The Foundations of Strong Delusion: Introduction

It has been on the heart of this writer to examine the foundations and dynamics of what is known as strong delusion. Currently there are many areas throughout the church as a whole that is accepting one thread of deception or another.

Many in the church believe we are drawing ever closer to the time of the great falling away which precedes the revealing of the man of lawlessness as described in 2 Thessalonians 2:

2Th 2:1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,

2Th 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

2Th 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

2Th 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

2Th 2:6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

2Th 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.

2Th 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2Th 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

2Th 2:14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Th 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

2Th 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,

2Th 2:17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

For the purposes of the discussions related to the foundations of strong delusion the key verses are 2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12. In order to understand what the accompanying article discussions will examine it will be helpful to really understand what is meant by the words translated in English as strong delusion. The word delusion has particular meaning in our culture connected with mental illness and has shades of meaning.

In order to grasp the meaning of “strong delusion”  it is worth while to examined the translated Greek words. The word to start with is delusion which comes from the Greek word:

which has the following definitions:
1) a wandering, a straying about
1a) one led astray from the right way, roams hither and thither
2) metaphorically
2a) mental straying
2a1) error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion
2b) error which shows itself in action, a wrong mode of acting
2c) error, that which leads into error, deceit or fraud
Part of Speech: noun feminine
Feminine of G4108 (as abstraction); objectively fraudulence; subjectively a straying from orthodoxy or piety: – deceit, to deceive, delusion, error.

As indicated by Strong it comes from:

which has the following definitions:
1) wandering, roving
2) misleading, leading into error
2a) a vagabond, “tramp”, imposter
2b) corrupter, deceiver
Part of Speech: adjective
Of uncertain affinity; roving (as a tramp), that is, (by implication) an impostor or misleader: – deceiver, seducing.

The word translated as delusion references a straying from the truth and ultimately comes from a source of deception, a deceiver. It is a twist of truth, and straying off the right path. Delusion is a walking in error both in belief and action. Now having examined the Greek origins of the word translated as delusion it is time to examine to Greek roots of the word translated as strong.  It comes from the Greek word:

efficiency («energy»): – operation, strong, (effectual) working.
strong’s definition
  1. working, efficiency
    1. in the NT used only of superhuman power, whether of God or of the Devil

Summing up  the Greek origins of the words translated as “strong delusion” the words refer to an effectual deception that is observed both in belief and in behavior. The effectiveness of the deception can be found in supernatural elements, not just psychological dynamics or persuasive communication. God not only allows but sends this effective deception because of rejection of the truth of the Gospel and the turning from self to surrender to the King of Kings.

It is also worthwhile to point out that 2 Thessalonians 2 does point to what is needed to withstand this kind of strong delusion.  It is simply standing firm and holding on to  the truth of the precepts of the Gospel which are found in the Word of God.

If you stop and think, there are many, many forms of effectual deception and in order to fully understand the development of the “strong delusion” that is coming and has come and how someone can come to accept and hold to lies, there are many dynamics to examine. There will come future blogs articles that really examine varied dynamics that contribute to strong delusion and examine the dynamics of deception. An attempt will be made as well to examine the steps to take to avoid getting caught up in any aspect of deception.

Please pray for wisdom, strength, and encouragement as this series is written. Also would enjoy discussion either in comments here or at the Peacebringer Forum discussion thread.

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