“… that in latter times some shall fall away form the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron: forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth …” (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
“But the Spirit saith expressly.” One must not conclude that the apostle means to say that in some of his writings were instructions the Spirit did not expressly reveal. In his second epistle to Timothy he wrote, “Every scripture is inspired of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). Our confidence in God’s word must be that whatever is spoken is the Spirit’s revelation. We cannot be persuaded otherwise and at the same time retain assurance the Bible is an inerrant guide to us; proving is with “all things which pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). Paul’s words that the Spirit speaketh expressly is that the Spirit spoke expressly of an apostasy from the truth as him and those with him of the first century were acquainted.
One of those “built in” proofs of the inspiration of the scriptures is the sometimes prophecy of future things, but which could not have been known at the time of the writing of the prophecy. We know the time this letter to Timothy was written, as well as know that the apostasy of which the apostle wrote would not be full blown for several more centuries — yet it was not Paul who made these predictions: the Spirit inspired him as he wrote.
Paul, and the other apostles, knew there would be a great departure from the faith. Of course, a familiarity with Israel’s past history would have taught them that, and the nature of man is to wander from his mooring. Paul’s first mention of a departure is found in his second Thessalonian letter. There he reminded brethren that the Lord would not come until the falling away came first, which event he had already informed them of when he was present with them, preaching to them the first time (2 Thess. 2:2-3, 5). Then, we have further a similar warning when he addressed the Ephesians elders, telling them, “I know that after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock …” (Acts 20:29). Peter also warned of future assaults against disciples faith which would come from mockers who would chide, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Pet. 3:10).
Those who would fall away from the faith would give heed to “seducing spirits and doctrines of demons through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies.”
Notice the allurement of these “damning” doctrines would be “seducing;” their source would be from demons, the agency through which they would come would be “men.” Satan has many fiery darts God’s people must be on guard against (Eph. 6:16). He is cunning and crafty, full of wiles (Eph. 6:11). He is artful and beguiling (2 Cor. 11:3). Those who, wittingly or unwittingly, lead others astray are Satan’s helpers, as Jesus told His nation, “Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father it is your will to do” (Jn. 8:44).
That “falling away” predicted by Paul is and has been present for many centuries. It will not go away but will only be destroyed by the breathe of His mouth at His coming. Although we cannot remove that apostasy from our earth, we can keep ourselves from being entangled with it and being a part of it. And we must, if we would, in that final day, find rest unto our souls!