Blasphemy and the Social Order - RR172AJ65

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Blasphemy and the Social Order
Course: Course - Leviticus; The Law of Holiness and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 65
Length: 0:31:12
TapeCode: RR172AJ65
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Leviticus The Law of Holiness 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. Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Let us pray.

We thank Thee, our Father, who hast ordained that can come to Thee and must come and cast our every care upon Thee, who carest for us. Preserve us from all faithless cares, from selfish anxieties and grant that at all times, we walk in Thy light and not in the darkness of our times. We thank Thee that Jesus Christ is our Lord that in Him we have the assurance of victory and that greater is He that is in us and with us than he that is in the world. Bless us now as we study Thy Word. Empower us by Thy Word and by Thy Spirit to serve Thee better day by day. In Christ’s name, amen.

Our scripture is Leviticus 24:17-23. Our subject is “Blasphemy and Social Order.” Leviticus 24:17-23:

17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.

18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.

19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;

20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.

21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.

22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the Lord your God.

23 And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses.” [00:03:09]

This last verse tells us the context of that which

This last verse tells us the context of that which precedes it. These verses are a continuation of the subject of blasphemy in verses 10-16. Their purpose is to make clear why the death penalty was pronounced against the man guilty of blasphemy. We are told that the Law of God is binding on all peoples, both in its penalties and in is protection.

God is the source of all law. Therefore, it follows that offenses against God are a denial of all law in a society. That’s why blasphemy is so serious. It is a denial that God has anything to do with us, a denial that He is the source of law. It treats with contempt the idea that God is the absolute governor. We cannot see blasphemy simply as words spoken against God. We cannot isolate God from the realm of meaning and law and make Him an irrelevant outsider. He is the creator of the entire universe and of every atom therein.

No court of law takes kindly to anyone who denies the legitimate jurisdiction of that court. It is much more serious to deny the validity of all law and the author of all law. A man who does that affirms the validity of Genesis 3:5, that is, that he is his own god and his own source of law. He may use the Bible as a façade. He may call himself a churchman, but he has given it his own innovative meaning as against God’s meaning. [00:05:24]

It is an interesting fact that in the Slavic languages

It is an interesting fact that in the Slavic languages there is recognition of this fact. The word ‘pravda’ in all the languages means “law, truth, or justice.” And {?} means “law or religion.” And these words are very, very ancient in both their meaning and their use. In other words, even in their words, they saw law as inseparable from religion, from truth and justice. That’s why to call their Soviet publication Pravda is a deliberate act of blasphemy. They knew what they were doing.

Men, however, are very prone to take seriously offenses against themselves, but not offenses against God. A very old and cynical European proverb declares, I can defend my honor, let God defend His. The answer is that those who do not uphold God’s honor become a part of the realm which is under God’s judgment.

These verses, 17 and following, affirm the law of retribution. J.R. Porter has said, “The idea is not to make the punishment fit the crime, but to restore to the victim what he has lost.” This can be by an equivalent compensation for damages by means of restitution. Retribution is what some have called it. And retribution has many presuppositions. [00:07:39]

First, it assumes a responsibility of all persons

First, it assumes a responsibility of all persons. They are responsible for what they do, and they are responsible for the behavior of their animals and for the safety of their buildings. If the animal is for the first time, let us say it is an ox, goring someone, or an animal biting, then they are not responsible, but if they keep the animal then and it does it again they are totally responsible.

Second, restitution is necessary to restore as much as possible the order which existed. In the case of murder, the death of the killer is an aspect of this. You restore order by eliminating the one who troubled or destroyed the order.

Then, third restitution seeks to restore justice to the human scene and it affirms God’s moral order.

Then fourth, retribution is also known as lex talionis. This is the name that scholars give it. And they do this to classify the biblical doctrine of retribution as something primitive. It has for some generations been regarded as a form of primitivism which psychology and sociology are replacing. But without this fact of retribution, restitution, justice is denied and it is replaced as now by psychotherapy. [00:09:44]

The idea of lex talionis is a very curious one

The idea of lex talionis is a very curious one. As these scholars who insists this is a kind of primitive lex talionis read it, “an eye for eye” means if a man damages the eye of another, his eye has to be damaged. If he knocks out the tooth of another, his tooth has to be knocked out. Now this is not the reading, it never has been the reading. It means that the punishment and the crime have to be commensurate and that there has to be a restitution. So from the earliest known records of these laws of scripture, we know that it never meant what scholars today routinely declare that it meant. It is a perversity on their part to read it that way.

We have to say as against these scholars that it means exact justice—not revenge. Moreover, it is public justice, not private revenge, and finally, just compensation for all injuries other than murder is required, and the law forbids ransom or compensation or payment for murder.

Now in these verses, it is clear that, as in verse 22 it is so clearly stated, ye shall have one manner of law as well for the stranger as for one of your own country. The protection of God’s Law extends to foreigners. This is a very important fact. God extends His Law and His protection and His judgment to all races and peoples because all are required to live by that law and will be judged and punished by that law. [00:12:04]

In any system of thought, the source of law is also

In any system of thought, the source of law is also the source of judgment. And this is why we are in trouble today. Men are the source of law and men are therefore the source of judgment. And they use their own discretion as judges, which is particularly bad. Where State Law made by the state’s fiat governs us, we are then also judged by the state’s fiat. Arbitrary laws then prevail and the security of our persons, our freedom and property are lost. They are lost to that same fiat will. We must therefore say the assertion by the State that its fiat will can replace God’s Law is blasphemy. We are living in a blasphemous social order.

More than a century ago (in fact, more than a century and a half ago almost), George Bush, an American scholar commented, “It is moreover to be remembered that blasphemy is not confined to the mere profane use of the name or titles of the Most High. Any kind of disparaging or contemptuous reflections thrown out against the power or grace of God comes into the same category in the estimation of the scriptures. Thus, Rabshakeh is charged with blasphemy for asserting that the God of Israel had no more power than the gods of the heathen. And thus the psalmist pleads, ‘oh God how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the many blaspheme Thy name forever?’ Thus, moreover, Paul says of himself that he was, before his conversion a blasphemer because he had spoken against, and opposed the grace of Christ. And doubtless it is for the same reason that James says of the rich men of his day, ‘do they not blaspheme that worthy name by which ye are called?’” [00:14:44]

Bush cited a very interesting incident of Rabshakeh

Bush cited a very interesting incident of Rabshakeh’s blasphemy. He was the commander of the Assyrian host which had taken over Judea and was besieging Jerusalem. The siege was far-gone, was only apparently a question of time and Rabshakeh stood before the wall when they were negotiating and ridiculed the faith of Hezekiah in God’s ability to deliver Judah. He made a joke of it. He even went so far as to say “I am a prophet also and God has told me to tell you that I have been sent by Him to destroy the land.” For Rabshakeh, an historical power could not be touched by God. History had priority over eternity. He was ready to believe that when he died, the gods or someone in the life to come might have some say-so. But here and now, men like himself ruled. Rabshakeh very quickly found otherwise.

Blasphemy is thus far more than taking the name of the Lord in vain, it is a denial of the power and the relevance of God and His Law Word. It is contempt for His Word as empty and impotent. It is the misuse of God’s Word to serve man’s purposes, as though God were nothing and that God cannot act, He cannot see, He cannot avenge Himself. Blasphemy treats God as a nonentity. Thomas Scott, a very fine old commentator of a couple of centuries ago declared, “Blasphemy against God, yeah, contempt of Him, expressed in words or actions, is in its own nature not only more heinous that theft or robbery of any kind, but even than murder. And though it frequently escapes unpunished by man, yet it shall by no means escape the righteous vengeance of God.” [00:17:33]

In many, many church circles, it would be impossible

In many, many church circles, it would be impossible to talk as I just have or cite Scott without being criticized, because more than a few scholars were modernists, and more than a few church leaders who were fundamentalists, believed that law of retribution was set aside by our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:38 following. But such men are usually more full of their modern wisdom than they are of the Spirit of God. They feel that they have the wisdom to correct or supplement both Moses and Jesus Christ.

Kellogg’s comment in 1899 on this subject, I think is to the point. “Much cabal have these laws occasioned, the more so that Christ Himself is cited as having condemned them in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:38-42. But how little difficulty really exists here will appear from the following considerations: The Jews of old have maintained that the law of an eye for an eye as here given was not intended to authorize private and irresponsible retaliation in kind, but only after due trial and legal process.”

In other words, this is for matters of justice, courts of law, that is premise is to govern. In private relations, personal relations, is very, very different. We do not ask our husband or wife to make restitution in this respect, because we then treat them as someone outside the immediate personal environment. Moreover, in dealing with personal problems that are beyond the law, as our Lord dealt with, in dealing with Rome when you were a Jew, you turned the other cheek, because you knew your laws of justice would not govern them. You did not have any standing in their law. [00:20:30]

Kellogg also pointed out that the plain evidence of

Kellogg also pointed out that the plain evidence of Hebrew history makes clear that the meaning of the Law was never that an eye was gouged out in restitution, but that the penalty had to be equal to the crime. Modernists like to make themselves wise by holding that any era without their wisdom is barbaric. [00:21:00]

Now to deny the validity and importance of blasphemy

Now to deny the validity and importance of blasphemy is to undermine justice. Because blasphemy is no longer regarded as anything but a dead concept (that is the biblical doctrine of blasphemy), we see justice being replaced by class and race laws and by psychotherapy. Marxism, National Socialism or Democracy see the source of social order in the idea of an elite class, race or profession; political experts. God’s Law and justice however are mandatory for all peoples and they judge and protect all peoples. They do not give any one the right to set himself up in his wisdom as the source of law, and this is what any nonbiblical system does. A group of people declare that we are the wisdom of the centuries.

The law against blasphemy tells us that the fundamental law, the authority and the law-giver of all creation must be revered in every sphere of life and thought and by all peoples. No building can stand if the foundation and the first floor are suddenly removed. And if you remove God as the source of Law, you then remove the foundation of all law and society of justice. David in Psalm 11:3 asks if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do. The Hebrew word for foundation means ‘a basis,’ a political or moral source of support, a foundation, a purpose. Righteous or just cannot dare to be indifferent to the destruction of the very foundation of society. This is why our age is going to be destroyed. It is going to collapse. You cannot remove the foundation and the first floor from the building and expect it to float on air. [00:23:59]

When the modern capital of Brazil was built inland

When the modern capital of Brazil was built inland a few years ago, it was designed to be a great architectural gem and an innovation. And their initial attempts resulted in several disasters before the buildings were completed. And they had to revise their plans. The reason for that was that in tune with so much in modern architecture, they wanted to create buildings that gave the illusion of floating in space. It did not work.

And today we are building social orders intended as it were to float in space, to be separated from their only possible foundation—God’s justice. It will not work. And the result will be disaster.

Let us pray.

Lord, Thy Word is truth, and Thy Word is a light for all men. Recall the nations unto Thee and as Thou doest shatter them in their self-wisdom, bring them to an understanding of Thy truth and grant that true foundations be built in the days ahead. Grant us this, we beseech Thee in Christ’s name. Amen. [00:25:59]

Are there any questions now about our lesson?...

Are there any questions now about our lesson?


[Audience] Well, to have a government without limits is really the modern problem. Not recognizing God, they recognize no limits.

[Rushdoony] Exactly—if they don’t recognize God, they recognize no limits because a’ la Hegel, they become their own god and there is no limit then. And this is our problem today and that’s why the State is becoming more and more powerful.

When I was speaking yesterday, I made the point that any idea of a return to the Constitution is ridiculous. The Constitution is a dead letter. In fact, two states are meeting within a matter of days to consider ratifying the call for a Constitutional assembly, and one of the groups leading the fight made the statement which I was shown yesterday. There’s a book published on it. Namely, that the framers were too foxy. They put in so many roadblocks that the only thing to do was to scrap what they did and start over again.

But be that as it may, the Constitution never once uses the word sovereign or sovereignty because it is an ancient axiom of law that Sovereign can never be bound by any law. He is the source of law. And because, beginning with John Marshall, the concept of sovereignty has steadily been introduced into our political thinking and since World War I, has progressively become an axiom of law. No law can now control the Federal Government. Because it is above and beyond the law, since it asserts its sovereignty. It is an axiom of law that a sovereign cannot be bound by any law.

And people fail to realize that this is basic to the decisions of the Supreme Court regularly. Nothing that Congress may pass in order to please the people can bind the Federal Government and they all know it. So it’s a vast show for suckers. [00:29:13]

Well, if the….


[Audience] That was the basis of the American War of Independence.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] It was against the unlimited sovereignty of Commons.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] And, uh, it’s astonishing that we still have churches that call themselves Presbyterian and so forth and nobody in the country seems to recall its history.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Yes. They, ah, are uniformly apostate.

Well, let’s conclude with prayer.

Our Lord and our God, we thank Thee that Thou art the Lord the Sovereign and all the pretended lords of history shall be judged by Thee for their blasphemy. They shall be shattered and their place shall be taken by Thy kingdom. Bless us as we work for Thy realm. 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. [00:30:48]

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