In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, are "the lie" and "the truth" some particular lie and some particular truth?

NIV 2 Thess 2: 9The 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, 10and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Does Paul expect the Thessalonians to know what "the lie" and "the truth" are specifically?

My suspicion is that he is contrasting monotheism (the truth) and polytheism (the lie) [IE: "Trinitarianism" and the worship of a man as if he were Almighty God].

Given the context, are there any other specific contenders that he might have in mind?

Or should we just understand him to be concerned with truth vs lies in general terms?

2 Answers 2


The NIV translation of 2 Thessalonian 2:9 seems to be a minority view among popular English-language Bibles. An interlinear translation leaves little room for "serve the lie". In this case, the KJV seems representative of the majority translation (In the following extracts I will use whichever of NIV or KJV is the clearer or apparently more accurate translation):

2 Thessalonian 2:9 (KJV): Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders [miracles]

However, verse 2:11 does refer to a lie, which is believed as a result of a delusion. The delusion is that Jesus would return in the present generation, as we see most clearly in verse 3:

2 Thessalonian 2:3 (KJV): Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

So, where does that delusion come from? In First Thessalonians, Paul had encouraged the Thessalonians to expect to see Jesus within their own lifetimes, an expectation he reinforces in 1 Thessalonians 4:15:

1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV): For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?

1 Thessalonians 4:15 (KJV): For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Can it be true that Paul made this prediction and is now describing it as a lie? Bart D. Ehrman, in Forged, page 106, says "Paul thought the end was coming in his lifetime." He goes on to say:

Nowhere is this more clear than in 1 Thessalonians. Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica because some of them had become disturbed over the death of a number of their fellow believers. When he converted these people, Paul had taught them that the end of the age was imminent and that they were to enter the kingdom when Jesus returned, but members of the congregation had died before it happened. Paul wrote to assure the survivors that even those who have died will be brought into the kingdom. In fact, when Jesus returns in glory on the clouds of heaven, "the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Most biblical scholars believe Paul was not the author of 2 Thessalonians. By the time this epistle was written, it was becoming obvious that Jesus would not return in the lifetimes of the Thessalonians to whom Paul had written. The only way to counter this 'delusion' was to have Paul himself write (pseudepigraphically) and explain why Jesus had not returned. Ehrman says:

The author of 2 Thessalonians argues that the end is not coming right away. Certain things have to happen first. There will be some kind of political or religious uprising and rebellion, and an Antichrist-like figure will appear and take his seat in the Temple of Jerusalem and declare himself to be God.

The delusion is the belief that Paul had said Jesus would return without warning, 'like a thief in the night' (1 Thessalonians 5:2), during the lifetime of of those to whom he had written. Because this had not happened, our author was concerned with the lie beginning to take hold, that Jesus would never return. The truth that he asks us to believe is that Jesus will return, when certain conditions have been met.



The Truth is this: that God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all. This was declared from the Beginning (Jesus is the Beginning).

1 John 1:5-10 KJV (5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and are walking in darkness, we lie and do not THE Truth (God is Light and there is no darkness at all in Him)

(6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

THE Truth (God is Light and there is no darkness at all in Him) is not in us if we say that we no sin.

(8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word (Saying) is not in us.

(10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

We find the Saying (God is Light) in Genesis 1:3. This is the Saying of life (Word of life).

Genesis 1:3-4 KJV (3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (4) And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

In the Beginning (Jesus who is the Beginning of the Creation of God), it says that Elohim IS (not “shall become” but “IS”) Light. God is Light.

Elohim he shall become light = Elohim He IS Light. God is Light.

God is Light and those who have fellowship with Him walk in the Light with Him. And there was Light as we become Light….the children of Light….when we walk with Him.

From Interlinear Scripture Analyzer 2:

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There is no darkness in God as He divided the Light from the darkness. Those who walk in darkness...who are hating their brothers...cannot “see” with the eyes of their understanding even though they say that they are walking in the Light with Him.

1 John 2:8-11 KJV (8) Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. (9) He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. (10) He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (11) But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

The people who say they know God ….they say that they are walking in the Light with Him…but do not do what He says are being deceived even now (as the mystery of iniquity is ALREADY at work) by the many current false prophets who have deceived many with all of the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that are perishing from off this earth under His wrath.

They receive not the love of the Truth (as they do not walk in the Light) so that they might be saved.

They say they are walking in the Light with Him but do not do what He says and are in darkness even now as they perish under His judgment that they have no understanding of. Loving the Truth is doing it and not just professing it.

The false prophet is there (coming = presence) in accordance with the working of Satan to lead them (those who take pleasure in unrighteousness)down the broad path to the destruction of the mortal flesh from off this earth.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 KJV (9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

They think that they have “peace and safety” (the strong delusion) as they take pleasure in their unrighteousness so that they should believe THE Lie. They serve the Lie thinking that they have peace and safety with God in doing so. They judge others in His name (authority) supposedly and think that they are safe in doing so.

(11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Destruction stands upon them as He judges them.

1 Thessalonians 5:3-5 KJV (3) For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (4) But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (5) Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

The Lie is the same Lie from the beginning where the serpent deceived Eve who added her own carnal commandment (“neither shall you touch it”) to God’s commandment and presented as though God had said it when He did not say it. She changed the commandment of God for the Lie…in order to serve the Lie.

Genesis 3:1-6 KJV (1) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

The Lie begins with a “peace and safety” message: “you shall surely not die”. It should be translated “dying, you shall not die” or rather “killing, you shall not die”.

It is supposedly “safe” to kill another with the sword of the tongue in judgment of another. It is safe to call another an “evildoer” by using our own “commandment of man” (neither shall you touch it) that we serve as a basis to “kill” another with false accusations and slander.

(4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

And all the while thinking that we are doing God “service” for doing so. “For God does know” = the part of the lie where many think that they are doing these things in His name or authority. “In your name” we have done these wonderful works.

Your eyes shall be opened = you shall be seen as “wise” by using the tongue to speak evil of another.

You shall be as “gods”…that is, JUDGES….knowing good and evil.

Many call others “evildoers” as they see themselves as judges for God and do so for not following their particular handwriting of teachings and commandments of men that are written by the church scribes.

(5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Death and life are in the power (hand) of the tongue. Those who love it will eat the fruit of it…in this case, death.

(6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

There is only one Lawgiver. There is only One Judge. If we speak evil of another brother for not following what we think is “right” (not following a particular dogma or carnal commandment), then we are not a doer of the Law but a “judge” (the Lie: you shall be as judges or “gods” knowing good and evil). Why judge another?

James 4:11-12 KJV (11) Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. (12) There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

There is only One Judge…only One Lawgiver….who is able to save and to destroy. Why judge another?

Isaiah 33:22 KJV (22) For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

The handwriting of church “ordinances”…that is in Greek, dogmas….are against us and are contrary to us.

The ancient Greek word “dogma” meant literally "that which one thinks is true" and the verb dokein, "to seem good". These “dogmas” were put in to church writings (statements of faith, church bylaws, church constitutions, etc) and are then used to judge others with thereby serving the Lie in darkness.

Colossians 2:13-23 KJV (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

These dogmas of what we think are right are used as powers against us and deceive us into serving the Lie…thinking we are doing God “service” in killing another with false accusations, evil, etc because others do not worship and serve them.

(15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Let no man “JUDGE” you in carnal commandments that he has wrested out of the Scriptures with his puffed up fleshly mind. He has no understanding of the Scriptures as he does not have the mind of Christ who is the Head. He has "trespassed"...intruding into those things of the Scriptures of which he has no understanding.

These carnal things have been put into the handwritings of church ordinances…dogmas…and many think that they are “right” and serve and worship their handwritings instead of God.

(16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (18) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (19) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

These church handwritings read just like the rest of the world’s documents (the rudiments or elements of the world)….constitutions, bylaws, etc.

(20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

“Touch not.” This is what the woman in the garden added to God’s commandment: “neither shall you touch it”.

(21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

To serve the church commandments and teachings of men seems “right” and looks wise to those who do them….but in the end we perish from this earth with the using of them. Many use them to judge others while thinking they are doing God “service” for doing so as they serve the Lie of Satan. They accuse others as "evildoers" for not keeping their handwritings of church dogmas. They see themselves as judges of others for God in doing so.

(23) Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

A church dogma (“something that seems true”) is worshipped and served but in the end is the way of death as many use it to judge others supposedly in God’s name…His authority.

Proverbs 14:12 KJV (12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

They change the Truth of God into THE Lie and worship and serve that change (“creature” or ordinance) more than the Creator…

Romans 1:25 KJV (25) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

In vain do they worship God as they worship and serve their handwritings of commandments of men (in darkness) more than God who is Light.

Matthew 15:9 KJV (9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Professing themselves as wise, they change the truth of God into the Lie. The pen of the church scribes is in vain. What wisdom is there in their handwritings of church dogmas of what people think are wise to keep? They are in darkness as they know not that the judgment of God is upon them. What wisdom are in those who are professing themselves to be wise?

Jeremiah 8 KJV (7) Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (8) How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. (9) The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?

The false prophets preach their handwriting of the commandments of men…they give life unto the image of the beast. And they cause many to judge others (be “killed”) who do not worship their particular “dogmas” (that they think are true).

They made an image in their own minds of what they think is true and worship and serve the handwriting of church dogmas that aligns with what they think is true (the handwriting of dogmas) and “kill” others with their judgments using such contrived dogmas.

Revelation 13:15 KJV (15) And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

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