To The Daily Sun,
That global tax that was instituted by the Roman Emperor Augustus was the very reason Joseph and Mary, who was nine months pregnant at the time, were traveling to Bethlehem from their home in Nazareth.
Here is the relevant biblical passage, with a little editorial emphasis placed on certain keywords.
Luke 2:1-6 begins, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own [ancestral] city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered."
Notice how many times the subject of taxes comes up in that first section of scripture. That was the reason Joseph and Mary were coerced, forced, to travel on foot to Bethlehem from Nazareth, a rough and grueling journey of about 70 miles, especially for a young woman in her ninth month of pregnancy. They had to file the equivalent of their 1040 form in person.
That journey should to be referred to as "The Long Torturous March to Bethlehem," because of its similarity with the forced population movements of so many modern-day tyrannies. Jesus' birth was marked by the first world tax. The Roman Empire was able and willing to coerce millions of people throughout the known world to battle the elements, to travel great distances, regardless of their condition, so they could be counted and taxed. No excuses were tolerated. This was a tyrannical government operation from start to finish!
Joseph and Mary were not "homeless," as some of the modern big-government atheistic, shakedown artists and promoters suggest. They were forced to encamp in a barn because this massive population movement, prompted by the emperor's greed, resulted in a shortage of beds for visitors.
Note the next verse, Luke 2:7, "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
Joseph was a carpenter — a working man — who had funds for the trip, and also had ample money for a room at the inn in Bethlehem. It's just that there were no vacancies available, due to the overcrowded conditions caused by this forced temporary population relocation.
One of many lessons we should learn from this passage is that government is not your friend. It is the enemy of freedom. Government is not Santa Claus. It is the Grinch. Government is supposed to be our servant, especially in a free society. But government is not your servant. It is specifically designed to be our master. Government seldom really helps people. It most often enslaves them.
Even back then, 2,000 years ago, government was heartless and cruel. It thought nothing, for example, of forcing women to march long distances, even in the last stages of pregnancy, to comply with its demands. That's the way government has always been, and that's the way it will always be — at least until Jesus comes again.
And when he does, it will once again prove the truth of another Scripture — Romans 8:28, which says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
So, "Don't be afraid," as the angel told the shepherds that night in Bethlehem. There was "Good News" then, and there is still good news now, in this season of joy as well. Truth is truth. Light is light. And God, the Son, not Caesar, is still on the throne.
- Category: Letters
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