In response to Afamasaga Tole’afoa’s column

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Afamasaga M. F. Toleafoa, I thank you for responding.

“Pure fabrication and distortion.” I won’t accuse you of anything quite so malevolent, but merely of misunderstanding the words spoken by Jesus and reported by Luke. I will again quote from Luke, Ch. 5

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”

Now if you do not think the authority (viz., government) of all the kingdoms (which I take to include all nations) have that authority and glory from the devil, take it up with Luke or the devil. Or take it up with Jesus, for he certainly did not contest the devil’s assertion.

As for 1 Samuel 8, again I direct you to the author of the text or the translator of the NLT Bible, for here is what it says:

Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. 5 “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” 6 Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. 7 “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9 Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”

I take it from this passage and from the passage from Luke that I quoted that human government is a rejection of God, and a rejection of the kingdom of God, which Jesus consistently preached. No where in the Bible will you find God or Jesus ordaining human government. Human governments involve some men ruling other men by means of force and coercion, which Jesus rejected in his teaching and by his example. Where but from the devil do you suggest that the concept of men ruling men by force comes?

I do indeed wonder why you quote passages from scripture, which do not contain the words of God or Jesus, and which do not support the argument that human governments are ordained by God. If that was so then the governments of Hitler, Stalin and Mao would be ordained by God or Jesus.

My dear sir, when confronted with the words of Jesus, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” I say, exactly so. I say, Do what Jesus instructs. I say Jesus meant exactly what he said. And I only point out that if one has nothing belonging to Caesar, Jesus’ instructions are to give him that--nothing. I do not distort nor reinterpret Jesus words, for I take Jesus to be perfectly honest and to speak the truth precisely. I believe Jesus chose his words--in response to a question meant to “trap” him--carefully. And I only urge those who read his words to do so carefully and not to reinterpret him--”in other words.” His words are suffice.

You, on the other hand, seem unwilling to take Jesus’ words at their face value. You have to reinterpret them. You say, “’“give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar’, (in other words, be subject to government rule at the time)...” Why do you think Jesus’ words need to be replaced, “in other words,” by your words? For the sake of those who may be reading our exchange, I think you owe it to them to explain how Jesus’ words, “give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” became “be subject to government rule at the time.”

Now if you want to assert Paul’s words to dispute the words Jesus spoke, you are free to do so. As for me, I am a disciple of Jesus, not Paul. If Paul’s words in Romans conflict with Jesus’ words, as they do if you take Paul literally, I hold to Jesus’ words and explain Paul’s remarkable words in Romans as irony. Since I don’t think Paul was confused, and since Peter when instructed by authority to stop preaching about Jesus, said, “We must obey God rather than human beings!”

Sir, you write, “And yet in the face of all that long history spanning almost 2000 years from Genesis to the book of Malachi and in spite of Jesus telling his Jewish listeners to be subject to the rule of Caesar, you continue to claim, that this was a government that neither God nor Jesus ordained or supported! That is distorting the truth.”

Sir, this is utter disassembly. As I have pointed out again and again, Jesus did not tell his Jewish listeners to be subject to the rule of Caesar. You told your own listeners what Jesus told his listeners, but Jesus most assuredly did not say what you say he said. The words are yours not his, and uttering them time and again cannot change or disguise the truth.

The history of the Jews you have cited proves my point--not yours. But I call on you to find one passage in the Bible--just one itsy bitsy passage--wherein Jesus or God ordain human governments. Do it in the exact words of even one of the translations of the Bible, not “in other words.”

You have provided a very long winded defense of the challenge I issued, mostly commentary not at all germane to the issue I raised. And you make patently false accusations, saying I am a “Trump supporter.” 

I am as much a Trump supporter as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are Trump supporters. (Not that I support either one of those politicians.) If those who might have the stomach to still be following this discussion would like to know more about me, they can get a pretty good idea of who and what I am from the information at my blog site: https://jesusontaxes.libert...

God bless you.

 

Ned Netterville

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