- From a 1789 letter by Benjamin Franklin
Most of us who are over forty have heard this quotation from Benjamin Franklin although we may not have known where ti came from. Franklin was a very unique fellow and despite his very studious and questioning nature had a wonderful sense of humor. And since God has an appreciation for humor, He probably chuckles himself at the statement. But if He were sitting with us in a room and discussing that very quotation, it's highly likely He would challenge it and point out the fallacies concerning both death and taxes. Mortal life on earth itself, but not real Everlasting Life. And as for taxes, the tax bill itself is inevitable, but not the payment. Let's look at them separately to start.
Taxes, of course, are a man made requirement that were mandated to fund governments, bodies that were, at all levels, designed to provide some basic level of order in society. First and foremost they were designed for national security and to handle those other things that come with that, such things as relations between the subordinate states regarding trade and commerce and eliminating conflicts that otherwise would be difficult to resolve. They also were given responsibility for international relations endeavors designed to insure that the interests of the particular sovereign state were protected. And, of course, we have added so many other things than their original intent established that sometimes the value of many of the so-called services are hard to determine.
With regard to the question of paying taxes, no one has to pay taxes if they choose the option of going to prison to avoid them. The government might take away their freedom and all of their possessions but then, of course, the person will wither away and the government will have lost any more potential revenue from that very person. Not many choose that, but surely some have, and it is only discussed to make clear that not paying taxes can be done if willing to pay that terrible price. Taxes do not come from the realm of God but man and even though God says render to Caesar that which is Caesar's, the free will option of not doing so, no matter how uncomfortable that is, can be chosen.
With regard to death, the end of life on earth does not carry with it the end of life, for God has given us the option of Eternal Life which is another blessing that is gained by the proper use of free will itself. If we opt to truly believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith using our free will, our human mortality will transform into Everlasting Life and we will be lifted up to be with Him and the Father in heaven. Heaven is a place that is beyond any wonder that we can even imagine. If we choose not to believe, then our mortal death will place us in permanent darkness with no other possibility available. Nothingness is attained forever, no joy, no love, no laughter, nothing.
The main point here is that mortal life as we know it is not our sole purpose in living. Since God loves each of us and sent His Son to give us the opportunity for Salvation, a much higher quality of life awaits those who choose His Way. There will be no sorrow, pain or suffering, with warmth, light and beauty awaiting us and it will be beyond all things which we can even comprehend.
Mr. Franklin was truly a great man and while his quote is the norm for many, perhaps he needed to look a little deeper. Nothing that was created by man has the power to overcome God. He created us and He is our ultimate ruler. Live accordingly while honoring our leaders in the concepts of a mortal life, but always remember that God is subordinate to nothing or no one else. And those who govern are expected to carry out their duties in a godly way. It's really just as simple as that.