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2 Thessalonians 2:11

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And for this cause - Because they choose error, or their hearts love that more than they do truth. The original reason then of their embracing and adhering to the system was not an arbitrary decree on the part of God, but that they did not love the truth. Hence, he gave them up to this system of error. If a man strongly prefers error to truth, and sin to holiness, it is not wrong to allow him freely to evince his own preference.

God shall send them strong delusion - Greek: “energy of deceit;” a Hebraism, meaning strong deceit, The agency of God is here distinctly recognised, in accordance with the uniform statements of the Scriptures, respecting evil; compare Exodus 7:13; Exodus 9:12; Exodus 10:1, Exodus 10:20, Exodus 10:27; Exodus 11:10; Exodus 14:8. Isaiah 45:7. On the nature of this agency, see the notes on John 12:40. It is not necessary here to suppose that there was any positive influence on the part of God in causing this delusion to come upon them, but all the force of the language will be met, as well as the reasoning of the apostle, by supposing that God withdrew all restraint, and suffered men simply to show that they did not love the truth. God often places people in circumstances to develop their own nature, and it cannot be shown to be wrong that He should do so. If people have no love of the truth, and no desire to be saved, it is not improper that they should be allowed to manifest this. How it happened that they had no “love of the truth,” is a different question, to which the remarks of the apostle do not appertain; compare Romans 9:17-18, note; Romans 1:24, note.

That they should believe a lie - This does not affirm that God wished them to believe a lie; nor that He would not have preferred that they should believe the truth; nor that He exerted any direct agency to cause them to believe a lie. It means merely that He left them, because they did not love the truth, to believe what was false, and what would end in their destruction. Can anyone doubt that this constantly occurs in the world? People are left to believe impostors; to trust to false guides; to rely on unfounded information; to credit those who live to delude and betray the innocent; and to follow those who lead them to ruin. God does not interpose by direct power to preserve them. Can anyone doubt this? Yet this is not especially the doctrine of revelation. The fact pertains just as much to the infidel as it does to the believer in Christianity, and he is just as much bound to explain it as the Christian is. It belongs to our world - to us all - and it should not be charged on Christianity as a doctrine pertaining especially to that system.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Something hindered or withheld the man of sin. It is supposed to be the power of the Roman empire, which the apostle did not mention more plainly at that time. Corruption of doctrine and worship came in by degrees, and the usurping of power was gradual; thus the mystery of iniquity prevailed. Superstition and idolatry were advanced by pretended devotion, and bigotry and persecution were promoted by pretended zeal for God and his glory. This mystery of iniquity was even then begun; while the apostles were yet living, persons pretended zeal for Christ, but really opposed him. The fall or ruin of the antichristian state is declared. The pure word of God, with the Spirit of God, will discover this mystery of iniquity, and in due time it shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming. Signs and wonders, visions and miracles, are pretended; but they are false signs to support false doctrines; and lying wonders, or only pretended miracles, to cheat the people; and the diabolical deceits with which the antichristian state has been supported, are notorious. The persons are described, who are his willing subjects. Their sin is this; They did not love the truth, and therefore did not believe it; and they were pleased with false notions. God leaves them to themselves, then sin will follow of course, and spiritual judgments here, and eternal punishments hereafter. These prophecies have, in a great measure, come to pass, and confirm the truth of the Scriptures. This passage exactly agrees with the system of popery, as it prevails in the Romish church, and under the Romish popes. But though the son of perdition has been revealed, though he has opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; and has spoken and acted as if he were a god upon earth, and has proclaimed his insolent pride, and supported his delusions, by lying miracles and all kinds of frauds; still the Lord has not yet fully destroyed him with the brightness of his coming; that and other prophecies remain to be fulfilled before the end shall come.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

God shall send them strong delusion - For this very cause, that they would not receive the love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, therefore God permits strong delusion to occupy their minds; so that they believe a lie rather than the truth, prefer false apostles and their erroneous doctrines to the pure truths of the Gospel, brought to them by the well-accredited messengers of God; being ever ready to receive any false Messiah, while they systematically and virulently reject the true one.

Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 298

Perilous times are before us. Everyone who has a knowledge of the truth should awake and place himself, body, soul, and spirit, under the discipline of God. The enemy is on our track. We must be wide awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy. The warnings that have been given, line upon line, precept upon precept, should be heeded. If we disregard them, what excuse can we offer? 8T 298.1

I beseech those who are laboring for God not to accept the spurious for the genuine. Let not human reason be placed where divine, sanctifying truth should be. Christ is waiting to kindle faith and love in the hearts of His people. Let not erroneous theories receive countenance from the people who ought to be standing firm on the platform of eternal truth. God calls upon us to hold firmly to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority. 8T 298.2

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 128

Sinful man can find hope and righteousness only in God; and no human being is righteous any longer than he has faith in God, and maintains a vital connection with Him. A flower of the field must have its root in the soil; it must have air, dew, showers, and sunshine. It will flourish only as it receives these advantages, and all are from God. So with men. We receive from God that which ministers to the life of the soul. We are warned not to trust in man, nor to make flesh our arm. A curse is pronounced upon all who do this.—Letter 55, 1895. PM 128.1

Dangers Foreseen in Vision at Salamanca—November 3, 1890, while laboring at Salamanca, N.Y., as I was in communion with God in the night season, I was taken out of and away from myself to assemblies in different States, where I bore decided testimony of reproof and warning. In Battle Creek a council of ministers and responsible men from the publishing house and other institutions was convened, and I heard those assembled, in no gentle spirit, advance sentiments and urge measures for adoption that filled me with apprehension and distress. [One such measure recommended that the Sentinel magazine, a religious liberty journal, cease publication unless its pages were limited to purely state-church issues with little or no space allowed for presenting the distinctive Adventist message. Ellen White opposed this scheme as of purely human devising: “We are not to make less prominent the special truths that have separated us from the world and made us what we are.... With pen and voice we are to proclaim the truth to the world.”—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 329. In resolving the issue the Spirit of Prophecy counsel was followed by publishing leaders.] PM 128.2

Years before, I had been called to pass through a similar experience, and the Lord then revealed to me many things of vital importance, and gave me warnings that must be delivered to those in peril. On the night of November 3, these warnings were brought to my mind, and I was commanded to present them before those in responsible offices of trust, and to fail not nor be discouraged. There were laid out before me some things which I could not comprehend; but the assurance was given me that the Lord would not allow His people to be enshrouded in the fogs of worldly skepticism and infidelity, bound up in bundles with the world; but if they would only hear and follow His voice, rendering obedience to His commandments, He would lead them above the mists of skepticism and unbelief, and place their feet upon the Rock.—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 319, 320. PM 129.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 78

The manifestations of your daughter are a similar deception. And your encouraging these things in her will prove her ruin, and the ruin of others, unless something breaks the deception. You called these false visions and meaningless dreams the wonderful light of God, but it is like the chaff to the wheat. This is a serious matter. It will have a decided influence upon your family. While you regard your daughter's words as spoken under the influence of the Spirit of God, it will be the same to you as though they were true. You are under strong delusion of Satan. You will claim to credit them, and thus your confidence in the veritable, genuine messages from God will be uprooted. And so will it be with all who believe as you do. This is why Satan is so constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from the truth. 2SM 78.1

The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God's remnant people in the true testimony. He will bring in spurious visions to mislead, and will mingle the false with the true, and so disgust people that they will regard everything that bears the name of visions as a species of fanaticism; but honest souls, by contrasting false and true, will be enabled to distinguish between them.… 2SM 78.2

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 349

If those who have done this work take shelter in the statement that they are led by the Holy Spirit, it is as Satan clothing himself with the heavenly garments of purity, while still working out his own attributes.—Letter 98, 1897, pp. 5, 9. 3SM 349.1

So-called Discrepancies and Contradictions in the Testimonies—Those who have chosen to follow their own way, have begun to publish the discrepancies and contradictions, so-called, that they claim to find in connection with the Testimonies; and they are misstating some matters by using their own words instead of the words found in my writings. These charges will have to be met, that truth may take the place of falsehood.—Letter 162, 1906. 3SM 349.2

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