The dictionary defines the word doctrine as; " a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated".So let's bear this in mind when we read what Paul has to say to Timothy about believers that live in the "later times". In 1 Timothy 4:1 he says that just before the return of Christ some believers will "fall away from the faith" and "pay attention" to the "doctrines of demons". As hard as this is to believe, since God said it would happen, maybe we should examine what the "doctrine" of demons is.
Since it is always best to start at the beginning, let's go back to Genesis where man first encounters Satan and is introduced to what he teaches. In Genesis 3:1-5 we find Satan appearing to Eve with the intent to lead her astray. Satan is described as a serpent, but in truth, this is a poor translation of the Hebrew word. The word is "nachash" in the Hebrew, and it literally means "to shine" or the "shining one". So although the serpent may represent Satan, whatever form that appeared to Eve was a shining one, or with great attractiveness. Next we see he is described as "subtle", which is translated crafty or cunning, and we are also told he is more cunning than any other creature. This alone should give us plenty of warning about how formidable an opponent he really is. Finally we are introduced to his "doctrine" when his first words to Eve are in the form of a question concerning what God has specifically said. In other words, the first thing Satan did was to question God's word, and the authority that went along with it!
So if we compare what we know about what Satan believes and teaches with the statement in Timothy about believers in the last days, what God is telling us is that believers are going to begin to question God's laws and the authority of His word. Taking into account that Satan is also described as cunning, his arguments are going to sound very logical and appear attractive to us in some sort of way. Does this not sound familiar to you right now? We talked last week about how people in general are looking everywhere else but to God for the answers to the worlds' problems, and are in God's own words becoming "fools". But here we see that God tells us that even believers are going to start to fall away from Him, accepting Satan's argument that it is okay to question God's laws and His authority to make them.
It is no secret that today there are huge churches in America that are wildly popular because they in fact teach that very thing. These churches espouse doctrines such as parts of the Bible are irrelevant in this day and age, or we can change the world through social programs instead of evangelism. Spreading the gospel to an unbelieving world has taken a back seat to being politically correct, and practicing toleration and acceptance of any religion or lifestyle. It doesn't matter that God's word tells us different, because as Satan has led us to believe, God isn't always right now is He? This is the same line he used on Eve in the garden. On the one hand we could say Satan isn't very original but on the other hand, the same argument he used then still works now, and believers are buying into it.
Paul says it best in 1 Timothy 6:3-4 when he tells us that those who advocate a different doctrine are "conceited and understands nothing". Ouch. What's more, he says that these people have a "morbid interest in controversial questions". So do you know anyone like that? Unfortunately there are way too many people in the church now that are more interested in trying to stir up trouble by questioning what the Bible has to say, rather than accepting God's authority and doing what we are here to do; evangelize. This of course is exactly what Satan wants, believers that are distracted from doing the work God has for the church.
How do we as believers avoid falling into the trap that Satan has for us? Well, first we need to know what to look out for, and that seems to be evident in what we have talked about today. God's word is truth, and anyone who says different is falling for Satan's big lie. The Bible is our authority for any and all questions, and we can know what it says only by investing time and effort in studying it to know what Gods' positions are for whatever concerns come our way. I hope you have already set aside time every day to read and study God's word. Next week we will talk more about specific things we can do to combat the lies Satan tries to use against us.
As to current events, only one more week until elections in Israel. It would not surprise me at all if something happens in the Middle East this week as those opposed to the state of Israel try to somehow affect the elections. Keep watching.