After my recent post “Choose – American Loyalty or Loyalty to God (4th of July Edition), (CLICK HERE FOR LINK), a friend of mine asked me three questions that I found to be thought-provoking and important to address:
-Have you renounced your citizenship to the US?
-If one is reading between the lines, he may say that you believe it is sinful to pay taxes. Is that accurate?
-Once Israel became a nation with a King, under Saul, they were no longer a theocracy. Should the Israelite army have refused to fight until the king renounced his throne and insisted on a return to theocracy?
If you have not already read my previous post, you may want to do so first as it will give you a foundation for this posting (CLICK HERE). I hope that you will find my response to my friend’s questions to be of value as you pursue the Kingdom of God. Here was my response to my friend, who shall remain anonymous for privacy:
To answer your questions concerning citizenship and taxes:
I have not renounced my citizenship as I have found it unnecessary, but most importantly, have not been led by the Spirit to do so. However, I would let go of my citizenship, if the Spirit instructs me to, as it is completely unnecessary to a live-by-faith lifestyle. Even Paul did not renounce his Roman citizenship, but was able to use his fortuitous accidental birthplace as a means of to escape from persecution. (Acts 22:25-29) There have been Christians who have renounced their earthly citizenship and have sacrificed much for it.
In truth, citizenship is not is not the question or struggle, but rather it is the question and struggle with identity. Is not a person’s citizenship considered an integral part of their identity? When a person is born, they are issued a social security number. This very personal form of identification has several unique characteristics that help us to understand and define its role.
First, even though not legally required by law, a social security number is considered absolutely required upon the birth of any person. If you need any evidence of this, try to get out of it after giving birth in a hospital! You might have your children taken away, face extreme isolation and be forced to live in isolation between you and others, or you’ll find a social security number applied for your child without your consent.
Secondly, person must have their social security number to make purchases, obtain loans or credit, obtain a “job”, secure a place to live, be medically treated for health concerns or issues, and so on. In order to live, work, eat, purchase, or have any form of care, a social security number is required. This is true control of the government and the world’s god, Mammon; after all, was not the Social Security Act of 1935 created as a means of creating worldly “financial security”? As long as you play by the rules, conform to societal expectations and demands, and are a “good citizen” of whatever nation, you are essentially ensured the financial security of that nation’s god, Mammon.
Lastly, governments these social security numbers as a means of securing their global financial loans, for the taxation of its citizens, as well as tracking of you and your personal and financial information and history (past, present, and future) to ensure control of your compliance to their system.
Again, this is all about money and compliance to a worldly system that worships and serves Mammon. The identity that was accepted by your parents and by you is of a person that is under the creation and control of an earthly nation and it’s god in which it serves. For Christians, this is in direct conflict and violation with your identity in Christ and as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. (This is actually where my post comes in.) To gain freedom in your identity, you have to release your earthly identity and strip it so that it holds no importance or significance in any part of your life. Doing so is painful as that identity must die so that you may live as the free, born-again creation in Christ.
In calling his disciples, Jesus said to each of them, “follow me”. This is the same today, with the same costs. The disciples left their families, their livelihood (jobs, businesses, etc), their possessions, and they did not bring anything with them. They were satisfied with food, clothing, and drink. If we desire to be disciples of Christ, as the early disciples, and to take part in the blessings and power Christ denoted for his followers, then we must do the same. Give it all up and be satisfied with food, clothing, and drink – forsaking all in pursuit of Christ, for even Christ said to the multitudes that followed him (to the group of believers),
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple…So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27, 33)
Although there were many who believed in Christ and even followed him (also considered as the “multitude” or “crowd”, only a number of these believers chose to take up their cross, left all they had, and even left their families in order to be with and follow Christ – and these were the ones that Christ considered as his disciples, and not just his followers.
For those that he called his disciples, Jesus explained his parables and revealed kingdom truths (Mark 4:10-12); Jesus shared his life, fellowshipped and broke bread, and was intimate (close) with these on a daily basis and these he considered as his family (Matthew 12:46-50). For these disciples, Jesus taught them on top of a mountain on how they should live and treat each other and others in love and in accordance to their identities as his followers (Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7). The Great Commission was given by Jesus unto these disciples,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The command was not to go and make believers of all nations, but to go and make disciples! I believe all believers have the opportunity and choice of being a disciple, but because the price is so high, they choose not to – and that is okay, as it is not required for salvation. Christ said that being his disciple is a lifestyle choice that is rewarded highly in heaven, although there is no glory or reward for it on earth.
I can now answer your question concerning taxes:
As a disciple of Christ, I desire to live in accordance to the example of the early disciples in Acts 2 and 4. This would be defined as communal living in which all needs (food,clothing, and drink) of the community of believers are taken care of, and to live and work each day as directed by the Holy Spirit, living by faith. Your day rarely revolves around working at a job to make money; instead it is filled with “coincidental meetings”, spreading the gospel of the Kingdom of God (love), visiting and healing the sick and dying, ministering to the needs of the poor and hungry, and other good works as mentioned in Isaiah 58. The Lord promises and provides for his disciples food, clothing, and drink and for all provisions necessary to complete your task(s) and calling as you pursue his Kingdom (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:24, 31, Philippians 4:19,1 Peter 4:11, etc). As such, there is very little if any taxable income to be taken, withheld, or given. It is not a lifestyle in which taxation is a huge part of and so very little thought is given unto it. But to answer your question, no, I do not believe it is sinful to pay taxes, but it is obvious from the lifestyle Christ taught his disciples that taxes and money was not on the forefront of his mind and they never had need to pay it, although they did when Simon Peter’s mouth agreed to it (Matthew 17:24-17, 22:15-22).
Concerning your last question: the kings of Israel (Saul and David) as you mentioned, display a shift from a theocracy to a theonomy, which is a form of government in which society is ruled by the divine law of the Lord. In the case of the first king of Israel, Saul, 1 Samuel 9-10 describes the Lord choosing Saul as “captain over [his] people” and Samuel anointing Saul as king (1Samuel 8:7-22, 9:15-17, 10:1,18-25).
The people of Israel looked at other nations and saw their kings and desired one of their own – they had rejected the Lord, and so the Lord chose and provided an acceptable king and anointed him with oil, and they followed the chosen king of the Lord, who was considered the captain of the Lord’s people, and so was the same with David. The hearts of the people did not want to be ruled by the Lord as a theocracy, but instead demanded to follow the Lord as a theonomy.