Doctrines of Demons Part 3 : “BUT the Spirit speaketh”

gray-demons“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” (1st Timothy 4:1, King James Version)

Some who have studied the passage have mentioned that instead of “NOW the Spirit speaketh” the text should rather be translated “BUT the Spirit speaketh”.   Here is what the commentator Thomas Coke wrote concerning this portion of Scripture:

“This passage, perhaps, would be better translated, BUT the Spirit speaketh expressly. He had before been speaking of THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS, ch. 1 Timothy 3:16 and now he proceeds to speak of THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY IN OPPOSITION TO IT: But the Spirit, &c”

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary has this to say :

“Now — Greek, “But.” In contrast to the “mystery of godliness.”

In Arno Gaebelein’s notes we read the following:

“The mystery of godliness having been mentioned, the apostle speaks of Satan’s power in opposition to the faith and truth of God (the mystery of godliness here, and the mystery of iniquity in 2 Thessalonians). “BUT the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.”

John Nelson Darby had this to say :

“BUT there would be some who departed from the faith, from this knowledge of the one Creator and Saviour-God-Him who was manifested in the flesh. They would attack precisely these points which we have named.”

In the King James Version the underlying Greek word (Strong number 1161) translated “now” in 1st Timothy 4:1 is translated “but” 1237 times out of 2570 times it is translated.  Strong and Thayer both mention “but” as the first meaning of that Greek word.  Some English Bible versions have used for that verse the word “but” instead of “now” :

NASB : “BUT the Spirit explicitly says…”

ASV : “BUT the Spirit saith expressly…”

Amplified Bible : “BUT the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares…”

Darby’s Translation : “BUT the Spirit speaks expressly…”

Wycliffe Bible : “BUT the Spirit saith openly…”

Why do I believe this translation detail is important? The word “but” speaks of opposition.  What is opposite to the mystery of godliness? The mystery of un-godliness or mystery of iniquity which is mentioned by Paul in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2. Commenting on 1st Timothy 4:1 Matthew Henry wrote the following : “In the close of the foregoing chapter, we had the mystery of godliness summed up; and therefore very fitly, in the beginning of this chapter, we have the mystery of iniquity summed up.”  It is the same mystery of iniquity – iniquity which is not obvious but deceitfully disguised with a robe of outward piety – Paul associated with future APOSTASY and the coming of the Son of perdition.  That means the apostasy predicted in 1st Timothy chapter 4 is the same predicted in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2.  To properly identify the apostates described by Paul we must combine together the details of each one of those two Pauline prophecies.  Let us look at some details of those prophecies:


1st Timothy 4:1 : “… in the latter times SOME (I believe the emphasis is on CHURCH ELDERS in particular because of the immediate context and the main motive behind the writing of this epistle – see 1st Timothy 3:15) shall DEPART FROM THE FAITH”

2nd Thessalonians 2:3 : “… there come A FALLING AWAY (in other words, an apostasy) first…”

Please notice than in the verses preceding the prophecy of 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul speaks of the “gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”, v.8, a “testimony” believed, v.10, a “calling”, v.11, the “work of faith”, v. 11 and the “grace of our God”, v.12, so the “falling away” is a spiritual apostasy from the Gospel… it does not refer to political revolution or anarchy. The “son of perdition” mentioned in the chapter is given to the leader of this predicted apostasy. The term “son of perdition” only occurs one other place in Scripture, John chapter 17. It is used by Christ in speaking of Judas Iscariot, the FALSE APOSTLE and an APOSTATE. In other words : an APOSTATE CHURCH LEADER/ELDER.



The son of perdition, the leader of the apostasy described in 1st Timothy chapter 4, would be found “IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)

“… that thou mayest know how thou (Timothy, a church leader/pastor who is a representative of all the bishops and deacons who were to follow) oughtest to behave thyself IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, which is THE CHURCH of the living God” (1st Timothy 3:15)

The apostasy prophecy must be understood in relation to the purpose of Paul’s first epistle to Timothy : instructions given to a church elder concerning the inner workings of a visible, local church.



“… giving heed to seducing spirits… ” (1 Tim. 4:1)

“… after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness… ” (2 Thess. 2:9-10)

The details of the last quoted verse are VERY important. This apostasy would be advanced by FALSE MIRACLES/SIGNS. This means that the characteristics of this predicted, future apostasy must include false miracles. So we have false teachers :

– who will hold to doctrines of/concerning demons (Greek word “daimonion”)

– will forbid marriage to some

– will command others to abstain from meats

– will appeal to or perform (false) miracles/signs in order to uphold their unbiblical teachings

Because of the mention of false miracles/signs, a key clue in identifying the apostates, we can automatically reject the Essenes, the Judaizers, the Manicheans, the Albigensians and the Gnostics as being the fulfillment of the prophecies of 1st Timothy chapter 4 AND 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2 which deal with the same particular apostasy. Since Word Faith teachers (e.g. Benny Hinn) performing false miracles are not known for asceticism and self-denial they are not the fulfillment of this particular apostasy prophecy though they are heretics. When we will look closely at the Greek word translated “demons” we shall see that one professing Christian group of great size and influence completely fulfills these prophecies.



“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:2)

“… because they received not the love of the truth… strong delusion, that they should believe a lie… who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:10,12)


See also :

Doctrines of Demons Part 1

Doctrines of Demons Part 2

Paul’s Pastoral Prophecies : From Self-Flagellation to Self-Flattery

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Filed under False teachings, Prophecy

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