Does God Deceive? Toward a Biblical Understanding of the Deluding Spirit of Second Thessalonians 2:11

Gregory Harris | May 19, 2010

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” among unbelievers. Two OT passages which present God as in some way deceiving are analogous to God’s future activity of this kind, 1 Kgs 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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Gregory Harris Professor of Bible Exposition B.A., Campbell University M.A., North Carolina Central University M.Div., Talbot Theological Seminary Th.M., Talbot Theological Seminary Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary While pursuing his graduate and post-graduate education, Dr. Harris was actively involved in pastoring various churches in California and Texas. In 1989, following the completion of his doctoral studies, he joined the faculty of Washington Bible College, a position he held for seven years. Then for ten years, Dr. Harris taught at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, teaching Bible and Greek. He continues to serve as an international faculty member of the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary in Amman, and maintains an ongoing conference and pulpit ministry. Dr. Harris has also completed short-term graduate study at the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem. He is the author of The Cup and the Glory , The Darkness and the Glory, and The Stone and the Glory and numerous journal articles, and is an active participant in scholarly societies. He joined the TMS family in 2006 and also teaches as an adjunct professor at The Master's College. Dr. Harris is the teaching pastor at Lake Hills Community Church in Castaic, CA. Find more information about Dr. Harris and his ministry at

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