Cultural Stability - RR187U37
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|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. Oh come let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto Him with song. Let us pray.
Our Father, we thank Thee that all the days of our life Thou art ever more mindful of us then we are of Thee. Closer to us than we are to ourselves. Oh Lord our God how great is Thy government. WE thank Thee that Thou dost protect us from ourselves, that Thy mercy and Thy grace are new every morning. And so we come our Father to thank Thee, to rejoice in Thee and to study afresh Thy word. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture is Deuteronomy 11:18-25 and our subject: Cultural Stability. Cultural Stability, Deuteronomy 11:18-25.
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
23 Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.”
Moses here begins with words which repeat Deuteronomy
Moses here begins with words which repeat Deuteronomy 6:6-9. He commands them to lay up these words. Now the Hebrew for lay is a word with many facets of meaning but one is very clearly this: they are to preserve and to treasure these words as a promise of wealth and victory. To assume that these are merely words of council is to fail to understand that God promises covenant blessings for covenant faithfulness. So this is not council, it is a command and momentous consequences rest on their obedience. As P.C. Craigy has stated God here makes three requirements of the covenant people and all three are radically interrelated and are not to be separated. The requirements are law, obedience and love. These verses are a summary of what Moses has taught thus far in His final instructions to Israel. The issues are stated very plainly. Israel now has no excuse for disobedience and failure. The consequences of past sins have been cited and the promises for obedience. In these verses there is a continuous restatement of the commands and we are reminded that repetition is the mother of learning. Repetition is the mother of learning. Something nowadays very much neglected. What Moses wants most earnestly is loyalty to the covenant. This seems simple enough and it certainly is an elementary requirement, but men’s fallen estate makes him radically at war with all loyalties to anything other than his own will. Fallen man wants the world to revolve around himself and his purpose and this puts him in opposition to God, he wants God to serve him not he God. The essence of Greek society was summed up in the motto ‘man is the measure of all things’. The statements in the modern age which sum up the renaissance, the enlightenment and all that has followed since then go back first of all to [unknown]’s statement that my will must be the highest law. That there can be no law except the will of man, and of course to another statement going back to a variety of illumines groups and made basic to Freemasonry ‘as my will so must it be’. My will be done, that sums up the spirit of the modern age. [00:07:33]
And this puts man on a collision course with God because
And this puts man on a collision course with God because he wants God to serve him, not he God, and of course that’s the essence of Arminianism. In return for loyalty to the covenant God promises Israel in verse twenty four some remarkable boundaries. In the north east and the perspective is from where they were encamped at the moment the river Euphrates would provide a natural boundary in what is now Syria. The Mediterranean would be their western boundary, the mountains of Lebanon would be north of them, east and south of them would be a barren area for another natural defense. Only under David and Solomon was there any approach to these boundaries, later on King Josiah sought Judah to the covenant law, at the same time he came close to attaining these boundaries. There is a remarkable statement in verse twenty one that has attracted major interest over the centuries. That verse reads ‘that the days of your life may be multiplied and the days of your children in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth’. The last clause we will consider later, but the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them. Not to you, but to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even among the Rabbis this phrase was seen as a promise of life after death in that the gift of the land would be to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, three patriarchs, alive and with God. We are not to speculate on what all these involves but neither can we ignore the fact that very plainly it is stated that God gives gifts to His people not only during their lifetime here but when they are in heaven. That’s an amazing thought but it’s very clearly stated here. In verse eighteen there is a reference to the identifying marks of Hebrews in their clothing. To us this seems strange but until recently this was routine in most of the world. Various peoples identified themselves by a number of ways, religiously and nationally. For example, when medieval Jews were required to wear the Star of David and like identifying marks this was not a case of singling out the Jews. This was not a part of any persecution. This was a requirement of all peoples, and all classes and grades of people in that era. Sumptuary laws required people to dress in terms of their class to identify themselves. During much of history this has been the case. [00:11:33]
Peasants in the medieval era could not carry a sword
Peasants in the medieval era could not carry a sword, only a staff which in itself was an excellent weapon. A peasant with a staff could unhorse a knight fully clothed and in armor charging on him. He was forbidden to do so and he did not do so because he knew while that particular knight might be an enemy certain knights were his protection and as a class they were to be respected. An unidentifiable man was distrusted. Every separate order of monks wore identifying marks. Identifying marks earlier in this century in a minor way were such things as the wearing of crosses. Hostility to such things of course is ever increasing but I do remember that in the farming community in which I grew up almost all the adults foreign born, many of these foreign born farmers wore a new pair of overalls to church. To them a business suit was inappropriate, even though some of them were quite prosperous, much more so than business men in town. But they did not believe it was inappropriate. With the depression of 1929 on, necessity led some to return to the older practice. After the war, of course, all these things disappeared. What verse eighteen represents is now alien to our society because the goal the world over is to blur all distinctions, it is not a happy acceptance of them. In such a culture our distinctive mark must therefore be intellectual and religious. We are to identify ourselves by a living faith more than by conventional form. Moses then insists in verse nineteen on an education for children in terms of the covenant. A general neutral education does not exist. Education is inescapably religious because it transmits the tools and values of a culture from the old to the young. The two marks of the religion of a culture or of a civilization are education and law. Education is essentially a familistic and religious concern and this must be a constant concern to godly parents. Then in verse twenty two diligence and obedience is stressed very strongly. Life is not an endless holiday but a testing, a calling to serve God and a responsibility. The joy of life comes in meeting our godly duties, not in evading them. We live in a time where the playboy mentality has dominated our culture even before the birth of the playboy magazine. [00:15:49]
One of the common things I hear by both letter and
One of the common things I hear by both letter and telephone is the people whose parents have a playboy mentality. They insist that life is fun and games, every day despite what their children or grandchildren may be telling them about what is happening and the inflation that’s all around them, they insist on retiring sure that the social security administration or their company pension is going to take care of them nicely to the end of their days and they become angry if they are told anything different. We live in a playboy generation that wants to see life as an endless holiday. But Moses makes clear that diligence in obeying God’s law carries great promises, sure promises. In verses twenty two through twenty five he deals with this. First God will drive out all apposing nations from before them, the promise is explicit, there shall be no man able to stand before you. God will fill their enemies with fear and dread. Second, wherever they treat shall be their possession. This means that the only impediment of the designated areas will be their own sin and unwillingness. It would be interesting to write a history of the application of that promise. Wherever the soles of your feet shall tread, that under God will be yours. That’s how the British Empire was won, the Scottish troops were put at the front hallways and they were hard headed old fashioned Scots and Calvinists and they never retreated, they believed that when they moved forward that was going to be their land. And it was! Third, their victories will be God’s doing, it will be the Lord who will drive out all these nations from before you, they cannot credit themselves with the power but only God. Men must not forget in any age the mystery of grace, namely, that it comes to men and to nations not because they deserve it but often in spite of themselves. We are commonly unlikely candidates for grace and strange witnesses to God’s power, humanely speaking. Saint Paul makes very clear how God confounds the world’s elitism to use men and things the world despises. God’s contempt for man’s humanistic evaluations is very notable, in Paul’s words in First Corinthians 1:26-29:
“ For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
Now this text is often misread. [00:20:23]
Paul does not that no wise man, or powerful, or wealthy
Paul does not that no wise man, or powerful, or wealthy and noble are called because he himself was all these things before his conversion. What Paul does say is that God is not governed by men’s assessments or men’s probabilities. He chooses whom he will. Brings at times hatred and contempt upon them as his training for service. Our democratic age has at times been ready to misuse Paul’s words. It holds that to be foolish, weak and despised makes one a member of the elect circle. Paul is stressing rather the sovereign choice of God as the whole source of election and the purpose is that no flesh should glory in his presence. Men can take no legitimate credit for what God has done. God has regularly put down people who have seen themselves as the chosen and hence the superior people. He withdraws his grace and withholds His mercy to these self-elected. But self-election has been a besetting sin of both Israel and the church and its judgment is a sure one. Arminianism is a theological form of self-election and very evil. The life of diligent obedience is described as a good and long one, an unusual expression is used, the days of the faithful shall be multiplied as the days of heaven upon the earth, in verse twenty one. The general meaning is clear, the precise meaning is difficult but this is the reading not only of the authorized version but also the older Jewish translation from the [unknown] text. Many new translations now read like the 1962 Torah version: “As long as there is a heaven over the earth.” Well in any case the meaning is that when we are diligent in obedience God’s promise is as sure as can be. It has a stability of the heavens and the whole of God’s order. The foundation of cultural stability therefore is not in man’s humanistic efforts and pretensions but in man’s diligent obedience to God. Let us pray. [00:23:38]
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word. We thank Thee that it is as sure as the heavens. Give us grace therefore to follow Thee faithfully, to delight in Thy calling with all that it may involve. Make us ever mindful that even to suffer for Thy sake is a privilege as against all the other options. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson?
[Question] It’s interesting how Israel did not obey, especially in the modern times, but yet many evangelicals believe that it is theirs…[becomes unintelligible]
[Rushdoony] Yes that is due to a very monstrous theological error that, in fact, I wrote a rather long paper about it yesterday as a part of a study I’m making. I called it, I believe, The Evil Doctrine of Unconditional Love. Now, if you believe in unconditional love you will do as Bob unknown] has done often, to preach that once you say yes to Jesus he is bound eternally and therefore you can, as he says, go out and become an atheist and commit every murder in the book and you’re still going to go to heaven. You have bound God unconditionally by saying yes but you are not bound. But where does that vicious doctrine come from? It comes from the enlightenment, I won’t go into it, I do in the paper but it came to a logical climax, a practical climax in the Marque De Sade. Marque De Sade said if nature is normative, whatever occurs in nature is good, therefore murder, abortion, infanticide, incest, theft, rape are all legitimate because they exist in nature. Of course this was made into a scientific concept n the late fifties by a team of scholars, can anyone recall who they were? The Kinsey Group. Whatever was natural therefore was good, so he vindicated not only homosexuality but child molestation, he said the only evil product was when adults expressed horror over it and then the child went into shock because of that. He was applying the enlightenment and the Sadian doctrine. Well the sad part is the church particularly the Arminian quarters has bought into this, unconditional love doctrine. Therefore, God’s promises to Israel were unconditional and now they say it is unconditional to you, as Bob [unknown] has said. And therefore no what Israel does, disbelieving in the Bible, being a secular humanistic state, makes no difference, God’s promises are unconditional. [00:28:17]
This is what leads today precisely to what has been
This is what leads today precisely to what has been developing in Washington under both parties for some time. The total approval of every kind of practice and the disapproval of the one that opposes it, Christianity, because the natural is normative the super natural cannot be. So we are in the midst of the last days of the revolution that began with the enlightenment, when nature began to be spelled with a capitol N and nature was held to be normative and Christianity and the church steadily were the object of disestablishment. So that even where today the church still is established it has penalties. In Sweden everyone in the community can vote in church elections, so church boards are commonly Marxist or in Germany if you join the church you will lose your tax credit for gifts to the church. And the same prevails elsewhere, penalties even though the form is maintained. Christianity has been disestablished and humanism has been established. Well are there any other questions?
[Question] In my life time I’ve observed a gradual decline in the wearing of the symbol of the cross by Christians and in the past two or three years I’ve noticed a gradual increase in the number of the people particularly in the entertainment industry who wear the cross and dedicate their lives to a life of sin, a symbol of disrespect.
[Rushdoony] Yes, the problem became that there was such hostility to the wearing of crosses by Christians that it became a means of just inviting trouble. Priests and protestant pastors wearing clericals had to abandon them because of insults. It’s rare that you see them, for example, at an airport nowadays and it will usually be a very much older priest. The symbols of witchcraft are regularly worn and uses of the cross sometimes in the way they are affixed to indicate an occultist group. So it is defamation of the cross, the way certain ones wear it.
[Question] ….characterizing the wearing of the cross by Christians, a lack of courage?
[Rushdoony] No I wouldn’t say it was a lack of courage, I think it’s simply a case of recognizing there are other ways of showing our faith and there is no point in getting into a fight because it did reach on a few occasions pushing and shoving and acts of contempt and none of that served any good. [00:32:11]
Are there any other questions or comments?...
Are there any other questions or comments?
I think it was the author of Law and Revolution, Berman, Harold J. Berman who felt that early in the next century, very early, there would either have to be a turn around by them and a return to the faith or a radical collapse of civilization and I believe that estimate is a correct one. Well if there are no further questions or comments let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father, we thank Thee that we have the blessed assurance that Thy will shall be done and even the wrath of man shall please Thee. But though men build their towers of Babal the wealth of the world shall flow into Thy kingdom in Thy good time. Our God we thank Thee, give us grace therefore to serve Thee with faith and with a holy boldness. 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.