MP3: Traveling Down the Rapture Road in 2 Peter, Lesson 5
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Continue traveling down the Rapture Road with Nathan Jones and Vic Batista in this verse-by-verse study of the incredibly prophetic book of 2 Peter! You can start at the beginning with Part 1 or listen in to The Truth Will Set You Free podcast (above).
Deceptions of False Teachers
Nathan Jones: The Apostle Peter continues his epistle to the Church in 2 Peter 2:18-22 warning believers in Christ about the deceptions of false teachers.
“For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.'”
Vic Batista: Peter’s words are powerful indictments against the reality of someone who has known the correct way in Jesus Christ but then they forsook it. They fell for what these false teachers and prophets speak with — “great swelling words of emptiness.”
Nathan Jones: Yes, false teachers are like hot air balloons — just full of air. When they talk, it all sounds great, and they offer so much, but in the end, their promises are like the wind.
For example, one particular organization has been desperate to join our Christ in Prophecy Facebook group where we discuss God’s prophetic Word. We’ll frequently get false teachers attempting to join up so they can proliferate their teachings. One of these is a fairly new group called the Chinese Lightning or the Church of the Almighty God. You watch their videos and they seem so clean-cut, and everything they do is neat and clean. They speak about things from the Bible, but they don’t really make any sense. It’s like they’re cutting verses into little clips and then gluing them all together. They end up sounding kind of holy, but they really make no sense whatsoever.
There’s a dark side to this group. This is the group that went into a McDonalds in China and demanded a girl tell them what her number was so they could call her. When she refused, one of their guys killed her while accusing her of being a demon. These people frequently beat and torment people and force them to join their cult. So, on the outside — beautiful, wonderful, they sound holy. On the inside, they are just like verse 18 — full of emptiness, the lust of the flesh, lewdness, and evil.
Vic Batista: How sad! I thank the Lord for being a pastor in the Calvary Chapel movement. We are surely not perfect, but one of the things that we encourage people to do is look to the Bible alone for God’s messages. Find a place where they are teaching you the Bible, preferable chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse, or at least they are teaching you sound doctrine because there is so much deception in this world.
I love certain aspects of technology and social media, but there is another aspect in places such as YouTube that provide a haven for so many of these cultic false doctrines and false teachings.
Nathan Jones: Yes, just read any of the comments on YouTube. YouTube seems to be filled with angry people posting unfiltered comments. It’s a real shame. YouTube provides some great outreach opportunities, but it also brings out the hatred and the lewdness in people. A lot of cults can post videos and they are equally seen with every other video posted there that teaches the actual Gospel.
I believe you are right. The best way to really understand the Bible is to read it verse-by-verse and to take the literal interpretation. Base your interpretation on the context, not on what you want it to say, and let the Bible speak for itself. Calvary Chapel often does a wonderful job of that. I think that the Lord has blessed the Calvary Chapel movement for taking that approach to studying God’s Word.
Vic Batista: The days are getting darker. Peter describes these false teachers as talking with a lot of words, but they are empty words. Sounds like politics, right? We just elected a new president. So many promises were made. Therefore, we cannot just go by what people say, whether they be presidents or government. We need to follow what Jesus and the Bible have to say. The world will cajole people with a lot of empty promises, a lot of great swelling words, and a lot of people who speak very nicely, but when it comes time to deliver on those promises, they end up lacking.
Nathan Jones: How true! This particular deception explained in 2 Peter 2 doesn’t just describe the false prophets, but those supposed Christians who believe them. They’ve been given the truth of the Gospel. They know the Bible. But, they run after what the false prophets teach instead.
I’m reminded of the terrible times good King Hezekiah had living under his father Ahaz. His generation was warned about falling into apostasy. In the book of Micah, one of the minor prophets, we learn how Ahaz and the people of Judah were lambasted by Micah because they loved to hear what the false prophets were teaching. They wanted to believe lies rather than the truth.
In verse 22, Peter compares such people to a dog that goes back to its own vomit, and a pig that has been washed but jumps back into the mud.
I own a beagle that loves to get washed. After her bath, she runs all around the house all happy. But, just ten minutes later, she is out in the backyard rolling around in her filth. I look at her and am like, “What?!?” And yet, that is how people behave who reject the Gospel after initially believing in it. They want to go back into the world and be polluted once more because they love the lies more than they love Jesus Christ.
Vic Batista: Lifestyle does matter. How we behave as Christians is important. People don’t just care about what we say, but they are looking at our lives to see if we’re living out our faith or merely going through the motions of religion. Here Peter calls these individuals dogs and pigs. They sully the testimony of Jesus Christ by their worldly actions.
Nathan Jones: Dogs and pigs were two animals that were detested in the Bible. Pigs were ceremonially unclean, and dogs were not quite domesticated like they are today. Dogs back then were wild and dangerous. So, these are two animals that were looked down upon by the Israelites. And, that is what Peter is comparing backsliders to — people who reject the truth of Jesus and instead embrace the lies that they know are not true.
Vic Batista: Peter’s description might sound strong, but it is the reality of the situation. The way certain people who claim to be Christians live their lifestyles and behave, well it is really sad. When worldly behavior filters into the Church and Christianity, then people looking from the outside wonder: “What is the difference between you and the world?” And so, Peter here is warning with something like: “Guys, we need to be careful. We need to do our homework. We need to see the fruits behind these so-called prophets, and then we need to discern who they really are and not fall for their lies.”
Vic Batista: We Christians really need to pray that God would show us the truth. After all, Jesus is the Truth. He lived a life that was true and holy and He even went to the cross for proclaiming that truth. For us Christians, God has set us apart especially in such a deceptive time as this. We don’t know the future, but it’s clear we’re entering into a new era. Therefore, the Church really needs to have discernment in these days about how to live rightly and how to reach the lost with the Gospel.Vic Batista: It's clear we're entering into a new era. Therefore, the #Church really needs to have #discernment in these days about how to live rightly and how to reach the lost with the #Gospel. Click To Tweet
Our Only Hope
Vic Batista: I want to encourage our readers to embrace the fact that our only hope is in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only hope for the nations and for ourselves.
If you have yet to have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then now is the time to start your relationship with the Lord. No matter where you are in life, you too can have the assurance of salvation and be protected from the lies of the Enemy. It’s time to come to Jesus Christ — right now!
Nathan Jones: Know that Jesus Christ died on the cross to take on Himself the penalty for your sins. Jesus made the only perfect sacrifice to pay for your sins, because He is the Son of God — the perfect man and God combined into one. Jesus came to this earth as a man because God wanted to interact with mankind and show us His love face-to-face. In exhibiting that love, Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice on our behalf. The perfect man died for an imperfect people, that being you and me.
Jesus died on the cross so that when we put our faith and trust in Him, then we become saved. Our sins are forgiven, and the punishment that was meant for us, which was Hell, was placed upon Jesus Christ. We can then stand reconciled before God the Father and dwell with Him in His home forever.
If you are ready to accept Jesus as your Savior, then pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins, and be my Lord and Savior.” We know that Jesus will do just that because He has promised that He will forgive you of your sins and grant you a new life with Him. That is the truth of the Bible. That is the Gospel message.
In the eighteenth part of our faith journey down the Rapture Road through the book of 2 Peter, we’ll move on to explore chapter 3.