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The Bible, especially the New Testament, teaches that there will be a conclusion to the human story: an “end of the age,” as it were. There are numerous expectations that we are called to be aware of, which I have previously discussed here.
In this article, I want to examine one specific part of these end time prophecies: the “deluding influence” of 2 Thessalonian 2:11. More than that, I want to offer something of a thought experiment that speaks to our overall belief about the end times.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:11, the apostle Paul made the following claim: “For this reason God sends them a deluding influence so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” Here, Paul was clear that there will be a “deluding influence”—literally, a “working of delusion”—that enters the world at a specific point in time. The statement is situated in the context of Christ’s return and the events that will surround it. We are dealing with the very end: the last things that will happen on earth.
Though it says that God will send the delusion, this should be understood as God giving people over (God’s “permissive will”) and ensuring they are susceptible to it. Those who believe “the lie” and fall for the deluding influence will already be hard-hearted and unrepentant. We know this because the emergence of the “lawless one,” or the Antichrist, will prove this:
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (1 The. 2:9-10, my emphasis).
The lawless one will use counterfeit miracles to deceive people, and those who are deceived will be given over to fall for the deluding influence. It all works together.
Paul was speaking of a lie that will top all lies: a Great Deception, if you will. This would effect the entire world and cause the deceived to completely fall under Satan’s persuasion. There is little doubt that this is directly connected to the “mark of the Beast” described in Revelation 13.
My question is this: how many Christians truly believe this will happen? I don’t mean in some abstract, “yeah the end will come someday,” sort of way. I mean in the sense that we could see it happening in front of us, right here and now.
Would we be able and willing to see the Great Deception, if it did come in our lifetimes? Are we even open to the possibility?
It is difficult to think of an example that would check all the boxes and provide an ideal glimpse at what the “lie” and the “deluding influence” will look like. However, I think it is possible to use a real-life example of something that can at least serve as an adequate representation.
For the sake of discussion, let’s consider the current pandemic and the global response to it.
Before doing so, I want to make something clear: I am not saying that Covid-19 and the collective global reaction is, to a certainty, the “deluding influence” or Great Deception that is spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2. My point is that it may fit the criteria quite well. At minimum, it provides a case study of what we should be looking for: a global issue that wreaked health and economic havoc everywhere it went but was propelled by lies and a historically unprecedented overreaction (at best).
Notice that I said it was an overreaction “at best.” At worst—but, to me, the more likely scenario—there has been far more at work. There are lies present within almost every part of the narrative, ranging from global entities like the World Health Organization (WHO), to those leading national response teams (like Dr. Anthony Fauci), to smaller levels of government (state and local) and most definitely in the media coverage. Some of these entities have made the rules, while others have simply played the game and followed along.
It all started with a massive lie, coming from the Imperial College in the UK. Neil Ferguson’s model–released in mid-March of 2020—concluded that 500,000 people in the UK and more than 2 million people in the US would likely die from Covid-19, if extreme measures weren’t taken to stop the spread of the virus. Obviously, it was thought to be at least as devastating in other countries (like the 100,000 that were proposed to die in Sweden by June). They also said that roughly 3.5% of all people who got the virus would die, and the WHO and other authorities peddled this figure as well. That was a huge number to project, and it has turned out to be FAR too high. We now know it was completely outlandish and absurd, really.
In May of 2020, just two months after making his phony projections public, Ferguson resigned from his role as advisor on the coronavirus.
It was the Imperial College model that largely helped to jumpstart the hysteria and cause countries around the world to begin instituting widespread lockdowns.
The narrative was almost immediately given a few fresh wrinkles, taking an interesting (and strategic) turn. “It’s not about what the virus will do to you,” they said, “it’s about what it will do to someone else if you give it to them.” As a complementary piece, we were told that many people will be “asymptomatic”—meaning, they would have the virus without showing many (or any) symptoms—but would still be able to spread the virus to much more vulnerable people.
And just like that: We all became carriers. Like the virus that turned everyone into zombies (“walkers”) from the TV series, The Walking Dead, Covid had infected the entire population. As such, we needed to operate as though every person was a walking petri dish.
We were even told that we had to do all of this, in order to keep the hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Of course, that never happened (save for a few areas). Instead, the hospitals were economically decimated and countless people have suffered (or died) because they were unable to receive care for non-Covid matters.
The effect of the Imperial College model, combined with the “it’s about others” and the “asymptomatic spreader” narratives, resulted in nothing short of an epic catastrophe.
Businesses were closed. Schools were dismissed from all in-person activities. Elective procedures were almost completely eliminated and, as a result, many hospitals have permanently closed their doors. Sporting events, concerts, and all mass gatherings were banned. Air travel came to a screeching halt. We were all told to practice “social distancing” at approximately six feet and that contact with one another was just too risky.
It didn’t take a genius to see what this would do to our societies. Anyone with a level-head and a clear mind understood that the “cure” would be much worse than the “disease.” Some thinkers immediately began crafting articles and books to show the tremendous problem, such as the brand-new book, The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe. Also, Alex Berenson’s Unreported Truths about Covid-19 and Lockdowns has been exposing lies for months now.
Of course, thousands of other “experts” have been against these measures from the beginning. Unfortunately, they are rarely covered or have even been censored. More than 6,000 experts have signed an anti-lockdown petition, citing its “irreparable damage.” Even the good folks at the WHO finally reversed course, stating the lockdowns were a very poor idea. Our extreme reactions—which the WHO strongly urged, mind you—were not only excessive but extremely costly. They now estimate that world poverty could double within the next year. One official warned:
“Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”
Again, this should have been obvious from the beginning. I believe that it was well known and that most who were pushing the fear knew it. But acknowledging this early on would have prevented the use of the virus for myriad political, economic and societal purposes.
Even now, huge numbers of businesses remain totally closed and a lot will never reopen. The authorities still demand that we walk around with some type—any type—of facial covering. Sports teams play in empty stadiums (if they play at all). Kids suffer the effects of remote learning, which includes malnutrition, radically impaired education and a lack of social development.
We now have numerous mRNA vaccines being injected into the public—made available at “warp speed”—that we are told will save the human race from a virus that poses virtually no threat to healthy people. Healthcare companies (like Pfizer) and tycoons (like Bill Gates) will stand to massively cash in on the endeavor. Will everyone be asked (forced) to get it? Looks possible. Either way, what health concerns will arise from this new and relatively unknown type of vaccine? What kind of precedent does all this set?
Don’t worry about it. Don’t ask any questions.
It is important to note that none of these measures had ever been taken before. There is still no clear reason as to why the world has treated this particular virus so differently: so very differently. Before we knew virtually anything about the virus and its effects, we were told to expect a “new normal.” No matter what, the world would be—must be—forever changed.
But why must the world be forever changed, and how did certain authorities and media outlets know that would necessarily be the result?
Much more could be said, as the lies, position reversals and overall misinformation seem to know no bounds. I have included a litany of reasons below this article as to why we should all be highly skeptical of the current death count in the US, for example. But this should provide enough information for the matter at hand.
So, what is the tie in with the “deluding influence”?
If you put this in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2, we find a sobering connection. We have the following parallels between the “deluding influence” and the virus/response:
-It has radically influenced not just a part or parts of the world, but the entire world. Both the virus and the lockdowns have sent the globe into chaos. This has never happened in our history, especially not on this scale.
-It was based on a total lie: a faulty model that never had any basis in reality. The Imperial College model was a fraud, and it was predicated on the idea that we would do nothing at all to slow the spread or protect people (which was not going to happen).
–Additional lies emerged, when it became obvious that people weren’t dropping over as if this were Ebola. We were told it was about “someone else” and not us, that everyone should be viewed as a carrier, and that staying an arbitrary distance away from people and wearing any type of face covering were imperative steps to stop the spread.
Now, we find ourselves with wrecked economies, with radical increases in suicide, depression, domestic abuse, and substance abuse, and with a much greater reliance upon our governments and world leaders to control our lives: to “take care of us.”
Most importantly, we are massively pliable. We are ready (and apparently willing) to do whatever we are told, as long as it is done in the name of “safety.”
This all gets at the bigger issue, and my central purpose in writing.
My main concern here is not per se with the virus, the global response to it, or even the clear discrepancies (putting it mildly) involved, though these elements are extremely important. Instead, my main concern is with what my fellow Christians are expecting.
I wonder how many of us are even open to seeing the deluding influence, like Paul described in 2 Thessalonians 2:11.
I have encountered numerous believers who completely dismiss all notions that any event—much less, this event—can be related to the “end times.” In fact, numerous pastors and teachers have attempted to call me out personally, because I have challenged the reporting of the virus and our radical response. I am a “conspiracy theorist” for merely questioning the powers that be. This, even as the “powers that be” (like the WHO) have slowly come to admit that our response to the virus was perhaps completely misguided.
Strange how that works.
However, I think the scrutiny should go in exactly the opposite direction. If a Christian can observe a global phenomenon—complete with all the problems I previously mentioned—and not even raise an eyebrow, this tells us something very important about them.
It tells us that they would never be open to a global deception, the literal existence of an Antichrist figure, a satanic world power or anything else. People of this stripe cannot, in principle, accept that a massive deception could sweep over the world and cause us to believe “the lie.” Any such event would always be a “conspiracy theory.” Always.
But it tells us something even deeper, doesn’t it? Being closed off to the existence of the “deluding influence” reveals a complete rejection of all end time events in Scripture. In other words, they don’t really believe any of it will happen. Hence, they can toss out entire chunks of the Bible and ostracize those who make the mistake of taking them seriously.
In closing, I would like to make a solemn suggestion: If you doubt that the Great Deception (or other end time events) can happen in your lifetime, you’d better hope that it doesn’t. Because, if it does occur, you will almost certainly be taken in by it.
. . . And there may not be any more “conspiracy theorists” around to point a finger at.
Looking for a new book to read? Check out my books below:
God Made the Aliens: Making Sense of Extraterrestrial Contact
Spiritual Things: Exploring our Connection to God, the Angels, and the Heavenly Realm
Missing Verses: 15 Beliefs the Bible Doesn’t Teach
The Death Myth: Uncovering what the Bible Really Says about the Afterlife
End note: Why Should we Question the Covid-19 Death Numbers?
It is now almost unanimously reported that more than 550,000 Americans have died from (not simply “with”) Covid-19. This is not just purposely misleading but is flatly wrong. There are many reasons we can be sure of this.
First, the testing has been a disaster. PCR testing is, by the admission of its now deceased creator (Kary Mullis), not a reliable type of testing for a pandemic situation. It picks up trace elements of corona viruses (multiple) and counts these traces as “cases.” Hence, those testing positive with no symptoms. Numerous sports teams have displayed false positives, as have countless people from around the country. Even my governor (OH-DeWine) magically tested both positive and negative in the same day! Any honest person knows there have been serious problems in this capacity.
Second, the CDC itself came out long ago saying that a very small percentage (only about 6%) of Covid deaths were brought about from the virus alone. That is not necessarily uncommon, since most who die from influenza (the flu) or pneumonia have other underlying illnesses. The truly uncommon part is that most who die “from Covid” have about 2.6 other major underlying conditions (comorbidities). Plus, the overwhelming majority of deaths have been in the elderly community, those who are ≥65 and especially ≥85.
All this means that, for those who died from Covid, they were sick and frail to the point that the virus simply pushed them over the top. They were waiting for something to take them, which the flu, pneumonia or bronchitis probably would have. In other words, most these people (sadly) were going to die from something in this general time frame.
(Grown up moment – This is how life works. People who get old and sick die, and Covid has mostly claimed those who fit into this category. If you are even relatively young and healthy, you have almost nothing to worry about.)
Third, there is the way the deaths are being counted. The CDC officially classifies Covid deaths as “All Deaths Involving Covid-19.” That’s a HUGE net to cast, especially when you consider that there are additional categories that smash Covid together with pneumonia and/or the flu. So, was it Covid that killed them . . . or was it pneumonia, or the flu, or one of the patient’s probable major underlying illnesses? Did they actually die because of Covid or simply with Covid?
These questions are rarely asked. Instead, the death will be listed as Covid (and only Covid) in terms of how it’s reported to the public.
(By the way, it still appears that the yearly flu has magically accounted for almost no deaths this year: about 6,700, according to the CDC. I wonder where those tens of thousands of deaths went?)
Fourth, we have also known for a long time that hospitals have a serious financial interest in declaring a death a “Covid death,” especially if a ventilator was used. The head of the CDC admitted this, and even left-leaning news outlets like the USA Today “fact checkers” have. If it is at all possible to claim a Covid death, many healthcare facilities are going to do it. (Especially since the lockdown destroyed their incomes by not allowing elective procedures.)
Fifth, many people were literally killed because certain governors mandated—as Cuomo in NY certainly did, and Whitmer in MI seems to have done—that nursing homes take Covid patients. Similarly, some facilities forced people onto Covid floors that no doubt resulted in non-Covid patients acquiring the virus. This doesn’t even include the list of states (and the FDA) that banned the use of hydroxychloroquine on Covid patients, which a lot of people feel would have saved many lives. Thousands of people who died from Covid did so unnecessarily. It was essentially murder.
Sixth (and last), there is the anecdotal evidence that almost all of us are aware of. Whistleblowers and concerned doctors and nurses from all over have been screaming—even risking or losing their jobs—about how we are recording deaths. The list is far too long to mention. God as my witness, I’m not sure I personally know a medical professional who believes this whole ordeal is on the up and up. Those who assert that it is typically have a clear political interest in doing so. (Keep the fear going, drive down the economy, harm Trump, use it to gain power, etc.)
Given all these factors, we’re supposed to just accept the death count they’re giving us?
Bottom line: Even IF we can trust that the testing was correct in the deceased individuals, AND that our healthcare facilities have been completely honest/accurate with their death certificates, the simple truth is that another comorbidity may have been the main cause. Most were also in the category of “old and infirm,” and would have passed in this general time frame regardless. The middle-aged to younger crowd has little to worry about, especially children.
Reporting that 330,000+ people have died from Covid (!) is not only misleading but is a farce. It is just a continuation of the scare tactics we have seen from the beginning.