Living in our Father’s estate

Reading: Matthew 17:24-27

I had to do a bit of searching about the temple tax, as I do not recall reading about it in the OT.  But apparently, it was the atonement money referred to in Exodus 30, paid every time there was a census, and eventually as an annual tax.

Now, if it was a decree from God himself, why did Jesus pay for his and Peter’s temple tax just so “not to offend”?  Granted, Jesus was rightly exempted as He was God himself and was the Father’s Son, but at the river Jordan, Jesus maintained that he should go through baptism “to fulfil all righteousness” even though John the Baptist did not think he should.  Well, what I can surmise is: the Lord Jesus only expressed differing reactions to the collectors and to John.  With the former, they were presumptuous and malicious; whereas John knew Who was in front of him.

But what strikes me in my reading today is—we are co-inheritors with Christ (“… So that we may not offend them….”).  In the future the kingdom of God will be fully established, and then there will be a new earth and a new heaven, and the new Jerusalem will come down from heaven and God’s dwelling will be with men—ie, with those who are His children.  I hope, my friends, when that day comes we will all see each other there—as brothers and sisters, members of God’s family and household, the whole earth estate our inheritance, with no other authority except God our Father who has no thoughts of imposing tax on His very own children—those redeemed by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

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12 thoughts on “Living in our Father’s estate

  1. My apologies, munyingnying – Spaniardviii MAY be right. I will be interested to hear what your ‘take’ is.

    I was equating the Matt 17 passage to the one in Matt 22, in which the question the rabbis posed to Yeshua was, “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto CAESAR, or not?” It is possible that I am incorrect in equating the two passages.

    There was indeed a tax required of the Jews which was used to fund pagan temples and which the Jews found abhorrent and morally untenable. It is this tax to which the rabbis in Matt 22 are referring. I believe that my original statement is valid, assuming that the occasion spoken of in Matt 17 is the same or a similar to the event spoken of in Matt 22.

    If it is a different event, I still have questions regarding the money in Matt 17 being interpreted as the Temple tax. The Temple tax was instituted as a picture of Yeshua’s place as our Kinsman Redeemer. He would NEVER want to invalidate that picture.

    Brief restatement: Originally all firstborn sons served as priests for their families. This was known as the Melchizedek priesthood. When the tribes sinned against God, their firstborn lost that privilege, but SOMEONE had to be able to serve as priests in their place. Abba selected the more faithful Levites as the replacement. This is known as the Levitical priesthood – they are a picture for OUR High Priest, Yeshua. However, since the firstborn of all the tribes had already been designated as kadosh (holy) to God, and since that designation is eternal (because God is eternal), there had to be a means to legally excuse them from service. (There are eternal rules regarding what is holy.) For this purpose, Abba activated the Temple tax – sort of a mental image of the WAGES of sin, not to mention the PRICE paid in our behalf.

    The “Jesus picture” created (and please understand that my explanation is a poor and incomplete one): Man was originally created to serve God, and the firstborn were designated as God’s priests (the Melchizedek priesthood). Man sinned, invalidating themselves from service. Someone else had to step in to REDEEM them, so that they could regain relationship (be able to worship in the presence of) the Holy One. Jesus/Yeshua is that Redeemer, and the Levitical priesthood pictures His service in our behalf. Once the redemption price was paid for the firstborn, they could worship in the Tabernacle, but they were still not permitted to serve as priests until THEIR form of priesthood is re-instituted, which we are told will happen when Messiah returns. Believers are told that we are the firstborn and that we will serve in that Melchizedek priesthood. We are presently ‘in training’, learning to walk in the Holy Spirit. Yeshua is our High Priest in that priesthood. Various scriptures in the OT indicate that the Melchizedek and Levitical priesthoods will operate simultaneously during the Millennial Reign.

    Because this Temple tax is such an important and integral part of the larger picture of the Redemption Plan, I believe that Matt 17 and Matt 22 are speaking about similar events (one perpetrated by Romans, the other by Jews). I cannot imagine that Jesus would ever invalidate something that was specifically designed to teach us about His ministry. I believe that, in Matt 17, Yeshua had recognized a ‘teachable moment’ for Peter, and used the Roman tax as a reminder that in this world, we bow to worldly authority when necessary, but in Abba’s Plan, as you pointed out in your article, we are His children and not subject to such demeaning treatment.

    Why do I believe that it is permissible to equate / compare these two passages (Matt 17 and Matt 22)?

    — The word used to speak of “the tribute” in both Matt 17 and Matt 22 is the word used to speak of the Roman coin (the denarius), not the Hebraic coin that was used in the Temple – remember the money changers, whose job was to convert the Roman money into acceptable Temple money? In both cases, when Yeshua asked to see the money, He was shown a Roman denarius. If they were talking about the Temple tax, He probably would have been told, “I don’t have one of those coins with me.”

    — Also, in Matt 17, the speakers are not identified other than as “they that collect tribute money.” This might be better read: “they that collect Roman taxes” since the coin they collected was the denarius. The verse does not specify that they were rabbis or ‘scribes and pharisees,’ so they may have been someone (like the Jewish tax collector, Matthew) who had been enlisted (by the Romans) to establish a charge against Yeshua.

    — As Spaniardviii pointed out, in Matt 17 we are told that they addressed Yeshua as a “teacher”, whereas in Matt 22, we are not told how He was addressed. However, in Matt 22, we ARE told that the speakers were Jewish rabbis. In almost all other passages when we ARE told how the ‘scribes and pharisees’ addressed Yeshua, they call Him ‘Rabbi,’ which means “teacher of Torah” and was only used when addressing respected and qualified Torah teachers. (A Roman-hired, irreligious Jewish tax-collector might not have bothered about using the title Rabbi.)

    So although I am willing to concede that I may be incorrect in equating Matt 17 and Matt 22, I personally believe that the evidence weighs in favor of their being either the same event or similar events (possibly Matt 17 describing a discussion with Roman-hired tax collectors, and Matt 22 involving rabbis).

    I really appreciate the opportunity to re-examine this topic, and thoroughly appreciated Spaniardviii’s careful examination of the Matt 17 passage. Thanks for allowing us to have this discussion!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, I found this in my spam folder! ‘Took me a while to figure out how to un-spam it! There seems to be a few more in my spam folder which I’m still trying to figure out lest I accidentally delete them. Apologies!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sue–this must have taken so much from your precious time, ‘appreciate very much the study that you made and for sharing it with us!

      I have not thought of the possibility of Matt.17 and 22 being a singular event. But it is very interesting–what you pointed out–about the use of the denarius in both occasions (if indeed they were two separate events); and the possibility that it was Jewish tax collectors (for Rome) who approached Jesus. These are thoughts for pondering. Thank you!

      Thanks again for explaining the Melchizedek priesthood. Until you explained it, my only understanding of it was Y’shua’s eternal and divine priesthood (thus, in the order of Melchizedek). You filled in a knowledge vacuum which I didn’t even realise was there! Shabbat Shalom!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if what you were reading online was connecting the tax in this passage to the tax that the Romans collected for the maintenance of Roman (pagan) temples? The Romans exacted such a tax from all the conquered nations, and it was a huge problem for the Jews of Y’shua’s day. I imagine they felt like I do when my American government uses my tax payment to fund abortions or the wildly immoral art of various art groups or when they use it to defend immoral acts in court, etc., etc., etc.. Nevertheless, Y’shua instructed them (and us) to pay the tax and let THEM answer for their immoral acts. That works for me! 🙂

    It thrilled my heart when you said that ” It is really difficult for me to reconcile when people say OT practices are done with after Christ’s sacrifice on the cross when in the OT God mentions his decrees and commands are to be observed ‘forever’.” The enemy has blinded so many to correct understanding – I was in that pit, and relied on the teaching of men rather than on the plain teaching of the Word. So glad to be (mostly) free of that trap!! (I keep finding areas of understanding that need to be cleansed of man’s teaching!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. [No need to publish this, or if you do, feel free to edit it.] Not sure if I am understanding your entry. The tax being spoken of in this passage in Matthew was a Roman tax, unassociated with the Temple tax.

    The Temple tax was instituted as a picture of our redemption through Messiah. It will probably remain in effect during the Millennial Reign, as will the entire Temple service.

    Originally, firstborn sons served as the ‘priests of the household.’ This is why Aaron, the firstborn son of his family, was already serving as a priest before the instructions for the tabernacle were given, and Moshe was NOT serving in that capacity. It was God’s intention that firstborn sons would continue to serve even following the establishment of the Tabernacle. This system is what the scriptures call the Melchizedek Priesthood – it is the ‘picture’ of the Firstborn Son, Y’shua, who is the High Priest of that system.

    When only the tribe of Levi demonstrated full loyalty, the right of the priesthood was transferred to them, thereby establishing the Levitical priesthood. However, the firstborn sons of ALL the tribes were STILL “holy unto YHVH”, so they had to be ‘redeemed’ before they could be excused from service as priests. In the same way, we are ALL (as ‘first fruits’) supposed to be serving YHVH, but because of our sin, we too have to be redeemed so that Y’shua can serve as our priest in our stead.

    As Y’shua’s disciples, we are to serve as Melchizedek priests, with Y’shua as our HIGH priest. However, most of us are currently ineffective in that ministry, because the vast majority of believers have little concept of holiness or the sacredness (consecration) of their persons as priests. We are like the Levitical priests who have to leave the Temple grounds because of impurity. 😦

    However, even though the Melchizedek priesthood is superior to the Levitical system, the Levitical priesthood will continue to operate in the Millennial Kingdom, as various scriptures make clear, because “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom 11:29) Note that Y’shua honored their position and did not try to usurp it. (“If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the Torah.” Heb 8:4)

    It would not surprise me if the the little token half shekel temple tax will forever remain in place as a reminder of the HUGE price that our Savior paid on our behalf!!! To me, it would be a privilege to bring it to His throne as a puny commemoration of what He has accomplished. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sue, I will publish your comment as it is–nothing to edit, and I don’t know how to (I do remember in the past there was an edit button, but I don’t see it anymore) 🙂

      My posts are my own musings from my personal devotion–but I appreciate it very much when people share their thoughts and give their inputs–it becomes a group Bible study!

      Thanks for what you shared. The ‘Temple tax’ is really something I have no knowledge about, that’s why I turned to the internet. I did first thought it was a Roman tax, but then it said ‘Temple’ tax, and from what I knew the Romans sort of tried not to get involved with the religion and culture of the Jews.

      Thanks for telling me more about the Temple tax–I learned more from you again today 🙂 –the system of the Melchizedek priesthood, understanding Heb 8:4 (very difficult epistle!), and your thoughts about the millennial kingdom. It is really difficult for me to reconcile when people say OT practices are done with after Christ’s sacrifice on the cross when in the OT God mentions his decrees and commands are to be observed “forever”. If they were done in the past in anticipation of God’s sacrificial act, then now/in the future we can do them as commemoration of that finished work. I do remember your post long ago about the possibility of Christ’s sacrifice happening outside of time (thus, salvation in the past was also because of faith in the same saving work of Christ)–as I have just come across the relevant passages in Hebrews (somewhere between chapters 1-3) re God’s finished work, His Sabbath rest, and how it remains open for us to enter into that rest. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Sue, actually munyingnying is correct and you are incorrect in your assessment being a Roman tax. Nowhere in the context does it say that the tax was for Caeser but if you read Exodus 30:13 they (the Jews) were required to pay half a shekel to the sanctuary.

      If you look at the context closely, those who collected the tax called Jesus a teacher which no Romans in any of the gospels called Jesus teacher because only the Jews recognized Him as one, since He taught often in the temple complex. Below is a Bible reference that shows a pharisee acknowledging this:

      John 3:1-2
      Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

      We know that those who came to Peter were Jews who called Jesus a teacher and then the text focuses on Jesus.

      In verse 25 Jesus makes the connection that since sons are free from paying taxes and He being the Son of God is free from paying taxes to the temple which belongs to God but He doesn’t want to offend the priests who are in charge of the temple. Jesus tells Peter to go fish and afterward with the money found in the catch to pay the taxes for both of them.

      Context will always reveal what the verse or verses are alluding to. But nowhere is there any hint of a Roman tax.

      Liked by 1 person

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