“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…”
Paul now turns to warn the Thessalonians against deception by a religious system. The year-old church underwent severe persecution. Some religionists of that day spread the error that they were in the Tribulation (the Day of the Lord). They said that the Day of the Lord was already present (2:2).
With this verse, he begins to give the reasons that the Day of the Lord has not come yet. He gives three preconditions for when the Day of the Lord begins: 1) a worldwide apostasy, 2) revelation of the man of sin, and 3) the restrainer will be taken away. All three must occur before or at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is a series of events: the Tribulation, Second Coming, and the Millennium.
Let no one deceive you
The word “deceive” is a strong term for deception. It is an intense word combining two words: deceive, cheat, beguile, and out. The idea is to deceive thoroughly. This is Satan’s core methodology.
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
”And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14).
by any means;
The word “means” signifies a turning, a manner, character, way of life. People can deceive us in any number of ways (2:2). Paul lists three of these devices in the previous verse. Here he says, “Do not let anyone deceive you thoroughly in any manner.” The word “any” indicates that we are not to allow ourselves to be deceived in anything–no exceptions.
Many religious systems appear credible but are nevertheless false. Many people are suckers for flashy personalities. People will pretend that they have some new revelation from God. Others will forge documents giving a formal appearance of credibility.
Christians should be on their toes when it comes to phony systems of religion.
Jesus warned against false prophets.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
”Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:11-12).
The Devil is behind all religious deception.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9).
Paul warns the leaders of the church against false teachers.
“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29-30).
False teachers like to transform themselves into something religious and righteous. Some people have the naive belief that if it is religious, it is right. These people fall into the trap of Satan’s religious systems. Many people claim to be Christian while at the same time claiming that the Bible is not inspired or that Jesus is not God.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).