“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the Word of God and prayer.”
I know it’s been a long time since I posted on my blog, and even longer since I wrote about 1 Timothy. I’ve got a lot to catch up on.
Have you ever read in perhaps one of the prophetic books and wondered where prophecies come from? Probably not. It seems fairly obvious that they’re from God ~ more specifically, from the Holy Spirit.
Now that we’ve covered that little bit of common sense, we can get into the more interesting stuff. First, I want to focus on the word “some.” That word has both a good and a bad meaning here ~ it’s bad because it’s saying that some of our brothers and sisters in the faith will abandon our mutual faith, and therefore our brother- and sisterhood. But it’s good because only SOME of our faith-siblings will turn away. It’s comforting to know that not all will be deceived.
What this passage means by “deceiving spirits” is men who pretended to be tapped in to the Spirit, but weren’t actually guided by him. A similar warning is found in 1 John 4:1: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
What do demons teach? What a good question. We know that none of it correlates to what God teaches, so that gives you a clue. But they also like to teach that angels and demons are on a rank between God and man. Throughout history, many people believed this image of the beast, and worshipped angels. But the Bible never says the angels are made in God’s image, does it? WE ARE. Just like that song by Anthem Lights says ~ we’re Closer Than the Angels.
These delusions are demonic, but they come from various different places: for instance, from hypocrites who forge and pretend to do miracles, or from people who profess to honor Christ but are really fighting against him. The image of searing with a hot iron is an intense one, but it has to be, because unless their souls were seared, a person couldn’t maintain so much evil while still pretending to do things in the interest of the church. We have a clue of who these people are because ~ using the examples Paul did ~ they forbid marriage even though it’s a sacred ordinance of God, and they forbid you to eat certain foods, which He created for our pleasure. More on that later, though.
A man must be hardened before he can depart from the faith. When he begins to command what God forbids and forbid what He commands, it’s a sign that he’s on his way out.
The horrors of the times to come really shouldn’t surprise us, because the Bible tells us clearly what’s happening and what’s going to happen. Now, you might wonder what the real difference between the Spirit and demons is. I’ll tell you: the Spirit speaks clearly and can foresee the future with certainty, while demons are doubtful and uncertain. That’s because the Spirit is God! He’s tapped in to the Father and the Son. They know what’s going on.
A thought: it’s common for deceivers to pretend to be speaking directly from God, so they must believe it’s likely to work. That tells us something about ourselves!
Back to food. (Y’all are cheering, aren’t you? Stop that.) Verse 4 says “everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected.” He allows us to eat meat, for instance, while the Jews were forbidden by ceremonial law to eat certain things. But His gifts are even sweeter to us when we receive them with thanksgiving. We should look at our food as something God gave us, and use it for Him. (I’ll let you decide how you choose to do that!)
God’s blessing makes every creature nourishing to us, so nothing should be refused. (Remember Peter’s vision of the sheet in Matthew 4?) He gives us permission to eat, and promises to feed us food that is good for us. However, we ought to ask His blessing by prayer to sanctify the food we receive.