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9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The first 8 verses establish that Paul is writing of the end times. So, the "strong delusion" must also be something that happens during the end times.

My question focuses on "they refused to love the truth".
Since the "strong delusion" is something specific that God sends in the end times, to what extent (if any) can we infer that this text also means that God will send some supernatural proof such as (some or all) Christians being able to perform same miracles as apostles?

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  • Nothing exclusive about end times here. God sends delusion to all who deserve in any time.
    – Michael16
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 4:00
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    Those that have 'turned the world upside down' - the apostles - have left a legacy that cannot be avoided by any further generation. The world is full of their writing, and many, many other books have been written commenting upon, enlarging upon, and further explaining, what the apostles left behind. After that if any reject, God sends strong delusion. So when the deluded open their mouths and spout nonsense, we will know, for sure, that they have rejected the truth.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 20:02
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    @Michael16 this text is in the context of many references to end of times topics so it does appear there is something exclusive of end times here. Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 17:33
  • @NigelJ for someone who is on this site, it is true that it cannot be avoided but that is not the case for the average person or even the average Christian. The average Christian thinks it is settled that the rapture is before the 70th week even though 2 Thess 2 places the day of the Lord after the antichrist sits in the temple of God which happens at the midpoint. Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 17:35

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The text in question is very clear about what God does, with respect to people who end up deceived and damned. There's no need to repeat it.

The text in question says nothing about whether God sends those people "overwhelming proof before delusion" as you put it. Nothing can be said about that from the text.

However, there are many texts that show God considers the whole realm of mankind to be without excuse. It also shows God's patience in allowing them time to repent. It shows that we are still in "the Day of Salvation" and that "the last trump" and "the last hour" have not yet arrived. This means that there is still time for people to repent, prior to the angelic declaration at the last that "the hour of his judgment is come" (Revelation 14:7); when "there should be time no longer" (Revelation 10:6).

All around us we see people who choose to believe what they want to believe, and no amount of reasoning can sway them because that's the way they both see it, and want it. As American economist John Kenneth Galbraith said, "Faced with having to change our views or prove that there is no need to do so, most of us immediately get busy on the proof." Also, as Anais Nin commented, "We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are." And that will never be more true than at that time of gross deception and delusion.

When God sees those who refuse to love his truth, he does not plead with them, or try to reason with them. He gives them what they really want - this delusion that plunges them irreversibly into damnable lies that are against God's truth. This is a case of the biblical principle being worked out - "They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind". - Hosea 8:7

Only God can rightly judge when individuals refuse to love the truth, for he reads hearts and minds. He sees the secret things, and the secret thoughts and secret heart's desires of everyone. On the Day of Judgment everything hidden will be revealed (Matthew 10:26), and each individual will realize that God has judged them aright, with total truth and total justice. Despite all their love of unrighteousness, they will have to confess that God's judgments are true and righteous, because he is true and righteous.

God does not need to explain himself or his actions to anyone. Yet he has chosen to reveal certain things to humanity. That revelation may be ignored or scoffed at by many, but that will not prevent them from having to admit on the Day of Judgment that God judged them correctly, for all the things they thought would remain hidden and so give them an argument to keep on defying God's truth will be exposed by God.

There can be no inference from the text that "we [can] infer that this text also means that God will send some supernatural proof such as (some or all) Christians being able to perform same miracles as apostles." [sic.] The text in question gives no reason for supposing that.

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    God has revealed to his servants (in his word,) what shall come to pass, Revelation 1:1. But how many confuse this and confuddle it with nonsense ! Thus they are not forewarned, but rather find obscurity. But Christ also sends his ministers. But how many reject them or sideline them or just ignore them ! Thus are they not forewarned. But the humble, the meek, the broken-hearted, who receive God's word and who receive Christ's ministers shall be forewarned and forearmed. Amen.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 9:27
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In this era Satan is transformed into a messengers of light and his servants of righteousness.

for even Satan transforms himself into a messenger of light; 15[it is] no great thing, then, if his servants also transform themselves as servants of righteousness—2:Corinthians 11:14

Prior too the son of destruction being revealed, that which has been restraining his activities will be taken out of the midst.

for the secret of lawlessness already works, only the [One] now restraining [will do so] until He may come out of [the] midst, 2 Thessalonians 2:7

It is only after that restraint has been removed that the lawless one will be unveiled.

and then the lawless one will be revealed, 2 Thessalonians 2:8

Now that there is no more restraint on this lawless one, he comes into full power with the operation of Satan.

This lawless whose presence is is in accord with the operation of Satan with all power, and signs and false miracles, and with every seduction of injustice among those who are being destroyed, because they do not receive the love of the truth, for their salvation. 2Thessalonians 2:9-10

The next verse is interesting because it says that God is the one who is sending them an operation of deception.

And therefore God will be sending them an operation of deception, that they should believe the falsehood, that all may be judged who do not believe the truth, but delight in injustice. 2 Thessalonians 2:12

In the next era, God will be back of the deception. The false prophet will do the very signs which, in Elijah's day, proved the deity of Jehovah ( 1 Kings 18:24 and Rev. 13:13) and he is empowered even to give a spirit to the image of the wild beast (Rev. 13:15) so that it will actually speak. Thus will the man of lawlessness demonstrate his divinity. Concordant commentary

So even in this deception it is God who empowers the deceiver to deceive.

Of course we see what eventually happens to that lawless one.

The lawless one, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the manifestation of His presence, 2 Thessalonians 2:8

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The verb "send" in two phrases a) God sends a delusional spirit to humans" and b) "God sends an ability/grace to apostles for working miracles" bears totally different semantics.

In the a) instance the "sends" means not that it is a will of God that humans are to be deluded and He purposefully makes sober-minded people delusional, this will be a calumny on God, for then we shall say that God purposefully enacts evil, when this evil could be avoided, and thus is the cause of evil and evildoer; even though this sounds utterly stupid and calumnious, one can only wander how such a witty man (I cannot call him a theologian, sorry!) as Jan Kalvin, seriously adhered to this horrible idea. Thus, "sends" in this instance, as all good-minded theologians say, means that since humans were so wretched thad did not accept divine light and commandment, then God did not force Himself upon them but let them to follow their freedom even if in abuse, for God made us really and frighteningly free with a possibility to abuse it in reality, at detriment of our spiritual health and even at detriment of our eternal salvation.

b) In the b) case the miracle-working is given as an active will of God for the purpose of helping men to be converted and saved.

Now, does the passage that "God sent a delusional spirit" imply that He also sent the miracle-working? In the light of the above division between the two different semantics of the "send", this question probably should be reformulated. However, the main question is: is a miracle-working ability always God-pleasing? Does God always want to sent this ability, just like He always wants to send humans ability/grace to pursue His commandments, like "pray for your enemies"? The answer is clear "no!", for if a man does not want to follow divine commandments but wants to be a miracle-worker, to such a man God will not give this ability. And moreover, even if a Christian is a good man following God's commandments, then even from such a Christian God can withhold the gift of miracle-working for this gift is not safe, it can make man turgid and arrogant, so this gift is given for specific purposes in specific occasions.

In the Apostolic times this gift was necessary for impressing pagans and converting them. Is it 100% clear that in the end of the times the same gift will be similarly necessary? Not sure about it. Why should it be a necessity then? Why and how would such a miracle-working benefit to a human salvation, moreover that many demonic false miracles will be performed then and it will be impossible to distinguish a divine miracle from a demonic miracle.

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  • There could be a period of time, before the demonic miracles, when God gives Christians the ability to perform miracles. Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 15:26
  • @Maximus1987 May be, but this does not change the fact that virtues are always beneficial for soul and always pleasing God, unconditionally, while miracles are not unconditionally good for soul and can lead soul to a peril of arrogance Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 8:27

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