044 - IBL01 First Commandment - Audio - RR130B3.mp3

IBL01: First Commandment
The First Commandment

Professor:  Rushdoony, Dr. R. J

Subject:  Prerequisite/Law

Genre:  Speech

Lesson:  1-5

Track:  3

Dictation Name:  RR130B3

Date:  1960’s-1970’s

[Rushdoony] Deuteronomy six, the first commandment and the Shema Israel.

“1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:

2 That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

10 And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12 Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

16 Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.

19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.

20 And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you?

21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:

22 And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:

23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.

24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.

25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.”

The sixth chapter of Deuteronomy is one of the great chapters of scripture our Lord during His temptation quoted it twice in His response to Satan. Verses four and five are the “Shema Israel”, the morning and evening prayer of Israel, and the term “Shema Israel” is the first two words: “Hear O Israel”. This chapter is exceedingly important in an understanding of the law of scripture, in particular of the first commandment. The prologue to the law declares “And God spake these words saying “I am the Lord Thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage.” Then the first commandment “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. [5:18]

In this declaration God identifies Himself as the self existent one, the absolute one, the law. His name which is variously given and translated as “Jehovah” and as “Yahweh” means “I am that I am” that is, the self existent one; the one who is beyond definition, He who is, He in terms of whom all things are defined and created. Moreover God in this declaration reminds Israel that He is their Saviour “Thy God” and that the relationship is therefore one of grace. The law is given therefore to the people of grace, to those saved by grace, and it is their way of life. The first response therefore of grace, as well as the first principle of law is this; “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”

Now in Deuteronomy six, in the first three words or verses, the implications of the first commandment are cited by Moses, and they are told that they are to fear the Lord and to keep all His statues. Now fear in our day and age is regarded as something defective religiously and spiritually, but it is presented throughout the scripture as something clean, healthy. The fear of the Lord is clean. And we are again and again told that it is the hallmark, not of something that is mentally defective or spiritually defective, but of sanity, of fullness of mind. Since God is God, the absolute Lord of heaven and earth it is the mark of a sane and healthy mind to fear Him. We are fearful of those who have power over us. We would be fearful if tomorrow we knew that an enemy power had sufficient force to destroy us at will and threaten to use that against us. How much more then is it a mark of healthy to fear the absolute and sovereign God and to know that we are totally in His hands? [8:18]

The fear of God is therefore a healthy thing, and fear we are told by Moses should prompt obedience. And those who fear God and obey Him will move in terms of obedience and their days shall be prolonged. Then in verses four through nine we have first the Shema Israel in verses four and five and then the implications of it. The Shema Israel, “Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one God, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all Thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all Thy might.” This is one of the most central declarations in all scripture. It affirms the unity of the Godhead. The Lord our God is one God.

Now this in itself not only affirms indirectly the doctrine of the trinity but also the oneness of the trinity. Because when it speaks of “the Lord our God” the word “God” there is elohiym, plural. So that plurality of God is used in the very word, the word used is not “el” singular” but “elohiym” plural; God is more than one person, but the Lord our God who is more than one person is one God. One Lord. Thus there is one God and one unity of the Godhead. And the implication of this very definitely is since there is one God there is one Law. Because one sovereign God governs and  orders as well as has created all things in heaven and on earth. Therefore there is one law system for the entire universe, one God, one law. [10:50]

Now the old expression that characterizes polytheism was “lords many, gods many, laws many.” Our modern worldview is polytheistic. That is, it implicitly believes in many gods. Because with our pragmatic relativism what our modern philosophers say is “all religions and all systems are equally good, Buddhism is good for the Buddhism’s and it’s true for the Buddhists. Mohammedanism is true for the Muslims, and it’s good for them, and Shintoism is good for the Japanese and it’s true for them.” And so on around the world. In other words there is no one God, one truth, one law.

Now if you have such a perspective, and this is the modern perspective, how then are you going to have one world order? Because this is what they want at the same time. Not by conversion. We who believe in one God seek to convert others to that faith because we believe it to be the truth. But if you say “all are equal” how are you going to bring all into one?  Only by coercion, only by imperialism.

Now the UN charter at one and the same time, because it wants a one world order and also declares there is no distinction between religions, all are equally true and equally false. So how then can it bring about a one world order, except by coercion? If you deny the one true God then you then you deny a one true law, and there is no possibility of converting anyone to truth, since the truth is denied. And the only way you can bring the world together then and people together is by coercion. In terms of the faith given here the world can be brought together not by coercion but by faith, not by an enforced unity but by being one in the Lord.

But our modern world perspective is polytheistic, it denies any one true God. It affirms that all are equally valid, lords many, laws many. One God, one law is our faith. And because there are lords many and laws many in the modern worldview, at the one and the same time that they are talking about one worldism they are engaged on the most fearful program of coercion that the world has ever seen. Now there is no escaping that coercive perspective apart from a return to the faith, hear O Israel the Lord our God elohiym who is many, more than one person, is yet one Lord, One God. [14:51]

Moreover it follows because God is one, truth is one. It is the same in every age. There is therefore no evolutionary progression. No different dispensation. It is the same doctrine in every age, the same program of salvation in every age. The people of the Old Testament where by the grace of God, which the whole sacrificial system set forth, their salvation depended upon the atonement affected by the lamb Who was a substitute for the One who was to come.

The only difference between the old and new testaments is that which was set forth symbolically in the lamb was openly and fully set forth in Jesus Christ. But the same doctrine of salvation, the same God, the same truth. Because God is one, truth is one. As God declares “I am the Lord, I change not”. And those who set aside the law, who are antinomians, anti-nomos, law are polytheistic and the sad fact is that a vast portion of the Christian church today is polytheistic. It actually worships many gods because it denies the law of God, the one unchanging law, because it falls into dispensationalism which is a polytheistic point of view.

One of the leaders of campus crusade has said that the law was given by Satan! When scripture says: “God spake these words and the law was given” is this not only anti-Christian, but polytheistic? It goes back to the Joachimite heresy which saw the God of the Old Testament as one God and the God of the New Testament as another God. It is antichristian to the core. One absolute God means one absolute unchanging law and one absolute unchanging truth. [17:42]

Neo-orthodoxy or Barthianism which is sweeping the church today, which governs virtually every protestant seminary, which governs the Vatican counsel, holds to the freedom of God, that is, God can be different tomorrow from what He is today. And so it is inescapably universalistic; because every truth is equally good and equally bad, then anybody can be saved by any idea of truth and by any religion. And so cardinal Bea says: “Everybody is going to be saved their own way.” and so Karl Barth  says (the swiss theologian) “Everyone is going to be saved.” They have no truth, every man truth is equally good.

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

Another point in the Mosaic law the requirement also is for the blue thread on the fringes or tassels of the garments. So here we have a statement that the law is to written upon the posts of thy house and on thy gates, and the signs upon thy hands so that as a tape with the law written upon it it shall be upon thy hand and as frontlets between thine eyes.

Now there are some who say that this statement and the related ones elsewhere in the law are to be taken as spiritual that we are to have them as it were on our gateposts and on our eyes and arms. But this is nonsense; the requirement is very specific and very literal. And this was required of Israel, it was the covenant sign of the Old Testament period. Even as circumcision was then the covenant sign and the Passover. It has been replaced for us by the covenant sign of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

But this does not mean there was anything wrong with it or ridiculous about it. We conform ourselves to the world regularly we dress as the world requires we should dress. And what was wrong in God requiring that Israel should dress as He required in these points; to show God that they were a people separated unto him and conforming unto Him? There was nothing ridiculous about it, in fact it was a beautiful and a marvelous sign of the covenant. God does not ask it of us, but it does not mean that there was anything lesser or lower about it than our covenant signs. [21:58]

At the same time the declaration is  “Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children” and the concluding verses twenty through twenty-five have the same requirements.

“And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you?

21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:

22 And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:

23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.

24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes.”

This is a declaration that education is basic to and inseparable from total obedience to the Law and to worship. Indeed it puts education even before worship, that without education we cannot worship God. This means Christian education. It means teaching such as we are having right now because this is education that we might know the law of God in order to worship Him properly. Education is therefore specified as basic to true worship and true obedience. Where there is no vision the people perish, that is vision, sight, knowledge, of God’s law word. Therefore this is to be taught diligently unto thy children.

Moreover in verses ten through fifteen we have a very important declaration, the essence of which is “ye shall not go after other Gods or the gods of the people which  are around about you for the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you, lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee and destroy thee off the face of the earth.” The jealousy of God; this is repeatedly stressed throughout the scriptures, it is especially stressed at this point and the doctrine of the jealousy of God is one of the most beautiful and one of the most important in scriptures. It declares unto us that God is personal, He is not an impersonal force.

The doctrine of Karma of India sees God as an impersonal force so that everything you do wrong you pay for, and so you spend untold generations in reincarnation to work out your karma. But because God is a person, the whole of our relationship to Him is not an impersonal thing but highly personal. A charge of electricity effects you impersonally, if you touch a live wire certain things happen given certain conditions and it doesn’t make any difference whether the person who touches it is the president of the United States or a criminal. The electricity is impersonal, it moves in terms of the impersonal laws. But God is a person, and therefore He declares unto us  that His reaction is one both on the one hand of grace and forgiveness and on the other hand of wrath, because He knows the heart and He moves in terms of His law which governs not only the heart of man but his actions, the totality of man. [26.36]

And so the doctrine of the jealousy of God is important. It also declares that God manifests a love to His people, because it is impossible to have love without jealousy. An illustration which I’ve used before and is worth using again and again that it might stay in your minds is the one of a husband who after being out all night turns up at seven o’clock when his wife is at the breakfast table and says to his wife “my dear I’m sorry to be late for breakfast but I spent the night with Mrs. Jones” and she says “Well sit down dear I forgive you, quickly sit down that you might  have your breakfast before it gets cold”. Now this illustration illustrates the absurdity of love without jealousy, it’s an impossibility. Any woman who so responded would have no love, because love is jealous. And God is here declaring “I am a jealous God” because having called you by My grace and having put my love upon you I am jealous where my love is manifested and therefore you shall be of both My love and My jealousy at anything that transgresses against Me and My relationship with you.” [28:17]

Then in verses sixteen through nineteen. The declaration ye shall not tempt or try or test the Lord your God as ye tempted Him in Massah.

“Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God and His testimonies and His statues which He has commanded thee, and thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord that it may be well with thee. That thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to cast out all of thy enemies from before thee, as the Lord has spoken. Thou shalt not tempt, test, or try the Lord your God.”

What does this mean? It means putting God to the test. Why is this so fearful a sin? Because God is God, and we cannot test Him, God tests us by His law, the whole law is given as a test, the trying of man. And therefore man cannot presume to be God and put God and His law word on trial saying “Lord here is my law and I’m putting you to test in terms of my law” this is turning the whole order upside down. Man declares himself to be God and God his creature, therefore ye shall not tempt the Lord your God. This is our Lords answer to Satan, because this is the great temptation. The temptation to Eve, “Ye shall be as God, knowing (that is determining for yourself) what is good and evil” every man his own God. [30:34]

Then putting God to the test, to make Him jump over the hurdles you’ve established, this then is the great sin.  It’s against this the people of God are commanded “Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all the soul, and with all thy might” at this point an interesting play of words appears in the Talmud because with the simple transposition of a single letter the word “might” can be rendered as “money”. And so as the Shema Israel loses [thump covers speakers voice] the Rabbi said the test is “with all thy heart, soul, and money”. An amusing but none the less good point. Because the requirement is that with all our being and with all our substances we love, serve, and magnify the one true God. Let us pray. [32:15]

Our Lord and our God we thank Thee that Thou hast called us to be the people of the law. And we thank Thee that by Thy grace Thou hast made us who were law breakers, law keepers. Bless us our Father in Thy service and in Thine obedience and grant that day by day we show forth the greatness of Thy grace, and that we bring all things into captivity to Jesus Christ and subject all things to Thy law word in Jesus name, Amen.

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, and of course our modern perspective is polytheistic, everything is equally good and equally false, so from our polytheistic point of view we are intolerant of our older American dependence upon scripture as the common law of the land.

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] Elaborate a little bit more on…{?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, the  dispensational point of view is polytheistic because first of all it says there are completely different dispensations in which, for example, God has requirement of the law in one dispensation and in the other the law is a horrible thing, you don’t dare read it or use it because it’s practically a blasphemy. Now this is to turn the whole order of God upside down and to say that God is one thing one day, and another in another. You are in effect saying there are different Gods. And you use the word “God” but then you end up ascribing the part of what God once declared as satanic. For example I cited campus crusade with respect to the law, saying the law as given by Satan. Now, since the scripture clearly says it was given by God they are saying it was another God in the Old Testament, are they not? Only they are not honest enough to say it. Now this is what dispensationalism amounts to Scofieldism is dispensational. Now Scofield says there was one plan of salvation in the Old Testament, another in the new and there will be another plan instituted after the rapture, all of which is rubbish. It is a polytheistic perspective. There is no one unchanging God, or an unchanging truth, an unchanging grace.

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony]  Abbot Joachim of Flora. During the middle ages propounded one of the most deadly heresies that have ever infiltrated the church and which still persists, in fact it is powerful today, in both catholic and protestant circles. You don’t hear much about him because this is the reigning thing and they’re not going to identify themselves. Now what did Abbot Joachim say? Abbot Joachim said that the first age of the world was the age of the Father, the Old Testament period, when law was God’s purpose. Then along came the age of the Son, another God, and this was the age of grace and of the gospel and so on, and he said now there is dawning the age of the Holy Spirit when all men now realize they are the true gods because the God of the old testament and the God Jesus of the new testament are dead, so that all men are now gods.

Now, Abbot Joachim was the founder of the death of God school way back in the early part of the middle ages. And this is what took over the student movement in the middle ages and brought about the collapse in large measure of the medieval period. That would be the troubadour students and others of the day, the wander folk singer revolutionaries who went from campus to campus had this Joachimite perspective. This Joachimite perspective appears for example in Dante who is full of all kinds of heresies and who is a communist incidentally. This is the basic thrust, common ownership of property is the glorious destiny of man according to Dante. It appears also in your modern death of God school. It is governing today in virtually every branch of Christendom. The Joachimite heresy is an extremely powerful underground force for centuries. [37:45]

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, the Vatican radio does have a popular song program which does include this song “God is dead”.

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] Very well, now of course you are sacrificing lambs and cows and steers every day of the year.

[Same audience member]

[Rushdoony]  Yes, but you did it. As long as you’re eating it, you’re doing it and it’s Godly because God says that the animals are given for meat.

[Same audience member]

[Rushdoony] It makes it clear in Genesis to Noah and it makes it clear throughout the Mosaic Law and it specifies the kinds of meat that are to be eaten. We will come to this later in the law.

[Same audience member]

[Rushdoony] No, they weren’t put on the fire alive.

[Same audience member]

[Rushdoony] Now, in the Old Testament period all the meat that was killed was a part of the sacrificial system as a result whenever you are going to fix dinner and you are going to kill, say, a cow, or a lamb, or a kid, or some doves, you had to butcher it in a particular way. The blood had to be spilled upon the ground or at the altar as a sacrifice unto God because the life is in the blood, this is in the Mosaic Law, it’s stated. God gives life, life is to be taken only under the terms God establishes, whether it is animal life or human life. Therefore when you take it you are acknowledging that you are doing this under God and with a good conscious. Also, certain types of animal sacrifices were sacrifices either of atonement or of a peace offering, a thank offering, unto God.

Now, as I say we’ll go into this in greater detail when we come to that part of the law. Some you left there, these were gifts to God, they went to the priests, and the Levites, the (Kurans?).

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, this was their portion. Some you offered, and then you took and you ate. But this was simply the method whereby all things as the animals were butchered for eating, were also a part of the religious worship. It was a very wonderful system.

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] No, no. The artist there obviously didn’t read the text to carefully.

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, how do we reconcile this with the sacrifice that was required by God of Abraham, the sacrifice of His son Isaac, a very good question. Now God had called Abraham to be His servant, to be the head of the covenant people and declared that through him the whole world would be blessed, through him the Messiah would come. After many, many years, and after giving up hope finally Isaac is born. And God then tells him to take Isaac, his only son, and to offer him up as a sacrifice. Now Abraham with a heavy heart proceeds to do this, he does not  question God he obeys, and God stops him and blesses him mightily for this.

Now, what does this set forth? First of all, it does set forth in a very real sense that God does require the sacrifice of the firstborn, the firstborn signifying the whole. And God says, I’m not asking this literally of you, but I’m asking it symbolically, so that in the Mosaic laws we shall see all the firstborns have to be redeemed of God. The firstborn of every child, every male child, the firstborn of the flock, these either must be given to God or must be redeemed from Him because God is saying (the first fruit representing the totality) everything is mine. And your life is by grace; because you are a sinful people judgment is upon you but by grace you stand. Moreover God is saying that which I’m not literally requiring of you I shall fulfill Myself. My only begotten, my firstborn, I shall give as the sacrifice that I do not ask of you. This is the meaning. We’ll come to it when we come to the patter of the first fruits, which we shall before too long. We have time for just one more question.

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] I didn’t get the last part… Yes, the church by and large today is apostate, it is busy denying God. It is busy giving itself over to revolution.

[Same audience member]

[Rushdoony] Yes it is not a Christian church; it is a Satanic church basically because it is given over to an anti-Christian program by and large. Well our time is up, and we shall next week as we continue the first commandment, we shall deal with Deuteronomy 18 verses 9-22. We stand adjourned at this time.