Can Millions of People All Be Deceived at the Same Time?

DECEPTION: Can the majority of people be deceived, all at the same time, on at least one major issue that has profound implications for what we believe and how we live?

Is it possible for millions of people to experience a mass delusion even while they think they are basing their shared delusion on “facts” and “science”?

In my view, the answer to both questions is yes. And for Christians, in particular, this view should not be difficult to understand. After all, as a Christian, you already believe that non-believers are deceived into thinking there is no God. (Ps. 14:1)

What else does the Bible say about deception? Revelation 12:9 refers to satan as “the deceiver of the whole world.” If satan is the deceiver of the whole world, is it not possible that even believers become deceived in certain areas of their life?

More to the point, God blinds people, including those who profess to follow Him. I speak from experience because I know for a fact I was blinded to certain truths in my youth. Even today I may be blind to the truth in certain areas of my life.

In Job, God takes credit for blinding the judges because the earth is in the hands of the wicked:

“The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he [God] covers the faces of its judges; if not he [who does it], who then is it?” Job 9:24

Not only that, God takes credit for deceiving his own prophets. You’ll find the story in 2 Chronicles 18. When Ahab asks 400 prophets for advice, they are unanimous in telling him to go to war. Only Micaiah dissents. Micaiah describes a picture of the throne room of God, in which God commissions a lying spirit to inhabit the mouths of the prophets.

“Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets, and the LORD has spoken evil against you.” 2 Chron. 18:22

It is clear that these 400 prophets believed they were prophets of God (and maybe indeed were) because of the very next verse:

“Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and struck Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto you?” 2 Chron. 18:23

This is a logical question if you don’t understand God’s ways.

Another theme we see in the Bible refers to people who have eyes, but can’t see; who have ears, but can’t hear.

“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.” Ez. 12:2

In some places, God is revealed as the cause of this blindness. For example:

“He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I should heal them.” John 12:40

It is clear, then, that God blinds people as it suits His plan. It is also clear that this God-induced blindness occurs in both believers and non-believers.

Another passage in Jeremiah paints a bleak picture, concluding, “Everyone deceives… and no one speaks the truth.” Here is the passage:

Jer. 9:2-6

Oh that I had in the desert
a travelers’ lodging place,
that I might leave my people
and go away from them!
For they are all adulterers,
a company of treacherous men.
They bend their tongue like a bow;
falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land;
for they proceed from evil to evil,
and they do not know me, declares the LORD.
Let everyone beware of his neighbor,
and put no trust in any brother,
for every brother is a deceiver,
and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.
Everyone deceives his neighbor,
and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
they weary themselves committing iniquity.
Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit,
they refuse to know me, declares the LORD.

Although this references a specific time and place in history, it would be naïve to think it impossible for such circumstances to happen again. To the point, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc. 1:9)

Maybe this is why Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

The word for “myths” is “muthos” (Strong’s 3454), which means: “a myth; a false account, yet posing to be the truth; a fabrication (fable) which subverts (replaces) what is actually true.”

Last but not least, it is important to remember that Revelation describes seven church ages. We are now living at the end of the seventh, so the message to the Church of Laodicea applies to us. And what is that message? It is, in part:

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Rev. 3:17-18)

Did you catch that? This is a message to THE CHURCH – the body of believers. And that message says we are BLIND and that we should buy salve for our eyes so we can SEE.

CONCLUSION: Blindness is from God. Blindness is one of the dominant features of the church age we are currently living in. Blindness affects both believers and non-believers. A symptom of blindness is mistaking deception for truth.

Given these conclusions, it is not only possible for widespread deception to happen… it is probable and to be expected.

About Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a freelance writer. He's been a Christian most of his life, but did not discover that God would save all people until age 23. When he asked too many questions about the Bible, he was told he could no longer participate in his Sunday school's social activities. After that experience, Ryan left the church and has been studying The Restoration of All Things ever since.
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