“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:1–3, AV)
As a veteran of the United States Army, I have always had a special place in my heart for other veterans and their families. Once a year on Veterans Day weekend, I would make it a special point to recognize our veterans and pray for them and their families. One of the veterans in the congregation suggested that we wear our decorations, that is our medals and awards, on our blazer or shirts on that day of recognition. I thought about it and discovered that military regulations permitted it. We were very careful to follow the regulations and wear only the things we were awarded.
It did not happen with any of our veterans, but I discovered that there were impostors running around in uniform. Those that I learned about wore military uniforms with all sorts of medals pinned to their blazers. They were somewhat easy to identify by those who were knowledgeable. This is because they would wear ribbons that reflected medals and awards that were either in the wrong place on their uniforms, or ones that they could have never received during their time and branch of service. It bothered me that men and women who obviously never served would be such impostors. They were pseudo soldiers.
The word pseudo refers to anything that appears to be one thing rather than what it actually is. Peter stated that there were false prophets and false teachers that were active in the business of teaching and preaching. The word for “false prophets,” pseudoprophetes (Strong G5578), and “false teachers,” pseudodidaskalos (Strong G5572), prompted me to think more deeply about the way these people entered the church. These words are a compound of two words with one being pseudo. Pseudo comes from the Greek word pseudes, meaning erroneous, deceitful, wicked (Strong G5571). These false ministers came in the guise of true prophets and true teachers. They claimed to be the real thing and even looked like the real thing, but they were not.
Peter indicated that these men were blaspheming the truth of God (v2). In verse 3 it states that they were using “feigned words.” Here is another interesting word, “feigned,” plastois, is a word that refers to something that is molded, like a potter molding clay (Strong G4112). These men were molding the truth into a carefully crafted falsehood to deceive those who would give them an ear.
Why did these men do this? They could not have been true believers, for if they were they would never pervert the truth. Peter stated that they did it because they were covetous. They had greedy desires. They were fleshly and in it for the wrong reasons.
Today pseudo-ministers are still infiltrating the church. Watch out for them. They will twist and mold the truth for personal gain. It may be for recognition, to fuel their ego, or for material gain. You can identify them if you know the truth of God’s word.