Warning about False Teachers
1In the past there arose false prophets # 2:1 Or “Pretend prophets birthed themselves.” among God’s people, just as there will continue to be false teachers who will secretly infiltrate in your midst to divide you, bringing with them their destructive heresies. # 2:1 Or “destructive ways of thinking” (viewpoints). They will even deny the Master, who paid the price for them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow immoral lifestyles. # 2:2 Or “sensualities” (outrageous behaviors). Because of these corrupt false teachers, the way of truth # 2:2 Or “the true Way.” Some manuscripts have “the glory of the truth.” will be slandered. 3They are only out for themselves, # 2:3 Or “with greed.” ready to exploit you for their own gain through their cunning arguments. Their condemnation has been a long time coming. But their destruction does not slumber # 2:3 The Aramaic can be translated “Abaddon never slumbers.” Abaddon is a Hebrew term for the realm of the dead and symbolizes the bottomless pit. or sit idly by, for it is sure to come.
4Now, don’t forget, God had no pity for the angels when they sinned # 2:4 Because of the context of Noah’s flood, these were possibly the “Watchers,” angels who sinned and rebelled against God’s laws by having sexual relations with women, thus producing offspring (Gen. 6:1–4). They are mentioned in Dan. 4:13, 17, 23; Judah 6–7; the Book of 1 Enoch 6–10; the Book of Jubilees 5; and the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Book of Giants). God put them in chains (ropes) and bound them in Tartarus (the deepest pit of gloom) until their final judgment. but threw them into the lowest, darkest dungeon of gloom # 2:4 The Greek uses the term Tartarus, a Hellenistic mythical term for the subterranean underworld, the lowest pit (of hell). and locked them in chains, where they are firmly held until the judgment of torment. # 2:4 As translated from the Aramaic and two older Greek uncials.
5And he did not spare the former world # 2:5 Or “original world.” in the days of Noah when he sent a flood to destroy a depraved world # 2:5 Or “a world devoid of awe.” (although he protected Noah, the preacher of righteousness, along with seven members of his family). # 2:5 See Gen. 6–8; 1 Peter 3:20.
6And don’t forget that he reduced to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, condemning them to ruin and destruction. # 2:6 See Gen. 19. God appointed them to be examples as to what is coming to the ungodly. # 2:6 Or “as an example to the ungodly of coming generations.” After seeing these three examples (fallen angels, people who lived at the time of the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah), it is difficult to believe that everyone will ultimately be saved. There is a doom that awaits the ungodly (those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior). 7Yet he rescued a righteous man, Lot, suffering the indignity of the unbridled lusts of the lawless. # 2:7 As translated from the Aramaic. 8For righteous Lot lived among them day after day, distressed in his righteous soul by the rebellious deeds he saw and heard.
9If the Lord Yahweh rescued Lot, he knows how to continually rescue the godly from their trials and to reserve the ungodly for punishment on the day of judgment. # 2:9 Or “to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,” which implies that the wicked are living under God’s punishment even before they are ultimately judged. 10And this especially applies to those who live their lives despising authorities # 2:10 Or “despising realms of power” (authority). The Aramaic can be translated “They do not tremble with awe while they blaspheme.” and who abandon themselves to chasing the depraved lusts of their flesh.
The Arrogance of False Teachers
They are willfully arrogant and insolent, unafraid to insult the glorious ones. # 2:10 Or “slandering reputations” or “blaspheming glories” (dignitaries). Because of the context, most believe this is speaking of “glorious” celestial beings in heaven (e.g., archangels). See Jude 8–10. 11Yet even angels, who are greater than they in power and strength, do not dare slander them before the Lord. # 2:11 Some manuscripts do not have “before the Lord.” 12These individuals are nothing but brute beasts—irrational creatures, born in the wild to be caught and destroyed—and they will perish like beasts. They are professional insulters, who slander whatever they don’t understand, and in their destruction they will be destroyed. 13For all the evil they have done will come crashing down on them. They consider it their great pleasure to carouse in broad daylight. When they come to your love feasts # 2:13 Peter equates the gatherings of believers as “love feasts.” Our true purpose in coming together is to magnify and feast on the love of Christ, sharing his love with all. they are but stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions as they feast with you. 14They are addicted to adultery, with eyes that are insatiable, # 2:14 Or “Their eyes are full of an adulteress.” with sins that never end. They seduce the vulnerable and are experts in their greed—they are but children of a curse!
The Example of Balaam
15They have wandered off the main road and have gone astray, because they are prophets who love profit—the wages they earn by wrongdoing. They are following the example of Balaam, son of Beor, # 2:15 Or “Bosor.” 16who was rebuked for evil by a donkey incapable of speech yet that spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. # 2:16 See Num. 22–24.
17These people are dried-up riverbeds, waterless clouds pushed along by stormy winds—the deepest darkness of gloom has been prepared for them. 18They spout off with their grandiose, impressive nonsense. Consumed with the lusts of the flesh, they lure back into sin those who recently escaped from their error. 19They promise others freedom, yet they themselves are slaves to corruption, for people are slaves to whatever overcomes them.
20Those who escape the corrupting forces of this world system through the experience of knowing about our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, then go back into entanglement with them and are defeated by them, becoming worse off than they were to start with. 21It would have been much better for them never to have experienced the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn away from the sacred obligation # 2:21 Or “holy command.” that was given to them. 22They become illustrations of the true proverb:
A dog will return to his own vomit # 2:22 See Prov. 26:11. The rest of the proverb is believed to be a quote from Heraclitus of Ephesus, known as the “weeping philosopher” (535–475 BC).
and a washed pig to its rolling in the mud.