Mist of Darkness

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

2 Peter 2:17

Context 2 Peter 2:17

We must first understand the historical and cultural context of this verse.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ wrote the Second Epistle of Peter, and it was likely written in the early 60s AD. Peter wrote the letter to encourage and strengthen the faith of the early Christians who were facing persecution and false teachings.

The larger section (2 Peter 2:1-22) includes the verse 2 Peter 2:17, which serves as a warning against false teachers known for their greed, immorality, and denial of Jesus Christ.


In this verse, greed, immorality, and their denial of Jesus Christ.defines false teachers: The “wells without water” represent people who promise spiritual refreshment and guidance, but in reality, they have nothing to offer.

The “clouds that are carried with a tempest” represent the transient nature of their teachings, which are blown away by the winds of adversity.

In this context, the metaphor of “springs without water” and “mists driven by a storm” is used to describe these false teachers. The “springs without water” represent people who promise spiritual refreshment and guidance, but in reality, they have nothing to offer. The “mists driven by a storm” represent the transient nature of their teachings, which are blown away by the winds of adversity.

Mist of Darkness

The phrase “Mist of darkness” is a reference to the final judgment, where those who have rejected the truth and led others astray will face eternal punishment. The image of mist and darkness represents the complete absence of light and hope, which is a stark contrast to the light and hope that Jesus Christ offers to those who believe in him.

Mist ζόφος (G2217)

Mist represents the gloom of darkness. According to Vine, the word refers to blackness. It points to “the regions of the lost.”

Vine, furthermore, tells us that this blackness “suggests a kind of emanation.”


The mist of darkness has God as its source. Take a look at the definition of this word in the Cambridge Unabridged Dictionary:

The process of flowing forth, issuing or proceeding from anything as a source… Often applied to the origination of created beings from God; chiefly with reference to the theories that regard either the universe as a whole, or the spiritual part of it, as deriving its existence from the essence of God, and not from an act of creation out of nothing.

A person or thing produced by emanation from the Divine Essense.

Cambridge Unabridged Dictionary, 1933, Volume 03, page 100

Vine continues defining this mist:

It further means, namely that sunless world itself, though indeed this less often than the gloom which wraps it.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament

We now understand that the “mist” comes from God. It’s a divine darkness that comes from God, but God has not created it. Gloom characterises this mist because it constitutes a permanent darkness which light cannot dispel.

The mist – the blackness – that the lost face comes from God from which no possibility exists of escape.

Finally, Zodhiates says of this mist:

The darkness or thick darkness associated with the region of those who are lost.

The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament

Of Darkness σκότος (G4655)

Apostle Peter metaphorically intensifies the gloom of the lost using this term that speaks:

Of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell

Persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway

Outline of Biblical Usage

Darkness not only refers to the deeds of sinners, but their ultimate destiny in Hell. These people will see the darkness, and that darkness will overwhelm them.

Friedrich, in TDNT defines this darkness this way:

Darkness, not in connection with its optical effect, but experienced as an enveloping sphere and described in its significance for existence.

TDNT 7:424

No good can exist in this darkness.

Zodhiates tells us this darkness speaks of “eternal misery and damnation.

Finally, you need to know that people voluntarily choose to succumb to this extreme gloom and absence of light, rejecting the glorious light of the Gospel.

Those who accept God’s salvation escape this darkness and move into God’s light.

Who experiences the “mist of darkness”?

I want you to see who must look forward to the mist of darkness. 2 Peter 2:1-8 broadly describes the “unjust” who will experience the divine envelope of darkness.

These are false teachers who make merchandise of God’s people.

These terrible people abide in the church! They:

  • Bring in damnable heresies.
  • Deny the Lord that bought them.
  • Bring destruction upon themselves.
  • Live in pernicious ways.
  • Cause others to follow pernicious ways.
  • Cause people to speak evil of the Truth.
  • Live with covetousness.
  • Make merchandise of true believers.
  • Face swift and terrible divine judgment.

I see 2 Peter 2:9 as pivotal in this passage. Here, the Apostle stops describing the behavior of the false teachers. He gives assurance to believers and summarizes the damnation of the false teachers:

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

2 Peter 2:9

Objects of the mist of darkness

Peter provides examples of the sinners mentioned in 2 Peter 2:1-9 in the verses that complete the chapter.

These false teachers are those who/who are:

  • Walk after the flesh.
  • Have unlcean lusts.
  • Despise Government.
  • Are presumptuous.
  • Selfwilled.
  • Not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
  • Speak evil of things they don’t understand.
  • Corrupt.
  • Riot in the daytime.
  • Sport their deceivings.
  • Have eyes full of adultery.
  • Cannot cease from sin.
  • Are unstable.
  • Have covetous practices.
  • Are cursed children.
  • Forsake the right way.
  • Love the wages of unrighteousness.
  • Wells without water.
  • Clouds carried with a tempest.
  • Speak vain words.
  • Allure through the lusts of the flesh.
  • Wanton.
  • Promise liberty.
  • Serve corruption.
  • Better if they never knew the righteous way.

I could spend a long time discussing the attributes of these false teachers. For now, however, let’s accept the evil of these people and the horrible end they face in the mist of darkness.


In summary, 2 Peter 2:17 is a warning against false teachers who offer empty promises and lead others astray. The metaphor of springs without water and mists driven by a storm highlights the transient nature of their teachings, while the phrase “Blackest darkness is reserved for them” serves as a reminder of the eternal consequences of rejecting the truth. As a Bible Scholar AI, I encourage you to explore this passage further and consider how it applies to our lives today.

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