Paul says that Antichrist will come with “all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” The word “deceive” means to trick someone, but people are tricked by different things. The deceivableness of youth can make you fall for things you wouldn’t fall for if you were older and wiser. The deceivableness of heartbreak will make you fall for any-thing that anyone suggests to get your boyfriend or girlfriend back. But the deceivableness of unrighteousness comes from being unrighteous, unsaved. It makes men fall for things they wouldn’t fall for if they were saved, even things as silly as the Big Bang Theory, or evolution.
Of course, some unsaved people are deceived by some things and others are deceived by other things, but when Antichrist comes he will come with “all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” So when he claims to be Israel’s Christ, the unsaved will be deceived by him. After all, if even the elect can barely escape his deceit (Mt.24:24), the unsaved don’t stand a chance.
Specially since Paul says this deceivableness is “in” the unsaved who perish. That means Satan will have an inside man in that day. He’ll have Antichrist working from without “with all power, and signs,” and from within the unsaved in their natural inclination to be deceived by him.
If you think God is unfair to let Satan work from within and without in the unsaved, notice he will only be allowed to do this “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (IIThes.2:10). And it won’t be God’s fault they didn’t receive the love of the truth, for if they didn’t receive it, that means it was offered to them.
The “truth” is Christ (John 14:6), and they won’t receive Him for the same reason they didn’t receive Him when He was here, they love sin and know He’s against it (John 3:19,20). If they don’t receive the love of the Lord they will be “anathema,” or cursed (cf.ICor.16:22).
When men do receive the love of the truth it keeps and pre-
serves them (Pr.4:5,6). Remember, “wisdom” in that passage is a name for Christ (ICor.1:24). If they learn to love the Lord in the Tribulation, He will keep and preserve them by saving them and making them part of the elect who will be impossible to deceive. But those who don’t receive the love of the Truth will receive the love of the Antichrist, “and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion” (IIThes.2:11).
This is something God has always done. It was “because that” the Gentiles didn’t glorify God that He gave them up at the tower of Babel (Rom.1:21-24). After God raised up Abraham and taught him and his seed more about Himself, most of them didn’t want Him either, so God gave them up too (Ps.81:11,12; 109:17). If you don’t want God’s counsel, He will let you walk in your own. That’s how God judges men. Is there anything unfair about that?
Paul was probably thinking of Isaiah 66:3b,4 here. Speak-ing of the same Tribulation Jews that Paul is speaking of, Isaiah predicts they’ll choose something God doesn’t like, so He’ll choose a strong delusion they won’t like. The delusion they’ll choose is to offer animals in Antichrist’s idolatrous temple, which to God will be like offering something unclean (Isa.66:3a). Remember, Antichrist is called “the idol shepherd” (Zech.11:17). It is because they want idols that God will give them strong delusion to believe the lie, the ultimate idol, the beast, “that they all might be damned who believed not the truth” (IIThes.2:12).
Don’t feel sorry for these folks, they will have rejected the witness of Creation (Ps.19:1-3) and so are “without excuse (Rom.1:19,20). They won’t believe for the same reason men always don’t believe, they will have “pleasure in unrighteousness” (v.12). But Antichrist’s idolatrous religion will be for sin, making men think they could offer a sacrifice and be delivered to go out and sin more (Jer.7:9, 10). Idolatrous Christianity does the same thing, making men think they can go to the sacrifice of the mass and continue to sin. They don’t say that, but the Mafia reads them loud and clear. In the movies they kill and get absolution and do it again.