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Like Precious Faith - (2Peter 1:1)
    "..to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:" (vs1b)
There is no need to review how this epistle is written to Believers from a Gentile perspective along "with us" (Jews), as the first epistle was written. We've already said as much about that as is necessary in the introduction to 1Peter. So let's just 'jump in' here, shall we.

Peter speaks of "like precious faith".

Let us observe two points about this little phrase. When people don't understand the significance of 'words', it then becomes the basis for many false beliefs. In the time period during which this study is being written there is a view about Jerusalem, that it is "home" to three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Judaism is considered to be the religion of the Jews. Predominantly world-wide "christianity" is viewed (by unbelievers) to be the religion of Rome, as indicated by the various "churches" celebrating crucifixes and statues to the Queen of Heaven. And Islam, even though they turn their backs to the Dome of the Rock, facing Mecca to bow, they claim a lineage back to Abraham through Ishmael. Islam, that worships the moon god, of course did not even exist prior to the 7th century. Babylon, while originating around the 25th century BC with Nimrod, it's Roman mutation with the false "christian" label did not come about until the 3-4th century AD. Babylon, of course, worships all sorts of things: primarily the sun and the Queen of Heaven. That leaves Judaism. What Judaism is today may contain some of the trappings of the Scriptures; but the most devout Judaists are also Kabbalists who, instead of worshiping God, do as "christianity's" -charismania- does, delving into mystical teachings and special spiritualistic powers and manifestations.

Thus, -NONE- of these three belong to the "GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND ISRAEL" (1Ki18:36) as Elijah addressed God in prayer as he faced off with the 400 prophets of Baal in preparation to offer the sacrifice without physically lighting the fire...where God responded by not only lighting the fire, but also consuming the entire offering, the stones and water. (vs38)

The word "like" indicates things that are the 'same'. This is something Babylon of Rome is pretending to do as they seek to bring all religions under their collective umbrella. Even those claiming to be "evangelical" and/or "fundamental" have been joining in this unity; as John Paul II promulgated in 1995, "Ut Unum Sint" (That they may be one), outlining how unity of all religions would be achieved when all had returned "home" to "mother church" (at Rome); and evangelicals have joined in with their ECT "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" (1992-1997). [link] & [link] And more has happened since those pivotal events.

But notice how Peter says "like PRECIOUS FAITH". Faith, another term for "beliefs"; and when we understand Scripture (and words) properly, ultimately it refers to "doctrine". What the world is doing to achieve unity is to 'abandon' doctrine. Different doctrines/teachings, by definition, put up 'walls' of distinction between those who hold those different beliefs. Today's unity is "tearing down walls". If there are many religions, all holding to unique distinctives; if there is to be unity amongst them, the only way that can happen is to compromise beliefs and/or make changes and 'adjustments'. As many are saying: to agree on the main points, and agree to disagree on the "non-essentials".

The -agreement- Peter is talking about is the Doctrine/Faith, comparing Jewish Believers and Gentile Believers. He says that the two Beliefs are the -SAME-. They are a-LIKE.

It's like the episode of "Kid Nation" that a neighbor told me about. (I have not watched it. The few little snips I saw indicated a bunch of pre-programmed snivelly whiny little snots; and I was not interested.) But the one episode was re-told to me: at some competition they had a chance to win either a miniature golf course, or a library of "holy books". The kids chose the books; and started reading the Torah and Bible side-by-side. They were amazed to find that the two were the same. Thus, in their minds "Judaism" and "Christianity" were the same.

And... if Judaism and Christianity are taken back to their original roots: EXACTLY RIGHT! They -are- the same.

When Judaism is not corrupted with demonic mysticism, and they stick with the Scriptures, not the writings of their historically famous rabbis and their man-made traditions (Mk7:9), Judaism is based on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. When Christianity is taken back to its roots, the "disciples" of Jesus (Ac11:26), not corrupted by Babylon, it too is based on Jesus Christ, the Seed of David (Jn7:42), the Seed of Abraham (Gen21:12,22:17-18); the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.

Today's Judaism came about because when Jesus came "to His own...His own did not receive Him" (Jn1:11) They rejected and crucified Him. When all the Law, Psalms and Prophets spoke of Jesus (Lk24:44), and they rejected Him when He came; what was left for them to base their religion on? When they were lacking the reality of Faith in Christ, the fulfillment (Mt5:17) of all those centuries of animal sacrifices, what was left? Nothing but emptiness. If a person doesn't have the Real Thing, how do they come up with meaning? About all that is left is the feelings and emotions of spirituality and mysticism. (Same reason charismania came out of the dead pretend [c]hristianity)

And of course the church became infiltrated from Babylon. Most of the symbols on the platform (altar) of most churches are pagan in origin and symbolism...thus, some True Believers are deceived into thinking that everything called "christian" is of Jesus Christ; but most within that system are not even True Believers! But there are those here and there who are finally wising up and "coming out of [Babylon]" (Rev18:4)

Thus, when so "few" truly know the Lord (Mt7:14) in the midst of so much deception, is not our Faith most precious. Something can be "precious" for various reasons: Due to the 'rarity' of where it is found, and the 'price' that was required to obtain it.

Gems (precious stones) are considered "precious" due to their rarity, compared to the mass of regular rocks, gravel and sand. Gravel can be scooped with mechanical shovels and piled into trucks. But gems are handled individually as unique pieces. When one considers the proliferation of world religions, and then understands just exactly how few a "few" is (Mt7:14), the few on earth who truly know the Lord is a "precious" commodity. Jesus said it would be like the "days of Noah". In Noah's day there were only eight (8), out of all the world's millions, who were kept safe through the flood.

But also, our Faith is precious because the cost to obtain it was the "precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1Pt1:19) What is more precious than that which is obtained when somebody gives their own life on behalf of another. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down oneís life for his friends." (Jn15:13) What more is there to give? One's own life, in death, is the ultimate payment.

It is -this- Faith that both Jew and Gentile share a-LIKE; those who have received Jesus Christ unto Salvation. Through Jesus Christ both Jew -and- Gentile have access to the Father in reconciliation. (Eph2:16)

    "..that He might RECONCILE them both TO GOD in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity." (Eph2:16)
Let's back-track a moment with that word. Those world religions, mentioned earlier, who are busy uniting: they also use the word "reconciliation"; but not the same way Christians do. When they tear down doctrine (faith), they call that a "reconciliation" of all their godless factions -to- EACH OTHER.

But notice that the reconciliation of Salvation which Jesus Christ provides is a reconciliation of the sinner -to- GOD the FATHER. Sins and iniquities separate the sinner from God (Is59:2) Thus, the Salvation 'equation' includes "repentance toward God" (Ac20:21) This reconciliation does not include people repenting for "generational" sins, nor of ethnic diversities, toward each other. This reconciliation is the sinner coming to God in repentance. And then the "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (ac20:21) is that which God gives us to reconcile the sinner -to- God.

When the Jew repents toward God and receives Jesus; and when the Gentile repents toward God and receives Jesus; the result is that they -both- have done so, side-by-side, coming 'to' the -same- God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel; -both- 'reconciled' -to- God. They have -both- been saved by Jesus Christ, they -both- claim the same (like) precious faith.

Thus it is possible to do as Paul says,

    "Now I exhort you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all SPEAK THE SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that you be completely fitted together in the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGMENT." (1Co1:10)
It is not today's vernacular "Judaism". It is not today's vernacular "Christian". It is the "RIGHTEOUSNESS of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (vs1)
    "...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Tit3:5-7)
You see: again, Paul and Peter agree. Remember how Peter spoke of the "living hope" (1Pt1:3)

This, again, in contradistinction to what the world is preaching today with self-actualization, self-esteem, etc. I saw a little snippet of a guest on Oprah summarizing what she had been saying during that particular show (which I hadn't seen) about needing to "step into your own esteem". Man's power and virtue comes from -self-. And today's religions are promoting the same thing: meditate, mantracize, become INTRO-spective, and ultimately let the god-like power forge FROM WITHIN.

But the Faith that both Believing Jew and Believing Gentile share, coming from the -same- God, is GOD's righteousness. Just as the Faith we possess is the "faith -OF- Christ" (Ga2:16), it is "not of ourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD" (Eph2:8b)

Life and Godliness - (2Peter 1:2-4)
    "..as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the full true knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue," (vs3)
Again: something about which Paul and Peter are in agreement. If you start up your Bible software and do a search on the words "grace" & "peace" (vs2), you will find that every single epistle written by Paul begins with greetings including these words. In some cases he also includes "mercy". There's one subscriber who, when he writes to me, typically signs off with "grace and peace".

In this setting, what do these words mean? Remember, in 1Peter we observed how that back in those days people began their letters the way we typically end ours. If we write a business letter we might sign off with "Sincerely". If it is business, but less formal perhaps "Best Regards" or just "Regards". If people know each other they might sign off with "Love", or "Love and Kisses", or other such things. When Christians communicate with each other they often sign off with special words or phrases indicating either their own Faith in Christ, and/or some pithy exhortation to the other to "Keep Looking Up!", or something like that.

What is the gist behind "grace and peace"? In this case "grace" is not necessarily speaking of God's "saving grace" by which He extends mercy regarding our sin. Grace also means (even before those things) elegance, charm, pleasantness, beauty. When we live Godly lives, and worship, it is in the "beauty of holiness" (1Ch16:29, Ps29:2, 96:9) Peace adds to that the aspect of tranquility; absence of hostilities and quarrels; a sense of security and contentment.

Peter is wishing upon his readers the best of well-wishes to be "multiplied"; overflowing. What is the basis for these things for the Christian? We'll come back to this in a moment.

It also involves "life and Godliness" (vs3) In Fiddler on the Roof they joyously sing, "To life, to life lachayim!" For the world this is as far as it goes. For the Christian this joy is also tempered by Godliness.

In other words: All the good things that come in life, I wish them upon you, along with all holiness..."as obedient children" who are also "holy in all conduct" (1Pt1:15) When the world celebrates they knock the beer mugs together, or chink the wine glasses, as the alcohol then takes them away into unbridled debauchery and "coarse jesting" (Eph5:4)

But the Christian's joy includes Godliness, as we also "escape the corruption that is in the world through lust" (vs4b)

How do we combine these two elements? How do we have holy joy?

It is in what we know... or should we say -WHO- we know.

When Elisha's servant awoke that one morning and saw all the Syrian armies surrounding Dothan, he was fearful, exclaiming, "Alas my master! What shall we do?" (2Ki6:15) He was not experiencing "grace and peace". He was not sure regarding his life, as to how long it was going to last that day. All he knew about was what he saw: the vast armies. He did not know that God's armies were surrounding Syria's armies and vastly outnumbered them. (vs17)

Elisha's servant was not familiar with God's "divine power". He knew -of- God from being an Israelite and Elisha's servant. But he did not have a "full true knowledge of God".

Now, if you are using any other translation besides the VW-edition or LITV, you will see only the word "knowledge". (LITV says "full knowledge") In many places the Greek word "gnosis" is used, which means "a general knowledge". That's what Elisha's servant had regarding God.

But in this passage Peter uses a different word "epignosis" meaning "precise and correct knowledge" coming from the word "epiginosko" meaning "to become thoroughly acquainted". This is the way in which Elisha knew God. He was not worried; he was at peace and not worried about life. He knew that God was not only "up there" (someplace); but also knew that God's power was in effect and available against the Syrian armies.

Many people know -about- God. There are also many Believers who know about God, but if they are not growing in God's Truth, they stagnate. What is our means of spiritual growth? Going back to the previous epistle, remember?

    "..desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may GROW thereby" (2Pt2:2)
Where does FULL TRUE (precise and thorough) KNOWLEDGE of God come from? From the Scriptures. Again, an argument for -faithful- translations of God's Word. If the translation is not accurate to WHAT GOD SAID, how can it be considered "precise"? You see, again, why we periodically say that the modern perversions, the ones that don't convey what God -SAID-, are works of God's enemies! If a person immerses themself in one of them, their knowledge of God is -not- "precise" nor thorough. If wrong words are used, it is not "true" knowledge. It is false. It does not conform to God's nature: Jesus said of Himself, "..I am the Truth.." (Jn14:6)

And also: if all a person realizes from this passage is the matter of "gnosis" knowledge of God; well... certainly... a perversion will give that to a person... a "general" knowledge of God. But if a person understands that Peter is actually talking about "epignosis" full true knowledge, then the need for -faithful- translations becomes more clearly defined... and certainly NOT a 'paraphrase'!

Many people of the world have a 'general' knowledge of God: that He is 'somebody' (they know not who), in their minds 'way out there' (someplace). If that is the extent of one's knowledge, then is it not clear to understand why many people do not have "grace and peace", as discussed earlier. But when there is the full true knowledge of God, through regular 'feeding' of God's "precise" Word, there is no need to fear, even in the midst of one's enemies, because God "prepares a table" for us "in the presence of [our] enemies" (Ps23:5)

We come to understand God's "divine nature". We know our 'calling'. We remember the "precious promises".

    God promised, "By no means will I ever leave you nor ever forsake you" (Heb13:5, 1Ch18:20)
Jesus promised, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction; but be of good courage, I have overcome the world." (Jn16:33)
    "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Php4:6-7)
And so, as we find ourselves in this place of security in Christ, as we come to know God, what is the result? God's "divine power" gives us all things related to "life and godliness".
    "..the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us, who believe according to the working of His mighty power" (Eph1:18-19)

    "Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Ga2:20)

Living the Godly life is not something that -we- 'struggle' with. It is God: He has -given- us "all things" that we need. We (True Believers) become "partakers" with God. How? Of His "divine nature".

Does this mean that we, thus, "become little gods"? That is something today's apostasy and the world (i.e. religion of Oprah, etc) teaches. No. See the words for what they -say-. We "partake" of the divine "nature".

We often speak of the 'nature' of things like: Dogs bark, ducks quack, sinners sin, and Believers do deeds of righteousness. It is the dog's 'nature' to bark. Take a puppy away from its mother before it has ever heard the mother bark, and when it grows up it 'barks'. It is 'built-in' to the dog. In like manner sinners, at conception (Ps51:5), have the propensity to sin...and when they are born, begin sinning. It is the sinner's 'nature'. Sinners are "by nature children of wrath" (Eph2:3)

And so how does a Child of God have a life of godliness? God's "divine nature". When we are "born from above" (Jn3:3) of the Holy Spirit (Jn3:8) who takes up residence (Rom8:9); it -becomes- our nature to live righteously. Remember how Peter spoke of "BECOME holy in all conduct" (1Pt1:15) We, in these bodies of "corrupt--flesh and blood" (1Co15:50) were sinning. We are still -in- these corrupt bodies; but we now possess the "precious promises" (vs4) of the "inheritance...reserved in Heaven" (1Pt1:4) Thus, to go along with the promise, we are presently given to "partake" in God's nature which is characterized by "glory and virtue" (vs3b) We are not yet "like" Jesus, because He hasn't yet been "revealed" (1Jn3:2)

But in expectation of that "hope" we "purify [ourselves], just as He is pure" (1Jn3:3)

Peter says: "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (vs4b)

How does a Christian live a holy life, apart from worldliness? "Partake" of the Divine nature. How do we have a "full true knowledge" of that Divine nature? How do people usually "partake" of something, a term usually assocated with eating meals? One sits to the table and starts eating. And what is our spiritual eating? The "pure milk of the Word". The Holy Scriptures, God's Word, the Bible. For anybody not fluent in Hebrew or Greek, which is most of us, a -faithful- translation of the Scriptures.

The Divine Nature is not characterized by lying, cheating, stealing, drunkenness, debauchery, adultery, murder, etc. As Christians we "escape" those things. When a person is "escaping" something, how do they do so? Typically by RUNNING AWAY.

    "Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not go in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn from it and pass on." (Pr4:14-15)

Divine Nature - (2Peter 1:5-11)
    "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, supply with your faith virtue...." (vs5)
"For this very reason"... for -what- reason? Context. What came just before? Partaking of the divine nature, and escaping the world's corruption. When we turn away from the world, what do we replace it with? What -is- the nature of the Divine? In another place it's called the "fruit of the Spirit"? (Ga5:22)

The list is not very long, but Peter assures,

    "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the full true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs8)
The list starts with FAITH: That is the foundation.
    "But without faith it is impossible to please Him..." (Heb11:6)
VIRTUE: Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness. When the Bible and people speak of "good vs evil", virtue is the 'good' side of that comparison. The opposites "good and bad"; virtue is 'good'. When parents leave for a few minutes telling their children to "be good" while they are gone, most children know what it means to "be good". This is that basic commodity, the knowledge of which is resident within all humanity, even the ones who know nothing of the "Bible" and such things: the God-given 'conscience'. (Rom2:15)

KNOWLEDGE: One of those things defined by itself. That which a person knows. How is Godly knowledge attained? How many times have we said it: God's Word, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.

    "..and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2Ti3:15)
SELF-CONTROL: Control of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own will. Would this not be one prime argument against Calvinism's doctrine of "irresistible grace". When God commands to "do good" and to "shun evil", and the temptation comes along to sin, how do we resist? Self-control. There is no such defense, for having done wrong, as: "I couldn't help it" If God commands, He does not command the impossible. He knows the devil is going to come along; but also exhorts to "resist him, steadfast in the faith" (1Pt5:9) In a very real sense, is not self-control a direct opposite of today's self-esteem. Self-esteem says that "I am great"; and thus the argument is that a person can do their own musings and desires. But any concept of self-esteem is nowhere to be found in the Bible. But submission and obedience to Christ is. And the way we keep from the "corruption that is in the world through lust", when we have "partaken" the divine nature, is via self-control.

PERSEVERANCE: To persist in, or remain constant to a purpose. How long do we need to maintain self-control? As long as it takes. "having done all, to stand" (Eph6:13) As long as necessary. In other places also called "endurance".

    "For you have need of endurance (perseverance), so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:" (Heb10:36) "And you will be hated by everyone on account of My name. But he who endures to the end will be kept safe." (Mt10:22)

    "You therefore endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ... If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us." (2Ti2:3,12)

GODLINESS: The dictionary says, "Having great reverence for God; pious" But I must disagree with that. The world, that puts together something like a dictionary, does not always understand Biblical concepts. When something is defined by an "ly" ending, the "ly" ending suggests that the matter in question is "like" or "similar" to some other thing; the part of the word immediately preceeding "ly". When the California governor spoke of "girlie men", that describes effeminate behavior and (perhaps) dress. Such people might often chatter excitedly in high squeaky voices (like "Ross the intern") and have body and hand gestures like emotional women have. On the other hand a manly man is one who is presumed to be tough, strong, decisive, and a bunch of other such descriptions.

Godliness is to be God-like. No, we don't have God's power, omniscience and all those characteristics. But if God hates lying, because He -is- Truth, a Godly person is going to be truthful. Since God hates perversity, a Godly person is going to be just. And if a person were to wonder about any topic that might not specifically be enumerated in the Bible, I would submit that: If Jesus was to appear in the room next to you, all questions about that topic would likely suddenly disappear. Has not God given us conscience? (Rom2:15) Are we not indwelt by the Holy Spirit? (Rom8:9) who "guides" us into all truth. (Jn16:13) So, as we "partake" through Scripture, we gain the "full true knowledge". In other words: WE KNOW. You see why these things are all "supplied" (vs5) kjv says "add". They are like stepping stones: Go to one, advance to the next, and the next; and bit by bit they all build upon each other the complete whole.

BROTHERLY AFFECTION: Tender feeling toward another, fondness, partiality toward. The concept, and perhaps 'engine' behind Jesus' words: "And as you would have men do to you, you also do likewise to them." (Lk6:31) When Jesus asks Peter, "Do you LOVE Me?", this is the word Peter responds with, "You know that I am deeply FOND OF You" (Jn21) This is the start. But then we step onto the next stepping stone....

LOVE: This is the ultimate. "And we have known and believed the love that God has in us. GOD IS LOVE, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1Jn4:16) The Divine Nature, as we build upon the stepping stones, this is where we end up. The ultimate test to the world of our faith: "By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love mutually with one another." (Jn13:35) This "love mutually" shares from the concept of "brotherly affection". God's love gave the ultimate sacrifice of His own Son. (Jn3:16) And Jesus 'gave' Himself (Jn10:17-18) as the ultimate gift: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down oneís life for his friends." (Jn15:13) As we demonstrate our love for other Believers, this is how it is possible to "esteem others as surpassing himself" as we "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," (Php2:3,5)

All these things indicate growth toward "full true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs8)

    But if we lack these qualities we are "shortsighted, even to blindness" (vs9)
What happens when there is the "promise" of a future inheritance, but year by year goes by, and we haven't yet received it? A lot of people forget. Don't we tend to think, after 30-40 years: It's been soooo long. But if all we can see is the end of our nose, how can we conceive of Eternity? That 'promise' we are waiting for is Eternal Life. How 'long' is that? It is certainly waaaaay more than a mere 30-40 years. "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (Ja4:14) If the 'end-of-our-nose' is as far as we can see, essentially we are "blind". We are not seeing the promise. We are not seeing the goal and prize "of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus". (Php3:14) And what did Jesus say of those who were blind? "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch." (Mt15:14) Is that not language that describes an unbeliever!

In other words: you say you are a Christian? Then these (vs5-7) will characterize you. If not, then "faith apart from works is dead" (Ja2:26) If your life is not characterized by these few simple things, as far as anybody else seeing you is concerned: You are NOT A (true) CHRISTIAN. If a person is still wallowing around in the slop of this world, their 'end' is fearful. We'll look at this more next chapter; the one who made a start and then reverted.

    "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make sure of your calling and election, for if you do these things you will not ever stumble; for so an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you." (vs10-11)
Here is a place where the kjv promotes a sort-of "works-based" salvation (or security). kjv says to "make your calling and election sure". As if we could, by our efforts and self-control, -effect- the surety of our salvation. If we cannot save ourselves, it being a gift of God (Eph2:8), how could we hope to secure our salvation? The security of our Salvation is not based on our deeds, but the "love of Christ" (Rom8:35): God justifies (vs33), Christ died (vs34), and the "love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" keeps us from being separated from God (and Salvation).(vs39)

But these things (vs5-7) are a gauge as to whether or not our claim to Salvation is real. What is our nature, now that we claim to have been Saved? Are we barking or quacking?

It is not that the dog is muttering within itself: I wanna be a dog, bark bark! Let me make sure I 'remain' a dog, bark bark! If I bark long and hard enough, I'll be sure to -be- a dog! No! That's the sort of thought that emerges from the kjv wording there. But it is more like: I'm a dog, bark bark! Hear me bark? Bark bark? I'm a dog. (wiggling, jumping and wagging its tail) See the difference?

Another example here: A trailer gets connected to a vehicle, is loaded, covered with a tarp, which is strapped down. The connection includes the coupler, safety chains and lights. So, it is all connected and loaded. So now it's time to take off. The responsible driver does a walk around to "make sure" all the tie-downs are secure, the hitch secure, turns on the lights and pumps the brake to make sure the lights all work. This "making sure" is not the work of connecting and loading; it is a safety check. When pilots go flying, they walk around the plane to inspect flaps, cables, engine, and various things...he doesn't want to be in the air when something malfunctions, that -could- have been fixed (by a certified mechanic) on the ground -if- the inspection had been done. A bus driver, depending on the state, has a specific way to do a walk-around the bus to check tires, lights, fluids, etc. to make sure the bus is road-worthy. It wouldn't surprise me if truckers didn't also have similar pre-trip check lists.

Paul says,

    "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know, yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you; unless indeed you are ones failing the test?" (2Co13:5)
What is the test? Does the person share in the Divine nature? Have they "partaken" of it? What are the criteria to know if the person's claims are real? Do they bark, or quack? The Divine nature consists of Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Self-control, Perseverance, Godliness, Brotherly affection and Love. Do these qualities -characterize- the person? Or is the mouth continually letting loose with gutter talk? Does the person continually fly off the handle? Is there nothing good about them? Do they not evince any love toward Believers? etc?

If a creature comes waddling up, quacking; you know it is not a dog. If it gnashes its fangs and barks, you know it is not a duck. If it continually spews profanities, hates, is characterized by immorality... you know it's not a Christian. Or (if you've seen the "12 Kinds of People") they might be a terribly 'carnal' Christian, possibly due God's discipline in death or illness, or other things; God has His ways to bring the prodigal back. (1Co11:30) But at any rate is the sort whom Paul exhorts Believers to "deliver to satan for the destruction of the flesh" (1Co5:5)

But if a Believer perseveres, using lists like this one as a gauge, coupled with the self-control and perseverance to see it through, they can keep a pure life. This is part of the process to "become holy in all conduct" (1Pt1:15); and as the person thus grows in the full true knowledge of God, the "stumble" factor will also be reduced.

After years of being out of music I periodically sit down to the piano and try to plunk out something, and my fingers stumble all over the place. I know the notes on the page, but the fingers no longer follow the notes as written, as they used to be able to do. Since the Lord gave me other things to do, I have not been "diligent" with the music. Back when I was in my musical prime, a soloist might hand me the music on their way up to the platform to sing or play an instrument, and I could play just about anything at sight...because I was a "diligent" musician, continually adding to my skill with regular practice and performance. But with years of disuse, I can no longer do as I once did; even though I still have a musical ear.

As the Believer becomes weaned away from the "pure milk of the Word" (1Pt2:2) they start eating solid food. Remember? That process of growing in "full true knowledge" of God. And as I have just talked about 'practice' with music...

    "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by REASON OF USE have their understanding EXERCISED to DISCERN both GOOD and EVIL." (Heb5:14)
So...we are ready for the trip. We have checked the oil, tires, lights. What is the goal? In this case, we have tested ourselves to be sure we are, truly, Believers; and our lives are proving it with holy conduct, derived from the Divine Nature of which we have been regularly partaking as we feed on God's Word....
    "..for so an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you" (vs11)
Do we arrive at Heaven's gates wondering if we are in the "right place", since all the surroundings look strange? Or do we arrive finding everything as we expected, because we have come to a Full True Knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ, and this is the place He "prepared" for us? (Jn14:3)

As we are also (richly) welcomed...

    "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt25)

Always Reminding - (2Peter 1:12-21)
    "For this reason I will not be negligent to always remind you of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up with reminders," (vs12-13)
In the previous epistle Peter writes to "newborn babes" who are on the "milk of the Word" (1Pt2:2) Here he is writing to those who are "established" in the Truth. They "know" the Truth.

There are many who, when they attain to a certain level of knowledge and understanding about 'whatever' their interest is, begin to think they KNOW IT ALL. If somebody older or wiser comes along and tries to add a bit to their understanding, they turn a deaf ear. In matters of Biblical Godly Faith there are some who do a similar thing. Back when this ministry began as a monthly snail mail newsletter, I was mailing to various friends, relatives, churches that I knew. And from there, some of them would recommend it to their friends. But also, many almost immediately "unsubscribed". Most of those who did, I was not at all surprised. In some cases they also would add nasty comments on the envelope, along with "return to sender". They knew what I stood for, and it was not their cup-o-tea. But one surprised me. An aunt by marriage to an uncle who had been in the ministry; and even after he divorced her, she remained a pillar of "christian" solidarity, going to church, supporting missionaries, read her Bible and daily devotionals regularly. One whom most would look at and call a "saint". (even by worldly standards) She wrote a short note something to the effect: 'Please take me off your list; I ALREADY KNOW ALL THAT.' Which... she likely did.

But this is what Peter is saying... I know you already know these things, but I'm going to keep reminding you anyway. Why? It doesn't matter how much a person knows, there is always something more we can learn. My background was music, and I've gotta say... I really would get tired of the prima donnas who would behave as if they were "God's gift" to the music world, but when they opened their mouths to sing, one wanted to cover the ears because it was soooo awful! For any of you who have seen bits of TV's "American Idol", think of some of Simon Cowle's comments to the REALLY BAD performers...many times they thought they were "pretty good", and when put down, would leave angry. But the ones who were actually 'good' at what they do, often would be of the attitude, "I was not at my best" or some other hesitancy. When watching some documentaries one thing I have noticed about the "experts" who actually -know- what they are talking about: They are also typically of the attitude that... "The more they know, the more they realize that they DON'T KNOW" This is true especially in the fields of medicine, astronomy, and such things. Things directly related to the discovery of God's -vast- creation.

When considering things of God, secular education reads the musings of all the various famous thinkers of past eons, and perhaps might even read through the Bible....once?... and now they KNOW IT ALL. They are now "experts" in Christianity... because they have read all the musings of other non-christians -about- Christianity.

But Peter truly KNEW the Lord. He knew Him in ways that none of us will. He saw the Lord crucified, in such a context denied knowing Him, saw the empty tomb, saw the risen Lord, and had Jesus pointedly ask, "Peter, do you love Me?" to which he could only muster, "Yes, I'm very fond of You". You see, he -understood- (experientially), from the Lord directly, the difference between "fondness" and "love" (previous lesson).

The lessons Peter learned were so profound, he wants to make sure his own hearers will -remember- what he is passing along. He remembers his own brash boast: I will never deny You. If need be, I will die with You! (Mk14:31) He knew he could not reply, "Yes, I love You" because his actions had not even measured up to "fondness".

But -WHY- should his hearers 'remember' what he is saying? Because he, Peter, the (alleged) "first pope", is saying them? The only focus he places on himself is the fact that he will shortly being giving his life for the Lord. (vs14) But he wants the reminder to -remain- after he is gone. (vs15) Thus, the -writings-. He is not even so bold as to suggest that 'this' epistle is part of Scripture; but gives us to understand the purpose of the Scriptures. It is God's continual 'reminder' to us of His laws and will.

You who know the Lord, and have perhaps read the Bible through numerous times throughout life... do you not find "new things" each time you read? Even an "old familiar" passage... you come to it -again- and suddenly a 'light' goes off, "Wow! Look at that!" People who have only read the Bible 'once', and think they now KNOW IT ALL, are blind even to the fact that they KNOW NOTHING AT ALL.

First of all, Biblical Christian Faith is not based on fables. Scoffers today like to taunt that the Bible is nothing more than "fairy tales", and also full of contradictions and inaccuracies. But Peter gives the credentials of his fellow apostles.

    "we...were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (vs16)
What the Bible is, is a documentary of "eyewitness" accounts. There are scoffers today who wish somebody would take Jesus, put Him in a test tube and "prove" His existence. To -test- the resurrection today, they would wish Jesus would appear before them, be crucified (again), and then rise from the dead, within -their- view...to prove that such a thing is possible. Well, Jesus -did- it, "once for all" (Rom6:10, Heb7:27), and these Scriptures are the documentation of the witnesses who saw it happen. There were "over five hundred" witnesses, ranging from Peter first, and ending with Paul. (1Co15:5-8)

And Jesus said to Thomas:

    "Thomas, because you have seen Me (in resurrected form), you have believed. Blessed are those not seeing and yet believing." (Jn20:29)
How did they know that Jesus was not just a -mere- 'man'?
    "For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And we heard this voice which came from Heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain." (vs17-18, Mt17:5)
The general populace, along with John, also witnessed God's voice...
    "And behold a voice out of heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mt3:17)
Jesus' Deity was not a concoction of man's imaginations, but was a direct proclamation from God Himself; the "more sure word of prophecy (proclamation)" (vs19)

This, also, is how all of Scripture came about. The Bible is not a collection of fairy tales. It did not originate from man, as Paul says,

    "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but by a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Ga1:11-12)
Peter says...
    "..knowing this first, that not any of the prophecies of Scripture came into being from personal exposition, for prophecy was not formerly brought forth by manís choice, but holy men of God spoke as they were propelled along by the Holy Spirit." (vs20-21)
I will never be anything like Peter or Paul, but I can assure you that this is a true description. There are times when working on things, either for these studies or when the VW-edition was being compiled, you get into this (for lack of a better term) 'zone'; and if you've never experienced it, you will never know what it is from mere description of words. One is in a DIFFERENT WORLD. While working on the VW-edition some years ago, spending hour-after-hour immersed in the computer programs by which the work was being done, and then it was time to "come up for air", it was as if I was suddenly in a different place...and I DID NOT LIKE having 'returned' to the "real world" in which we live. On some occasions I would find myself somewhat 'bewildered', looking around at my surroundings, ("where am I?"), as though reminding myself that I was 'in the world'; because in a very real sense, I had just spent many hours in the Lord's presence, and all my surroundings were somehow blocked out. In another kind of scenario, there are times when writing studies that there are all sorts of things tugging at my mind: the horns honking in traffic outside, or other things. Within my spirit I might be very restless, not able to focus on the lesson, but knowing I must, I force myself to sit at the computer. Maybe a little bit gets written, and then get up to pace around. By the time this happens over and over, by the end of the lesson my mind is thinking: Well, that is not a very good study! And then later come back to re-read what has been written, to be amazed at how 'well' it all fit together. It was obviously NOT 'me' doing the writing. Even though in my flesh I was in turmoil, the Holy Spirit within worked through me, IN SPITE of the physical distractions going on. Not everything around here gets written in "monk" style, as though from an isolated monastery in some remote location where all is tranquil and at peace. I VERY MUCH experience, often, the "table" the Lord sets for me "in the presence of my enemies" (Ps23:5) And that is also what gets offered for your consumption. If the Lord gives it to me that way, I then assume it is also 'good enough' for you-all on the same basis.

You see...the scholars and philosophers of the world do not understand this. To them everything is based on the world's organization and thinking processes.

    "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
But as Believers, we are not limited by the world's wisdom
    "But he who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST." (1Co2:14-16)
This "Mind of Christ" is part of that aforementioned "Divine Nature". This is why Peter wrote: to remind his readers. Peter was not only ministering to those within ear-shot, but also to those "who will believe into [Jesus] through their word" (Jn17:20)

This is why the Scriptures were written. The Bible is God's continual reminder to us regarding "life and godliness" (vs3)

    "But you continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood (to Timothy) you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Tim3:14-17)
As Peter says in this chapter: the Full True Knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (vs2,3,8)

False Prophets - (2Peter 2:1-19)
    "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, through whom the way of truth will be blasphemed." (vs1-2)
Here we see the major break in the book. Chapter 1 is a synopsis of the Christian life, what Salvation is, how the Christian is to live according to the Divine Nature, and that the basis for Faith in Christ is the God-given Scriptures. The first chapter is about -us- (the Church), and what we are to consist of. Now, chapters 2-3 are about the environment in which we find ourselves, and how we are to comport ourselves within it.

First, a great deal of space is devoted to the present lesson: False Prophets. Then, those who had believed but reverted. A picture of the Righteous within the apostasy. Chapter 2 is about that which -claims- to be Christian, but is not. Then Chapter 3 is about the world at large who make no such claims, but rather scoff at God. Peter wrote this nearly 2000 years ago, and yet as we go through it, one would think it was TODAY's headlines!

So, for anybody who wonders about the true explanation of what is going on today, and what is just ahead after these things: That's what the rest of this series is about.

First off, as we look at these first two verses, if you happen to have different translations sitting around, or installed on your Bible software; do a little comparing. Jack Van Impi loves to quote from the KJV about the "Dammmmmnable heresies", as he scrunches his face around to look as 'fierce' as he can. Others turn the other words of "destruct*" into things about pernicious, immorality, sensuality, shameful. But in all three cases it is the -same- Greek root, having to do with "destruction".

What the false prophets bring is destructive, resulting in destruction; and anybody who follows them travels a destructive path.

What is "destruction"? What does it mean to "destroy"? To ruin completely, spoil, tear down, break up, demolish, put an end to, defeat completely, crush, render useless. With words like these is not the meaning clear. When something has been destroyed, is anything left that is salvageable? Not likely. And in the spiritual realm, if a person has followed these ways and suffers destruction, what is it? Is that not the definition of ending up in the Lake of Fire? That which many call "Hell"...even though "hell" is not a Scriptural word; neverthtless it has become a catch-all word to indicate everlasting banishment and punishment from God with utter abhorrence. (Dan12:2, Is66:24)

And yet, when the various translations do what they do, that is the beginning of the way of the false prophet. The serpent directly contradicted God, "You shall not die the death" (Gen3:4); just as the various translations do when they change "destruction" into other (non-'destructive') words. One of the key tools of the false prophets is their perversions of Scripture. And so if the results of the activity can be lessened, then the utter corruption of the false prophets can also be overlooked. And if you happen to look this up in The Message, and see the twisting (3:16) around it has done to these two verse, it should be clear that it (The Message) is one of the prime targets of this passage; it is one of today's prophets' primary tools...unto destruction.

And as we progress through this chapter, please keep in mind that -that- is the end result. Destruction. Death. Destruction of the Faith, Destruction of Doctrine, Destruction of the Followers of Jesus, Destruction of the Church; as Jesus said...

    "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders TO LEAD ASTRAY, IF POSSIBLE, EVEN THE ELECT. Behold, I have told you beforehand." (Mt24:24-25)
Now, we know that "elect" specifically refers to Israel. (We've covered that ground on numerous other occasions; we won't again right now) But recall that 1Peter was to the "elect...sojourners of the Dispersion" (1Pt1:1-2) And this epistle is to those sharing in "like precious faith" with those addressed in 1Peter. (1:1) Thus, we can take warning regarding the same things Jesus warned the Jews. If we share in like precious faith, then we know that the enemy's onslaughts will be the same against both groups of Believers, both Jew and Gentile.

Paul says similar things...

    "For I know this, that after my departure vicious wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." (Ac20:29-30)
Jesus warned...
    "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheepís clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." (Mt7:15)
Peter describes...
    "By covetousness they will exploit you with well-turned words; whose judgment of old is not idle, and their destruction does not slumber." (vs3)
We see several things here: Just as Peter warned about satan being "like a roaring lion" (1Pt5:8), we see the example of wolves on the hunt. When these animals are on the prowl they don't have any sympathy for the prey. It matters not if the prey is squalling in terror and pain; that only urges them on to further brutality as they begin ripping the flesh before the prey is even fully dead. Their only endeavor is to satisfy themselves; and when they are full, whatever might be left of the carcass is abandoned. They don't care.

They come in disguise. While having the heart of a lion or wolf, they come appearing as a sheep. In other words, even though they are messengers of satan, they come appearing as "angels of light" and "ministers of righteousness" (2Co11:13-15) They come claiming to be "christians", and know the proper rituals and language. They even arise out of what used to be Biblical congregations and organizations.

Their methodology is the same old tactic the serpent took with Eve. Exploitation with "well-turned words". (vs3) What is today's apostasy known for? -DIALOG- The latest term: "conversation". Dialectic: Thesis + antithesis = Synthesis. There is (God's) Truth (thesis). There is (satan's) Lie (antithesis--opposite of truth). Start mushing clever words and reasonings around, do some compromising, agreeing on the "essentials", and agreeing to disagree on the "non-essentials", and Voila! Synthesis. Synthesis, according to the dictionary: Combining of separate elements to form a coherent whole. Combining Light with Darkness and coming up with what they like to call "gray areas". Thing is, when a clear liquid in a clean beaker is introduced with even the slightest bit of a 'separate' substance, such as food coloring; it is no longer clear. It becomes murky. If that slight bit of 'substance' happens to be a poison, the person who drinks the (assuming it's) water, they will be 'destroyed'. When a person is "dead", is that not an apt object lesson of the term "destruction"?

In January's article is mentioned the jokes amongst Hispanics about their own fellow-Hispanics about "-little- felonies". By definition, a "felony" is not 'little', otherwise it is not called a felony. With similar logic, taking these first verses for what they say (destruction), not what some translators have diverted the attention to with other words, there is no such thing as a "little" or "slight" APOSTASY. Apostasy (abandonment of one's religious faith) is not done "A LITTLE BIT". When a wolf has finished with its prey, the prey is not "slightly" or "sorta" dead. It is demolished.

There are some (and my own missionary/preacher father was one of them) who view false prophets, go to their crusades and participate along with other local area pastors and churches, thinking it is an "evangelistic" event to get some people "saved".

But they will also observe (as my father used to): That they (the evangelists) have these -little- "problem areas". But it is then assumed that: OTHERWISE (other than the little problems) they are OK, and worthy of being supported.

    "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for a tree is known by its fruit. Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." (Mt12:33-36)
Something we have observed over the years: Most false prophets proclaim 90-95% Truth. Remember, even satan knows the Scripture. But the "every idle word", that 5%, is the deadly part. How much poison in the water does it take to kill?

When something complex like a computer stops working, what does it take to make it malfunction and corrupt the data? All it takes is one little thing: perhaps a single component on the circuit boards, or perhaps one short or open somewhere in the circuits. ALL THE REST OF THE COMPUTER might be GOOD...but for the lack of that tiny component, the whole malfunctions.

    You know that old tale: for the lack of a nail the shoe was lost, for the lack of the shoe the horse was lost, for the lack of the horse the general was lost, for lack of the general the battle was lost, for lack of the battle the war was lost, and for lack of the war the entire nation and its people were lost. An entire nation destroyed for lack of a (little) nail.
Peter enumerates various past judgments: He confirms for us that those "sons of God" of Genesis ch6 were "angels" (vs4); and they were condemned to Tartarus "reserved for judgment". What is Tartarus? It was a common vernacular term of the day (from mythology) referring to a place of judgment for god-like beings, the "Titans" (of "colossal size and strength"); is that not what Genesis tells us: "giants". (Gen6:4) There is Sodom and Gomorrah that were totally obliterated in a single day. (vs6) There was Balaam who lusted after the promised wealth if he would curse Israel; he was killed by the sword of Israel as they battled various nations as they were taking possession of the land of promise. (Nu31:8, Jos13:22)

It's one thing to speak of wolves. But what are these false prophets like in actual human terms, that we observe?

    "and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of defilement and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries. Whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord." (vs10-11)
I've shared this before, but... before I had fully "come out" of Babylon (Rev18:4), while in the last church where I fellowshiped, the pastor invited me to join the Thursday morning pastor prayer meetings. Oh let me tell you!! There was some vehement praying: Satan, we've got you wrapped around our little fingers! You had better start trembling before us! We're gonna getcha!
    "Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, despise rulership, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a blasphemous condemnation, but said, The Lord rebuke you. But these speak evil of things they do not know; and whatever they understand naturally, like animals without reason, in these things they corrupt themselves." (Ju1:8-10)
Recommended, along with this study, to read the entire epistle of Judas. A lot of parallel comments.

The false prophets claim to have special God-like powers, and claim to do exorcisms, and take it upon themselves to proclaim doctrines about angels and demons not found in the Scriptures. They do this under what they presume to boast is "special revelations" or a "word", etc. They even boast a whole new set of apostolic authority, even though Judas tells us that the Faith was "once for all delivered to the saints" (Ju1:3) and Paul warns about any purported -new- "gospel" that somebody (even an angel from Heaven) might come along with; he says any such thing is "accursed" (Ga1:8-9) They blab new things, but since it is extra-Biblical, they do not understand; even though they pretend to.

    They have "eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin" (vs14)
We won't name names, but anybody with half-an-eyelid open to the news knows all the scandals that have rocked this church, that organization, or the other ministry. So-called preachers caught in affairs with women other than their own wives; affairs with other men; financial corruptions; and the list goes on and on.

Not to mention the latest craze: any of you who subscribe to the FBIS newsletters from WayOfLife.org will recall the mailings telling of churches instituting new programs... "Sexy Sunday" where everybody is encouraged to "wear their shorts"; or Beatles Sunday where they start things off with Beatles tunes, or Michael Jackson dance. Bringing lust and lasciviousness into the church. On a couple of occasions I have mentioned the Chuck Missler meeting to which he had brought along a bluegrass band, and during one of their numbers the female went into what might best be described as a "pole dance" (without the pole). [link] Or the Bible school choir that prominently featured one of the girls doing hula dance to the music. [link] These things, that used to be restricted to "certain parts" of town; to which missionaries used to be sent to "save" them; now those parts of town have been brought directly into the church service!!! Up on the platform...sometimes called the "altar". Thus, they presume to "offer" (?) the worst of the world's filth -TO- GOD???

To repeat...

    They have "eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin" (vs14)
This is not talking about the world that makes no claim to Godliness. That's next chapter. This is talking about what is called "church", and the false prophets who lead them!
    "They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness" (vs15)
Jesus said that the servant would not be better than the master. (Jn13:16, 15:20) The Son of Man had "nowhere to lay His head" (Mt8:20) And yet these false prophets rob from the poor through their "plant a seed" programs, promising a resultant "harvest" to the giver, many of whom cannot afford it... they do not "have" to give. (2Co8:12) And the false prophets live in laps of luxury: multiple mansions, chauffer driven (expensive) cars, gold-plated bathroom fixtures, private jets. The shepherd is supposed to "give his life" for the sheep, but the false prophets are "fleecing" and killing the sheep.

They promise their flocks "liberty" but "they themselves are slaves of corruption" (vs19) Please read the passage; it speaks for itself.

I suppose we could go on for awhile longer, ranting and raving over them. We don't need to do that; nor is it our duty. They stand or fall before God, individually. But it is necessary for those who are True Believers to realize that, just because it might have the word "Trinity" in its name, or they stand behind a pulpit, or this or that... it does not mean that what you see going on is of God! Let's make this clear. Just because you see somebody preaching on TV, with a phone number at the base of the TV screen "To start a relationship with Jesus, call this number"; the "Jesus" they are talking about is not the Son of God who "loved us and gave Himself for us" (Eph5:2) Just because you park in the big parking lot, walk into the huge auditorium, sit down and see the big cross, dove or flame attached to the wall behind the platform, and they sing songs and talk about the Bible, and recite "thank you Jesus" and "praise the Lord"... the "lord" they are praising isn't the Lord of Hosts and Creator of the universe.

    "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and through Your will they exist and were created." (Re4:11)
Please take the time to read through this chapter, carefully, without the interruption of my comments. Perhaps read it through a few times, so the listed characteristics are firmly etched in your memory. [link] Now, turn your attention to the various preachers, pastors and prophets you have spent time listening to. Do any (or all) of these characteristic fit them? Are they preaching from God's Word, or are they using a translation that "twists" (3:16) WHAT GOD SAID? When they preach, do they expound on what the passage SAYS, or do they speculate their own revelatory wisdom and ideas? If they 'support' what they say with the Scripture reference, do you look up the reference to see if it says what they are claiming it supports? You know, a lot of preachers spout of Scripture references, knowing that most people don't bother to look it up; but the fact that they threw out the reference makes them LOOK LIKE a "Bible teacher". You see... there's a WHOLE BUNCH of TRICKS they use to con people into being led astray.

But never forget... the RESULT of all their bluster is DESTRUCTION. First of all, their own. Next, their flocks; anybody who is deceived and follows them. And their followers are destroyed because they destroyed God's Word, the Bible. Since "Faith" comes through the "Word of God" (Rom10:17), if they are destroying God's Word, they are thus, also destroying the path to Salvation, God and Heaven. They destroyed doctrine. They destroyed the Faith. They have destroyed the (pretend) Church. It is no longer Christ's Church. Any association with them does NOT get a person to Heaven, but to the Lake of Fire.

And don't let them deceive you with the matter of "not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together". (Heb10:25) That passage is not talking about apostates, but Believers; read that chapter and observe the context. If you assemble with them you are actually disobeying the exhortation to "come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." (2Co6:17) It is better to be all alone, and pleasing to God; than to be assembling with filth, and on your way to hell!

    As Paul said, "For not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b)
As we say regularly: Not all [c]hristians are [C]hristian, and not all [c]hurches are part of the [C]hurch of Jesus Christ.

And it is the false prophets who will answer to God most...

    "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says Jehovah. Therefore thus says Jehovah the God of Israel, against the shepherds who feed My people, You have scattered My flock, and have driven them away, and have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings, says Jehovah." (Jer23:1-2)
Do not be led astray with the rest of them!

Again Entangled - (2Peter 2:20-22)
    "For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the full true knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the end is worse for them than the beginning." (vs20)
Question: Where do false prophets come from?

Certainly some are wolves in sheep's clothing. (Mt7:15) They are those who people thought were Christians, but by their actions it is proven what they had been all along...

    "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have risen up, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that not all of them are of us." (1Jn2:18-19)
They started out as wolves, and once exposed they were seen to be wolves. They never changed. Only... they had a bit of a run of deception pretending to be sheep, for the purpose of subterfuge and deception; to lead astray and devour.

But there's another catergory. Paul proclaimed...

    "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." (Ac20:30)
Have you ever looked at certain preacher/teachers, who today are clearly false prophets, but you knew of them years ago and thought they were clearly men-of-God? As a person sees them today, one wonders: How/why did they slip? These are not the 1Jn2:19 'antichrists' who never were of us (like one can see from Billy Graham's 50s vintage TV films; his "gospel" was polluted even back then like it is today); but in one's spirit one 'knew' (back then) that they belonged to Christ. Their messages from the Scriptures were with power. But today they endorse and go along with the apostasy. And the Faithful in bewilderment wonder: Whatever happened to them? Back then they clearly seemed to be Godly; but today they are just as obviously NOT!

Here Peter says that at one point they had "escaped" the flesh and were comprised as those with "full true knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". Full true knowledge (epignosis): remember? That which we spent a bit of time with in chapter 1. In the context of this epistle, one who has been a "partaker" of the "Divine Nature" (1:4); one possessed of the "calling and election" (1:10); and expectant of the "entrance into the eternal kingdom" (1:11); ones "established in the present truth" (1:12)

In other words: at one time they were Saved. They were True Believers. They were [C]hristians. Peter says they "knew (epiginosko) the way of righteousness" (vs21) If you still cling to Once Saved-Always Saved, you had better seriously think again. That is a most pernicious doctrine from out of the Reformation, that has been confused with Eternal Security. (Rom8:33-39) The two are not the same thing. Eternal Security is something God assures, as sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. (Eph1:13) But recall that one of the aspects of the Divine Nature is "perseverance" (1:6)

If you insist on OSAS, then consider: Where did satan come from? Who was satan originally? He was the "anointed cherub that covers" (Ezk28:14) Just as the furnishings of the OT temple were shadows of things in Heaven, recall that the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant was overshadowed with the cherubim. Those cherubim were figures of the "anointed cherub that covers". How much closer is it possible, to be with God? He was not only "in" Heaven, and one of the many "angels"; he was -the- #1 angel... perhaps we could say, God's "right hand man". But where is he now... if OSAS is a verity?

THAT is how many of today's false prophets became false prophets. How many prophets have you not heard, from their testimonies: I USED TO BELIEVE... this, that, the other thing. I USED TO BELIEVE in the "pre-trib" rapture. I USED TO BELIEVE this and that about the Holy Spirit; but that was so boring and drab, and then received a revelation. I used to believe in the "pre-trib" rapture, but then started to see irrefutable evidence for 'something else'.

The holy life of self-control and virtue was not 'exciting'; but now look at me! [vw: Look at me...indeed!!! :]

As a side note, and somewhat related...True Believers lament the intrusion of Rock-n-Roll into the church; and we see how Peter is explaining the background of many of the false prophets. How many of you have read the backgrounds of some of the most famous rockers? A big percentage of them, including Elvis, came from minister families. They were Preacher's Kids, and went off to become Rock-n-Roll super stars. Even today, the sensuous sex-goddess Jessica Simpson is a preacher's daughter. When I was college age, a preacher's daughter of a man I highly respected as a true man of God, would be seen sometimes in the Sunday School rooms in the basement, letting other church boys be "hands on" with her. Did he not know this was going on??

They were not "diligent to make sure of their calling and election" (1:10) They did not "hold on to the traditions (doctrine) taught" (2Th2;15); they did not "lay hold on eternal life" (1Ti6:12,19)

If the unbeliever is being "snatched out of the fire" (Ju1:23); these are those who had adequate rope by which they were being hoisted out of the "horrible pit and miry clay" (Ps40:2); but LET GO! If they had just hung on, they were SAVED; but they lacked "diligence" (1:5) Are we suddenly proclaiming a "works" salvation? Not at all! For the sake of this illustration, it is God's "rope" (and it's a non-slip and Eternally Secure rope), and Jesus is the one holding the top end and hoisting up, and the Holy Spirit is encouraging "Hold on, Hold on! We've got you safe! Just hold on!"

For such false prophets there is no further hope. For their followers who came the same path, there is no further hope. Peter says,

    "..the 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." (vs20b-21)
All who are born are born in sin. (Ps51:5) The "wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom6:23)

But there is only -one- gift. Jesus died -only- "once for all" (Rom6:10, Heb7:27)

    "For it is impossible for those who at one time were given understanding, and have tasted the Heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and also turn aside, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and expose Him to public disgrace." (Heb6:4-6)
If a person receives Jesus' Salvation in faith, and then returns the gift; to ask Jesus a second time for salvation would be the same as asking Him to die on the cross again.

A person stands before a court of law, guilty as charged, but for whatever reasons receives a "dismissal" of the case; if they go and commit the same offense again, appear before the judge again, what is their plea? Your honor: you dismissed it the other time, can't you do so again this time? No! That was then; this is now. What did you do with that pardon? You spit on it by re-offending. This is now a 'new' case, and the rules have changed. There is no leniency left.

    "For if we sin willfully after we have received the full true knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour those who oppose. Anyone who rejected Mosesí Law dies without mercy before two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled on the Son of God, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of Grace? For we know Him who has said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb10:26-31)
See why they so tenaciously cling to "Once Saved-Always Saved"?? It is their self-imagined "safety net", in spite of the fact that they have spit in God's face.

This, also, is why the True Believer must "come out of her, My people" (Rev18:4) There are many, and I used to be like them, who think it is their mission to -stay- within the apostate church; their hearts yearn for the lost in those places; and they pray for the false prophets, to be saved. Thing is: they NEVER WILL BE SAVED. It is IMPOSSIBLE, if they were saved once, but then reverted to what they are now. Christ's shed blood no longer extends to them. They are past hope.

They crossed the line, and it is pronounced...

    "Do not seal the Words of the Prophecy of this Book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, LET HIM BE UNJUST STILL; he who is filthy, LET HIM BE FILTHY STILL; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to what his work shall be." (Rev22:10-12)
The only thing you can do is to...
    "Come out of her, my people, so that you NOT SHARE IN HER SINS, and so that you NOT RECEIVE OF HER PLAGUES. For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." (Rev18:4-5)
You can no longer run into the burning building. It is too late for them. But if you run in, you might get trapped, yourself, and be consumed.

They had started out 'barking' like the nature of a dog; they got saved and "partook" of the Divine Nature; but then pulled away from the meal table and reverted back to barking.

    "Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul is not pleased with him. But we are not of those who draw back to destruction, but of those who believe to the preserving of the soul." (Heb10:38-39)
Thus also, it behooves us to...
    "Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make sure of your calling and election" (1:10a)

Judgment and Deliverance - (2Peter 2:5-9)
    "..then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust for the day of judgment, to be punished," (vs9)
This is being written the week before the annual winter solstice fertility celebrations, and I just finished reading an e-mail from a subscriber, totally frustrated with the season; working with people claiming to be "christian" who are also singing to the children "Here Comes Santa Claus" and such things. Living with unsaved family. Stuck in the middle of perversity; but wanting to stand on a soap box and yell out, "It's all wrong!"

And indeed, these days the True Believer is always on the lookout for others of "like precious faith" (1:1); but if others find what I do, what I find too often is a person will show up who has the label ("Christian"), so then with a shred of hope you begin to talk with them about the Faith, and discover they speak a different language. And if you mention certain Biblical concepts, they stare back with a blank look, and do a bit of sputtering. They have no clue as to what you are talking about. They have the label, but inside you discover it is "false advertising"; there is no "truth in labeling".

In some cases such sputtering conversations are benign. In other cases the True Believer is attacked by the wolves: condemned for having "come out from among them" (2Co6:17), or condemned "to hell" for contradicting their false doctrines. Hmmm... that's what Babylon of Rome has done over the centuries... I guess the protestants -have- joined back with its "mother ('church')".

The truth they don't yet realize is that God will not spare them in the day of judgment. The "angels who sinned" are "reserved for judgment". (vs4)(Rev20) The world of Noah's day were drowned. Sodom and Gomorrah were burned out within a day.

But notice that Noah was "saved" (vs5), Lot was "delivered" (vs7); and the promise to us is that...

    "..then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust for the day of judgment to be punished" (vs9)
Does deliverance require totally 100% "saintly" behavior? After all, currently as "flesh and blood" we are NOT ABLE to get into Heaven. (1Co15:50) We walk in this filthy world and get our feet dirty, and they occasionally need washing. (Jn13:10) Even though we are exhorted to "be perfect" (Mt5:48, Ja1:4), in our flesh and blood state we, nevertheless, do sin. If we claim otherwise, we deceive ourselves and call God a liar. (1Jn1:8-10) Thus, we periodically wash our feet; i.e. we "confess our sins" (1Jn1:9)

Does God's "deliverance" of us apply -before- or -after- we have washed our feet? It doesn't matter, because, other than our feet, we are otherwise "bathed" and have "no other need". (Jn13:10) Peter gives two examples:

Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" (vs5) After 1500 years, from Adam to the time of the flood, how many people were populating earth? How many hundreds of millions? Were there over a billion? Scripture doesn't say. But what is eight (8) among so many? Noah's family was saved because his family was not genetically corrupted. (Gen6:9) Noah himself might have been a Believer with "full true knowledge". But what about the rest of his family? His wife, sons or their wives? If Noah's -entire- family was filled with the knowledge of God, then why did the Tower of Babel happen so quickly after the flood? If Noah's sons were raising their children in the fear of God, they would not have gone into idolatry so quickly...it would have been a Godly post-diluvian society. So...Noah, himself, was Godly. Is it possible that out of earth's population only Noah, himself, was the only righteous one? Peter says of Noah that he was "one of eight people".

When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, there were not even "ten righteous" in it. (Gen18:32) Lot's wife was not a believer; she looked back and was consumed. Lot's daughters behaved incestuously with their father to raise up seed to the family name. (Gen19:36) and the Moabites and Ammonites were not known for being Godly. Lot, himself, was not all that "saintly". When given a choice of places to settle, he chose the life of relative ease, in the well-watered valley...and also next to "sin city". (Gen13:10) And yet Peter calls him "righteous". (vs7) And his life, living amongst the sin that was, likely, not all that different to what our world has become; was "tormented from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds" (vs8) And if we can trust the accounts in the historial book of Jasher (to which Scripture refers a couple of times Jos10:13,2Sa1:18), it would seem that Lot's daughters were persecuted for showing kindness to strangers.

Noah was saved through the flood. Lot was whisked out of Sodom and Gomorrah before judgment was rained down.

These two epistles: One written to Jewish Believers, the other to Gentiles. Noah saved -through- the flood, as Israel will be -through- the 70th week of "Jacob's Trouble" (Jer30:7) The other example: Lot saved -out of- sin city -before- judgment.

As Israel experiences 2/3 being killed, who decides 'who' will make up the 1/3 that remain? (Zec13:8) The Lord "knows those who are His" (2Ti2:19); and he knows "how to deliver the godly". (vs9)

Just as equally, the judgment of the wicked is sure. And just as surely as He brought Lot out of sin city, so too, He will bring His Believers out of this sinful world before it is judged. The angels COULD NOT bring the judgment down, until Lot was in a safe place. (Gen19:22)

    "Because you have kept the Word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." (Rev3:10)
Previous lesson we observed those who at one time were Believers, but then they saw "new things" and -now- believe other things. A couple days before these lessons were prepared there was another e-mail from a source claiming to proclaim the "real truth", exhorting me to mend my ways about the "pre-trib" Rapture, otherwise I can expect judgment.

They just DON'T GET IT!

The soon-coming time of judgment is God's wrath against ungodliness and unrighteousness. (Rom1:18) Certainly much of that wrath will be poured out on the world, at large; but a good deal of it is also prepared -specifically- for the false prophets and pretend [c]hurch. (2Th2:8-12) But we are the "righteousness of God in [Christ]" (2Co5:21) Judgment is NOT due the righteous!

    Thus: "..God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ," (1Th5:9)

Last Days: Scoffers - (2Peter 3:1-6)
    "..knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were since the beginning of creation." (vs3-4)
First of all, if there was any question about the fact that Believing Jews and Gentiles are together, notice Peter's words,
    "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle" (vs1)
You see now why this series (of both epistles) has been addressed as one series. He first writes to the Diaspora, and then to those of "like precious faith". But in writing to the Gentiles, says this is the "second" epistle. Believing Jews? Believing Gentiles? As we already observed... we are both 'one' in Christ. Thus, the message to one also applies to the other.

Also, he reminds us that he is reminding us. (vs1, 1:12) Reminding us of what? The "words". What words? The words of them (Peter and his fellow-apostles), as well as the prophets. In other words, the words of Scripture. Why do we need to be reminded, to be reminded, to remember the Scriptures? Paul says...

    "For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you IT IS SAFE. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision!" (Php3:1-2)
Peter has just come off an important chapter regarding what Paul warns: the dogs, evil workers, Judaism. Paul also warns...
    "..not giving heed to Jewish myths and commandments of men that turn away from the truth." (Tit1:14)
How do we keep our minds and hearts clear of false teachings; whether the evangelical (and charismatic) apostasy, Judaism (and Kabbala) or Hebrew roots?

Remember this... Remember this... Remember this...!!

The HOLY SCRIPTURES, the WORD OF GOD: what we in our vernacular call the "BIBLE"

And that being said, the same sentence continues, thus the thought is not yet complete; thus, also, the Holy Scriptures is the basis for his next comments.

In the last days there will be scoffers. What are the topics of their scoffing? The 1) Return of Christ, and 2) Uniformitarianism.

Many of those false prophets we spoke of in the previous chapter also have a problem with these two topics; thus, as we now talk about the unregenerate world, in a very real sense the unregenerate condition of the false prophets is proven and verified. The false prophets, contrary to Scripture, believe the same things the world does.

One of the primary doctrines that false prophets who "used to believe" and then "changed", used to believe: what is typically called the "pre-trib" rapture of the Church. When they changed, they now no longer believe the Lord will come prior to Jacob's Trouble. In some cases, even, they deny -any- kind of Rapture. They are the ones Jesus warned against...

    "But if that wicked servant says in his heart, My master DELAYS HIS COMING, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not expecting him and in an hour he does not know, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mt24:48-51)
Peter addresses the two topics in reverse order.

Uniformitarianism. What is that? The dictionary says: "The theory that all geologic phenomena may be explained as the result of existing forces having operated uniformly from the origin of the earth to the present time."

Isn't that what Peter just said in vs4. Today the main belief is "evolution"; but the main premise behind evolution is Uniformitarianism. Didn't Evolution as a principle belief system begin in the mid 1800s? Around the same time the primary belief system of the apostasy, pentecostalism and charismania, began. Could it be assumed that the "Last Days" had its beginnings in the 1800s. The Industrial Revolution was also beginning in those days with Fulton's steam engines and boats, and today we see the exponential explosion of technology; as Daniel prophesied, "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Dan12:4). They might call it "Evolution", but nearly 2000 years ago Peter, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, called it what it is at its root: Uniformitarianism.

Why Uniformitarianism? Because, to acknowledge that things have not always been the same; that on occasion events occurred totally beyond the norm; would be to acknowledge the existence of God who caused those abnormal activities. Because it is the easiest way to refute the truth of God's Word, and the evidence for what God's Word records: the Flood; God's judgment upon sin and perversity.

    "For of this they are willfully ignorant: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water." (vs5-6)
First of all notice that they are "willfully ignorant".
    "Professing to be wise, they become foolish," (Rom1:22)
Those who are in the science fields understand a certain "scientific method" by which they "observe" things, run tests to confirm the "repeatability" of those events, and then finally form conclusions. (Defined in its most simple form: With evolution we don't even need to get complex, because they fail even the most elementary methodology)

With evolution, certain random phenomenon were noted regarding sedimentation and fossils. A theory was developed. But since the "evidence" was so random and sporadic, and there was also so much evidence that goes contrary to the theory, it only remains a "theory". Imagination. They soooo go contrary to God's Word that says, "In the beginning God CREATED" (Gen1:1), they desperately -WANT- evolution to be true. However... considering how they have 'some' fossils, they have never (NEVER) produced fossil evidence for any 'transitional' species. They speculate that some forms started to 'grow' arms and legs, or shed wings, or this or that. But they have NEVER found any of those cross-mutated forms in fossil form, to support their theories.

They count the age of the universe in B/Millions of years, to account for the formation of huge river valleys, mountains, gorges, continental shift. But Peter explains it plainly.

Noah's -FLOOD-.

Everything I have ever read from reputable sources, explaining geological formations, sedimentation and fossils... there is NOTHING (that I've read) that cannot be explained by a massive worldwide flood, such as was the case during Noah's day.

Man will produce documentary programs, showing vast footage of massive drainage basins, explaining how a massive deluge of water would have created it (I live right in the midst of one of them, extending from southern British Columbia, that extends through Montana and Washington, out to the Pacific ocean); and as they speculate, 'wondering' WHAT(?) might have caused it...over and over they express their 'ignorance' at what and when...as I am sitting in front of the TV yelling at them (as though they could hear me!).. THE FLOOD!!! NOAH's FLOOD!!! THE FLOOD!!!

Peter says they are "willfully" ignorant. They pretend to be wise. They are educated. They have flown around in their airplanes, and walked around the cliffs examining the soil and rocks. They are Oh so wise! And in their wisdom, they pridefully proclaim how their vast knowledge DOESN'T KNOW the reason for the evidence they meticulously examine. Peter told them nearly 2000 years ago. He gave them their answer; and also predicted that they would be proclaiming their willful ignorance, and calling it "uniformitarianism". Peter didn't call it that, but instead provided the dictionary definition, ahead of their term.

Apparently, in their minds, it is better to be scholarly IGNORANT, than to acknowledge the Most High,

    "God, who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them," (Ac14:15b)
They would rather be -STUPID- than submit to God! And so, out of their stupidity, they have the nerve to scoff at God.

Thing is: Many of the false prophets also go along with the lie. Rather than taking God's Word for what it says; in trying to make accomodations for evolution, they devised a 'theory' by which the Bible could be made to support evolution. They call it the "gap theory". In order to do this, however, they needed to change the Bible. Where the Bible says, "And the earth was without form", they changed the word "was" into "became"... "the earth -became- without form" (Gen1:2) Now, the Hebrew certainly can mean "become"; but if a person is going to use that form, they also need to take into consideration that it is "perfect tense". In other words, God created; and in creating, the earth initially "had come into existence" without form. Yes, all of that is wrapped up in the simple word we typically read as "was". But if they can create a "gap" back there, then they can speculate that satan when he fell got 'mad' and smashed up the earth and its 'prior' creation with the dinosaurs, and whatnot...and this happened B/Zillions of years ago...so that they can be found in agreement with the world's intelligentsia. The false prophets would rather appear "wise" to the world's scholars, than to remain true to God and His Word.

Also, rather than believe the creation account as given in the first two chapters of Genesis, they make allowance for man's "wisdom" and speculate that God "could have" made everything according to the evolutionary model, thus, "Theistic Evolution". Trouble is, Scripture says that God created every species "according to its kind", and to reproduce "according to its kind". (Gen1:21,24,25); and that He did so in six (6) days. That's (more or less) 24-hour days, from the "evening" to the "morning". There is no way to account for B/Zillions of years from the Biblical account.

As man looks out over the universe, in spite of Star Trek, StarGate, and other sci-fi movies, in reality they have not found life out there. Everything they find is "void". But God's intent for earth:

    "..who has not created it void, but has formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is no other." (Isa45:18b)
Thus, the Genesis account is the record ("generations" Gen2:4) of God taking the "without form and void" earth, and out of it creating a unique place (unique compared to anything else found in the rest of the universe) for man to live. There are no other "M class" planets out there.

But if man acknowledged the creation, and earth's uniqueness in it, then he would need to acknowledge the Creator, and he does like a person did to me the other day when I confronted their duplicity, the one mentioned earlier in this series, who didn't "want to do the right thing" regarding the money her customer had dropped [link] She came up with a scheme, telling me her customer was coming, so wanted me to give 'her' the money; but I had a plan whereby I could verify that it truly belonged to 'him' (not any ol' Tom, Dick or Harry), so I declined to give it to her (he could come and ask for it, after all, we are next door to each other and he would walk right past my front door on his way to her place). Her response was to physically stop her ears, after she whined at me ('I just knew you would do this!'), putting her hands up to her ears, so she could not hear my response about "honesty", muttering gibberish out of her mouth to drown out any words I was saying; like a child going "blah, blah, blah" whilst plugging their ears, when they don't wish to hear what's being said. And when I then went around to her front door, she had locked it, and when I appeared, put the book she was reading in front of her face. (Some really strange behavior! And this is an 'adult' behaving this way!) (According to the other neighbor, that 'customer' did not come. It had all been a lie; a ruse; to get the money from me, into her own pocket. Not doing "the right thing"!)

This is what the world does. God's creation is there, for the observation...

    "because what may be known of God is clearly recognized by them, for God has revealed it to them. For ever since the creation of the world the unseen things of Him are clearly perceived, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they know God, they do not glorify Him as God, nor are thankful, but become vain in their reasonings, and their stupid hearts are darkened. Professing to be wise, they become foolish," (Rom1:19-22)
But if the evidence within creation can be obscured, and the Creator denied; then His return can be denied. Jesus is coming back? What Jesus? How can Jesus come back, if He doesn't exist. And if Jesus, who is presumed to not exist, nor is the Son of God, isn't coming; then all that mumbo jumbo about "judgment" will never happen, either. See? We've got our heads in the sand (like ostriches). We are our own gods. We are still looking out there, to Mars and beyond, to try to figure out where we came from. (SHHH!!! My fingers are in my ears! BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! Don't tell me about God! BLAH! BLAH!) But 'if' there was -a- "God", he certainly wouldn't be anything like what the Bible says, to condemn us. Thus, we are free to continue our own lives in whatever way we wish. We are looking at the evidence of creation, and it matches what the Bible says... but...

Fingers in ears. Blah! Blah! Blah!

But that's the other thing. Man's wisdom will find some obscure tablet fragment with ancient writing; perhaps a fragment of a single sentence; and will assume it to be 'truth' for the day it was inscribed, and based on that one tablet, concoct an entire civilization and lifestyle of the ones who wrote it. But the Bible, that exists in hundreds (thousands?) of fragements, and many fragments cross-reference and agree with each other....Oh, that's just "fairy tales"! The clay tablet fragment is authenticated by them; but for Scripture? The sources are "questionable" at best, and not "reliable". Again... were they to accept the veracity of the Scriptures, then they would need to also accept the Bible's God, Most High, CREATOR of all things. Thus...

Fingers still in ears. Blah! Blah! Blah!

An interesting website: s8int.com "OOPARTS" (out of place artifacts) & Ancient High Technology (evidence of Noah's flood, and pre-flood technology?) Text and photos of pre-flood ancient art, fossils, under water cities, people interacting with dinosaurs, technology of flying machines, batteries, electrolysis, and possibly evidence of ancient nuclear technology and explosions, etc. Beware: they teach the need for baptism for salvation.
See also: "Ancient civilizations and modern man" Were ancient cultures more advanced than many evolutionists believe?

Reserved for Fire - (2Peter 3:7-13)
    "But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same Word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (vs7)
But God -does- exist. And judgment -is- coming. What happened to the dinosaurs? Oh... billions of years ago a huge meteor or comet smashed into earth, sending it into nuclear winter, and killed all the dinosaurs. Well, no. The evidence points to a massive global flood, just like the Bible says, that destroyed all living animals "in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life" (Gen7:22) All, except for what entered Noah's ark and were preserved. And scripture speaks of dinosaurs living after the flood, during Job's time. (That's another topic we won't address right now)

Total judgment is coming again. But God promised to never again wipe out all living with a flood. That's the significance of the rainbow. (Gen9:13) Which (another topic) also suggests that the prediluvian and postdiluvian atmospheres were different. Another matter that would be contrary to uniformitarianism, and if we could know all the specifics, might answer the dilemma of how terribly inaccurate carbon dating is; but might also be the key to why people lived for hundreds of years before the flood. (Again: that's another topic)

When will this judgment be? We are given a hint, for those who see Scripture for what it says. The history ("generations") of the "heavens and earth" as God made them (Gen2:4); God created everything in six (6) days, and then "rested the seventh day" (Gen2:2) Using Peter's 'formula' that "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (vs8); right now we find ourselves at roughly the end of 6000 years of earth history. Prophecy tells us that a thousand years of peace is coming, corresponding to the 7th day God rested. In other words, this earth has about a thousand more years to go, and then destruction.

Looking at this another way from an Israeli viewpoint. Israel was in exile for about 2000 years; and then the aforementioned thousand years of peace is also designed around Israel with Christ reigning from David's throne. In Israel's state of apostasy they are exhorted,

    "Come, and let us return to Jehovah. For He has torn, and He will heal us. He has stricken, and He will bind us up. After two days He will restore us to life. In the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His presence." (Hos6:1-2)
Using Peter's 1:1000 formula, this prophecy speaks of two and three days; that's 2000 and 3000 years. In the previous lesson we observed that the "Last Days" was beginning in the 1800s; and then in the 1900s Israel was reconstituted as a nation.

As Believers see world events unfolding towards the prophesied end-time conflicts and judgments, there is sometimes an impatience: Why doesn't God just get things going, and get it "over with"? How long must evil be allowed to reign?

Well, first of all, we should remember that all things are right "on time". The "Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness" (vs9a) We don't know, but He does. The disciples asked Jesus about Israel's restored kingdom, and He responds,

    "It is not yours to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." (Ac1:7)
Really what the scoffers are saying is: If God exists, let Him show Himself, and 'prove' Himself to us. The same thing the Jewish rulers did to Jesus: He was performing miracles right and left, healing people; fulfilling the OT prophecies about Himself (Is35:5-6); and even though they saw all this, taunted Him with "What sign do You show then, that we may see and believe You?" (Jn6:30)
    "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe into Him," (Jn12:37)
God is "longsuffering". (vs9b) It was never His intent for anybody to perish. He created all in perfection. (Gen1:31) But since man sinned, He waits for people to "repent". One reason He hasn't yet given Israel their new heart as He deals with them uniquely as a nation again is because He is waiting for the "fullness of the Gentiles" to come in. (Rom11:25) There's a certain -number- of Gentiles that God's foreknowledge is waiting for. When that number is complete, and He knows 'when' that is, then the next prophetic stage commences.

Paul tells us...

    "But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall by no means escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief." (1Th5:1-4)
Now, there is another false prophetic teaching out there that directly contradicts these Scriptures. Jack Van Impi proclaims that -this- heaven and earth will never be destroyed, but that they will last "forever and ever and ever and ever". He pretends to proclaim "God", but when he teaches such a thing, is that not actually a continuation of Uniformitarianism? If this earth has existed for B/Zillions of years, thus it will continue into the future the same way....

But this passage clearly states that the "heavens and earth" are "reserved for fire" at judgment. (vs7) This present universe will "pass away" and the earth and all its works "will be burned up" (vs10)

When will this be? Will this be the same occasion as the Great White Throne judgment? (Rev20) On that occasion satan and his demons, and all unbelievers will be thrown into the Lake of Fire; anyone whose name is "not found written in the Book of Life" (Re20:15) And here is something that is "forever and ever", the smoke of "their torment" (Re14:11) It is after this that Revelation then says...

    "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Rev21:1-2)
Peter says...
    "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (vs13)
So what is all this to Believers? We'll look at that next lesson.

But what about the scoffers?

    God is "longsuffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (vs9)

    "..consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation" (vs15a)

    "Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? What if God, determining to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath rendered fit unto destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand unto glory," (Rom2:4, 9:22-23)

Does God -like- the way man behaves? This term should make it obvious that He does NOT. Longsuffering...while man is rebelling God is "suffering", but He waits "long" in the hopes the sinner will repent.

Peter gives a final synopsis of the sinner and false prophets.

    In Paul's epistles are "some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable TWIST, as they do also the rest of Scripture, to their own destruction" (vs16)
First of all Peter acknowledges that Paul is a Believer; in calling him "brother". Remember when Saul was persecuting the church, and then got saved on the way to Damascus, and when he returned to Jerusalem and tried to join with the church, they were wary of him, until Barnabas made the introduction. (Ac9:27)

Peter denounces those who discredit Paul's message. In this chapter Peter is talking about the "last days", and as such his mention of Paul is most appropriate. There is a segment of today's false prophets who also discredit Paul's writings. Primarily, likely, because Paul does not pull any punches in telling it like it is: he exhorts to Godly living, and specifies in clear terms what sin consists of; and if the guilty ones don't like the message, they try to excuse their own conduct by discrediting the messenger. 'That doesn't mean what it says -because- Paul was not really an apostle'... or whatever other excuses they come up with.

Remember how Peter at the very beginning exhorts the feeding on the "pure milk of the Word" (1Pt2:2), and throughout the series we have observed how God's Word, the Scriptures, is the foundation for Godly living.

Well, here he explains -how- the false prophets function. They "twist" the Scriptures. Remember the "well turned words" (2:3) How is 'twisting' accomplished? By 'turning' motions. They turn words inside out, twist them up, and mush them all together in meaninglessness and falsehood.

And what is the result? The "destruction" of the false prophets who do thusly. (vs16) Again: Remember? What sort of message do false prophets bring? -DESTRUCTIVE- heresies. (2:1)

False prophets lead others astray, true! But in the end, it is also their own destruction.

They, also, are "reserved for fire".

Looking Forward to These Things - (2Peter 3:14-18)
    "..looking for and earnestly hastening unto the coming of the Day of God...looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and without blemish" (vs12,14)
There are two things we are looking forward to: the Day of God (vs12), and the "new heavens and new earth" (vs13)

In looking towards the Day of God, the context includes the destruction of this present creation. (vs12) Why should we eagerly anticipate destruction? Isn't that terribly unloving and vengeful on the unrighteous? See? The unbelievers were right after all...God -loves- to condemn the unrighteous. We eagerly anticipate the destruction because what follows is the new creation with "righteousness"

Who wants all this hatred, murder, warfare, rape, injury and all the corruption that is in the world right now! The sooner we can be 'rid' of this evil, the sooner we can be in a place where no evil exists. (Re21:27) Certainly, the process of destruction will be horrendous. But we know that it -will- come. Thus, as I express to friends sometimes: The sooner we get on with it, the sooner it is over. To those who say this creation will last forever and ever and ever: good riddance to you. Who wants a continual reminder of this filthy old place? God promised that the old will be forgotten and never again be remembered.

    "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. And the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind." (Is65:17)
Regarding the plight of the wicked in their judgment? Well, they brought it on themselves by 'refusing' to repent, and being 'willfully' ignorant. Or, the ones who 'reverted' after they had been partaking the Divine Nature? They were there. They knew better. They had a taste of righteousness, and chose to go back into sin. As Peter says, their "end is worse for them than the beginning" (2:20); but they brought it on themselves with full knowledge. As John says of this scenario, as "all the tribes of the earth will wail because of Him"...
    "Even so. Amen." (Rev1:7)

    "...for they are deserving" (Rev16:6)

So, as we are in eager anticipation of this "Day", what is our attitude and conduct? A review of what the two epistles have already said earlier. But remember? Peter is reminding (3:1) that he reminded. (1:12) So let's not forget...
    "holy behavior and godliness" (vs11)

    "diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and without blemish" (vs14)

    "beware also that you not be led away with the error of the wicked, and fall from your own steadfastness" (vs17)

In other words, the easy part. This is not complex doctrine that requires detailed word studies. This is not complex eschatology. This is HOW WE LIVE...

Live a holy, righteous Godly life; and don't be carried away with the error of the wicked. How much simpler could it be!

1Peter ended with warnings to look out for, and resist satan's attacks. And now that we have learned the nature of the false prophets, and the world's scoffings; that which we are to stay away from, and what is coming to judge them; what do we do?

    "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (vs18)
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