Volume 46 | Number 2 | March–April 2018

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“That They Should Believe the Lie” 2 Thessalonians 2:11b – Part Three

By Dr. H. T. Spence

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a [the] lie (2 Thess. 2:11).

What was the “cause” that God would send “them” strong delusion? The previous verse reveals this cause—“because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” It is the rejection of truth that brings an individual or even a nation into the shambles of chaotic thinking. When anyone comes to a season of willful rejection of truth by first casting away a “love” for the truth, hatred for the truth inevitably follows. This truth can be noted in the hearts of the Israelites when they refused to enter the land of Canaan. The Scriptures revealed, “Yea, they despised the pleasant land” (Ps. 106:24).

The Apostle continues in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, “And for this cause,” the God of heaven will continue to send (in the present tense) to either individuals or the global society a “strong delusion.” This phrase in the Greek is that He will continue to send them “false reasoning” until they ultimately believe the final Lie that will sweep the world. Note Romans 1:28: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” In refusing and rejecting God in their knowledge, God gives man over to a reprobate mind—a mind that is given to irrational thoughts. Second Timothy 4:3, 4 declares that when the truth is rejected, another power will take over the mind for it to be turned to “fables,” “myths,” yea, “the lie.”

The Apostasy—The Lie

Man since his fall has known multitudes of defections from the truth. But Paul reveals in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “a [Gr., ‘the’] falling away first.” Apostasies eventually bring man to the final apostasy to arise globally in the End Time of the last days. A season in world history is approaching when defection from truth will be known in every compartment of life. It will be a time when the whole world will believe the Lie.

The last church age presented in Revelation 3 is Laodicea, a church age that believes that being rich and increased with materialism is proof of God’s presence. Nevertheless, they know not that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). Truly the End Time will be a collaboration of the apostasy with the Lie. Apostasy produces a permanent defection from truth; it is then that a lie takes over in the thinking of an individual; one leads to the power of the other. The domination of that lie in one’s thinking then goes on to feed deeper apostasy.

The Coming of Antichrist—The Lie

The term antichrist is more of a title that will become prominent the nearer we get to the secret coming of Christ and the Tribulation Period. Although the title only occurs in John’s writings (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7), nevertheless, the idea which the word antichrist conveys occurs frequently in Scripture. The term antichrist has a twofold understanding: (1) one of taking the place of Christ and (2) one of being against Christ.

As in the Old Testament where the doctrine of Christ is only suggested and not fully developed, so is the case with the teachings of Antichrist. In the New Testament the activity of the Devil is regarded as especially directed against Christ. In the Temptation of Luke 4:5–7, there is the personal temptation given to Christ that has never been extended to another. In this passage, the Devil claimed to hold all the kingdoms of this world. The temptation that day was a struggle against Christ and Antichrist. In the parable of the Wheat and Tares, there is the sowing of the good seed by the Son of Man and the sowing of the tares by the Devil, the Antichrist. In the Pauline Epistles, Satan is seen in the spiritual sphere—“what concord hath Christ with Belial” (2 Cor. 6). In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul’s comment that “the mystery of iniquity doth already work” indicates this doctrine being developed. This mystery of iniquity is the Man of Sin.

Twelve years before this epistle, a shadow and type of this man of sin arose in the mad emperor Caligula. After erecting a temple unto himself in Rome, Caligula demanded that his own statue be set up in Jerusalem and worshiped. The writings of John warn that such a man is coming. However, John’s greater concern was that anti-Christian forces and doctrines were coming up within the church and denying the coming of Christ. Yet in his final book (Revelation), John declares the person of Antichrist, the Beast, and also his image, his number, his mark, and his name.

The writings of John place Antichrist in a developmental stage as a growing spirit that finally is embodied in a person, the final product of this development. Thus, Antichrist is ultimately the tangible product of a developing spirit in history. He will be the product of the nations of the world against God, the spirit of Psalm 2:3, as the world’s leaders cry, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

Antichrist is directly linked with the heads of the empires of history. Antichrist is also the product of Satan’s working to get a man under his absolute control, a man who will have the ability to unite the human and demonic worlds together. He will be the final development of sin—the wicked one, the lawless one against God’s law. Only Judas and the Antichrist receive the title “son of perdition.” Christ is the Son of God; Antichrist will be the Son of Perdition. Christ was the Mystery of Godliness (1 Tim. 3:16); Antichrist will be the Mystery of Iniquity (2 Thess. 2:7). As the “seed of the serpent,” he will be somewhat of a composite man—one who embraces the abilities and powers of the previous empires while possessing the empowering of the Devil. He will attract the ungodly of the world; his personality will be irresistible; he will be a flatterer, a brilliant diplomat, for he will speak with great swelling words.

The early Apostolic church age believed that Antichrist would be a person, the embodiment of human blasphemy and wickedness. But toward the close of the twelfth century, many began to look upon the Pope as Antichrist; this view has been largely advocated by Protestant commentators. While the arguments in favor of this view are plausible, they are hard to reconcile with the Word of God. This perspective makes Antichrist merely a papal system rather than a specific person who ultimately will arise as the product of man’s sin.

John declares “what” or “who” becomes an Antichrist:

Who is a liar but he hath denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22).
Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:3).

Judaism has “denied” that “Jesus is the Christ.” Unitarianism has denied that He has “come in the flesh.” Yet the papacy over the years has never denied these statements. The Church of Rome has always confessed: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.” All the Protestant commentators insist that the “papal system” is described in Revelation 17:4, 5 under the figure of a Woman “arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls.” While this is true, this Woman, the Mother of Harlots, is represented as riding upon the Beast of Antichrist. If the Beast is the Antichrist, the Woman cannot be; the papal Woman cannot be a papal Beast; these personalities are distinct.

Antichrist as the “Man of Sin” will “exalt himself and magnify himself above every god” (Dan. 11:36, 37). Paul declares of him that “he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4). However false and impious the claims of the papacy, it always verbally recognized its subordination to God, and the Pope’s highest claim is that he is the “Vicar of Christ.” The passage in Revelation 13:3, 4 speaks of the two persons of the Antichrist and the Devil. Although the papal system worships the “virgin” and the saints, it is not true that it worships the Devil (at least not publicly).

Though there are many things in the history of the Church that foreshadow the spirit of Antichrist, it is clear that the Woman Harlot of Roman papacy is distinct from the Antichrist Beast out of the sea.

The Antichrist and the Lie

The Antichrist will be known for the power of his words:

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven (Rev. 13:5, 6).
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all (Dan.11:36, 37).

How is it possible that Antichrist will take control of the governments of the world to control the thinking of humanity? How will he even convince the Jewish nation that he is the Messiah? This is possible because he will be the full embodiment of the Lie. He will have the power to craft the words of a lie as the truth to the world. He will be able to analyze the truth and convince the world that it is a lie. As the embodiment of the Lie, he will convince the world to abandon all the truth of history and despise it as a myth.

Governments and the Lie

A careful study of history shows that governments have been built at least on a portion of the Lie. Governments are rarely fully honest with their people because they see the need to control the people and to bring them into conformity to their philosophical desires. Although our own country America has experienced an immense sea of deception for many years, it now is so aggressively embracing the Lie that only the coming of the Lord will be able to set the truth straight.

Governmentally, our beloved nation entered its most confusing hour in 2008. We did not really know who our new president was or what he was. The media meticulously covered the truth of this man to peddle the Lie. This man of mystery was always one step ahead in the cover up. Was he Muslim or Christian? Was he an American or an African? Was his birth certificate truly from Hawaii or was it a forgery? Was he a communist-socialist or was he a patriot of this country? Was he a promoter and financial provider for the very terrorists who were dedicated to destroy America, or was he a socialist benefactor to the lazy? Was he a sodomite disguised in the myth of a family or simply an ultra liberal who wanted to bring down the historic family concept in America? Was his wife a genuine woman or of “another kind”? Did he love and respect this country, or was he a mole planted to subvert and overthrow it?

For eight years we, and the world, lived in and with the utter confusion of what was the truth about this leader. During his administration Obama gave a speech in Seattle that was covered by the Washington Post:

But whether people see what’s happening in Ukraine, and Russia’s aggression towards its neighbors in the manner in which it’s financing and arming separatists; to what’s happened in Syria—the devastation that Assad has wrought on his own people; to the failure in Iraq for Sunni and Shia and Kurd to compromise—although we’re trying to see if we can put together a government that actually can function; to ongoing terrorist threats; to what’s happening in Israel and Gaza —part of peoples’ concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity, that’s based on economies that work for all people (July 23, 2014).

More and more the rhetoric of words flowed pressing for a coming one world order, where everyone and everything will be controlled by a global government—the prophetic Antichrist world empire.

To accomplish this world order, the “words” of truth (no matter by whom they are spoken) will have to be quelled and condemned as being a “lie”; these leaders will accept only the promotion of the myth. For all who believe in the truth, “freedom of speech” is being suppressed; those who believe the Lie are promoted with governmental support to continue their mythical opinions, even lying to protect the Lie.

What this has come to reminds us of what happened in twentieth-century Germany. When German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) used his pulpit to expose Adolf Hitler’s radical politics, he knew every word spoken was reported by Nazi spies and secret agents. Leo Stein describes in his book I Was in Hell with Niemöller (1942) how the Gestapo gathered evidence against Niemöller. These charges were based entirely on his sermons, which the Gestapo agents had taken down in shorthand. In none of his sermons did Pastor Niemöller exhort his congregation to overthrow the Nazi regime. He merely raised his voice against some Nazi policies, particularly the policies directed against the Church. He had even refrained from criticizing the people of the Nazi government. Under the former government, his sermons would have been construed only as an exercise of the right of free speech. Now, however, written laws, no matter how explicitly they were worded, were subjected to the interpretation of the judges. In a June 27, 1937 sermon, Niemöller made it clear his audience had a sacred duty to speak out on the evils of the Nazi regime no matter what the consequences:

We have no more thought of using our own powers to escape the arm of the authorities than had the Apostles of old. No more are we ready to keep silent at man’s behest when God commands us to speak. For it is, and must remain, the case that we must obey God rather than man.

A few days later, he was arrested. His crime was designated as “abuse of the pulpit.”

Another power that is rising in the overthrow of our country has been popularly termed the “Deep State.” It has been defined in a variety of ways:

The influential decision-making bodies within government that are relatively permanent and whose policies and long-term plans are unaffected by changing administrations.
They are a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy.

“Deep State” has been a longstanding term used in countries such as Turkey and Russia. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, the term has arguably been used involving the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA. Planted moles from previous administrations are alleged to be trying to overthrow the present administration by delegitimizing any policy goals. Pay-offs of hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent to create dossiers of so-called “facts” that help perpetuate the Lie.

The Present Global Distress and the Lie

The Christian today is found in a global worldview that has denounced its Creator, and any accountability to Him. The world’s population is nearing 8 billion. Conservative demographic listings suggest anywhere between 16,000 to 27,000 different ethnic groups exist. No other time in history has known such ethnic diversity. While the United Nations acknowledges 195 distinct nations, other organizations list as many as 249 nations.

Throughout these nations roughly 6,500 languages are spoken, with Mandarin Chinese spoken by the greatest number of people. About 2,000 of these languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers. Throughout these nations about 4,200 religions are practiced. The top five religions are Christianity (with its highly diversified persuasions), Islam, Secularism (nonreligious, agnostics, atheists, and New Agers), Hinduism, and Buddhism. And under these are several thousands of subdivisions. Hindus acknowledge millions of gods and goddesses; Buddhists say there are no gods; the New Age followers believe they themselves are gods; Muslims believe in a powerful but unknowable god; and the Bible declares a personal, loving, and approachable God. Even the diversity within Christianity has suggested well over 33,000 denominations.

All these religions also include their own sacred writings. Sad to say, Christianity is the only religion that questions or even denies its sacred writing—the Bible. Christianity is also the most diversified religion of any in the world. This latter observation gives clear evidence that Christianity has entered deeply into global apostasy; America has become the product of public Christianity’s falling away. Modern Christianity has come to believe that the truth of the past will not survive in this present generation; it declares we must change its concept of truth as well as its Jesus to acclimate to the times. The mega, charismatic churches with their liberal, intense thirst and hunger for the world have mongrelized the truth. As a result, they have introduced a new gospel which in turn has introduced a new Christ. This new gospel and new Christ have become the enemy of the Christ of the Bible. The Lie is ever mutating in Christianity.

But amidst the diversity of nations, languages, religions, and religious books, the internet has become the source for prominent written and spoken voices around the world. The internet now boasts almost two billion websites, with all these voices clamoring for followers of their way. Sources such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming the authority of what should be heard and not heard. They are joining the global forces to declare what is truth and what is myth. An elite group of powers are slowly and methodically narrowing down the voices of what they believe the world populace should follow.

At the turn of the twentieth century, we saw communism arise promising to be the utopia for mankind. Both communism and socialism are economic and political structures that promote equality. They seek to eliminate distinctions of poor, middle, and upper classes, while attempting to make equal all races and genders. Oh, how the Lie has spread across the world to bring about the new world order. However, in every government that communism has taken over, it has become a dictatorship, making reform impossible. In the communist society everything is owned by the working class, and everyone works toward the same communal goal. All are equal. Amidst its false idealism in every circumstance, communism has brought mass poverty. There are only five nations in the world that are still completely communistic—Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, North Korea, and China. But we must remember that when communism fails, it is only a matter of time before dictatorship takes over. For communism leaves an absolute vacuum politically, economically, emotionally, and religiously. This vacuum is filled very quickly.

Communism has also left its mark of absolute moral void among the people. Its philosophy was a lie that failed every aspect of society. The greatest irony now is the lingering influence of an all-encompassing welfare state advocated by many in the US Congress and the continued presence of tenured Marxists in America’s schools and universities.

The Lie of socialism has taken over many countries including America. As in communism, socialism focuses on so-called “equality.” The propagation of this lie has filtered down to the confusion of same-gender marriages and transgender absurdities so constantly being forced upon the world today. It is a global lie that has no doubt known demonic anointing.

Even the capitalism that helped build America has lost its foundation. That foundation was moral and ethical principles; it is now filled with terrible greed and corruption. When principles of governments leave God and lean into a direction away from God, the Lie must take its place.

Secularism is another part of the Lie that Western civilization has turned to. Secularism began as a dialogue about pluralism, tolerance, and relative values (as in France over 250 years ago). But it has ended with an outright assault on Christianity and its Christ. Secularism has an intellectual allurement, for such men and women are tantalized by the ideas and promises of the humanist dream that Darwinism, Freudian psychology, and the Marxist-Leninist social theories propagated. In secularism, the mind becomes a playground of hunger for the forbidden fruit, for the lust of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and to attain what Satan promised, “Ye shall be as gods.” Evolution has released man, at least in his thinking, from any accountability to a Creator. (If man came from Him, then we are accountable to Him. But if there is no Creator, then our only accountability is to ourselves.)

The Lie advocates that perhaps science and technology have brought us to a time in history whereby man can take control of evolution and become the god of his future as well as the god of himself. Secularism has proved to only yield a bankrupt system without moral guidelines or reliable safeguards to protect the people from its own corruptions. It has degenerated into carnality, sensuality, lawlessness, and disease; it has left tens of millions of men and women all over the world adrift, without purpose, and emotionally crippled. Secularism also has left a spiritual vacuum in the hearts of all those who once turned to it for freedom and hope.

Our present plight in history is that we are on the eve of absolute destitution as man is without hope because he is without God.

Postmodernism seems to have become the final frontier in the Lie; it seems to have become the universal ideology of today. This philosophy has separated mankind from everything that was true, that was stabilizing to the human heart and life. We are a world adrift. We are intensely looking for something, some ideology, some form of government, some man to come, who will boldly denounce all the past and create a future with man in absolute control. We are leaning heavily into the direction of a final man who will rise with promise of a land that will be everything that carnal, sinful man desires with no inhibitions or limitations.

Nevertheless, the Bible declares that all these human hopes will “wither in its spring.” At the moment postmodernism believes it will work and become what man wants to be without God; it will bring about the final destruction of man, unless God sends back His Son to the earth. God will bring to naught all of the failures and debris of man’s destructive ways; even man’s collaboration with Satan will end in naught. It is imperative that Jesus Christ comes back to set up His kingdom, to right all the wrong of man, and to bring universal peace both to man and to nature.


Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad include the tale of the Trojan Horse regarding the Spartans’ attempt to capture the city of Troy. Troy had captured Helen, the queen of Sparta. The setting of this tale is sometime in the 13th century BC when the Spartans sent a thousand ships of warriors against Troy. Their ten-year siege was unsuccessful due to the impossible penetration of the insurmountable walls and impregnable gates of Troy.

The poet Homer particularly recounts in the Iliad and the Odyssey the final 52 days of the ten-year conflict. Ulysses the Greek came up with the ingenious idea of building a massive wooden horse on wheels that could be filled with Greek warriors. The Spartans left the massive horse (as an offering to Athena) at the front gate of Troy at night, while the thousands of Spartan Greeks pretended to return to Greece. The next morning the men of Troy found the horse at their gates. Two men, Laocoön and Cassandra warned their people not to take the horse inside the city gates. Even one of the priests of Troy threw a spear at the wooden monolith and noted the hollow sound it made. But the people paid no attention to the warnings and opened the gates pulling the wooden horse into the city. As the Trojans drunkenly celebrated their victory that night, the Spartans slipped out of the wooden horse, opened the gates, and welcomed the slaughtering Spartan army into the city.

Over the centuries the ominous term Trojan horse has come to refer to a subversion introduced from without. The term has even been applied to seemingly innocent computer code that is stealthily introduced into a computer to destroy data or steal personal information. The Trojan-horse principle has been used repeatedly in a multitude of contexts including Christianity. Each time its ploy has been carefully planned and orchestrated, it has been for the intention of overthrowing the truth, righteousness, morality, and sound doctrine. Politics often raises a Trojan horse with the promise of improving society and its government.

Trojan horses in Christianity often promise quick ways to grow the church and its schools. Though some may question the hollow sound of such promises, leaders declare that the good intention outweighs any detriment. What was rhetorically presented as a gift of blessing and promise of improvement turns out to be the demise of the country and the compromising of the ministry, its schools, and even its people. The deceptive offering eventually reveals a damaging hidden agenda only when it is too late to recover. By then, the damage has been extensively done or any hope permanently disabled.

The Lie enters society as a Trojan horse; it continues to expand declaring many promises and hopes that never materialize. Yet how many people live the Lie everyday; while their words profess something, their heart and life declare differently. May God enable us to live honestly; may the Word of God be the standard of our living and the discernment of our walk in this present, deceptive age. The Lie is here and daily devouring more and more of the thinking of mankind; one day it will rise to present a man who will declare himself to be God and Christ, and the answer to all of man’s problems.

It will necessitate the coming of Christ, the Stone out of heaven, to destroy this Lie.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a [the] lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:8–12).