Blessings - RR187BG109

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Blessings
Course: Course - Deuteronomy
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 109
Length: 0:33:35
TapeCode: RR187BG109
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 ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers 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.

Oh Lord our God unto whom all power and authority belongeth. We come to Thee to invoke Thy power and Thy authority. In this evil time to withstand the tides of darkness, to overthrow the power of evil, to conquer all things for Christ Jesus. We come knowing that ours is the victory in Christ and greater is He that is in us and with us then he that is in the world. We thank Thee oh God for the assurance of victory. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Our scripture is Deuteronomy 33, the entire chapter, verses one through twenty nine. Our subject: Blessing. Deuteronomy 33, Blessing.

And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.

2 And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.

3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.

4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.

5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.

6 Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.

8 And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;

9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.

10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.

11 Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.

12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.

13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,

14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,

15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,

16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.

17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

18 And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.

19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.

20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.

21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel.

22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.

23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south.

24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.

25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.

27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.

29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.”


In the closing chapters of Deuteronomy this and the

In the closing chapters of Deuteronomy this and the next, we encounter a few verses written by someone other than Moses, probably Joshua, who concluded the book with a few minor additions. This chapter is mainly the blessings pronounced by Moses on each of the tribes or clans of Israel. A blessing invokes God’s favor on someone. It presupposes that God is the sole author of all things; we’ll come back to that point later. God the sole author of all things. A blessing also requires an obedience to God’s law so that the results of obedience are declared and the blessing to be God’s reward and grace to the person blessed. The blessing thus calls attention to God’s ways and to man’s faithfulness. In verse six, for example, the Reubenites descended from Jacob’s firstborn had been set aside because of Reuben’s sin. The tribe was known for sloth. The blessing simply states the hope that the Reubenites will not disappear as a tribe. Simeon is not mentioned at all, this tribe was absorbed into Judea. The great blessing to all the clans is described in verses two through five. It is the inheritance of God’s law. The law of God is not seen in the Bible as a restraint upon men but as an inheritance and it is so called. God is the Lord, He is King over Israel and His greatest gift to His people is the covenant law. Until modern times and the development of the modern tyrant state to have a law normally meant protection. This is not to say there were not tyrants in antiquity; in fact the meaning of the Greek word tyrant means to rule without divine law. Rome debauched its law to make it an enemy to the people and thereby it contributed to its own collapse. [00:10:45]

Usually people looked to the king’s law for their security

Usually people looked to the king’s law for their security. God’s coming to Israel and His self-revelation meant the giving of His law and to receive God’s law meant to receive God’s protection. This is the historic meaning of law, the protection of the sovereign. In verse seven Judea is blessed and the blessing is a plea that God hear Judea’s prayer and protect him from his enemies. In verses eight through eleven Levi is blessed, this tribe with a bad beginning in its founder became the defender of the faith at Sinai. Levi is described as a tribe that set duty above all tribal and family claims, they refused to know father or mother or children if there was a line of division between them and God. For this reason God appointed the Levites to guard God’s law and to teach it. They were to have a central part in worship. The prayer for Levi’s blessing includes a prayer for the overthrow of his enemies. In verse twelve Benjamin the youngest of the children and a small tribe is blessed with God’s special care as of a child carried on his father’s shoulders. The blessing of Joseph is a long one, verses thirteen through seventeen. The blessing of God is here invoked upon the land which the two Josephite tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. Not only will these two inherit a land that will be especially fertile but as a people they will be like a wild ox or a buffalo goring and trampling down upon their enemies. Their land is required as especially rich. Blessed by the sun and by the moon. Most people are unaware of it but the moon has an effect and night weather upon crops. In this country the great dependency of corn on the night is particularly notable. At night you can hear the corn growing because it’ll rustle. It can grow up to two inches at night. [00:13:59]

They are also told that they will be protected from

They are also told that they will be protected from their enemies and until 722 B.C. this blessing was true of these two tribes. In verses eighteen and nineteen Zebulun and Issachar are blessed and then in verse twenty two Dan and before that in twenty and twenty one Gad. Zebulun or it was then pronounced Zeb-ul-en are promised that they will have cause for celebration. Both tribes apparently had access to the Sea of Galilee and Zebulun perhaps the Mediterranean as well. Both would gain wealth from shipping and fishing. It is interesting that in New England which was in the past very much given to trade by sea the name Zebulon or Zeb was very popular because it indicates a sea going man. Both tribes with access to the sea would not only gain wealth from shipping and fishing but the reference to sand means that they would be involved in the manufacture of glass and many, many centuries later Josephus refers to this in the Jewish War. Dan is described as a fearless lion’s whelp ready to leap upon his enemies. Then in verses twenty three thorugh twenty nine the blessing of Naphtali and Asher are cited and Moses’ conclusion. Now Naphtali will be richly blessed and will expand its territory. Asher will be prosperous. The reference to oil refers to the rich olive orchards this tribe would develop. The brass and iron shoes refer to its fortifications since Asher was located on a route used for both trade and invasions. [00:16:40]

Verses twenty six through twenty nine take us back

Verses twenty six through twenty nine take us back to the beginning, to the covenant Lord. Verse twenty seven is one of the most heartening sentences in the Bible, once memorized by everyone because of its tremendous beauty:

27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

The eternal God is Thy refuge. Perhaps hundreds and hundreds of millions of times people in grave crises have repeated that verse and they have found it to be a lifesaver. God is our refuge; underneath every experience of life are his everlasting arms. He is the creator of heaven and earth and all things therein and this means that everything that happens and all the circumstances of life are ordained by him. This is the ground of our security and strength. Even in the greatest and most deadly of trials He is our refuge and strength and His arms sustain us. These blessings are pronounced on tribes or clans no longer in existence, their meaning for us now rests in the fact of blessings. The word blessing and benediction are essentially the same. Church services end with a blessing or a benediction. The word of God as proclaimed or taught is the covenant word of God as we hear and obey that word we are blessed or if we disregard it we are cursed. God’s blessings are practical ones they mean health, success, long life and much, much more. For a people it can mean victory, prosperity, good weather and the like. God chooses our blessings for us and yet at the same time by our obedience we prepare ourselves to be blessed. [00:19:40]

The biblical phrase to fear God means to obey Him,...

The biblical phrase to fear God means to obey Him, to keep His commandments. It is a mistake to read fear simply as an emotion; it is in the Hebrew to give God the respect of hearing and obeying Him. At one time all greetings were blessings as in Ruth 2:4 when Boaz greets the reapers coming into his field saying the Lord be with you and they answered him the Lord bless thee. Our goodbye was originally ‘God be with you’, it has been contracted to goodbye. At one time men felt the need for grace and blessings and therefore used them on meeting one another and in departing. When IW as a child it still existed in rural California which was in terms of the attitude of the rest of the country rather backward but people would still say ‘God be with you’ when they left one another. The premise was to bless one another and also to be a blessing. Someone who in faithfulness to God kept His law and became a source of grace and blessings to others. Throughout Europe and North America at one time people routinely blessed one another as they separated. But the belief now is that a person can either do everything on his own or if he needs help he seeks the state’s help or blessing. The modern state has become modern man’s source of blessings. So we’ve seen a revolution just in the way we associate with people. When people blessed one another they felt an obligation to be good friends and good neighbors. That is gone now and it is ironic that the modern city group precisely at the time when it was no longer necessary because modern transportation made the transport of goods and materials possible from any manufacturing site. [00:22:50]

But the desire was anonymity, to evade the need to

But the desire was anonymity, to evade the need to be close to people because in the massive concentration there is no sense of neighborliness. So people no longer bless one another, they do not help one another, they refer people to the state. But to paraphrase our Lord’s comment on the sword’s power they that live by the state shall die by the state. Let us pray.

Our Father, we thank Thee that Thou hast blessed us and that Thou art blessing us in Christ. Teach us therefore in the day of adversity, in the time of trouble, to know that Thou art very near, that Thou art closer to us than we are to ourselves. To be ever mindful that underneath are Thy everlasting arms and that Thou art our eternal refuge. Teach us therefore to know that there is more in everything that we experience than we can ever know. But Thou art there. Bless us oh God our Father and make of us a blessing one to another. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes? [00:25:30]

[Question] In revelations the blessings to the tribes

[Question] In revelations the blessings to the tribes omit Dan and Ephraim. They assume in my reading it’s because they worshipped idols more than the other tribes, is that so?

[Rushdoony] They went so far astray that they just merged with other peoples. And they ceased to exist as part of the covenant people. Simeon had been absorbed but Dan became early a leader in apostasy. Its military strength made it apparently trust in its own powers, to feel I don’t need help, I’m capable.

[Question unintelligible]

[Rushdoony] Yes, that’s what Kipling meant when in the Recessional he said ‘If, drunk with sight of power, we lose sight of Thee ’…I’ve forgotten the exact wording but that was the idea. Any other questions or comments, yes?

[Question] The history of the Jews repeated in the bible through all these centuries, I wonder why the Christians have never put the history of Christianity out as a regular part of liturgy also.

[Rushdoony] well, we do have, no longer available, histories of Christianity from fairly early that dealt with the providential aspect of the history. Some of the massive histories, multi-volume, of the eighteenth century, dealt with church history from that perspective. The nineteenth century frowned on all of those and regarded them as fit for the scrap heap. It took a very highly critical attitude; it felt shy of everything that indicated a clear cut providence. There was an attorney who shortly after World War One felt that the providential dealings of God with this country should be recorded so he produced a slim volume of accounts of such things and the book disappeared almost without a trace. It was not respectable to look to that. [00:28:50]

He pointed out how before the pilgrims landed there

He pointed out how before the pilgrims landed there had been an epidemic of incredible proportions that had wiped out the Indians of a populous New England. To this day they don’t know what caused it but there were piles of bones everywhere and no Indians and from there on this man traced the multitude of providential acts in American history. But people don’t want that sort of thing. We did it is the way they want to feel. And of course if anybody did it it has to be a human agency like the state. So now we look to our blessings, our own hands and Washington D.C., more and more Washington D.C. It’s been a major shift. In recent years the word bless has come back in a kind of popular fashion not too seriously intended, I think the one who started it was Red Skelton who would say at the conclusion ‘God bless’ I believe was the way he put it. And that is still used by some people but I sometimes wonder about the intent because it is never given an object, you. Any other questions or comments? [00:31:02]

Let me add, by the way, something I’ve pointed out

Let me add, by the way, something I’ve pointed out before, the language of scripture is often transferred to the state so that the IRS can say that you have sixty or ninety days of grace to make the payment that they say you should make and the term days of grace is now virtually a part of our legal system and it should not surprise us that people automatically feel that if you are going to be blessed it is Washington D.C. that should do it. Any more questions or comments? Well if not let us close with prayer.

Our Father, bless us with an understanding heart that we may see Thee as the source of all grace and blessing. Make us ever mindful that this world and the people thereof are not our friends but our enemies, that they seek to work us ill at every term. Be Thou our shield and our defender, protect us, deliver us and make us a blessing to Thy people. 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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