2 Peter 2:1 false teachers...shall bring in damnable heresies
Neal A. Maxwell
"Regarding the various views mortals hold about Jesus Christ, disbelievers and near-believers simply do not accept Him as mankind's great Redeemer. Some of these individuals see Jesus as an admirable but passing moral teacher who was confined to a small geographic space and a very brief period of history. Jesus ends up in their view as a very good man. But not as a redeeming God! Moreover, since others were crucified in that period of time, Christ's crucifixion occupies no special place in their scheme of things. Hence these individuals deny the Lord 'that bought them' ("2 Pet. 2:12 Peter 2:1)." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 86.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The Savior's second coming will thus swiftly silence the needless debate carried on by some over the so-called historicity of Jesus Christ. Those who viewed Him only as a 'little god' and as a 'moral teacher,' having hope in Christ only in this life, will in that awful moment be 'of all men most miserable.' ("1 Cor. 15:191 Corinthians 15:19.)" (Notwithstanding My Weakness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 36.)
2 Peter 2:1-3 denying the Lord that bought them...they with feigned words make merchandise of you
We are the Lord's; he has purchased us with his own blood that we might become his sons and daughters (Acts 20:28). This is the message of the Lord's true messengers. Yet, contrast that merciful message-that powerful purchase-with that of Satan and his henchmen, who teach 'damnable heresies' and 'make merchandise' of men. Into the bondage of sin, they buy and sell souls as if they were perishable goods. Their 'feigned words' sound something like this, 'Come unto me and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins,' and they proceed to build 'up churches unto [themselves] to get gain' (Morm. 8:32-33).
"I witnessed one of the religious crusades on the television here just recently. The man in charge said it would cost them a million and a quarter dollars to present it. I think of the words in the scripture that they should make merchandise out of the souls of men. (See 2 Pet. 2:3.) And then after it was all over, he invited people to come up and confess Jesus." ("Strange Creeds of Christendom," Ensign, Jan. 1973, 111)
2 Peter 2:4-8 if God spared not the angels that sinned...And spared not the old world
Often, some members will be confused by events in the Old Testament. At times, the Lord seems harsh and unforgiving. They much prefer to think of the Lord as in the New Testament when he said to the adulteress, 'Neither do I condemn thee, Go, and sin no more' (John 8:11). But the forgiving Jesus is the same Being as the Great Jehovah who declared, 'the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death' (Lev. 20:11).
Certainly, we would like to think of the Lord as merciful, forgiving, and patient-and so he is. But the Lord has an arm of mercy and an arm of justice. There is a time and a place for both. And the arm of justice will fall again on the wicked. When it does, it will be just as dramatic and horrifying as what happened in the days of Noah or Lot. Peter is declaring that if the Lord had to cast out a third of the hosts of heaven for rebellion and killed every soul on the earth but Noah and family, then we can expect Satan's servants of today to receive the same reward. Otherwise we are like Alma's son Corianton, who believed in a one-armed God and questioned 'the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner' (Alma 42:1).
2 Peter 2:7 vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked
In the old English, the word conversation as used by Peter (1 Pet. 1:15, 18; 1 Pet. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:1-2, 16; 2 Pet 2:7; 2 Pet. 3:11) meant not only one's words but also one's actions, conduct, and way of life (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Ensign, Aug. 1988, 19). From this we learn that poor Lot was concerned with more than just the language of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was their filthy way of life that brought fire and brimstone from heaven. Unfortunately, our society seems headed in the same direction.
Dallin H. Oaks
"Indecent and vulgar expressions pollute the air around us. Relations that are sacred between husband and wife are branded with coarse expressions that degrade what is intimate in marriage and make commonplace what is forbidden outside it. Moral sins that should be unspeakable are in the common vernacular. Human conduct plunging downward from the merely immodest to the utterly revolting is written on the walls and shouted in the streets. Twentieth-century men and women of sensitivity can easily understand how Lot, a fugitive from the actions and speech of Sodom and Gomorrah, could have been 'vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.' (2 Pet. 2:7.)" ("Reverent and Clean," Ensign, May 1986, 51)
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations
"The Lord knows how to rescue us from the power of temptation, and since the devil has this great ability to tempt and entice us, it is necessary that we know the way of deliverance and of escape from his power. We read that Jesus suffered temptation 'that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.' (Alma 7:12.)
"Peter said that 'the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations' (2 Pet. 2:9), and in these last days the Lord has given assurance that he 'knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted' (D&C 62:1)." (Robert J. Matthews, "Searching the Scriptures: How to Face Temptation," Ensign, Aug. 1973, 68)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Peter promised: 'The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations.' (2 Peter 2:9.) The same promise was reaffirmed in this dispensation: 'Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation.' (D&C 95:1. Italics added.)
"We are promised deliverance, but the Lord will not kidnap us. The ground rules about free agency insure that we will not be held hostage against our will. Countless times, however, some mortals have insisted on breaking away from His saving grasp in order that they might swim back to the sinking ship!" (We Will Prove Them Herewith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 42.)
2 Peter 2:10 them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness... despise government
"These apostates defile the flesh...on the one hand and reject authority on the other. The two go together. Where one has forsaken internal discipline, he also rejects the external. Anarchists, these apostates reject all restraint on their desires." (Catherine Thomas in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 247.)
James E. Talmage
"Doubtless there existed excellent reason for these explicit and repeated counsels, against the spirit of revolt, with which the apostles of old sought to lead and strengthen the Church. The saints rejoiced in their testimony of the truth that had found place in their hearts-the truth that was to make them free-and it would have been easy for them to regard all others as inferior to themselves, and to rebel against all authority of man in favor of their allegiance to a higher power. There was constant danger that their zeal would lead them to acts of indiscretion, and thus furnish excuse, if not reason, for the assaults of persecutors, who would have denounced them as law-breakers and workers of sedition. Even half-hearted submission to the civil powers would have been unwise at least, in view of the disfavor with which the Church had come to be regarded by pagan contemporaries. The voice of inspired leaders was heard, therefore, in timely counsel for humility and submission. But there were then, as ever have there been, weightier reasons than such as rest on motives of policy requiring submission to the established powers. Such is no less the law of God than of man. Governments are essential to human existence; they are recognized, given indeed, of the Lord; and His people are in duty bound to sustain them." (Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 381.)
2 Peter 2:11 angels...bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord
Only Peter would know the nature of conversation between the Lord and his angels. Apparently, the angels have better things to talk about than the mistakes and foibles of civil governments. In America, in particular, sport is made of mocking the President, making fun of politicians, and second-guessing all authority. The practice has become a pastime in which daily criticism is even touted as a form of patriotism. Such is offensive to the Lord. Peter is teaching an important principle-that evil speaking of government authority is offensive to the Lord just as is evil speaking of the Lord's anointed.
2 Peter 2:10-12 But these...speak evil of the things that they understand not
Spencer W. Kimball
"Among Church members rebellion frequently takes the form of criticism of authorities and leaders. They 'speak evil of dignities' and 'of the things that they understand not,' says Peter. (2 Pet. 2:10, 12.) They complain of the programs, belittle the constituted authorities, and generally set themselves up as judges. After a while they absent themselves from Church meetings for imagined offenses, and fail to pay their tithes and meet their other Church obligations. In a word, they have the spirit of apostasy, which is almost always the harvest of the seeds of criticism. Unless they repent they shrivel in the destructive element they have themselves prepared, poison themselves with mixtures of their own concocting; or as Peter puts it, they 'perish in their own corruption.' Not only do they suffer but their posterity also. In modern times the Lord has described their fate in these words:
'Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord.
But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.
And those who swear falsely against my servants...
Their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall perish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them.
They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation.' (D&C 121:16-18, 20-21.)
"Such people fail to bear testimony to their descendants, destroy faith within their own homes, and actually deny the 'right to the priesthood' to succeeding generations who might otherwise have been faithful in all things." (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 42-43)
Spencer W. Kimball
"We pray for the Church leaders. If children all their days in their turn at family prayers and in their secret prayers remember before the Lord the leaders of the Church, they are quite unlikely to ever fall into apostasy and into the class that Peter mentioned: '. . . Presumptuous are they . . . selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.' (2 Peter 2:10.) The children who pray for the brethren will grow up loving them, speaking well of them, honoring and emulating them. Those who daily hear the leaders of the Church spoken of in prayer in deep affection will more likely believe the sermons and admonitions they will hear.
"When boys speak to the Lord concerning their bishop, they are likely to take very seriously the interviews with the bishop in which priesthood advancements and mission and temple blessings are being discussed. And girls too will have a healthy respect for all church proceedings as they pray for the leaders of the Church." (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 203.)
2 Peter 2:15 Balaam the son of Bosor...loved the wages of unrighteousness
Bruce R. McConkie
"This single, inspired sentence enables us to put in proper perspective the whole story of Balaam the son of Beor who was entreated by Balak to curse Israel and bless Moab. (Num. 22, 23 and 24.) Though Balaam was true to his prophetic trust and delivered the Lord's message of blessing to Israel and cursing to Moab, yet as here shown he 'loved the wages of unrighteousness'; that is, he sought the honor and wealth offered him if he would curse the Lord's chosen people. And how often it is that the honors of men and the wealth of the world lead members of the Church away from their duty and cause them to lose their souls!" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 361-362)
2 Peter 2:19 of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage
Marion D. Hanks
"In World War II, I had an experience aboard a United States naval vessel in the South Pacific that was a powerful example of the virtue of wise choices and the peril of making decisions that are immature or impetuous, or are made in the heat of emotion, or that go thoughtlessly along with the crowd.
"The young man aboard my ship was obviously special. He was modest and able and promising, and it was a blessing to be with him on the few occasions when our particular duties during wartime made it possible to be together.
"But circumstance dictated that much more of the time and attention of my young associate was spent with others with whom he worked intimately in the compressed life of a crew aboard a ship at sea. These associates had life-styles and a view of values that were far removed from those to which this choice lad was accustomed. Gradually, the circumstances and the daily pressures began to take their toll on a not yet fully stable young man.
"One day in a far-off port, I observed him almost furtively preparing to go ashore in the company of some of those experienced individuals who were taking him into town for one of their 'good times,' as they supposed. In the navy, these periods off duty were ironically called 'liberty.'
"I had a brief moment with him as he went over the gangway and tried to warn him that this adventure was perilous and that these men meant him no good. His furtiveness turned to defiance, and he plainly told me that he was a big boy now, able to make up his own mind, and that he would do as he chose.
"The consequences of the decisions he made that day-and those that were made for him when, through their iniquitous 'help,' he had lost the power to think for himself or govern his own behavior-were different than he ever intended or could imagine. In his immaturity, he rebelliously chose the beginning of a road without thinking where that road would lead him. The place at which he arrived in the next few hours was one which he would never in his right mind have chosen.
"When he returned to the ship, overleave overseas in wartime, out of control, and in custody of the shore patrol, he became subject to severe discipline. I cannot forget his tearful anguish as he awaited his ordeal. He could not even remember anything of the most serious of the tragedies that had occurred to him. All he could recall was lifting a glass they pressed on him, not knowing that they had drugged the drink, and then all was blank. They had proceeded to take him on their rounds with them.
"The charges against him, indelibly imprinted on his previously perfect service record, were heartbreaking. I won't forget his tearful anguish as he said over and over, 'What will I tell my mom? What will I tell my girl?'
"He had time now-and the disposition to listen and to think. We read together the sweet counsel of the Lord concerning Christ's atoning sacrifice and his mission of redemption and of forgiveness and mercy (see Alma 42).
"About two thousand years ago, the Apostle Peter wrote in remarkable detail of our times and what is transpiring in them as individuals, young and old, are sometimes led into tragedy by others who have no wholesome interest in their happiness or their future. These 'others,' and the results of their evil influence, are clearly described. I pray that some who sorely need it, or some who can help those who sorely need it, will hear these remarkable words. They come from the book of Second Peter, chapter 2: (quotes 2 Pet. 2:9-10, 12, 14, 17-19).
"I have never been able to refer to these powerful words without thinking about a clean young man of strong promise who followed bad counsel and bad example into tragedy, with compromise to conscience and with heartbreak to himself and to those who loved him. We cannot with impunity follow the example or heed the counsels of unwisdom or unrighteousness, or of ignorance or immaturity or ego or greed or bravado.
"There is no bravery in evil, no true courage in behavior that can only result in deep disappointment. There is no lasting joy in the euphoria resulting from substances taken into our bodies which ultimately sabotage our self-control, and overcome our capacity to think for ourselves, and move us to act in ways incompatible with our best understanding." ("I Will Look unto the Lord," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 12-13)
2 Peter 2:21 it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness
Joseph Fielding Smith
"...when a person once enlightened by the Spirit so that he receives knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, then turns away and fights the Lord and his work, he does so against the light and testimony he has received by the power of God. Therefore, he has resigned himself to evil knowingly. Therefore Jesus said there is no forgiveness for such a person.
"The testimony of the Holy Ghost is the strongest testimony that a man can receive." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 4: 92.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"It is important for all men that they do not even approach the tragic point of the unpardonable sin. Numerous people have lost the Spirit through immorality and through rebellion brought about by the sophistry and philosophy of men, and sometimes through fancied offenses. Bitterness has a way of poisoning the mind and killing the spirit. One should take no chances of permitting such situations to become sore and gangrenous, for who can tell when one might slip across the line? To do so rather than enduring to the end is perhaps to be in the category Peter described:
'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.
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.' (2 Pet. 2:20-21.)
"Sin Against the Holy Ghost. The sins unto death may be thought of as somewhat difficult to define and limit with precision. From the words of Joseph Smith quoted above we note that '. . . many apostates of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' will fall into this category. We cannot definitely identify them individually since it is impossible for us to know the extent of their knowledge, the depth of their enlightenment, and the sureness of their testimonies before their fall." (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969],121-122)
Hyrum M. Smith
"Let us see to it that we do not lose the Spirit of God by lapsing into indifference, into neglect of duty, into failure to pray, into disobedience, and the breaking of the commandments; into the spirit of fault-finding and committing of sin. One step leads to another, until by and by the Spirit is grieved and will no longer strive with us. We can go to the extent, in our sinning and neglect, that the Spirit of God will altogether withdraw from us, and then when the light that is within us has become darkness, oh, how intense, indeed, is that darkness. Then we are left to the buffetings of Satan, to become like the waves of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed, to be carried about by every wind of doctrine, to be persuaded by all manner of men, never secure, never established in the truth, always full of anxiety and doubt, not knowing whither we are being enticed. That is a terrible condition. It has been said that it had been better never to have been born, than to have received the Holy Ghost, and then deny Him." (Conference Report, October 1912, Afternoon Session. 57 - 58.)
2 Peter 2:22 The dog is turned to his own vomit again
Spencer W. Kimball
"Having received the necessary saving ordinances-baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, temple ordinances and sealings-one must live the covenants made. He must endure in faith. No matter how brilliant was the service rendered by the bishop or stake president or other person, if he falters later in his life and fails to live righteously 'to the end' the good works he did all stand in jeopardy. In fact, one who serves and then falls away may be in the category spoken of by Peter, 'the dog turning to his vomit or the sow returning to her wallowing in the mire.' (See "2 pet. 2:222 Pet. 2:22.)" (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 121)
Joseph Smith's commentary on this passage is interesting, "Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him." (History of The Church, 5: 388 - 398.) The Prophet is making a distinction between the divine manifestation and receiving the promise of eternal life. For Peter, James, and John, both happened at the same time. For Joseph Smith, they were separate. He heard 'This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!' over a decade before he received the promise of exaltation (DC 132:49, see also section heading for DC 132).
"It is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God ('this is my beloved Son,' etc.) and another to know that you yourself will be saved. To have a positive promise of your own salvation is making your calling and election sure. Namely, the voice of Jesus saying, 'My beloved, thou shalt have eternal life.' Brethren, never cease struggling until you get this evidence. Take heed both before and after obtaining this more sure word of prophecy." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 209 - 210.)