Does submitting to governing authorities mean ones like ISIS or Obama?

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

That can't mean submit to ... Obama, could it? I can't stand Obama [Nero, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Herod, Pharaoh, Nimrod, Saddam Hussein, Mao Tse-Tung, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Nebuchadnezzar, Vlad Tepes...]

Why yes. Yes it does.

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:2)

The events taking place with ISIS in the old Assyria region of Nineveh/Mosul, Babylon/Baghdad are truly horrific.

Babylon is home to the deepest, longest lasting origin of evil on earth. (Genesis 11:4, Revelation 17:18), Babylon was first in evil religion and it will be the last. The angel of the Prince of the kingdom of Persia was strong enough to prevent the angel dispatched from God in reaching earth to bring the message to Daniel. (Daniel 10:13). That's a strong, evil angel.

Nineveh was so evil God threatened to wipe it out, and eventually He did, so thoroughly that the city wasn't even discovered until the mid-1800s! This area of the world is so evil that Revelation 9:14-15 says there are four evil angels bound in the Euphrates River who will be released during the Tribulation. When they are, they will immediately kill a third of mankind!

That ISIS is spawned from that area of the world is no surprise. That they are so vicious is also no surprise. Every man has that evil in him, the potential for it exists in all of us. While not all of us are as bad as we can be, the evil in us does run deep and some leaders are deeply evil. They are NOT an anomaly.

In addition, the area between Iran-Iraq-Syria (Assyria) has always had an evil government. Cain built a city (Genesis 4:17) and Nimrod was first dictator in the world, in addition, he founded Babylon, the very symbol for deceit, evil, and rebellion. (Genesis 10:8-10). The very first man-made government mentioned in the bible had a dictator and a false religion! In that same spot that there is still such evil happening!

From that perspective, the evil in the governments of the land of Assyria should not surprise us. Compared to ISIS, which is not just a terror group but a government, maybe old Saddam Hussein is looking kind of good right now! (in comparison)

So what good can some from submitting to such evil? Did God really mean to submit to governments like that? Who kill children and suspend the rule of law and torture and oppress?


God makes good come out of it.

Like this:

In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them.

And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:19-25)

In the Millennium kingdom, God will BLESS them! They will convert and worship the one True God! There is no higher good than that! What good can possibly come from ISIS terrorists chopping off heads? That area of the world will be personally blessed by the LORD!

I love this prophecy so much. It brings tears to my eyes every time. They are the only three nations mentioned for such blessings. I also love the verse because it says, Assyria, Egypt and Israel will be blessed and the verse explains why. Egypt is His people, they hosted & protected His Son. (Hosea 11:1)

Assyria, the area ISIS is brutalizing, ...Gill's Exposition says of the prophecy regarding Assyria,

"Assyria the work of my hands; not as creatures only, but new creatures, having the good work of grace wrought in their hearts, of which God is the author; and therefore are called his workmanship, Ephesians 2:10 and who must be blessed, because, by this work of grace upon them, they appear to be the chosen of God, and precious, to be his children, and dear unto him, whom he will not forsake, and who are formed for himself, and for heaven, and happiness:"

The ISIS peoples, will be His children? Yes!

We have the advantage of knowing this great work of God is ahead, no matter how many dams are booby trapped, no matter how many heads are chopped off, no matter how many children are killed. God has a purpose, and we know what it is.

What a blessing to know the future. What a blessing to know their future redemption. What a blessing to know His holiness, even in wrath, then He will save.

It's terrible what is happening now in and around Iraq, but the worse things get the better things will be later, because God will show Himself holy and righteous and merciful to Egypt, Israel and Assyria.

Patriarch (a parallel position to Pope)
Anton II of Georgia
Let's say that there are Christians in the Middle East. Many of the people who are called "Christians" are not- they are Eastern Orthodox. EO is a mirror of Catholicism, so if they adhere to the doctrines of EO they are not real Christians.

But for the sake of argument, let's say there are some, because there probably are.

Let's say that they decide for their own self, that though the bible says to subject themselves to ruling authorities, they say, "ISIS is killing children. That's heinous. I will not pay jizya taxes which will support that government, in any way. I will wait for a better government and I will pay taxes then."

But, that is the short view. God has the long view. He said to store up treasures in heaven. As a citizen of heaven, I want to invest in heaven. In the essay above I'd shared the Isaiah 19 passage, in which God says He will bless Assyria, Egypt, and Israel.

In subjecting myself to the ruling authorities on earth (as long as I'm not denying Christ and converting to Islam), I am investing in His blessed government that is to come. I am trusting the LORD to fulfill His promise to bring peace in Assyria, conversion in Assyrian hearts, and the Good ruling authority- Jesus.

The short view is selfish and myopic. Who am I to say, rebel against this government because they're bad? They're ALL bad! There is none Good except Jesus! But in following the bible and subjecting myself to ruling governments, whether they be Queen Elizabeth or ISIS, or Saddam Hussein or George Washington, I am simply waiting for the REAL government to come, investing in it, and storing up treasure. No, I don't want my taxes to go toward the bad things that are happening in the US nor in Iraq, but God will take care of the leaders who deal falsely. My taxes, my submission, my Christian participation, is an investment as a shareholder of the great government to come.

The long view. It's important.


Further reading

What is the significance of the Babylonian Empire in biblical history?"

What And Where Is Babylon Today?

Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen': Pentagon


  1. We pay taxes here in the US, where over 50 million babies have been legally murdered in their mother's wombs in the last 40 years. Just because it's legal in our country doesn't mean it's right in God's eyes, because it most certainly is NOT. He hates hands that shed innocent blood. Our nation's soil is soaked in the blood of those murdered babies. To our collective shame as a nation.

    But yes, nonetheless, as Christians we pay our taxes, we render to Caesar what is Caesar's, even though Caesar uses our money to fund abortion. God will deal with Caesar in His time.

    But submission to government (or any human for that matter) is conditional if they ask us to do something evil directly, in which case we have to say no. An example would be forced abortion, we would have to refuse to obey, and obey God instead. Just as was done with baby Moses.

    And when it comes to persecution, Jesus says when they persecute you in one city, flee to the next.

    It is a blessing to know that God will bring many in the Arabic world to repentance, and bless them in the Kingdom. The Highway of Peace from Egypt to Assyria, how beautiful!

    But for now, we pray for those who are being persecuted. And long, Oh Lord, when will you avenge the evil?!


  2. A very difficult topic. Submitting to these horrible leaders will mean the furthering of Islam, the furthering of persecution and even here in this country the furthering of Satan's work.

    I know what the bible says, but this is as difficult a loving and forgiving your enemy, this may be more difficult.

    WHY does God have to make everything so convoluted and difficult?!?!?!??!??!??

  3. Great post, that is something that has been bothering me lately.

  4. I get it, but I'm not sure about submission in all cases. What about Daniel? He certainly didn't submit to King Nebuccadnezzar. He went right on praying to God three times daily as he always had, despite the King's new law. And what about non-submission we read about outside the Bible.... such as Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place, which I recently read.... she certainly wasn't submitting to authority as she and her family went to GREAT lengths and detailed planning to hide Jews inside her home (and hide their food, sleeping quarters, the radio they weren't supposed to have, etc). I would say she did the right thing.... nothing most of us wouldn't have done. I sincerely believe, as in all things we do, the Lord is looking at the heart when it comes to the decisions we make concerning how far we will go in submission. Just my thoughts. :-)

    1. Youre right- submitting to everything is wrong. That's why I write above,

      "In subjecting myself to the ruling authorities on earth (as long as I'm not denying Christ and converting to Islam),"

      We can't deny Christ, falsely convert for the sake of the flesh, or fail His commands. Pulpit Commentary says of the Romans verse,

      "He [Paul] does not refer to cases in which it might become necessary to obey God rather than man: his purpose here does not call on him to do so"

      Daniel was obeying God and not man in his case. Daniel explained why, in humility, but he would not violate God's law. In Dan 3:6 the consequence for obeying God and not man was to be thrown into a burning oven. Daniel was prepared to take the consequence.

    2. I am with you. :-) Was wondering, though.... do you have any thoughts on Corrie Ten Boom and her family's nonsubmission to authority (assuming you know her story)? It's interesting in comparison because it involves Jews and Christians, the same people Muslims hate the most. It isn't far-fetched to think we could one day have to make the same types of decisions Ms. Ten Boom had to make back in the days of WW2.

    3. Hi Anonymous,

      I am familiar with the name Corrie Ten Boom and the general circumstances but I have not read anything about her.

      I was thinking about the Egyptian midwives, Moses' mother, sister and Pharaoh's daughter that defied the government edict-

      The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16“When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” 19The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” (Ex 1:15-19)

      in Ex 2, after Pharaoh had said at the end of Ex to "all the people" (not just the midwives) to throw Hebrew boys into the Nile and let the girls live, Miriam, Moses mom and the Pharaoh's daughter defied the rule, put Moses in a basket, and let him live.

      Rahab defied the government authorities (in this case the direct questioning and command of the King) in Joshua 2:3-5

      Obadiah defied Queen Jezebel and hid 100 of God's prophets (1 Kings 18:4)

      Daniel, Peter, and Paul defied the government authorities and worshiped/preached about God. The bible says that is allowed, though we have to accept the consequences, and I believe these men would have done so. Daniel did, he was thrown into the lion's den

      God blessed the midwives, no harm came to Miriam or Moses' mother for their actions, Rahab is counted in the genealogies as a heroine, and though Peter was killed for his witness, it wasn't at the moment he defied the authorities. So does that means God is pleased when we lie as the midwives and Rahab did, and when we take matters into our 'own' hands and defy? No, God abhors sin.

      So the answer's complicated.

      The best I can do is say that if the moment ever comes like it did with those bible men and women or Corrie ten Boom or us, that the Spirit will let us know what to do...and that God will reward us for our submission. (Though I still think Rahab and the midwives were responsible for their sin of lying)

    4. Here is a story from John MacArthur about how he defied governing authorities when he went to China, bringing bibles with him-

      Now having said that, I will also say to you that I have personally smuggled Bibles into China. My wife was with me smuggling Bibles in to China and my kids were all with me and they had Christian books tucked in their little clothes everywhere as we went into China.

      Now the strategy was this. Kids, when we get to the border and we had gone on a jet boat to mainland China from Hong Kong, and the Christian church there had asked if we would bring some Christian literature, some of my books and some others that had been translated in Chinese, and the plan was to go to a cemetery and they told us where the cemetery would be and there would be somebody to guide us to this cemetery, there would be a little kind of a larger than normal crypt with a broken window and we’re all supposed to dump all these books in this glass window.

      Well, this is like Indiana Jones for the kids. I mean, this is great stuff, you know. So here was the strategy. We go through and if they don’t say anything, just keep moving, don’t lag behind, you know, doing double takes as to why they let you go...just keep moving. So we told them if we go through and they don’t ask about anything, and they let us through, great. If they stop you and ask you if you have books, say, “Yes we do.” Plain and simple.

      Well in the purposes of God they didn’t stop us. We went roaring through and once the kids got right pass the guards, you know, they bolted and we collected them eventually, dropped all our books in the little place. But on those kinds of serious levels, you know, you can remember the story of Corrie Ten Boom who lied about having the Jewish people in her house during the Nazi assault, and should she have lied? Should she have told the truth? My conviction is that you tell the truth. If Rahab had told the truth, God’s purpose would have worked out another way. There’s no virtue in the lie.

      I agree with that.

    5. Thanks for the response. I think you you are right. And I think it is also summed up in what I said originally.... that God is always looking at the heart, and the motivation behind your decision to rebel to a corrupt government. Is it rebellion just for the sake of rebellion? Or is it because of your great love toward Him and your neighbor or bother/sister in Christ? I do believe we will still have to answer for sin we commit even when our motivation was sincerely in the right frame of mind. All we can really do is pray much and keep our hope clinging to His mercies that endure forever. He definitely is a God of wrath and judgement.... but, Oh how kind, gracious, understanding, and merciful He is! My prayer is that I will please Him if I ever have to make these tough decisions, and if I happen mess up, that He will show His great mercy to me. Praise His name!

    6. Great story from John MacArthur! He is probably my favorite preacher! I agree with the fact that Corrie Ten Boom probably shouldn't have lied, and will probably have to answer for that sin... but I think about the fact she was human, it was probably done in the heat of the moment, and I am not sure I wouldn't have done the same thing. I can say all day long that I wouldn't lie to protect the life of a Jewish or Christian brother/sister... but who knows what would happen when my blood is pumping hard and I am afraid for my life. Praying that His grace will truly be sufficient for me if I ever face such a scary thing! I do know that God greatly blessed Ms. Ten Boom and used her life for His glory. She and her family were eventually caught in their "crime" and were sent to a concentration camp. Her entire family, except her, died in the camp. Corrie got out only because of a glitch in paperwork... of course, you and I know God's sovereignty prevailed there!! :-) A week later, she found out, every woman in her cell block were gassed. Corrie went on to live into her 90s, doing so much for the Lord as a missionary. Her life touched so many and she led many to the Saviour. She also writes of coming face to face with one of her German tormenters from the prison later in life. He had become a Christian.... and the way she describes her moment of forgiveness toward him is amazing. If you ever have time to read her biography, The Hiding Place, you ought to. The miracles she witnessed and shares with the reader are a blessing to the heart! Thanks for the discussion! :-)

    7. In Hebrews 11, verse 23 and verse 31, both Moses' parents and Rahab (see also James 2:25) were commended for their faith, with no rebuke of their sin of lying. Yes, all sin is sin, but in the faith chapter of Hebrews, they are given commendation by God for doing right by faith. That's all I can say to this matter.


    8. Hello Ms. Prata:
      You state: “In subjecting myself to the ruling authorities on earth (as long as I’m not denying Christ and converting to Islam), We can’t deny Christ, falsely convert for the sake of the flesh, or fail His commands.”

      Well, I wonder how long one could expect to last under ISIS and Sharia Law without having to deny Christ and convert. And apparently, you can’t always fake it because they’ve beheaded people who claimed they were not Christians (Yazidis) but actually were -- I don’t think that living under their rule is just about deciding to pay or not pay their taxes – it is about which God you serve – theirs or the true God -- there does not appear to be a middle ground with ISIS and their religion.

      I believe that it is quite possible the antichrist will come from the Middle East. I also think that ISIS may be the first phase in that process – something is afoot. As the apostasy of the Church picks up speed, evil will grow stronger and along with it, deception, and eventually the unveiling of the antichrist.

      I believe that these are the end times and as such, everything will eventually boil down to your spiritual condition – whom do you serve? We may end up under a government where you may very well have to confess that you follow Christ and be persecuted, hide, or perhaps even be incarcerated – and the fact that you paid taxes won’t enter the picture.

      In my opinion, it is submitting myself to the will of God that encompasses everything

  5. James 4
    4 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

    2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

    3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

    4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

    5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

    6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

    7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

    9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

    10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

    11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

    12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

    13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

    14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

    15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

    16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

    17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

    The idea that I, named in the Lambs book of life is subject to criminals is not according to scripture.
    Those who have violated the conditions of the rule of law are not really in authority.
    There is something really wrong with anyone who names Christ And allows evil to take over without resisting.


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