Does God Deceive? Toward a Biblical Understanding of the Deluding Spirit of Second Thessalonians 2:11

Scripture uses several Greek and Hebrew words to denote deception, particularly in relation to the future period of Tribulation. Second Thess 2:11 is of special interest in discussions of deception during that future time, because God is the agent who sends the “deluding influence” among unbelievers. Two OT passages which present God as in some way deceiving are analogous to God’s future activity of this kind, 1 Kgs 22:22 and Ezek 14:9. Romans 1:18-32 is partially parallel to that future action. Just as divine judgment of the rebellious was at the heart of God’s deceptive activity in the two OT examples, so it will be during the future Tribulation. His judgment on a rebellious world will take many forms with deception being only one of them. In all cases of His use of deception, He exposes falsehood by presenting His truth. His particular opponent in the future will be “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thess 2:3) who will offer “the lie” (2 Thess 2:11) in place of the truth. This agent of evil will have a very wide following because of his use of deceptive methods. God will then add to the deception of this man’s followers by sending them the “deluding influence” that will move them beyond the possibility of receiving the truth.