2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NRSV)
11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.

  • Hello polcott, welcome to BHSE, so glad to have you here! Have you taken the tour of our site yet? We're a little different than other sites. Thanks. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – sara
    Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 14:30
  • @sara I read it now and as I expected I already knew: Biblical Hermeneutics is a question and answer site for anyone who wants to know what a Biblical text means (exegesis). I have been doing this for 20 years.
    – polcott
    Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


The concept of God sending evil spirits to bring judgment is throughout the whole Bible.

The ‘demonic’ realm operates entirely within God’s will. There is nothing they can do without permission or legal rights. Though like squatters they might need forceful eviction, hence the Greek is stronger than the English casting out. But that’s another tangential subject.

“I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil; I, the LORD, do all these things. ’” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭45:7‬ ‭

And it’s not that God does evil, it’s that He is a just God and if men choose evil and reject Him, then Satan is entitled to enforce God’s judgment against men.

“The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion/perversion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭19:14‬ ‭


“Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you."” ‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭22:23‬ ‭

The lying spirit was granted permission after suggesting his solution to God’s request in persuading Ahab to his death, because the prophets were already false prophets. This was not the first time they lied, they were under the jurisdiction of the lying spirit. And since it resolved God’s request God granted it to the lying spirit.

“And the Lord said to him, 'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.'” ‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭22:22

Another example

Job had failed to ascribe righteousness to God

“I will get my knowledge from afar and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭36:3‬ ‭

Instead Job was righteous in his own eyes, thinking his life was a result of his effort.

“So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭32:1‬ ‭

This is pride and pride generally falls in three categories own righteousness, own strength, own wisdom, none of which honor God who is the true giver of all three

And therefore God initiates a discussion again in the divine council in the sky and God prompts the Accuser with a question and the accuser like a prosecutor presents an argument against Job, a weak argument but God accepts the accuser to take all Job’s belongings and then again on a second hearing to give Job a disease. Why?

“Pride goes before destruction” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:18‬ ‭

God resists the proud and Job being righteous in his own eyes had such deep seated pride God allowed a proportionally strong judgment. Fortunately Job repented and was delivered

And example

Pharaoh hardens his heart to the point that afterwards God steps in and hardens it for him

“Still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭7:13‬ ‭

Just in case you think God did it

“But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭8:15‬ ‭

Afterwards God steps in and doesn’t give pharaoh a chance to repent.

NT passage

This is what is happening in the NT passage. People reject the truth.

“because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” ‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:10‬

This refusal is paramount. Once you refuse one too many times God sends in judgment and it takes the form of satan’s deceptions.

“Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:11-12‬ ‭


If you reject The Truth (Jesus Christ) you will be judged and this judgment in that day will come in the form of a great delusion. A deserved delusion, a delusion of choice because you did not love truth and because you reject righteousness.

It’s all about obedience and if you disobey God sends evil spirits and curses (legal rights to harm)

“"But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:15‬ ‭

  • So it looks like when a person gets to the point of God sending them a powerful delusion they don't stand any chance at all at getting to actual truth and righteousness. God will continue to distort reality to convince them that their delusion is true.
    – polcott
    Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 20:08
  • 1
    Yes and no. No because if you are still alive you still technically have a chance. Yes because sometimes you can pass the point of no return, actions have consequences. “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.' As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest.'"” ‭‭Heb‬ ‭3:7-11‬ Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 23:56
  • "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion", How done one know that they are hearing his voice instead of their own presumption?
    – polcott
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 4:16
  • Demons will never tell you to repent, and if it’s your own mind telling you to repent, you’re not beyond the point of no return. Repentance is defined as not doing your own thing. ”All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one— to his own way ” ‭‭Isa ‭53:6‬ obedience results in hearing His voice ”If you turn (repent) at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you” ‭‭Pro 1:23‬ and to those that repent God gives His Spirit to guide them. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” ‭‭John‬ ‭10:27‬ obedience Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 4:58
  • 1
    "love your neighbor as yourself" That has been my main focus for at least five years now.
    – polcott
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 14:27

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