Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Obey the Two Greatest Commandments” (Matthew 22-23)
Matthew 22:21 (Caesar’s things to Caesar)
There are many ways in which we should give Caesar’s things to Caesar. Romans 13:1-7, mentioned in the study notes for this verse, expands on how we can do this.
“Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good and you will have praise from it; for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad.”
Notice the two main points.
- If anyone opposes authority then they oppose God. All authorities or governments around the world have laws that they expect and require their citizens to comply with. One common law is that if someone knows of another’s intention to commit a criminal act or knows of another’s criminal act then they have a civic duty and lawful requirement to report it to a law enforcement agency, usually the police. [i]
- There will be repercussions from the authorities if we do not comply. If we fail to do so then we can be judged and convicted as obstructing justice or being complicit to the crime, even if we had nothing to do with the actual criminal act. Examples would include murder, fraud, assault—both physical and sexual—and theft.
Therefore, both we and the Organization need to ensure that we comply with the laws of the secular authorities unless such clearly contradict a law of God. Consequently, it is a serious point of concern that the Organization still has not changed its policy to ensure that crimes, such as the heinous crime of child sexual abuse, always gets reported to the authorities, even if the victim or his/her parents wish to keep it quiet. The elders have neither the skills, nor more importantly, God’s authority to deal with such matters. Men—be they congregation elders or the members of the Governing Body themselves—should presume to take the role of protector of God’s holy name. Therefore, none have the right to conceal these crimes. This is tantamount to committing a hidden sin, something the Organization counsels again. Confession of sins is what the Organization demands, yet it is a rule they do not apply to themselves. Accusing apostates when they suffer due to this failure to obey God’s written law is plain hypocrisy.
Likewise, if we personally know of criminal acts, we too have an individual duty to report them. If we do not then we would be complicit (as would the organization if it is informed by the elders) if the offender commits another similar or identical criminal action and hurts someone else.
As Witnesses, we often used to quote verse 9 regarding the Catholic priests commonly addressed as ‘father’. However, particularly in light of changes in recent years verse 10 now becomes relevant to the organization. Jesus himself said “Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for YOUR Leader is one, the Christ.” (NWT). The ‘leaders’ of a country are its government. What do we as Jehovah’s Witnesses have? Is it not a “governing body”? Are they not looked to as leaders? Is that not what they view themselves as? Is that viewpoint not in direct contradiction of the counsel of our one ‘leader’ Jesus Christ?
The parallel account in Luke 20:34-36 says:
“Jesus said to them: ‘The children of this system of things marry and are given in marriage, but those who have been counted worthy of gaining that system of things and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 In fact, neither can they die anymore, for they are like the angels, and they are God’s children by being children of the resurrection.’”
Luke makes a clear statement that anyone considered worthy of gaining the new system of things:
- Cannot die because they are like angels.
- This would imply they are resurrected perfect, with life without end.
- Agrees with Jesus statement that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3)(1 Corinthians 15:50)
- Confirms there is only one destination for the resurrection of the righteous, the earth. Heaven is not mentioned.
- All the righteous resurrected in this way would be ‘sons and daughters of God’ by reason of their resurrection. In John 3:3 cited above, the phrase ‘born again’ in Greek literally means “should be generated from above” usually used for describing ‘giving birth’, John has used it to describe the change from imperfect to perfect bodies, and being born by God (from above in the heavens), to become his perfect children. Note: children of God, not friends of God.
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 12) – Jesus gets Baptized.
Nothing of note, other than to highlight: Jesus got baptized aged 30. Why not at 8 or 10 or 12 years of age like the WT recently was suggesting for witness youths?
[i] We are concerned here with serious criminal actions which result in serious hurt or loss to ourselves or others, and would therefore likely reoccur, rather than acting as informants for every petty infringement.