Any discussion of taxation must involve the discussion of sovereignty because they are indivisible. The power to tax is the claim of ownership and control over man and his possessions, and this claim of ownership is the claim of sovereignty. This can be understood by examining the state's claim to the power to tax. Every tax by the state on both man and his property is, in essence, the claim of sovereignty. It is the claim by the state that it has ownership of, and control over, man and his possessions. If a man refuses to pay the tax required by the state, the state can deny that individual the use of his property and, at times, his life and liberty.
use of a man's life, liberty, and property.
Taxation is the means by which the state claims prior ownership and control over all that a man has. This can be seen by the fact that taxes are to be paid prior to the use of a man's property, and in the case of a head, or poll tax, prior to the use of his life and liberty.
is always a claim of ownership.
Every claim of taxation is a claim of prior ownership; it is a claim to sovereignty. Simply because a court trial or hearing is necessary prior to the state's confiscation of property of imprisonment of an individual for failure to pay taxes, does not alter the juridical principle that stands behind the power to tax. Whether a man has the right to a court trial or not, prior to having his liberty and/or property confiscated, has no bearing on the issue of taxation. The issue, if it should be aired in court, is never whether the state has the power to tax or not, but only whether the tax is in conformity to "higher law," for example, "the constitution," "the people," "der Fuehrer," etc., and whether the tax has actually been paid or not. The power to tax, which is the right of the owner-sovereign, is never an issue in such hearings or trials. The juridical principle of ownership of both man and his property is presupposed by the taxing authority and cannot be contested. Whoever claims the power to tax is claiming the right of sovereignty, it claims, and will exercise, the power to tax.
Every social organization, whether it is a democracy, aristocracy, monarchy, dictatorship of the proletariat, etc., is based upon this juridical principle of ownership. Whoever claims ultimate power in society is claiming to be the owner-sovereign of that society. And it will exercise this power through taxation, because taxation most clearly demonstrates who really owns and controls man and society. For example, if "vox populivox dei" (the voice of the people is the voice of God) is the rule of society, then "the people" in the collective own everything. They will exercise their claim as God through taxation by taxing those who are considered as not being members of "the people" in order to demonstrate their power over them a their owners. This is why democracies invariably end up with extremely distorted and burdensome taxation. Every group in society claims that it is the "true voice of the people" and wants its own particular and peculiar ownership ideas put into force via taxation. Every group ends up trying to own every other group in society. Under such an arrangement, the group that can provide the largest appeal to the general populace will be the one that exercises of ownership. Since those who are "successful" in any society are always in a minority, they will end up being hated by every group. They will be hated by every group for the simple reason that their presence will constantly testify to the would-be gods of society that they are not truly the gods that they claim to be. Why? Because no god is much of a god when those he owns are more successful than he is. To be a god "the people" must be superior in every area of life and thought, especially in the areas of virtue, intellect, and wealth. For this reason, democracies inevitably end up reducing all moral, intellectual, and financial elements to the lowest common denominator in order that every one may make his claim at being as God.
What has been said of democracies applies to every form of social organzation, for the ruler of that organization always claims to be the voice of God. This voice claims total ownership and control over every area of life. This means, in principle, that every member of society is merely a steward of his life and property, and not the owner. The owner is the sovereign; the individual simply takes care of his life and property, and develops them, in accordance to the wishes and dictates of the sovereign.
In Psalm 24:1, David declares that "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein." This declaration by David is the proclamation that God owns the world and the people in it, that He is the Ruler of creation, and that His creatures are the ruled within creation. Lordship, proclaims the psalmist, belongs to the God of Scripture. The Humanist state, however, declares just the opposite. It claims ownership of, and control over, its steward-citizens. It clearly sees itself as the Ruler, and its citizens, or subjects, as the ruled. Just as God sees Himself as being distinct and separate from His creation, so does the humanist state view itself as being distinct and separate from its subjects. Yet, only one of these self-proclaiming sovereigns can be Lord.
The issue of taxation rests squarely and absolutely upon the issue of sovereignty. Whoever is God is Ruler, and whoever is the creature of God is His steward. Since man did not create himself, nor can he uphold his world by the word of his power (Heb 1:3), man is the created steward who is to serve the Creator God of Scripture. God, not man, is Lord. Therefore, any man, whether reprobate or Christian, who either supports taxation not authorized by Scripture, or who refuses to pay the taxes that are levied on man by scripture, is a robber of God (Mal 3:8). He is a robber of God because he is either a partaker with thieves (Psalm 50:18) who levy ungodly taxation, or he is a thief because he refuses to render to God that which is His due (Mal 3:8). By so doing, he is denying that God is Sovereign. He is denying that "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1). He is denying that Christ is Lord. He is, in essence, committing the sin of Adam for he is attempting to determine good and evil apart from the revealed Law-Word of God (Gen 3:5)
Lawful taxation can only spring from lawful authority, and all lawful authority can only originate from God. When taxes are levied by the state in violation of the Word of God, they are illegitimate and illegal. In the eyes and judgment of God such taxation is without lawful authority and is, therefore, invalid. All such taxation, because it takes property, liberty, and life in violence to Scripture, is an attack upon God. It is an attack upon God because all humanist taxation is the attempted robbery of God. It is the attempt on the part of man to strip God of His ownership and control of that which He has created and which He upholds. It is an attempt by man to rob God of His creation.
Cannot Recognize Man's Law
If God were to sanction and legitimatize humanist laws of taxation, He would be acknowledging that man's law was coterminous, or equal, with His law. He would be declaring that man had the power to determine good and evil apart from Him, which was man's original sin (Gen 3:5). He would be declaring that man was equal with Him, and was as God. This God does not do, for God never allows man to assume that he is of the same essence as his Creator. Man and God are not of the same essence and, therefore, can never be equal. God is always, without exception, Ruler-Creator and man is always, without exception, the creature to be ruled. God cannot share one iota of His sovereignty. For Him to do so would be for Him to deny that He is God. For this reason God can never acknowledge any law but His own as binding upon His creation. He cannot because any recognition by God of any law from any source other than Himself would destroy His claim to total sovereignty. Therefore, in the sight of God there cannot be, nor is there, any law from any source that is binding upon man and creation except the law of God.
is not God.
Power but of God
to the State.
It is precisely on this juridical principle of Lordship that the early Church resisted Rome. The Christians of pagan Rome were its best and most law-abiding citizens, yet Rome persecuted them with great cruelty. Rome persecuted the Christians because they refused to acknowledge that Rome was superior to Christ. The members of the early Church saw themselves as members of Christ's New Creation, and that Rome had no jurisdiction in His Realm. The early Christians refused to refrain from obeying the Word of God, and their refusal led to both their persecution and the destruction of Rome. It was their adherence to the Word of God that toppled pagan Rome, and established Christianity as the religion of the western world.
As long as the State does not prohibit the Christian from obeying God's Law, then the Christian cannot resist the "higher powers," He must, for conscience sake, obey the State and pay his taxes. However, the Christian can, and should, use all "legal" means, as established by the State, to resist the State's influence in Christian life and thought. He should use state law to resist state activities that are illegal in terms of the Law-Word of God. But he cannot refuse to obey the state unless the state prohibits the christian from obeying God. Only in those areas where the state prohibits him from obeying the Law of God can the Christian resist the state. He can, and must resist the state in those areas because the Christian can never allow man to become lord over his life and thought. The Christian must maintain the juridical principle that Christ is Lord. Second, the very nature of God's Law prohibits the Christian from rebelling against the "higher powers," The juridical principle of Lordship that is fully expressed in the Word of God prohibits the Christian from acting presumptuously. The legal principle of God as Lord requires that the believer think and act in harmony with God's revelation of Himself to man. It is God's Law, or Word, that is God's revelation of himself to man. It is precisely because man lives by "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 8:3, Mat. 4:4) that God's every word is absolute law for man. This means that man is neither to think nor act apart from the Word of God. He is required, because God is Lord, to think God's thoughts after him by thinking and acting in conformity to His revelation of Himself in scripture. God's Law expresses God's lordship over man to man.
Law is the will of God
Law is Creative
We can recognize from the foregoing the juridical principle that God's Law and therefore God, are creative and constructive and re-creative and re-constructive, but never destructive. God created not by necessity but by choice, and those things that He did create, and re-create through man, give glory to Him because they cannot exist apart from God, since God originally created them and continues to uphold them.
We must also see that God's wrath and curse of man and creation was the result of Adam's sin. Adam's desire was to be as God, to be the law-maker for both himself and creation. Since Adam was the Federal Head of all mankind and the head of the hierarchy of creation, his rejection of God's creative law caused God's curse to fall upon him and his world. But this curse was not destructive. On the contrary, God's curse was constructive. It is constructive because man is not God. Adam could not make the laws necessary to bring creation into existence and uphold it. Man is not a law-maker. Only God is and because only God can create law, God cursed Adam and creation as a creative and constructive act. By cursing man and his world, God forced man against his will to think God's thoughts after Him. This was a constructive act of God, for without the curse, man would have totally rejected God and destroyed himself. But God, through the curse, forced man back upon the laws that governed him, which in turn enabled him to survive. It must always be remembered that God cursed the ground for Adam's sake (Gen.3:17) to prevent him from destroying himself.
of the New Creation
Thus, we can see that God and His Law are in principle creative and constructive. This does not mean that God himself is evolving or developing: this is not a possibility for the Ancient of Days who resides in eternity. God is totally self-conscious, the "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:14), who is totally timeless and changeless. What is meant is that God and His Word are not destructive in principle, but are constructive. He builds to His glory, and He builds to render inoperative those who oppose Him.
God and His Law are not directed towards destroying Satan and his followers. If that were the case, then God would not establish Hell as the permanent and eternal home for the reprobate. He would simply destroy them rather than preserve them by His Word. God and His Law are directed totally and absolutely toward God. God is God-centered, and His means for dealing with sin and Satan is to build all things in terms of Himself by His Word that He might receive all glory and praise. He is totally and absolutely creative and constructive in the sense that all things are to be created and constructed, or re-created and re-constructed, by Him through His Word, in order that they will be totally god-centered.
Good and Evil apart from God
God is wholly God-centered, and bcause He is He sees His Word as the means for the establishment of His Kingdom, which will neutralize and supplant Satan. Thus, we can understand that God's Law is God's means for establishing God's name on earth, which in turn will supplant Satan.
Christians are required to think God's thoughts after Him. They are required to be analogically re-creative and re-constructive in every area of life and thought. They are not to be destructive in principle. They are to build the Kingdom of God on earth by living in terms of the Word of God rather than directing their efforts to the destruction of Satan, the humanistic state, or political and religious conspiracies. They are not to recognize Satan by directing the thrust of their lives against him. They are required to direct their lives towards God by being re-constructive. They are to see God's Law as their means for establishing God's name on earth. They are to think and act, not negatively in terms of destruction, but positively in terms of Christian re-construction. For this reason, they are not to rebel against ungodly "higher powers," nor think of doing so, unless these "higher powers" attempt to prevent them from obeying the Word of God. The very nature of God and His Law prohibits rebellion as an article of faith by the redeemed in Christ.
Both Satan and Adam operated on an article of faith that rebellion and destruction, as the motivating principle of life, could destroy God and usher in a new creation devoid of His presence. Their rebellion was an act of religious faith that man could, by destroying God's authority, create a world apart from Him. This is why, in the ey3es of God, Revolution is seen as a religion. It is as much a religion of faith as Christianity is, for it is the basic presupposition behind the thoughts and deeds of Satan and reprobate man. Therefore, the principle of Revolution is condemned by God because it is the religion of Satan and fallen man and hence, is the source of sin. Rebellion in principle is condemned by God because it is an attack upon the juridical principle of His Lordship. It is condemned because it denieds the very nature of God and His Law, which is that they are creative and constructive. Revolution is anathema because it is an attempt by man to escape his consciousness of God by integration into a lawless void. Revolution is original sin.
- The Sin of Adam.
Sovereignty is nowhere more clearly evident than in the arm of taxation. Taxation is always the claim of ownership over the area that is taxed. This is why we can expect that the humanistic state will continue to broaden its taxing powers, and the areas and items to be taxed, until such time as Christians re-establish themselves at the helm of the political, economic, social and religious leadership of this country. Taxation is unavoidable, and until such time as Christians establish God's Laws of taxation, we can expect the state to claim more and more ownership and control of our lives through its taxing power. As long as Christians refuse to pay God's taxes, we can assume that God will continue to allow the State to claim ownership over our lives and property.
The issue in taxation is not "how much" but "by whom are taxes to be levied?" In the end, the issue is one of ownership. The question of "who has the rightful power to tax?" is the question of "who owns man?" The question is always ......................... "Who is Lord? Yashua (Christ) or man?"
who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide in the
shadow of the Almighty") Psalm 91.1