We live in fascinating times. Do you agree? One of the great pictures of that fact is the recent emergence of the term "Deep State" into our culture. Have you heard about it? That term, which is now being used frequently, has just come into our vernacular during the last Presidential election cycle. The term has been used to describe officials in the government that are working behind the scenes to sabotage and subvert the constitutionally elected leadership of the Nation. In other words, the "Deep State" refers to people that are breaking the laws they are put in charge of upholding. This lawless behavior may include revealing classified materials, violating the Constitution, manipulating and destroying people's lives without due process and even attempting to remove the President from office through a legally manipulated impeachment. There is no question that our Nation has moved into a very scary time when the rule of law is not being upheld by those appointed to do so. So, when the police become the criminals you have reached a turning point in any society.
As Christians and students of the Bible, the lawless patterns underway in the "Deep State" are not new. The story of the Bible is about another "Deep State" going on against the Kingdom of God from the beginning. The Bible's view of the world is that a group of individuals under the influence of demonic power are working against the Lord and His legal and righteous authority and purposes in the world. The entire course of human history can be explained using this storyline...including the current drama in Washington. This lawless spirit, that refuses to submit to the Lord's authority, is embodied in the spirit of the antichrist, a spirit that is the enemy and counterfeit of the Lord Jesus Christ and His rightful authority over our world. The Bible tells us in I John 4:1-3 that this spirit is at work right now.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
As a result, any attempt to reject our Lord and deny His authority expressed through our civil and duly constituted laws is another spirit... a "Deep State" if you will. The Bible fully grants that there are laws and/or leaders that Christians may not support. And yet, the Bible calls us to submit to these authorities since all authority is given by the Lord for His purposes, even when we see them as wrong. This can be clearly seen during the days of the Apostles when the Roman government persecuted the Church, yet they were still the legal authority established by God. Regarding this issue, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:1-2,
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Now this respect for civil laws and authority does not mean accepting evil without any protest. A good example would be Christians today protesting against abortion. The Bible is not against such protests. Christians have every right to protest and speak out against the evil and injustices of the day. However, what the Bible teaches in Romans 13 is that we are under God's authority in the end and that to try and overturn the State or such laws secretly, as in a "Deep State" movement, is wrong. Christians can and must work toward the good, but in an open process that yields to powers that are in place, whether we like them or not.
Perhaps a good example of this in the current drama in Washington is for us to examine our attitudes toward two controversial presidents like Presidents Obama and Trump. Both men represent very different beliefs and behaviors and yet they were both duly elected and represented the law and order of the Nation. As a result, it would be out of order for us to reject the Constitution and/or their Presidency simply because we did not like them or what they stood for. We are not free to break their laws just because we don't like them. So, when people decide to work within the government to violate any laws they are sworn to uphold for the purpose of undermining the rule of law it is Biblically wrong.
The BEST example of this principle is seen in the life of the Lord Jesus Himself and His encounter with the Roman Government of His day. When our Lord was on trial before Pilate, He had every right to reject Pilate's authority as unjust and yet that is not what our Lord did. Our Lord acknowledged that Pilate had the authority to crucify Him, but that his authority has been given to him by the Lord Himself, since all authority is given by God. In John 19:10-11 we hear,
"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
Our Lord accepted the unjust authority of His day and submitted to it. Our Lord did not secretly work behind the scenes to get His people to resist it and/or overturn it in a lawless way by creating a "Deep State" of illegitimate authority. Our Lord's life and pattern is a model for every Christian on how to understand and handle living in a fallen world with leaders and laws we may find unjust.
All of this above discussion about the "Deep State" leads to some amazing conclusions in this hour. The attempt we see today of trying to overturn President Trump, or any lawfully elected leader, through secretive lawlessness in a "Deep State" is the spirit of the coming antichrist. When nations like America and others have powerful individuals secretly by-passing their laws to overturn a society's foundation of law, you have a crisis coming. That crisis is underway now and it can only grow in the days ahead. The Bible sees all this secret lawlessness embodied and focused in the "Man of Lawlessness," the antichrist, as reflected in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9,
Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
The current battle against the "Deep State" is not a political battle for America's future, but a spiritual one. May the Lord Jesus Christ give every Christian wisdom and discernment for the hour in which we live. As our Lord's return draws near, may His people shine like a beacon of grace and hope to a fallen, lawless world with the Gospel message of forgiveness and restoration.