Sons or Strangers



Which one are you?

The Temple tax (lit. מחצית השקל the half shekel) was a tax paid by Israelites and Levites which went towards the upkeep of the Jewish Temple, as reported in the New Testament. Traditionally, Kohanim (Jewish priests) were exempt from the tax. Taxation

Matthew 17

24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”

25 He said, “Yes.”

And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?”

26 Peter said to Him, “From strangers.”

Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.


Modern “requirements”

While modern churches require, with rare exception, that people pay tithes and offerings, this is not a valid requirement.

It was a requirement for ancient Israel, as it had not changed from the role of servant to the role of child yet.

God desired that Israel fulfill the role of child, and sometimes called the group His children, to encourage them in that role.

At best, it was a failed servant.



When Jesus/Yahshua came, he made the transition possible by his ministry and sacrifice.

Burdens were lifted.

People were more free.

They now had a choice.

Strangers or Son?


Stranger or Child of God?

This is our choice too.

What do you choose?



13 Responses to “Sons or Strangers”

  1. […] here for […]

  2. Hi all, good point Marianne,

    I myself with my family are looking a church/group of believers..Moved out St Cloud, Mn ..about 15 miles away. looks for others to fellowship with that won’t wind up with “hey you need to volunteer your life away” scenario..Thanks

  3. Hi Marianne,

    I love your site and your thoughts; however, this post confuses me. Is this a reflection of “Modern” church “Requirements” or the salvation and adoption by grace into Gods family?

    If it is on the adoption God has supplied for us through Jesus Christ, I hope people reading this post do not become confused or receive a negative connotation about collections or our personal time needed to keep the building and services for a church afloat, as the first comment posted seems to point too.

    Just to give you a couple of examples of what I am talking about, seeing we are the church, if we choose to worship our Lord and Savior in a group setting with other people that love God on a weekly basis we should all support the building we are worshiping in.

    We as the collected group need to supply the money for the electricity and oil needed to keep the lights on and the heat running and the phones working. We as the collected church group using this building to worship Jesus must pay OUR bills.

    If we choose as a group to teach our little ones about Jesus in a setting set up for their age group, then we as a collected church group, should support the price and time needed to do so, along with any other idea we, as a collected church group, come up with to reach others about Jesus.

    Here is another example: If we have a pastor that has made it his job to teach us as a collected body about Jesus, and we accept this pastor as our teacher it is only right for us to pay him for the job he is providing as scripture states in Luke 10:7 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

    In summary, we as a church body, should pay for our building and participate in the things we as a church body decide to do to worship Jesus or spread the Word, whether it’s in money and/or time.

    So, as I see it, “tithes” and “offerings “are a very valid requirement for a church body, to pay OUR church body’s bills and our time is also required to spread the good news for and about Jesus.

    Why, because He has made us His child, part of His kingdom, part of His body, which is part of His church! Isn’t that wonderful! Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 1:18, Colossians 1:24, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

    • priscilla

      all the “shoulds” you mention is the point being made in the post.

      the response is , “no, we should not”

      the church should not impose financial burdens on people, especially if they cannot afford it, and time and service requirements when they are either not able, or it brings oppression and stress on the person and his family.

      if we are saved by grace into a family, then we are not slaves under the law, but free people instead. any offerings of time or money is voluntary, not mandatory, for acceptance by the body of Christ.

      tithes are imposed by the church for membership in most cases, and this is a violation of scripture, being used to support pastor salaries and building projects. these salaries and projects are not biblical. as I said in the post, tithes were ONLY for the temple in Jerusalem, not gentile churches and salaries for pastors.

      in the churches I have been a part of in the past, NO ONE asked me how much the pastor should get paid or how much I wanted to spend on a building. this was imposed on me..and I was expected to pay what they required.

      a true servant of God does not demand a salary. he serves god, not man. god is his reward, not money, which obligates the servant to those paying him, as he is then an employee of the church.

      in the bible, pastors and teachers, etc did not get salaries. they did it because they were called of God, not because they were getting paid. and people worshiped wherever they could, in structures they could afford, not elaborate multi million structures, where unbiblical prosperity messages were preached to pull money out of people.

      church today is more of a business than a divine ministry. this is why the church has lost its power.

      luke 10:7 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18wages refers to food and drink, not money.. and honor is not money

      we are children, not strangers to God. We do not make our own children pay for their physical food and drink. Neither does God make us pay for spiritual food and drink.

      You quote Paul at the end. He did not earn a salary, and did not have building projects.

  4. So, I’m also reading Job I’ve heard several of my spiritual friends insisting Hod wants me to read Job. I’ll tell you what I’m learning. God in this moment is talking directly to me. No fooling. It’s my new beginning.


  5. 1st: For those who use “godliness” for financial gain:

    1 Timothy 6:3-10 New International Version (NIV)
    3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
    6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    Rev 3:14 -22 To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
    These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
    19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
    21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    Note: We can choose not to go to churches like this and not support their destruction.

    Note in my last comment I used the word requirement. I was speaking with passion for the love of the little Body of Christ I attend. It is truly voluntary to give, but in my heart, I feel a responsibility to assist monetarily the Body of Christ of which I am part.

    Below are the scriptures that point to giving to the Body of Christ monetarily:

    Scriptures that point to the wages (Pay, make a Living) for a Pastor’s, those who preach the Gospel, Note the word “Commanded” in 9:14:

    Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has COMMANDED that those who preach the gospel SHOULD receive their LIVING from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:14)

    Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his WAGES (Pay) . Do not move around from house to house. Luke 10:7 (Note: Pay can be in goods as well as monetary.)

    Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word SHOULD share ALL good things with their instructor. Galatians 6:6

    Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain and the worker deserves his WAGE (Pay). Timothy 5:18

    Scripture that point to the disciples of Jesus not working but receiving their living through the Gospel. Note: Paul might have worked, but it looks like a lot of the other disciples did not form this scripture below:

    This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the OTHER APOSTLES and the Lord’s BROTHERES and CEPHAS? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack THE RIGHT TO NOT WORK FOR A LIVING? 1 Corinthians 9:3-6

    Biblical Argument and Paul’s defense for why:

    Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for US, doesn’t he? YES, THIS WAS WRITTEN FOR US, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have SOWN SPIRITUAL SEED AMONG YOU, is it too much if WE REAP A MATERIAL HARVEST FROM YOU? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? 1 Corinthians 9:7-12

    Scripture that points to Paul utilizing donations for his living:

    Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be CREDITED TO YOUR ACCOUNT. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. Philippians 4:14-18

    Scripture that shows Jesus received donations to pay His and the disciples bills:

    After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. THESE WOMEN WERE HELPING TO SUPPORT THEM OUT OF THEIR OWN MEANS. Luke 8:1-3

    Despite Judas stealing, Jesus and the disciple’s money bag was used to pay for their needs, or give to the poor In the following scriptures:
    He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the MONEY BAG, he used to help himself to what was put into it. John 12:6

    Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to BUY WHAT WAS NEEDED FOR THE FESTIVAL OR GIVE SOMETHING TO THE POOR. John 13:29

    Christians are not obligated to tithe, but should give according to their income:

    The English word tithe and also the Hebrew and Greek words translated tithe in the Bible, mean a tenth; so tithing is the giving of a tenth of one’s income.

    This was for the jewish temple tax of which Jesus said we are exempt Matthew 17:25

    However, Christians are asked to donate to the Body of Christ, for the Body of Christ, and how to do so is in the scriptures in a manor to not create a burden:

    Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you SHOULD set aside a sum of money in KEEPING WITH YOUR INCOME, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

    Further scripture on sharing your income:

    But whoever has the world’s possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person? 1 John 3:17

    And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16

    Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. Romans 12:13

    They requested only that we remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do. Galatians 2:10

    The Lord Jesus Himself said; “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35b

    COMMAND them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:18-19

    One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
    A generous man will prosper;
    he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
    Proverbs 11:24-25

    Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6

    For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40


    There are many reasons to give. We give in order to:
    • Help fellow believers
    • Help the poor
    • Help family
    • Support the Body of Christ, its leaders, and its ministry
    • Gain rewards — whether eternal, or on this Earth
    • Please God

    • priscilla

      sowing is the word of god, not money

      I am not opposed to giving. my point is it should be according to what is right in our hearts, free will offerings…………so not controlled or dictated by a church

      I give plenty, as the churches around me do not help the poor, so I help the poor, fellow believers, homeless etc directly

      I support the body of christ, and expect the leaders to support themselves, instead of taking all the tithes and offerings for their salaries and extraneously generated expenses.

      if jesus could minister on a dime, so can the church.

  6. Totally agree on the law of tithing, strictly speaking, the tithe was for the Levite and the ancient priesthood. There was however the tithe which preceded this law, that was given to Melchisedek of Abraham, hence demonstrating to whom the righteous should render their tithe to, which is Christ, the eternal and sole high priest that remains.

    Question is, how does one render their tithe to Christ? Jesus was very clear on this, when he narrated how some will be rewarded for having fed, clothed and assisted him simply by assisting the needy and poor of their reckoning. Others will be cast out for having failed to assist Christ in his time of need, by failing to recognise him among the poor and needy of their acquaintance.

    Giving tithes to the Christ and his true family is the illustration from Abraham. If the purported church did God’s will, then they would fit as God’s family, and it would be fine to render the tithing through them, as it souls illustrably reach the needy. Such a church as of the apostolic era, kept no resources not riches for themselves, but they had given everything up for the Lord. Just point me to any preacher who emulates the apostles and I’ll be more than glad to support with tithing and more.

    In absence of any such, then one should remit directly to Melchisedek, by assisting the poor and needy of this world.

    Not the bogus and apostate priesthood of ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    • i agree.

    • Just point me to any preacher who emulates the apostles: Pastor George Small Horizon Christian Fellowship Fitchburg , MA. He is the closets I have ever met that runs his little body of Christ like the apostles. He is so in love with Jesus, all he wants to emulate is the Word of God. There ARE some of these TRUE churches out there. Jesus did say that in the beginning of Rev.
      I find that when the body of Christ starts sounding like the world in its condemnation of the body of Christ, it amazes and convicts me of my and our rush to condemning judgement on the “whole” body of Christ because of the few “tars” tainting Jesus’s body. with out mercy.

      • Priscilla

        the way things are going, i think most churches are off the path to at least some degree, and a true church that has the heart of christ is an exception.

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