Paying Taxes to Caesar

(Matthew 22:15-22)

There are some interesting aspects to this teaching about paying taxes to Caesar. The Herodians sought to entangle Jesus in his talk. They sought to have him say it was wrong to pay taxes to Caesar so that they could accuse him of defying the ruling authorities. But Jesus was aware of their malice, and in his response he gave us some wonderful insights about money.

The Bible says, “For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Paul was speaking here not about the people of the world, but the church and the people of God. He makes the point that the love of money has caused some to wander away from the faith, thus his concern is about the church.

One of the biggest issues in the modern church is about money. It causes much angst between both those in leadership and the people attending church. There is a great deal of false doctrine and misuse of scripture used to justify what is essentially “fleecing the flock.” In this teaching about paying taxes to Caesar we Jesus put money into its correct perspective.

When asked if it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not Jesus asks to see the coin for the tax. He then asks, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” The Herodians answered, “Caesar’s.” Jesus then replies, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Verses 19-22)

In this statement Jesus shows that money is the invention of the government. It is not a thing of God but is of man’s invention. Jesus does not command the people to take the things of men and give them to God, but rather to give God what is of God. We are to give God praise, worship, obedience, prayer and thanksgiving. These are the things of God. We are to do the will of God, which is to believe and have faith in Jesus Christ. We are to learn the things that are pleasing to God so that we can do the will of God.

God is not interested in money and God does not want your money. God wants you. He does not command us to give money to the church. There are many who will disagree and say, “What about tithing?” To them I say, tithing is firstly not about giving money and secondly is not a part of the New Covenant or the New Testament church. Tithing in the church today is one of the misuses of scripture designed to “fleece the flock.” Tithing is an exaction. It is not a gift but is like a tax that was taught under the Old Covenant for the express purpose of the upkeep of the priesthood. Tithing was given as a perpetual due to the Levites. Any person who is not descended from Levi is not entitled to take the tithe, and this includes the modern ministers of the Christian churches. They have wrongfully applied the teachings of tithing for their own gain.

There is even a more sinister side to tithing in the Christian church, which causes the annulment of Christianity. Those modern churches that preach and take tithes in effect are setting up a false version of the Old Covenant practice. They set themselves up as descendants of Levi, which they are not, and take the tithe wrongfully as it was promised only to Levi. In effect they are stealing what belongs to Levi, and applying the teachings of tithing wrongfully to increase their gain. What is more, they have set up a false version of the temple worship, which was about teaching the law of God. Yet Jesus came to set us free from the law of sin and death and so these modern, tithe taking preachers are rejecting Jesus teaching by taking up the teachings of the Old Covenant.

Is it any wonder that some of the churches of today are in such a mess spiritually! There is a great deal that can be said about tithing in the modern church and I have written quite a lot on this subject over the years. Some may think that I am anti-tithing, but that is not true. However, I am anti the misuse of scripture to justify a false teaching in the Christian church. Tithing is not part of the New Covenant and not part of the Christian church, as you will see in other posts concerning this matter.

Suffice to say that money is not of God, which is what Jesus was showing in this section of Matthew 22. Certainly it can be given as a gift, and even in the Old Covenant temple, gifts of money were often given to the treasury, but it was not and is not a bible-based requirement. Do not let any man, preacher or not, say that you must give money to the church. There is no scriptural basis for such a teaching.

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