of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
   Edition No. 16       November 1, 2002
The Voice of Jesus
The Tax Question
The False Teaching
The Pharisees and Herodians came to Jesus with a loaded question:  Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
But...he said to them, ....
Bring me a coin, and let me look at it. And they brought one...he said to them, Whose likeness and inscription is this? They said to him, "Caesar's."  Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:14-17)

Everyone understands the first part, for Jesus is commanding to give Caesar his tax.  The lie comes at the last line.  What are we to render to God? From the Matthew Henry Commentary on this verse, we have this, which is typical of the church:Many that seem careful to give to men their due, are in no care to give God the glory due to his name.  
The sum of the doctrine then becomes, give the nation it's taxes, and give God his glory.

Who can object to this?
Exposing the Error

Giving glory to God is about the safest thing a person can do within Christendom.  It costs nothing, which is also good because, after paying our taxes, we may have nothing left for God!  Yes, we should give God his glory but that is not what Jesus means here and to see it thus obscures his teaching and renders us blind to the Truth, which may cost one everything!
Now, turn a deaf ear to the churchmen and listen carefully to Jesus and you will quickly learn the Truth of this saying. The coin illustrates a principle, which is that the image identifies the owner.  The coin therefore belongs to Caesar because it bears his image and inscription - give it to him!  So, when Jesus immediately followed with the words, and to God the things that are God's, he could only have meant one thing: render to God what bears his image and inscription.  The "glory of God" bears neither image nor inscription, therefore Jesus doesn't mean this. What does bear the image of God?
Declaring the Truth

Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . .   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him...
(Genesis 1:26,27) 

Isn't that simple?  Give Caesar his coin but give God his man! In modern parlance, Caesar becomes the nation, state, or Republic. Therefore, the Word to his disciples has this negative import: do not give the man to the state. When citizens pledge allegience to the Republic, they are violating the Word of Jesus and leaving nothing for God who does not accept glory from such.  Jesus' disciples have their unique state authority, the Kingdom of God:
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.(Lk 12:32)
National citizenship excludes that of the Kingdom.  This is most evident in wartime when the state orders, Bombs away! and the King orders, Love your enemy, (Matt. 5:44) and Do not resist one who is evil.(Matt. 5:39)