Let’s read 1st Timothy 4:1, 3-5: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…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. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (NKJV).

It was revealed to the apostle Paul that the “latter times” would be characterized by men departing from “the faith” (“the truth” of Christianity) and that this would be manifested by “doctrines of demons” (false teachings). He then gives two examples of the false doctrines that would be taught, the first being that it is wrong to marry and the second that we should not be eating certain foods. One of the largest denominations in Christendom is guilty of teaching these two, for they forbid their “priests” to marry and they command their congregations to refrain from eating meat on certain days.

The commandment “to abstain from foods” is especially prevalent in several modern-day sects, with some going so far as to imply that one can’t be saved unless they eat a vegetarian diet. Paul refutes this teaching by declaring “every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.” The word “creature” speaks of “animals” that God created for us to eat. Now it is true that in the beginning God had people eating fruits and vegetables. We see this in Genesis 1:29: “And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” But after the flood in Noah’s day this changed, for we read in Genesis 9:2-3 that God told Noah, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on EVERY BEAST OF THE EARTH, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.” The only exception to this was when God gave His earthly people Israel a special diet which prohibited them from eating certain meats, but for people today “every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.”

We do well to take to heart those last words, “if it is received with thanksgiving.” The Christian acknowledges that God is the Creator and as we receive His creatures from His benevolent Hands we gave Him thanks for it. Let us never be ashamed to bow our heads in humility and offer thanks to the One Who has blessed us with our food, for when we do we are assured that “it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” It is most proper, in the giving of thanks, to ask God to bless it to our bodies for good health, and so that we may have the strength to serve Him. (245.3) (DO)