Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Being Told to Abstain From Certain Foods

Christian behavior should be characterized by obedience to the Word of God. This seems to be a given. Unfortunately, our world is complex and obedience can be dependent on many different factors. Too often, we analyze situations to the point that we rationalize why we don't have to obey. This is what often caused the Pharisees to violate the higher laws in favor of keeping secondary laws.

In today's Christianity we also have a similar problem, in that, we have a history of tradition and religion that we have bought hook, line, and sinker. It is time to view that tradition and the Word of God from a different perspective.

We're going to look today at another passage in Scripture that has been interpreted in a way that allows Christians to be disobedient to the Word of God. It comes from 1 Timothy 4.

1Timothy 4:1-5

1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3. 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.
4. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

In verse 1 we notice that this passage concerns the latter times. While we often associate the "latter times" with those things that will occur at the very end of time, the "latter times" in a way began in the first century. It is speaking about the fact that as time goes on more and more will fall away from the faith. This is what we see in our world today. Many so-called Christian churches are falling under the influence of seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils.

One of the admonitions resulting from listening to seducing spirits is the command to abstain from meats. Most of Christianity has believed that this proves that Christians can now eat anything they want, that the forbidding of eating meats comes from a seducing spirit. I believe this is a misinterpretation. If one understands that the Bible is one book and not two, and that the New Testament cannot contradict the Torah, there must be a better explanation.

This is what I believe 1 Timothy is trying to tell us, that in the latter days new/old religions are going to come along and espouse the abstinence of meats (and other foods) that God created for us to eat. For example, think about how the New Age movement has influenced the idea that vegetarianism is the most healthful lifestyle. But according to 1 Timothy this not an essential way of eating. It is this type of command that 1 Timothy is warning us against. It has nothing to do with the non-food items that God placed off limits to us in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Pigs are not food (meat) and are not the topic of 1 Timothy.

Verse 5 also tells us that the meat forbidden by these seducing spirits is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. The unclean meats listed in the Word of God can never become sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. This is contradictory and God does not contradict Himself.

If we want to be obedient to the Word of God we must obey all of it! Let's not buy into the misinterpretations that have allowed disobedience to characterize the majority of Christianity.

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