Is it possible that much of what we know as Christianity today is in fact the strong delusion of 2 Thessalonians 2:11? Notice that I wrote much of and not ALL OF. There is a reason for that. There has always been a remnant of the pristine gospel so that anyone who would believe it would be saved and brought into right relationship with Father God. The strong delusion is actually a “leavening of the gospel.” It is a mixture of the pure, pristine gospel and the leaven of the Pharisees and/or Sadducees and/or Herod that Jesus warned of in Matt 16:6&12; Mark 8:15 and Luke 12:1. This is the strong delusion mentioned by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians.
Also, notice that I included the leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herod. I did that because in the three passages Jesus did that. Let me briefly define each. Once you read the definition, it should be easy for you to see that this is the truth, and an awareness of agreement should pop into your spirit immediately. The leaven of the Pharisees is the legalistic – constitutional point of view that so many evangelicals have concerning the law of Moses. The leaven of the Sadducee’s is manifested in liberal Christianity that does not believe in the deity of Jesus and the supernatural. The leaven of Herod is demonstrated by those who believe that they can bring forth kingdom principals by becoming active in current government. All of this is the strong delusion or as it is rendered in the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation for those that do not know the abbreviation)… “the working of delusion.”
You may say to me that the man of lawlessness has not yet been revealed. I believe that he has been revealed but even if not, Paul said clearly that the *secret* of lawlessness was already at work. Some translations render it *the mystery of lawlessness* but either way it was already there but stealth. What was the lawlessness? How was the lawlessness aided by the leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians? These are two important questions that must be answered.
First, what was the lawlessness? Let’s look at this passage in the ESV… 2Th 2:9-10 “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, (10) and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” The lawlessness was not loving and believing the truth of the pristine gospel. They did not love and believe God’s way of making them righteous, and chose to continue with the way of the Pharisees. They chose to continue to propagate self-righteousness by living as if the New Covenant saints were still under Deut 6:25. In reality however, New Covenant righteousness was established by faith in the blood of Jesus and according to Romans 5, peace with God, based on being made right, would aid in the transformation of the saint to a person that loves God and others with a godly love.
This lawlessness elevates self-righteousness and diminishes reliance of God for righteousness and ultimately rejects the gospel. Next we will begin to look at the “man of lawlessness.”