The Lie

Q. 2 Thes 2:11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. What is the lie? Why would God send people a powerful delusion? Wouldn’t that make God responsible?

A. The phrase “the lie” appears only twice in the NIV NT, here and in 2 Thes 2:9. To answer your question, let’s start with the immediate context – 2 Thes 2:1-12, which talk about the Great Apostasy in the end times, and the Man of Lawlessness, the Antichrist. We analyze 2 Thes 2:9-12 by dividing the 4 verses into three parts – that which the lawless one does, the people’s response, and what God will do:

9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie,
10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Note the chronological sequence:
• First, the lawless one, empowered by Satan, will use power, signs and wonders to deceive.
• Next, the people who refuse to love and believe the truth to be saved, choose to believe the lawless one’s lie and delight in wickedness. That’s why they perish.
• Then God sends the people a powerful delusion to confirm their refusal to love the truth, so that they will be condemned.
So God’s sending the delusion did not cause their unbelief, but in response to it. They perish because of their own choice and love of wickedness.

What is “the lie”? In the NKJV NT, the phrase appears one more time:
Rom 1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

“The lie” is contrasted with “the truth of God”. The background goes all the way back to Genesis 3, the temptation and fall of man:
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
• Gen 3:4-5 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The very first lie in the Bible is a direct contradiction of God’s word in:
Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
claiming that it cannot be trusted. It imputes an ulterior motive to God’s prohibition, not for our good to protect us, but to selfishly guard His superiority so that we won’t be like Him. Therefore obedience keeps us down while disobedience will promote us to be like God. This lie has been repeated throughout the ages in all religions, men trying to establish their own goodness apart from God. Men had fallen for it time and again, and will continue to do so until the end.

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One thought on “The Lie

  1. Is the following a case of God sending delusion ? The wicked being men of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir when they invaded King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Can it be a case when God allows Satan to devour the wicked with delusions. Being almighty, holy and perfect. God could have destroyed them without having to do anything. Acts 5 : 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost.
    1 Samuel 6 : 19And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD,
    We ridicule the Muslim for worshiping a deceitful Allah who secretively replaced Jesus with another man on the cross, etc. I believe Jehovah is the all perfect, holy God of truth. Satan is the one waiting around to give delusions when God permits.
    Hebrews 6:18
    Verse Concepts
    so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
    Dt. 32: 4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
    The following is quoted from Christian Courier website:
    Clearly the statement is not to be taken literally. Such a view would contradict what we know regarding the qualities of our great and loving God. Jehovah is a God of goodness (Acts 14:17; Jas. 1:17) and truth (Dt. 32:4). He cannot do that which is a violation of his own nature (cf. Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18). It is fairly well known among advanced Bible students that there is a common idiom (figure of speech) in sacred literature, by which God is said to actively do that which, in reality, he merely allows in human beings — to whom he has granted freedom of will.
    “Ezekiel represents Jehovah as saying, “I gave them [the Hebrew people] statues that were not good” (Ezek. 20:25). In the larger context of the passage, the meaning is this: “When my people became determined not to listen to my law, I permitted them to follow the ways of paganism. They chose wickedness, I honored the exercise of their volition.
    This is precisely the sentiment of the following passage.” So I let them go after the stubbornness of their heart, that they might walk in their own counsels” (Psa. 81:12). ”

    I think Rev. Liu’s answer to a previous question about predestination is also a good answer for this question.
    “It wasn’t God did not care, but men ignored God. So God gave them over to impurity, degrading passions, and a depraved mind:
    • Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,
    • Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions;
    • Rom 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind,

    and allowed them to suffer the consequences of their action. This is exactly what happened in Judges 19-20.”

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