Bible Study from 2 Peter 2:1-9
A trip to the dark side!
by I Gordon
 ↩ For example, Deut 18:20-22 is a very common commandment concerning false prophets. Deut 13:1-5 is probably less well known but it is just as critical in the age we live in. In short, even if someone prophesies something that does come to pass, we still have to weigh up whether it is true to the ways and word of the Lord. This will become all the more important in these last days as we shall soon see.
 ↩ This rams home to us the necessity of knowing the real thing. I once heard a story how the students in zoology class decided to play a practical joke to trick their professor. What they did, was to create a bug from the parts of several different bugs. They put it together in such a detailed and careful way, that it looked like an entirely genuine new type of bug. They then took it to the professor and said to him 'we found this bug, but cannot identify it. Have you seen it before?' The professor looked very carefully at for some time. Finally he said to them that he had identified it. 'I know what it is' he said. 'It's a humbug!' Like this 'humbug', Christians need to be careful because the counterfeit is made up of parts that are real, but the sum of those parts is not.
 ↩ We should always remember that the fruit of someone's life is not their giftings or ability to perform the miraculous. It is their character. In the last days especially, Jesus said that the false prophets will be performing signs and miracles. To the extent even, that the elect would be deceived if possible. So look for character. The difference between the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit is easy to see as outlined in Galatians chapter five.
Just as a side note, straight after talking about wolves in sheep's clothing, Jesus goes on to speak about those who believed that they were the real thing because of the works that they did, but on judgement day Jesus had to say to them ' depart from me, I never knew you.' This would indicate to me that some of the false teachers do not realise that they are false, but are caught in the web of deception. See also 2 Tim 3:13.
 ↩ Actually, in his book 'The Kingdom of the cults' Walter Martin spends a whole chapter discussing this very thing before focusing on any of the cults. The chapter is called 'Scaling the language barrier.' Here's a quick quote: 'It is possible for a Jehovah Witness, a Christian Scientist, or a Mormon for example to utilise the terminology of Biblical Christianity with absolute freedom, having already redesigned those terms in the theological framework of their own liking, but almost always at direct variance with the historically excepted meanings of those terms.'
 ↩ Was in a Christian book shop recently and I saw a book by the leader of the church denomination that I used to attend. So I started flicking and sure enough, it wasn't long before I was reading how the Lord wants the Christian to be materially prosperous. The author wrote that Jesus took poverty to the cross so that we can be rich. This he based on 2 Cor 8:9. He said in the book that every commentary he has read takes this verse to mean spiritually rich, and not materially rich. But, in actual fact, he wanted to now reveal that it does mean materially rich. What a load of rubbish! He goes on to say that Moses was paid tithes of what he estimates to be around 52 million a year. Again, what a load of rubbish! As the New Century Version translates 2 Pet 2:3 'Those false teachers only want your money, so they will use you by telling you lies.'
 ↩ I once heard someone say that to weigh up the validity of a ministry you need to ask yourself whether you would place a brand-new Christian under that ministry so that they are taught exclusively by that ministry. For what it's worth the Christian shows on TV in my country include Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Brian Tamaki, Creflo Dollar, Charles Stanley, and Robert Schuller. If I had led someone to the Lord recently, the only ministry out of that lot that I would trust is Charles Stanley.
 ↩ Ok, ok... I'll get off the whole greed in the footnotes thing soon. But there is an interesting passage in Jeremiah that I would like to draw your attention to. It is Jer 6:13-17. Verse 13-15 gives you the conditions in the land at the time. Sound familiar? Verse 16 shows the way back onto the right road. Sound familiar? Verse 17 shows their response and their desire to stay off the right road. Um, sound familiar?
 ↩ When the FBI train their agents to spot counterfeit money, they get them to focus primarily on the real thing - the actual real notes and not the counterfeits. When the agent is completely familiar with the real notes, it is a lot easier for them to spot the counterfeits. This is a useful illustration in dealing with the Biblical truth and it's counterfeit. You don't have to be an expert in all of the cults. Focus on what is true and you will be able to spot the false teachings a lot easier.