2 Peter 2:17-22
2 Pet 2:17 (KJB)
These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
Carried - Driving or impelling
Tempest - Whirlwind, tempestuous wind, or strong gust of wind
Mist - Thick gloom or murkiness
Darkness - Gloom or dark
Here Peter compares the false teachers to two useless things. The first one he speaks about is a well without water. The whole reason of existence of a well is to supply water to a thirsty body but if the well is dry, then it is nothing but a useless hole in the ground which cannot save a body from dying of thirst. The second one is clouds which are driven by fierce winds. When a cloud is stationary, it is able to bring life giving rain to plants and crops but if that cloud is being driven by a fierce wind and is moving along at a fast pace, it does nothing but maybe create a shadow for a brief moment and then it is gone. Since these false teachers add nothing to the body of Christ nor do they help anyone become saved, God has reserved the thick gloom of darkness forever. This is to say that they have eternal damnation reserved for them.
2 Pet 2:18 (KJB)
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
Great swelling - Excessive or long pretentious words
Vanity - Futility, worthlessness, or depravity
Wantonness - Licentiousness, lasciviousness, or unbridled lust
Here Peter is speaking to the fact that these false teachers do not use words that are normal but tend to increase their vocabulary with many big words which are empty in content. One must be very careful when one hears some teacher using all kinds of big words to make a point. Once in a while a big word is mandatory but most of the time we are to bring the Word of God in simplicity. Those who elevate their vocabulary attempt to sound very intellectual and most of the times it is nothing more than pure vanity. They especially want to deceive young Christians simply because they are not yet grounded in the faith. Their lust of the flesh causes them to desire a large following so they care not for the souls of people, they just want that large following so they can be someone in their own eyes and in the eyes of the unsaved world. Their lust for power and notoriety is absolutely unbridled but those who are clean or saved will escape them who teach error. This is because those who are saved will be able to discern between the spirit of error and the spirit of truth. (1 John 4:6 KJV) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Those who are not saved will become snared by these false teachers for they do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them to guide them. (John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
2 Pet 2:19 (KJB)
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
Liberty - Freedom
Servants - Slaves
Corruption - Destruction, ruin, or deterioration
Overcome - Defeated
Bondage - Enslave or be subject to
One of the teachings of false teachers is that if you follow them they will teach you how you can be free from sin. This will never happen. Christianity does not promise you that you will be free from sin, it promises that you are free from the penalty of those sins because Christ has paid the penalty for all those He came to save. Christianity also promises freedom from having to keep the law since Christ was the end or the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 10:4 KJV) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. The false teachers may try to build a utopia by their great swelling words but this will never happen. Why? Simply because they are not free but because of their own innate desires, they are the slaves of their own lusts leading to their destruction. Then the passage teaches us that whatever a person is overcome by, it makes them their slave. These false teachers are slaves of their own lusts for power and material goods, therefore they are anything but free. So here is a case of a person in slavery offering freedom to someone else. It will just never happen.
2 Pet 2:20 (KJB)
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Pollutions - Defilement or corruption
Entangled - Weave in or involved
Here Peter makes a statement to Christians. He is stating that the victims of these false teachers will end up in worse condition than when they started out. Those who became saved and then followed a false teacher, will be like escaping the defilements of the world and then putting themselves back under the defilements of the false teachers who only have personal gain in mind. When a Christian gets entangled or woven into a false system, their later end will be worse. God is not the author of confusion but false teachers are the essence of confusion. When one follows false doctrines, they will tend to weave those false doctrines into other doctrines until their entire Biblical understanding is so filled with confusion, that the Christian doesnít even know how to tell the truths of Scripture from the false teachings of the false teachers. A Christian would have to be deprogrammed from the false teachings and sometimes that takes a long time and a lot of struggle because you must untangle the web of false doctrines you have been steeped in for some time. In our day, there are many Christians who have entangled themselves with false teachers especially in the charismatic movement. These false teachers are still teaching simply because people continue to send in millions of dollars to keep them on both television and radio. While true missions are starving for just a few dollars, these frauds are being showered with millions of dollars just for their own personal use, the lust for power and possessions as Peter has been warning about. Woe to the Christians who do not use discernment when supporting a ministry or a preacher.
2 Pet 2:21 (KJB)
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
Here is another great principle which Christians must adhere to. Whenever a Christian follows a false gospel or teacher, they tend to study the Bible less and take up studying the writings of the leader or of the organization they are attaching themselves to. One thing about false teachers is they use just enough Scripture to make themselves sound legitimate and therefore they are able to draw people away from the truth with confidence. This is why God is saying that it is better for them not to have known the way of truth than to turn their back on it. These wayward Christians would not be able to go back to the Bible to help them since they have turned their back on it. In many cults, there are no bibles just the word of the leader. There is also another principle in this verse and it is about those unbelievers who have the truth proclaimed to them but reject it and remain under the authority of a false teacher, the only thing they can hope for is eternal damnation, while the leader promises them nirvana. No matter what the situation, whether it is an unbeliever under the authority of the false teacher or a Christians who wanders from the path and goes under the authority of a false teacher, there is danger for both.
2 Pet 2:22 (KJB)
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
(Prov 26:11 KJV) As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. The first part of Peterís verse is from Proverbs. A Christian who has been cleaned through the Lord Jesus Christ and then follows false teachers is like a dog who eats their own vomit. Instead of good healthy food for the dog, he returns to the law of the jungle. Then the next part of this verse tells us of a pig who was washed but because it is a pig, it goes back to rolling around in the mud or the filth. This is akin to a Christian who learns the truth from the Scriptures but forsakes that truth and allows them to be brought under the authority of a false teacher. Not very pretty descriptions but then again, to place yourself under a false teacher is to place yourself back under the authority of Satan. Do you think that Satan is going to care for your spiritual well-being? Of course not, because he is the enemy. This is why it is important for every true Christian to make sure they are not under the authority of any false teachings. We do this by periodically examining ourselves and our doctrinal beliefs to make sure they align with Scripture and not a false system.