The Tenth Plague 2 - RR171Q30

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Tenth Plague II
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 30
Length: 0:39:58
TapeCode: RR171Q30
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. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name, for the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations. Let us pray.

We lift up our hearts unto thee, oh Lord, rejoicing in thy mercy, delighting oh Lord, in thy word and in thy promise that thy justice shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Use us, oh Lord, to this glorious purpose. Make us faithful in season and out of season, to the end that all things may glorify thy holy name, obey thy word, and rejoice in thy grace. In Christ’s name, amen.

Our scripture this morning is Exodus 12:1-10. Our subject: The Tenth Plague, the second part of our study of the Tenth Plague, the Passover. Exodus 12:1-10. “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.” [00:03:52]

This passage gives the rules for the preparation of...[edit]

This passage gives the rules for the preparation of the Passover. God first gives the rules, and then in the following verses of this chapter, the reason for the Passover. God requires obedience because He is the Lord. The understanding follows obedience. God does not say, “I’m going to tell you something and this is the reason for it,” but He says, “Do this,” and then He may or may not give the reason. The emphasis then is on faithful obedience.

The Passover is the establishment of God’s covenant with the slaves of Egypt before their release. We are told in verse 1 that this was done in the land of Egypt before the departure and before the giving of the law at Sinai. The Passover marked their covenant deliverance from Egypt into the life of freedom under God and under His law.

Now Israel’s calendar was to be remade by the Passover, according to verse 2. Dating henceforth, was to begin with the time of redemption. The first month was called Habib, meaning “newly ripened corn or barley.” Later it was also called Nisan. On our calendar it us roughly somewhere between mid-March and mid-April. Now the interesting thing is Israel observes to this day, religiously, more than one calendar, so they have a fall New Years for a particular type of cycle of their life and also the Passover as the beginning of another. But God’s point is that with the covenant time has a new beginning. Time is reckoned in terms of salvation and it is to culminate in God’s triumphant kingdom. With Christ’s renewal of the covenant as Himself, the Lams of God, time’s great renewal begins. All things are now reckoned A.D., anno domine, The Year of Our Lord, or from The Year of Our Lord.

In verse 3 we are told that all the congregation of Israel shall observe the Passover. The term which is translated “congregation” means also assembly, but can be better understood as community. The covenant establishes a community among the people of God. It is with God by His grace, and it requires a community among the covenant people. Another word is used in Deuteronomy and elsewhere, but these two words are together rendered in the Greek version as “ecclesia” church, or the community and kingdom of God. [00:07:56]

The sacrificial animal was normally a lamb, but might...[edit]

The sacrificial animal was normally a lamb, but might also be a kid or a young goat, a year old, unblemished, and a male. This sacrificial animal set forth God’s atonement by means of an unblemished substitute. All who sinned are under penalty of death, they cannot make atonement for themselves. The death penalty on man was assumed by the Lamb of God, and the Passover enacted what, in time, would be Christ’s atoning sacrifice. The lamb was to be consumed in its entirely at the Passover meal. Hence, if a family had too few members, it was to unite with neighbors to observe the meal. The sacrificial animal had to be roasted, not boiled or prepared in any other way. After being skinned and cleaned, it was to be roasted whole. The blood of the lamb was to be kept and sprinkled on the lintel and the doorposts. Blood in the Bible represents life. Those whose doors are marked with the blood of the lamb are spared the tenth judgment. The premise is that a life has been laid down so that the dweller’s lives are spared. The Passover sacrifice was to be eaten with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs. What those bitter herbs were originally, we are not told. It obviously meant any type of bitter herb, and one of the more common herbs used is horseradish, so that in a good many of the Passover observances today, it is horseradish that is used.

After the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., Judaism no longer used a whole lamb for reasons that we do not know, only the shank bone for the Passover meal. Four days before the Passover, the lamb was to be set aside. Every member of the family was to regard the lamb as now holy. At first, all ate generously of the lamb and it was reckoned ten to twenty persons to a lamb, according to Josephus. Later, the Passover became among many of the Jews, more a symbol than a meal, and each person received a portion the size of an olive, and anything remaining from the lamb, of course, was to be burned, consumed. The Passover could not be a solitary feast. It had to be a community observance centered in the family. In the Communion service, many churches have said there cannot be a solitary communion, a reserved communion, taken to someone for example, who is dying. Whereas others permit that on the condition that one or two officers of the church, and other members of the family are there, so it is a still a communal and a family observance. [00:12:16]

Now life in community is not easy, but it is a religious...[edit]

Now life in community is not easy, but it is a religious necessity, and this is what communion or the Passover stresses. Chadwick observed, about a century and a half ago, and I quote, “History is the sieve of God.” History is the sieve of God. Life in community is difficult because people are sinners. They’re not easy to get along with and that includes all of us. Each of us have our quirks. Now, we don’t recognize them, and that’s what husbands and wives are for, to remind one another of how quirky the other person is. Difficult as it is to believe, it is very often true. Well, the problems and tensions of community life are the testing ground for men. And that’s why the Bible stresses community. Why the basic word in the Bible for the congregation, or assembly means, at its heart, community.

As a slave people, Israel had suffered more than it had been tested, because there is a security that goes with slavery. And therefore, the slave is spared many of the responsibilities that make for the testing of a person. Now, soon with freedom the testing of Israel would begin, and it would be painful. It is a myth that men love freedom. Fallen man, sinful man seeks security, not freedom, because his goal is irresponsible power, not maturity and liberty, and responsibility goes with true freedom. It requires testing.

Since the Passover was a family observance, it imposed a religious duty on every family man. The faith of the family was primarily his responsibility. We have just seen the observance this past week of the religious new year for Israel, and it is interesting that Rosh Hashanah is the recognized new year. It’s a harvest festival. It looks to things that have been accomplished and done, and can be enjoyed, whereas, the Passover is in the spring. It precedes the harvest, and God says, you begin at the beginning religiously. By ordering the Passover, God claimed Israel as His property. He had judged Egypt and was now about to deliver Israel. By establishing His covenant with Israel, He now required Israel to keep His law. The response to God’s redemption must be obedience to God’s law. Circumcision began with Abraham. The Passover began with Moses. Circumcision sets forth personal regeneration. The Passover and communion establish the necessity for life in community under God. And there is an important distinction here. We are saved as individuals, as persons. The knowledge of God and His salvation comes to us as a very personal thing, but it cannot stay there. There must be growth and so the next important stage, one that is lacking to a great extent in modern Christianity, is life in community under God, set forth in the Passover and then the communion. To partake of either the Passover as, in this case, or now, to partake of communion means to recognize, in terms of Ephesians 4:25, that we are now members one of another. And that as the redeemed of God, we assume community responsibilities in terms of God’s law. [00:18:39]

The Passover narrative, like most of the Bible, has...[edit]

The Passover narrative, like most of the Bible, has been the target of skepticism by modernist scholars. Thus, Professor Royale Honeycutt, Jr. was troubled by the fact that God killed children, the firstborn, in this tenth judgment. And so, as he wrote about it, he held that either God’s character had changed since then, or improved, or God had matured, which meant He held to the possibility of an evolving God, or man now better understands the meaning of this and other events, and the people who recorded it had primitive ideas. He held, moreover, that God used some fatal epidemic, to use his term, and therefore the death of the firstborn.

Now this is one of the better modernistic interpretations, and such interpretations change nothing. They reveal the sentimentality of modern man, his inability to understand God and God’s law or God’s judgment, and they are influential in furthering moral corruption. We have a generation now that cannot execute hardened, habitual criminals, nor murderers, nor anyone else who deserves death, and it often favors abortion, and the death of millions thereby every year. We have a generation that legalizes sodomy and is permitting euthanasia, and all this in the name of enlightenment. And while it steadily increases the murderous scope of its evil, it rejects God’s righteous judgments as cruel. Such men are tenderhearted towards the evil and merciless toward God and His people, and God’s laws. What we are dealing with on all sides today are the modern Egyptians, the modern Egyptians, as totally heedless of God as was Pharaoh. As totally contemptuous of moral law, ready to murder the innocent babes, and to rail against the ways of God. We have the Bible and we know what happens to the Egypts of history. Let us pray. [00:22:02]

Our Lord and our God, we come to thee knowing that...[edit]

Our Lord and our God, we come to thee knowing that thy word tells us the way of life, the certainty of thy providential care. That thou who did so much for us, to give thine only begotten Son for our lives, for our redemption, will do yet more and care for us. That for all time and eternity, we are in the hollow of thy hand. Teach us, therefore, to walk in this confidence, to rest in this faith, to know that our down-sitting and our up-rising were all known to thee, and thy purposes, while often difficult for us to grasp are altogether righteous. Make us therefore, joyful in thee and in thy government. For indeed, it is well that thou rulest. Our God, we praise thee in Christ’s name. Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] Well, the comment you quoted is interesting because it presupposes that death is the end.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And some years ago, an English scientist, Dunne, wrote a very interesting book, not a Christian, in which he said, we had long supposed that all we had to do was to get men to realize the brevity of life then that there is nothing after, and it would produce the most humane society the world could ever imagine, because life would then be so precious that everything would be done to spare people any inhumanity. And he said the reverse has been true. As we have abolished God from our world of thinking, we have become more merciless and contemptuous of life than anyone in all the past ages would have ever imagined. Naturally, his book was not successful, but his point was very well taken. It was a comment made, by the way, in the course of work that was basically scientific in its orientation. Yes? [00:25:45]

[Audience] Your earlier comment about man fearing freedom...[edit]

[Audience] Your earlier comment about man fearing freedom was interesting because in the last several years, as government has deregulated various industries, practically every industry has cried out to get the regulation back, they don’t want to be free of regulation.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Very good. They were belly-aching, whining about the federal regulations, but they didn’t like being deregulated, because it meant responsibility, and a slave doesn’t like responsibility. He dreads it. I was very interested recently to read that when the War between the States, or the Civil War, whatever you want to call it, broke out, one of the very curious facts was that in those days, slaves were allowed to go to work during the off-season. After all, the work on the plantation was limited in its scope. So, they would hire out as carpenter’s crews, or bricklayers and what-not, and the slave owner would get a slight percentage of their income, but they could keep most of it, and some in some states would buy their freedom with it, or spend it as they saw fit. Now, the unpublicized fact is that the slaves made far more than the confederate soldiers did, twice as much, and more than the union soldiers did. Now, we can say that today, the modern slave is making perhaps more money, at least as far as numbers of dollars go, but is slavery better than freedom? Are we better off in spite of the material advantages which are not a product of statism than people were, say before World War 1? Yes?

[Audience] There’s a trend in certain circles to have Passover Seders in the Christian churches. Is this a Judaizing influence or do you see this as a positive element? [00:28:38]

[Rushdoony] If that went hand-in-hand with some real...[edit]

[Rushdoony] If that went hand-in-hand with some real attention to the Old Testament, it might say there’s a good case, perhaps for it. Because certainly the Christian church, for a long time, observed the Passover, and called communion the Christian Passover, and observed it once a year as a result, at the time of the Passover. I believe Scotland persisted in that the longest. I think it was the tenth or eleventh century before the Vatican was able to force the Scots to give up on the observance of the Christian Passover. However, too commonly, we have people imitating some of these things because they feel that it gives them some kind of roots in the past. It is a sentimentalized version. It doesn’t go hand-in-hand with any attention to the law, or to the responsibilities that the whole world of God imposes upon the community. So, it has become a way of making something look a little more authentic, and it isn’t real. I think communion services, by and large, across the world have become a blasphemy, and people need to sit back awhile and rethink what the communion means before they again observe it. Of the responsibilities it places upon them in terms of community, and all this is gone, it’s become a ritual. Yes? [00:31:05]

[Audience] There are two terms often applied to the...[edit]

[Audience] There are two terms often applied to the Christian Eucharist. One is Holy Communion and one is the Lord’s Supper. The first one tends to emphasize, I think, the community as you’ve explained it this morning. The second one tends to emphasize the focus on the sacrifice of Christ. When Christ said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” wasn’t he shifting the focus to an act of worship, more of a vertical focus than a horizontal one?

[Rushdoony] It always was an act of worship. The difference is that the definition of the locale of worship shifted. It was an act of worship within the family or within a circle of two or three families, enough to provide for one lamb being consumed. But what we have in the New Testament is the changing of the family to the congregation, the community, so that now, the church is spoken of as the household of God, the family of God, because instead of the father of the family, it’s Christ as the father of His people. Moreover, the church as the family of God now again and again has its responsibilities for communion stressed. One can go through the scripture and single out the references to that. The most conspicuous is the “He that doth not care for his own, especially those of his own household, hath despised the faith and is worse than an infidel.” Well, there the family is defined as more than your immediate blood family. One that hath not cared for his own, is one that has had no responsibility towards his fellow believers. Towards those in his own fellowship and others away. Hence, you have Paul taking up the offerings throughout all the churches to help those who are suffering from famine. And this was heavily stressed. That’s why, as I pointed out more than once, the early church started homes for homeless older people, for homeless children, hospitals, schools, Christian schools a very strong emphasis. Because that was a necessary concomitant of taking communion. [00:34:58]

So, we’ve reduced ritual and worship to something done...[edit]

So, we’ve reduced ritual and worship to something done in the church building, and that’s not the biblical conception. So, we have impoverished the whole idea of what constitutes worshiping God, and it has led to modern statism. The churches once had ministries in all these spheres. Now I’m glad to say it’s reviving and the Christian school movement is the beginning of that. But it means we gave the world to the state, and we did it deliberately. The state was always trying to gain more power, but whereas the Medieval church fought it, and the Calvinists for generations fought it. What happened subsequently was that they handed it to the state. One of the horrible facts in this country was that the Christian school movement was killed by Armenian revivalism. They did not want children to go to Christian school, they wanted to concentrate on evangelism.

So, we have to get back to an older concept of what constitutes worship. It is interesting, for example, the writings of Calvin that have been translated deal basically with purely theological subjects. But Calvin had a great deal to say about community responsibilities, and how imperative they were. But we’re not interested in that anymore, so they go untranslated. It is interesting that in the four volumes of the collected work of Dabney, which are in English, one major publishing trust for Christian books published the first two volumes only, which were theological, and refused to publish volumes three and four, which together with Sprinkle Publications, {?} Book reprinted, because they didn’t feel these other subjects were proper provinces of the faith. So, this is what’s at the root of our problem. We have created a box theology in which God belongs in the church and Christ belongs in the church, and the Bible is a church book, not a book for the whole of life, and where the Christian responsibility is a very limited one. If there are no further questions, let us conclude with prayer. [00:38:24]

Our Father, thy word is truth...[edit]

Our Father, thy word is truth. Thy spirit is life. We thank thee that thy word and spirit are at work in our times, to revive thy community, to empower it from on high, to make it again a mighty army about to bring all things into captivity to Jesus Christ, our Lord. Make us faithful servants of thy community. 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.

End of Tape.