Abuses of Law - RR187AG61

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Abuses of Law
Course: Course - Deuteronomy
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 61
Length: 0:28:41
TapeCode: RR187AG61
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format

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. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the whiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world. Against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God we thank Thee that by Thy grace we are able to stand against all the evils of this world. We stand oh Lord not in our strength but by Thy grace and by Thy spirit. Strengthen us therefore in Thy holy word, in Thy spirit and for Thy name’s sake that we may be in the face of all these evils more than conquerors through Christ our Lord. In His name we pray, Amen.

Our scripture is from Deuteronomy 19:11-14. Abuses of Law. Deuteronomy 19:11-14.

“But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:

12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.

13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.

14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it.”


The subject of these verses is the abuse of law

The subject of these verses is the abuse of law. The cities of refuge were established in order to give men a recourse from legal tyrannies. Men are all too prone to abuse laws by using them to evade justice or in other cases to use the law to establish lawlessness and tyranny. Sinful men do not want justice and as a result they will use the best of laws for evil purposes. The cities of refuge represent a strong concern for justice, their purpose was to avoid feuds and injustices by establishing a means whereby a man could get a godly court to hear his case. Verses eleven and twelve deal with cases of men who kill and then pretend that the killing was an accidental one. Men still go to great lengths to stage murders as accidental deaths. In so doing they commit two crimes, first they commit murder and the penalty for this of course is death. This is a very ancient penalty. God ordered this punishment for murder at least as far back as Noah in Genesis 9:5-6 although we see the existence of a death penalty as far back as Genesis 2:17. Then second the man who abused the legal system in an attempt to evade the penalty for his crime was also striking out at law. He was in effect trying to nullify or kill the law. His resort to the cities of refuge was abuse of the law, very serious abuse. The penalty for this was a grim one. The city elders or aldermen had the duty of sending for him. They would provide the evidence of willful murder and after a trial the guilty man would be handed over to the city elders from whence he came. They in turn in a rare case of this kind of thing handed him over to the kinsmen or avenger who prosecuted the case to see to the execution. Then all attempts to use the law for lawless purposes are by this law condemned. [00:05:55]

This law is especially pertinent to our time

This law is especially pertinent to our time. We have technicalities of a trifling nature routinely used to abuse justice. This is relatively new, it began in this century. With many lawyers, by no means all, the abuse of the law is a way of life. But this law makes clear that God regards it as an injustice for men and societies to abuse the law. Whether it be criminal, corporate, welfare, or any other sphere of law, to abuse the law is to practice a most flagrant injustice. Verse thirteen forbids pity for those who abuse the law. We are also told that it will not go well for a people who permit the abuses of the law which certainly is true of our country today. The abuse of this law, the cities of refuge, is called in Numbers 35:34 a defiling of the land. It is in particular a great pollution because God declares that He dwells in the land that is covenanted to Him. He dwells among His people. So that the abuse of law is not only a pollution of the land but an offense against God. This means that God takes vengeance, in his time, on all such pollution and who can escape God. Verse fourteen forbids removing landmarks or falsifying boundary lines. Stones in antiquity marked the boundaries of fields, they were thus easily moved. In our time for certain types of properties fences mark boundary lines. Violations of this law still exist. Some years ago a man who surveyed rural properties told me such offenses were not uncommon. At times a ranch surveyor did his work in a bar, especially in the foothill country, sitting with the owner and setting boundaries at his instructions. At other times in refencing a fence would be moved a foot to the owners advantage adding some acres to his ranch. This would be done of course when the rains came so the traces of the shift would be quickly obliterated. Such a theft constitutes not only first stealing but it also second, a form of perjury. In antiquity some people’s considered third a form of murder because it struck at the life and livelihood of another man. [00:09:52]

According to [unkown] and I quote

According to [unkown] and I quote:

“Landmarks were regarded as sacred among other nations also. Among them, the Romans, for example. They were held to be so sacred that whoever removed them was to be put to death.” Unquote.

The simple fact is that in our times properties are not often surveyed when they remain in a family. This means that falsifications often continue for generations before they are caught. There is a long history of such stealing that goes unreported but is known by oral report. There are references to this law both in proverbs and in Hosea. In Proverbs 22:28:

“Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.”

Hosea 5:10: “The princes of Judea were like them that remove the bounds, therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.”

In both instances we see a broader application of this law. As case law it is applied generally to mean every and any breach of God’s law whereby men try to make the law mean less and less. When men and nations, rulers and peoples, alter God’s law or by reinterpretation weaken or alter its meaning they have then falsified God’s boundaries. They have made His righteous law into an instrument of injustice. Certainly this judgment applies especially to churchmen who by their antinomianism dispose of God’s landmarks, His law. God’s law establishes boundaries which men and nations are not to transgress. Serious as it is to rob a neighbor by falsifying the boundary lines it is far more serious to set aside to falsify God’s law. But this is precisely what both church and state as well as school are now busily doing. In fact the twentieth century is a time when the boundary markers in every sphere of life have been radically altered. And God’s landmarks are being triumphantly set aside as a sign of great enlightenment. By removing God’s landmarks men plan to initiate a golden age of freedom. But as it approaches their golden age looks more and more like the fires of hell. Ancient Rome and other countries required the death penalty for all falsifications of boundary lines. Very obviously God’s law regards this as a more serious offense then Rome ever did but it prescribes no penalty by man. A field’s boundary lines were moved, they had to be restored, but for the general removal of God’s boundaries no penalty is prescribed. This is a very important fact and it is basic to the Bible, to God’s law. When the destruction of land boundaries and moral boundaries, landmarks, becomes a part of the lives of a people then no human agency can cope with the problem because it is a part of the problem. God thus reserves judgment for violations of this law to Himself. Rome had the death penalty, but it did no good. [00:15:12]

All the old landmarks were by law altered and the people

All the old landmarks were by law altered and the people wiped out. To remove the landmarks is an abuse of law. And few things in our time are more commonplace than this, the use of the law or of the law system to advance evil and to subvert good. Hosea makes very clear what removing landmarks means. And yet the surprising fact is that in all my life I’ve read and heard a great many sermons, I’ve heard not preaching on these texts, it has no doubt occurred, but it is obviously uncommon. But pulpits all over the world must call attention to these texts lest they too are judged as faithless men by the Almighty. Politics and churchmenship today are extensively concerned with overlooking this evil. We must echo the words of Psalm 1:19 which declares in verse 1:26: “It is time for Thee Lord to work for they have made void Thy law.” Today we have a world busy making void the laws of God and of man. They are determined that only so can they free humanity. They are making the cost of any appeal against a good decision of the law so easy and a bad decision of the law so difficult that justice is thwarted. If you and I go to court against an evil we pay the price. If a criminal goes to court he can have a public defender. He can have a variety of groups across country determine to set aside the meaning of the law and to abuse the law assist him. Well God’s law is clear. This is an abuse of law. It brings a quick result or a slow result but a sure result. God’s judgment. Let us pray. [00:18:50]

Our Father we do live in a time when Thy law word is

Our Father we do live in a time when Thy law word is abused. All around us the ancient landmarks Thou hast established are being removed or obliterated. It is time for Thee Lord to work, for they have made void Thy law. Deliver us in Thy justice, make us again a Godly and a just people. Use us in Thy service, in Christ’s name, Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson?

[Question] I understand there have been 6000 forfeiture cases in San Jose alone. Why have the clergy been silent about this?

[Rushdoony] They have no desire to be relevant to the world around them. The San Jose [unknown] News which is not a conservative or Christian paper last Sunday had three pages on these forfeitures. It was an excellent exposure. Excellent. They called attention to the fact that the prosecuting attorneys love these cases because they profit, money comes to them, they are not interested in the justice of the case. They declare that these seizures are necessary for drug enforcement but they refuse to reporters when their attention is called to the fact that in most the overwhelming percentage of the cases there is no evidence whatsoever, past or present, of any drug dealing or use. So we have had a week ago Sunday the San Jose California Mercury News give three pages to this, starting on the front page, we have had several of the major television programs give the better part of an hour to this matter and yet nothing is done. The pulpit is silent, the people by and large are intimidated because they are afraid they might be the next target and so nothing happens. I think as we are told in scripture judgment will begin at the house of God. [00:22:23]

Of course, when most of the clergy regards the law

Of course, when most of the clergy regards the law of God as no longer applicable then what other law is there for them except the law of the state? I do know of cases where pastors who have preached against such things have been charged with violating scripture. So we do have a very serious situation. Any other questions or comments?

The abuse of the law is so routine now that in some circles there is anger when someone calls attention to the letter of the law, and I’m talking just about American law. We are told on one hand that, and I’ve seen this in print, that because abortion is legal it should be criminal to stage protests against it, whether peaceable or otherwise and yet at the same time these people will say that the death penalty is immoral and therefore we must protest against it. So we have people so dishonest that they cannot admit that their position is a lie and a moral contradiction. It had become increasingly impossible to carry on any discussion with a vast segment of the population. Certainly on the college and university campuses it is radically impossible. The papers no longer carry accounts of the brutal treatment of visiting speakers, one only hears about them from people who were present. And this happens even on so called Christian college campuses, so we do live in very grim times when abuses of law are not only routine but are widely approved. And with it goes a decline in civility, a decline in civilized behavior, a decline also in civilization. It really is startling to listen to young people talk, whether in airports, or eating places, wherever, the English language is abused, in fact, there is some kind of illiterate substitute for it. And this illiteracy is spreading to the media. I personally have quit subscribing to a number of periodicals because I could no longer bear the wretched English that marks their pages. Are there any other questions or comments, yes? [00:27:03]

[Question unintelligible]...

[Question unintelligible]

[Rushdoony] Yes and it didn’t work. Well, it’s not necessary to forbid it now, most people don’t bother to read their bibles [laughs]. Maybe if Washington D.C. forbad the use of the Bible people would run to it to see what’s in it that we shouldn’t read. Well, let us conclude with prayer.

Our Father, we thank Thee that the government of all things is upon our Lord’s shoulders. That it is Thy will that shall be done, Thy kingdom that alone shall stand. And all the follies of men and nations shall crumble into dust. Give us patience Lord, faith and strength. 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.

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