There are false prophets; let me tell you about them.
They will be among you. In fact, they are among you. They introduce secret heresies and false teaching. They deny Jesus and in doing so, bring destruction upon themselves. And sadly, upon their followers.
Many will follow and the truth will be ignored. Because these teachers are greedy and selfish, they will exploit you with made-up stories. This is in contrast to the true prophets. But, their condemnation and destruction awaits.
Just as God did not spare rebellious angels, he will not spare false prophets. He did not spare the ancient world in it’s rebellion; he flooded it and utterly destroyed it. He did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah; he burned them to the ground. But, because God is loving, he indeed spared the godly and will continue to do so but know this, the unrighteous will be punished and judged, especially those who obey the sinful nature and ignore authority.
Bold and arrogant, these false prophets slander others, seeking to demolish their enemies with untruths, lies, deceits and manipulations. They step over the bounds of the faithful angels who could go before God and tell him about us. These leaders are animals, living out of base instincts and emotions, choosing fear over faith, emotion over trust, angst over love. And, like wild, bloodthirsty animals, they will be hunted down, caught and destroyed because that’s the only thing that works with them.
This is the penalty due these bloodthirsty beasts. Why? Because they actually take joy in their destruction of others. Their behavior is wild. And obvious. Those who are living in faith, goodness, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love will recognize these men because these things come from God’s power. These beasts never stop sinning or lusting for more: more power, more authority and more blood. They pull in the unstable and weak because they are only just escaping the world. They leave the straight and narrow far behind because the way of Balaam leads to a payday- adulation, appreciation, affirmation- all worldly rewards. However, God speaks to men like this through the lowly jackass because it is only through the most foolish of all creatures that Balaam was returned to his senses. False prophets would do well to listen to those they deem “foolish” among them.
I’m not done.
These false prophets are springs without water, mists driven by storms. They are filled with empty and foolish words, babblings and boastings of nonsense, spewing phrases that sound good to those with ears itching to hear what they want to hear. Again, this appeals to people who are only beginning to leave the world behind, and these false prophets pull them back into the very world they seek to escape because these false prophets are slaves to their own selfish words and minds. They’ve said falsehoods so much that the words have become “truth”. The false prophets themselves are slaves. This is when the damage really begins.
Because their flocks were before merely ignorant about both God and their status before Him, the flock now becomes complicit in rebellion, willingly ignoring God and following lies and falsehood. Their deception is complete. Like a dog vomiting up its last meal and then lapping it up, like a pig wallowing in its own feces, these poor, deceived sheep just follow their enslaved leaders down the path of certain destruction.
2 Peter 2- paraphrased from NIV 1984.