Q. Sincere thanks for your labor of love providing rich insight into scripture through your web site. My question pertains to 1 Timothy 4:1-5. Since “the Spirit expressly says” some will depart from the faith etc. etc., how would you expound these verses for the “latter times” we are living in?
A. In 1 Timothy 4:1-5 Paul said,
Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
By now we’re used to seeing people who claim to be followers of Jesus depart from Bible centered churches to join “Emerging Church” congregations where the Bible is not studied, where there is no talk of being born again, and where the focus is on entertainment and good works, not sin and salvation.
But lately I’ve noticed another trend as well. It runs in the opposite direction, bringing its followers back to the same Jewish legalism Paul argued so strongly against. Just like the first century “judaizers” who constantly tried to undo Paul’s work, these people also reject Paul’s teachings, put themselves back under the law and submit to its dietary restrictions. They say the Church can only find its prophetic fulfillment through Israel.
We also see the increased acceptance of witchcraft and other forms of counterfeit spirituality among those who call themselves Christian, and the growing popularity of a hybrid religion called Chrislam that combines the teachings of the Koran with those of the Bible. In short, Evangelical Christianity is being attacked on all sides.
These are things the Spirit expressly said would take place in the latter times. Their appearance confirms Paul’s warning, and tells us the hour is late.