Quite a while ago, I was spending time in my nightly Scripture study – Genesis through Revelation, as we all should do – and had one of those moments where I saw something that I had never seen before. In this case, it was because of current events that this unique take on a familiar passage took me by surprise – and probably has you, too. It really shouldn’t have surprised any of us, as Paul said his words were for “the latter times.”
Let’s look at the passage in its entirety and then break it down as we compare it to these last days we find ourselves in.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:1-4).
Verse one is a pretty standard and well-known verse:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).
We have been witnessing a “departure from the faith” for quite some time now. “Evangelical” has lost its once doctrinally pure reputation with the rise of the progressive/liberal Emergent church movement, leading multitudes astray. Once Biblically solid churches are now immersed in the Purpose-Driven church growth movement and ecumenical theology. The descent into worldly “woke” programs and ideology has infiltrated the Laodicean church at breakneck pace.
Churches are increasingly “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” The list of these evil doctrines that have invaded the church could fill a book. Just a sampling would include:
- Communist/Marxist/Socialist “social justice” movement known as the Social Gospel; Critical Race Theory (CRT); “Environmental justice” known as the Green Gospel;
- The Emerging/Emergent church; The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR); Dominion Now, IHOP, Seven Mountain Mandate, Manifest Sons of God, and many other like-minded apostate groups;
- “Holy Laughter”; Latter Rain Movement; Word of Faith; The Prosperity Gospel; Hebrew Roots Movement (those that lead into legalism);
- New Age teachings including The Message, The Shack, Jesus Calling, and many others;
- Possibility Thinking and Positive Thinking; Positive Confession;
- The Secret; Eastern Mystical Meditation masquerading as prayer, known as Spiritual Formation (classes in seminaries), Contemplative Prayer, Centering Prayer, and many other names;
- Prayer Circles; Circle Making; Prayer and church Labyrinths; Visualization; Yoga; Enneagrams; Psychology;
- Anti-Israel; Pro-Abortion; Anti-Traditional marriage; and I literally could go on and on.
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2).
These people that have introduced these abominable heresies into the church of Christ would have to have “their conscience seared with a hot iron” as they speak their “lies in hypocrisy.”
Done. Done. And done.
“Forbidding to marry” (1 Timothy 4:3a).
This is where it began to get interesting for me.
For the last 1,700 years, many Protestants have equated this “forbidding to marry” to the Catholic church and her hierarchy’s celibacy – and this certainly is a very real consideration and application.
But I got to thinking about this a little more.
The Greek word for “forbidding” is 2967 κωλύω “kóluó” and means to prevent (by word or act) — forbid, hinder, keep from, let, not suffer, withstand. (emphasis mine)
This word doesn’t necessarily mean to command not to marry, but to hinder or to let (get in the way of) those who desire to marry and points them in the opposite direction; to that of being “united” in unmarried or unsanctified relationships, or to flee the construct of marriage entirely.
The world, most certainly, has been pushing this concept and has done much damage to the institution of marriage when allowing other forms of “marriage” to be celebrated within society. Not only that, but there’s no incentive for marriage in the world anymore. Family isn’t held up as a viable and honorable institution, and children are seen as more of a curse than a blessing. Because of selfishness, most people would rather not have children that would get in the way of personal ambition and their desire to please self, and this self-pleasure would certainly include the abolishment of the marriage contract to seek other sexual partners in the future.
But when it comes to the church, the text could also be saying essentially the same thing: That is, there will be leaders within the professing church who will entice or encourage others not to marry but to cohabitate as unmarried partners, signifying that God will bless and honor such relationships.
“… and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3b).
The last part of this verse is equally applied to the Catholic church from Protestants, often alluding to the practice and observance of Lent.
The Greek word for “meats” is 1033 βρῶμα “bróma” and means meat, food. From the base of bibrosko; food (literally or figuratively), especially (ceremonially) articles allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law — meat, victuals.
Then, of course, we have vegetarianism and all that this entails.
The first thing I thought of when considering this verse in a modern-day, end-times context is what the elite are pushing on society; and I’m sure you’ve been hearing and thinking about these things as well!
Israel, too, is in the meatless market:
Not only that, but they want to encourage the masses to eat bugs!
And, of course, the climate alarmists demand we actively push for a meatless planet, all in the name of the environment and so-called “climate change”:
This Gaia worshiping frenzy has even reached their tentacles into meat recipes – or the lack thereof:
It’s pretty amazing when we consider these things. Here we are, seemingly on the cusp of our Lord coming back for His bride, and oh how these verses are speaking to us today, and in a manner we could never have expected!
Just one more sign of man “thumbing his nose” at his Creator, knowing better than God what is good for man.
In case we missed it, Paul goes on to emphasize that God has given these foods as a blessing to us while living on this earth:
“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
Keep giving God the honor, glory, and thanks to His Holy Name that He, and only He, deserves! And savor the blessings of food the Lord has given us to enjoy with thanksgiving – at least while we still can – as we await His glorious return for His church!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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➢ I am still taking questions for the Questions From the Body of Christ series. If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.