But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
In verses 20-21 of the previous chapter we have the mechanics for the formation of the Old Testament Canon through prophets and teachers of doctrine in the New Testament. In this verse we have the opposite - false prophets in the the Old Testament, and false teachers in the Church Age. Each false teacher or false prophet rejected truth. These teachers, whether believers or unbelievers built scar tissue on their souls by rejecting truth (the unbeliever at Gospel hearing). They progressed into blackout of the soul and a vacuum in their souls opened to allow in satanic doctrine. They eventually became effective communicators of false concepts, and when false concepts become the premise of any group of people, the conclusions they draw from human viewpoint thinking are always false. It is inevitable that a false premise produces a false conclusion.
Secretly is the Greek word “pareisago” meaning a subtle, insidious infiltration. The devil’s disciples do not always look or act evil and they are therefore not easily identified. They are “sweetness and light,” they are persuasive, they are eloquent and attractive, all of which are absolutely necessary to fool people. Satan picks his communicators well and they always have an appeal that includes a solution or a panacea, but it is all based on human viewpoint.
Destructive heresies is the doctrine of heretical false teachers who reject or distort the truth of the Word of God as a result of being deceived by Satan and his cosmic system. Paul, writing to Timothy, warns him of believers that have become heretical false teachers. They are said to have departed from the faith (Bible doctrine). Therefore, in I Timothy 4 we have believers being seduced into believing and teaching false doctrine. Once departed, these heretics not only believe satanic doctrine, they teach it to others. The Greek word for depart, “aphistemi,” means to be drawn away. Once a person departs from sound doctrinal teaching they open themselves up for all kinds of false doctrine. This is the doctrinal teaching of the vacuum of the soul (“matiotes” in Greek), which draws in this false doctrine. (I Timothy 4:1) The heretic is drawn away to satanic doctrine, or as I Timothy 4 says, “doctrines of demons.” Therefore, it is not just a matter of being led astray temporarily. The Greek in this passage for “giving heed” indicates that these false teachers actually adhere themselves to this doctrine. In doing so they are rejecting truth. Rejection of truth leads to the distortion of truth. (I Timothy 4:1) In verse two of I Timothy 4 we are told that these heretical teachers speak lies. But not only do they speak lies, they speak in a specific manner. We know this from the context and the meaning of certain words in the Greek. The context says that they speak lies in hypocrisy. It is interesting to note the Greek for hypocrisy is a word used by the Greeks for play-acting or of an actor that speaks through a mask during a drama. In other words, it describes a person who is not what they pretend to be. (I Timothy 4:2)
Paul then uses a metaphor to describe these false teachers. He says that their conscience has been seared or cauterized with a hot iron. This, of course, is a reference to scar tissue of the soul. Scar tissue on the soul is a result of continued rejection of Bible doctrine. The result is carnality or control by the sin nature and Human Viewpoint Thinking. Human Viewpoint Thinking leads these heretical false teachers into forbidding people to marry and abstaining from eating meat, both of which are legalistic practices.(I Timothy 4:2)
In II Peter 2:1 Peter tells us who it is that Satan recruits as false teachers. The answer is found in the Greek word “arneomai,” translated denying. Satan recruits those who reject Jesus Christ. Master is the Greek word “despotes”referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. This word is used to indicate that these people had a clear opportunity for salvation; they understood the issue completely. If the Greek word “kurios” had been used it would mean that they did not necessarily have a clear understanding but “despotes” means that there was no question about their understanding of the Gospel. They knew what they were rejecting. Satan, who was recruiting them, had to take people with a build-up of scar tissue and in “arneomai” you have a word which implies not only the denial of the Gospel but the resulting scar tissue on the soul.
When Christ went to the Cross He bore the sins of every one of these false prophets and false teachers. Swift destruction means they are headed for destruction in the Lake of Fire (hell). But remember that they are not going to the Lake of Fire because they teach false doctrine - they are going to the Lake of Fire because they reject Christ as Savior.
The apostate false teachers are those that reject or distort the truth of the Word of God for selfish motives. These teachers are called false, which is the Greek word “pseduo.” They represent themselves as true in order to gain entrance into a ministry. Peter says they come in covertly, like a spy would infiltrate an organization. We know the false teachers Peter refers to are unbelievers from certain words in the context, such as destruction. Destruction is the Greek word “apoleia” and it means eternal destruction or eternal separation from God. Some of these unbelieving teachers deny the deity of Christ and deny the saving power of the Gospel.
These false teachers have deliberate motives, which include monetary greed, sensual pleasures, luxurious lifestyles, power, and fame. They actually train themselves in the art of greed and lust. The Bible says that they use fabricated words of flattery with promises of prosperity in order to extort money and material possessions. They are members of the “mutual admiration society,” pretending to admire certain people in order to gain acceptance. They literally make merchandise, the Greek word “emporeuomai,” of the unsuspecting, unstable, spiritually weak believer. (II Peter 2:3,14,15,18; Jude 11,16,18)
They play upon the emotions of the duped believer since they themselves are ruled by their emotions. These false teachers have no spiritual substance in their message, they scoff at the truth and will not accept the authority of Biblical doctrine. These unbelievers bring with them into these ministries destructive, self-willed, erroneous human viewpoint opinions that lead to divisions and the formation of sects. It is, of course, impossible for them to bring in accurate doctrinal information from God’s Word, since they are unable to learn truth as unbelievers. These apostates are so arrogant they even reject human authority and speak evil of persons in authority over them in order to carry out their own agenda.
The Bible says that these false teachers live a lifestyle of the “rich and famous,” while turning the grace of God into a license to sin. They are arrogant souls, in love with themselves, in love with money and love to brag about it. Conceited, unholy, lovers of sensual pleasures, they cannot be appeased. They are rash in their speech, lack self-control, especially over their emotions, and cannot be trusted. With everything they have accumulated they are nevertheless ungrateful and callous to human affection, they do not honor their parents and are haters of anything good. We are commanded to avoid these blasphemers of truth. (II Timothy 3:2-5; II Peter 2:2,12, 13,14,19; Jude 8,16,18)
The followers of the false, apostate teachers are those who allow themselves to be seduced. They are those who reject truth and believe the fabricated lies of the false teachers. Peter tells us that many will follow their evil ways, so it should come as no surprise when these ministers of Satan “pack the pew.” The pivot (remnant according to grace) has always been a small elite group of believers who refuse to compromise accurate Bible teaching. The others who follow after the “about to” ministers (God’s about to do this or that, but never seems to get around to doing it), have become enemies of the Cross of Christ and partakers in satanic activity. They have been enticed by words of flattery, which promise wealth and physical healing from a “fairy god mother” type of god. (II Timothy 3:6, 4:3-4; II Peter 2:2,3,14,18; Jude 12,16)
As a result of being seduced, they become slaves to the idea that God is going to bless them with houses, cars, money, the perfect job, family harmony and healing of the body. Failure to seek truth from the Word of God leaves them with only Human Viewpoint Thinking and its resultant misery and bewilderment. They cannot understand how God can allow them to suffer so much and why He doesn’t wave His “magic wand” and fix all their problems (after all they prayed about it!). These same duped believers send their hard-earned money to these deceivers in hope that they will receive blessing in return. These believers become the “shopping mall” for the false teacher, as he calls in any needed revenue for his personal desires. It is often called “seed money,” but only the false teacher gets to harvest the crop. Year after year these poor, ignorant believers send their rent money, car payment money, even their food money for a chance at the “Christian lottery.” It is a sad state of affairs, but no one has an excuse before God for being seduced by false doctrine. If a person wants to know truth, God will provide it for them.
The followers of the apostate teachers fail to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions, entering into the arrogance of self-justification, self-deception and self-absorption. Because of their instability from lack of Bible doctrine in the soul, they are easily lured away into apostasy themselves. Like a fisherman catching a fish, these false teachers entice the weak believer, not only into taking the bait, but paying for it.
Their judgment will be eternal destruction which is the meaning of the Greek word “krima.” “Krima” (destruction) refers to a judicial sentence which was passed in eternity past based upon the righteousness and the justice of God which never changes (from long ago). Not idle is the Greek word “argeo,” which means to be inoperative. These false teachers’ judicial sentence from eternity past is not inoperative. In other words, they are definitely going to be judged.
Destruction is the Greek word “apoleia” meaning to destroy, and refers to the Great White Throne Judgment in which all unbelievers will be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ including these false teachers. The Greek word for asleep is “nustazo” meaning God’s judgment does not slumber into inactivity but is waiting for these false teachers.
The proper response to apostasy is the utilization of the problem-solving device system. In the book of I Timothy, Paul wrote to Timothy encouraging him to exercise his spiritual gift of pastor-teacher and there are some excellent Biblical principles in these passages that we can apply to our Christian lives. (I Timothy 4:6-16)
The first thing that Paul tells Timothy in I Timothy 4:6 is to put everyone in remembrance of what they had been taught from the Word of God. We then have a phrase, nourished on, which is the Greek word “entrepho.” This word means to nurture or train up. So nurturing yourself with the faith (accurate doctrine) means to train yourself in the use of problem-solving devices, specifically the Faith-Rest Technique and Doctrinal Orientation.
In I Timothy 4:7 we are told that we should reject worldly fables (profane or unholy, fabricated stories) which purport to tell the truth but are no more than old wives tales. Instead, we are to train ourselves with regard to our thinking in order to execute this unique spiritual life. We can accomplish this because of the indwelling and the filling ministries of God the Holy Spirit in the Church Age. (Romans 12:1-2)
Paul then reminds Timothy in I Timothy 4:10 that he has an eternal destiny and to live his life in light of eternity. A personal sense of destiny gives a believer capacity for life by producing spiritual self-esteem. Spiritual self-esteem means that you have discovered who you are in Christ. God never gives us more blessing than we have the capacity to receive. (James 4:1-8, Isaiah 30:18) God also never gives us more testing than we are able to endure. (I Corinthians 10:12-13; Romans 14:10-13) Capacity for life replaces the temporary pleasures of the world with the eternal happiness of God. (Galatians 6:6-10) Capacity is increased by spending a maximum amount of time in fellowship with God, consistent intake and application of Bible doctrine and using Divine Viewpoint Thinking.