Death - RR136R32

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Death
Course: Course - Salvation and Godly Rule
Subject: Subject:Doctrinal Studies
Lesson#: 32
Length: 0:40:09
TapeCode: RR136R32
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Salvation and Godly Rule.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

Our scripture lesson is Romans 5:11-13, and our subject: Death. “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (for until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)”

When men fear death, death has great power over them. If death is seen as the end of all by men as the mockery of life and meaning, then for that man, death is the great evil rather than sin. This, of course, is the basic attitude of modern man. He does not see sin as anything serious, that death is rather than sin, to him, the great evil. The result is a radical inversion of the order of reality. St. Paul tells us in our text that, first of all, sin entered and death was simply a penal consequence of sin.

In this particular passage, St. Paul begins by speaking of the Christian’s joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now, here and now, in the presents, received the atonement, received reconciliation with God. Salvation begins here and now. It is completed with the resurrection of the body. It is both a finished act, and in a sense, a process in that there are stages in our salvation. We are, in a sense, given all things at the moment of our redemption, but the fullness of it which culminates in the resurrection of the body awaits the end of the world. Salvation is our privilege, our joy, here and now, St. Paul declares. This, he says, is because of the work of Christ. By one man sin entered, invaded the world, and death came in as the penal consequence of that sin, and so death passed upon all men, because all have sinned, and just as one man brought in all these deadly consequences, so one man undoes them; Jesus Christ. [00:03:51]

Then, St. Paul makes a statement which is generally misunderstood and given the exactly opposite meaning of what he intended. For until the law, sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

As a result, some have concluded that there was no imputation of sin until God gave the law through Moses. Now, this obviously does not hold water. St. Paul has just said that when Adam sinned, when one man sinned, death, the penal consequence of sin entered the world. Obviously then, there was a law. What St. Paul is talking about is a basic principle of law that, where there is no law, there is no legal offense.

Now, if there had been no law when Adam sinned, or when Cain sinned, or anyone sinned until a Moses, then there could have been no penal offense. There could have been no death in the world. There could have been no punishment of any kind. There obviously was. Thus, what St. Paul is saying, there clearly was a law, because otherwise, sin would not have been imputed when there is no law. That law was the law God gave orally to Adam and to Eve, and to their successors. That law was also the law which is written on the tables of every man’s heart, which is in every man’s being, a part of his being, because, having been made by God, every fiber of his being witnesses to God and His law.

Thus, St. Paul declares, before there was sin, man knew the law of God. He sinned against God and His law, but man refused to see and still refuses to see his sin as sin. He may groan inwardly because of the burden of his sin and of his guilt, but outwardly, he maintains that his sin constitutes freedom, freedom from God, and this, of course, is the purpose of sin, to gain freedom from God. When man sees sin as freedom, then sin, of course, is not the evil, but death is. Death, therefore, is to modern humanistic man, the great evil, the great problem, but it is also the way of salvation when it means the death of his enemies. The worst he can give to anyone is death, for man the sinner, death is the way to triumph, to stay alive while killing his enemies. [00:07:23]

As a result, in the modern psychology, death has a...

As a result, in the modern psychology, death has a double meaning. It is both the great and ultimate evil, and it is salvation. Death looms large, therefore, in the modern vocabulary. It is very interesting to look at the things in, say, popular romances of the 15th century, which was a period of humanism, but still a period of humanism which had a semi-Christian background as against with the kind of popular thing on television and in the movies today. The ultimate evil, the ultimate horror in the modern story is death, and deliverance is also death, and the hero kills the bad guy, and all is well. Ironically, in the 15th century, humanistic but with a background of Christianity, ultimate evil was for a girl to say “No,” and the ultimate bliss was for the girl to say, “Yes.” Now, this was a trifling view. It did not see life in terms of God, but at least it saw life, to a degree in terms of life and living. Now, the ultimate is seen in terms of death. Death looms large in the thinking of modern man.

Almost twenty years ago, I recall a very thoughtful conservative remarking that he had spent the thirties and the early forties wishing and believing a particular thing. Namely, that the world could be delivered, and it’d be a wonderful place if three men would drop dead; Stalin, Hitler, and Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, and all the problems of the world would disappear if those three men would be dead, and the day came when all three were dead, and the world was a lot worse off then it had been before, and he said, that was a real shock, and he started figuring out who else should be eliminated, and he pursued that line of thinking for awhile and then gave it up, and he said, “I finally gave up hoping that death would settle the affairs of the world, when it dawned on me that it would mean the death of practically all men and maybe myself.” In other words, he began to see that sin was the problem, and sin extended beyond those three men. Moreover, sin had a great power in his own life, and if he wanted to think about the salvation of the world, he had to begin thinking about his own salvation, but death as the answer has long been prominent in the mind of modern man. It’s been a familiar concept to murderers and suicides. [00:11:07]

One novelist, more accurately, a short story writer...

One novelist, more accurately, a short story writer, H.H. Monroe, better known as Saki, who wrote in England before World War 1, said of one of his characters, “Waldo is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.” But that thought, of course, is one that has often occurred to modern man. It’s a peculiarly modern thought.

An English proverb a little before that speaks of waiting for a dead man’s shoes. That is, seeing death as an advantage. But it is interesting as we trace this kind of attitude, death, as the great and the ultimate evil, death as the final {?}, death as more important than sin. What it finally does is to trivialize life. So that, supposedly this feeling with regard to death, rests on a passionate devotion and dedication to life, but ultimately, it trivializes all things. If life is made ultimately meaningless because death ends all, if there is no God to undergird our every step with meaning and to provide a resolution of all things in the life to come, then human life becomes trivial in the roll call of death.

This was very clearly apparent in the 18th century and in the writing of the 18th century. They both saw death as the great evil, and as something which made man’s life trivial, and this prepared the way for the 19th and 20th centuries with their murderous impulses in the century of total warfare. Laurence Sterne, I think, is as clear in this as any of the 18th century writers, and in his Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, regarded as one of the classics of English literature, but like some other classics, almost unreadable now a days, he had a father meditate on his son’s death, and this is what he says, speaking to his brother, “Philosophy has a fine saying for everything. For death, it has an entire set, the misery was, they all rushed into my father’s head. Tis an inevitable chance. The first action to Magna Carta, it is an everlasting act of Parliament, my dear brother. All must die. If my son could not have died, it had been a matter of wonder not that he is dead. What has become, brother Toby, of Nineveh and Babylon, of Kisikum{?}, and Mitolani{?}, the fairest towns the sun ever rose upon are now no more. The names only are left, and those for many of them are wrongly spelled or falling themselves by piece meals to decay, and in length of time will be forgotten and involved with everything in a perpetual night. The world itself, brother Toby, must, must come to an end. What flourishing towns now prostrate on the earth. Alas, alas, said I to myself that man should disturb his soul for the loss of a child, when so much as this lies awfully buried in his presence. Remember, said I to myself again, remember {?} man.” [00:15:25]

When man sees cities and civilizations and untold millions...

When man sees cities and civilizations and untold millions in great numbers dead and gone, and meaningless, the life of a child, even of his son, means nothing. Even more, when millions have been killed brutally, and have been buried and forgotten supposedly, by history, and their pain and their meaning is supposedly also forever gone, then in this view it is nothing if man is made to suffer today, if some advantage accrues to someone. People are then to be used by man. Principles mean nothing to the man for whom life means nothing. This is a very important point. Principles mean nothing to a man for whom life means nothing.

Now supposedly, on our world, there are none to equal the communist and their dedication to principles, and yet, because for the Marxist, life ends everything. It should follow that principles mean nothing, and this is true. The Marxist seems to be a man who is fanatically dedicated to his faith, that he is fanatical is very true, but that he is dedicated to his faith is not true. He is a man who is beset with hatred, but he is also a man who readily changes sides. One of the easiest things to do is to penetrate into a communist cell, to make double agents of top figures. Go back to the Russian Revolution, and what you find is that one leader after another, and we don’t know the story on all of them, was a double agent, working just as readily for the Czarist police as he was for the Marxist {?} of which he was a member. Working just as readily for the German espionage system as he was for his party. Stalin himself was a double agent. He worked for the Czarist police, and he worked for the Bolshevik party, and he was not unusual in this regard. Bariel{?}, he great secret police head was the same way. He had a long record for having worked for both sides. Principles mean nothing to such a man, and this is why such men make good murderers. To them, the ultimate evil is death, and the way of salvation is death, and so you liquidate 13 million Koolags{?} to solve your problem. Salvation means death and the ultimate evil is death. You switch sides as often as is necessary to keep yourself alive. Man is just to be used while you play God. [00:19:33]

The books that Stalin’s daughter has written are very...

The books that Stalin’s daughter has written are very interesting because there are such graphic insights in this kind of thing, even in the most unexpected places. In the first book she wrote, she describes a very painful childbirth when she almost lost her life and her baby, and her father wrote her a very tender note, using a pet name, and he concluded saying, “Take care of yourself. Take care of your daughter, too. That state needs people, even those who are born prematurely. Your little Papa.” Very revealing, is it not, that even in a tender note to a daughter who is very seriously ill, he brings out the point, “the state needs people.” People, in other words, are only instruments of state, and when people are instruments of state, they are there to be used, and that’s their function. For such men, life has no meaning. Everything is viewed in terms of the power of death, to destroy you and to be used, to destroy others. It is both damnation and salvation.

Death is then, for them, the great evil, not sin, and the great power, and when this view of death permeates a society, then you have the kind of saying that has been prevalent in this country in the past decade, and in other countries; Better red than dead. Principles mean nothing to the man for whom life means nothing. Not surprisingly, the attitude of such people leads both to pacifism and to total war. Pacifism where you might be hurt, and total war where you can inflict the ultimate on the enemy, and death is the great power, and the deep resentment in which the living are viewed, the idea that they might succeed and prosper is incredible. This is why we need fear. Any humanistic power most of all when they are near death, because then they will be the most hateful of the living. Death is, for them, damnation, but it is also victory if they can take the enemy down also. [00:23:03]

I recall some years ago, a very ugly episode in which...

I recall some years ago, a very ugly episode in which a man who had no faith suffered a stroke. It was not a serious stroke. He could have recovered. The doctor felt he should have been up and around in a month, but he died very rapidly. He died because he both feared death, and because an overwhelming hatred consumed him. He screamed pornographic insults at his wife all day long, because he was afraid she would live, as was quite likely, and he might die, and his one prayer was that he might become well long enough to kill her before he died, so that she wouldn’t go on living and enjoying his money while he was dead and gone. This is not a new mood. You can find it in ancient Greece, in its period of decline, when death was again the great evil for man.

There is an ancient Greek line and inscription for the tomb of Timon{?}: “Ask neither my name nor my country, passersby. My soul wishes that all of you may die.” This is the conclusion when man sees death as the evil rather than sin, but St. Paul puts the order the right way, and unless we see things in the biblical perspective, sin as the evil, and death as the penal consequence of sin, we fall into all the evil and up to all the murderous rage, into all the horrors that we see around us in the modern world view. By sin came death. Sin is the great evil. Sin is the great offense in the sight of God. Christ came, St. Paul goes on to say, to overthrow the power of sin, by his perfect obedience to the law of God, and he overthrew the power of death by his atoning death and resurrection. He reestablished man in dominion, and he summons men to extend his reign, into every area of life and thought. Christ shall reign, St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, in and through his people, and shall put all his enemies under his feet in subjection to himself and to his saints, and then the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed at the end, and the fullness of the new creation shall be brought in. Prior to that time, St. Paul says, “ye shall put down all rule and all authority, and power.” As the power of sin which came by one man and has been broken in its power by the one man, the divine man, Jesus Christ. As the power of the new man, Jesus Christ, has extended from person to person by conversion, and by the dominion of the converted into one area after another, Christ through them shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. The words there are significant. It is ALL rule, ALL power and authority. Sin shall have been destroyed in principle by his atoning death and resurrection, and in its controlling power by the sanctification of men and nations, death then as the final or remaining enemy, as the penal consequence of sin shall, at the end be destroyed, and death shall be no more, as the fullness of God’s meaning and his glorious purpose enfold for us. Let us pray. [00:28:19]

Almighty God, our heavenly father, we give thanks unto...

Almighty God, our heavenly father, we give thanks unto thee that by thy word, we are strengthened, refreshed, and renewed. We thank thee that the great enemy, sin, shall be put out of the way and finally the last and remaining enemy, death, that in Jesus Christ, we have here and now the principle of victory so that we can joy in thee through Jesus Christ here and now. O Lord, our God, how great thou art, and we praise thee. In Jesus name. Amen.

Are there any questions now, first of all, with respect to our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Very good point. Yes, the Hindu {?}, which the British abolished and which is now being revived here and there in some places in India, does represent that desire of the man, to have nothing survive.

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Before he died, Herod the Great sent the cavalry through the streets of Jerusalem to kill everybody in sight on the streets, so that there would be weeping and wailing when he died. Yes?

[Audience] {?} Day of Atonement, {?} How could they {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, the Day of Atonement in Judaism, or Yom Kippur, the Day of Covering. That is the covering, the obliteration of sin, is celebrated annually, and it goes back to the Old Testament rite of the Day of Atonement, which was a typical rite that is symbolic foreshadowing Christ’s coming. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest, representing all of Israel, offered sacrifices confessing his sins and the sins of all the people, indicating that their sins would be atoned for by the spotless one whom God, in due time, would provide. Now, it was therefore, in expectation of the coming of the suffering servant, the Messiah. Yom Kipper has long since lost that aspect. Of course, there is no sacrifice, there is no emphasis on atonement. It is basically a service that is traditional and is maintained. There is no emphasis on the aspect of atonement now, except in some very old fashioned orthodox congregation, of whom there are very few left today. There are a few here in Los Angeles, and some in New York, a few in the big cities, but by and large, they are a minority. Any other questions? Yes? [00:32:28]

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, because sin as a separation from God and a war against God is, in itself, a form of death. Sin begins the process of death, God declares to Adam. “In the day that ye eat thereof, ye shall surely die [or in the Hebrew, dying ye shall die, that is, the process of death will begin from there on. You are a dying man].”

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Well, no. Resurrection is reconciliation with God through the atoning work of Christ, and our response to that is obedience to the law, which is the way of sanctification. Now, of course, sin is presented as the way to life by the tempter, and this is why the modern man sees sin as freedom, freedom from God. It’s the way of vitality. It’s the way of freedom. Any other questions? If not, I’d like to remind you of the Sennholz seminar which is just a little less than two weeks, a week from this coming Saturday at Knott’s Berry Farm, and there are application blanks for registration in the bank.

Then, I’d like to share with you some comments by a very fine economist, a friend of ours, in fact visited us last year about this time. Elgin Groscloss{?} of Washington, D.C., and the title of it, and I’ll just read a few paragraphs, is The Manna of Social Security.

Dr. Groscloss writes, “When the Lord provided the children of Israel with manna, each day sufficient for the day, those who saved it for the morrow found that it bred worms and stank. Those who find in the Bible economic wisdom as well as divine truth may ponder the Israelite experience with manna in considering the efforts, public and private, to set aside financial reserves against old age, incapacity, or unemployment. Under the prevailing monetary system and theory, financial system and theory, financial reserves are like manna with a taste of wafers made with honey, that nevertheless melt when the son of adversity arises into nothing. The reason is that money has ceased to represent tangible wealth and is no more than an evidence of death, either public or private. To be precise, a bank balance or savings account may appear to be a solid reserve to the depositor, but what he holds is only the I.O.U. of the institution. The bank or the savings institution promptly disperses the sum as a loan that the lender immediately spends for either goods or services. The insubstantiality of the deposit is concealed by a façade of guarantees, public and private, and by the continual replenishment of the institution’s funds by new deposits. [00:36:18]

As another [I’m jumping] leading actuary, Jeffrey M...

As another [I’m jumping] leading actuary, Jeffrey M. Calvert, long ago pointed out in a government brief before the Supreme Court, social security must be viewed as a welfare instrument to which the legal concepts of insurance, property, vested rights, annuities, etc. can be applied only at the risk of a serious distortion of language. There is no paid in nor cash surrender value, and a wage earner normally has to reach the age 65, a matter out of human hands, to obtain benefits from his many years of payments. Even his widow, if he dies prematurely, cannot benefit until she attains age 62. That will disappear of the women’s lib bill of rights goes through. She will have the same rights as a man, which means she waits until 65. But the OASI’s in fact pay as you go system is illustrated by the results from the 1970 fiscal year for which the trustees of the fund reported net contributions, a euphemism for taxes, of $30 billion and benefit payments of $26 billion. The melting of the manna of social security may be traced in the declining value of the benefits. The dollars that wage earners paid into during the early years of the system have now dissolved to about a third of their original purchasing power, partly the effect of the system that enables a government continually to run into debt, a phenomenon incidentally that began with a social security system and has run concurrently with it ever since. The idea that a social security system is the national equivalent a well-stocked family cellar to which the arch-conservative Herbert Hoover was want to refer as an illusion whose recent historic parallel is that which held the French nation enthralled when John Locke proposed a coin the very thorough of the realm into money.

To conclude, economists and churchmen have yet to deal with the implications of our Lord’s injunction, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” Well, Gloscloss{?} is a Christian. He also is a hard money man who, years ago as a young man, wrote a very powerful book on money in which he very clearly foresaw the course our country was taking in the debauchery of money. He is a man who is also executive director of the institute for monetary research, very much a capable man in this area.

Our time is up now. Let’s bow our heads for the benediction.

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. [00:39:44]

End of tape