And especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties.
Verse 10 is a continuation of the previous sentence regarding how the Lord reserves a day of judgment for unbelieving false teachers. And especially begins verse 10, which is referring to those false teachers who are indulging in all the pleasure of their flesh and deceiving others to follow their pattern. Peter begins to describe them in detail. First he says that they indulge the flesh and despise authority. Why did Peter put these two phrases together? Since these false teachers are unbelievers, the only authority they have is civil or governmental (they rejected the authority of God at Gospel-hearing). Since they despise authority it can only refer to the laws of the land, which would a have direct effect on the indulgent behavior of their sin natures, if enforced. Indulging the flesh involves many activities that are unlawful and must be concealed from the civil authorities.
The Greek word for indulge is “poreuomai,” which means to go from place to place. It often has the connotation of instability. Or we might say, “Chasing after or following the pattern of the sin nature.” In other words, they are moving in a direction that appeals to their sinful desires. The Greek word for desires is “epithumia” referring to the lust pattern of the sin nature. The Greek word for corrupt is “miasmos,”meaning the act of defiling or polluting. The Greek word for daring is “tolmetes,” which means shameless and irreverent. The Greek word for self-willed is “authades,” which means self-gratification or self-pleasing. The Greek word for angels is used for both angels and human beings. It also refers to duly constituted authority, glories in the sense of something that is set up as a bona fide principle of authority in a nation. So they are motivated by lust patterns from the sin nature, they despise duly constituted authority, they are arrogant, full of self-confidence, they are indulgent to the point of self-gratification, they malign those who have authority and, in the case of Peter’s day, even those who are angels. They have no respect for authority in any form.
Whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.
Even though these false teachers have no fear of maligning angelic beings, angels do not in turn malign them. Angels have superiority over human beings: a. Angels are superior to mankind through creation — Hebrews 2:7,9 b. Christ, in the incarnation, became a human being and was made lower than angels — Hebrews 2:9,16 c. By death, resurrection, ascension and session the humanity of Christ becomes superior to angels — Hebrews 1:4-8, 13; 2:14 d. Every believer is in union with Jesus Christ, therefore, every believer is positionally superior to angels as of the point of regeneration, and every believer has a servant angel — Hebrews 1:14; Ephesians 1:6; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Cor. 1:2 e. Through ultimate sanctification the resurrection body of a believer will be physically superior to angels for all eternity f. In the meantime, the only advantage that the believer on this earth in a body of corruption can have over angels is through the completion of the edification complex of the soul, the entrance into spiritual maturity. The reason angels do not bring judgment against these false teachers is that it is God Who judges, not angels or man.
But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong.
But these, is a conjunction that sets up a contrast between elect angels who cannot malign and false teachers who habitually malign the elect angels. These, refers to the false teachers of verse 1. False teachers do not have reason or common sense. And they are often destroyed themselves. Unreasoning is the Greek word “alogos” meaning without knowledge. They are stupid. They are like animals and animals must be removed if they are dangerous. Instinctively they strike out and therefore they must be removed from the scene; for capture and destruction. And this means capture by law, destruction by the function of law. They need to be removed from society. By speaking, these false teachers pass their corruption on to others. They malign the things of which they have no understanding like the Word of God. Their false teaching destroys them as they destroy the people they reach with it.
They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you; having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin; enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children.
Peter relates what they do to hooking their victims and gathering them into his false teaching. Just the opposite of God’s order, the false teacher uses his lifestyle and personality to attract people to his false message, whereas it is the objective of true communication to use Bible doctrine to attract people to the only life provided through Jesus Christ, the grace life. Satan always uses the lifestyle of the false teacher to draw people in. With doctrine it is the message, not the lifestyle that counts.
Pleasure to revel in the daytime is literally, “luxurious living in the day time of leisure.” The Greek word for revel is “truphe,” which means indulgence. In other words, it means total lack of self-discipline. The Greek word for pleasure is “hedone,” which means sensual pleasure, gratification of any kind, the opposite of self-discipline.
Stains is the Greek word “spilos,” which means spots. It means spots or stains on society and the church. The Greek word for blemishes is “momos,” which means a disgrace. The two words (spots and blemishes) together are used as an idiom for city scum in Rome, the lowest order of urban dwellers. The false teachers are compared to the scum of the city. The use of the word daytime again, indicates no self-discipline, no job, no work, no purpose and no motive in life, except to peddle false doctrine. And why not, they become millionaires as a result!
What they teach is attractive, and the way they teach it, because they are attractive people. But it is deceit, antagonistic to Bible doctrine. False teachers are stimulated by false doctrine they communicate, and they receive lavish entertainment from people who admire their lives and accept their teaching. But remember, they accept their teaching on the basis of their lives and they are socially attractive. That is the principle of this half of the verse. Being socially attractive they are given a wide hearing. They are well thought of. Their lives are held up as something great and that indicates a general trend toward apostasy and negative volition toward doctrine.
Having eyes full of adultery does not necessarily mean that they commit adultery; it means that they are lascivious in their mental attitude, in their souls. The Greek word for adultery “moichalis” is teamed up with the word eyes. “Eyes” is used for the soul, the perception of the soul. “Moichalis” is adultery, but when you team it up with “eyes full,” then you have a soul function. This is not the overt practice of adultery; this is a mental attitude of seduction. The practice of adultery is not involved here but the principle of adultery in the soul. They are completely selfish and non-disciplined people.
The false teachers are those who reject or distort the truth of the Word of God for selfish motives. 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 play upon the emotions of the duped believer since they themselves are ruled by their emotions. These false teachers have no 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 opinions that lead to divisions. 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.
Forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Boer who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he received a rebuke for his own transgression; for a dumb donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.
These false teachers have abandoned the right way, they have abandoned the truth. They have been deceived by Satan. They imitated the way of Balaam. The fee which king Balaak offered to Balaam was “the wages of unrighteousness.” The way of Balaam was Balaam’s willingness to abandon the principles of his office as a prophet and disobey God for these wages. (Numbers 22:28)
We find the record of Balaam in Numbers 22-24. Israel, being on the way to the Promised Land, camped in the “plains of Moab on the side of Jordan across from Jericho” (Numbers 22:1). This made Balak, king of Moab, very afraid and he sent ambassadors to bring Balaam.
Numbers 22:5-6, “Look, a people have come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed and he whom you curse is cursed” Balaam’s fame was that “him whom he blessed was blessed and him whom he cursed was cursed” (Numbers 22:6). If one reads the whole record of Numbers 22-24 he will find out that Balaam initially had the right attitude. When the servants of Balak approached him, he only promised to them that he would check their request with God. When God told him not to go with them, he obediently sent them away. This is what a faithful prophet of God would do and that’s what Balaam did as well. He was obviously walking on that path. However, Balak insisted. After some days, more princes, more honorable ones, arrived again at Balaam’s place promising him great honor and riches if he only went and cursed Israel. God had already made it clear that Balaam was not to go with them, why ask again?
But Balaam didn’t do this. Instead he said that he would check with God again. Though this is certainly not as bad as going with them without checking with God at all, it shows an instability, an intention to not send them away unsatisfied. You plea God again only for something that you still want, and you are not fine and settled with what He has told you the first time. And this is what happened here. Balaam wanted to go with them, the gifts were too many and the honor too much for him to deny. On the other hand, he didn’t want to disobey God either! He would be happy if he went there, curse Israel, get the rewards and have it fine with God too – much the same with us sometimes: I want to do my will, so God please change yours, let me do mine and we will be fine! God seeing him at this stage, told him to go but only if the men came to call him again. Yet, in the morning we see him up on his donkey and ready for the long travel! He didn’t want to lose a second and didn’t wait for anybody to call him! As a result, God’s anger was aroused and He sent His angel to stand against him. Balaam’s donkey saved his life for when she saw the angel she tried to avoid him. The angel told Balaam to go but to ONLY say the word that God would speak to him. Why did God have to say to him “ONLY the word that I will speak to you, that you will speak” (Numbers 22:35)? This was a warning to Balaam to not deviate from His word. As we will see, he didn’t pay attention to it fully. Balaam therefore went and met Balak. Despite that, Balak took him to various places that would make it easier for him to curse Israel, Balaam kept attached to what God had told him and spoke only His word which was only blessings for Israel. Balak was very upset! Here is what he said to Balaam after a three-round blessing of Israel: “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times! Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the Lord has kept you back from honor” (Numbers 24:10-11). (Taken from The Journal of Biblical Accuracy)