057 - IBL14 Church Law - Audio - RR130CC145.mp3

57. IBL14: Church Law


Professor:  Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.

Subject:   Religious studies

Lesson: 9-10

Genre:  Lecture

Track: 145

Dictation Name:  RR130CC145


Year:   1960’s-1970’s


Our Scripture is Micah 4:1-3. The 4th chapter of Micah, verses 1-4. Peace, is our subject. Next week we shall conclude our studies in biblical law, and we shall for a very brief time, analyze then what the scripture teaches about the nature of man, Biblical psychology. And then we shall go on to the Biblical doctrine of redemption. Certainly all this while we have been touching on redemption. In a sense it seems backwards to the modern mind to start with the law and then the nature of man, and then redemption, but let us remember that in scripture we find the clearest statement of the doctrine of redemption very late in scripture, in Nicodemus. And this is not without reason. It is stated in the very beginning, that the mature statement of the doctrine comes late, and today when men tend to reverse it, they get a very superficial doctrine of salvation, because they stop with: “You must be born again” and fail to put it in the context that scripture places it in.

We shall thus, conclude our studies in the law next week, begin our study of the nature of man and Biblical psychology for a brief time, and then go to the doctrine of redemption. Our scripture now, Micah 4:1-4

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” [3:27]

If you were to go through scripture and collect the passages that deal with peace, you would find it surprising how many such passages there are. Very clearly, peace is a central purpose of Gods plan for man and the earth. Peace as scripture describes it is first and foremost peace with God. Then when man is at peace with God, there is peace between man and man, and man and nature.

This piece is seen as a part of many of the prophetic passages of scripture as they deal with the future. Isaiah is full of such passages, as witness Isaiah 11:6-9

6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” [5:04]

It is not our purpose this morning to deal with the prophetic aspects of all these passages. Briefly however, prophecy does declare that God shall restore man to his original place and purpose. That men shall, under God, exercise dominion over the earth, subdue the earth, and rejoice in eh abundance of peace, under His savior.

One of these very familiar passages, the one we read, declares that then the law shall go forth of Zion. That God’s law shall again govern men and nations. And as it gives a picture of the peace that shall prevail, in the 4th verse it says: “They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid. For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it.”

This use of the vine and the fig tree as images, as symbols of peace, is very common in scripture. We meet with it repeatedly. For example, in 2nd Kings 18:31, in Isaiah 36:16, and many other passages. It is a familiar image of peace. It occurs almost incidentally in many passages, as for example in 1st Kings 4:25 “And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.”

Another example, in Zechariah 3:10, “In that day, saith the Lord of Hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree.”

The reason why the vine and the fig tree are used so often as symbols of peace, is that they speak not only of peace, but of fertility and prosperity. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow to it.” Therefore when God gives peace He gives with it fertility and prosperity. [7:47]

Moreover, our savior cited Himself as the source of this peace, as the true vine, declaring in John 15:1 “I am the true vine.” Declaring furthermore: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Thus, in holy week our Lord said He was the source of peace. He was the true vine. He also cited the fig tree, because He cursed it, and in so doing, made it clear to all that were with Him that Israel’s peace was cursed by Him who is the true peace.

Now before the fall, there was peace in Eden. In Eden there was peace between man and God, and between man and the animals and with all nature. This peace was broken by man’s sin. Now scripture tells us, Saint Paul declaring this in Romans 8:19-23, the whole of creation waits earnestly for the deliverance and the restoration which is to be worked by Christ, for the sons of God. That restoration begins with man’s restoration to life by the regenerating work of our savior. Man is then in Christ a new creation, so that in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 we read: “There is a new creation, wherever a man comes to be in Christ. What is old is gone, the new has come.”

This concept of peace is also a part of the doctrine of the Sabbath, of man’s rest in the Lord, and of the earth’s rest in the Lord. Now, this doctrine of peace as it appears in scripture, the vine and the fig tree, of man’s peace with God and then His peace with nature, is a very familiar image not only in scripture but in the history of law. The idea of man’s peace in God, became an important aspect of western law. [10:42]

Dr. Keaton, an English scholar has written and I quote: “Another factor of importance which influenced the growth of the criminal law in the first century after the conquest was the concept of the king’s peace. In Saxon law, every free man had a peace, so also had the church, and the peace of God governed all holy days. For breaches of a person’s peace by the commission of a crime within it, compensation must be paid, as well as compensation to the victim or his kin. Above all other peace’s was that of the king, and even in Saxon times we hear of the efforts made by strong kings to preserve it, especially on the kings highway. In the hands of the royal administrators after the conquest, this proved a dynamic concept, and as (Napeland?) once expressed it Eventually the kings peace swallowed up the peace of everyone else. This happened in two ways, gradually the money payments in respect of the breach of peace of other persons ceased to be levied, whilst the conception of the kings peace was extended to the entire realm. Any serious breach, crime, thus became a breach of the kings peace and a felony. Already by the time of Braxton in the 13th century it had become a common form to charge and accuse in the following terms: “Whereas the said person was in the peace of God and our Lord the king, there came the said person, feloniously as assailant.” Etc.

Even today, a person accused of felony is charged that: ”he did feloniously and contrary to the peace of our sovereign lady the queen, etc.” It was the characteristic of outlaws that they had put themselves out of the kings peace, so that every man’s hand was against them. Moreover the kings peace was at first conceived as existing so long as the king was alive.” [13:00]

Now this passage summarizes a very long and extensive and very important history. In terms of this biblical doctrine of man’s peace in Christ, every man under his vine and fig tree, and Christ as the true vine, the legal doctrine was that every man had his peace. And your peace extended to the full extent of your property and your person. Thus, anyone who crossed your property line without your permission was violating your peace. Anyone who robbed you or assaulted you was violating your peace.  And he had to make legal compensation in terms of the court, for a violation of John Doe’s peace. And this was the charge filed against him, that he had violated your peace.

This came straight out of scripture. Your peace was your own, under God. You as a Christian man, having been redeemed by Christ, had been established in eh peace that God had created for man in Eden. You were then an ambassador of Christ in this world; you had extra-territorial rights as it were. No one could transgress on that.

This was a very important legal concept. But as Dr. Keaton says, the idea of the kings peace took over, and it swallowed up every other peace. In other words, the state said: “It is not a violation of your peace, it is a violation of our peace. It is not a violation of Gods peace, it is a violation of the Kings peace.” And so the state said finally: “You are not entitled to restitution, we are. The offense is not against you, it is against the monarch.” And so statism, claimed to be the source of peace, and eliminated Christ’s peace, Gods peace, man’s peace in Christ. [15:31]

And the difference of course, between peace when it is viewed as an aspect of Gods order in Christ, and peace as a product of the state, the difference between these two perspectives is vast.

Let us now look a little further into the doctrine of peace. Peace is a translation of a Hebrew word, Shalom. We have it in ‘Jerusalem’. Salem. It is the greeting in Hebrew. Instead of saying hello, it is: ‘Shalom’. Peace. Now, peace, shalom, in Hebrew, comes from the root ‘to be whole’ wholeness, soundness, health, well-being, prosperity, peace as opposed to war, concord as opposed to strife.

As a result the Biblical doctrine of peace is very closely related to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. This is why throughout the New Testament, as well as in Old Testament prophesy, the culmination of Christ’s work is peace. And Christ even in the midst of trouble and of strife and turmoil, gives us peace. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Peace, thus, is a present possession in Christ; and it is a future possession as Christ’s reign is extended throughout the world. [17:54]

Peace is thus, that order of peace and prosperity, a salvation of health, which flows out of our reconciliation to God in Jesus Christ, and our restoration to life under God. Life in Eden was a life of peace with God, therefore peace with yourself, peace with nature. The source of that peace is the primary relationship with God, and Christ having restored it, all other forms of peace shall flow out of that peace we have with God, in Jesus Christ.

Statist peace, on the other hand, is simply an absence of hostility. It means that war has ended. That there has been a suppression, perhaps, of criminal activity. The state cannot regenerate man. It cannot even establish the limited peace it aims at, because the power of the state is essentially the power of the sword. The state cannot order men to love one another, or to live in peace, and when it tries to do so it only aggravates the situation.

The state therefore can never bring about peace. As a matter of fact, the state, when it tries to make peace its goal, only destroys the peace of citizens and usurps Gods peace and the free-man’s peace in Christ. The state can only be an instrument of peace when it serves Gods law and is a ministry of justice and no more. When it acknowledges that peace can only come when man is redeemed by God in Christ. [20:07]

Thus the doctrine of peace is a very important one in law, because it is first of all important in terms of the doctrine of salvation. The vine and the fig tree imagery are thus essential to scripture. They are God centered doctrines, God centered symbols, setting forth the peace, the salvation, the fulfillment of man in prosperity, in joy, and in wellbeing. In God through Christ. There is no peace, no fulfillment for man in any other way.

Therefore Scripture declares: “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. Whose water cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

Let us pray. Almighty God our heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Thou hast called us to Thy peace through Jesus Christ, Thy son our savior. By whose blood atonement has been made, and we are now at peace with Thee, peace with ourselves, and peace with one another. We thank Thee our God that this peace shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. That our peace in Thee is a peace which extends to our possessions, to every many under his vine and fig tree. That all those who violate our peace in Christ, Thy hand is raised against them as evil doers. We thank Thee our God that having given us an inner peace in Jesus Christ, Thou shalt in due time give unto Thy saints an outer peace, as Thy reign is fulfilled among men. Make us therefore Thy servants oh Lord, unto the end that all these things may be accomplished, that we growing in Thy grace and peace, may extend the realm of Thy peace among men. Bless us to this purpose we beseech Thee in Jesus name, amen. [23:01]

Are there any questions now, first of all about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes, scripture is emphatic in hundreds of passages that history will see peace. Now, this will not be the perfect peace that heaven and the new creation will provide, but there will be peace, so that every man shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.

There is no way of explaining that away, you see, and calling it symbolical. Because it is so unmistakable. I know that some ministers try to say: “Well, that’s just symbolism” but symbolism of what? Symbolism of what. It is like the passage in Isaiah 2:1-4, where you have a similar statement, and a minister in a class was saying this was merely symbolic, and a young college student said: “But symbolic of what?” all you can say is, it sets forth the peace that God is going to bring to men and nations. We have a double promise of peace, when we accept Christ as our Lord and savior, peace is brought to our lives. We can grow in terms of that inner peace as we grow in our sanctification, but there is another peace, an outer peace, a world-wide peace. Both are clearly set forth.

Now of course the mistake that the ungodly make is that they try to gain this peace on the one hand through psychology, and on the other hand through things like the United Nations. In both cases without Christ. And they only aggravate the lack of peace and the warfare, in man’s soul and in man’s world. Yes? [25:49]

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes, right. This is the inner peace that I said we have here and now.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] The world peace is as impossible as the inner peace. Both are acts of God. We are at peace with God, and have inner peace, because of Christ’s miraculous regenerating work. And the world peace that shall come, will be the same miraculous work as men and nations by the grace of God are brought under His reign. When we go back and look at the Reformation for example, and see how far Europe had gone, how reprobate men had become, how they were becoming physically degenerate as well as morally degenerate, you realize it was a miracle, a miracle that the Reformation took place and that so many people turned and believed. And again, the same thing at the fall of Rome. And we have to say that God can and will work that same miracle in due time.

But of course, first men must be judged, because men never come to their knees until they are driven there. One of the nice things about the earthquake is that it jolted a lot of the ungodly. I am told that Johnny Carson remarked on the evening of the earthquake, this is a joke he made, that the death of God convention has been cancelled. And I am also told that large numbers of people have gone to psychiatrists, and have taken their children to psychiatrists, and the paper this morning said that the moving companies have reported that their business is up as much as 600%, moving people out of the state, and a lot of people are leaving without their furniture, so they are not getting all of them.

And where are they going to go? You have hurricanes, disasters everywhere. In other words, the sickness is in man’s soul, he is going to be humbled, and then he will be willing to believe. Yes? [28:37]

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Right, right. When you have that kind of ruler, you will have a Godly peace prevailing. But today you have anything but that. Fulton Louis the 3rd made clear on one of his programs just recently, how many congressmen there are in Washington who regularly have pot parties in their homes. And so he concluded, he said: “What do you expect from Congress when you have men like that up there?” Yes?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] I can’t quite hear you?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] It is hard to say. It all depends on what men do. You have had more than once in history a complete collapse, when a civilization has just fallen apart. And this is what happened to Rome. Rome did not get overthrown by the barbarians, really. Because the barbarians were just handfuls of people. they were little tribes. Occasionally, they might be a thousand or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5 thousand, but that was rare. It might be 50 or a 100 wandering barbarians with their wives and children, who would meander across the border.

Now Rome had far more men under arms than all the barbarians. What happened? Well, as Doctor William Carol Barth, a Stanford historian has pointed out, he said: “The Romans just didn’t fight. They didn’t see anything worth fighting for. And so these barbarians had come in and nobody had figured anything was worth defending. So what happened was that it really collapsed. It really collapsed. When the barbarians walked into Rome they expected a fight. They didn’t conquer it, they just walked in. When they walked into the Senate, the Senators were just sitting there paralyzed. The barbarians at first thought they were statues. Remarkable statues, and when they went up to feel them, then the senators got shocked out of their paralysis, and began to try to brush them away, and then they fell on them and killed them. It wasn’t a war, it was just a total collapse. And Rome, from a population of millions finally dwindled down to a population of five hundred.

Now, this kind of collapse has taken place. At the end of the Middle ages it was a different thing, it moved into totalitarianism in many areas. So you had absolute tyrants moving in, taking power, eliminating populations if they would not bend to their will. It can go either way, anarchism or totalitarianism. Yes? [32:36]

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony]During the Middle Ages, the church, having made Rome a center, little by little it came to be re-built, partly because so many pilgrims began to go there. Then it became an important governmental center. But for a long time it was in ruin, and many of the ancient buildings, people from miles around would walk in there, and pry loose the great big stones to build their barns or their little one-room houses.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] There was no effectual government there for a long time, it was just a village; 500 people. As a matter of fact before Rome fell to the barbarians the Emperors no longer lived there. The welfare mobs as I pointed out before were too many in the big cities, so they gave up Rome and they went to Milan, and they gave up Milan, they went elsewhere, and finally at the time of the fall the last emperor was in Ravenna, which at that time was a small town. It was the only safe place to be. They had created the welfare mob, and it finally got too much for them to handle. And you see, paying off the welfare mobs finally became impossible, because their money deprecated to a point where they couldn’t buy anything to pay off the welfare mob. Yes? [34:28]

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] What?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes, during Solomon’s reign you had a tremendous time of peace, and it was a peace that was worldwide. Solomon’s power was such that he was able to maintain a very extensive peace, so that Solomon’s ships regularly traded with India, and regularly traded, not only with Spain, but apparently Ireland and England. Merchant ships going there. He and the Phoenicians together, Hiram of Tyre. So that their ships went very far.

As a matter of fact there is a very interesting book that has been reprinted by Saint Thomas Press, which maintains, and I think with good grounds, that Solomon’s ships got their silver, and the scripture says that it was a three year round trip, from the Americas. That they came to Mexico and Peru, and there got their silver. And I think the evidence is pretty good. Yes?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Is where?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Oh yes. Mhmm.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, there are different kinds of peace. And some kinds of peace are really sick. For example, Christian Scientists (The movement and organization, not a Christian who is a scientist) do have a peace and calmness about them, but it comes from refusing to face up to anything. There is no such thing as matter, there is no such thing as evil, there are no problems; they close their minds to all these things. It is a cop-out kind of peace. Well, the transcendental meditation is similar. Now there are two varieties of it, one variety says that you can find peace in realizing that you are one with God. And therefore nothing can affect you, the other that nothingness is ultimate, and therefore nothing is of any importance. The one says that you are God, ultimately, and the other says that there is nothing, and you are nothing, so nothing matters and you find your peace in that.

Now this kind of peace is a copout. For example, I know two sisters, and the one has definitely aged a little more than the other, although she is about two years younger. The other one is one of these peace people, she is always going from one thing to another, she has been in Unity and Christian Science, in Yoga and this transcendental meditation and so on, and there isn’t a line on her face, but over the years what has happened? Whenever there has been a problem, a mother ill, a father ill, and some need to take care of them, to take them into the house and look after them, she has been above that sort of thing. It is the other sister who has done all the dirty work in the family, taken on all the responsibilities. She has been the one that all the relatives have gone to with their problems, and with considerable Christian grace she has met with all these problems and resolved them.

Now, there is no question the other woman has the peace, it really shows. But it is a sick peace, and in my book… well, I won’t tell you what I think of her. You see, this is the kind of peace that people are aiming at today, and it is not a godly peace. A Godly peace comes by meeting your problems, in Christ; and triumphing.  Yes? [39:49]

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Right. But you see, Solomon’s peace rested on David’s peace. In other words, your children have peace because you are doing some fighting for them. You are working, you are fighting, you are protecting them. and thus it is, that maybe our generation is the generation that is going to establish the foundations of the peace of the next generation. So before you can have peace, you very commonly have to have a lot of war, and because Saul had helped destroy the peace of Israel, David had to undo what not only Saul but some others prior to that had undone, or had done. He had to eliminate many enemies who had taken portions of Israel’s territory, who had claimed rights of tribute over Israel. So he had a lifetime of fighting to do to establish peace. But there was more peace in the land during his day than for some time previously, precisely because in spit e of the warfare there was prosperity rising, there was security arising within the land.


[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] How is our peace related to what? To being under grace? Almost identical. When we are under grace we are in peace. Because it is the grace of God which brings grace to us, and the word peace is very closely related to the world salvation, it has a cognate meaning. Both mean health, victory, well-being, prosperity; so they’re--- well, the words liberty and freedom, they really mean the same thing, so in the Biblical sense peace and salvation are different sides of the same thing, and grace is the foundation of peace and salvation in the Biblical sense. Yes? [42:41]

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] Yes, but you see, peace in the Biblical sense is first of all peace with God. Now, because you and I are at peace with God, this often means that we are at war with the world around us. If you are at peace with the world you are at war with God, so in a sinful world there is going to be war. The question is, who are you going to fight with, God, or man?

So, because our times are what they are, we have got to have war with men, and peace with God. And you go back and study the lives of some of the great saints of old, and you find that all their troubles very often began when they were saved! They found peace with God, but they had an unceasing battle with men because of that.

Remember, when Calvin, who could have been a very quiet scholar and said: “I am not going to get involved.” And won fame and prestige and a very secure position with one of the universities of the day, or as a lawyer to the king of France, when he became a Christian, it was warfare almost to his death. It was not only an ugly battle with men day after day, but at nighttime too they would come under his window and shoot off their guns, to keep him from resting. So he wouldn’t be too fresh during the day for work, or to battle with the town council. Not only that, but when he went down the street they would sic the dogs on him. So it was difficult for him to walk down the street. This you don’t get in the textbooks, they talk of him as the tyrant of Geneva. I have never heard of a dictator or a Tyrant having dogs sic’d on him as he went down the street, or guns shot under his window through the night. It wasn’t a very peaceful situation. On top of that he had personal problems. He had to take care of some orphan kids, his brothers. And one of the girls got into trouble, she was very head strong, and consider the embarrassment to Calvin in such a situation. You claim to be the religious leader and look at what happens to a girl in your own family! He had problems, believe me. And yet he did have peace with God, and that is the basic peace. Yes? [46:31]

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] I couldn’t state it any better than you did, it is this false peace that you are describing that people are striving for today, in the name but not in the spirit of Christ. Because our Lord said: “Peace leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” But He also said that very often a man’s enemies shall be those of his own household, and I come not to bring peace in the sense of between man and man and smoothing things over, but a sword. So, between man and man it is a declaration of war, it is not peace. And this love bit of course is paganism in the name of Christ. So a Christian should not subscribe to that pagan concept of peace. Yes? Go ahead.

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] They experimented with everything in those days as people do now, but their basic paralysis was a moral paralysis. A moral paralysis. On one occasion there was some problem that the emperor had been unable to cope with, and I think one Emperor was assassinated, the army turned to the Senate and said: “Why don’t you rule the country again, as centuries before?” And the senate sat around, and sat around, and they didn’t know how to run things, they didn’t want the responsibility, so they finally said: “Well, you pick an emperor, and let him run it, and we will criticize.” You see, this is all that they were capable of doing. Criticizing. Finding fault. Not taking the moral responsibility. Yes?

[Audience Member] …?...

[Rushdoony] That is a partial truth, but how does the Holy Spirit indwell within us? To the degree that we are obedient, that we obey Gods word. So, a great deal of the modern cultivation of the spirit is really a pagan cultivation of things like love and peace for its own sake. It is not the gift of the spirit.

Our time is really about up, there is one small item from yesterdays paper that I would like to share with you, it rather tickled me, and it was simply this, that six associated press bureaus across the country ran a test on mails. And they found out that the use of the zip code actually slows down the mail. Now we have been using the zip code for almost 10 years, and it was supposedly to help speed up the mail, and they thought they were going to invent a machine whereby everything would be automated, and the machine would read the zip code, the numbers, and sort the mail. I believe they did have such a pilot post office, was it in Rhode Island? They put out a stamp about 10 years ago, the first automated post office, a picture of it. Unfortunately instead of sorting the letters it chewed them up.

And now this associated press study indicates that whether it is local mail or across country, the zip code doesn’t help, it slows up the mail. This is progress.

Let us bow our heads now for the benediction: 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. [52:08]