What’s the Difference Between the Spirit of Slumber and Strong Delusion?

Steve, what’s the difference between the “spirit of slumber” and the “strong delusion” God puts some people under?

Steve’s Answer:

In general, the spirit of slumber is sent by God onto those who are so weak-willed or so easily moved by peer pressure or faddish and empty religious tradition that even if they knew the truth they’d still cave in and go along with the religious multitudes due to fear of being disliked, ostracized or not being included with the “in crowd” so to speak.

There’s an old hymnal about the prophet Daniel, called Dare to Be a Daniel.  It goes like this:

Dare to be a Daniel.
Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm.
And dare to make it known.

The hymn continues, saying:

Many mighty men are lost,
daring not to stand,
who for God had been a host
by joining Daniel’s band.

In other words, there are people who have the courage and fortitude to take a bold and decisive stand for the Lord even under intense peer pressure and even if they have to stand alone against the religious multitudes in order to do so.

And there are those who simply can’t do so because they have an intrinsic need for acceptance from the people around them.  And that becomes their stumbling block.

They can’t handle standing alone on behalf of the truth.  They need the acceptance of others, so they almost always cave in and go along with the crowd, especially when it comes to the religious multitudes.  In other words, they’re easily shaken by the cares of this world, such as acceptance by others.

Hated of All Men

Those who can’t handle the heat are the ones God knows will not be able to handle being “hated of all men” (Mark 13:13) when the antichrist is on this earth and the whole world is blindly following after him.   As it’s written regarding that soon-coming time:

Mar 13:13  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The verse above tells us that those who are saved at Christ’s Second Advent are those who, though hated of all men for the bold and decisive stand they’ve taken, “endure unto the end” without falling away from the truth.

That verse strongly implies that those who can’t take that faithful stand on behalf of the Lord will not be saved until the Millennium teaching period, during which time they can learn the discipline needed to stand firm for the truth.

This is why the Lord allows them to be tested again at the end of the Millennium teaching period, when Satan is loosed from the pit for a short while (Revelation 20:3; Revelation 20:7-8) to “deceive the nations.”

They will no longer have the spirit of slumber upon them at that final testing, so they’d better have studied very hard during the Millennium teaching period, and learned how to apply God’s Word in their lives.

Pulling Away After Knowing the Truth

The bottom line is that if God didn’t put the spirit of slumber on the weak-willed in this flesh age, they might hear the truth from the mouths of God’s elect and come to the Lord in knowledge of the truth, only to pull back away from Him when the antichrist arrives and begins to “deceive the whole world” into following him (Revelation 12:9).

The pressure of taking a courageous but more or less solitary stand against a deceived world and its false god would likely be too much for them.  Not many people can stand against great multitudes going the opposite direction, especially when friends, family members, co-workers and more are falling into line with the deceived multitudes.

As a result, if God didn’t put the spirit of slumber upon them, they’d be guilty of willfully worshiping the antichrist, because, having understood the truth, they’d know deep down in their hearts that the supernatural being they’re worshiping is not God.

And that knowledge would convict their very souls before they ever had a chance to learn the discipline necessary to take a firm stand in God’s Word, which is exactly what they’ll learn during the course of the Millennium teaching period.

So by putting the spirit of slumber on them now, God is giving them a break so they’re not guilty of willfully and knowingly worshipping the antichrist when he arrives to this earth.

They’re merely deceived into worshiping him.

So the spirit of slumber becomes their “cloak of innocence” as Pastor Murray used to call it.  And that’s because they’re literally being blocked by God Himself from seeing the full truth until the Millennium teaching period comes about.  As it’s written:

Isa 6:9  And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.


Isa 6:10  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.


Isa 6:11  Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,


Isa 6:12  And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

As you can see, this spirit of slumber is upon many people — great multitudes — all of the way up to the arrival of the antichrist (i.e., “and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land”).

Strong Delusion

Then there’s a completely different category, i.e., the “strong delusion” of II Thessalonians 2:11-12, which we’ll look at, below.

Unlike those who are given the spirit of slumber, God sends that “strong delusion” upon those who have the opportunity to hear and accept the truth, but who stubbornly refused to do so when the opportunity was given them.  This is obviously a more egregious situation.

These are not necessarily weak-willed or weak-minded or easily misled people.  Instead, they’re people who are perfectly capable of hearing and understanding the truth, and have simply made up their minds to reject it outright because they’ve found unrighteousness to be more pleasurable, profitable or gratifying.

As a result of their stiff-necked personalities, and their arrogant unrighteousness, they are as close to being “damned” (i.e., judicially condemned by God) as you can get before the Millennium teaching period even gets started.  As it’s written:

2Th 2:10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.


2Th 2:11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:


2Th 2:12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In my opinion, the first group above (i.e., those with spiritual slumber placed upon them) consists largely of the 2/3rds of God’s children who failed take a stand when Satan attempted to overthrow God’s throne in the first age.

They’re the middle-of-the-road religionists who can’t handle controversy or excessive peer pressure.  They’re the go-along-to-get-along crowd.  Christ called them “lukewarm” in Revelation 3:16.  And I believe most of the  Christian church today fits into this category.

And the second group above (i.e., those upon whom God sends strong delusion) consists largely of the 1/3rd of God’s children who openly followed Satan in rebellion against God and His throne in that first age.

And yes, when Satan arrives to this earth in his role as the false messiah — the antichrist — they’ll be among the first to embrace and worship him.  They’ll believe the lie now, because they believed it in the first age at Satan’s rebellion.

I can’t document that in the Scripture.  But think about it and pray about it, and you’ll see that it fits.

My Bible study, The Rebellious One-Third of God’s Children, might help you better understand.

Regards in Christ,

Steve Barwick


Steve Barwick

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