From Slavery to Freedom - RR171A1

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: From Slavery to Freedom
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 1
Length: 0:32:21
TapeCode: RR171A1
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Exodus Unity of Law and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


Let us worship God. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made Heaven and earth. To all that call upon him in truth, he will fulfill the desire of them that fear him. He also sill hear their cry and save them. Let us pray.

Oh Lord, our God, we give thanks unto thee that thou dost hear us, that there is nothing too great nor too small for thee. And so, our Father, we come to cast our every care upon thee, to commit our hopes concerned ourselves, our work, this nation, and our generation unto thee. Deliver us, oh Lord, from our own follies. Make us again a righteous people, and make us strong by thy word and by thy spirit, in Jesus name, Amen.

Our scripture this morning is from the book of Exodus, and our text is the first chapter, verses one through seven. Exodus 1:1-7 and our subject, From Slavery to Freedom. Now these are the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt. Every man and his household came with Jacob; Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, Issachar, Zebulon, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls, for Jacob was in Egypt already. And Joseph died and all his brethren and all generation, and the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multiplied and waxed exceeding mighty, and the land was filled with them.

The name of the book of Exodus came from the Latin, but it is a Greek word and Exodus means departure, exit, or death. The word exodus appears in the New Testament as deceased. For example, in Luke 9:30-31, we read “As behold there talked with him, Jesus, two men which were Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem, his exodus.” Again, 2 Peter 1:14-15, Peter writes, “Knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease, my exodus, to have these things in remembrance.” [00:03:59]

In both these cases, there is more implied by the word...[edit]

In both these cases, there is more implied by the word than death. Our Lord’s decease is seen in Luke 9:31 as accomplishment. The word “accomplish” is pleέroό, which means to complete, or purpose his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. The atonement accomplished in Christ, accomplishment for us is our redemption. Peter’s reference also implies a victory, because the original exodus from Egypt into Canaan was from slavery to freedom. And it was so great a deliverance, the word in the New Testament implies the same thing, a victory.

Now Exodus is written as a continuation to the book of Genesis. It can be translated instead of the first word being “Now” as “and.” Very often books of the Bible begin with the word “And” which is not the way we normally start a book, but this is because it is unity, and writers are conscious of being a part of an ongoing story, so they begin “And in those days,” or “Now these are the names.” In this list, only the physical sons of Jacob are listed. The sons by Levi are Reuben, by Leah are Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. The sons by Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, are Dan and Naphtali. By Zilpah, Leah’s maid, Gad and Asher. And Leah also bore Issachar and Zebulon, and Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin. We are told that these alone are the blood family of Jacob. Now, this is an important point, and it’s one that is generally overlooked by both Jewish and Christian commentators. In Genesis 14:14, we read that Abraham took 318 men of his household into Bethel, with perhaps another 300 older men who stayed to look after things, and another 300 or 400 small boys. It meant that Abraham had a household of about 1,000 males and 1,000 females. This household increased substantially in the many years between this point in Abraham’s life, Isaac’s life, and Jacob’s, and the journey into Egypt. [00:07:10]

Only one daughter is named in the history of Jacob...[edit]

Only one daughter is named in the history of Jacob; Dinah, but we are also told there were others in Genesis 46:7. The 70 souls mentioned in verse 5 are thus, the male heads of household, and counting also Leah and Rachel, although Rachel was already dead. This is clear because we read in verse 1, “Every man and his household came with Jacob.” The word “household” thus, is inclusive of all the young males, females, servants, followers. All the many people, thousands upon thousands by this time, who were the descendants of those who were with Abraham and a part of his household. Thus, those who came to Egypt with Jacob were very numerous, and this is why a separate area of the land, Goshen, was assigned to them.

Now, there’s a point in this, a very, very telling one. It assumed that people read intelligently, which is perhaps too much of an assumption, but it is clear from the text of Genesis, and from the text of Exodus subsequently, that there was a large number, thousands. But only 70 or as Stephen later says “75 counting Joseph, his sons and grandsons, who are of the blood of Abraham.” This means that the Hebrew people at their inception, were not a people united by blood, but by faith, and this was the great error of the Pharisees and many who followed them. They saw it as a bloodline. It was a faith-line.

So, we have a very telling point here at the beginning, the chosen people are inclusive of far more than those with the blood of Abraham. Moreover, they are referred to by Moses as the children of Israel, not the children of Jacob. Israel was the covenant name, it indicates that all these people were the children of Israel. That is, they were a part of the covenant household. Israel, thus, in its inception, was a religious, not a national nor a racial designation. [00:10:24]

Now, Exodus is not only given as a continuation of...[edit]

Now, Exodus is not only given as a continuation of Genesis, but it is tied very, very closely to Genesis by verse 7, which reads, “And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty.” Well, in Genesis 1:21-22 we read, “And God created great whales and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind, and every winged kind after his kind, and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters and the seas and the fowl multiply in the earth.” There is a subconscious parallelism between Genesis and Exodus 1:7. As before the fall, covenant Israel is blessed with the same kind of fertility that marked creation at the beginning, when all the earth was a part of the covenant. So, we are told that God’s creation of all things continues in Exodus with the creation of a chosen people, with their deliverance and the giving of the Law. All this is both the new creation and the regeneration. In verse 7, “increased abundantly” is very literally “swarmed.” While this was not a supernatural increase as some commentators say, it was a very blessed one. I refer to the fact that Stephen, in Acts 7:14, refers to the sons of Israel as 75, whereas, Moses cites 70, and this is because Stephen counted Joseph’s children, his three grandsons and two great-grandsons. This variation makes clear that it’s Jacob’s three grandsons, and great grandsons. Now, this variation between Moses and Stephen makes clear that the count is of males, of the head of a household, and all other males are subsumed under the heads, as are the women, while the number 70 includes Leah and Rachel together with Jacob, as the source of the 70, no other women are listed. This is because just the source of the family is cited. Israel, as we have said, had a blessed fertility, so that we are told the last was filled with them. It was precisely this blessing that led to their persecution. Egypt resented the increase and the prosperity of Israel. We are therefore prepared by that statement for what is to follow. Because this is a fall on the world, man resented and envied the success and prosperity of others. God’s blessings create hostility in man. It is assumed by them that God’s people have no right to anything, but a subordinate and silent place. [00:14:25]

All over the country as I travel, I meet people who...[edit]

All over the country as I travel, I meet people who become newly converted, and the thing that startles them is the sudden hostility they face from people they were once close to. The revival of Christianity since the mid-70s has led to hostility. It has led to the persecution of Christian schools in the courts of homeschools, churches, parents, and various Christian agencies.

Now, it would be absurd to say that at that time in Moses day, more than a handful of the Hebrews were still faithful. Or that more than a small number of the total number of Christians in the United States after 1975, have been faithful. But God is mindful of his minorities. He was ready to rescue, or preserve Sodom and Gomorrah if there were ten faithful. It was only persecution that drove some Israelites to at least cry out to God, according to Exodus 3:7. But even then, when God sent Moses to deliver Israel, the leaders turned against Moses when the first step of resistance the Pharaoh led to reprisals against Israel. Now, this is a fact of considerable importance. Israel was not delivered because of its merits or virtues. And, in fact, Moses makes very clear again and again how very difficult it was to help them. It was only God’s sovereign and merciful covenant grace which saved Israel. And this fact is stressed throughout Exodus. Israel comes through very poorly, and this is shown to us intentionally. Moses wants no glory to accrue to man, himself included. This should tell us what the situation is like now. Only a small group are making a stand against the persecution of the faith. Only a small group are ready to be arrested and taken to court, and to make stand. But even in that group, we have to say many wanting in many areas. I’ve been in courts to defend so many of them and I can tell you something about some of them, which indicates how narrow they are in spite of their faith and resistance, and how unwilling sometimes how they are to thank me, or acknowledged that I’ve helped them. The lawyer calls me in, because they don’t want to be associated with someone they disagree with so much. Well, God is not going to rescue us because of any merit in us, but by his sovereign grace. And this is not a new story. [00:18:09]

In Elijah’s day, his supporters were few...[edit]

In Elijah’s day, his supporters were few. In the early church, as witness, St. Athanasius, the church was as much his enemy as was the Roman Empire, and matters are no different now. In history, the initiative and the merit are all God’s, and His works of redemption are acts of grace. We do have echoes of Exodus in Matthew’s gospel. In fact, there are some who see the whole book of Matthew as, in a sense, a reproduction for the New Testament of the books of Moses; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. We have a genealogy in the beginning. In chapter 1:1-17, we have an Exodus into Egypt by Joseph and Mary, and the Christ child, and then later an exodus out of Egypt. The Sermon on the Mount parallels the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. And Christ’s death and resurrection give us, we are told, God’s new temple or tabernacle for his own chosen people. And our Lord Himself, tells the court, or rather this was testimony against him, “Destroy this temple in three days, and I will build it again,” signifying his body as the true temple.

Thus, Matthew is also giving us the same exodus from slavery into freedom. Exodus, that’s the sovereignty of God in history over the nations. Pharaoh, in spite of his hatred and hostility, becomes God’s instrument for the destruction of Egypt and the deliverance of Israel. We have a superb irony in this fact. In the name of preserving Egypt, Pharaoh destroys it, and God’s ironies are with us still. So that, even as the nation’s move toward their time of triumph, God’s ironies and God’s judgment still prevail, and He is at work, and the Pharaoh’s of our day will meet alike destiny. Let us pray. [00:21:10]

Oh, Lord our God, great and marvelous are thy ways...[edit]

Oh, Lord our God, great and marvelous are thy ways and we thank thee that we are on an exodus from slavery into freedom. That the wilderness journey is never easy, but it is always deliverance. Give us grace therefore on the difficult days ahead, to move forward in the confidence that, because thou art with us and will never leave us nor forsake us, we shall be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord. In His name, we pray. Amen.

Are there any questions now, concerning our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] The Pharaohs of today are the totalitarian powers which are taking us back to the days of ancient Egypt in terms of governments…

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] …and we have in our midst a great many of their followers.

[Rushdoony] We even have Egyptian symbols on our dollar bill, the pyramid, so that..

[Audience] of the museums sells various Egyptian emblems.

[Rushdoony] Yes, Egypt is very much with us. We have a love of that kind of order, a fixed order. An order in which the state controls everything, lock, stock and barrel. Now, this isn’t the context, but in Genesis we see what Joseph did to alter the situation in Egypt. Very often, people who don’t know their history say that Joseph was a socialist because, in exchange for food during the famine, he had 20% of the people’s income taxed and go to Pharaoh. That actually was the beginning of the end of the power of Egyptian religion, because they had taken several times more than 20% usually, and it had gone to the priests, and there was a strong link between the old Egyptian faith and the crown. So, Joseph’s measure struck at that relationship and freed the people, and that’s why the people hailed them as their deliverers. He had cut their taxes by more than 50% and put it directly under state control so that it created a different kind of order. But, it’s interesting we never get an honest account of that, or very rarely. Only one or two scholars have called attention to the importance of Jacob’s reform. By and large, what is idealized in Egypt is the fact that there was a total control that had its apex, hence the pyramid, at the top, and the Pharaoh was the link between heaven and earth, between ultimate order and human order. Yes? [00:25:29]

[Audience] This is just kind of a curiosity question...[edit]

[Audience] This is just kind of a curiosity question. The names listed in verses two through 5, number 12, the tribes of Israel include two sons of Joseph, which makes 13. Why is it always said that there were 12 tribes of Israel?

[Rushdoony] Because the two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, were counted as half tribes and then while the territory was divided 12 ways, Levi received no territory as it became the tribe that was scattered throughout Israel. The tribe of Levi included both the Levites and the priests The priests had a centralized function at the sanctuary. But the Levites were in every tribe. They were the instructors of Israel, they were the musicians. They provided health, education, and welfare. They were basic to it. So, they were scattered throughout and had no territory of their own. Any other questions or comments?

[Audience] Well, really, the idea of a fixed society is a search for security.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] People hate change.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And security is the goal of every totalitarian regime, and every regime that seeks for more and more power. They substitute security for freedom. And what you have is the kind of thing, that in some of the literature of antiquity, for example, Babylonian as well as Egyptian and so on, reveal that a man who is outside of a state, who is a state-less person, was regarded as not a human being, as a non-person. You could only have status if you were an actual person in a place where you had cradle-to-grave guarantees in security. Now, we fail to appreciate how Rome itself moved into that sort of thing. Serfdom and feudalism began in the Roman Empire. Very early, the emperors created huge estates, and people would have cradle-to-grave security by becoming serfs on those estates. Then, they would have no worry about what the price of things was, they were going to be fed, they were going to be cared for to their life’s end. And that was the pattern that was applied in what we call now the Balkans, throughout Italy, and in Gaul, and wherever they went, and that created medieval feudalism, and the Middle Ages slowly worked its way out of that pattern. [00:29:23]

[Audience] Well, there’s a parallel with the emergence...[edit]

[Audience] Well, there’s a parallel with the emergence of the tax supports, and citizenship papers. Without citizenship papers, you don’t have protection of the state.

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes. Very good point. Very good point. Now, you have to belong to the state. It used to be that you belonged to the land. You identified yourself not in terms of a political entity, but in terms of the soil.

[Audience] What we’re talking about is a move back toward Medievalism, or back toward Antiquity…

[Rushdoony] Towards Antiquity, exactly.

[Audience] …back to paganism and its total protection.

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes. We’re moving back into paganism, and hence, the anti-Christianity. And this is why Christianity was such an affront. Here were people who were not only holding meetings, which was illegal, but they were taking care of one another, they were providing welfare to their own and to others, which was illegal. That was being a government. And it’s the same offense of the Soviet Union today. There is no freedom, or future for freedom, without Christianity. Any other comments or questions? Well, if not, let us bow our heads in prayer.

Oh Lord, our God, how great and marvelous are thy ways, and we thank thee that as men imagined, they are moving us backwards into Egypt. Thy purpose is to move us forward into the kingdom of God. And thou will use the wrath of man to praise thee and to further thy kingdom. How great and marvelous are thy ways, oh Lord, and we praise thee. And now, go in peace, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:31:56]

Tape ends.