Some questions regarding 2Thessalonians have been brought up. The non-bold text below shows the post questions. Also, the Scripture below is what was posted, which I believe is from the NIV.
2Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and DESTROY by the splendor of his coming. The letter goes on speaking about how Satan deceives those that ”will perish because they refuse to love the truth...”. God sends non believers a ”delusion” so they believe the lies and in turn be condemned. My question is what could this ”powerful delusion” be? If they are already non believers why the delusion? Aren’t they already condemned by their delight in wickedness?
Paul is addressing believers; he is commending them, and also letting them know he prays for them and gives thanks for them: Their faith is growing abundantly Their love for the brethren is increasing They are steadfast in enduring persecution and affliction They are faithful (trusting in God) in enduring persecution and affliction Paul goes on to tell them that these characteristics are evidence that they are worthy of the Kingdom of God!
He also encourages them that relief, total relief, from persecution and affliction is coming – but it is coming at the return of Christ.
When Jesus returns He will have His “mighty angels” with Him. There is vengeance coming, and this vengeance is an eternal destruction. It is an eternal punishment from the presence of the Lord that is coming to those who do not obey the Gospel. We see later in the chapter that these people “refused to love the Truth and so be saved” – they “did not believe the Truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness”. Two crucial points here:
They were aware of the Truth, but they did not believe it, they preferred the pleasure of sin God’s ways are above our ways – whether He chooses to save some and not others, is not for us to sort out the why (See Romans 9) – instead it should leave us in awe and thankfulness that He saved us Paul warned that there will be deception, those trying to convince people that the Lord has already returned. Paul indicates, before Jesus returns, there is someone else that will come on the scene. This person will be empowered by Satan, he will show false signs, wonders, and wicked deception. This person will exalt himself against EVERY so-called god or object of worship. He will sit in the temple of God and proclaim himself to be God. This means he will rise up against false gods, false religions, AND God. He will demand worship.
It is likely that the rise to power for this “lawless one” will result in the ones that “refused to love the Truth”, the ones “that did not believe”, the ones “that loved unrighteousness” – they will worship the lawless one. Whether that be the case are not, God has shown Paul, who has communicated to us, that God will send them “a strong delusion” that they “may believe what is false”.
Why did He send the “strong delusion” since they already didn’t believe? I am not sure, maybe, as with Sodom and Gomorrah, He had enough. I know that just because I don’t understand why God does something doesn’t mean I matter – His ways are above my ways. Just because I don’t understand how a motorcycle works doesn’t keep me from enjoying the ride.What is the delusion? I don’t know.
Aren’t they already condemned? AbsolutelyThe ultimate point is, Jesus will DESTROY the “lawless one”, the non-believers, and Satan. We are called to stand firm through it all – keep the faith.