Does God Deceive? The “Deluding Influence” Of Second Thessalonians 2:11 -- By: Gregory H. Harris

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 16:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: Does God Deceive? The “Deluding Influence” Of Second Thessalonians 2:11
Author: Gregory H. Harris


Does God Deceive? The “Deluding Influence” Of Second Thessalonians 2:11

Gregory H. Harrisa

Scripture uses several Greek and Hebrew words to denote deception, particularly in relation to the future period of Tribulation. Second Thess 2:11 is of special interest in discussions of deception during that future time, because God is the agent who sends the “deluding influence” (energeian planēs) among unbelievers. Two OT passages which present God as in some way deceiving are analogous to God’s future activity of this kind, 1Kgs 22:22 and Ezek 14:9. Romans 1:18–32 is partially parallel to that future action. Just as divine judgment of the rebellious was at the heart of God’s deceptive activity in the two OT examples, so it will be during the future Tribulation. His judgment on a rebellious world will take many forms with deception being only one of them. In all cases of His use of deception, He exposes falsehood by presenting His truth. His particular opponent in the future will be “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thess 2:3) who will offer “the lie” (2 Thess 2:11) in place of the truth. This agent of evil will have a very wide following because of his use of deceptive methods. God will then add to the deception of this man’s followers by sending them the “deluding influence” that will move them beyond the possibility of receiving the truth.

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Preliminary Considerations Regarding Deception

From the earliest deception of Eve in Genesis 3 up through Satan’s final attempt to deceive the world in Revelation 20, deception has played a significant role in the history of man. It is fitting that Scripture presents Satan at both the first and last efforts to deceive mankind, because ultimately all religious deception is traceable to Satan, “the serpent of old. .. who deceives the whole world” (Rev 12:9).1 Multiple verses in Scripture bear witness of this, such as John 8:44, which states of Satan, “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is

a liar, and the father of lies.”2

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