Each year, Oxford Dictionary presents its word of the year. They are not always words, sometimes they are phrases or even an emoji — “face with tears of joy” — that won in 2015.
But this year’s winner takes on an almost prophetic overtone. Not that Oxford purposefully intended it too, but rather it chose the word because it identified the climate of the day.
The word has been around for a while, but spiked in usage in recent months particularly in the US presidential election and Brexit — the vote where England chose to leave the EU.
The word is “post-truth,” that Oxford defines as:
“relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
In other words people are setting the facts aside to be ruled by their emotions. Other forces besides the truth are now driving the world’s agenda.
It beat out other contending words such as ‘chatbox’ that speaks of a computer program simulating conversations with humans and ‘brexiteer’ — anyone from England voting in favor of leaving the EU.
So does the Bible have anything to say about a ‘post-truth” culture in the end times? Actually it does.
God will send a delusion
11They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 NASV)
The Apostle Paul says in the end-times, because people refuse to believe the truth about Jesus, a spirit of delusion will fall upon the earth, so that they will believe a lie.
The Greek word for delusion is ‘plane’ and means “deceit, deceive, delusion or error.” The word lie is the Greek word psuedos from which we derive our English word ‘pseudo’ that means imitation or pretending to be authentic — something disguised to look like its true.
There is just enough for it to appear legitimate, if you want to believe. But it is a worm on a hook.
Paul is also very clear that God is the one sending the delusion.
Satan blinds the minds of men
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4 NASV)
But there is another force at work in the world — spiritual blindness.
The apostle Paul states that the god of this world has blinded the ‘minds’ of unbelievers to the light of the Gospel. The Greek word for blindness is “tuphlos,” but it is not blindness in the strictest sense of the word.
It is derived from a Greek word that means to obscure one’s view with smoke or fog. You can barely see it through the haze. The truth is like a shadow whisking about in the smoke. One moment it’s there the next moment it’s gone.
The truth can’t be clearly seen or understood.
If Satan is able to obscure people’s minds to the truth of the gospel, he can do this in other areas as well.
The spirit of a lie
The third is out of a controversial Old Testament passage that oddly may have a connection to the end times.
In 1 Kings 22, Israel’s King Ahab was wanting to go to war with Aram to reclaim Ramoth-gilead that it had previously captured. He talked Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, into joining the battle against Aram.
But almost immediately Jehoshaphat started getting cold feet and wanted a prophetic word. And wouldn’t you know it, Ahab had 400 prophets in his employ and consulted with them (verse 6), and they all prophesied victory.
But for good reason, Jehoshaphat was not convinced of their reliability and wanted confirmation.
Ahab said there was a prophet Micaiah, but Ahab didn’t like him because he always prophesied doom and gloom. Nevertheless, Ahab agreed to consult Micaiah who prophesied defeat.
But then Micaiah recounted a vision of what he saw happening in God’s throne room:
20 The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ 23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.” (1 Kings 22:20-23 NASV)
How could God send a lying spirit to entice Ahab to go to battle, so he would lose and be killed?
God told Ahab this is exactly what was going on with the 400 prophets. God was using them to give false prophecies.
But Ahab chose to believe these 400 prophets and went into battle and lost.
The curious connection to the New Testament is that this is none other than Ahab who married the evil Queen Jezebel, and the 400 were part of a contingent of 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah that she brought with her when she married Ahab (1 Kings 16:32-33; 1 Kings 18:19).
The spirit of Jezebel shows up again in the book of Revelation when the apostle John warns of Jezebel who was corrupting the prophetic and enticing people into immorality in the end-times church (Revelation 2:18-28).
Most commentators do not think this reference to an actual woman and believe John used the name to show this evil spirit and its false prophets will show up in the end-times.
So when Oxford Dictionary says we are in the ‘post-truth’ era is it a sign of the times? If so, these are dangerous days.