“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to Elohim the things that are Elohim’s.” (Mat 22:21)
Most people just assume that Yeshua did render to Caesar the tribute money. This idea is very troubling to me because I see many times where a story in the New Testament has been twisted 180 degrees out of sync to justify the harlotry to which our own hearts and eyes are inclined. As I have stated in the past, this is why Israel’s seed [a.k.a. “the sons of Israel, and much worse, “the children of Israel”] wear tzitzit.
Again Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Israel’s seed: tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of Yehovah and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. (Num 15:37-41
So did Yeshua render to Caesar the tribute money? What is tribute anyway? Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines tribute this way.
TRIB’UTE, n. [L. tributum, from tribuo, to give, bestow or divide.]
1. An annual or stated sum of money or other valuable thing, paid by one prince or nation to another, either as an acknowledgment of submission, or as the price of peace and protection, or by virtue of some treaty. The Romans made all their conquered countries pay tribute, as do the Turks at this day; and in some countries the tribute is paid in children.
2. A personal contribution; as a tribute of respect.
3. Something given or contributed.
When one kingdom conquers another, the former collects tribute from the latter. Let’s keep that thought in mind as we look at some stories that are often twisted to say something that they do not say; ideas which will result in our own destruction if they are not corrected. The first is found in Matthew chapter 17:24-27 and begins like this.
When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” (Mat 17:24)
What a funny thing to say. “Does your teacher not pay tax?” Why would these men even ask such a question as this if there wasn’t already some doubt? This is certainly not something that is asked about the well-known and respected Bible teachers of the world. But what about the Torah teachers of Yehovah’s Kingdom?
This is a question that men of the true Elohim have asked themselves for centuries. But the answers which we have received from our fathers, teachers, pastors, etc. are rarely answered in the light of the Good News that Yehovah reigns now in His kingdom. Some translations even try to pervert this portion further by trying to make this a “temple” tax and the word “temple” is simply added by them.
In the next verse Peter as usual answering in his flesh without thinking and according to his broad-road ideas says “yes.”
He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Yeshua anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” (Mat 17:25)
So Yeshua, obviously hearing this conversation between Peter and these tax collectors, “anticipated him;” the King James says he “prevented him.” Why had Peter come into the house? And why did Yeshua prevent him? I speculate that Peter was going to get the money for the tax from Yehovah’s kingdom coffers which Judas maintained. Look at what Yeshua says to Peter. “What are you thinking Simon?!” Ha – I can just see Yeshua knocking on Peter’s forehead and saying in today’s vernacular, “HELLO, is anybody home? What are you thinking Peter?”
But Yeshua does not stop there, because this is now a very “teachable moment” in which Yeshua can explain some kingdom principles. I pray that we can learn them also. He says “From whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? From their sons, or from strangers?” What is Yeshua asking? He is asking who the tribute is collected from, the sons of foreign kingdoms or their own sons. Yeshua, Peter and the rest of the disciples are in another kingdom and it has not been, nor will be, conquered by anyone. Peter confirms this with his next statement.
Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Yeshua said to him, “Then the sons are free. (Mat 17:26)
Did you hear that? Then sons of Yehovah’s kingdom are free! Woo hoo!
But do not get too excited just yet, because most of those who say they are Yehovah’s sons are really sons of the kingdoms of men, belial’s seed. I will explain as we continue in the next couple of blogs, but let’s first finish this story. Yeshua continues saying,
Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.” (Mat 17:27)
What is Yeshua saying? I think it goes something like this:
“Nevertheless [even though we do not owe it] Peter, because you opened your big mouth without thinking, you have now committed us to this tax since a man swears to his own hurt. So because you were a fishermen in their kingdom, before you left it and joined Yehovah’s kingdom, I want you to go get the money from fishing. But, don’t get any money for the rest of the disciples since you only committed us to it. Oh, and Peter, please don’t let this happen again!”
Next time I will continue this blog with the story about what we must render to Caesar. Until then Yehovah bless you as you live according to His created purpose!