Scoffers and Mockers

Who are they and who are they mocking?

By Dr. Ken Matto

(Jude 1:18 KJV) How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

(2 Pet 3:3 KJV) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

Now the two verses in view are Jude 18 and 2 Peter 3:3. The Greek word for “mockers” in Jude 18 and “scoffers” in 2 Peter 3:3 are the same Greek word. It is “empaiktes.” In fact the actual word in the text is “empaiktai” (empaiktai) and it is a plural noun which means “mocker, scoffer, deceiver.” This word is used only in these two verses in the entire New Testament.

The first thing we are going to look at is who are the mockers and scoffers but first we must look at the time frame in view. Now each of these verses have the same time frame in view. Both 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 18 are focusing on the last days.

In Jude 18 is the word “time” and it is "chronos." The word carries with it the meaning of “an exact time of an event” or “an extended or shortened” period. What is in view here is the entire New Testament period. The last days began at the cross and Jude is pointing out that these last days are going to be filled with much deceit concerning the true teachings of Christ.

In 2 Peter 3:3, the word “days” are used. They are literal days of time but the word “days” can also refer to a person’s lifetime or an indefinite period of time when used in the plural.

Preceding the words “days” and “time” is the word “last.” The word “last” in the Greek is "eschatos" which carries with it the meaning of “last, least, final, or farthest.”

Let us ask the question, what time frame is in view? This can be answered easily by the Bible itself.

(Acts 2:17 KJV) And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

(Heb 1:1-2 KJV) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

(1 John 2:18 KJV) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

In 1 John 2:18, the Greek word for “time” is "hora" and it carries with it the meaning of “hour, time of day, or a period of time” and is used 110 times in the New Testament. So we can easily see that all of these verses are in total harmony. 1 John 2:18 speaks of the entire New Testament period as being the last hour. Acts 2:17 & Hebrews 1:1-2 harmonize that thought by plainly stating we are in the last days.

We have firmly established that the last days, when the scoffers and mockers will attack the body of Christ, is the entire New Testament period. These scoffers and mockers are not limited to a certain period of time but have been present throughout the entire New Testament period. All one need do is to study church history and one will see that the mocking and scoffing, many times had its crescendo in martyrdom of the Christians. In modern times, true Christians are mocked and scoffed by many. All one has to do is see how Christianity is treated in the media versus false religions. Christianity is reviled not only in the media but also in the world of academia. So true Christianity has been derided since its inception. Now let us look at each of the verses in view.

Who are The Mockers and Scoffers?
(2 Pet 3:3-4 KJV) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, {4} And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

After - Preposition means “according to”

Own - Possessive Pronoun meaning belonging to one’s self, private

We will start with 2 Peter 3:3. In the last days, that is, from the cross to the last day of history there is going to come scoffers who are walking according to their own lusts. Since these are unbelievers in view, they walk according to the darkness which is inside them. They are unregenerate so they walk according to their lusts. The true Christian walks according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh which is akin to walking in the sinful nature. We read in Galatians 5:16 & 25 the fact that the Christian has the Holy Spirit living in them and therefore we walk according to the Spirit.

(Gal 5:16 KJV) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

(Gal 5:25 KJV) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Who we have in view here are the unbelievers who continue to mock and scoff at true Christianity. To verse 4. When the second coming of Christ is proclaimed, the scoffers continue to ask where is the fulfillment of the promise that was made about His second coming? They misunderstand one great thing in that since the time of creation there was a worldwide flood. This means they ignore the fact that God intervened in the world at the time of Noah and He will intervene again by ending this world. Just because they see things going on from day to day, they believe that life is perpetual and there will be no end. Just as the ancient world was surprised when God shut the Ark, there will be a horrible surprise when God ends this present world. Any true Christian who has done their Bible study will be cognizant of the fact of Noah’s flood. The scoffers are the unbelievers who do not believe in a worldwide flood and therefore they mock the idea that an end of the world is coming.

Jude 17-19
(Jude 1:17-19 KJV) But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; {18} How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. {19} These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

2 Peter was written about 66-67 A.D. The book of Jude was written after 2 Peter but no date has been determined for its writing. Jude basically builds upon the same theme which Peter spoke of, that is, the last days but is more forthright in his declaration. He states specifically in verse 19 that the mockers are unbelievers because they do not have the Holy Spirit living in them. (Rom 8:9 KJV) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. So we do not even have to guess who the mockers and scoffers are since the Bible tells us who they are in no uncertain terms. They are the unbelievers who have opposed Christianity since its inception and will continue to do so until the last day.

What is not considered Mocking and Scoffing?
The reality is the believers are commanded in the Scriptures to test the very spirits. That is very far from mocking and scoffing.

(1 John 4:1 KJV) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Try - Scrutinize, test, or prove

We are told not to believe every spirit and God links this with false prophets who bring false teachings.

(2 Pet 2:1 KJV) 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.

Now we see the warning given to us in 2 Peter 2:1 that among the ancient nation of Israel there were false prophets among the people. Then God goes on to warn the church and the Christians in general that there is going to be false prophets among them too. If you notice, the prophets do not come from an outside group but are among the people. If one studies church history, they will find that cults and “isms” have come out of the church by unsaved individuals, such as Jonathan Taze Russell, Congregational Church, who started the Jehovah’s Witnesses, William Miller, a Baptist preacher, and Ellen White, a Methodist started the Seventh Day Adventists, Jim Jones, Disciples of Christ, founded the People’s Temple. It is also an important parallel that Harold Camping was in the Reformed church and came out and brought all his disciples with him. He is no different than any other cult leader.

So 2 Peter 2:1 is an apt warning to every Christian, whether in a church or not, that we must realize that false prophets will be within Christianity. The word “prophet” means to declare God’s word and does not necessarily mean a person receiving special revelation from God as those who did before the completion of the Bible. So since we know that there will be false prophets among the Christians, it is our responsibility to try or test the spirit behind every teaching we hear. To test and scrutinize teachings does not constitute mocking or scoffing. It constitutes obedience to the Scriptures.

When we come to a teaching which is against the straight teaching of Scripture, by rejecting that teaching and even exposing it, does not mean we are mocking and scoffing. It means we are exposing the false teachings of an individual so others will not be snared into their net. So do not fear the false accusations of being a mocker or scoffer if you reject the teachings of a false teacher or system.

Mockers and scoffers are always unbelievers according to the Scriptures. They are the ones who oppose the Christians and the teachings of the Bible. These people have been around since the inception of Christianity and will be here until the last day.
Christians who scrutinize the teachings of any individual are being obedient to the Scriptures. We must make sure that we adopt true Bible teaching. This is why the true believer must always be on guard when hearing any teaching so they may compare it to the written word. If the teaching opposes Scripture, then it is to be rejected and to reject false teaching is obedience and not mocking and scoffing.