Friday, 29 December 2017
…forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 1 Timothy 4:3
Paul, understanding human nature, and having seen various sects of his own faith and of others, knew that control of the faithful comes through certain aberrant observances. By controlling the family of the faithful, both sub-leaders and congregants, and by controlling their diet through the imposition of certain laws, there would be a type of bondage instilled in them. Through these things, other areas of control would be so much easier to instill in them as well. And so Paul preempts them in the church by giving these words. And yet, because people fail to read their Bible, or fail to take it in proper context, they fall into exactly the same trap as Paul warns against.
He first notes that these people who depart from the faith, and who then give heed to deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons, will control those below them by “forbidding to marry.” Control the natural human sexuality and family structure of the followers, and you have immediately brought the person into a submission which will lead to any other control one desires to impose. It is that simple. The Essenes imposed this on their followers at Paul’s time. The gnostic heretics would later follow suit, along with countless other aberrant cults. But it is also a major tenet of Roman Catholicism where priests are not allowed to marry; nuns are not allowed to marry; etc.
In this, the entire congregation is led into a belief that these people are more holy than the lay people. There then becomes a multi-tiered level of supposed holiness leading up to divine authority at the top of this unholy pyramid. Paul warned against it, and yet over a billion people have been duped into accepting this false teaching; this doctrine of demons. Anytime someone goes beyond the limits of Scripture concerning human sexuality and approved family life, it should be the very first clue that their teaching is not of God and should be rejected entirely.
From there, Paul then states, “and commanding to abstain from foods.” The second trap to ensnare those within religion is through the stomach. The Old Testament had a set of dietary laws which confined the people of Israel. This was both limiting on them, and it was instructive. It was intended maintain separation from the nations, and it was to lead the people to understanding the Person and work of the coming Messiah in a more perfect way.
However, in the New Covenant, all such dietary laws eliminated. Paul speaks of this elsewhere. For example, in Romans 14, he says the following –
“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:1-4
As there are no biblical food restrictions levied upon New Covenant believers, anyone who imposes dietary restrictions is teaching the doctrine of demons. This includes those who reinsert Old Testament dietary laws which were fulfilled in Christ. As Christ fulfilled them, and as the Old Covenant is now obsolete and annulled, to reimpose those standards is against Christ’s work, and is – by default – a demonic doctrine.
Other aberrant cults and sects add in their own flavors of dietary restrictions. Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, etc., all have their own restrictions on their people. Some are based on the Old Testament, while others make up restrictions as they go. And once again, we have the largest branch of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church, which imposes dietary restrictions at certain times of the year. There is nothing Scriptural concerning their traditions, but rather there is the intent of control. As noted above, when one can control the diet of adherents, even if in a limited way, it becomes much easier to control other aspects of the people’s lives as well.
Paul understood that marriage and food are very important tenets which are to be biblically based and free from any other restrictions, that he singles them out here in his letter to Timothy. To stray from his words will immediately bring about bondage and control by those who have evil intent instilled in their minds.
Instead, we are to understand that any food “which God created” is “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” The Lord has given all foods into the hands of man for consumption. We are to receive what He has created, we are to be thankful for it, and we are to learn and know the truth of these things, never turning from them in order to supposedly become “more” holy. We are made acceptable through the Person and work of Christ. Is that not sufficient? Yes, it is all sufficient.
Life application: In marriage and in food, we are to hold to the standards of the New Covenant, as defined in the New Testament epistles; and we are not to add to or subtract from what is stated there.
Lord God, how can eating certain foods, or not eating certain foods, make us “more holy?” Christ has done everything necessary to make us acceptable to You. As Your word has declared all foods acceptable because of His work, we shall enjoy what You have created with thanksgiving. We are told that imposed dietary restrictions are “the doctrine of demons.” May we never attempt to follow that unholy path. Thank you for the wonderful delights of food that we are free to enjoy! Amen.