Flat Tax: We’re all Involved

half shekel of silver

It’s February. Tax season is almost upon us again. We’re all receiving W-2s and account interest statements in the mail again. Pretty soon we’ll all have to file our taxes with the federal government. But did you know there’s something Biblical about taxes?

There’s a principle with tax in the Old Testament we can pick up regarding our church involvement. It comes from a little known portion of Exodus, chapter 30:11-16. Here Jehovah commanded Moses to take the sum of the Israelite men who were over twenty years old by levying a tax on each of them. This tax acted as a draft mechanism to form these men into an army to fight whenever the Children of Israel encountered enemies in their takeover of the Good Land. What’s interesting about this temple tax, as it was later called in the New Testament, is that it was truly a flat tax.

Flat Tax: We’re All Involved

This tax rate was genuinely flat: everyone, rich and poor alike, paid the same amount. It’s explicitly stated that they didn’t pay depending of their wealth. Rather, they all paid the same amount: one half-shekel of silver.

“The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than the half shekel when you give the heave offering to Jehovah to make expiation for your souls.” -Exo 30:15

As a sidebar, it’s important to note that we need the experience of the ascended Christ – of whom the half-shekel as a heave offering is a type – as our qualification by God before He numbers us towards any army. We shouldn’t think we’re qualified to fight based on our merit; Christ alone bestows merit upon God’s army. Furthermore, the silver collected by Moses eventually became the silver bases for the standing boards of the tabernacle, as well as the boards’ capitals and hooks and connecting rods. In other words, our experience of Christ becomes the base, glory, and connecting strength of the church.

Now, one half-shekel of silver wasn’t all that much money, but the principle is that each man paid the same amount in being drafted into the army, and each thereby contributed the same amount toward the building of God’s house.

Each One Has

This translates into something wonderful in the New Testament: “each one has”. In the New Testament there is a verse which describes what church meetings look like: 1 Cor. 14:26:

“What then, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”

According to this picture, each one of us must participate in the building up of the church! Here we don’t see one pastor and many laypeople. Rather, like the picture in Exodus, we’re all involved in church building and in God’s move. Whether we think we’re rich or poor, we all have to pay the same tax. From God’s point of view, we are all needed in His heavenly draft, and we all contribute to the base of His house. We’re truly all involved.

For more on each one has, visit my friends’ website at www.eachonehas.com.

Verses Referenced: Exo 30:11-16; 38:26; Num. 1:45-46, 2:32; 1 Cor. 14:26


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