Paul warns Timothy, who in turn is to warn others who are to pass it down through the generations to today, about the evil that will occur in the last days. These last days are those days before the Rapture. Paul teaches that Christians will leave, dismiss, and belittle God’s truth and His ways. In turn, they will accept false pastors, false teachers, false teachings about Christianity. Let us beware and be in the Truth.
My translation and notes on 1 Timothy Chapter 4:1-5
1 Now the Spirit speaks explicitly that in latter times some will depart from the faith turning their attention to impersonating spirits and teachings of demons,
[The Greek word for ‘depart’ is (G868) ἀφίστημι aphistemi, which means to distance oneself from some pers[on] or thing (BDAG); so, revolt and desert. In the normal sense of position, see Luke 2:37 (‘departed not’) and Luke 4:13. In the spiritual sense, see Luke 8:13 (caused by temptation), 2 Timothy 2:19 (‘depart from evil’), and Hebrews 3:12 (a warning to not depart from God). The ‘faith’ is Christian Gospel, worldview, lifestyle, beliefs, and actions. Adam Clarke points out in this verse:
They will apostatize from the faith, i.e. from Christianity; renouncing the whole system in effect, by bringing in doctrines which render its essential truths null and void, or denying and renouncing such doctrines as are essential to Christianity as a system of salvation. A man may hold all the truths of Christianity, and yet render them of none effect by holding other doctrines which counteract their influence; or he may apostatize by denying some essential doctrine, though he bring in nothing heterodox.
The Greek word for ‘impersonator’ is πλάνος plános (G4108). It means an impostor/impersonator of an important person for the purpose of deceiving. Instead of the Spirit of God, they are deceived into thinking a demon is the spirit of god. Many people have claimed to see ‘Jesus’ and receive messages/revelation from this false Jesus. The ‘teachings of demons’ are false teachings, some of which are very subtle. Their purpose is to destroy a person’s faith. Compare 2 Peter 3:17. For safety, we must know the truth and maintain the truth. We must be careful to what we listen to. False teachers abound, and if we listen to them, we listen to the doctrines of demons].
2 Telling lies with hypocrisy, having their conscience seared,
[Note the importance of truth in 1 Timothy 3:15. Yet, lies predominate—lies with hypocrisy. The Greek word for ‘speaking lies’ is ψευδολόγος pseudológos (G5573). It is generally understood that when pseudo is joined with another word, it has the idea of the origin of the lie is not the human telling the lies but a spirit (demon) that impersonates God. These liars will say, “Thus says the Lord,” but the source is demonic. These types of lies also have other aspects as a ‘clean’ lifestyle, signs, miracles, and other lies in living other than just words. The hypocrisy is that they say they speak for God, but the words and the actions are both lies. Satan is ever trying to destroy the faith by any means possible. These individuals have lied to perfection; they experience no guilt. Arrogance often leads to this type of liar. These false teachers are not just making mistakes but lie in order to deceive (thus the hypocrisy). Found in Constable (Constable’s EXPOSITORY BIBLE STUDY NOTES):
“It comes as a shock to some people that Satan uses professed Christians in the church to accomplish his work. But Satan once used Peter to try to lead Jesus on a wrong path (Matt 16:21-23), and he used Ananias and Sapphira to try to deceive the church at Jerusalem (Acts 5). Paul warned that false teachers would arise from within the church (Acts 20:30).” [Note #218: Wiersbe, 2:224. Cf. Dillow, p. 338-39].
3 Forbidding to marry, [requiring] to abstain from foods, which God has created, to be partaken with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
[These is a human tendency that admire people who have an austere lifestyle. It gives them credibility. The message of their lifestyle is, “Look what I have given up. I have forgone sinful, fleshly pleasures.” But God instituted marriage (Genesis and Matthew 19:4-6). Notice, it does not say they forbid sex. God has instituted and blessed marriage, sex, food, and many other things. These people, for a show of piety, do not marry or eat certain foods. The Greek word for ‘forbidding’ is κωλύω kōlýō (G2967). It means to cut off, stop, hinder. These liars teach in such a way that they try to stop God’s blessings and wishes for people. All foods can be eaten. See God’s command to Peter in Acts 11:4-17. Read the opinion of the Jerusalem elders in Acts 15:18-21].
4 For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving,
[‘Every creature’ means just that. This verse does not mean that we must eat it but if that is what we have, we may eat it. All foods must be received with thanksgiving which we should do every time we eat. “Thank you, God, for this food” are important words. God is the source of every godly blessing. We are not entitled to it; foods are a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 3:13, Genesis 1:29, and Psalm 136:25)].
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
[These foods are sanctified. The Greek word for sanctified is ἁγιάζω hagiázō (G37). It means separated. God is holy and has desires and standards. Somethings are gross and obnoxious to God. These are called defiled and unclean. To make something undefiled and clean involves the power of God who can remove the impurity. It has not been declared holy and clean, but it has been made holy and clean. Paul, in this passage, identifies God’s word (His command) and our prayer as the means of making it holy, sanctified, and clean. Vincent (WORD STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT) writes: The food in itself has no moral quality (Romans 14:14), but acquires a holy quality by its consecration to God; by being acknowledged as God’s gift, and partaken of as nourishing the life for God’s service. Comp. Paul’s treatment of the unbelieving husband and the believing wife, 1 Corinthians 7:14. Ultimately the source of erroneous teachings finds its source in the teachings of demons].