What Does “Render Unto Caesar” Mean?


The apostles Mark, Matthew and Luke reported that Jesus answered a question asked by his audience by advising them to “Render to Caesar the things which Caesar's ...”

The question had been about paying tribute in taxes to the Roman Emperor Caesar, and the first part of his answer was to ask to see a coin of the realm. When given one, he asked whose image was on the coin, and of course his audience said that the image was that of Caesar, the Roman Emperor. And then, regarding the question about tributes and taxes, he gave that famous answer.

There has been some misunderstanding about what Jesus meant by it, however, because there is a popular and general assumption that Jesus was talking specifically about the Roman Emperor, or about any emperor or king who had sovereign monarchical authority. And, in part, that is true.

However, modern interpretation does not fully agree with that interpretation or assessment, for true understanding of prophecies, and of the teachings of the prophets and other servants and messengers of God, reveal that the term “Caesar” should be understood as a symbol of government -- ideally, government of, by, and for the people and not by a monarchical figure or head of state.

After all, government cannot operate or serve the interests of the people and their nation without adequate internal revenue and a national treasury of the people. And only with adequate internal revenue and national treasury can government promote the general welfare (as the U.S. Constitution requires), or use the common wealth for the common good.

Many other articles in this message speak to these issues, but this is just to simply clear up a misunderstanding that has spread among certain blind flocks.