A Christian Survey of World History

Ancient History and Christianity, II


*This is an unedited and unoffical print version of R.J. Rushdoony’s lecture.

Speaker 1: 00:03 And once he starts on a journey, and runs across his father who sees he’s a stranger and tell him it’s him. Feeling that there’s something suspicious about him and forces a fight on the young man. [inaudible 00:00:21]

Speaker 1: 00:23 Well, as his journey continues, Oedipus, who’s a tremendous young warrior, is made the king by the people of that country. And they marry him off to his own mother. And he has his daughter.

Speaker 1: 00:41 Then of course comes the time when [inaudible 00:00:44] has married his own mother. And of course, what’s happening is, the Furies are … never will he do any wrong. You see how all these stories stack the deck. Here’s the greatest tragedy of Greece, which reveals their religious outlook.

Speaker 1: 01:12 Poor Oedipus has never done anything wrong, he’s been a very good king. He didn’t willfully kill the old king. The old king attacked him. He tried to avoid it. But no, the Furies are now taking it out on his kingdom, that’s how he starts to [inaudible 00:01:30] Why are these terrible things happening? He’s trying to rule wisely, and all kinds of horrible things are happening. There must be some evil somewhere. [inaudible 00:01:42] But he didn’t mean to do anything wrong.

Speaker 1: 01:42 So, to quiet the Furies and to relieve his country he blinds himself and begins wandering everywhere hoping that finally the Furies will leave him … The two daughters, leading him, now are blind beggars …

Speaker 1: 02:14 At the moment when he finds what has happened, Oedipus says, “Oh, oh. All comes to past, all true. Thou might [inaudible 00:02:25] I who have been found in birth, a curse in wedlock, a curse in the shedding of blood.”

Speaker 1: 02:36 The [inaudible 00:02:37] comments, he rushes into the palace to blind himself, so that the Furies will stop destroying his life, then knows no more king, just an old beggar.

Speaker 1: 02:54 Alas, ye generations of man. How mirror a shadows, do I count [inaudible 00:02:56]. Where, where is the mortal [inaudible 00:02:59] And after the semblance of falling away. Thine is the face that wants. Thine and thine, unhappiness. Recall no earthly creature [inaudible 00:03:17]

Speaker 1: 03:17 Now there you have the [inaudible 00:03:22]. All this business about them being happy pagans, about happy the Greek gotham was is nonsense. There you have the Greek gotham. Call no creature left. No one is happy. Live it up. You’re gonna be dead soon. Whether you do right or wrong, life is such again.

Speaker 1: 03:53 The last words of Oedipus … “Therefore, the [inaudible 00:04:00]. Therefore, while I wait to see the death of final days, we must call no one happy who is of mortal race, til they have crossed life’s border [inaudible 00:04:15].” So it goes with the poor man until he finds deliverance finally in death, then his poor girls carry on the curse.

Speaker 1: 04:35 [inaudible 00:04:35] This is tragedy. This is why tragedy’s not Christian. It’s anti-Christian, because it says the universe is stacked against man. And whatever god may exist is radically perverse, so that he picks someone like Oedipus, who is especially innocent and brings him about to a position where he’s involved with all kinds of horrible things, who bother him. A man enjoys … blinding him, riding him as a suffering beggar all over the face of the earth until he dies.

Speaker 1: 05:17 Tragedy implies a hostile universe which is against man. It does not see man a sinner but a victim. The universe is neither god-lead nor god. Dismissively. In the modern world, tragedy is regarded the beginning of Shakespeare, as the great art form. And today, 90% of what you get on television and in the movies and in novels is tragedy. If you think it’s not religious, you’re kidding yourself. It’s the most pointless, the most [inaudible 00:06:03] kind of anti-Christian religion.

Speaker 1: 06:05 It’s giving up something that is [inaudible 00:06:11], totally set against any views [inaudible 00:06:16]. That says man is not a sinner, man is a victim, and therefore … what pleased him?

Speaker 1: 06:29 Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Thus the Greek picture is nothing. No Christian [inaudible 00:06:42], but it is the picture with which we are surrounded day and night. Virtually every program represents a militant, anti-Christian religion, [inaudible 00:07:01] A time is what it is, but I want to continue now with the next chapter, Chapter seven on our Lord Jesus Christ at the beginning of Christianity. Again, contrasting the basic religious [inaudible 00:07:22] behind the history so that we can see first the movement [inaudible 00:07:26], the texts we read week by week, and then something with a meaning, the religious meaning of these movements.

Speaker 1: 07:37 Now, as against all these pagan views, especially against the Greek view, we see in scripture, God is the creator. As against the utmost perversity of the university, we have our lord declaring very early in his ministry in Matthew 10, verses 25 through 34, a total government of God.

Speaker 1: 08:01 Now a [inaudible 00:08:02] that your father in heaven knows. If a house be divided against itself, it cannot stand. Who is the master of the house? Not you. Fear them not, therefore. [inaudible 00:08:29] The absolute government of God.

Speaker 1: 08:37 In that passage, what our lord is saying that the house, the universe, is under God, not under Satan. The universe is not ultimately perverse, as tragedy would have it. For it is under God. Now remember, when he was writing, Greek was the second language which every Hebrew, every Jew, spoke. Greek culture was very powerful in the land. Greek gymnasiums were all over Jerusalem.

Speaker 1: 09:11 And, the fantasies were extensively influenced by Greek thinking. Every person in the land had a second name which was Greek. So when you read the New Testament, when you read the words of our lord, remember, this was the environment. This was the kind of thing he was talking against.

Speaker 1: 09:41 Intellectuals around him, the educated people, [inaudible 00:09:44] and Sophocles, Euripides. They had grown up in that world. He declares the house, the universe that’s under God, not under [inaudible 00:09:55]

Speaker 1: 09:56 Fear them not, therefore. All shall be judged, all shall be punished, all rewarded. There is nothing will not be [inaudible 00:10:08]. The universe absolutely never to bind God to the very hairs of our head, and the fall of every [inaudible 00:10:22]

Speaker 1: 10:22 The government and [inaudible 00:10:22] He who confesses me before man, him will I confess before my father in heaven. Confess me therefore and battle against the enemy, and I shall confess you before God. Think not I have come to bring peace, not to bring [inaudible 00:10:48]

Speaker 1: 10:49 I have come not to unite good and evil in Persian fashion. Or pagan, Greek fashion, but to divide and to destroy evil. To bring about a separation. Become a man to regeneration and then to build a flesh all things in terms of my work.

Speaker 1: 11:34 Now, looking back on what we’ve seen, the pagan depravation, we’ve studied blasphemy and tonight then just studied just these words of our lord in Matthew 10, 25 through 34. These are the direction of his ministry. The direction of his words, his teachings.

Speaker 1: 11:50 Did you see what a knowledge [inaudible 00:11:54]? Notice we can see the issues as our lord [inaudible 00:11:58] them against some old backboard of history. Baffled, as it’s again lining up, because again we have the tragic view of life of ancient Greece. Again, we have the Persian view, tolerate both good and evil. Again, we have the Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian view of chaos as the source of regeneration.

Speaker 1: 12:26 And we therefore again find our personal and societal regeneration in Jesus Christ. All things must be made new, [inaudible 00:12:43]. So that, on this battlefield of history, we hope we shall in the weeks ahead. Progressively, more and more clearly and sharply, the nature of the battle, the word for and the direction of the future.

Speaker 1: 13:12 Let us, bow our heads in prayer before we have the questions. Our Lord and our God, we thank thee that all things begin and end against thee. Thou art he, who just make all things and is ordained and be careful with their hands. We thank thee therefore that is in confidence we can face the battle of the ages, knowing that we are more than converts [inaudible 00:13:40]

Speaker 1: 13:48 Are there any questions now? Yes.

Speaker 2: 13:51 You were talking about the movement that came over [inaudible 00:13:55] of people that we have that little thing going on today, and it finds New York the center of it.

Speaker 1: 14:04 Yes, Sarah. In my book, Politics of Guilt and Pity, I have a chapter on the U.N., a religious dream, in which I speak of their ideas of mass movement of peoples in the Babylonian fashion and a period fashion. Yes.

Speaker 3: 14:24 Disregarding on the city [inaudible 00:14:26] … Heading to [inaudible 00:14:35]

Speaker 1: 14:37 He is financing this kind of migration?

Speaker 3: 14:42 Yes.

Speaker 1: 14:43 Well, I would say that [inaudible 00:14:45] has disappeared from the Tutsi role and gone into [inaudible 00:14:47]

Speaker 1: 14:46 Yes. Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar’s grandfather, but …

Speaker 2: 14:46 Grandson.

Speaker 1: 15:28 Grandson. Nebuchadnezzar was the grandfather of Belshazzar. Now, Belshazzar was made the son of … Nebuchadnezzar and wise king under Nabonidus. Because we was quite young when his father … Well, when his grandfather died, Belshazzar was too young, so they made his father, even though he was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar, the king.

Speaker 1: 16:04 And then they made the young king the second king, the vice king or vice president, in our terms. So Nabonidus was also made an adopted son as it were … Nebuchadnezzar. So, strictly, he was both grandson and lead son. Yes/

Speaker 5: 16:28 I thought the motive today was more of a [inaudible 00:16:28]

Speaker 1: 16:27 Yes, well, of course … Probably thought we was being real. What is realism? What realism is is determined by your faith. You can go back through centuries, you find writers were always claiming to be realistic in terms of their faith. So the realism that you find in the modern novel and the modern movie and the modern television series is always that realism in terms of their religion belief.

Speaker 1: 17:26 Which is a belief in tragedy. The deck is stacked against us. This is their faith. That the bitterness against the universe, things weren’t made right. And the only hope is if man can remake everything. That you get a steady [inaudible 00:17:35] of tragedy to tell you what a mess God has made the universe.

Speaker 1: 17:40 An ugly world, there’s no meaning, no God, no purpose behind it. So it is realist. How much of a kind of a thing that you see on these tragic televisions programs have you ever seen in real life? Everything is bleak and black, and poor, innocent man is always the victim, never the sinner.

Speaker 1: 18:12 So, it’s realism in terms of their religion. Yes.

Speaker 1: 18:32 The tongues movement? Yes. Plus there’s no such thing as the tongue movement today, because first of all, the tongues movement in the Bible, we are told, is something whereby they spoke a specific language, and people who are foreigners understood that, that this was a gift in the apostolic age whereby they communicated with people and carried the gospel to them. There is no record today of any speaking in tongues. Again and again, these tongues meaning to dictate. No one has ever spoken in tongues. What they do is to get hysterical and they repeat one or two syllables over and over and over again hysterically. I say this has been taped, and they put down in black and white what they repeated, two or three syllables over and over again. It may be … da da da da … or aba daba, aba daba, aba daba …

Speaker 1: 19:39 Something like that. Nonsense. Now that’s not speaking in tongues. Moreover, in ancient times you had that kind of thing, which is glossolalia, this hysterical babbling of syllables in pagan religions. You had it in the jungles of Africa. The first time tongues came in about third or fourth century, it came into Christianity from [inaudible 00:20:06], from a pagan group.

Speaker 1: 20:10 The modern tongue movement or Pentecostalism began with negroes, I believe, it was in [inaudible 00:20:18]. This is where it may began, among negroes. And it’s basically a pagan thing. You can find this tongues movement among the … tribes, you find it among Hindus, you can find it among the American Indians in the old days, you can find it among the Buddhists. It is pagan. It’s not speaking in a language. Yes.

Speaker 1: 20:44 You may be right. I knew it was here in Southern California, and a negro group.

Speaker 6: 21:05 Where I’m from, [inaudible 00:21:05]

Speaker 1: 21:18 I think there was a group that brought it to that … I’ll have to check, but it was originally an all negro black, and then an integrated group caught onto it, and became the center of its propagation, so probably this upper [inaudible 00:21:31] group was the group that became the propagating point.

Speaker 1: 21:35 But the first manifestation was among negroes, an all-negro group. Yes.

Speaker 1: 21:54 Yes, they claimed this, but again and again, people have gone and taped these meetings, when they have claimed that they were speaking other languages, and it’s never been anything but this babble of syllables.

Speaker 1: 22:10 Yes. Right. So here is a case where it has been extensively subjected to investigation and taping, a great deal of taping. All across country, you have scholars taping. Now one man, not that I particularly care for the man, but he has done some real research here. It’s Dr. [Wellmers 00:22:33], who is [inaudible 00:22:34] minister and also professor at UCLA.

Speaker 1: 22:38 And he has done extensive taping, and there has never been even an hint of anything of a word in any of them, just repeating … syllables.

Speaker 1: 22:49 Yes. Well, of course, they don’t speak in tongues, that’s my point. It’s never been proven, and it’s been subjected to intensive investigation and second, instead of having a holy spirit, most Pentecostal groups have a very low moral caliber. Very low moral caliber. Yes. And this is notorious.

Speaker 1: 23:48 Anyone who has very close contact with those groups, and I know that Ruby Wagner has, can vouch for their very low moral character which appears even in the 30s. [crosstalk 00:24:31]

Speaker 6: 24:31 [inaudible 00:24:31] They feel that’s in the holy spirit, which is speaking to them … is necessary for [inaudible 00:25:00]

Speaker 1: 24:59 Well some of do and some don’t. Depends on the group.

Speaker 6: 24:59 But you’re not saved until you have it in you.

Speaker 1: 24:59 That’s the way some feel, that’s not all. But there are many who feel that way. Yes.

Speaker 7: 25:00 What about these people … speak in tongues, but really they have to have a [inaudible 00:25:00]

Speaker 1: 24:59 Right, that’s true. And they claim that they can interpret, and they get up and give something that is ostensibly the message. But all of this, as I say, has been tainted, so that we do have a great of documentation at this point concerning the tongues movement, and they have not been able to verify a single claim concerning the tongues movement. And their only answer is to say that you either don’t have the holy spirit, or you refuse to submit to it yourself.

Speaker 1: 25:31 In other words, it isn’t the objective evidence. You have to experience it for yourself, and then you’ll know. Yes.

Speaker 7: 25:47 But you heard … again, the end of the … the original tongues speaking was [inaudible 00:25:47] These people are claiming that the tongues movement [inaudible 00:25:52]

Speaker 1: 25:47 Yes.

Speaker 1: 25:47 Yes, emphatically so. Emphatically so. It’s a dangerous thing to get into the tongues movement because you’ll be milked of your money. Yes.

Speaker 1: 27:09 To change the subject now. Question was raised … about an atlas. Now, I don’t have all my books unpacked, so I can’t recommend some of the viable atlas, but if you go to a bible book store, you can find probably two or three, apparently good bible atlas. However, this, as a historical atlas, is a gem, it’s a paperback for 295. Historical atlas of the world.

Speaker 1: 27:41 And it is published by Barnes & Noble in New York. You can get it if there’s a college bookstore near you or order it. Historical atlas of the world, and the number in their paper backlet is number 249. Barnes & Noble are the publisher.

Speaker 1: 28:01 Now, what this does is to begin very early in history and give you a series of maps. The first one is the thread of civilization to A.D. 200, but after that it goes back to the pyramids and ancient Egypt and the Middle East 1400 B.C., and it gives you pictures of kingdoms, their … like [inaudible 00:28:31], which was a pretty powerful realm. Very powerful one.

Speaker 1: 28:36 And, also, Canaan, the entire Near East, and coming up through history is Rome, Europe, near Europe and 1100s, and so on, right now to the present, so that it’s plenty useful … atlas. It’s not as big, its maps as … crafts, one with life, and they’re not detailed maps. But it does give you an idea of the extent of realms. For example, I mentioned that there was a time when Lithuania extended over a tremendous area from the Baltics to the Black Sea.

Speaker 1: 29:26 Well, you’ll see that, as go through here, how powerful and wide a realm it was. And it’ll give you the picture of how many little states there were in Germany for example, for a long, long time in some of these maps. So if you are interested in maps, this historical atlas of the world, by Barnes and Noble, really is a little gem.

Speaker 1: 29:51 Again, it’s an amazing thing, a great deal of knowledge was lost. [inaudible 00:30:23] Yes. When the printing press was invented, it was at the time of the Renaissance, the contempt of Christianity, the contempt of the Middle Ages, and the contempt therefore of the past. Anything that wasn’t printed was obviously old and worthless.

Speaker 1: 30:45 So it was amazing how much knowledge about the past … been lost when the printing press was invented. It was a great step backwards, because it came precisely at the time when men were looking down their noses at the past. Therefore, it was the new, the modern, the printed book, and the number of volumes was very rare, and important data that were destroyed because our old hand-written things … egregious!

Speaker 1: 31:18 Remember I discussed once in a book, Sunday morning, the maps in the ancient sea king, and how he found the extensive knowledge of the entire world in maps long before prophets. Long before prophets. And maps from very early ages that indicated that shortly after the Flood, the whole is a map, even the Arctic areas before the ice fit in.

Speaker 1: 31:50 And then they had at that time a knowledge of longitude and latitude both, which they couldn’t compute again until the 18th century. It’s Hapgood, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. And Hapgood is not [inaudible 00:32:09], he was co-author of an important work with Einstein.

Speaker 1: 32:16 And he began this study of a particular map at the request of the Pentagon, when they found maps before Columbus’s day, which clearly show North and South America very accurately drawn and the arctic area, with the lakes and all which are now under ice in the arctic area. Yes.

Speaker 1: 32:37 Right, exactly. They went back to them, because they were non-Christians, they were humanists that had humanist faith, exalted them, and they called the intervening the Dark Ages. Later they called only a short part as the Dark Ages and the rest as the Medieval Period, the middle part, the kind you kind of jump over.

Speaker 1: 33:09 So they forgot everything that was learned in that time. They actually had an aesthetic during the medieval period, which was forgotten until it was rediscovered in this country.

Speaker 1: 33:24 We really don’t know a great deal of our history. Of course, we don’t have time to go into all that, but a great deal of man’s knowledge was lost, because he turned his back on the Christian era and said, “Nothing connected to that can be any good.”

Speaker 1: 33:39 His medical practice went downhill, his knowledge of the world went downhill, because he wants not to learn anything from a Christian. Yes.

Speaker 10: 33:53 Would you explain the dates of the birth of our lord … was he between six and 4 B.C.?

Speaker 1: 34:02 Well, I don’t know that I have the confidence to do it, because I don’t think anyone really knows, but there are some scholars, a great many, who believe that when a few centuries later, when the Christians triumphed, they began to create a Christian calendar that they miscalculated for four or six years in setting the beginning of the Christian era, because what they did was to date everything after Christ and before Christ, from the year of his birth.

Speaker 1: 34:39 So, they began this after Rome fell, and well, perhaps a little before that. They had began to move in that direction of a Christian calendar. Well, our time is up. Now, we shall continue next week with … our study of the rise and fall of Rome, the Republic and the Empire, chapters eight to nine, and chapter 10, the early church confronts the world. We may get started on Byzantium, although I’m not sure. But try to get through chapter 11 if you can, but certainly through chapter 10. And with that, I believe you’re adjourned. Now, let me see. Is it two weeks from the 9th that is the Thanksgiving week? [crosstalk 00:35:55]

Speaker 1: 35:56 Three weeks and we’re not meeting that week, so we will be meeting next week and the week after but not the week of Thanksgiving. [crosstalk 00:36:05]

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder