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What is the “doctrine of demons” and “seducing spirits”?

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1) 

In the above scripture the Apostle Paul is telling Timothy that he received a revelation by God’s holy Spirit that in “latter times” (not the very end times, but in times subsequent to those in which the apostle was writing) that some shall depart from the truth. They shall be led astray by “seducing spirits” (Satan and his fallen angels) and their “doctrines of devils” (false doctrines). We believe that verse three adds credence to the interpretation. “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” 

During the time of the Holy Roman Empire, the Church system (the Papacy) forbade priests to marry and decreed it a sin to eat meat on Fridays and other Church holidays, such as Ash Wednesday. There is no mention in the Scriptures to support either of the above doctrines. In fact, the Apostle Paul says that marriage is still honorable when the relationship is sustained in purity and holiness as God designed (Hebrews 13:4). The practice of Friday abstinence began in the early years of Christianity in Europe in memory of Jesus’ death. During the season of Lent, the Church also called for abstaining from eating meat on Wednesdays as well as Fridays. Although the Church’s objective in promoting abstinence might have been noble by providing people with a simple exercise to aid in spiritual development, it had no scriptural basis for making such a decree. That decree soon became a Church doctrine where people felt they were sinning if they did not comply. Unfortunately, both of these doctrines as well as many other false doctrines still exist and have clouded the pure Truth given to us by the apostles. 

We hope we have explained not only the meaning of “seducing spirits” and “doctrines of devils” in 1 Timothy 4:1, but also the negative impact these false doctrines have on the Christian church for hundreds of years.

Understanding the Bible can be challenging at times. For more on this topic listen to our two part series “Why Didn’t God Make the Bible Easy to Understand?”