I have had an up close and personal relationship with a false teacher for some time now. As usual, the Holy Spirit prompts me to see that far too many of us have to deal with people like this.
Why would a false teacher be such a problem, especially since the influence asserted on us is minimal and annoying at best. For myself, I feel like I have wasted a portion of my day, and always have to do some quick research into the Word to debunk what I, and the others had to listen to. Others in the group ask outlandish questions, questions they would not ask if they spent anytime pursuing the Word of God.
Sadly, the false teachers waste our time with garbage instead of the Word.
Having recently started a commentary on 2Peter I would have come to this discussion eventually, but for several days now, I feel compelled to do a quick study on false teachers. It would seem we are surrounded by them.
If you do a phrase search in the NASB (my version of choice) there is only one reference to false teachers, and this is it:
2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2) Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3) and in their greed, they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
Peter has projected this into the future, but if you know your Bible, then you know that false teachers came on the scene quickly.
You may not see it, but there is a list presented here that describes the false teacher:
- “secretly introduce destructive heresies.” Having a familiarity with someone who plays the role of false teacher, does he secretly introduce destructive heresies? First, let’s look at the word secretly.
- Secretly is the Greek word pareisago – which means to introduce surreptitiously; privily bring in. This tells me that under the guise of organized church policy and beliefs, he is teaching or advocating outside the scope of scripture or church doctrines. The man I know told us that he was an ordained teacher in that particular religion. I knew they ordained Pastors, but teachers? The question is if they thought you were worthy of holding such a title many years ago, are you still adept enough to teach now?
Since joining the group over two years ago I became aware of false teachings. I was asked the same question you might be asking; did you do or say anything about the teachings? Yes, on several occasions. At one point I left the group and was gone for about six months. A friend who still attended asked me to come back as I was one of the few who attempts to withstand the teacher. I assure you, I have not been called to aggressively confront deeply entrenched and admired Bible teachers; I also know my own personality and I have the propensity to be aggressive – a rather non-productive approach. Nothing changed, in fact, the teacher actually became more adamant in espousing his opinions. The problems were many, and I attempted to inform the then new Pastor that someone needed to at least monitor the group. It seems that new pastors clean house by firing dissenting staff members, and that is exactly what we saw at this church. However, our renowned teacher is not a paid staff member and apparently of no concern. Two years have come and gone, and even though there is an esteemed church member and former deacon in attendance, to keep the study on the straight and narrow way of truth, he does and says nothing to correct blatant and horrendous falsehoods.How then do we call it a secret and mutinous attempt if everyone keeps turning their backs and allowing the offender to go on teaching?
- Destructive – Gk apōleia and means ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal): – damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste.The ruin, loss, destruction, and waste come in the form of misinformed participants who are either mislead or incapable of seeking out the truth. Why should they, as the false teacher has by intimidation implied that the information he gave was true and not to be challenged.
Heresies – Gk hairesis – meaning a choice, that is, (specifically) a party or (abstractly) disunion. The Word Study Dictionary says, a form of religious worship, discipline, or opinion.
One of the main things we hear from this teacher, especially after a Biblical refute of something he has espoused, is, that’s my opinion, and that is all that matters. Oh really. In those moments he is clearly in disunion from the Word of God and the doctrines of the church. (As I side note: I often find myself annoyed by church doctrines as they tend to be the rules of man as they attempt to establish a hierarchy.)
- “even denying the Master who bought them.” At first glance, this seems rather extreme, up to and including a denial of Jesus Christ. It’s not quite that direct and requires you looking up the “simple” words.
Denying – Gk arneomai meaning to contradict, that is, disavow, reject, abnegate: – deny, refuse. The actions and reactions described here are a common occurrence with this individual I am describing, as he contradicts, rejects, and refuses to hear the truth. (By the way, if you were to respond correctly to anything, it should be the truth. Truth in this example is exclusively the Word of God.) It would seem that all you have to do is consider the words in question: “denying the Master who bought them.” Who brought us to this grand party? Jesus Christ, the Father God. So, in contradicting, disavowing, rejecting and refusal, you are doing just that, denying.
DISAVOW is to deny; to disown; to deny to be true, as a fact or charge respecting one’s self; as, he was charged with embezzlement, but he disavows the fact. A man may disavow his name or signature; he may disavow a knowledge of a fact or his concern in a transaction. If I operate on the principle that God’s word is the truth, then to teach in opposition to that Word is to disavow.
- “Many will follow their sensuality,”
Follow – Gk exakoloutheō meaning to follow, to imitate: Such a simple word, follow, but if we all emulated the practices, lifestyle, and teachings of the false teacher, then we become his imitators, as we live our stunted lives (A huge implication here is, that few of us have the ability to read the Bible and understand it.) How pathetically sad this idea of following someone like this. Jesus is the one I am aware of who advocated people following Him, although I am sure even Paul the Apostle wrote and told others to emulate him as well. To follow all aspects of the false teacher I speak of would leave me seriously stunted, judgmental, and legalistic.
Sensuality – Gk aselgeia meaning licentiousness or wantonness.
As I try to understand I am lead to this word licentiousness, and I can’t find it in my memory banks; that is why I look things up.
LICEN’TIOUSNESS, n. Excessive indulgence of liberty; contempt of the just restraints of law, morality, and decorum. The licentiousness of authors is justly condemned; the licentiousness of the press is punishable by law.
Anyone who has sat under this brother in Christ knows that he exhibits both of these things traits, every week.
- “and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;”
Maligned; what a pathetically simple way of saying blasphemed. The Gk word is blasphēmeō meaning to slander, hence to speak lightly or profanely of sacred things:
Slander is defined as A false tale or report maliciously uttered and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing him to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of living; Wow, in Christianity, and among false teachers, the idea of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and thereby committing the unpardonable sin, is tossed around with frequency. Jesus gave us the clearest and most defined example when He went after a group of Pharisees. The setting: He had just delivered a young man of a demon when the Pharisees began their verbal attacks, saying, He casts them out by the power of the Devil, the enemy. His response: Mark 3:22-30 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23) And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24) “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25) “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26) “If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27) “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. 28) “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29) but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– 30) because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Did you catch that? All this was said in response because “they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”” Typically, the word blasphemy is used as a method of control (Control, if you do your homework, is a form of witchcraft.) Just for the fun of it, let’s see what God has to say about witchcraft.
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 9) “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10) “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11) or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12) “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.
Let me ask you a simplistic, childlike question. What is truth? The answer to the question is, God’s Word is Truth; plain and simple. So, does God win over the opinion of any man? Without a doubt.
- “and in their greed, they will exploit you with false words;”
Greed is the Greek word pleonexia and means advantage, covetousness. The word greed tends to force you to look for the money, but that is far from where we need to be thinking right now. I realize this can be a problem for television evangelists and some pastors, but this is just a small town “Bible Study” leader, and he does not get paid. Because the word advantage is an alternate understanding of the Gk word pleonexia, let’s see what the definition of advantage is.
ADV’ANTAGE, n.1. Any state, condition, or circumstance, favorable to success, prosperity, interest, or reputation. Wait a minute; this man had a reputation; and, he certainly wants to be seen as a success, and, he wants the conditions to be favorable to achieving that goal. But keep in mind that the verse says, “they will exploit you with false words.”
Allow me to give you a grand example of what we hear with consistency.
The generalized statement was made that, everyone that goes to the great white throne is sent to the hell they deserve. Is this a true statement? Absolutely not. How do I know that? Because I have read my Bible; I have a brain, and I choose to use it.
The Great White Throne judgment. Do you realize it only shows up in two locations; one of those is here:
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14) Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15) And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
False teachers will dare to assume that no one’s name is found written in the book of life and therefore thrown into the lake of fire, but that is not conveyed in Revelation 20:11-15. It merely tells you what is to befall those He does not find listed in the books. It says that the dead, from all time apparently, are raised and brought before this throne. God then, opens the books, and there are several, and He scours those books looking for some act for which He can show mercy. Sadly, for some unfortunate few, He finds nothing, and they are sent to their permanent place of separation.
Now, I said there were two places we find this throne. The second is in Matthew 25. The NASB entitles this section, “The Final Judgment.” Wow, that should have a familiar ring to it, especially since I just gave you the paraphrased version of the final judgment.
Matthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32) “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33) and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38) ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39) ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 41) “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44) “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45) “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46) “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So how is this similar to what we saw in Revelation 20?
- Matthew 25 states,“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”
- Revelation 20 tells us, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it,”
There is only one Him, and His name is Jesus. This is relatively easy to ascertain if you keep in mind that the Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ. So when we see God in the Revelation we are seeing Jesus.
- In Matthew 25:32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him.”
Here they are not specifically designated as dead or formerly dead folk. I think this throws many off as they cannot extrapolate. Why should this concept of the dead be a problem anyway; especially since we are all eternal in our spirits – that thing made after the image of God.
- In Revelation 20 we see this: “I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, .. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them.
These dead came from everywhere imaginable; the sea, and death and Hades gave up the dead which was in them. One of the problems people have when trying to make this comparison is the idea that only live people are brought to the throne in Matthew 25. Is it a critical error if God’s word fails to give you what you think is a scathing omission? Dead or alive, we are all alive eternally in our spirits; we were, by the way, made in the image of God and He is a spirit. So, in the long run, no one is really dead in the sense of answering for our transgression, are we.
Here is an excellent question and worthy of some thought, especially since it helps our understanding. Since this is the end of time who are the people, we are dealing with as we try to understand those before the throne?
Since the church age, there have only been three people groups. (Note: God does not care where you are from or what color you are. They are:)
- The Jews/Israel;
- The Church – the church is the living breathing organism made up of us, and we, are in Christ.
- And, the nations – those outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ,
A piece of information you theoretically should know, unless of course your time was squandered by a false teacher who made you endure some derisory teaching about backsliding for two months, is that by this time the church will have been caught up to heaven, leaving those Jews that were not part of the church to endure the wrath that is coming. Sadly many who sit in churches will miss out on this catching away and have to endure the wrath as well. Those outside of the first two groups; and remain, are primarily called the nations. The nations are a diverse group that can include religious people, cannibals, brutal bullies, the poor, and the rich.
In terms of timing, the millennial reign has come to an end. Satan is released long enough to deceive the nations – once again, and they surround the 1500 square mile City of God along with its people, thinking that they can kill God. God sends a fire and destroys this uncountable number. It is at this time when the Great White Throne is set up. If I focus on Matthew’s account, there is a clear separation of acceptable folks from the bad, with the bad sent off to an eternal hell. Many are shown mercy simply on the basis of some kind act. Revelation 20 is where false teachers like to focus and will advocate that all go to hell, all the while ignoring that God is scouring through these books to find a reason to show mercy. If God, who knows all and sees all, knew who would be destined to hell why then even have books. In Matthew’s account, the crowd is separated and seemingly without the aid of these books. This kind of merciless logic conveys a God that merely mocks those destined for hell since He already knows their names and whether they are in the books or not. No, God is looking for a reason to show mercy.