Jul 7, 2016

The Jesus Attitude Toward Taxes Under An Evil, Cruel Government

Common Sense Commentary: The Bible has several interesting things to say about tribute (taxes). For purposes of unveiling the spiritual implications of the Christian thing to do about government taxes, we will look in the official records of the laws of the Higher Power ... above human governments.

There are two kinds of kings, those God sets up and those men set up. Daniel,
the prophet, speaks of the first type ... "And he  (God) changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings ...." Daniel 2:21.  God, through Hosea, speaks of the second type ... "They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, (that) I knew not ...." Hosea 8:4. 

God also has it within His power, as stated in that first verse, to "remove kings", whether He set them up or men set them up by God's permissive will, though not His perfect will.

Here is a king God set up to use his power to strengthen, protect and provide for the people of the nation. He was a good king who cared about the people and was obedient to the Lord. His name was Jehoshaphat. "And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he ....sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance." 2 Chron.17:3-5. 

"Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks .... And Jehoshaphat (grew) great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles (citadels), and cities of (storage)And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem." 2 Chron. 17:11-13. 

So the purpose of all that government income and taxes was to create large government buildings ("castles") or citadels, for congresses, courts, schools, military and law enforcement To "build" up and strengthen the nation for the people, to create a "storage" of commodities for hard times for the people, to increase "business" for the people, and a strong military and law enforcement "men of war" to protect the people. Everything was for the people's good not for the government or the king.

Jesus had just two things to say concerning tribute (taxes). In Matt. 17:24-27 the Bible reveals the attitude of Jesus toward taxes. 

A Tax Collector Encounter In Capernaum:
"And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tributeHe saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus (turned to) him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free (from the requirements upon the people). Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee."  Note these facts in this encounter. Neither Peter, Jesus nor His Apostles had paid these taxes but only Peter's and Jesus' taxes got paid... "for me and thee". Peter gave a "yes" answer before he knew how or if Jesus would or could pay the taxes. Jesus knew of Peter's encounter and dilemma before he told him about it. Jesus' reference to the fact that government puts burdens upon the masses of common people but exempts their own families from their laws, was a recognition of the unfairness of government. My final thought on this encounter is that Jesus probably would not have voluntarily paid the taxes if Peter had not been confronted by the tax officials. And He did not pay them because it was the "moral" thing to do, or because it was a "fair" tax, or because He agreed with the way it was spent, but because he didn't want to "offend them" and bring the power of government down upon himself and His Apostles. "Nevertheless, lest we should offend them ...." go pay the tax.

A Trick Tax Question From The Religious Pharisees"
The Pharisees were trying to devise a plot to discredit Jesus with the Jews and arouse the Roman government to arrest and execute him. So they came up with a question on the hated taxes enforced upon them by their Roman Conquerors. If Jesus answered the trick question "Yes", the Jews would turn against him and if he answered the question "No", the Roman government would arrest and prosecute him or kill him.  They hinged the question on what was Biblically lawful or unlawful.  So here is Jesus' second encounter with the tax question.
"Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.  And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?  Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?  They say unto him, Caesar's.  Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way." Matt. 22:15-22.  Jesus did not say Roman taxes were legal or illegal, but confounded these hypocrites, avoided offending the Jews and dodged Roman reprisals against him and his disciples. He said, in effect, "If that tribute money has Caesar's picture and name on it, it must be his".

With our present government of liars and criminals, I do not pay taxes because I want to or because I think it is a moral issue or because it is fair or because I agree with giving it away to Muslim nations, freeloaders, illegals and graft, but "lest I offend them" and they send me off to prison. Before Jesus answered their question, he greased the hinges on the trap door by asking whose picture and name were on the tax money. If it had the Roman Emperor, Caesar's, picture and name on it, it must be his. So by that standard, if George Washington comes to me for his dollar bills, with his ID picture and name on them, I will voluntarily and happily give him what is obviously his, all my $1 dollar bills. Likewise, if Lincoln comes for his $5's or Hamilton comes for his $10's or Jackson for his $20's or Grant for his $50's or Franklin for his $100's or Obama for everything with his picture on it, I will joyfully give all that stuff to him....and my taxes too  "lest I offend him", and he has me drug into court or eliminated by a drone. For that reason only, I have H&R Block do my taxes and pay them. But if Obama or Hillary and their henchmen default on their sworn obligation to defend the Constitution and protect the people from evil and punish evil doers like Hillary, I may accept their Federal retirement plan in a tax funded prison where there are no taxes to pay or even tithes on unearned income and no need of insurance, but lots of Socialistic benefits like FREE room and board, FREE food, FREE TV, FREE medical care, FREE clothing, free utilities and a FREE burial plan. Sounds like a fun place on a ripe mission field ... for an old preacher. I'll keep doing this blog from with a pencil. Come visit me.

Paul said in Romans 13:1-6 that rulers are not supposed to be "a terror to good works, but to the evil" and to "give praise to those who do good". Taxes to such a government would be a pleasure. So who determines what is good works? There are as many opinions as there are people, but the Bible, God's word, is singularly the final authority on good and evil. Our Constitution was founded upon it. They are both still in place. Obey them.

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