“What’s Caesar’s is Caesar’s…”

…and what’s God’s is negotiable.

And so, let’s get to that most beloved verse in the Bible, so far as that liar Satan and his humanist/secularist followers are considered.

From Gary North’s Ghetto Eschatologies:


 

And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shell we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny [denarion], that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesars. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him (Mark 12:13-17).

There are few passages in Scripture that are quoted more enthusiastically by pietists, statists, and humanists than this one: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Why? Because this passage initially seems to separate the kingdom of God from the kingdom of Caesar, thereby granting autonomous authority to Caesar.

Once Caesar has received this supposed grant of authority, however, he and his disciples seek to expand that kingdom. Step by step, law by law, tax by tax, intrusion by intrusion, the messianic kingdom of the State grows at the expense of the messianic kingdom of God. No judicial barrier to Caesar’s kingdom is acknowledged as sacrosanct by Caesar’s worshippers; no realm of autonomy from Caesar is acknowledged except the conscience, and only if conscience never utters an audible word of protest. Every barrier to Caesar’s kingdom is regarded as subject to future revision. The foreign policy of the messianic State is clear: “What’s Caesar’s is Caesar’s, and what’s God’s is negotiable.”

But why should Christian pietists cite this passage with equal enthusiasm? Because it is perceived as relieving them from any personal responsibility to resist the relentless expansion of Caesar’s kingdom. They follow the lead of the statists and humanists: Caesar’s kingdom is defined as everything external, while God’s kingdom is exclusively internal. Conscience must always remain internal. It must never be allowed to display its presence by public acts of resistance. This view of civil law justifies life in the Christian ghetto, far from the seats of influence. Yet Jesus said to His disciples: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30). Ghetto-dwelling Christians resent this degree of responsibility.

Whose Coin Is This?

Jesus was being challenged by Pharisees who wanted to compromise Him publicly. They asked Him about paying taxes to Rome. If He told them that this payment was warranted, the people would abandon Him. If He told them that such taxes were not warranted, the Romans would arrest Him. This looked like a perfect trap. It wasn’t.

He asked them to bring Him a coin. When they did this, He sprung their trap on them. The coin was a Roman denarius, a silver imperial coin used for paying taxes. According to numismatist-theologian Ethelbert Steuffer (Christ and the Caesars, 1955, p. 123). Tiberius Caesar’s picture was on one side, with an announcement in Latin, which in the Greek provinces was translated as “Emperor Tiberius august Son of the august God.” On the reverse was an image of Tiberius’ mother seated on a throne of the gods, with the words “Pontifix Maximus,” meaning high priest. Stauffer writes: “The coin, in brief, is a symbol both of power and of the cult” (Ibid., p. 125).

If the Pharisees possessed such a coin, or even handled it, they were implicitly acknowledging that Caesar had lawful authority over them. Coinage then (as now) was a mark of State sovereignty. It was Julius Caesar who had first placed his own picture on Roman coins, and this was seen as an assertion of divinity. He was then assassinated. In 132-35 A.D., during Bar Kochba’s rebellion, the Jewish revolutionary leader had the imperial denarii collected, the faces beaten flat by hammers and replaced by pictures of Hebrew Temple vessels (Ibid., p. 126).

The Pharisees had either polluted themselves ritually by using a coin with Caesar’s image on it or else were acknowledging that they were under sovereign authority, and therefore compelled to use such a coin. The coin symbolized both the power and the benefits of Roman rule. It therefore symbolized the historical condition of Israel in Jesus’ day: under God’s judgment.

What Does God Own?

The Jews knew very well what God owns: everything. “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Ps. 50:10). When Jesus told them to render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, He could not possibly have meant that Caesar possessed an autonomous kingdom with autonomous claims on men’s obedience or assets. He meant only that Caesar was a lawful monarch whose coins testified publicly to the Jews’ position of political subordination to Rome. To deny this fact in public would have constituted an act of rebellion. The Pharisees, who served as civil agents of the Roman state, knew this all too well. They kept prudently silent.

By speaking of things belonging to Caesar, Jesus was affirming the existence of legitimate political power in history. God delegates political power to specific men to manage as stewards, just as He delegates ownership of property to specific individuals and families. As the ultimate sovereign Owner, God is at the top of a hierarchy. Power is delegated to men. It is never held autonomously by men. By telling men to render to Caesar what belonged to Caesar, Jesus was identifying Caesar as a ruler under God: the recipient of delegated power. Jesus was denying the supposed right of Caesar to command worship as a god.


Now that North has laid out what’s going on, we can now turn from learning about our slave cell to getting rid of the chains.

Question: Why do Western Christians currently live under the rule of governments who hate them with a quiet yet uncompromising fury?

Response: Because Christians in the West are under judgement.

Question: And why are we believers under judgement?

Response: Because we Christians of the West have despised the public and private obedience to the Law that Christ commands. We have decided that there is no price we will pay, to have God’s Commands upheld in public, by ourselves or by the authorities – authorities who rule only by God’s permission, via a grant of authority He has provided them, and so are expected to uphold His will.

Make no mistake: if even 20% of all Christians actually demanded a Christian society, and would publicly pay the price to get it, we would have it. In 40 years in some nations, in just four years in others, but the final result is sure.

We are under slavery to Our Betters – who take care to grind their heels in our faces, every single day – because we refuse to obey and submit to  the Lord Jesus Christ, or to demand that our nations become disciples of Him.

Christians much prefer our welfare cheques, our government pensions, our nationalized/subsidized health care, to the end of abortion, or the suppression of perversity, or the protection of our liberties and our families, or the exaltation of God over the lusts and corruption of wealthy and powerful men.

So, God gives us what we want, for a time… until it turns to worms and ashes in our mouths.I have a suspicion that the solid majority of people who call themselves Christians would most willingly die in their resistance of the commandments of God, in their lives and their societies.If they refuse to take warning, it’s best to let them wander in the desert, and earn the wages they demand. Those who actually love God must strive to get themselves clean and pure, to better expand on Christ’s rule in their lives, and prepare to better follow His light and lead the nations to Him, when the time comes.And that time is coming.

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