Amalek - RR181Z47

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Amalek
Course: Course - Numbers; Faith, Law, and History
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 47
Length: 0:30:21
TapeCode: RR181Z47
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Numbers Faith, Law, and History.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by permission of the Chalcedon Foundation

Let us worship God. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth. I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song and His praise in the congregation of saints, for the Lord taketh pleasure in His people. He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let us pray.

O Lord, our God, we give thanks unto thee in this blessed season, that thou art the Lord, that thy victory is total and complete, and in the fullness of time will be made manifold unto all flesh. We thank thee that thou hast made us a part of thy victory, called us into thy service, and given us such great promises in Jesus Christ, thy Son. And now, Lord, fill our hearts with gratitude that we may praise thee as we ought. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Our scripture is numbers 24:20-25, and our subject: Amalek. Numbers 24:20-25. Amalek. “And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever. And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock. Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive. And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this! And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever. And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.”

In Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1, I devoted three chapters or sections to the meaning of Amalek in the Bible. Hengstenberg sums of the significance here of the reference in this final prophesy of Balaam about Amalek, when he says, “The Amalekite kingdom—which here represents the world's power, opposed to the kingdom of God. they are called the beginning of the heathen nations, i.e., the most powerful of them.” The nation gained its name from Amalek, a descendant of Esau, a reprobate, with his descendants manifesting a very deep hatred for God. Amalek is the type of all peoples, persons, and nations at war with God. Paul says in Romans 8:7, the carnal, or fallen mind, is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [00:03:53]

James Mofat rendered it this way, ...

James Mofat rendered it this way, “The interests of the flesh, that is fallen humanity, are hostile to God. They do not yield to the law of God. Indeed, they cannot.” In other words, unregenerate man is, by nature, an antinomian where the law of God is concerned. In Amalek, this hostility and enmity was very highly self-conscious. The Amalekites went out of their way to show hatred for God, and Hebrew accounts give us a horrifying account of this. We therefore see Amalek in men and nations over the centuries who reveal a militant hatred for God; men like Stalin and Hitler, as well as some of our own leaders and peoples.

One of the many errors of Aristotle which still plagues us is the belief in a particular form of government as the ideal one. In Classical Antiquity, scholars spent a great deal of time trying to formulate the ideal republic, or the ideal government, somehow through some arrangement of human beings to create the perfect human society. The three basic forms, according to Aristotle, are Monarchy, Aristocracy, sometimes called critically an oligarchy and democracy, or sometimes cited as a republic, although there are differences. Each of these three, with internal variations and modifications, has been tried, such as a Constitutional Democracy, or a Constitutional Republic and so on and on. There have been endless variations of these three themes. The fallacy in all such thinking is that some technical arrangement of men will produce a good society. More than once I have been told plaintively by someone or other, “Why can’t people live together in peace?” The question, of course, doesn’t call for an answer. It implies, “Why can’t they be like me?” It is not really a question, therefore, because, for one thing, these people have their own agenda for living in peace. It’s like on their terms, and my answer always is, men cannot live in peace because they are either lost sinners, at war with God, man, and themselves, or saved sinners, still far from perfectly sanctified, and still full of self-will. It is not a political arrangement that will give world peace, but Jesus Christ alone. [00:07:19]

Well, this is not a pleasing answer to people...

Well, this is not a pleasing answer to people. They want an arrangement. “All will be well if we go back to the Constitution,” or go back to this or that, or something else. The world is full of men who have their technical solution to the problem of peace, United Nations, Europa, or the European economic community, world Marxism, Islamic world rule, and so on and on, but there is no peace apart from Jesus Christ and regeneration in Him. To seek peace on any other basis is a childish and sinful illusion. It is sin.

Zachariahs, the priest, said of the child born to him, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, that he would proclaim the coming of the Dayspring, or sun rising from on high, to give light to them that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet unto the way of peace.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:14, that Jesus Christ is our peace. If we seek peace on humanistic grounds, and if we attempt to establish a just social order apart from the triune God and His word, we have moved into the camp of Amalek. For ancient Amalek, triumph meant showing a contempt for God. According to Medrashik lore, behind the general statement of Deuteronomy 25:18, was the fact that Amalek seized all living Hebrew prisoners, and dead ones as well, to castrate them and toss their organs into the air, shouting obscene curses to God saying, “This is what you like, so take what you have chosen.” In our day, in stage, screen, television, politics, and every day life, blasphemies are commonplace, as our modern Amalekites express their hatred for God, and God says they shall be destroyed forever.

We are then told in verse 22 that the Kenites shall be wasted. Now, another portion of the Kenites joined themselves to Israel, and therefore, they shared the future of Israel. These were the Rechabites who were a portion of the Kenites, according to 1 Chronicles 2:55. Those Kenites who did not separate themselves to the God of Israel are classed with Amalek. These ungodly Kenites with ungodly Israel were to be carried away captive by Asher or Assyria. [00:10:33]

We are then told that ships shall come from the coast...

We are then told that ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, probably the modern Cypress. These were Phoenician people. They will inflict, in time, Asshur, the eastern Semites, and Eber, the western Semites, but Chittim will only be a tool in God’s hands and he also shall perish forever, we are told. God, in His time, will destroy all Amalekites.

Now all these amazing predictions come from the mouth of Balaam, a man who had no intention of serving God. In John Eckhardt’s words, “Balaam puts money in the honor that cometh from men in God’s place, and so God must now deal with him as a servant of another, putting bands upon him and restrictions around him so that, though gone from God’s service, he may nevertheless interfere with the carrying out of God’s purpose.” All men shall serve God, willingly or unwillingly. His will shall be done on earth even as it is in heaven. As Asaph the psalmist tells us in Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of men shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” In other words, God will use all man’s raging and his sins to accomplish His sovereign purpose.

Balaam’s purposes had become Satanic. Balaam died later fighting for Midian against Israel. We are told in Numbers 24:25, that Balaam had returned home some distance away, but apparently he had returned to work again for Balak. In Numbers 25, we see that Israel became involved in extensive immorality; ritual prostitution, in accordance with the practices of Baal-Peor. Since Balaam died fighting for Midian, it is a reasonable assumption that Balaam was behind a strategy of corrupting Israel. He hoped thereby, to alienate it from God, and he had apparently suggested that Israel be flooded with ritual or temple prostitutes. It was a clever strategy, for a time it was successful. We are told, in the next chapter in fact, that this was Balaam’s plan. [00:13:38]

In verse 23, we have Balaam’s cry of horror as he sees...

In verse 23, we have Balaam’s cry of horror as he sees the future under God’s inspiration. “Alas, who shall live when God doeth this?” A Scottish commentator, Walter Riggins, has translated it in these words: “Alas, who shall live when God appoints him a time?” In other words, when God so thoroughly ordains, orders, and predestines every bit of history so that the remotest future simply manifests His will, how then shall men live on his own terms?

Balaam’s idea of life is that of the tempter; every man his own God. Knowing and determining for himself his own life, his own law, good and evil, morality and immorality. If God’s law and power determines all things, man cannot be his own lord and sovereign, only God’s tool, God’s instrument or servant, and this is what fills Balaam with horror at this point, as completely used by God, he predicts the future, and future he does not want to see, a future he is determined, as we shall see, to overthrow. “Alas, who shall live when God doeth this?” When God is God and we are but His creatures.

Well, if I may insert a plug here, this is what the book The Great Christian Revolution is about, and this is why what it talks about is not popular with the world of our time, and why I believe it’s going to be a landmark work.

We live in a time when it is no longer acknowledged how men hate God. When I was a student, institutional psychiatrists in their lectures, and sometimes in their writings, would openly state that some inmates actually ate their own feces because they said they wanted to defile God by defiling His image in themselves. That hatred of God is endemic to ungodly man, and yet, facts like that now have disappeared. The cry of the world against Christ and against the great Christian revolution is this: “Alas, who shall live when God is absolutely Lord and sovereign? How then can we realize our own potentiality? How can we be our own gods?” and yet ironically, when men have tried to play God, they have become less than men. They have become moral cowards, and it is when men have faced up to the sovereignty of God, that they are like the one called the Lion of the North; John Knox. [00:17:53]

What had come home to Balaam as he predicted the end...

What had come home to Balaam as he predicted the end of Amalek was his own end. He was at heart an Amalekite, and all that had happened and God using him had brought home to him what he was, and he was determined to wage total war against God as we shall see in the next chapter. The Amalekites are with us still. They are all around us, in the church, in the pulpit and the pew, and outside the church. Their venomous hatred for God and His Christ have only increased, but the words that God put in Balaam’s unwilling mouth are still true, that his latter end shall be that he perish forever. We are the people, called unto victory in Jesus Christ. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we thank thee that in thy purpose, Amalek shall be destroyed forever, so that we can face the Amalek of our day in the confidence that thou art on the throne, and Amalek is simply a tool in thy hand, that thou art giving a body to evil that it may be destroyed forever. Teach us, therefore, to walk in the confidence, day by day, that it is thy victory, thy word that shall prevail. O Lord, our God, thou who didst put into the mouth of a man by nature of Amalek, Balaam, the word of truth. Make us strong in the word of truth, that we may be a part of the great Christian revolution in our day, so that the kingdoms of this world might indeed become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. In His name. Amen. Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] Are there any other examples of an individual being forced to say something that he doesn’t want to say?

[Rushdoony] There are a number in the Bible, but the prophet, Jeremiah, immediately comes to mind. He was a godly man, but he wasn’t happy about having to do what he did, and he wept and complained to God about it. He didn’t like having to defy people in powerful places. He didn’t’ like being tossed into a filthy dungeon, but God used him and blessed him. His life, from beginning to end, was a very tragic one, but a magnificent one. He was a man who wanted peace and victory, but he was chosen by God to tell the truth, and he did. He is the clearest example of any of the great men of the Bible in that respect, and the novelist, Franz Werfel wrote a very powerful book precisely on that aspect. The title, as I recall, it was Harken Unto the Voice. Harken Unto the Voice. I once read a landmark work in the life of Franz Werfel, because it confronted him with the realities, and it did make a Christian out of him, although since the Jews were being persecuted, he did not openly acknowledge his conviction lest it be assumed, out of cowardice, he had converted. But Harken Unto the Voice is a novel worth reading. [00:23:47]

[Audience] Well then, what you’re defining is the problem...

[Audience] Well then, what you’re defining is the problem of the saints. If God commissions you, that’s that.

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes.

[Audience] A mixed blessing.

[Rushdoony] That’s right, and more than a few saints have gone through very, very great sufferings and tragic deaths because God commissioned them. Now there were some who were remarkable in their ability to rejoice even in suffering. I think a book should be written some time about the Irish monks who went out as missionaries all over Europe, and their courage and cheerfulness in the face of everything, their boldness is a remarkable story, and nobody has bothered to do any writing on that, and some Medievalist who is a Christian sometime should do a book on the Irish saints. They have never been given the credit and appreciation they deserved. They were remarkable for their total lack of fear, and even a kind of wry humor in the face of everything. Of course, one of my favorite saints is St. Lawrence, who infuriated the Roman power again and again, because he persisted in his work, and as a deacon, the work of charity he did was far superior to what Rome was doing. So finally, they determined that they were going to seize the treasury and he got advance word from someone apparently, in one of the Roman civil offices. He promptly went out into the streets and gave money to all the people that passed by, all the poor. So when they came to arrest him and demand the treasury, he pointed to the people in the streets and said, “There is God’s treasury.” When they much later decided they were going to get rid of him, and because he always responded to them with such humor, they were going to make him cry, and weep, and wail. They put him on a grill to burn him to death, and they waited for him to scream, and finally, he opened his mouth just before dying to say to the Roman tormentors, “Turn me over now, I’m done on this side.” So, there were some remarkable men among the saints. Yes?

[Audience] Well, along the same lines, would worldly success and sainthood go together?

[Rushdoony] What?

[Audience] Would success in the world and sainthood go together?

[Rushdoony] Success in the world . . . [00:27:25]

[Audience] And sainthood...

[Audience] And sainthood. In other words, if we look at the lives of the saints, they are identified with suffering.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] And not with worldly success.

[Rushdoony] That’s right, and yet they’re the most successful men in all of history. Europe wouldn’t be Europe today without the Irish saints, who went into the fiercest of the North German tribes, and very often with their shear courage, cowed men who were ready to use a battle ax to split their skulls, and some of them died, but they are the ones who have had the greatest success in all of history, and this has been true right up to our day. Nobody is writing the account of the men who are dying every day, right now, because the world does not want to acknowledge that there are Christian martyrs, in great numbers, every week, dying somewhere in the world. Any other questions or comments? If you want a good example of Amalek, by the way, take a good look of Washington, D.C. and congress. It’s full of Amalekites. Well, let us conclude now in prayer.

Our Father, how great and marvelous are thy ways. Teach us to rejoice, and to live because thou doest all these things, and as against Balaam and all his followers to our time, to rejoice in thy great revolution, for even as it was said in the time of the apostles, these are the men who are turning the world upside down. Make us men, women, and children who, by our faith, turn the world upside down, to destroy Amalek and to establish thy kingdom. 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. [00:30:11]

End of tape.