What is the “strong delusion” of 2 Thessalonians 2?

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2 Thessalonians 2: 3-11

The phrase “strong delusion” comes from a passage in the Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians Church:

“3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God…

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2: 3-11).

The Man of Sin

The “man of sin” is the Antichrist, “one who opposes Christ,” or “one who stands in the place of Christ” (1 John 2:18). He is also called the “son of destruction.” This term was applied by the Savior to Judas Iscariot (John 17:12), one of the twelve disciples, one who so allowed Satan to enter into his heart (John 13:2, 27) that he betrayed his Lord (Matthew 26:47–50).

The man of sin is an arrogant power that opposes all competitors in the field of religion and permits no rival to receive the worship he claims for himself. This overbearing power assumes divine prerogatives. The wicked one sits soliciting worship of himself. His taking his seat in the inner sanctuary of the temple reveals that he claims to sit “as God,” that, indeed, “he is God” – the ultimate blasphemy.

The Antichrist Power

A comparison of 2 Thessalonians 2: 3,4 with Daniel’s prophecy of the blasphemous power that succeeds that of pagan Rome in Daniel 7:8, 19–26, and with John’s prophecy of the leopard-like beast in Revelation 13:1–18, shows many similarities between the three descriptions. This leads to the conclusion that Daniel, Paul, and John are pinpointing the same power, namely, the papacy.

Also see:

Satan

In a larger sense the power here described may be identified with originator of sin, who has strove to be “like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Satan is working to the utmost to make himself as God and to destroy all who oppose his power. And today the world is bowing before him.

The enemy of the church will use signs and apparent miracles to lead many to perdition. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Corinthians 2: 9–11).

Hence, the faithful should beware of being led astray so they would not fall for Satan’s strong delusions. Their faith must stand upon the thus says the Lord not on what they feel or see. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

The Strong Delusion

At the end of time, Satan’s greatest lie, his crowning deception, will be when he impersonates Christ. There can be no worse lie than this, that the originator of all evil should pose as Christ, the Source of truth. This would be the strong delusion that will come upon the world.

Jesus warned, “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him” (Matthew 24:24). “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Thus, Satan will deceive the world through his “signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

The sinners’ refusal to love and obey the truth will make them susceptible to being influenced by all that is deceitful. God, therefore, will leave them to the path that they have chosen (Romans 1:18, 24; Jeremiah 5:21) and they will believe Satan’s final “strong delusion.”

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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