by Scott Kaczorowski
If you are anything like me, you don’t enjoy tax season. There are probably few people who do. Even those of who end up getting refunds still have to go through the process of filling out the paper work (or hiring someone to do it for you), making sure everything is correct, and getting it all sent in before the deadline. And all of this is potentially complicated by the fact that we live under one of the most complex tax systems in history, where sometimes even the tax professionals themselves don’t fully understand it.
But I think that there will be no taxes in heaven. This is not just because, as the lyrics go, “heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace” and taxes would ruin all that.1 Rather, this thought is based on something Jesus said when He was questioned about paying the temple tax.
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” (Matt. 17:24-27)
So Jesus’ reasoning here is that subjects pay taxes, not sons. But in Christ we are sons of the Kingdom: “in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Gal. 3:26). There would be something incongruent about taxing sons.
But there does appear to be a giving of wealth in heaven: “They will bring into it [the new Jerusalem] the glory and the honor of the nations” (Rev. 21:26). But we might very well think of this as the type of freewill offering envisioned in Deuteronomy 16:10: “Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you.” The economy of heaven will most likely run on offerings freely given, not a compulsory system of taxation.
Although we are sons of the Kingdom in Christ Jesus, we still have responsibilities in our earthly citizenship. So please don’t misunderstand any of this to mean that you don’t have to pay your taxes here and now. The Lord commands us to pay our taxes (Rom. 13:7). But we can look forward to a day when the most complex tax system in history will be replaced by the freedom of the rule of God. And how amazing it is that the two certain things in this life—death and taxes—will both be abolished in the Kingdom of God!
1Another writer may have made a point like this.