(All passages are from the NASV unless otherwise noted)
In 2 Thessalonians 2:11 Paul tells us that the God Himself is going to send a strong delusion upon those who refuse to obey the Truth and continue in “unrighteousness”, that is 'sin' or 'lawlessness' (see 1 John 3:3-10; Matt 7:21-23). Why is the heavenly Father going to cause this 'delusion' to fall upon 'sinners'? In order that they might be “Damned”.
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (KJV)
Many years ago after reading these passages with a ‘minister’ I asked him, “who is going to send this strong delusion in order that people might be damned?“ and immediately his answer was, “well the devil of course.”
No, it isn’t the devil, it’s the heavenly Father, Almighty Yahuweh, that is going to send this strong delusion, in order that people might be damned. And why is He going to do it? Because they did not believe the Truth, but had pleasure in “unrighteousness.“
In this study we’re going to take a look at what:
the “lie“ is that people are going to believe.
the “delusion” is that Yahuweh is going to send them.
the “Truth” is that people will refuse to believe. (And although the Savior tells us he’s the “way the truth and the life”, he is not the Truth being talked about here.)
And the “unrighteousness” that people were taking pleasure in.
Why is it important for us to understand the answers to these questions? So as we are not the one’s being deceived and believing the lie.
Before we begin though I’d like to take a look at another time Yahuweh sent a strong delusion and caused many to believe a lie. After which time I think it will be easier in understanding why Paul said what he did here in 2 Thessalonians. Turn if you would to 2 Chronicles chapter 18.
First a little background.
Ahab, who was king over the 10 southern tribes, the house Israel,
Jehoshaphat, who after the death of his father Asa, was made king of the house of Judah, the 2 southern tribes, went down to Ahab.
Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, became king over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
1Kings 22:41 Jehoshaphat found favor in the eyes of Yahuweh for he followed the Law of Yahuweh, as his father David did in his early years (2 Chron 17:2-3).
Jehoshaphat, who was allied to Ahab through the marriage of his son to Ahab‘s daughter (2 Chron 18:1-3), went to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab celebrated Jehoshaphat’s visit by the slaughtering of many sheep and oxen, and at which time Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to join him in going to Ramoth-gilead, to fight against the Arameans.
Unlike Ahab, who was one of the wickedest king to ever rule the house of Israel (1 Kings 16:30), Jehoshaphat had flavor with Yahuweh, for he obeyed His Torah (2 Chr 17:3). So Jehoshaphat asked Ahab, "Please inquire first for the word of Yahuweh" (vs. 4). So Ahab assembled 400 prophets of Yahuweh, to inquire of Yahuweh as to whether they should go up and fight at Ramoth-gilead (vs.‘s 5, 10-11). And all of Ahab’s prophet’s told him to go, for Yahuweh is going to deliver the Arameans into your hand (2 Chr 18:11).
But for some reason, which we’re not told, Jehoshaphat wasn’t comfortable with the 400 prophets prophesying favorably for Ahab. And he inquired if there was yet one more prophet of Yahuweh that could be asked.
Unlike the 400 ‘people-pleasing’ or rather ‘king-pleasing’ prophets, there was one yet, Micaiah, that Ahab hadn’t consulted. Why hadn‘t Ahab initially included Micaiah among the 400 prophet ? Because Ahab didn’t like the fact that Micaiah didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear. But at the insistence of Jehoshaphat, Ahab called for Micaiah.
Ahab asked Micaiah, "Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?" and in what was obviously a sarcastic response Micaiah told Ahab (I‘ll paraphrase Micaiah’s answer) “Hey, go up King, you got him, the Arameans will be given into your hands.” (2 Chr 18:5). Immediately Ahab knew that Micaiah was being facetious in telling him he would prevail, for immediately Ahab said, "How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahuweh?"
2Ch 18:15 Did Ahab really want to hear the Truth? No, of course not, Ahab had just gotten through telling Jehoshaphat how he hated Micaiah for never telling him what he wants to hear (2 Chr 18:7). And now Ahab knew, possibly by the way Micaiah said what he did, or maybe by the expression on Micaiah’s face when he said it, but he knew that Micaiah was not telling him what he actually seen of Yahuweh (2 Chr 18:14-18).
So Micaiah proceeded to tell Ahab,
2Ch 18:16 "I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd; And Yahuweh said, 'These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'
2Chr 18:18 Therefore, hear the word of Yahuweh. I saw Yahuweh sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left.
2Ch 18:19 "Yahuweh said, 'Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this while another said that.
2Ch 18:20 "Then a spirit came forward and stood before Yahuweh and said, 'I will entice him.' And Yahuweh said to him, 'How?'
2Ch 18:21 "He said, 'I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and prevail also. Go and do so.'
2Ch 18:22 "Now therefore, behold, Yahuweh has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets, for Yahuweh has proclaimed disaster against you."
Who was it that put the lying spirit in the mouths of all of Ahab’s 400 prophets so that Ahab might be damned? It was Yahuweh.
Yahuweh sent His prophet Micaiah time and time again to the king of Israel, but it wasn’t the Truth that Ahab wanted to hear. So Yahuweh caused Ahab to believe the lie that he might be damned. And so will Yahuweh do to those today, who take pleasure in unrighteousness.
In 2 Thessalonians the apostle Paul tells us that Yahuweh will do the same thing today who reject the Truth and take pleasure in unrighteousness. That is He‘ll caused them to believe a lie in order that they might be damned.
It’s imperative that we know who these people are that Paul is describing, so as to make certain that we’re not among them. So let’s read in context what, and who, it is Paul is referring to in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.
2Th 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Master Yahoshua Messiah and our gathering together to Him,
2Th 2:2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
It seems as if someone, somehow, was persuading the Thessalonians that the Messiah had already returned. Which accounts for the numerous times that Paul mentions “waiting for” and the “coming of” the Lord in his two letters to the Thessalonians. (1 Thes 1:10; 2:19 - KJV; 3:13 - KJV; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thes 2:1; 2:8; 3:5 - KJV).
2Th 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
An ‘apostasy’ is defined “as a renunciation of a religious belief.” so what Paul is saying here is that the Messiah will not come until there is first the “renunciation of a particular belief” and the ‘man of lawlessness’, the son of destruction, is revealed. Paul doesn’t tell us what belief it is that is going to be denied or rejected, but we do knew it’s connected with the ‘man of Lawlessness.’
2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
2Th 2:5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?
2Th 2:6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
2Th 2:9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
2Th 2:10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
2Th 2:11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
2Th 2:12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
2Th 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
2Th 2:14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Master Yahoshua Messiah.
2Th 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
Now may our Master Yahoshua Messiah Himself and Yahuweh our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,
2Th 2:17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
1 Th 1:10; 2:19 (KJV); 3:13 (KJV); 4:15; 5:23; 2 Th 2:1; 2:8; 3:5 (KJV).