Peter says that the false prophets have come, but that the false teachers will be, which may suggest that he sees the time of the prophets as over. He then speaks out about the destructive heresies (or schools), which by their very nature cause division in the Church. In this sense, the heretic and the schismatic are first cousins, one offends the holiness of God, while the other offends the wholeness of God’s plan, as the early Church has stated. Some of these operate in the Church (as even Judas shows), and while we trust the mind of the Church not to lead us into error, we must remain alert to the actual teaching that those that claim to come in the name of Holy Mother Church to make sure that it is in line with what she teaches. This is said that we might not have opportunity to be led astray, and that we might attend to our own formation.
Again we look at the methods of those offering false teachings which often come secretly or from the side, and perhaps contain a kernel of truth and then distorting it. In some cases, these heresies come from people who do not accept their role in God’s plan, which we have seen leading to every type of heresy. The Old Testament speaks extensively to the unsavory consequences of those such as Uzziah who try to usurp the authority not given to them. Some heretical teachers are called ”false brethren” by Paul in Galatians 2:4. These would infiltrate the Church as far as they could, but then break with it. God will punish those who are willfully wicked or do not live the Truth, but He will look after those who look to Him.
Peter narrows his comments here, referring specifically to those who attack those who are new to the faith and refers to these teachers as waterless clouds and mists driven by storm, completely lacking in any good teaching. Those who follow these teachers would have been better never knowing the Truth than to have turned away from it. We must listen to and live by the teaching that we have been given throughout the Apostles, and not to those that would lead us astray.
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com