The Bible, or law of the Lord, has a great deal to say about the topic of money. Somewhere, someone has said that some 1/3 of its teachings touch this subject, though I have never counted the beans to see if this is so. But, one thing is for certain, the Bible has a sufficient theology of money and taxes to tell us what we here wish to know: how are nations supposed to tax people and at which rate?.Exodus 30:13 recounts the fact that the Bible expects that what is holy will set the standard for the public (common) realm.This they [the Israelites] shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.Leviticus 27:25 (See also Exodus 38:24).
And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel.Here we learn that the Bible measures money by weight, as well as by purity. We also learn something from the refrain, "after the shekel of the sanctuary," which today would be said, "according to the standard ounce of the Church." This is interesting for it puts the Church in the lead to establish just economic relations in a nation. In light of today's popular errors about the proper relationship between the Church and state, the biblical tendency to set the Church at the forefront of public and civil affairs will necessarily seem peculiar (which is exactly the Bible's term for it) at the least, or even undesirable to many Christians.
But note that the biblical jealousy for Christian leadership in society clearly implies that whatever standards God has establishes in the Church (meaning, from the Bible), he has given as an example to be followed by the state as well. Thus, the civil magistrate (God's civil, but not an ecclesiastical, deacon) must assume that God requires him to follow the ecclesiastical standards set forth in the Holy Scripture unless the Bible explicitly or implicitly states otherwise.For instance, where does the Bible specify what the qualifications for the civil magistrate ought to be? Answer: nowhere.
Does this mean that just anyone ought to be considered for the job? Of course not. Following the general principle of the Word specified in the above rule from Leviticus 27:25 and Exodus 38:24, we can properly infer that the qualifications for the civil deacon (i.e. the civil authorities) remain identical with those of the ecclesiastical deacon. This domain-transference principle extends from three biblical facts:.First, God sees the end from the beginning.
That is, he knows all Christians as they will be in glory just that way right now. He is something like an Author writing a book, and he knows with absolute certainty just how the book ends (even when He had just started the book).Second, All Christians (baptized persons) are kings and priests in training.Third, the Church is a greater institution than the state because of its eternality, and other redemptive characteristics.
Thus, the Church-to-state domain-transference rule specified above forms an argument from the greater (the jurisdiction of the Church) to the lesser (the domain of the state, or civil realm). That is, if it is true for the Church, how much more should it be true of the state? This form of argumentation is used by Jesus and the apostles, so that the inference (or transference) made here, from the ecclesiastical to the civil realm carries biblical authority.1 Timothy 3:8ff specifies the ecclesiastical deacon's qualifications thus:.Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.The biblical transference rule suggests, therefore, that these are also the qualifications for mayors and Congressmen. One can only wonder how much of the U.
S. Congress could survive scrutiny on this basis, but this remains the necessary set of qualifications for the job nonetheless. Now back to the issue of taxation.When God taxes His people in the Church, he taxes at a rate of 10%.
This is usually called "the tithe," meaning a "tenth part." The tithe represents a 10% tax on one's gross income, not (as we say) his net income. Now let us recall the domain-transference rule. Since the Bible nowhere directly names the tax rate a given nation ought to impose, we look to see the tax rate of the Church and likewise impute it to the state.Applied to the civil realm, we usually refer to this today as a "10% flat tax.
".Genesis 14:18-21 forms the text in which we first learn about tithing in the Bible, "Then Melchizedek king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.".
Deuteronomy 14:22 adds: "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.".Hebrews 7:1-2, 4 reflects back upon the Genesis account of Melchizedek and Abraham's tithe.
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; . Now consider how great this man [Melchisedec] was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.".The primary comparison between Christ and Melchizedek shows that the practice of tithing properly continues in Christ's Church.
Next, the Bible teaches that Christians, and all other persons, must pay their proper taxes to the state.Luke 2:1-5 shows that Joseph and Mary, whom the Bible calls "righteous" and "blameless" did so.Matthew 22:15-22 reads (also Mark 12:13ff and Luke 20:21ff), "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.".Here Jesus clearly taught that nations have the right to coin their own money. Caesar's image on the coin showed that the tax was properly collected by Caesar. The phrase to "God what is God's" means that the thing that bears HIS image, likewise belongs to Him, which would be the whole person, since Man (defined as "male and female") is "minted" in God's image ? though he and she are no longer in mint condition. This is why Jesus paid the tax.
Matthew 17:25 ". And when he [Peter] was come into the house, Jesus prevented 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.
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 [the tax] for me and thee.".This passage teaches that the Church collectively (called "the sons") is properly tax exempt. But Jesus paid the tax anyway so as not to give the appearance that the Church was rebellious toward the authorities God has established.This passage in no way teaches that individual Christians do not have to pay taxes, quite the contrary.
By his example, Jesus showed that Christians must pay taxes, so as not to give offence, or as Paul put it, "and for conscience's sake.".Romans 13:1-8 makes this plain enough."Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
For for this cause pay ye tax also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.".Since the civil authorities are "ordained of God" as "ministers," (i.e.
civil deacons) we must pay the tax to the state, just as we must tithe in the Church to God's other [ecclesiastical] "ministers," who are likewise "ordained of God." Notice the parallel of language here, "ordained ministers" applies to both civil authorities and ecclesiastical authorities. One has the ministry of mercy and the other the ministry of justice.
Thus, the taxation rate in the Church forms the template for that of the state, just as the phrase "after the shekel of the sanctuary" tell us.Conclusion: The Bible teaches that the civil authorities may charge a total of 10% in taxes, and not a penny more. This is because the state is not greater than the Church, and is certainly not greater than God Himself. Since a 10% flat tax is the biblical standard, Christians should work diligently to eliminate the ungodly oppression of the people by property taxes, gas taxes, consumption taxes, excessive income taxes, estate taxes, payroll taxes, medicare taxes, social insecurity tax, consumption taxes, and all the other phoney excuse for over-taxing the nation.
In short, each must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's. Caesar is not exempt from giving to God what is God's, meaning he must submit to God's law in all areas of his rule. And it is the duty of the Church to tell him so..Carson Day has written some 1.3 gazillion articles and essays on all manner of diverse topics.
These aim to glorify God and offer people real help to live wisely and well. You can visit Carson's websites at http://ophirgold.blogspot.com (The Omniblog, where Carson blogs everything) or http://extremeprofit.blogspot.com (Carson's Day Trading Outpost).
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By: Carson C. Day