Summary: The Scriptures cannot be interpreted correctly without the power of the Holy Spirits.
False prophets appeared in Israel during the day of the writing of the prophets spoken of. They were present in the first century church. Peter switched from writing about false prophets of the past to false teachers in the present actually their teaching was the same heresy. 2 Peter and Jude were written to a Jewish Christian audience. False teachers’ heresies rose from within the church. They secretly introduce their false teachings which are destructive heresies. Such heresies are destructive for they lead people away from Christ and thus to spiritual ruin. The tragic fact about many false teachers is they are successful at convincing people to listen and follow them. In their greed they use others for their own mercenary purposes and turn the church into a dirty market place. Or exploit commercialize “carry on business,” they are artificial, and not genuine.
This topical paper will search the biblical prospective as it relates to false teachers; recognizing prophetic authority, rise of false prophets, and resisting false prophets according to the teachings of 2 Peter and Jude.
Recognizing Prophetic Authority
Peter exhorts his readers to pay attention as to a “lamp shining in a dark place, until the dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 2:19). Peter also recognizes the potential of false prophecy in the manner of interpretation of the Scriptures. The Scriptures cannot be interpreted correctly without the power of the Holy Spirits. The Scripture did not stem from the prophets themselves; their writings came from God. Therefore it speaks not of interpretation, but of revelation, the source of the Scriptures. Peter 1:19-21 says, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet own interpretation”. Thus, Peter deals with the establishment against such corrupt practices.
Now Peter continues the topic of the authority of the prophetic word in the present verse by saying, above all know this: that no prophecy of Scripture is of the prophet’s own interpretation. (2 Peter 3:3).
Therefore he reminds the reader of his testimony over against theological heretics, he writes; “for we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” ( 2 Peter 1:16). He also understood the importance of “The prophetic word” the words spoken of Christ, “This is my beloved Son of whom I am well-pleased” (2 Peter 1:17). Perhaps Peter has in mind here the in-scripted prophecies, as opposed to other prophetic utterances (1 Cor. 12:10).
Peters view on prophecy has never originated through the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The divination of the second century was exercised on the future, not on the past; its imagination on the possibility of the unseen world, not on the realities of the world of sense, which were on their road to justifying themselves. The view concerning false teachers and scoffers is that they are forerunners of the Antinomian heretics of the second century, is confirmed when we observe II Peter and Jude.
Rising False Teachers
Peter is completely aware of the rising false prophets which reside within the body of Christ. Essentially the second book of Peter claims that false teachers would present themselves in secret to introduce their destructive heresies. Peter admits that false teachers would appear even after his death. He warns them of their subjectivity which could exploit greed and self-righteousness. In fact their falling away to their sensuality by way of the truth would appear maligned (2 Peter 2-3).
The pagan’s influences expressed skepticism about prophecy and eschatology. However, Peter continues his exhortation with the expression; that false teachers will be popular with many followers. John speaks of the same phenomenon when, speaking of the false prophets who do not acknowledge that Jesus is God’s son. In fact, “the world listens to them” (1 John 4:5).
The motive of the false teachers is greed which desires to grasp more than one’s due. Furthermore, attempts to convert believers by engaging others after money or goods, lust and power, and going after selfish gain at the expense of others and of a reckless disregard of moral order. Their method of the false teacher is to exploit them with stories they have made up. The propaganda must be mixed with truth and false hood. The effect of the false teacher is to lure others into similar path of immorality and bring discredit to Christ. Therefore, many would be intoxicated by money and power which would be hard to resist in the acts of their unbridled lust.