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. Chapter 2.

False Prophets and Teachers

1 But Israel had false prophets as well as true; and you likewise will have false teachers among you. They will import disastrous heresies, disowning the very Master who bought them, and bringing swift disaster on their own heads. 2 They will gain many adherents to their dissolute practices, through whom the true way will be brought into disrepute. 3 In their greed for money they will trade on your credulity with sheer fabrications.

But the judgement long decreed for them has not been idle; perdition waits for them with unsleeping eyes. 4 God did not spare the angels who sinned, but consigned them to the dark pits of hell, [Some witnesses read: consigned them to darkness and chains in hell.] where they are reserved for judgement. 5 He did not spare the world of old (except for Noah, preacher of righteousness, whom he preserved with seven others), but brought the deluge upon that world of godless men. 6 The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah God burned to ashes, and condemned them to total destruction, making them an object-lesson for godless men in future days. 7 But he rescued Lot, who was a good man, shocked by the dissolute habits of the lawless society in which he lived; 8 day after day every sight, every sound, of their evil courses tortured that good man's heart. 9 Thus the Lord is well able to rescue the godly out of trials, and to reserve the wicked under punishment until the day of judgement.

10 Above all he will punish those who follow their abominable lusts. They flout authority; reckless and headstrong, they are not afraid to insult celestial beings, 11 whereas angels, for all their superior strength and might, employ no insults in seeking judgement against them before the Lord.

12 These men are like brute beasts, born in the course of nature to be caught and killed. They pour abuse upon things they do not understand; like the beasts they will perish, 13 suffering hurt for the hurt they have inflicted. To carouse in broad daylight is their idea of pleasure; while they sit with you at table they are an ugly blot on your company, because they revel in their own deceptions. [Some witnesses read: in their love-feasts.]

14 They have eyes for nothing but women, eyes never at rest from sin. They lure the unstable to their ruin; past masters in mercenary greed, God's curse is on them! 15 They have abandoned the straight road and lost their way. They have followed in the steps of Balaam son of Beor, who consented to take pay for doing wrong, 16 but had his offence brought home to him when the dumb beast spoke with a human voice and put a stop to the prophet's madness.

17 These men are springs that give no water, mists driven by a storm; the place reserved for them is blackest darkness. 18 They utter big, empty words, and make of sensual lusts and debauchery a bait to catch those who have barely begun to escape from their heathen environment. 19 They promise them freedom, but are themselves slaves of corruption; for a man is the slave of whatever has mastered him. 20 They had once escaped the world's defilements through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; yet if they have entangled themselves in these all over again, and are mastered by them, their plight in the end is worse than before. 21 How much better never to have known the right way, than, having known it, to turn back and abandon the sacred commandments delivered to them! 22 [ Pr.26.11. ] For them the proverb has proved true: 'The dog returns to its own vomit', and, 'The sow after a wash rolls in the mud again.'

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