But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.-1 Timothy 4:1-5, NASB 2020
The state of the church during the season of the End Times
In verse 1, the Holy Spirit warns us that many who claim to follow Jesus will abandon their faith in Jesus by accepting false doctrine. These false teachings are not man-made or come from one’s imagination, but it will come from demons. When false followers of Christ think that they are hearing from the Holy Spirit, in actuality, they are hearing from demonic spirits. This comes about because Jesus hasn’t taken root in their hearts.
Verse 2 describes false teachers and their spiritual state. They are hypocrites and liars. They will teach you things that they do not do themselves [a reference to good deeds in the name of Jesus]. They will lie to your face about what the Scripture actually says. They will paint for you a false Jesus that is foreign from the one mentioned in the Scriptures. The reason they can act this way is due to a dead conscience.
The conscience is where you hear from the Holy Spirit and where a person makes moral decisions. If a person’s morals do not come from the Scriptures, then it will come from the world.
A branding iron was the tool, in a spiritual sense, that Satan used to kill their conscience.
Keyword: A Branding Iron
By searing a person’s skin with a hot iron, the nerves in that area of the skin which gets burned, dies. Satan uses this tool which includes but is not limited to wealth, fame and position. The devil’s purpose is to kill the person’s conscience so that they won’t hear from the Lord, thus making the person a perfect instrument for his work.
In verse 3, the Holy Spirit goes into more detail about their false teachings. They teach that to achieve a more righteous life with God, you must keep yourself from marriage. The Catholic Church teaches that if you want to minister to the people as a priest, you cannot have a wife. Their doctrine is demonic. Another false teaching they preach is that they must keep the dietary law as found in the Old Testament. Since these laws were fulfilled in Christ, trying to keep them will just push you away from the truth. Our faith is held up by Christ and His commands, not in what we eat.
16 Therefore, no one is to act as your judge in regard to food and drink, or in respect to a festival or a new moon, or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.-Colossians 2:16-17, NASB 2020
In verses 4, the phrase “For everything created by God is good” suggests that all foods is now available for consumption. As believers, we are free in Christ. As long as one’s freedom is used for righteousness according to the Word of God and not for a sinful lifestyle. Galatians 5:13 “13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.” NASB 2020
Whatever food you have on your plate, it will be acceptable to the Lord by thanking Him for His provision.
Try to be aware when false doctrine is being poured into your ears. Measure everything with God’s Word and pray for understanding. Satan has his teachers ready and willing to deceive you, but instead, bring them to the truth.