14 – Render Unto Caesar

Simple Christians Podcast with Dr. Ty
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September 17, 2021
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There are a lot of Christian organizations that are rising up against vaccine mandates.

There’s been a lot of talk about what’s going on today. And for people that are listening to this later, we are a year and a half into COVID-19. The vaccines are out, at least one of them has FDA approval and a second one is seeking it. And there’s a third one coming out soon that is supposed to be even better.

And a lot of Christians are pushing against the vaccine mandates. Many government officials are saying that you have to be vaccinated in order to go to work if you’re a government employee. Some businesses are saying employees have to be vaccinated to go to work, and a lot of people are pushing back against it, especially Christian people.

There are a lot of Christian organizations that are rising up against this, and they’re saying that it’s not Biblical and not moral because there are stem cells from aborted fetuses being used in the vaccines.

Hey, welcome to this edition of Simple Christians, a podcast that takes difficult subjects and hopes to make them a little bit simpler.

Now, I am neither for nor against the vaccine. Since it is now FDA approved, I will probably be getting one very soon. I have not yet because it wasn’t FDA approved. But now it is. So, I will probably be getting one myself. Not to say that anyone else should or should not be getting a vaccine, that’s completely up to you.

I will say if you are a government employee, and the government has a mandate, saying get the vaccine to come back to work, then, if we’re going to follow the Bible… the Bible says submit to our authorities.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Romans 13 and saying that, that was just a concept. It was the concept of the beginning of creating authorities or it was a roadmap of the idea of authorities, but it’s not applicable today.

And I’m going to go against that, because Romans 13 is very, very clear. It very specifically says starting in verse one:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment”

So if they’re going to say that today’s authorities aren’t from God, and they’re not doing God’s will, then that would mean that God is either ignorant, or incompetent. God’s neither. And the Bible very specifically says there is no authority except from God. God put these people in office for a reason, even if we don’t understand that reason

But let’s look back to Jesus’ days. This was written by Paul in Romans 13. This is when Augustus Caesar was in power, and Augustus Caesar was brutal. He, from what I could tell, crucified somewhere around 3,000 people.

You could be crucified for not paying Roman taxes, or any other reason (and sometimes for no reason at all). Let’s look at the time Rome occupied Jerusalem. They didn’t conquer Jerusalem because there was never a fight. The Roman army just came into Jerusalem and took it over and then told everybody; “now you get to pay Roman taxes.These taxes aren’t going to help you in the least bit, they’re going to go to Rome, and they’re going to make Rome rich, not you.”

That’s how it was during those times. And the Pharisees had come to Jesus, because they were trying to deceive him into saying the wrong things so he could be arrested. And paying these Roman taxes was a huge political issue back in those days. So, the Pharisees asked him:

Matthew 22:17-21 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

The meaning of that is, don’t get caught up in governmental politics. Our kingdom is not this world, our kingdom is the kingdom of Heaven. That is where we’re going to come into our glory, just like God has promised us. We’re not supposed to be worrying about whether we’re going to be mandated to take a vaccine: A lot worse things have happened during Jesus time.

Pontius Pilate is a perfect example: Pontius Pilate crucified and murdered Jesus, and I call it murder because he had done nothing wrong. Pontius Pilate himself said:

Luke 23:4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”

 And yet he still killed Jesus simply because the mob wanted it. Let’s transfer that into today.

Let’s say somebody does something (and this isn’t happening today at all, is it?), somebody does something terrible, like putting a knee on somebody’s neck and the person unfortunately dying from it.

Now, what that officer did was very bad.

But, If we had Roman times today, it would be okay to put that person up against a wall and shoot him without a trial, without a judge, without a jury: He’s just going to be shot. And the mob may even shoot all the people that were with him, whether they did anything to help or not.

That was Jesus’ time, but we have one more laws now.

And I know that we have religious exemptions now, too. But the question is, should we be taking them? Because doesn’t that divide us from people? Should we really be hiding behind a religious exemption and not taking a vaccine that doesn’t seem to actually hurt too much and does a lot more to help?

One of the vaccines is now FDA approved. I’m not saying that there’s not going to be some problem that they’ll find in the future. But if it’s mandated, and you’re a government employee, and the Bible says submit to the authorities back to Romans 13…

Romans 13:2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.

That’s not to say every ruler is great. Xerxes was a terrible ruler, but look what Esther was able to do through Xerxes, or Artaaxerxes or whatever the other names that are used. And yes, there’s even some controversy as to whether it really was Xerxes or not, but you get the idea.

Don’t get me wrong: If our government says that you need to murder somebody, yes, we can say: “No, I won’t do it, I refuse, because that is directly against my religion.” But to say that I won’t take a vaccine because the stem cells come from aborted fetuses? Well, the companies who made the vaccine didn’t go out and pull fetuses out of pregnant women, the babies were already dead unfortunately. It’s too bad that that happened, but they didn’t do it themselves. So they didn’t commit murder themselves, they’re just using something for a better purpose.

And I find nothing in the Bible that is against that. But I find a lot in the Bible that, I believe, is against what a lot of pastors are doing today in going against our government. And I have a tough time saying this because I am an original rebel. I am so much against our government and so many things that our government does that it’s difficult for me to bite my tongue most of the time.

It’s difficult for me right now to say my personal opinion, which is not Biblical.

But I’m not talking about me or what I want or what my opinions are. What I’m talking about today is what’s Biblical. And Romans 13 is very clear, especially starting with verse eight:

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Remember, Jesus gave us a new commandment and a commission. And the new commandment was:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

 And that includes loving our enemies. We’re not loving our enemies if we are directly disobeying them, especially authorities.

Paul also says that we need to be subject to them.

Jesus also gave us the commission: create disciples:

Matthew 28:18,19 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

We’re not creating disciples if we’re hiding behind religious exemptions. I personally think that it creates a division.

It would be one thing if our government said: “Okay, you need to go and you need to steal from everybody that we tell you to steal from.” That is directly against God’s law.

A mandated vaccine, from what I can tell, is not against God’s law at all. I can find nothing that says that a mandated vaccine is against God’s law.

Granted, I don’t know everything about the Bible. I have studied the Bible extensively, but I don’t know everything, and I could be wrong.

But I’ve studied this quite a lot, and it really boils down to what Jesus said and what Paul said. What Paul said really just reiterates what Jesus said anyway: Jesus said: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” which means don’t go against political authorities

Think about that, Jesus had every opportunity to go against Herod. The guy cut off the head of John the Baptist. John was Jesus’ cousin, he had every right to hate Herod had he never said a word against him that we know about.

In fact, Jesus was even in Herod’s custody for a while (Luke 23), but he wouldn’t speak a single word to Herod, good or bad.

Pontius Pilate was a brutal person, he killed Jesus for no reason whatsoever, even when he freely admitted that Jesus did nothing wrong. And that was nothing compared to Caesar: Caesar was very brutal.

And yet Jesus never once went against the political authorities, he never once went against the government. His whole issue was with religious politics, religious authorities, and he was guiding us on what to do with that.

 When we see problems with our religious authorities, it is our job as Christians to speak out against it, which is why I’m doing this episode. This episode is difficult for me, I personally know people that are that are going against this vaccine mandate and doing it with everything that they have. And these are very Christian people. But I don’t believe that it is Biblically accurate to do so.

Romans 13 is very clear: Let every person be subject to governing authorities. There’s nothing ambiguous about that. That is not something that was applicable 2000 years ago and not applicable today. And Paul is just reciting what Jesus said: render under Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.

So this is very direct, it is very upfront. And it doesn’t matter whether the authorities are following God are following the devil.

Look at Daniel, even with Daniel, the only thing that he ever did against the authorities was when they said that he had to bow to the authorities and treat them like God. Well, that is directly against God’s mandate, and he wouldn’t do it.

At that point, we shouldn’t either. We shouldn’t look at our president or governors and treat them like gods, there is only one God. But that has nothing to do with a vaccine mandate.

I don’t see anything Biblical that says go against a vaccine mandate. The commandments are fulfilling the law through love. And in Romans 13, starting with verse nine, it says:

Romans 13:9,10 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

And of course, your neighbor is anybody that is near you, whether you like them or not. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfilling he law.

So, if the vaccine will help somebody else not get COVID, then maybe the vaccine should be mandated. If it’s what’s best for the people in general, maybe we shouldn’t hide behind religious exemptions (The religious exemptions that we have in the US at least. I know, there are other countries that don’t have them).

Back in Jesus time, there were no religious exemptions at all. In fact, one of the big things they said about the taxes was because even the priests and the synagogues had to pay taxes. And so they were very much against it.

These religious people were outraged because “God’s money” was being taxed (meaning the money they got was being taxed).

Kind of like in America. Most religious organizations don’t pay taxes now. That might go away someday. And if it does, I don’t have an issue with that because we shouldn’t be hiding behind religion.

If the government says you have to start paying taxes, well then, we follow what Paul and what Jesus told us, render under Caesar what is Caesar’s.

– Dr. Ty

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