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Let’s look at 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 from the NKJV, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 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. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 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 not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The theme of these verses is the revealing of the “man of sin,” which we commonly refer to as the “Antichrist.” This man, in defiance of the true God, will claim to be God. Verse 9 tells us he will be energized by Satan “with all power, signs, and lying wonders,” which will be the means used to deceive most of the world into believing the lie that he is God. He will even be able to deceive those who had heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and rejected it.  This is the solemn truth of verse 10, which I will quote once again, “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Before the Antichrist is revealed there will be many who heard the precious gospel of Jesus Christ, teaching them that they could be saved from the penalty of their sins through His atoning work on the cross, and yet “…they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” How tragic! To hear the glorious truth of salvation and to have it fall on deaf ears!

Verse 11 goes on to say, “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.” God had dealt with these souls in grace up until now, with the desire that they would be saved.  1 Timothy 2:4 speaks of this great desire, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” But again, they did NOT receive the truth, and “for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.” If men don’t want the truth, God will let them buy into the lie. What is the lie that they will believe? The lie is the Antichrist’s claim to be God. The Lord Jesus had spoken of people accepting the Antichrist as their Messiah in John 5:43, “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another comes in his own name, him ye will receive.”

What does it mean when it says “God shall send them strong delusion?” The words, “strong delusion” should be translated “working of error.” The thought then is that because men turned from the truth, God will turn them over to error, the error being the lie that the Antichrist is God. We have an example of God turning men over to a lying spirit in 1 Kings 22 where King Ahab did not want the truth, so God allowed a lying spirit to speak through false prophets. Let’s consider 1 Kings 22:20-22, “And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.” Ahab did indeed believe the lies he heard and died as a result. In a coming day the masses will believe the lie of the Antichrist and their doom will then be sealed. Let’s be clear, God is NOT the author of the lie, but because men refused the truth of the gospel He will indeed allow them to hear and to believe Satan’s lie.

I feel compelled to issue a warning. There are those today who believe and teach that when the Antichrist is revealed, people who have rejected Christ prior to this will be given a “second chance” to receive Christ as their Savior. The passage we’ve had before us clearly refutes this error. I’ve personally heard people say, “I don’t believe in Christ but if the Rapture occurs and the Antichrist is revealed, I will know what’s happened and I’ll turn to Christ and be saved.” Not so! Believe God’s Word my friend when he says, “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”  (134.1)  (DO)