Mark 12:15-16, Render to Caesar …

Shall we give[tribute to Caesar], or shall we not give? But [Jesus], knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.

//One theme running through the New Testament is the contrast between the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Caesar. In today’s verse, Jesus is asked whether it is appropriate to pay taxes to Rome, and he requests a coin. Holding up the penny, Jesus asks two questions: Whose image is on the coin, and whose inscription?

All Jews knew full well the commandment to avoid graven images, yet they were carrying the image of Caesar around in their pockets. They also knew full well how the inscription on the coin declared Caesar to be the “son of god.” The criticism in Jesus’ lesson is unmistakable.

But then, Jesus throws them for a loop. Unexpectedly granting approval for the Jews to carry such coins, he tells them to render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and to God that which belongs to God.

The Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus seems to be saying, has nothing to do with the politics of this world, and is not at all in conflict with Roman occupation. Lift your eyes above your mundane dreams of political redemption from the Romans, and recognize the reign of God where it truly lives.


  1. I have a strong amen to your last paragraph. The kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17) so it can exist and even flourish in whatever outward circumstances.

  2. Hi NewJerusalem, I checked out your website a bit ago, and never really got a sense about how you picture the New Jerusalem. I mean, it is a physical city on earth, a city in heaven, a spiritual city today or tomorrow, or…?

  3. Hello Lee. A summary of my view is in the post
    The three main points are:
    – New Jerusalem is spiritual
    – New Jerusalem is the consummation of the believers’ present experience
    – New Jerusalem is a mingling of Triune God and His people
    Don (not sure why this name doesn’t display)

  4. Thanks, Don, your writing makes sense for me now. Do you consider yourself a full preterist, then?

  5. I am a lover of the Bible and a Christian pursuing daily to live Christ and to be built up with others in the Body of Christ.

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