I was recently asked this question after posting about the negative responses Christians were giving regarding to Barack Obama’s 2012 Presidential Reelection. You can view the blog here: http://seansverse.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-reflections-on-2012-presidential.html
My point was that the bible tells us to submit to the governing authorities, no matter how much we disagree with them – even if they are wicked.
Someone replied with a sincere question, asking this:
“Answer me this please, because no one has been able to… If the Antichrist is coming and will be in authority, and if we are to obey authority, how does this work when we are not to be fooled by him?”
Here was the response I gave:
The bible doesn’t necessarily tell us to “obey everything our governing authorities tell us to do”… it says “submit to the governing authorities”. What’s the difference? Keep in mind the New Testament was written in Greek. The word “submit” in the Greek means to “subject yourself” and was used of a soldier’s absolute obedience to his superior officer. That superior officer, however, was subject to his superior – namely the king who appointed them. In the same way, all governing authorities are subject to the King of Kings (Christ) who appointed them, and we are free from our obligation of obedience to governing authorities to the point in which they attempt to get us to falter in our higher obligation to God.
Submission means to come up under. It gives the idea that you recognize and respect positions of authority over yourself. HOWEVER… Scripture makes one exception to this command – when obedience to civil authority would require disobedience to God’s Word. (Examples in the bible: Exodus 1:15-17, Daniel 3:16-18 / 6:7;10, Acts 4:19)
SO… regarding the question about the “Antichrist” – I don’t believe that we will not know who he is until hindsight. Christians throughout the centuries have labeled certain wicked rulers as potential candidates for the Antichrist. Obviously they were wrong – yet they were still required to submit to the governing authorities… that is until the governing authorities required them to disobey God’s word; in which case they were brutally murdered for their faith. I believe it will be the same case with the Antichrist. We will have to submit to the governing authorities (technically, submitting to the rule of the Antichrist), until that rule impinges on our obligation to God – in which case we will be persecuted and probably murdered.
The key is to be so devoted to Christ now that you would rather die before your convictions do. That’s how you’ll escape the deception that comes with the Antichrist. One of the scariest verses in the bible is 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (read it)… it basically says that when the Antichrist comes, God is the one who sends a great delusion to deceive those who never loved the truth, but rather delighted in wickedness. So the key isn’t so much to “know who the Antichrist is so you aren’t deceived”. The key is to love God, and hate sin. When you do that, if you’re alive when the Antichrist comes, you’ll probably die for your faith, and spend eternity in heaven!
I hope that answers your question.