Discrimination - RR172AB52

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Discrimination
Course: Course - Leviticus; The Law of Holiness and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 52
Length: 0:28:26
TapeCode: RR172AB52
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. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made Heaven and earth. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we come to Thee in the midst of a generation that has broken Thy most holy laws, has transgressed Thy commandments, has been disobedient and ungrateful, proud and willful, and continues in its evil ways. We give thanks unto Thee our Father that Thou art a God of judgment and a God of salvation, that Thy purpose for us is that we be made whole, that we be made soldiers of Thy kingdom, builders of the walls of Thy temple. Make us faithful, strong, and courageous, that in Christ Jesus, we may be more than conquerors. In His name we pray. Amen.

Our scripture this day is Leviticus 21:16-24 and our subject, “Discrimination.” “Discrimination,” Leviticus 21:16-24,

16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

17 Speak unto Aaron, saying, whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.

18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or anything superfluous,

19 Or a man that is broken footed or broken handed,

20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

22 He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.

23 Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them.

24 And Moses told it unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel.” [00:03:43]

When men dispose of the Law of God, they before long

When men dispose of the Law of God, they before long, dispose of Christ. They deny the meaning of His atonement. Because Christ’s atonement rests upon the Law of God, that God’s justice requires satisfaction, that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God and men are incapable of making atonement, of making satisfaction to Almighty God. Christ does this for us. He makes us a new creation. He enables us now to live, however faultily at times, but still to live in terms of God’s justice. It is not surprising that whenever and wherever men begin to deny the Law of God, they are also denying Christ’s atonement. The two go together. The irony is in our day, historians of law, like Berman, have seen this connection, as has Rosen{?} and Williams. But the Church is negligent of it.

Our text today deals with an aspect of the Law concerning the clergy, concerning the priests, concerning the ministers of God. This law, like the rest of the law is under fire. It is routinely attacked, and is held to be discriminatory, prejudicial to the handicapped. Now it is ironic that these critics will so speak. Because nowhere in any other religion is there the same concern for the poor, for the infirmed, the blind, the cripple, for widows and orphans, for all who are physically or economically, or in any other way the weak of society. Biblical Law protects them. It tells us that God judges a society in the way that they treat such people. But in recent years, these regulations have angered many and have been cited by some as evidence of the primitivism of the Old Testament. Just as many people, including the Greeks, exposed or killed defective children, so too it is held that the Hebrews discriminated against the handicaps, against the handicapped. But they did not. They protected them. They simply said they could not become priests, Levites. [00:07:23]

It is ironic that this criticism has been most vocal

It is ironic that this criticism has been most vocal among modern scholars who are ready to defend legalized, or illegal abortion, often favor mercy killings, and are ready to abort a child if it is shown to be of an unwanted sex. The difference between the modern and the biblical points of view is this: The modern view is sentimental and also cruel. Proverbs 12:10 tells us very clearly the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Thus, we can expect every Humanistic era to be both sentimental and cruel.

Why these laws? Why the bar against the handicapped having any part of God’s mercy? There’s a very good reason for it, a very necessary reason. If it were not for this law, the religious vocation would become the dumping ground for the unwanted and the handicapped. This is where they would be placed. In the Middle Ages, the Church had a great battle related to this, because while they had rules against the deformed, or the handicapped, what the royalty and nobility was doing was to dump their unwanted children, the ones they did not want to make provisions for because it would mar the inheritance of the first-born, they were dumping them on the church. They were taking over abbeys and bishoprics, churches and giving these to their younger sons, or placing their daughters in these institutions. As a result, the Church went downhill dramatically in the hands of such people. This is why, to a great extent, the Hildebrand, in the year approximately 1000 (or shortly thereafter), decreed the necessity of the celibacy of the clergy—to break the hold of the nobility on the Church. To a great extent, his move was strategic. It did help break the hold, but the attempt to use the Church as a dumping ground continued. It continued after the Reformation, as soon as the Reformation receded. In many countries, especially on the Continent, no Lutheran pastor, for example, could marry without the permission of the local lord, who would give him his left-over mistresses. This was done in country after country. [00:11:18]

This law was designed and it is Case Law

This law was designed and it is Case Law. What is says is that clergy cannot be a dumping ground for anyone—for misfits, for cast-offs, for the handicapped. It cannot be a dumping ground. All such activity is insulting to God; hence, these laws.

When it refers to the flat nose, it means slit, literally or broken. A blemish in the eye covers very serious eye defects. The disabled members of the priestly line were entitled to live off the receipts of the sanctuary, but could not participate in the ritual. It was not an unkindness as such. Only the perfect specimens belong to God either as priests, or as sacrifice. No blemished offering was permitted. Christ is the unblemished Lamb of God. Both as sacrifice and priest, He is unblemished, and so sacrifice and priest have to be unblemished. Moreover, we are told that Christ works to make His Church unblemished according to Ephesians 5:27.

Now, there is an important distinction between blemishes or infirmities on the one hand, and sin on the other. Today, men are irrational about physical defects. They demand special privileges for the handicapped, but keep them out of sight, institutionalized. Most of you do not remember what was familiar in my childhood, in that very severely handicapped and defective people were routinely kept at home and were trained to do various tasks, and thoroughly accepted in the community. The community was used to such people, and they were useful members of society. But what has happened since then, is that people don’t want to see anything but perfection. And therefore, all such are routinely institutionalized and they no longer have the acceptance that they once had, except in some communities like the Hutterites, a branch of the Amish. Studies have shown that the physically and mentally handicapped are very useful and happy people among them and have no problems. Everyone accepts them, enjoys them, associates with them, and they are happy, useful members of society, more cheerful and more prone to put themselves out than most. But the modern age wants special privileges that cost money, for such people, but keep them out of sight. “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” [00:15:12]

At the same time, while it will not tolerate handicaps

At the same time, while it will not tolerate handicaps, it will tolerate sin. Sin is readily tolerated and to discriminate against sin is regarded as offensive. If you draw the line at speaking to certain kinds of people, you are an ugly character. You are vicious. But sinning excludes men from God; infirmities do not!

Men who were castrated or had serious injury that had the same effect, are barred, we are told in this text, not only from the priesthood, but according to Deuteronomy 23:1, from membership in the congregation. This again has been the target of hostility, criticism. But membership in the congregation meant that you were the head of a household and were a voter, you were able to become an elder and a ruler, so that such people were not barred from worship or salvation, but barred from exercising authority. Clergy were to command respect for God, for the faith and for the sanctuary. They had to be whole men. The wholeness had to be physical and religious.

There’s a grim side to this law. One of the things the ungodly have always knows is that this is a part of the Law of God. And therefore whenever Christianity has been attacked, the clergy have been the target of attacks of a particular hostility and savagery. For example, my grandfather, being in the clergy, was blinded to incapacitate him. But since he knew the scriptures extensively, and the liturgy by heart, he continued. So, before too long, they killed him. Of course, according to the historians, those incidents did not occur. We must realize that our history today is very, very defective because various civil governments, like Turkey, will give grants and scholarship, endow chairs and the like, and thereby prevent any unfavorable facts about themselves from coming out. This is routinely done. And increasingly, shares, and ownerships of various news services have gone the same route; and publications as well. This was a major problem in the Early Church: the blinding, the crippling, the maiming, the castration of clergy. Rome did this routinely in every persecution. [00:00:19]

This is why when the first general council, the Council

This is why when the first general council, the Council of Nicaea met, they confirmed something that had been done regionally before—that such men had entered as whole men and could continue in Christ’s service. Of course, this has been very commonplace too since World War I. The Russians and Marxists generally, the revolutionaries in the Spanish Revolution and many another group, has routinely resorted to savage mutilation of Christians. Calvin noted that the analogy must be kept in view between the external figures and the spiritual perfection which existed only in Christ and that we must work to bring about a conformity of the spiritual and of the physical, to strive for wholeness in both areas.

What the Bible here teaches militates very much against what many religions of antiquity practiced, and many since. The Phrygian cult of Cybele saw mutilation and castration as a way of holiness. Modern man manifests a contempt for man’s body in the way that it is treated very often by modern medicine; as though God did not create with wisdom. In ancient Israel, all prospective priests had to undergo physical examinations to prove their wholeness, and this was long true in the Christian church.

These laws have long been seen as discriminatory. This should not surprise us. We have seen in our decade, the 1980s, the refusal to quarantine or in any ways discriminate against AIDS, a deadly disease. Together with that, we have seen laws passed to prevent any discrimination against homosexuality. While at the same time, the Bible and prayer are banned from State schools and various evils are protected. Discrimination is inescapable. Life is a process of discrimination, of choosing, of accepting and of rejecting. If the premises of our discrimination are not from God, they will be evil. Let us pray. [00:22:35]

Oh Lord, our God, Thy Word is truth

Oh Lord, our God, Thy Word is truth. Thy Word requires that we judge righteous judgment. The tender mercies of the wicked indeed are cruel. But the tender mercies of Thy people must be in terms of Thy Law, Thy Word, Thy grace, Thy judgment, Thy salvation; for anything that is not of Thee is ungodly. Bless us in Thy service and give us the victory against the enemy. In Christ’s name, amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson?


[Audience] This requirement for the priesthood to be without blemish seems to be a corollary, or an extension of the requirement that the sacrifice be without blemish.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] What could be the significance of this requirement “without blemish”?

[Rushdoony] Well, as Calvin noted, it is that because Christ as sacrifice and priest is without blemish; perfect. So not only in the sacrifice, the physical fact and the physical fact of our bodies, but spiritually. In body and soul, we are to strive for the same kind of holiness, the same kind of unblemished life.


[Audience] I recently find the, ah, so-called “Olympics” of the defectives very unpleasant. I think it does not, uh, constitute any, uh, effort to make them seem like other people; it accentuates their problems. [00:25:03]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes. I’m glad you brought up that point, because I didn’t know anyone else felt that way, Otto! It has always seemed to me, comparable to the thing that a few years back some people were imagining that maybe something could be discovered that would change the pigmentation of all blacks and make them white. What’s wrong with being black? That’s the way God created them. That’s the way they’re going to glorify God, just as we’re going to do it with whatever God gave us.

Now, the same is true of the physically handicapped. There’s no sin in being handicapped. Why do they have to imitate the, uh, athletes in other area? There’s so much they have to offer as they are.

It in effect calls attention as you said, to their handicap status; tries to say it need not be regarded, but it is all the more so.

Any other questions or comments?

Well if not, let us conclude with prayer.

Lord, we give thanks unto Thee that we are called not because of what we are, but because of what Jesus Christ is, that we are called because of His grace and mercy. And we are called to be holy, not to be competitors in Olympics. Bless us in Thy service. Give us grace to rejoice in what Thou hast made us and given us, and to give Thee and acceptable offering: ourselves, given to Thy service. 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. [00:28:03]

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