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The False Teachers of Today

Updated on November 3, 2014

Apostates and the Swift Destruction


The false teaching attacked by Peter and Jude has a great deal in common and are almost certainly manifestation of the same problem, although a few differences are also seen.

The heresy envisaged is in both cases a primitive form of Gnosticism. The main characteristics that emerge are as follows:

  1. The lives and teaching of these men denied the Lordship of Jesus IIPet2:1, Jude 4.
  2. They defiled the agape (love feast).
  3. They were immoral themselves, and infected others with their lascivious ways, through minimizing the place of law in the Christian life and emphasizing freedom (2Pet2:10, 12), Jude 4,12).

Apostasy is not to be confused with mere indifference to the world nor with error. Neither does it necessarily believe false doctrine. An apostate can acknowledge that certain doctrines are true, but fail to believe them in his heart. He can acknowledge Christ without accepting Him. On the other hand, a true Christian can fall into doctrinal error, but that is not apostasy. Apostates have received light but not life. They have known and accepted the written word but have never met Christ, the Living Word.

Apostasy is a deliberate rejection of the truth after it is known.1

Apostasy is expressed in the New Testament in the following books:

2 Thess 2:10; Act 8: 13- 14; Acts 21:21; 2Thess 2:3;

John 6:66; 2 Peter 2:20; 1 Tiim 4:1; and 2 Tim 4:3.

Peter was deeply disturbed by the false teachers of his day and spoke solemnly of the punishment that awaited them. Peter writes "They bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1); “whose judgment, now of a long time lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not (v3)”. This is a reminder that appearances may be deceiving. God is not idle, nor is He asleep. Later in the passage the apostle quotes that the Lord knows how to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished”. v 9

Peter cites three examples of God’s judgment from the Old Testament. Two lines of truth are obvious: (1) the certainty and terror of God’s retributive justice and (2) the loving care of God and His remembrance of His children.

A.The Angels Who Sinned:

The first illustration depicting God’s judgment of heretics is the angels who were cast into hell. The Apostle wrote, “God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment”. (2Pet2:4).

Peter did not tell us when this event took place, how many angels were involved, nor what act of wickedness called for such a drastic punishment; but we do know that at some time in history, certain angels deliberately disobeyed God and they didn’t get away with it. There are various interpretations concerning this verse. One interpretation is that these angels refer to the angels who followed Satan in his original rebellion against God Isa14: 12- 15; Ezek 28:15; cf Rev 12:3-4; while others say it refers to the sin mentioned in Gen 6. Whichever interpretation one follows the point is clear, just as God judged the angelic realm, so He will judge these false teachers.

B. The Unbelievers Destroyed in the Flood:

Peter’s second example of God’s judgment within human experience is that of ‘Noah and the Flood’.

The apostle added an element that depicts God’s judgement with discrimination. He says that God “spared not the old world, but saved Noah, the eighth person” (2Pet2:5).

God’s punishment of evil doers is certain, but His judgment is discriminating. Those who trust in him are kept safe, while those who reject His word and authority are destroyed.

C.The Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah:

The third example of God’s judgment is that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Peter says that God transformed these cities into ashes, condemning them with an overthrow making them anexample unto those that after should live ungodly.

Jude gave three case histories of God’s judgment on apostasy. In verses 8-13 he then applies God’s attitude of Judgment to those present apostates.

In the past, the first generation of Israel murmured against God and was destroyed. They were apostates in the wilderness; they did not believe God. There were angels who corrupted their nature and left their heavenly dwelling place to dwell with women as some believe or others believe to rebel against God.

Coherently, we conclude that God who extends His mercy to those who seek His forgiveness and mend their ways, is also a God whose face is against them that do evil (I Peter 3:12). They are reserved to be punished (II Peter 2:9).


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    • deorganicchurch profile image

      deorganicchurch 3 years ago from Newark, DE

      It is also interesting to note how many of the Pharisees during the time of Jesus were false teachers in that they rejected the Messiah. They held to their traditions and did not recognize God standing before them even though they were the recognized religious rulers of Israel.

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      Your post is a great testimony to who God is. He desires a sincere faith in Him, which your Scriptural examples explain so well. Voted Up!

    • jimagain profile image

      jimagain 6 years ago from Hattiesburg, Mississippi

      I appreciate this Hub. Apostacy seems to be a grossly ignored subject in the world. I am relieved to know there are still people who are aware of the danger of belief for the sake of belief with no sense of discerning of the truth. I voted UP.

    • olgakhumlo profile image

      olga khumlo 6 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Aquasilver, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Absolutely true 'sin is sin' and it separates us from God. Isaiah 59:1,2.

    • olgakhumlo profile image

      olga khumlo 6 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Timothy,Thank you for sharing; and they're quite interesting facts! Sorry I do not find the Book of Mosiah listed in the Bible.

      It is true that a person repeatedly sinning is still a servant of sin (Romans 6:17); but if we yield ourselves servants to obey then are we free from sin, we become the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18)

      II Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

      I'm blessed the article has been useful to you.

      God bless you.

    • Timothy Donnelly profile image

      Timothy Donnelly 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @ Aquasilver, Are you referring to these two canonized scriptures of the LDS faith (which I could quickly find), or are you talking about the Fundamentalist sect's practice of polygamy?

      - Jacob 2: 27

      "Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;"

      - Doctrine and Covenants 132: 43

      "And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery."

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      To read a Mormon writing about adultery is interesting! I know polygamy is not specifically forbidden, but it is frowned upon!

      To hear the LDS take on forgiveness is revealing, for my bible tell me to forgive 7 x 70 times (490) per day, and I seriously doubt God is less forgiving.

      Repentance is not a weekly affair for the same sins, it's the turning back towards the right path, which all humans find difficult, and it is well to realise that sin is sin, and a small sin has the same detrimental effect on our relationship with God as a large one, for it is we humans who measure the quantity and quality of sin, God just sees sin as sin, sin is 'missing the mark' and I doubt there is a soul alive who manages even one day without sin.

      It is true that God abhors some sins, but it is all sin that causes the seperation.


    • Timothy Donnelly profile image

      Timothy Donnelly 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      olgakhumlo, you have made some revealing points, and I would ask that I share what I know to be true. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have some doctrine that helps explain regular people and their apostate attitude, or sin. There are three main points to remember:

      - The first being, like you note, that people will be punished or cast out (from the presence of God) when they choose to follow a life of sin.

      - The second is that the Lord will forgive all that repent (sincerely), and remember their sins no more. Each time a person sins, he must repent, and each time he repents, he will be forgiven.

      - The third, and one that is really, really important, is that if one repents of his sins, and then sins again, the previous sins will return to his account. For example, if an adulterer commits adultery and then repents, he is forgiven, but if he commits adultery again, he is STILL an adulterer, only now WORSE so than before.

      Mosiah 26:30 “Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.”

      Doctrine and Covenants 42:24-26 “Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out. But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.”

      Peace and good tidings, olgakhumlo.

      Voted useful.