Class Notes: 9/17/2014
Mark 12:14;-Mark 12:18; In Jesus response to the Herodians He defines the believer's responsibility to God and Country
In our study of Mark we are in Mark 12:14; where the Herodians and Pharisees unite in an unholy alliance to attack Him regarding one's responsibility to one's nation.
Last time we saw the issue being questioned was regarding one's relationship with God and one's relationship with Divine Establishment that God created to protect the human race.
Jesus uses the example of taxation to explain our responsibility. Taxation is legitimate and a believer has the responsibility and obligation from God to pay the taxes that a free country levies because He has established nations. Rom 13:1-2;
Mark 12:15; Jesus recognizes their hypocrisy and deceit and said to them "Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at. Net note 36
Mark 12:16; The fact that they had a Roman coin gives further indication of their hypocrisy and deceit because while they were opposed to the Roman empire's rule they didn't object to using it's money. Net note 38
Mark 12:17 ; Jesus says that the citizens of a national entity where freedom exists have the right, the privilege and the responsibility to support that national entity in every way.
In other words, divine institution #4 is legitimate. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" shows us the principle of separation of religion and state: both have a place in the Biblical concept of nationalism and when the Word of God is properly understood there is no conflict between them unless the state overreaches it's authority.
We also see from this that every believer has a responsibility to God but that responsibility does not rescind their responsibility to their nation. The function of the church is completely compatible with a properly functioning state. Net note 40
This is the way the founders established the USA and when the constitution is properly enforced the proper balance between church and state is maintained. Unfortunately this country is no longer being governed by proper application of the Divine Establishment principle contained in the constitution.
In Jesus' day lip service was given to the Tnach and tyranny reigned in Judea. Today lip service is given to the constitution and politicians who have become tyrants make up their own rules that they enforce as law but they have no constitutional authority to do so.
Those who have the constitutional authority to remedy the situation refuse to do so because of their fear of the people who believe the public lie.
"So they were completely amazed at Him." The parallel passage in Matt 22:22; goes on to state that they went away." They briefly left Him alone.
The Greek word translated "greatly amazed" is the third person plural imperfect active indicative of "ekthaumazo" means they kept on being absolutely astounded to the point that they could hardly believe His response because it was so amazing.
Jesus deftly avoided getting into the situation of saying only one kingdom should exist. If He had taken a stand for the spiritual kingdom then they would have said He was against Rome; if He had taken a stand exclusively for Rome then they would have accused Him of not being from God.
Their question was loaded they were attempting to have Him take a stand for one or the other but He chose both and they were completely shocked and amazed that He was able to answer without being entrapped.
Jesus made a clear distinction between religion and state (we could use the words church and state as it applies today).
Jesus indicates the Christian's responsibility to the state that maintains that separation.
In Judea, Rome was the state and the Jews were permitted religious freedom, so it applied. Rome permitted Judaism to operate so Jesus was talking to people who enjoyed the benefits of freedom within the state.
Until Jesus personally returns to the earth via the Second Advent, there can be no legitimate union between church and state. There will be a union of church and state in the Millennium and that is because of the personal reign of Jesus Christ.
In the meantime the two kingdoms are to coexist with each other and operate within their respective spheres.
God ordained the state as divine institution #4 for the maintenance of law and order in order to permit maximum evangelism and the freedom for people to respond to the gospel.
The state exists in order to protect its citizens from predator nations and internationalism and enforce laws that are based on the Divine Establishment principles of freedom, privacy and private property.
There should be a large number of national entities, and if these have the correct concept of freedom then there can be maximum possible evangelism.
The gospel can be taken freely to these nations and the people have freedom to freely respond positively or negatively thereby testifying before God in the ongoing angelic trial.
When the lines of demarcation between religion and state are destroyed then there is no freedom to disseminate the gospel or to respond to it. That is what we see in Islamic countries right now. During the Church Age God is not going to put up with for long because it violates His purpose for establishing nations.
The tyranny of statism or internationalism and its pursuit destroys this freedom in every case no matter what form it takes including statist religion of Islam, or the statism of communism, fascism, utopianism or multiculturalism.
Remember that Satan is the ruler of this world and statism and internationalism means Satan rules. So God has designed nationalism to protect mankind from satanic rule and to make it possible to evangelize the human race in every succeeding generation.
The second entity is the Church, the spiritual kingdom of all who are born again.
Where a state does not follow the concept of divine institution #4 and freedom is curtailed then the regenerate person must choose for God rather than man, just as Peter did in Acts 5:29;
When the Church and the state do not coexist, because the state has established tyranny such that there is no longer freedom, the believer must take a stand for God, and continue to present the gospel and persist in making the issue of salvation clear even if the tyrannical rulers of the state are in opposition and threaten jail or death.
In His answer, Jesus clearly defines Christian responsibility to God as well as to the state. This personal responsibility to the state includes such things as taxation, military service, voting, and the fearless declaration of the truth that is contained in the divine viewpoint of God's Word.
The Church should support good government but the Church must never become that government.
If Jesus had answered the question with either yes or no He would have been trapped into a false position because the true answer requires splitting the uprights with Bible doctrine.
In His answer Jesus did not condone the evil practices of the Roman Empire, neither did He imply the permanence of the Roman empire but He did support the principle of divine institution #4 because divine institution #4 is the basis for the freedom for evangelism because evangelism can only exist where law and order are maintained by the function of divine institution #4.
Mark 12:18; The next group of leaders who come to confront Jesus are the Sadducees. We see from these exchanges that every political party within the Jewish community is confronting Jesus during His temple discourse and in every case He is going condemn them for their failure to properly apply God's Word and at the same time amaze them with his doctrine.
The Sadducees were the aristocrats they are taken primarily from the Levitical priesthood whereas the Pharisees were recruited from the scribes.
The Pharisees are religious, the Sadducees are rationalist and political and they run the land with one of their objectives as having Judea be independent of both Herod and the Roman Empire.
The Sadducees have rejected the authority of Old Testament scriptures. They do not believe in any kind of an after life nor do they believe in angels or resurrection.
So they have come to Jesus and in an attempt to discredit Him just as the scribes, the chief priests, the elders, the Pharisees and the Herodians had. They all had tried and they had all failed under the principle of 2Cor 13:8; and Isa 54:17;
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