text tells us is that God didn’t spare angels who sinned, but instead immediately judged them imprisoning them until a later time of permanent judgment.
- One interpretation of this is that Peter is writing of the angels who fell with satan at the original rebellion against God where we read in Isa 14:12-15 and Ezek. 28:15 and Rev 12:3-4. The problem with that interpretation is that satan and his fallen angels wouldn’t be free to roam the earth as they clearly are.
- The other interpretation of this is linked to 1 Peter 3:19 and Jude in 1:6-7 where we saw in that study “WHAT” Jesus preach as the Greek word “preached” is a word used of a “official announcement or proclamation made be a representative of a government”. Peter didn’t say that Jesus “preached” or “evangelized” or brought a “message” instead that Jesus brought a “official proclamation” to these fallen angels. God in perfect justice and infinite mercy and glorious righteousness passed over fallen angels to purchase fallen humanity by His own blood! We need look at 1 Peter 3:20 to get a better picture as too what Jesus’ official proclamation was. What we see is that they were disobedient at the time of the flood and in Peter’s second letter 2:4 he mentions that they sinned, and that God did not spare them but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment. There is no reason to think that Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is referring to a different group in his second letter than the mention of the one in his first letter. In fact, the use of the word “FOR” in 2 Peter 2:4 is a connective word and associates these two; the fallen angels of the antediluvian world of Noah’s time in which we are told Noah’s family of 8 souls were saved from and the angels were reserved to judgment. Gehenna is the place of dead apostate Jews whereas Tartarus the place of fallen angels. Jude 1:6-7 shed a little more on this where we are told that “the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” It appears that the sin of these fallen angels was fornication as they went after human females a different class of creation stepping beyond what God had designed. It appears that this produced a genetically altered order of being that mixed these two different orders of creation into what Gen 6:1-4 describes “When men began to multiply on the surface of the ground, and daughters were born to them, God’s sons saw that men’s daughters were beautiful, and they took any that they wanted for themselves as wives. Yahweh said, “My Spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; so, his days will be one hundred twenty years.” The Nephilimwere in the earth in those days, and also after that, when God’s sons came into men’s daughters and had children with them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” This mixed race partly human partly fallen angelic warranted the destruction and extermination of all but 8 humans. So, after Jesus official proclamation between His death and prior to His resurrection was for the purpose of this angelic apostasy of the divine plan of God in which satan trying to make it impossible for Jesus to be fully man as humanity’s seed would have been polluted by demonic seed making human atonement impossible.
The point Peter is illustrating is that God’s judgment and destruction does not slumber. There are several things that this illustration brings up: First is the severity of how Peter through the Holy Spirit sees false teaching as it is linked to the “satanic plot” to taint humanity with demonic seed rendering the whole of the offspring thus effected by this ungodly union unredeemable! False teaching causes those that follow such “destructive heresy’s” unredeemable. That God knows very well how to limit the effect that such lies can have on fallen humanity and that His judgment of those who are engaged is as James warned in 3:1 “Let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”
Vs. 5 Saved Noah Intro
Vs. 5 The second illustration is that of Noah and as mentioned is connected the first reference in verse 4. It is also connected to 1 Peter 3:20-21 where we noted the ministry of Noah. Peter showed his readers in the illustration that Noah like Jesus are examples of “suffering for doing good”. In speaking of Noah, Peter brings up his family that was also safely delivered through the flood and the phrase “saved through water” is literally “were brought safely through” and isn’t talking about their spiritual salvation. The article in the Greek is not on the “Ark” saving Noah and his family but rather upon the water saving Noah and his family. The very waters that were the extermination of the human race were life to the inmates of the ark. Those who drown did so because they were not related properly to the waters and Noah and his family were. The righteousness of God judges all who are not correctly related to Him, and it is faith in God’s provision of His Ark Jesus that enables us to sail upon God’s goodness. This section in Peter’s words in 2 Peter will lead us to the same FIVE APPLICATION POINTS that Peter wished to convey two these dear suffering saints in the first century church in his first letter:
- Christians looking at Noah: Must expect opposition.
- Christians looking at Noah: Must serve God by faith and not by sight in the results.
- Christians looking at Noah: Must realize that we can have joy because the victory is certain. We do this because our identity is in God’s faithfulness and not our effort.
- Christians looking at Noah: Must understand the importance of identifying with baptism and our death to self-centeredness and trust in only God.
- Christians looking at Noah: Must realize that Jesus is the only reason we are still breathing earthly air as God wants us to be a “living hope” to everyone we meet.
The examples are meant to give invaluable instruction to the place and position of the Christian in the midst of dark times. Church history is full of reminders that God’s people will go through difficult times that will shrink our number. God has not called us to popularity, a life of ease. Her has not called us to be like the world system He has called us out of…NO, He has called us to be different. Peter’s words serve not only the generation that he was writing to be every generation and every believer that God’s spirit shall not always strive with man (Gen. 6:3) Noah was surrounded by “iniquity” a generation of billions of people where there were only 8 on the planet that walked with God. Where would have those 8 souls been if they sought to be like the world? Where would they have been if they sought to be popular with their neighbors? For 120 years Noah’s hammer preached the gospel that the world refused to listen and only mocked it’s knocking. We can and must expect server testing of our faith that will alone determine if we truly believe what we say we believe.