But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach their destructive heresies about God and even turn against their Master who bought them. Theirs will be a swift and terrible end.
Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of them, Christ and his true way will be slandered.
In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction is on the way.
For God did not spare even the angels when they sinned; he threw them into hell, a in gloomy caves b and darkness until the judgment day.
And God did not spare the ancient world -- except for Noah and his family of seven. Noah warned the world of God's righteous judgment. Then God destroyed the whole world of ungodly people with a vast flood.
Later, he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and swept them off the face of the earth. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people.
But at the same time, God rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a good man who was sick of all the immorality and wickedness around him.
Yes, he was a righteous man who was distressed by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day.
So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while punishing the wicked right up until the day of judgment.
He is especially hard on those who follow their own evil, lustful desires and who despise authority. These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at the glorious ones c without so much as trembling.
But the angels, even though they are far greater in power and strength than these false teachers, never speak out disrespectfully against d the glorious ones.
These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, who are born to be caught and killed. They laugh at the terrifying powers they know so little about, and they will be destroyed along with them.
Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They revel in deceitfulness while they feast with you.
They commit adultery with their eyes, and their lust is never satisfied. They make a game of luring unstable people into sin. They train themselves to be greedy; they are doomed and cursed.
They have wandered off the right road and followed the way of Balaam son of Beor, e who loved to earn money by doing wrong.
But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.
These people are as useless as dried-up springs of water or as clouds blown away by the wind -- promising much and delivering nothing. They are doomed to blackest darkness.
They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With lustful desire as their bait, they lure back into sin those who have just escaped from such wicked living.
They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.
And when people escape from the wicked ways of the world by learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up with sin and become its slave again, they are worse off than before.
It would be better if they had never known the right way to live than to know it and then reject the holy commandments that were given to them.
They make these proverbs come true: "A dog returns to its vomit," f and "A washed pig returns to the mud."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)