Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons – 1 Timothy 4:1
The word “holiday,” is a contraction of the words “holy,” and “day.” The word “holy” means separate and distinct, unique. When God speaks of something as “holy,” He means something set apart particularly for Him. Christians are called “saints,” another word for “holy” (e.g. Acts 9:32; Romans 15:25; 31; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 9:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:2; Hebrews 6:10; Jude 3). Christians are saints in that they are set apart unto God, for His purposes. Halloween, as a “holiday,” is anything but holy. It certainly isn’t a day set apart unto God. And those who are called “saints,” those who are supposed to be set apart unto God, for His pleasure and use, shouldn’t involve themselves in things that are not only not holy, but things that are particularly aimed at being unholy. And that is what Halloween is.
Halloween is dark; its a celebration of that which is spooky and scary. This is a time when darkness and deception are celebrated. It is a time to trick. It is a time when effective tricking is rewarded with treats. This runs counter to what Jesus calls His servants to. In His High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prayed to the Father concerning His followers, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Truth and deception are diametrically opposed. Truth and deception are polar opposites, like light versus darkness. Halloween, a day that celebrates deception therefore, is not something that aligns well with what Jesus prayed for us.
The Bible our Authority. The Bible has stood the test of time and history and the repeated onslaught of those who would discredit it. The Bible is like no other book. It is confirmed and proved by archeology, fulfilled prophecy, its accuracy, and its power to change lives. The Bible is the Word of God and as such, is our standard, our manual for life. The Bible is a love letter from our heavenly Father who loves us so much that He gave us directions about life and how to live it the right way. Listen to what the Bible says about itself:
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is breathed out from God through the human authors to us so that we can know who God is and how we can have an eternal relationship with Him. Someone has said of the Bible:
“This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldiers sword, and the Christian’s charter. Christ is its subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully. It is given to you in life, will be open in the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy precepts.” – Author Unknown
What can we expect in the Latter Times? In His Olivet Discourse on Latter Days End Times events the one thing Jesus emphasized and repented throughout His message was “Take heed that no one deceives you” (cf. Matthew 24:3-5, 23-25; Mark 13:5-6, 22-23; Luke 21:8-9, 34-36). According to Jesus the latter times leading up to His return are going to be filled with a spirit of deception.
Paul frequently spoke of the “latter times.” He exhorted the Roman church to wake up out of any lethargy they had allowed themselves to slip into (Romans 13:11-14). He told the Corinthians that everyone would face judgment and Christians would stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9-11). Paul also warned the Corinthians to beware of being deceived by the devil into departing “from the simplicity that is in Christ” and lured into following “another Jesus whom we have not preached, a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). In his letter to the Thessalonians, which was composed of young Christians only a month old in the Lord, he ended each chapter with an exhortation to be ready and watchful for the End Times (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19-20; 3:12-13; 4:16-18; 5:23-24). In his second letter to the relatively young in the Lord Thessalonians he is inspired to write about the circumstances of the Tribulation. Paul had the latter times and return of Jesus and culmination of all things on his mind and in his heart. That sense of the return of Jesus and latter times was from the Lord and a part of what made Paul great and able to endure great hardship.
James exhorted his readers to “be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7-8). The Apostle Peter wrote of the End Times and that there would be those who are skeptical of prophecy (2 Peter 3:1-18). The Apostle John said “it is the last hour” and “Antichrist is coming” (1 John 2:18). He warned there would be a spirit of antichrist and deception in the latter days and we would have to rely on the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:18-23; and 4:1-6). He warned against being deceived by false teachers and antichrist spirited people (2 John 7).
John also was inspired to write the most detailed book of the Bible on the End Times, Revelation. In Revelation John is inspired to record letters from Jesus to churches which include Jesus’ words to the compromising Pergamos church, the corrupt Thyatira church, the dead Sardis church and the lukewarm Laodicean church. All of these shortcomings in the churches are linked to being deceived and diverted from God’s truth in some way. About 27% of the Bible speaks of prophecy. A large proportion of this prophetic material speaks of the latter times and a large part of the material on the latter times warns against being deceived.
A lot more could be referenced to show the emphasis on preparing for the latter days by particularly guarding against being deceived. Suffice it to say that when Paul writes to his young protégé Pastor Timothy it’s not surprising he includes chapter dealing with preparation for the “latter times” by stating “Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith.” Throughout the New Testament unbelievers are warned to get right with God by repenting of their sin and receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord by faith. Believers are exhorted to walk in the Spirit by faith growing in their relationship with Jesus and becoming better prepared for His return. This is especially important for a shepherd of the hope of Jesus to be well schooled in.
The expressed conditions of the Latter Days. The word of God is always relevant. It has something to say to every generation. And it something relevant to our view of Halloween. The Apostle Paul shared a distinctive word from the Holy Spirit about what we could expect in the Latter Days. He was inspired by the Spirit to write:
1 Timothy 4:1-5 – Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 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. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will be no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33). Keep in mind that while God used human instruments to write out His word, He is the Author of His Word. And God as Author is eternal; unlimited by time. Therefore, it is said of God’s word, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). And when we look at passages such as we find in 1 Timothy we can be sure that it holds great relevance and value for us because when we look at what Jesus and His word says about the latter times we see that the predicted conditions of the latter days and the conditions of our days are very similar. We may be living in the latter days. Personally, I believe we are! What are the conditions of the latter times? Let’s dissect and investigate what Paul says and see how it relates to us.
Now the Spirit expressly says
What Paul is about to share with Timothy (and us through the inspired word) is not something he concocted or dreamed up; it is something the Spirit “expressly” says. “Expressly” (Greek rhetos) is a word that means specifically, clearly, explicitly. It’s as though Paul begins by saying, “Now the Spirit specifically, clearly, explicitly says this; there is no doubt about it.” What Paul is about to share is not something based on speculation or human thinking alone. What Paul is going to state is from the Holy Spirit; from the heart of God.
These opening words of Paul also depict for us the nature of the inspiration of the New Testament. Paul wasn’t offering his own human opinions; he was simply passing on what the Holy Spirit expressly and clearly said to Him as an inspired instrument of God. The Holy Spirit breathed these words into and through Paul to the pages of the Bible (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Because of this we should pay close attention and apply all that is said in God’s word.
that in latter times some will depart from the faith,
“Latter times” refers to the times leading up to the culmination of earthly existence as we know it, the return of Jesus, establishment of His kingdom on earth and eventual transition to life in eternity in the New Heaven and New Earth (cf. Revelation 20-22).
The words “will depart from” (Greek apostesontai from aphistemi) means cause to revolt, mislead, lead away, withdraw from, abstain from, depart, desert, fall away.  This is a word that speaks of apostasy of a willful move away from and rejection of “the faith.” This is something people will choose to do.
“The faith” refers to that which has been taught by Paul and all of the inspired New Testament writers (Hebrews 10:17). Generally, “the faith” would consist of the “doctrine” or teaching Paul has already mentioned to Timothy (1:3; 3:10). He will contrast such “doctrine” with the “doctrine of demons he mentions later in this verse.
But particularly “The faith” points to this scriptural teaching as it reveals the way to a faith relationship with God. It implies holding to the Gospel of God’s gracious provision in Jesus Christ. It implies accepting this gospel by faith. And it implies an ongoing continuing life of faith with God through the Spirit as long as one is alive or until Christ’s return. This is summed up in Paul’s words, “For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith'” (Romans 1:17).
No doubt in the latter times there will be a rebellion against and rejection of the truth of God’s word. That is exactly what we see today as parts of the body of Christ either shy away from or outright reject stated truth of God’s word that they feel is intolerant, offensive or out of sync with the trends and “likes” of the world. The world’s mantra of tolerance and inclusion at the expense of truth and righteousness is being adopted into what is called the church today. However, as we saw at the end of the previous chapter the church as defined and as accepted by God as His church needs to be “the pillar and ground of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). When the church departs from “the faith” it ceases to be His church.
giving heed to deceiving spirits
“Giving heed to” (Greek prosecho) describes an ongoing (Present tense verb) paying attention to, following, devotion to, interest in something. To give heed to something implies a change in attention. It implies a change of focus. It implies a change of devotion. Here it means people turn away from their devotion to “the faith” and instead devote themselves to “deceiving spirits.”
“Deceiving” spirits (Greek planos) are spiritual entities that are misleading, imposters, counterfeits, deceiving. The nature of the devil is to deceive and lie until he can get people to die (John 8:43-44). The “spirits” (Greek pneumaasin) are entities from a spiritual dimension. Pneuma simply means breath or wind. Context determines whether or not pneuma refers to the Holy Spirit or spirits/demons. This chapter begins with a reference to “the Spirit” or Holy Spirit. The article to (i.e. The) indicates we are referring to the Holy Spirit. But “deceiving spirits” is referring to demonic entities; agents of the devil.
These “spirits” are unseen to us. They are able to influence people from their unseen advantageous position. Stealth is always an advantage in war. From their hidden condition they are able to whisper evil sinful thoughts and ideas to people and introduce as well as induce people to ungodly paths. The unsaved are totally vulnerable to such deceptions and attacks. The person who lives in sin and is uncommitted to Jesus, the unsaved, are under the influence of Satan and his demons (Eph. 2:1-4) who works to keep them blinded and, in the dark, separated from the truth of God and His salvation (2 Cor. 4:4). But the child of God indwelled by the Holy Spirit is able to discern the deceptions of the demonic by the exposing work of the Spirit in them. The Holy Spirit helps the believer to discern deception. This is the anointing of knowing spoken of by John (cf. 1 John 2:20, 26-27).
and doctrines of demons,
“Doctrines” (Greek didaskalia) are simply teachings or instructions. People will decide to turn away from “the faith” and in so doing they will actually be turning to teachings authored and supported by “demons.” Whatever teaching you believe in needs to be based on God’s Holy Word. Whenever we venture outside the parameters of God’s word, we make ourselves vulnerable to “doctrines of demons.” Remember, demons, like their leader Satan, are by nature deceivers. What they use to lure people away from “the faith” may appear logical, reasonable, even truthful, but fit very well could be the first step in departing from the faith and truth of God. Beware!
“Demons” (Greek daimonion) is an interesting word. One commentary states of it:
The etymology of this word is uncertain; possibly daiomai, “rip, split, tear apart” underlies it. In Greek philosophy daimon would then be “one who devours,” that is, the spirit of death that separates the body from the soul. Whatever the case, the term conveys the same animistic views characteristic of heathen religion everywhere: the spirits of the dead are able to “possess” or “take over” human or animal bodies.
Demonic sources of doctrines are aimed at ripping up people spiritually. They want to tear people apart from God and His truth. They want to devour people. These demonic teachings are similar to that which has been seen throughout history in pagan religions. Such religious practices are characterized by immorality and debauchery and darkness of varying degrees. Anything and everything that can oppose and serve as an alternative to God’s truth are the ambition of the doctrines of demons.
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
“Speaking lies” (Greek pseudologos) means they speak lies, speak untruth or half-truths. These are people who willfully speak things they know are not true. “Hypocrisy” (Greek hupokrisis) is pretense, insincerity, or hypocrisy. A hypocrite is someone who says one thing but does not themselves follow it in practice. They teach people to do things that they themselves aren’t willing or committed to do (e.g. Matthew 23; Romans 2).
The “conscience” (Greek suneidesis) is the place of knowledge of right and wrong. The conscience of those teaching lies in hypocrisy are “seared with a hot iron” (Greek kauteridzo) refers to the branding, searing, burning that desensitizes and deadens the nerves. In other words, the people teaching lies in hypocrisy have no problem and think there’s nothing wrong with whether or not what they teach is a lie or something they themselves don’t live out. Those who are given over to demonic doctrinal teaching have no regrets or any misgivings about doing so. They are likely just out to make a profit off of those they are deceiving. They themselves have taken on the nature of the demons whose doctrines they teach.
Paul then continues by laying out some of the particulars of the latter day’s deception. It will involve an attack on holy matrimony and we have definitely seen that in the last few years (4:3a). It will involve diet and foods and that is what we see, an emphasis on diet whether it is eating too much or prohibiting certain types of food (4:3b-5, e.g. vegans; keto diet; etc.).
Latter Days priorities. In this context, the Apostle Paul follows with a set of priorities to be followed in these Latter Days. He continues:
6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
Paul points out the end product that Timothy can look forward to, the purpose and reason he should follow Paul’s advice. “If you instruct the brethren in these things,” Timothy will fulfill his mission of being “a good minister of Jesus Christ.” “Instruct” (Greek hupotithemi) means literally laying before, to make known, to place under one’s feet as a foundation.
What Paul has shared with Timothy is foundational and should be laid before “the brethren” he oversees. The product or spiritual fruit of laying out these foundational words to his flock is twofold. First, “the brethren” will be “nourished in the words of faith and of good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” This is a ministry objective and would glorify God in the spiritual fruitfulness that would be produced in those Timothy instructed. Secondly, by laying these foundational teachings before the brethren “you [Timothy] will be a good minister of Jesus Christ.” This is the standard for those seeking to be “a good minister of Jesus Christ.” This is a healthy exhortation from Paul that all of us should take to heart in our day. If Pastors or servants of the Lord want to be “a good minister of Jesus Christ” then what the Spirit has shared through Paul in the preceding five verses should be passed on to the flock of God.
But what’s interesting here is what Paul points to next as something a “good minister” should attend to. He is inspired to write:
7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.
There are things we need to “reject” if we are to be prepared for the latter days. “Reject” (Greek paraiteomai) means to reject, refuse, avoid. The things we are to reject and avoid are “profane” (Greek bebelos) or worldly rooted, common, things unsanctified by being based on God’s word. Paul also speaks of “old wives fables” (“fables” – Greek muthos) or stories, myths, legends, fictitious things not based on God’s word. Such “fables” were concocted by “old wives” who sat around doing nothing but coming up with stories based on their own imaginations rather than God’s word. This seems to be relevant to the Halloween tales and occult practices of our day. I don’t know about you, but when I read, “Old wives fables,” I’m immediately beset by images of witches. Paul instructs Timothy to “reject” such things. Maybe we should take pause before we indulge in such Halloween regalia and all of the dark themed practices.
Paul states to Timothy that the alternative to such “profane and old wives tales,” is to “exercise yourself toward godliness.”
“Exercise” (Greek gumnadzo) means to exercise, train, do that which prepares one to compete. We get the English word gymnasium from this Greek word. The history of this word is:
This verb is related to the term gumnos (1125), “naked,” or “not covered.” It is used in secular Greek literature to refer to an athlete training in the nude, as was done in the Greek games, and to refer to training in general. New Testament usage is both positive and negative in connotation, referring to those who by continual practice had trained themselves to a particular way of life (1 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 5:14; 12:11; 2 Peter 2:14).
Rather than getting caught up in unscriptural sound fictitious legends and myths we should train ourselves “toward godliness” (Greek pros eusebian) or toward the things that make you godlier in your character and more mindful and closer to God. Rather than getting caught up in ungodly empty and fictitious prefabrications we should seek to train ourselves to walk closer with God.
Paul then uses the word “exercise” to point to something else that is prominent in our day, “bodily exercise”:
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
Maybe you justify taking the kids out for Trick or Treating by thinking, “well, it’ll be good exercise to walk around.” There is benefit to physical bodily exercise, BUT IT SHOULD NEVER BE A PRIORITY OVER ANYTHING YOU MIGHT DO TO CULTIVATE YOUR WALK WITH GOD. This is so important in our age of self benefit. Our world and some in the church are consumed and addicted to the way they look and feel. Nearly every other commercial on television and online are in some way related to a person’s physical condition. And if you are going to maintain a healthy physical condition it does require a certain amount of regular working out or exercise.
Physical exercise is beneficial because physical health, mental health and spiritual health are all related. If you are sick physically it is going to affect your thinking and may hinder your stamina to train spiritually, e.g. to fear and study God’s word and pray and serve Him. But there is something very wrong and out of kilter for the one who can get up at sunrise to run or workout and train but has little to no time to meet with God and study His word and pray. That situation is one where priorities are out of alignment with Paul’s stated scriptural priorities in this verse. Beware of this! It is very easy to be lured away from exercises to godliness by physical exercise.
As far as Paul is concerned bodily exercise profits “a little” (Greek oligos) or a short time, a small amount, a little bit. Exercising toward godliness on the other hand is “is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” A healthy godliness is “profitable” (Greek ophelimos) is useful, and beneficial “for all things.” When you are healthy in a godly way there is a trickledown effect in every area of your life. If you are godly you will feel better physically, think better psychologically and be strong spiritually for whatever comes your way. Plus being in good godly health prepares you for eternal life with the Lord. You may have pumped up Pecs and bulging biceps now, you may have strong thighs and can squat press 400 pounds now, but when you meet Jesus will you know Him, will you be familiar and excited to build on your relationship with Him?
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
The statement that physical exercise is worth a little where healthy godliness has eternal worth is a “faithful saying” (Greek pistos) or saying that is full of faith, reliable, credible, trustworthy, dripping and oozing with faith saying. It’s a statement that is “worthy” (Greek axios) or fit, deserving, good and worthy of “all acceptance” (Greek apodoche) or is good and approved for everyone. In other words that training to be godly is more beneficial than merely training for physical health is a sure fire trustworthy and reliable truth. You can count on it.
10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.
Paul punctuates his statement on how to exercise to prepare for the latter times by refer to his own example of how he and Timothy live their lives. He says “we both” which draws Timothy next to him as though he were putting his arm around the shoulder of Timothy as he says these words. They both “labor” (Greek kopiao) or continuously (Present tense verb) labor, become weary, work hard, fatigue, work to exhaustion pointing out to people and emphasizing the need to train up to be godly in preparation for the times that lay ahead. Paul and Timothy are the ultimate spiritual trainers who work to exhaustion to help people be in good godly health.
But more than their exertion to train Paul and Timothy “suffer reproach” for what they do. “Suffer” (Greek agonidzomai) means agonize, contend, strive and this they did continually (due to the Present Tense verbal form). “Reproach” (Greek oneidizo) means scold, reproach, revile and this they did continually (due to the Present Tense verbal form). These trainers seeking to help people to be godlier and grow in their faith strained to the max and did so while being continually scolded, reviled and reproached for their efforts. Paul said it was agonizing labor.
How was Paul and Timothy able to sustain such arduous labor? How could they stay the course in spite of such opposition? How could they keep training and training others to godliness? Paul’s simple yet profound basis and sustaining truth was, “because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” They trusted in Jesus. The word “trust” (Greek elpikamen from elpidzo) means hope for, trust in, expect. It is faith for the future; faith for a good outcome. They loved the “living God.” God was alive for them. They weren’t a part of a dead religion or dead religious system. They had a relationship with a living God who was always there for them. They lived for Jesus. They knew Jesus and wanted to make Him known. It was the faith found in the faith Paul mentioned earlier that sustained them and enabled them to press on.
And so, Paul simply but profoundly comments to Timothy – “These things command and teach.” “Command” (Greek parengello) is a military term to command, give orders, instruct. “Teach” (Greek didasko) means to instruct and explain. Paul tells Timothy that what he has laid out for him here about the priority of training for godliness is something he needs, as the leader of the church, to command and explain clearly to his troops in the church.
Halloween is a high “holy” day for those who practice the occult. It is a time when deception, like the turning leaves of Autumn, are at a peak. Deception at this time of year can take on a very colorful hew. We can be blinded from seeing substance because of the brightness of the colorful deceptions. This is even further enhanced when Halloween falls in an election year.
Election time is filled with colorful deceptions of candidates. There is a whole lot of departing from the faith, deception, demonic teachings, spoken lies, and hypocrisy. We’ve grown to expect election time to be filled with pandering to the electorate and under the table dealings that are products of a deadened conscience. Politicians competing for public office don’t hesitate to pull out all the stops in stretching truth, denying things that reflect poorly on them or expose their darkness. Anything goes. So what are we to do?
This year is a presidential election year and it seems like social media, political parties and candidates are in full bloom for rare colorful colluding leafy lies. In such situations we shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve seen in 1 Timothy 4 how the End Times would be filled with such things; even “doctrines of demons.” And no doubt, where there are lies and deception, Satan and his diabolical devilish hoards are hard at work. So, I caution you, especially this year. Research and seek out the “truth.” Weigh the evidence. Look at the facts. Look at the context of what people or candidates say not just what their opponents say they say. Do your homework. Seek the Spirit’s leading and help to determine truthfully which candidate best aligns with Biblical truth. Then pray. Then vote.
There’s a lot of deception and lies; some very colorful. Deceiving spirits compete with the faithful sayings of God. Deception is falsehood parading itself as truth. Deception is, well, deceptive. It can be hard to distinguish between what is a demonic deception and what is a faithful saying. It can be hard to distinguish between what is false and what is true. Hopefully this study has made you aware of such deceptive traps and shown you how to deal with them. Remember, God has called us to follow in the steps of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6; Romans 8:29). And Jesus came to be a witness to the truth (John 18:37). Stand on His truth, no matter what. Stand on and support God’s truths as much as you can. . Guard against deception. Seek out faithful and true sayings. This is an important election. The soul of our nation is in the balance. No wonder the devil is trying to deceive us. But the truth of Jesus can set us free from such enslaving lies. God bless our efforts. God bless us. God bless America. All for His glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
 Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The – The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Alpha-Gamma.
 Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The – The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon.
 Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The – The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Alpha-Gamma.