Nature - Meaning - and Purpose of Law - RR148A2

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Nature, Meaning, and Purpose of Law
Course: Course - Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools
Subject: Subject:Education
Lesson#: 2
Length: 1:33:54
TapeCode: RR148A2
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools.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 begin with prayer. Guide and direct our thinking, O Lord, that we may think our thoughts after thee, that we may grow in grace and understanding of thy word. We thank thee, O Lord, that thou are our sufficiency, that thy word is truth, that it speaks to our every condition, our every need, and so, our God, we come to thee. Open our hearts and our understanding that we may behold wondrous things out of thy law. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We shall begin by a general survey of the nature and meaning of law. First of all, let me observe that statist education is essentially obsolete and irrelevant. The curriculum, as we have it today, is an outmoded, ancient, and basically irrelevant curriculum. When we come to the philosophy of the curriculum, I will deal with this problem at greater length, but the curriculum as we have it today is basically the Greco/Roman curriculum, which no longer deals with the basic problems and needs of man. Let me cite two examples: Two of the most basic subjects which are inescapable for every person living, are law and economics. We live in a world of economics. Every person living has to deal with problems of money, of property, of food, clothing, buying, selling, and yet, nowhere along the line educationally do we get any teaching of economics until the university, and in most colleges and universities, economics is not a required subject. Moreover, where it is taught with most schools, it is not economics as such, but political economy that is sought, which is something else. As a result, people go through their lives knowing nothing about economics. They don’t know Gresham’s law. They don’t know laws of price, of supply and demand, or any of the aspects of economic law. They’re ignorant about them. As a result, we’ve had, in recent years, prominent government officials telling us that the Gresham’s law is no longer operative, and then coming up with all kinds of ridiculous excuses when Gresham’s law has been proven to be true. [00:03:39]

Another subject that is basic to our lives is law,...[edit]

Another subject that is basic to our lives is law, and again, you can go all the way through school and never learn anything about law. In fact, I’ve had lawyers tell me they never learn anything about law in law school. All they’re taught is a particular type of law, and cases, and courtroom procedures. They never study the meaning of law, but law is something that is inescapable to life. We’re surrounded by a world of physical law. We live in a realm of moral law, economic law, family law. Law is inescapable to our daily life. You cannot live apart from law, and yet, whoever learns anything about law all the way through school? Is it any wonder when the two most basic subjects to our everyday life,; theology apart, law and economics are never studied, but our culture is in crisis and its civilization is in trouble. You cannot neglect two such basic subjects without trouble, and we are neglecting them today.

Now, the law of a society always points to the god of the society, because the source of law in any culture is the god of that society. For example, take a society of ancestor worship as old China. In ancestor worship, the ultimate law is the senior member of the family, and of the spirits of the ancestors who are dead. The customs, the traditions that they hand down are absolutely binding. There is a relativism in such a culture with regard to all things else, but the law of the fathers is absolutely binding, and in ancestor worshiping society, the senior member of a society can choose if he wills that the girl babies be abandoned at birth, as was the custom in Rome, ancient Rome was an ancestor worshiping society, or in China, up unto recently, or he can determine that, in a time of famine, the sons, excess sons can be sold into slavery. His word is law. He is the god of the society. In Shintoism, again, law comes from the basic and the ultimate power, the gods of a society. In Japan, a Shintoist society, the kamis are the ultimate power. The word kami is usually translated as god, it’s the supreme spirit in a particular area. So, the supreme spirits in the areas where you are operating are the ones you bow down to. It’s their law that guides you in the political sphere. It’s the emperor who is the supreme kami. Therefore, it’s the word of the emperor that is absolutely binding. [00:07:40]

In Islam, it’s the social order...[edit]

In Islam, it’s the social order. Allah has decreed a social order and that social order Islam{?}, which means the political order is absolute. There is no appeal beyond, no power outside of it. Again, in humanism, the basic religion of modern man, the source of law is either anarchistic man or it is the state. The state issues the law. The state is absolute. Once the state decrees, it’s absolutely binding upon men, but for us, this cannot be so.

Because we are Christians, because we believe the Bible is the word of God, for us it is God alone who is the source of law and therefore, it is His biblical law which must govern us. We cannot be Christians in the church and humanists outside, anymore than we can be Christians in the church and have another Lord in the school. God is one, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. In every sphere of life, one faith, one Lord.

Now, as we approach scripture, we must recognize that justification is by the atoning work of Jesus Christ by the sovereign grace of God received by faith. Sanctification, our growth in terms of that new life, is by means of the law of God. As St. Paul says, we are saved that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. Now, as we approach scripture, we must recognize that it is all law and all grace. Every word that God speaks is binding, it is all law and yet it is all grace, because the sovereign God, in His mercy, deigns to speak to us. To the sinner, God’s law is death, and whenever St. Paul speaks of the sinner, he speaks of the law as death to him, as an indictment, as a handwriting of ordinances, a death penalty against him. So he says, and the commandment, the law in its totality which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death, Romans 7:9. For the sinner, it’s a death penalty. The sinner is afraid of the law. He hates the law. To us, the sight of a policeman is a reassuring sight unless we’re speeding, outside the law then. But, if we’re in any problem, or in an area where we’re fearful, the sight of a policeman is a very reassuring sight to us. When we’re outside the law, it’s a menace, it’s a threat. When we’re inside the law, it is grace to us. It’s a sign of life. [00:11:42]

One of my most memorable experiences in that respect...[edit]

One of my most memorable experiences in that respect, I may have mentioned this when I was studying Dostoyevsky at the University of California, did I narrate this story?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, it was in one of my tapes probably because I like this story. We were studying Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Dostoyevsky, in that Crime and Punishment, deals with this radical student, Roskolnikov, who’s out to prove that there’s no such thing as a God and a moral conscience, and therefore, if he chooses to kill somebody whose life is worthless, who is no better than a human louse, there’s no problem. His conscience won’t bother him. He’s in the clear. So, he deliberately goes out and murders somebody to prove his theory that there is no God, no conscience, that this is simply myth. The only problem is then, his conscience begins to torment him, and everywhere he goes, he is haunted. The sight of a policeman makes him cringe and run, duck, and he is tremendously distressed when he meets this prostitute, Sonya, who is stronger than he is because she knows she’s a sinner, while he refuses to admit he is a sinner. Well, one of the student in the course was a philosophy major, and Dick was quite a character. He identified so thoroughly with Roskolnikov, because he believed in Roskolnikov’s thesis, and as he was reading that book, he was Roskolnikov. We were discussing the book one day when we were out to lunch, when we rounded the corner to go back to the campus and there was a police officer standing there, and Dick ducked around the corner hastily, and then, when I went to see had happened, he was swearing and he was angry. He said, “That blankety-blank book! I’m through with the course. I’m through with the book. When I start ducking policemen because of that book, I want no part of it!” Well, of course the problem was he had identified himself with Roskolnikov and the act of murder to the point where his conscience was affected, and he was afraid of the sight of a police officer. The commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be death, and so for the sinner, the law is death.

Romans 6:14, Paul says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace.” We are no longer under the law as an indictment. We are under grace, so now it is an ordination for life unto us. It is not the law that is dead. We are now as a new creation in Christ, dead to the law as an indictment, and every word of God for us is law. It’s binding for us and it is grace. [00:15:33]

The Puritans spoke of the grace of law and the law...[edit]

The Puritans spoke of the grace of law and the law of grace. They said the scripture is the law of grace and they spoke also of the grace of law. Kevin has written a book which is well worth your attention, and it has been reprinted quite often in recent years: The Grace of Law. But this is not all. We cannot begin to understand the function of law in God’s program unless we grasp expressions like this in 1 Peter 3:7 when he speaks of husband and wife being heirs together of the grace of life. The grace of life. Scripture speaks of life itself as grace. God, of His grace and mercy, created creation. Because He is absolutely sovereign, there is nothing that is inherent or natural about things that we can accept as, “Well, that’s the way it had to be for us.” No, everything is of grace, but the whole of God’s creation is saturated with law. Law is the blood of creation, but also the bones, the structure thereof, so there is no escaping law anymore than there is escaping God. The Psalmist says, “Thou I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” We can escape God nowhere, and everywhere God’s law and God’s grace are present. But men blind themselves to both. Men reject the sovereignty of God. Therefore, they reject the totality of the scope of His law, and they reject the fact that their very life is an act of grace, but there is no escaping law, because all things and men are governed by God. Hence, law is basic to our lives.

When the law idea of a civilization decays, the civilization collapses. This is why we’re in a crisis today. A few years ago, one of the most prominent of English jurists, in his lectures at a major university in a little pamphlet printed by Oxford Press, presented his hearers with a crisis. He said, very bluntly, The western world is in crisis. It is collapsing. Why? Because the foundation of the legal system of the west, he said, has historically been Christian. Its law has been derived from the word of God, scripture. Now we have abandoned that, and therefore, the law of the western world is in collapse and civilization is fragmenting. Why? Well, we, as Christians, know the answer. Humanism has a problem. It either must locate law in Adamistic{?} man. In those days, there was no king in Israel. Why was the king of Israel? God, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes. [00:19:49]

This is what we have today...[edit]

This is what we have today. Every man doing that which is right in his own eyes, do it yourself law. Well, that’s not the way I like it. Let’s reorder society in terms of my imagination, or else the totality of all things being put in the hands of the state; totalitarianism. Karl Marx, of course, faced that predicament. Where was the law to be located? Having denied God, logically, he had to say everyman is his own god, but he knew that would mean the end of everything. Max Sterner, who wrote The Ego and His Own, spelled it out very clearly. He said, “There is no law except my will.” And Max Sterner turned on all the atheists of his day and he said, “You are all disguised Christians.” Why? And then he spelled it out bluntly. He said, “You will not sleep with your mother, or your sister, or your daughter. You feel that there is a law in the universe outside of man, but you cannot deny God without abolishing all law and saying there is only one will, one law in the universe. My will.” And Karl Marx wrote his most violent book in the couple volumes, fat{?} volumes which you can order from the Moscow publishers, it’s not published outside Moscow because its implications are rather radical for western man. He’s not ready to face up to it. And Marx had only one thing to say. He did not deny the validity of Sterner’s thesis, but he said “This way madness, this way total fragmentation, this way it is suicide.” Of course, this is what the Marquis DeSade upheld. Exactly what Sterner did. Sterner was a paler version of the Marquis Desade. [00:22:16]

But the essence of Marx’s argument was we cannot follow...[edit]

But the essence of Marx’s argument was we cannot follow the object of our thinking into anarchism. Therefore, we must have communism. we must say the state is god upon earth, in effect. So, he stuck with Hegel totally at that point. Hegel had declared the state is god walking on earth, and Marx said we have to stand with that, but modern civilization is torn between this. Either on the one hand, a fascistic social order such as we have more or less, or a communistic social order. The one is international socialism, the other is national socialism. That’s the only difference between them. Or else, anarchism on the other hand, and this is why the world is in crisis today, because the humanistic alternatives are both deadly to man.

As a result, it is a time of tremendous opportunity for us, both as Christians and in terms of Christian education, because only the people who are ready to cope with the crisis of western Civilization, a legal crisis which has, at its heart, a theological collapse. The collapse of the theology of humanism. Only as we are able to cope with that can we command the future. We have the answer: biblical law. God is sovereign, therefore, his word is sovereign, therefore, in every sphere we have the sovereignty of God and His word. Hence, the subject of biblical law is of tremendous importance for us.

Now we’re going to take a break for five or ten minutes and then we’ll get back into the direction of biblical law. What it requires of us.

As we speak now about the purpose of biblical law, we will really be talking about the cultural mandate. The purpose of biblical law is simply to set forth the fact that God rules. God is Lord. God is sovereign. So, biblical law deals with the development of God’s rule or kingdom on earth as it is required of us. He requires us to rule under Him in terms of His word. Man was created by God to be His prophet, priest, and king. As the prophet of God, he was to declare the word of God in terms of every area of life and thought, and to apply the word of God to science, to agriculture, to the arts and sciences, to family life, to worship, to political life, to every area of life. So that man, as prophet must interpret the word of God and declare the word of God for every sphere of life. [00:25:59]

Man, as priest, is to take every area of life and every...[edit]

Man, as priest, is to take every area of life and every activity and dedicate it to the Lord, and man, as king, must rule over every sphere of life under God. A man fell from this test. Christ as very man of very man came as the perfect prophet, priest and king, which Adam was not, and in Christ and under Christ, we are recalled to that status as prophet, priest, and king. This is our life. This is our function.

Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that God created man and told him to exercise dominion and to subdue the earth. He gave him a limited area where God had already planted and prepared for the pattern for the whole world what God expected man to do, and so that man was set over that area which was to be a pattern for the totality of the earth. Now one of the first tasks God gave to man was to name the creation around him, the animal life. Names in the Bible, are classifications. In the Bible, that which is named is that which is classified. This is why, in the Bible, you find names changing. When a man’s life manifested something other than what he was originally named, his name changed. God himself does some of that classifying.

For example, Abraham. We don’t know what his original name was before God called him. The Bible blots that out. When God called him, he called him Abram. He classified him, “Father of Many.” Abraham had to wear that name by faith, and you can imagine Abram’s embarrassment at times as he went into the promised land, by faith, and people asked him, “What is your name?”

“Abram.”

“Oh, Father of many. How many sons do you have?”

“None.”

“How many daughters?”

“None.”

They must have snickered behind Abraham’s back. They did it behind his back, for sure, because Abraham was quite a potentate. His household had over 300 fighting man, which meant that there were a good 900,000 men counting the small boys and the old, in his household, and as many women. A household of about 2,000. He was a {?} Later, he was required by faith to have an even more ambitious name; Abraham. “Father of a Great Multitude.” Classification. God classified him. This is why we are told that we are given a new name. God classifies us, not we ourselves. So that when we are redeemed in Christ, we are reclassified by God. The task, therefore, of naming the animal creation was a scientific task. Classification. [00:29:55]

There was an agricultural task...[edit]

There was an agricultural task. There are many applications of the creation mandate. There was also the family role, Adam and Eve, knowing and understanding one another in their relationship one to another. So that man, in the Garden of Eden, was given a practical, limited sphere in which to learn the pattern that God wanted for the whole of the earth. Now man fell from that calling. He rebelled. He decided to exercise dominion apart from God and instead of developing the kingdom of God throughout the earth, to develop the kingdom of man, to establish his own dominion in contempt of God. The song of Lamech is to be understood in terms of this. It is a song of defiance, not only against man but against God, and it declares “What God man require in the way of justice and vengeance, I go further. I, Lamech, as my own god, declare ‘this is my law, this is my dominion, and this is how I exercise it.’”

And of course we are told that the line of Cain became very ambitious very early, building a city, establishing arts and sciences. Why? Because of this tremendous urge to dominion apart from God, apart from God. And of course the Tower of Babel sets forth this same thing. The Tower of Babel was a stepped pyramid. It was a religious center and a governmental center. The whole point of it was as man ascended from one degree to another, he came closer and closer to divinity. To be a god. This is precisely the symbolism that you have in Free Masonry. As you advance in degrees, you advance closer and closer to being a man-god, and of course, Free Masonry claims that its origin goes back to the Tower of Babel. Now, man as he has sought to establish dominion apart from God has instead reaped a harvest of trouble. Man’s harvest apart from God has been a loss of dominion over himself and a progressive exploitation and destruction of everything around him so that a humanistic society is a society centered upon man as god, is always in progressive disintegration. After a certain point, the inherent weakness, the inherent anarchism comes into focus and it begins to collapse. [00:33:45]

Thus, it is only as man, through the atoning work of...[edit]

Thus, it is only as man, through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, is made a new creation, that he can again begin having now dominion over himself because Christ has dominion over him, to exercise dominion over the world. The creation mandate, thus, is basic to all of history. All the ungodly are trying to develop the implications of the creation mandate without God. Whether it’s the Tower of Babel, or the U.N., or the United States, or Britain, or the Soviet Union, every society today has a plan for the salvation of man apart from God, for exercising dominion apart from God, but it only leads to greater and greater problems.

It’s important for us therefore, to understand the nature of biblical law and what its function is in our society. Now God, as He has given His law, has done it with the fact of the fall in mind. So that biblical law has, first of all, the creation mandate in focus: Exercise dominion and subdue the earth under God, in terms of God’s calling and purpose, but because the world is fallen, more is involved than was involved in the Garden of Eden.

Now what are the basic principles? First, there is restoration. The world must be restored under the rule of God, under His sovereignty. All things must be placed under His word, under His government. God’s order, God’s authority, God’s rule, God’s law, and the word of God must be applied in every sphere of life. So we must, to fulfill the creation mandate, work for restoration. This involves the task of evangelism. We have a duty to reach out to all men throughout the world and all nations. “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.” This is the cultural mandate. Bring them in, back under, restored to, God and His word, God and His authority, God and His rule. This is the task of Christian education. The restoration of the sovereignty of God over every subject, every area of life and thought, so that the child has to be educated in a Christian school. The cultural mandate requires it. He has to be in a Christian home. He has to see his life, whatever the area in which he plans to go, in terms of the basic authority of God, the total authority of God. So, restoration is the first and basic aspect of the creation mandate as we now know it. [00:37:30]

Then second, is restitution...[edit]

Then second, is restitution. Restitution means this: That man, having offended against God and against man, must make restitution. Now restitution towards God has only one ordained way: The atoning work of Jesus Christ. Man, himself, cannot make restitution to God. Only Christ can effect that. So, the second great focus of biblical law, restitution, gives us the sacrificial system. It gives us Christ in his atonement, but also it has a man-word side. So, what does scripture with regard to restitution in terms of man? Exodus 21 and the whole of the biblical law gives us one instance after another of restitution. Thus, to put it in terms of modern language, modern money, and so on, if I steal $100 I am required to restore $100 and to be fined another $100. Crime, in terms of biblical law, does not pay. There is no prison system in biblical law. There is only temporary imprisonment in terms of being held in custody until trial. Then, with the trial, restitution is ordered and if restitution cannot be made, the man is a bond servant until he can work off the required amount for restitution. Thus, restitution is basic. In certain cases, restitution must be fourfold and fivefold. For example, sheep can reproduce, they have wool, they can be meat. Therefore, fourfold restitution. You restore the sheep you’ve stolen and you are fined fourfold. With some things, it can be as high as fivefold, as with oxen, which are beasts of burden, the leather was valuable, the meat was good. They were also very difficult to train and so it was an art to train them, which has now been largely lost, so restitution was fivefold.

So, as we deal with biblical law, first we have the pattern of restoration, second restitution, and third, development. To subdue the earth, to exercise dominion over it, to conquer one are of life after another for Christ, as king. As a result, biblical law covers the basic aspects of the creation mandate as they apply to us: Restoration, restitution, development. The book of Isaiah gives us the picture. The righteousness of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. God’s law, God’s righteousness, God’s dominion. In terms of this, the Christian school has a basic function, because the Christian school alone can make the Christian child aware of this triple calling: restoration, restitution, development. Recognizing its God-ward side and its man-ward side, in terms of atonement and in terms of restitution. This involves, of course, the reign of Christ over us, on the one hand, and on the other, the reign of Christ through us, so that Christ’s reign, when it is over us will be manifested through us in the world round about us. If Christ is Lord over us, Christ will, through us, exercise His Lordship in one area of life after another. We cannot have any salvation without Lordship. If a man does not have Christ as Lord, he does not have Him as his savior, and this is an important fact as some of you have found out, and it is a dividing line between those who are truly of the Lord and those who are not, because you can approach Christ as an insurance agent, as I said last time, who insures you, gives you a fire insurance policy, and you can approach Him as Lord, and the two are two difference religions and we had better recognize it. There is no meeting ground between the two. Both may talk about Christ, but only one sees Christ as king or Lord, and Christ cannot be our savior if He is not our Lord. [00:43:41]

Christ reigning over us and through us must therefore...[edit]

Christ reigning over us and through us must therefore conquer every area of life: the family, the church, the state, the school, the vocations, the arts and sciences, everything. There is no sphere outside the word of God and outside the province of a godly man.

We spoke in the previous period of law as grace. Law as grace means you are not to be as the Gentiles are but as ministers one to another, but law is also God’s order, God’s authority going out to one area of life after another. Every area of life is under law; physical law, moral law, economic law, family law, and so on as we pointed out earlier, because all is of God. The universe is a law order, and there is no living in it apart from the law-giver, and I predict that, in the next generation, the most important development in the history of the church and in the history of civilization will be either that Christians develop a sense of law and the creation mandate, because the two are inseparable, you’re talking about biblical law, you’re talking about the Creation mandate, or the church will disappear, and that I believe is impossible.

So the issue is how soon Christians will wake up to the implications of the creation mandate and biblical law. The development of the Christian school in the past twenty years Is an indication that there is a waking up to this. It’s not a fully self-conscious thing yet, but there is a growing awareness of this. There is an awareness because those who are embarking on the Christian school movement and Christian school programs are aware of the need to develop something. They are recognizing that the faith speaks to more than to people in the pews on Sunday morning, that it has a totality in its scope.

Twenty, twenty-five years ago, when I first mentioned the creation mandate, people would look at me and say, “What’s that?” Now, it’s a matter of debate. Why? Because there’s a growing awareness of its implications. It’s become a challenge, and people either stand in terms of it or they are trying to understand more clearly its implications because they recognize that, in terms of this, that the future is going to be determined, and the Christian school is central to the understanding, the application, and the development of the creation mandate.

Now, are there any questions? [00:47:30]

[Audience] Could you speak maybe a little on this idea...[edit]

[Audience] Could you speak maybe a little on this idea that Christians today have the idea in their mind that the Ten Commandments is a {?} and they usually attack this as {?} sabbath. Why that’s wrong?

[Rushdoony] Yes, there is quite a widespread idea today that the Ten Commandments are not relevant. In fact, in some churches, it’s the ultimate offense to teach them in Sunday School class, let alone ever reading them, because supposedly we are no longer under law. Well, of course, this is an idea that, for centuries was condemned by the church as antinomianism, but today, antinomianism (anti-lawish) is the reigning philosophy, faith, and error of the Christian church. Now, the significance of the sabbath law is this: the sabbath law, in effect, says man cannot exercise dominion apart from God. So, in a sense, man makes clear, through the sabbath that it is not his work that the world depends upon, that while God requires it of him, “Six days shalt thou labor,” it is not his decision but God’s blessing that makes his work prospect and so, what he has to say, one day in seven, is “I take hands off my life,” because it is not my doing but the Lord’s.” The sabbath therefore, has its basic function, not worship, that’s secondary. We’re supposed to worship every day in the week. The basic function of the sabbath, as the very work indicates, is rest.

Now, because we are no longer trying to save ourselves by our works, or by our knowledge, or by our self-righteousness, but we are saved through the grace of God through Christ. We rest in the Lord. We recognize that it is His doing, His predestinating grace and power, His government which brings all things to pass. So that, the church idea of sabbath limits it and its meaning to worship. The biblical idea is the sabbath is the sign that we can rest, that one-seventh of our lives, and more in terms of the biblical requirement, because I believe in the sabbath of the land in the sabbatical year, and I believe when we are a godly society, we will restore the sabbatical year. It’s a way of saying that we can truly trust in God’s salvation and in His government. [00:51:13]

Now, Ed Powell is developing a textbook on economics...[edit]

Now, Ed Powell is developing a textbook on economics from a biblical perspective, and in it, he deals with the idea of the sabbatical year, rest from labor and the sabbath with regard to debt, and he points out that it is impossible to have the inflation/deflation cycle, which has haunted economics throughout the centuries if you have the full doctrine of the sabbath applied. So, he says you cannot begin a sound doctrine of economics without the sabbath. I’ll let him develop that and explain it sometime. Any other questions?

[Audience] I think it’s real interesting that you’ll talk about God’s law and some of us will go and we’ll, you know, be parts of God’s law, we’ll say do this here, and do this, and you know, other parts we won’t. The problem I have is using the whole testament law. Where do we break down what law do we use and what law we don’t. It’s like the animal sacrifices. I don’t think we’re going to be sacrificing in the future because of Christ. What does the sound principle {?} for looking at the law?

[Rushdoony] Alright. Now, everything in the Old Testament, unless it is specifically ended by Christ’s atoning work, is still binding upon us. Unless the New Testament specifically says this or that is superseded by something else, it’s still the word of God. The attitude that is now taken is if the New Testament confirms it, it’s no longer binding. For example, there is a statement made by someone in a recent book that we are not to tithe because the New Testament, after the resurrection, never mentions tithing, so we do not have to believe in tithing. But the New Testament after the Resurrection never mentions the virgin birth either. Does that mean the virgin birth is no longer binding upon us? You see? As we go back to the early church, we find, and I’m an Armenian and this was the practice in Armenia right up until World War 1, and in the rural districts of Armenia even under Communist rule today, it is still practiced: animal sacrifices. What do they do? Well, if you’ve read the biblical law, I quote one of the prayers used. This was done through Europe for a long time. The animal was taken to the door of the church, it was slaughtered there, a calf or a chicken, and a portion given to the pastor, and the prayer of the worshiper as it was sacrificed was, “We know, O Lord, that the blood of bulls and goats no longer avails for sin, the atoning work of sacrifice by Jesus Christ. And as this blood is shed, we remember the blood that was shed for us.” So you see? The Old Testament sacrifices, in a sense, were retamed in a form to point to the atonement of Christ as a continual reminder. That shed blood should always remind us of Christ’s shed blood. [00:55:16]

Now, where the sacrificial system is not involved,...[edit]

Now, where the sacrificial system is not involved, we have a limited amount of alteration. For example, as against the Hebrew practice, which was so rigid on the dietary laws, that there was no communication with Gentiles. To this day, an orthodox Jew will never come into your home, nor share of your food, nor have you in his home for dinner, under normal circumstances, because you cannot eat or partake of the same kind of food, and you’re unclean, which was carrying to the Old Testament laws to a ridiculous point and it was Phariseeism. Now, we know that St. Paul and the others, Peter and the others practiced the biblical laws of diet but they never did among Gentiles. They never allowed that to be a barrier, and when Peter allowed that to be a barrier, Paul rebuked him, publically. Thus, I myself follow the biblical laws of diet, but I never, when somebody serves me something else, make it a matter of contention. I eat whatever is put before me because that’s not to be a dividing line, but I believe God gave us those laws of diet for our health, and I’ve found over the years the more I’ve adhered to the word of God and all its implications, the more I’m blessed. Pastor Olaf in Texas has found the same thing.

[Audience] How about that passage where Peter has the vision? Would you talk about that?

[Rushdoony] Alright. In that passage, the whole point of it is not that the laws of diet are changed, but that Peter is no longer to see the Gentiles as unclean. So, this is the whole point there. In the 10th chapter of Acts, Peter has this vision of a “certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, {and so on}. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Now who was it that was being called “common” that was at issue? Why, it was the Gentiles. Anyone who was not of Israel was called unclean and common. They couldn’t even enter the temple, the court of the Gentiles was an outer court. So, they were outsiders, and still are to the orthodox Jews. So, this was the point. Peter, as still influenced by Judaism was unwilling to see that the gospel had to be proclaimed to these people who were, still in his eyes in some sense, unclean. So, when Cornelius sends his servants and when they come to him, what is the whole point of it? Why, Peter makes it clear that the meaning of the vision was that God, of a truth that I Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” So, and earlier he says, the 28th verse, “Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” So, this vision has nothing to do with food. It has everything to do with the status of the Gentiles. Yes? [01:00:34]

[Audience] {?} would be common on Mark 7:19 where we are told he declared all the food was clean. It may have been {?}

[Rushdoony] Mark 7?

[Audience] 19.

[Rushdoony] Nineteen, yes. Beginning with the 18th verse, “And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?” Now, the key word there is defile, and the word defile there had to do with defilement before God, you see. It’s a word that has to do with the sanctuary, with worship before God. So, what he is saying is the defilement comes from the heart, not from food. This doesn’t affect the status of good. That’s given to God by God as a blessing for us, so that these are the laws of diet. We are beginning to find out from totally secular people that the biblical laws for diet are the best for our health, that what they eliminate are foods that are bad for us, dangerous. The things that are eliminated are scavengers, are carriers of diseases. We know from surveys of people who observe the biblical laws of diet that their health and their life expectancy is better. So, our Lord is not talking about matters of diet here, in terms of God ordaining something for our welfare, but what defiles us in relationship to God. The thing that defiles us is sin in the heart. Now, if I am careless of my health, I am destroying myself but I can still be undefiled in my relationship to God, you see? So, it has to deal with a totally different category. So, our Lord is not saying the laws of food are invalid, but defilement before God is not an external thing, but it is a religious thing. It is what is the heart. Yes?

[Audience] Some of the food laws in the Old Testament, have you found them to be exclusively of religious nature, setting the Israelites off from the pagans? For example, they were not to eat the kid seethed in its mother’s milk. In my reading, I’ve discovered some of these commentators say that some of these food laws cannot be traced to any benefits as far as the body is concerned at all. It’s solely to set them off from the pagans. [01:04:00]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes. That is one commandment in that area which we know nothing, you see. Perhaps some day we will. We have found one or two culture where a kid seethed in its mother’s milk was a religious act, so some scholars have said perhaps that was the reason. It was borrowing a pagan form of religious worship, but I don’t feel entirely satisfied with that. There’s so much we haven’t learned yet because we haven’t set out to explore the validity of what the Bible teaches. For example, it was only accidentally in our generation that they learned that the blood of a baby only coagulates properly on the eighth day. The first seven days it doesn’t, and yet the Bible required circumcision on the eighth day. That’s a remarkable fact, is it not? So, there are many of those rules and regulations with regard to diet where we will discover, I believe, the meaning in due time when we give ourselves the study of them. Yes?

[Audience] I know about research behind the person, but someone said if you boil a babe, a calf in milk, it’s harder to digest. That’s what I heard but I don’t know the research behind it.

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience] This is going back to the law. Antinomian {?} 2 Corinthians 3 and they talk about that engraved in stones which fades away. Would you comment on that, I’ve never found a satisfactory explanation in any of the commentaries that I’ve read on this. That’s 2 Corinthians 3:7 and went on to verse 11.

[Rushdoony] Yes. 2 Corinthians 3:7-11. “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.” [01:07:05]

Now, what St. Paul here is declaring is this. In the third verse, for example, he says, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” When St. Paul says this, it would be ridiculous to assume, as some cultists have, some of the early people of the Quaker persuasion and other related groups in the 17th century, that the Bible was done away with, that there was the inner light now. The ministry was not of the old epistles, but us, as the epistles of Christ. You see where that leads to, so that for some of these Quakers, any Hindu or Chinese could be a better living epistle without ever speaking about Christ simply by cultivating the inner light, than this: the dead, the fleshly epistle. For we know that’s an invalid interpretation. So, we know that when St. Paul is making the contrast, he is not saying either that this epistle that he is writing, or any of the other writings of scripture, because the epistle has that sense, too. Not only letter, but writing is done away with because we are now as temples of the Holy Spirit, living epistles of Christ. So, this epistle remains and you and I remain. I think there’s no question about that, is there?

Alright, so when he goes onto say that God has made us ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter but of the spirit, for the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life,” he is not saying that the letter is thrown away, but that the letter without the spirit is a deadly thing, and the letter of the law when there is no spirit is a sentence of death. Remember, we dealt with that earlier? If I am not in the spirit of God, if I’m not regenerate, the letter of the law is an indictment, it’s a death penalty to me, but it’s a glorious thing all the same, because it sets forth the righteousness of God. I am a sinner, and to me, it’s a fearful thing, but it’s a glorious thing in that it upholds the absolute righteousness of God and declares it.

So, the law as it stands, the ministration of death to sinners, written, engraven in stones. It stands there for all sinners, but for me, now, it’s no longer a thing engraven in stones. I had it here, but I have it here. It’s written on the tables of my heart. That’s the promise of the new covenant. Yes? [01:10:57]

[Audience] So, in verse ...[edit]

[Audience] So, in verse 11, what does Paul mean when he says “Forgot that which fades away?”

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, if that which fades away or is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious, yes. Because for us now, for us as Christians it no longer is a death sentence. Now, because we’re not perfectly sanctified, it isn’t totally gone for us, you see. Perfect love casteth out all fear, but we do not have perfect love. So that, it still, to a certain extent, a ministration of death, we’re still afraid of God, we feel temptation, we feel the threat of the law, not being perfectly sanctified. But it’s no longer a death penalty to us. Yes?

[Audience] So, you would give this an individual application rather than a dispensational {?}, and he puts Romans 6:7 {?} same category, {?} and I’ve come to understand that in terms of having an individual application, that a person, up until the day he’s regenerate, he’s under God’s law subject to {?} but after that he’s under grace.

[Rushdoony] Exactly, and, you see, it’s a ministration of death to every unregenerate person, and to us because we are not perfectly sanctified. It still is, to a limited degree, but it fades away the more we are regenerate. We have the more glorious ministration of the spirit. But, because we’re not yet perfectly sanctified nor have that perfect love which casteth out fear, we feel the old Adam and the urging to sin, we struggle with it, but we are aware of that ministration of death, “The soul that sinneth is shall die.” So, it’s a struggle, you see? We can’t remove it from our realm and say it’s a historical dispensational thing and therefore, it’s no longer relevant to us. Yes? [01:13:35]

[Audience] Just one more, with regard to sabbath...[edit]

[Audience] Just one more, with regard to sabbath. Colossians. I’ve tried to teach the concept of sabbath as being applicable through all time. Of course, one of the verses {?} is Colossians 2:16, and I would like to have your treatment of that, or your interpretation of that.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Colossians 2:16. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come but the body is of Christ.” Now, we cannot recognize what Judaism had become unless we recognize its total externalism. I was reading something awhile back by a man who was not a Christian, who was in a military unit with some orthodox Jews and he described their total horror of anything that was not kosher, and yet their casualness about fornication. Because the fornication was with Gentile girls and it didn’t really count. But the kosher laws, the externalism, was so essential to them. Now, this total externalism was basic to Phariseeism. Phariseeism was a religion of observances, of set rules. You walked so many feet only, on the sabbath. The great debate in Phariseeism that was never resolved was: Could you eat an egg that was laid on the sabbath? And those that argued you could said the hen that lays an egg after the sabbath labored over it on the sabbath because the egg was several days in coming, so it had to be in the process of being an egg on the sabbath, too. See? That’s the kind of externalism that they labored over. Now, the sabbaths had become that kind of an external thing. For example, the Pharisees said that drunkenness was legitimate on the sabbath. It was not labor. It was fun, so there was no sin in being drunk on the sabbath, but the lighting of fire was {?}, and I heard a prominent pastor once, an evangelical, nationally known talk about visiting Rabbi Cosner{?}, and Rabbi Cosner{?} was discussing something with him in the realm of biblical studies, and it was in a book that was on the top of the shelf in his library, and he started to go for it, but he would have had to climb the ladder to get it, and so he says, “Ach, I cannot get it. It’s the sabbath.” It’s alright for a Gentile, a Christian pastor, to get it, so the Christian pastor climbed up and located the book, and I knew a Portuguese in the Bay area, this was back in the 40s, who as a boy had worked for a rabbi there, doing little chores around the house on their sabbath, such as turning on the lights. He could do it. After all, he was a Gentile and didn’t count. It was alright to have somebody flip the light switch but they couldn’t do it. [01:17:52]

Now, what is being struck down here...[edit]

Now, what is being struck down here: First, let no man judge you in these things, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. So the criterion, the criterion is not these rules and regulations, but Christ. Are you a regenerate man? Do you accept Christ as your Lord and savior? Or are you going to be judged in terms of any number of things. He could have said there, in terms of diet, in terms of how many times you go to church on Sunday, because I know this is a big argument in some circles. I know two reformed denominations, one comes from a European background where they go to church Sunday morning and that’s it. The other goes Sunday morning and evening, and the Sunday morning and evening denomination looks down on the Sunday morning denomination, which in some respects is far, far sounder, theologically, “Because they only worship once on the Lord’s Day, they’re not really reformed.” You see what the point is there? How are you to judge? What’s the criterion? Now, I do believe the church has perverted the sabbath, so I’m anti-sabbatarian in that respect. They’ve made it into a day of worship. The Lord says, scripture says “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” but the sabbath means resting in the Lord. So, while I’m anti-sabbatarian in relationship to the church, I believe, as my forthcoming book on Revolt against Maturity, and then my book on the doctrine of salvation, Salvation and Godly Rule, where I develop the meaning of the sabbath, in terms of this concept of resting in the Lord. When we teach that, we get to the heart of the meaning of the sabbath rather than to its form. Just as we celebrate communion today, but we don’t have communion in the church. There’s no real knitting together of lives, there’s no community. Communion and community are basic. So people go, I know churches where people go to communion regularly and don’t speak to each other. That’s communion? Or they don’t take care of the elderly in the congregation, or widows and orphans. That’s communion? Not according to the word of God. You see, we cannot limit things to a form. Yes? [01:21:05]

[Audience] A long time ago when I was studying prophesy...[edit]

[Audience] A long time ago when I was studying prophesy, I read a dispensationalist. Apparently, this guy believes that, in the millennium there will be restoration of sacrifice, and he quoted the verse and I don’t know the verse, and I was wondering would you comment on that?

[Rushdoony] Yes. I don’t recall the exact verse but it’s the latter part of Ezekiel, the later chapters of Ezekiel, and it doesn’t come from scripture. It comes from the Scofield notes, you see. And it rests not so much on that passage in Ezekiel, but on the fact that, for Scofield, Christ came to establish the Jewish hope{?}, a Jewish world kingdom. That the Jews had rejected him, his plan of salvation had to be altered, and so the cross was the alternate plan. Well, this destroys the whole doctrine of atonement, you see? So, the whole idea that, in the millennium sacrifices will be restores goes back to the Scofieldian idea that the kingdom of the idea of the Jews was the basic plan of salvation. The best thing to read on that by the way, is O.T. Ellis, Prophesy in the Church. He critiques that thoroughly.

[Audience] Okay, do you believe it isn’t wrong for Christians today to have some type of animal sacrifice for remembrance of the Lord?

[Rushdoony] I think it’s a good way of constantly bearing in mind the meaning of Christ’s work. Yes. You see, what that kind of thing did when it was practiced, and where it is still practiced, it’s being practiced by farmers in Armenia in defiance of the Soviet regime. What do they do every time they go to the door of the church in their farming communities, and they kill their calf there and pray over it? They’re witnessing that their salvation is not from the Soviet Union, but it’s through the shed blood of Christ. They do it as an act of defiance as well as an act of faith. So, you see, it’s a continual reminder of the atonement. I think that’s valid.

Now, apart from that, the sacrificial system has a number of principles embodied in that. For example, Leviticus 4 tells us that the sins of the common people are not as serious in the sight of God as the sins of the prince and of the priest. In other words, the whole graded system of sacrifices there says the greater the responsibility, the greater the culpability. Thus, the sin of a minister is more fearful in the sight of God than the sin of the people in the pew. The sin of a political leader is greater in the sight of God than the sins of the people who are brought before him. So, the judges up and down the state of California who are deciding cases in terms of humanistic law are, in the sight of God, more guilty than the criminals brought before them, guilty as those criminals are in the sight of God.

[Audience] Now what do you do with altars? How many altars are there? I mean, if you’re going to have sacrifices, you’ve got to have altars, right? [01:25:12]

[Rushdoony] No, because those are not sacrifices in...[edit]

[Rushdoony] No, because those are not sacrifices in the biblical sense. They’re memorials.

[Audience] Okay, so then you would, there are sacrifices {?} like as far as the tabernacle {?} you’d say no, absolutely.

[Rushdoony] No, there’s no place for that. That’s finished. You see, that type of sacrifice is a type of memorial. It’s a memorial. Yes?

[Audience] So, in theory, would you take issue with people who say, then in the millennium there supposing that their view of it {?} in theory, would you take issue with them because their sacrifices aren’t memorial?

[Rushdoony] I would take issue with them because their whole point is that it is the Jewish kingdom that’s going to be established, and therefore the memorials are a Jewish thing, as though we have nothing to do with them. So, their idea is we are separated from Israel when we are the true Israel of God, and that the Jewish nation constitutes the Israel of God. The Israel of God is the believing people of God, the kingdom of God. Literally, Israel can mean God rules, or God fights. So, Jacob was named Israel, prince with God, and also a fighter with God. So, Israel’s only there where God rules and God through those people is waging His warfare. So, the very word Israel is a creation mandate word, you see? Now, the idea that this physical Israel is going to be reconstituted and somehow, we’re not Israel, is invalid. Israel is where God rules, and the people through whom God wages His war. Yes?

[Audience] In your book on political law, you mentioned since we’re giving a talk on creation mandate, you mentioned, you quote McIntyre, and also there’s other words that approach the creation mandate from McIntyre’s position. From Genesis 1:28, you have a fall {?} so therefore, after that you find the statute of subduing the earth, in Genesis 9 you have the repeating of filling the earth. Your commandment of subdue the earth, and of course, people coming from the opposing creation mandate ideas are quick to bring that up. I’ve seen that argument {?} over and over again in many other works other than McIntyre. {?} other works encountered bring that idea brought that idea up again and again, and yet I’ve never really an answer to that, just sort of from a {?} standpoint. [01:28:57]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, as a matter of fact, from the dispensationalists themselves, the creation mandate is present in the Bible. I forget the name of the man, the varian{?} ministry out of Chicago. He’s a luminous writer of books, quite a … at any rate, he has a new book out on the Great Commission. He rejects it. Why? Because it’s the creation mandate. So he says the Great Commission is not for the church, it was for Israel, and therefore, with the church age beginning, which he dates a few years after Pentecost, the creation mandate is no longer valid. Well, he is a logical dispensationalist, you see, but he does recognize the creation mandate there. “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Now the Great Commission has the name “great” precisely because it’s the second commission. What was the, the commission as against the Great Commission?

[Audience] Joshua?

[Rushdoony] The commission to Joshua in Joshua 1:2-9, and the Great Commission is a summation of Joshua’s commission, and what is it? “Go out and subdue the area that is the Promised Land, and wheresoever the sole of your feet shall tread that shall be yours.” So, now it’s made the world, “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.” “All power in heaven and on earth is given unto me.” I have dominion. He’s the second Adam for the creation mandate. So, what does He do with that mandate? He now passes it on to all his followers, and says, “Alright, I as the second Adam, having all power and authority given to me, and I’ll send you out.” This is why dispensationalists like this man object to it. Yes?

[Audience] Now, I thought that was interesting, the first time you mentioned that, I thought that was interesting comment, your comment on the nation, because we usually look at as individual, we don’t really reckon with that, at least I haven’t. But now, would you baptize the nations? What do you do with the baptism part, is that for the ones who were converted, or is that really getting into the whole issue . . .

[Rushdoony] The term baptism has both reference to the rite of baptism and also bringing them into and under the power of the spirit, just as circumcision is used literally and figuratively. The term baptism in scripture is also used literally and figuratively. Israel was baptized in the Red Sea crossing, that’s a very figurative use, you see. So, just both words are used literally and figuratively. [01:32:36]

[Audience] Do you think in that case it would be figurativel...[edit]

[Audience] Do you think in that case it would be figuratively?

[Rushdoony] Well, how are you going to literally baptize all nations? Whether you immerse them, or sprinkle them, or asperse them, it’s kind of a problem. What it does mean is that individuals are to be brought in by baptism. Baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and the nations are to be brought under the sway of the word of God and the Spirit of God. [01:33:10]

End of tape.