Beware of the False Cross
Peter also warns us to be on our guard, lest these "greedy dogs" cause us to stray, to fall, from our own steadfastness in the Lord. Peter knew what it meant to fall from his steadfastness unto his Lord, because he had denied the Lord three times. He knew the despair of failing the Lord he loved so much. Peter knew what it meant to be found in his own righteousness, but he also knew what the Cross of the Lord Jesus meant to his life, because he was there when the Lord told him and the others that were following Him what it meant to be His disciple. Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it" (Luke 9:23, 24).
Furthermore, it is not by accident, but by Divine design that Peter was chosen to write of the great contrast between the sheep of the Great Shepherd who have gone astray, and "the dogs" that return to their own vomit. Peter was chosen to write of this in the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever, because he knew what it meant to go astray. Now both Peter and Paul say that the end of these messengers of satan, the end of these false prophets and false teachers, the end of these "greedy dogs" is destruction and judgment. And Peter writes, "It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A dog returned to its own vomit." It returns to the worthless waste. It returns to the dung of its own greedy self-life (2 Peter 2:22). But Peter also writes that the sheep of the Great Shepherd, the saved sinner who has gone astray can return to the Shepherd and Bishop and Guardian of their soul. For the scripture says, "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him, on Christ, the iniquity of us all. And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the Cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian and Bishop of your souls" (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24, 25).
"For without are dogs ... and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."
Now Revelation tells us this:
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city - the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" (Revelation 22:14, 15; 21:10).
Therefore, "the dogs" are the messengers of satan, they are false prophets and false teachers, and their message is the message of the false cross, because they are among those whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. They are among those who have their place in "the lie" of the devil. For Jesus said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" - satan is the father of the lie. Therefore these "greedy dogs" are the enemies of the Cross of Christ.
Now we must realize that these "greedy dogs" represent much more than flesh and blood false prophets and teachers, because these "greedy dogs" have their place in "the lie" of the devil, and their message proceeds out of the depths of satan. Consequently, they are part of the unseen warfare that has been raging between God and satan, since the day satan fell. In Psalm 22, we find these "greedy dogs" are revealed in the realm of the unseen warfare that took place when Christ was accomplishing and completing and perfecting through His Cross all that God had eternally purposed in Him before times eternal. And, beloved, this Psalm makes it clear that these "greedy dogs" are the enemies of the Cross of Christ.
Psalm 22 is a Psalm of David, but we have seen that it is also the Psalm of the suffering Messiah, the Christ of God. However, it is also clear that David himself was going through an intense conflict and suffering in his heart, spirit, soul and body, because he prays: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" The Psalms leaves no doubt that David prayed and sang Psalms in the Spirit. Therefore in Psalm 22, we find David praying in the Spirit with all prayer, and we have seen that Christ is All Prayer. Thus, as David was praying in the Spirit, a remarkable thing took place, he actually began to pray the prayer that Christ prayed while He was on the Cross. And, beloved, it is through this prayer that the Eternal Holy Spirit chose to reveal that which we could never have known. The Holy Spirit chose to reveal a portion of the unseen realm of the great warfare in the heavenlies that was taking place when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was upon the Cross: "For [like a pack of] dogs they have compassed Me: the assembly, a company of evildoers, of the wicked have enclosed Me, have encircled Me, have hedged Me in: they pierced My hands and My feet" (Psalm 22:16).
So we see that "the dogs" are revealed in the invisible warfare that took place in the heavens when Christ was Crucified. They are described as an assembly, a company of evildoers, like a pack of wild dogs. "the dogs", who are part of the spiritual wickedness of the evil one, satan himself, have surrounded Christ. Psalm 22 is both a cry of anguish, and a song of praise; and in verse one and verses nineteen and twenty, as David cried out in anguish before his Lord, the Holy Spirit inspires him to pray the cry of the Christ as He suffered on the Cross.
My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? ...
But Thou, O Lord, be not far off;
O Thou My Help, hasten to my assistance.
Deliver My soul from the sword,
My only life from the power of the dog.
In Psalm 22, the Holy Spirit uses strong figurative language in order to emphasize the intensity of the invisible warfare surrounding the Cross; and in this invisible warfare, we find the meaning of "the power of the dog." The power of the dog represents the powers of satan which causes the soul to believe that it s forsaken by God, and by man, to cause the soul - all that makes up our living being - to believe that it is desolate and abandoned to its self alone. In the phrase, "the power of the dog," the word "power" means hand in the sense of execution. "The power of the dog", the hand of the dog or dogs, is the opposite of the Hand of God, which speaks of God's Omnipotent Power - the Right Hand of God. Therefore, the power of the dog, the hand of the dog, speaks of satan's counterfeit of the omnipotent power of God.
(continued with # 4)