Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International
Kelowna, British Columbia
Is Taxation supported by the Holy Bible?
A Short Study
In this discussion we shall only be concerned with and shall focus on the Biblical justification or non-justification for the imposition of an income tax on living souls, men, women and children, created by God in His Image. It is human labour that is the foundation of determining the cost of consumer goods and there is nothing that a man can produce, cost-free, unless he produces it himself and then it’s the cost of his energy which is replenished with food, which requires energy to obtain, if nothing else. The story at Matthew 20 is the basis for the phrase, “A man is worthy of his hire”. Does this mean that any government may take a portion of that hire without that man’s informed consent?
Many, if not all linear thinkers accept, without question, the notion
that there is Biblical justification for taxation. True, Deuteronomy does refer to “toll,
tribute and custom” and so some form of taxation did exist at the time of its
writing but the author(s) always assumed that the references were related to
God-fearing and lawful governments.
We’ll deal with this later.
But there was never a reference to direct taxation on labour. That is an invention of Karl Marx and
Friedrich Engels, popularized in their Communist Manifesto, which, by the way,
became the basis for the graduated income tax system, prevalent in
The first of the two prominent, seemingly definitive affirmations for the imposition of taxation is “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mat ). The second is “For this cause [being subject to higher powers, i.e., rulers] pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers.” (Rom 13: 6-7).
The wondrous thing about the Holy Bible is that no one today, or even yesterday, can know for certain what the author was thinking or his motivation or even his purpose in what he wrote. Most interpretations of the written word ignore the contemporaneous historical background as if there were no socio-religious-politico factors which propelled the author to make his statements. As a result, misinterpretations are more common than not.
Before we progress too much further, let the record show that I know no Hebrew or Aramaic, Greek or Latin. Therefore, I cannot state definitively that I understand the meaning of the words used by Biblical authors. However, I am not unfamiliar with the historical events surrounding some of the authors. What I do know for sure is mostly through logic and intuition. Nevertheless, I think of myself as a thinker who does not accept the prevailing opinions for their own sake because I am, by nature, suspicious of the motives and agenda of the opinion giver.
So far, we have a score of 2 to 0 in favour of paying “tribute” or taxation. Tribute is defined in the unabridged edition of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language as:
“2. a stated sum or other valuable consideration paid by one sovereign or state to another in acknowledgment of subjugation or as the price of peace, security, protection, or the like; 3. a rent, tax; 4. any exacted or enforced payment or contribution;”
We shall concentrate on the New Testament and what may be revealed will clarify, simultaneously, what the Old Testament says about paying tribute.
Are there any interdictions against paying tribute to the same extent as there seems to be justification for imposing and paying it? And are there plausible explanations and reasonable interpretations of Matthew 22 and Romans 13, quoted above?
The answer is Yes to both.
Jesus was often referred to as “teacher” which Haim Cohn, in his book The Trial and Death of Jesus, translates as “rabbi”. There are definite allusions to Jesus’ knowledge of the Torah and works of the prophets and Psalms as he referred to them from time to time. As a teacher or rabbi, he would have been intimately familiar with Hebrew religious teachings and it appears that he was a member of the sect of Pharisees. As such, he understood only too well the political and religious history of his forefathers. He could and often did discuss and teach with the authority that could only have come from someone as learned as he was in God’s Laws. Thus, we may allow ourselves to conclude, rather than merely assume from his teachings, that he was an “expert” in “the Law”.
Let’s see what he had to say about the beliefs of the chosen people of
God. At the time of his birth until
At the time also, Pontius Pilate was the ruling governor who had his
What did Jesus and the evangelists have to say about this?
1. “And when they were come
2. “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom [tax collector]: and he saith unto him, ‘Follow me’. And he arose, and followed him”. Mat 9:09 Then Jesus sat at table and shared a meal with tax collectors and sinners (a reference to those known as “unclean” such as prostitutes, adulterers, thieves, and others considered to have transgressed God’ Laws). Some Pharisees (a religious sect of Jews) were offended by Jesus’ actions and asked him why he would sup with the likes of these. Jesus replied, “’They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick…I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” Mat 9:12-13. He admits in clear language that both tax collectors and sinners are the “sick” and that they require his help to gain grace.
3. “And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King” Luke 23: 1-2
There doesn’t seem to me to be a better vindication of Jesus’ repugnance and preaching against paying taxes (tribute) than being accused of so doing. This was a treasonous act according to Roman law, no less so than publicly stating that he was a King.
On page 267 of the 1968 Berkley Book edition of Edgar Cayce’s Story of Jesus, the
“sleeping prophet” said “Tribute was collected by the Romans [in
Haim Cohn writes in page 185 of The Trial and Death of Jesus “the charges specified in Luke [23:1-2], of which Pilate would take cognizance…Pilate chose the second and asked Jesus only, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ presumably on the view that if he admitted this graver indictment, the minor one might be taken as merged in it.” Since Jesus pleaded guilty to the second charge, the first became merged and did not require further questioning. In effect, Jesus admitted that he refused the payment of tribute and counseled his followers likewise.
4. Inevitably, when the “Render therefore unto Caesar…” quote is used to justify that Jesus promoted taxation, the quote is taken out of context and misinterpreted by the ignorant and interpreted fraudulently by the tax promoters and defenders. But Paul and Peter warned about those who would pervert Jesus’ message by trying to deceive the listeners. Let’s see what Matthew, the evangelist, had to say prior and subsequent to Jesus’ words.
“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…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?’…They then marveled at his answer and walked away. Mat 22
In order not to be charged by the Romans with treason there and then if he answered negatively and in order not to be charged by the Jews with collaboration with the enemy if he answered positively, Jesus had to choose his words carefully. I downloaded from the internet, a paper written by Professor Timothy Patton who wrote the following:
“There are several new testament verses that are quoted out of context by alleged
government authorities and false churches in order to deceive people into believing
that they should support their man-made governments and obey their man-made
law…God has never given His people authority to make their own law or to walk
in the statutes of men…The Pharisees knew that even their own Israelite kings could
not make any law, but could only administer God’s law not turning aside from the
commandment, to the right hand, or to the left” Deut 17: 14-18…Not adding to it,
or diminishing from it Deut …The Pharisees knew that it was a sin to walk in
the statutes of the heathen and that if their own Israelite kings made any statute, it
was a sin to walk in their statutes as well 2Kings 17: 6-8; 18-19.
“The Pharisees knew that God’s people have laws that are different from all other
people’s and that even in foreign lands they do not keep the king’s laws Esther 3:8
“The Pharisees knew the principle that consenting with a thief, be he king or comm-
oner, makes one a partaker with that thief—and an apostate Psalm 50:18.
“The Pharisees knew that those who participate in evil through the use of an agent
are guilty of the act themselves 2Samuel -17; -27; 12:9.
“Therefore, by the same principle, the Pharisees knew that participating in a heathen
government by financing someone else (an agent) to enforce heathen laws makes the
one who pays the tribute guilty of the acts of the heathen government. The Pharisees
knew that those who are obedient to God will not pay toll, tribute and custom to a
heathen king Ezra 4: 6-16.
“The Pharisees knew that the throne of iniquity cannot have fellowship with God.
“The Pharisees knew God’s admonition about doing after the manners of the heathen
“The Pharisees knew that God’s people do not obey wicked governments [those who
rule in the absence of God’s Law] that have other gods [shields and crests with
birds, animals, fish and unicorns, money, fraudulent banking, bowing to
“persons”] even if thrown into a fiery furnace. Daniel 3: 16-19
“The Pharisees knew that those who have set up kings and princes (governments)
but not by God’s hand, have trespassed against His Law Hosea 4: 1; 8: 1-4”
The Letters Patent of the Governor General of
“The Pharisees knew that it is a sin to keep statutes made by Israelite kings, let
alone a heathen ‘Caesar’. Micah 6: 13-16
“The Pharisees were fully aware that God only allowed ‘Caesar’ to be in power
as their fathers did keep it or not. Judges 2:21; 3:4
“And the Pharisees were aware of the conclusion of the whole matter, ‘Let us hear
the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for
this is the whole duty of man’ Ecclesiastes 12:13
“Therefore, knowing all of the above scriptures, the Pharisees laid a trap for Jesus
similar to the question: ‘Have you stopped beating your wife yet?’ [here the
questioner expects a yes or a no response] They were certain that they could trap
Jesus into affirming that either: it was lawful to pay tribute to ‘Caesar’, which they
knew to be against God’s Law, and thereby condemning Him under God’s Law [or
that it was unlawful] to pay tribute to a heathen government (‘Caesar’), thereby
condemning Him under ‘Caesar’s’ law. They then could go to ‘Caesar’ and
thereby get rid of Jesus with the sword of ‘Caesar’.
“He didn’t define what was or was not ‘Caesar’s’. He didn’t even affirm that the
penny with ‘Caesar’s’ image and superscription was to be rendered to ‘Caesar’…
The Pharisees should rent to ‘Caesar’, a heathen who did not know or obey God’s
Law, exactly what was due to any heathen or Israelite who did not obey God’s
Law Num 15:15-16; Deut 27:26.
“Therefore, the Pharisees knew that what they had just been told was to render
[death] unto ‘Caesar’ and since they were declining to carry out the sentence of
the law, they were hypocrites. Deut 17: 11-12
“Jesus had just rebuked both ‘Caesar’ and the Pharisees by stating publicly that
both ‘Caesar’ and the Pharisees should be put to death, and the Pharisees who
hated Jesus knew it…‘Caesar’ and his agents didn’t know enough about God’s
Law to realize what Jesus had said…and ‘Caesar’ thinks to this very day that
Jesus was saying to pay tribute…
“When you research out the origin and lineage of the term, ‘Pontifus Maximus’,
you find the Babylonian origin. Essentially it is saying that ‘Caesar’ is God.
This title was later adopted by the Roman Popes. When one understands that
the answer was given under Hebrew law, then they [must come to] understand
that the same fate awaits all who pay the tribute to Caesar that God will mete
out for Caesar, then we can see that Jesus was clearly saying, ‘Do not pay taxes
[tribute] unto ‘Caesar’ as was alleged at His trial.”
5. Let’s take a closer look at Paul’s message to the Romans [Jews] who were introduced to Jesus’ variation on an Israelite theme. Paul’s letter to the Romans was probably motivated by his desire to encourage them to survive as God-fearing Jews in a hostile and foreign land, subject to direct Roman law and military presence. If they were to survive in this hostile environment, Paul knew that it would be expedient if they maintained a low profile. It might be said that Paul was the forerunner of co-operation and collaboration between Romans and Jews, certainly betraying the teachings of his Master.
“After the assassination of the Emperor Commodus in 192 A.D., when
Septimus Severus emerged victorious from a bitter struggle between Roman
generals and began to establish a multi-ethnic empire, Jewish leaders in
“As spokesmen and protectors of their people, the Patriarchs resided in
Tiberias and, later, Sepphoris, presiding over the codification of Jewish law
into a definitive corpus known as the Mishnah. They also conscientiously preached the
obligation of Jews to pay all applicable taxes and avoid displays of resistance
Not all Jews agreed with this strategy but the dissenters were few, unorganized and easily discredited by the Patriarchs who by the second century, A.D. had corrupted themselves for the sake of mammon. However, during this same time, the followers of Jesus, the Christians were becoming as strong in their faith and were willing to die by the thousands just as the Israelite Zealots had once been during the 71 A.D. uprising in Jerusalem.
Paul was very versed in the Torah and God’s Laws and was familiar with Jesus’ preachings including the prohibition against paying tribute to ‘Caesar’, a false god. That Paul disagreed with Jesus’ Hellenist viewpoints and did so to the point of persecuting His followers is no secret and is briefly discussed in the book of Acts. He was a Jew but also a Roman citizen and could claim certain immunities upon prosecution should the circumstances dictate. Paul had also some influential connections to the Roman Emperor by way of Agrippa II, the newly appointed Roman puppet “King”. Paul had been a tutor to his son.
In their book, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, Michael
Baigent and Richard Leigh, write of Paul: “From the very beginning, his apparent
wealth, his Roman citizenship and his easy familiarity with the presiding
establishment have differentiated him from his fellows and from other members of
the ‘early Church’. Obviously, he
has influential connections with the ruling elite. How else could so young a man have
become the high priest’s hatchet man?
In his letter to the Romans (),
moreover, he speaks of a companion strikingly named ‘Herodion’—a name obviously
associated with the reigning dynasty, and most unlikely for a fellow
evangelist. And Acts 13:1 refers to one of Paul’s
“Startling though the suggestion may be, it does seem at
least possible that Paul was some species of Roman ‘agent’. [R. H.] Eisenman [in his book, Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians and
With this cloud of doubt surrounding a man called Saul who then had an a.k.a. of Paul, persecuted Jesus’ followers after His death, then recanted and began to create an image of Jesus to compete with the gods of neighbouring pagan religions, recommended Jesus’ followers to co-operate with the man-made laws of the false god of Roman and then suggested they pay tribute to ‘Caesar’. Oh, and by the way, Paul was about as chauvinist against women as was Peter.
Of course, to the credit of Paul’s defenders, one might
argue that what Paul meant in Romans
13 was the direction to Jesus’ followers to obey and walk in the shadow of
the true ministers of God who obeyed God’s Laws as set down in the Torah and
books of the prophets as Jesus had done.
If one could find such a government! Well, the Christians couldn’t find such
a one in
As I see it now, the score is 5 to 0 in favour of the Bible admonishing God’s people from paying tribute.
I offer several Old Testament references regarding the
duty of people to pay tribute. Exodus
30: 13-14 requires every man and woman twenty years of age and older to pay
a one-half shekel of weight of some product once a year to the
“Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethimens, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom upon them…And whosoever will not do the law of God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.” Ezra 7:24-16.
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deut 4:2.
And finally, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Deut 12:32.
Question: Should you pay income tax to the governments
The Supreme Court of Canada has determined and ruled that until a human child is come out of the womb at birth, it is no better than an animal or amoeba and may be killed through abortion. Commandment 6: “Thou shalt not kill”.
The government of each province and the federal
Adrienne Clarkson, the private woman acting as the
Governor General of
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the Lord’s Day Act which made Sunday a holy day of rest. Commandment 4: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms introduced by Pierre Elliot Trudeau as part of the Canada Act of 1982 eliminated the right to property that had previously been everyone’s inherent right under the Common Law, British law and the 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights, the last of which is still in force but not used by lawyers to defend their clients. I suggest that it is the Bill of Rights that applies to men and women while the Charter only applies to governments and their “employees” who are artificial “persons”. Commandment 9 and 10: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbour” and “Thou shalt not covet they neighbour’s house…wife, manservant…nor anything that is thy neighbours”.
In every courtroom in British Columbia, for example, hangs a coat of arms of King Richard, it is said, on which is portrayed a unicorn (a non-existent and fictitious creature) and a lion in white trimmed in gold (denoting admiralty jurisdiction). Commandment 2: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth.”
Anybody want a good “extra-marital affair”? It’s not adultery anymore. Which commandment says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”?
“If you sin against one commandment, you sin against all.”
I, therefore, leave you with the burning question: Should a God-fearing Christian or Jew pay tribute to any Canadian government? Should any other righteous man or woman of some other faith pay tribute?
----- Original Message -----From: David ThomsonSent: Monday, November 28, 2005 8:59 PMSubject: Our Global VillageLadies and gentlemen;May I present to you, still under construction, an invitation to a vision of Our Global Village.Thank you all for your contributions and interest.Yours very truly,David Thomson