A Christian Survey of World History
Israel, Egypt, and the Ancient Near East
*This is an unedited and unoffical print version of R.J. Rushdoony’s lecture.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00:00 As I indicated last week, what I shall be doing in these lectures is not to repeat the material that you will have in your notes. I shall expect you to read the notes and to ask any questions that come to your mind concerning them. What I shall do is to parallel the notes with comments which will be designed to bring out the meaning of that particular aspect of history or to throw some light from literature of the period on the goals and the purposes of man.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00:50 Our first chapter deals with Israel, with the history of the Old Testament people, God and Israel. Our source for this history is the Bible. It is customary now a days, even in so called evangelical circles to say that the bible is not a textbook of history and it’s not a text book of science and that we should listen to scientists and historians and what they have to say which may correct or supplement scripture. This kind of division of faith and history is not Christian. It is [inaudible 00:01:30]. It is a heresy. The bible, in fact, is the best history book in the world and the source of our only infallible knowledge of history because it is the inspired and infallible word of God. This is it’s own claim.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01:53 Now, of course, at this point if I were lecturing to a group of, say, college professors, they would immediately raise the question which has been raised over and over and over again; well, what about all the other books that claim to be inspired books? All the other books in the world that claim to be the word of God? Why should we believe that this one in particular is the true word of God rather than those of other religions?
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:02:34 The answer to that is a very obvious one. Are there, we may ask, many books of many religions claiming to be the inspired word of God? The answer is very definitely no. In fact, virtually all religions in the world are non-theistic. That is, they do not hold to a supreme absolute and perfect God. In fact, most of them do not even affirm that there is a God.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:03:09 Thus, Buddhism has no God. In Buddhism, it is not God who rules the world, but nothingness is ultimate.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:03:21 Taoism does not have a god. It says that basically there are two forces in the universe, the yang and the yin, the male and the female impulses, and so there is no right or wrong but that which is fitting at a particular time. Sometimes drive and initiative and other times to yield and to give in. These are the things that govern history. These two basic drives or impulses.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:03:59 For Hinduism, like Buddhism, nothingness is ultimate. Jainism, another powerful religion in India, has no god. It simply worships life and believes in the transmigration of souls and the Jains are the ones who go around with a veil before their face lest they should, by accident, inhale a gnat or some other insect and kill it. When the gnat could be their grandmother or grandfather reincarnated. They have no concept of God.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:04:39 And so on. As you go around the world and examine the religions of the ancient world, outside of the bible, there is none, not one, with a firm or belief in god. In a sovereign absolute god. Oh yes, they talk about God. But the gods were not anything that we would call even gods. As Tertullian said to the Romans, Tertullian one of the church fathers, he said, “Your gods are made or unmade by Senate. The Senate passes a resolution and says that Emperor so and so who died last year is now a god by act of Senate.” And he said, “what kind of a god is one who can be made or unmade by an act of Senate?”
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:05:42 In a very real sense, the term to apply to the gods of paganism was the word Hero. And in fact, a hero was a semi-divine man. Someone probably on his way to being fully a god. As a result, there was no god in them. They were just deified men. And of course, this is very clear in such religions as Shintoism. The gods are the ancestors and Shintoism is essentially ancestor worship. So, the idea that any of these pagan religions had a bible in which God claimed to be speaking or the writers of it said that God was speaking is ridiculous.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:06:37 In the Bible, we are told again and again the spirit of the Lord said thus and so. These are the words of the Lord through the mouth of the prophet so and so. Now, what are these pagan books gonna say? The spirit of nothingness sees me? Or nothingness said to me? The idea is ridiculous. And so, the objection of these people that all these other religions have sacred books in which the god speaks or gods speak is nonsense. As a matter of fact, we are the ones who gave their books their religious book the name of “Bible”. We call them the bible of these various religions, which is nonsense. They don’t think of them that way. They don’t think of them as inspired and infallible words of God because first, they don’t have the concept of an inspired or infallible word or any belief in a god who speaks.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:07:53 The bible, therefore, is very clearly unique. No religion has what claims to be the word of God except biblical faith. Now, having said that, we must add that although the bible has no rival, it has imitators. In the Christian era, there had been imitation bibles. But no civilization, no culture, no religion independently of Christianity has ever produced a book that claims to be the word of God. The Bible is unique, but after Christianity began to make known it’s message, then there were imitations. Of course, the first and greatest one was Islam. The Koran, K-O-R-A-N, the Koran of Mohammad, but it’s a pseudo-bible. It has no verified prophesy, it has no verified history, there is nothing in it of any character that stands. Or as the bible, at every point, where archeology has done any excavating, it has been confirmed to the very minute detail. It’s prophecies have been fulfilled. But the Koran is just the endless statements about things by Mohammad, and very often where he touches on history very clearly wrong.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:09:46 Another pseudo-bible, or imitation bible is the book of Mormon. Here again we have a very sorry work. Very few people are aware of the fact that the book of Mormon, since it was produced by Joseph Smith, by 1900 had been revised over 2,000 times. Over 2,000 revisions in it. Why? To correct very obvious and glaring blunders. One of the worst blunders that Joseph Smith worked into his book of Mormon was he had somebody, supposedly a Hebrew, writing about 600 BC quote Shakespeare. Of course, those older editions of the book of Mormon had been recalled and virtually all destroyed. They’re exceedingly rare, but you can see why they had to revise it so many times between Joseph Smith’s day and the end of the century. It was a pseudo-bible. An imitation bible.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:11:06 The concept of the word of God is unique. It belongs to the bible only, and it gives us a historical revelation. One that is abundantly at every point, historical and relates to the problems of this world. I’d like to quote here from Gordon Clark’s study of historiography. Now, this is basically a study of the philosophy of historical writers, but he has something to say about the difference between the Greek writers and the Hebrews; the physical writers.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:11:57 He says, “Plato, Cicero and Aristotle and other such historians had no sense of history. Plato apologetically remarks that human affairs are hardly worth considering. Cicero asserts that the gods attend to great matters and neglect small ones. Aristotle teaches that the gods are not concerned at all with the dispensation of good and bad fortune and with reason they’re not personal. Then in powerful language maintained over a dozen pages, Dr. Heschel,” he’s referring to another scholar. “impresses on his readers the prophetic occurrence of evil and God’s concern for his people in the bible. Quote for the prophet, however, no subject is as worthy of consideration as the plight of man. Indeed, God himself is described as reflecting over the plight of man rather than contemplating eternal ideas. His mind is preoccupied with man with a concrete actuality of history rather than the timeless issues of [inaudible 00:13:15]. The prophet’s concern is not with nature, but with history. Unquote.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:13:22 Now, this is the difference. Go to these pagan so-called sacred books. When they’re talking about abstruction, basically what they’re asking is is life worth living or not and their basic answer is always it really isn’t and the goal is to be dead and finished with it all. But what does the bible tell us? That the very hairs of our head are all numbered. That not a sparrow falls that your father in heaven knows it. That he has a total concern with man and with the world. There is nothing in all the religions of the world like it. And this is exactly why the bible is a unique book. Why it is historical. It begins by telling us the creation of the world, and it goes on to tell us the history of the world in terms of God’s covenant with his people. And it tells us that that covenant is going to include finally all people, tribes and tongues. And that God’s order is going to prevail over the entire earth. And then then end. We thus have something radically different in the bible than in all other religions, and you only have true historiography where Christianity is in. No where else.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:15:08 Before the Christians went to the orient did they teach history? Not at all. They either studied Confucianism or Buddhism or Taoism or Shintoism, but history? No. Who is concerned with history? Or the welfare of man or the salvation of man? No. That didn’t concern anyone. Why should it? One concern was how to escape from life. China was a country filled with Buddhism and Mohammedanism and other religions. The travelers there in the last century, in fact up until the communists took over, said that if somebody fell overboard on a boat on the yellow river, no one would stop. No one would save his life. Who wanted the liability of somebody’s life? Life wasn’t worth that much. So, history was meaningless because life, to them, was meaningless. Thus the humanistic historians who despise Christianity are despising the very thing that has made the teaching of history and interest in history at all possible. It would be tempting to spend more time on this, but since we have all of history to the present to try to cover, let’s pass on now to Egypt. Our second chapter.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:17:07 Now on page 9 of our chapter on history, I call attention to the fact in the second paragraph, the sixth line from the end of the second paragraph that John A. Wilson has observed in the symposium before philosophy. The Egyptians were Monophysites. It is not a matter of a single god, but of a single nature of observed phenomena in the universe. It was a clear possibility of exchange in substitution. With relation to gods and men, the Egyptians were Monophysites. Many men and many gods, but all ultimately of one nature. In other words, Monophysite literally means one nature. One nature in all things. Therefore, all things are divine. The gods, the Egyptian gods and the men and so on. As I point out in that chapter, they sometimes would have an onion in their temple. You worship the onion because you were thereby indicating that there was one nature in all things. But all things were also evolving upwards. As a result, the gods themselves spoke of evolution. Evolution is a pagan concept. On page 10, the third paragraph, about the middle of the page. This development of man was simply a reflection of the evolution and development of the gods. The god Nebertcher declared I evolved the evolving of evolution. I evolved myself under the form of the evolutions that the god, Chaparral, which were evolved at the beginning of all time. I evolved with the evolution of the god, Chaparral. I evolved by the evolution of evolutions. That is to say I developed myself from the primeval matter which I made. I developed myself out of the primeval matter. My name is Osiris or Osiris, the germ of primeval matter.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:19:41 As a result, they had a concept of evolution; everything evolving. The onion had the same nature as you did and you and the onion had the same nature as the gods in the world to come. And when you died, if you had evolved properly during life by good works, you would become a god. And in the book of the dead, it is described how when you passed all the tests and examinations, if you are not destroyed because your bad works are greater than your good works, you would stand there and you would say I feel the hands of myself becoming the hands of a god and I feel the hair of myself becoming a god and so on. A long ritual whereby you celebrated the fact that you are now a god. It was thus an evolving society, but it was also a fixed society in a certain respect. What does that mean? Both evolving and yet fixed. Well, it was fixed in that it was like a pyramid and the pyramid was the symbol of Egypt. The Pharaoh who was the god man was at the top and down at the base were all the masses of the common people and around them the world of nature. As man progressed, he began to move upward on that pyramid until finally he went into another pyramid, inverted, which was the realm of the dead or the realm of the gods. But it was a fixed thing so that there was a static social order, unchanging, and in that framework, man evolved. All of pagan antiquity was evolutionary in it’s thinking. Evolution has no evidence. It is a phase. Now, creationism is a phase, too. We believe in God, therefore we believe his word when he declares that he created all things and that in the space of six days.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:21:54 Now, we can say we believe there’s more evidence for our position than for the evolutionary position, but basically we accept it on faith. Only a few scientists will admit that their position is basically a phase, but it is. And it’s an ancient pagan faith.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:22:15 Now, some societies were in continual flux. We shall see that when we come to the Babylonians and the Assyrians. They were always changing as a part of their evolutionary thinking, but the Egyptians were not. There couldn’t be change in the framework because they had arrived at a kind of Henry Ford concept. Now, Henry Ford standardized the Model T at a certain point and he felt, I might make from year to year minor changes in the motor, but basically it’s the same thing. The motor car’s developed to a certain point and I’ve got it to a point where it’s a terrific seller, it gives people what they want, I don’t have to advance it. So, any customer could have any color, provided it’s black. And it’s going to be standard year in and year out. Well, he made a fortune that way, but of course, things didn’t stand still, you see. But he tried, within a framework, to standardize and then have minor changes within the framework. It’s basically been a profitable idea for the Volkswagen company, too. Up to a point they could do it and then now they’re feeling that things are leaving them behind, so they’ve got to change their standardization, but you get the idea.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:23:44 You freeze the form and you make minor changes within it and you say, well as long as you accept you can have any color as long as it’s black and within that framework, we’ll tinker around, but we won’t change the basic framework. That’s what Egypt believed. You maintain the basic framework, the pyramid of society, and you did not change it. Well, they made it work for quite a while. Egypt in the ancient world was a very great power and a very proud power. It was the crossroads of the world. Three continents touching each other more or less in that area; Europe, Asia and Africa. And in those days, North Africa was rich lush country. The Sahara in those days was not desert. Partly the weather moved northward and partly men turned it into a desert. You know there are some parts of the mid west in the Dakotas for example, get as much rain as some parts of the Sahara, but look at the difference between them. And when the French had North Africa, they were an area that once had been rich civilizations with millions of citizens beginning slowly to replant and reforest the area with certain types of trees.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:25:19 Now, again, it’s going down hill. But more than once man has turned some portion of the world into a desert. But in those days, it was very popular. There were more people living in the Mediterranean world in the days of the Roman empire and earlier than are living now and they were not over populated. That area still has tremendous potentiality in the right hands. After all, remember, North America was in the hands of three hundred thousand Indians, some people say twice that, but no body says more than a million. They lived not only poorly, but they starved to death almost every winter and they resorted to cannibalism regularly. It was poor country as far as they were concerned. Now look how rich it is. Egypt was tremendously rich and fertile. I point out in the second chapter that the soil along the Nile basin is one of the richest in the world. Tremendously rich. Egyptian cotton is, by the way, the best cotton in the world. But they’re still one of the poorest people in the world today. India and Egypt are perhaps the countries that are the most insoluble problems of any country today. Egypt incidentally is no longer ruled by Egyptians, but by Arabs. It was conquered by the muslims and the Arabs have ruled it ever since except of course, when the Turks and the British had it, but basically, within the country, Arabs have been dominant and the [inaudible 00:27:34], the ancient Egyptians are the minority.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:27:37 It is interesting that one of the words used for our Egypt in the bible is Mizraim, M-I-Z-R-A-I-M, and we are told that the Egyptians descended from one of the descendants of Noah who’s name was Mizraim. Someone who went to Egypt told me that it was an interesting thing, after reading his bible and knowing it, to realize that the Egyptian airline is called the Mizraim airlines. They still use that name there. But, with the Egyptians, their faith because it was a status faith. Because it was a faith in which the state was God on Earth and in which man had no life outside of the state. Was one in which there was no real hope. And so, it is interesting to read Egyptian documents and to see the pessimism that gradually overwhelmed them. But first, some Egyptian instruction. These are from the Vizier Ptahhotep about 2450 BC. And he left instructions as to how to live. And some of it is rather interesting and good sound advice:
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:29:28 “If thou art a man of standing and foundest a household and producest a son who is pleasing to the god, if he is correct and inclines towards thy way and listens to thy instruction while as men in thy house are fitting, and if he take care of thy property as it should be, seek out for him every useful action. He is thy son whom thy [inaudible 00:29:52] and gendered worthy. Thou shouldest not cut thy heart out from him, but a man’s seed often creates enmity. If he goes astray and transgresses thy plan and does not carry out thy instructions so that his manners in thy household are wretched and he rebels against all that thou sayest, while his mouth runs on in the most wretched talk, quite apart from his experience, while he possesses nothing, thou shouldest cast him off. He is not thy son at all. He was not really born to be. Thus thou leavest him entirely according to his own speech. He is one whom god has condemned in the very womb.”
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:30:35 Good hard headed advice. And listen to this, “If thou art a man of standing, though shouldest found thy household, love thy wife at home as is fitting. Fill her belly, clothe her back. Ointment is the prescription for her body. Make her heart glad as long as thou liveth. She is a profitable field for her lord. Thou shouldest not contend with her at law and keep her far from gaining control. Her eye is her storm wind. Let her heart be soothed through what may accrue to thee. It means keeping her long in thy house.”
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:31:14 Then another bit of advice from him, “Do justice while thou endurest upon earth. Quiet the weak, or do not oppress the widow. Supplant no man in the property of his father and impair no officials at their post. Be on thy guard against punishing wrongfully. Do not slaughter, it is no advantage to thee. But thou shouldest punish with beating and with arrest. This land will be firmly grounded, thereby, except for the rebel when his plans are discovered, for the gods know the treacherous at heart. And the gods condemn his sin and blood. Do not kill a man when thou knowest his good qualities. One with whom thou didst once sing the writings. He who reads in the [inaudible 00:31:59] book …” and so on.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:32:03 Then for a little advice of another sort, this from the instruction of Ami. From the 11th through the 8th century BC, probably. “Take to thyself a wife while thou art still a youth that she may produce a son for thee. Begat him for thine self while thou art still young. Teach him to be a man. A man who’s people are many is happy. He is saluted respectfully with regard to his children. Be on thy guard against a woman from abroad who is not known in her own town. Do not stare at her when she passes by. Do not know her carnally. The deep water who’s windings one knows not, a woman who is far away from her husband. I am sweet, she says to thee everyday. She has no witnesses when she waits to ensnare thee. It is a great crime worthy of death when one hears of it. Do not talk a lot. Be silent and thou will be happy. Do not be garrulous. And then a little later, though shouldest not express thy whole heart to a stranger to let him discover thy speech against thee. If a passing remark issues from thy mouth and it’s hasty and it is repeated, thou will make enemies. A man may fall to ruin because of his tongue.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:33:35 And then, a little further, “Thou shouldest not supervise to closely they wife in her own house when thou knowest she is sufficient. Do not say to her Where is it, fetch it for us. When she has put it in the most useful place. Let thy eye have regard while thou art silent as thou mayest recognize her abilities. How happy it is when thy hand is with her. Many are here who do not know what a man should do to stop dissension in his house. Every man who is settled in a house should hold the hasty heart firm. Thou shouldest not pursue after a woman,” that is another woman, “do not let her steal away thy heart.” And so on.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:34:22 The Egyptians, thus, were a very practical people. Very pragmatic and very hard headed in their practical wisdom. As a result, because of their very practical, pragmatic way, they did build up a very firm, enduring empire. A very successful and a very prosperous one. Indecently, we tend to think of people who lived long ago as having been more or less half savage and not like us. It may surprise you that in Moses’ day, and remember Moses was a Prince of the Realm, because pharaoh’s daughter adopted him. According to what scholars have learned, Solomon probably in the evening or the cool of the day, took a walk around the palace grounds with other gentlemen, wearing a top hat and having a gold-headed walking cane.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:35:26 So, it’s a little different that we imagine, but this is the way they lived. It was an advanced culture, but it’s pragmatism killed it. It was a culture without any real faith except in that which was practical, and ultimately, it was not able to stand.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:35:52 Then our third chapter deals with some of the ancient near eastern cultures. Again, very briefly to touch on some of these, I have shown these pictures to some of you previously, but I think they’re well worth seeing again. We fail to realize that man, the minute we find him on the scene of history, is a very highly civilized man. But the idea of a primitive, a caveman, is unknown to history. So that, to understand what man is, we have to recognize that he was created in the image of God and when we first meet him, he has knowledge and he builds the civilization quickly.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:36:56 The Minoan civilization goes back about 3000 BC to about 1400 BC. It builds a tremendous civilization. It may be a surprise to some of you that they had hot and cold running water and flush toilets and so on. This is a portion of one of the houses, and here is a portion of the interior. Hardly the kind of thing you associate with primitivism. These are ruins, just a shadow of what they once were. Now, this is the Minoan civilization on Crete. 3000 BC to 1400 BC.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:37:50 Now, the religion of most of these countries, if not virtually all of them that are dealt with in chapter three was a fertility cult religion and their worship was a form of a fertility cult worship. And fertility cult worship is a highly sexual worship. As a matter of fact, the temple would have ritual prostitutes attached to them and there would be worship which would require sexual acts so that you would go there and as a part of your worship at the temple, there was no congregational meeting incidentally outside of the bible. Some have imitated it. Buddhists, nowadays, for example have congregational meetings, but in no pagan religion was there any such thing as one day of worship or a congregational service. You went to the temple to buy insurance, as it were. And you did it through various ritual acts and a payment, but an important part of that worship was a sexual act with a sacred prostitute who could be a homosexual or it could be a woman and it could be an animal. Bestiality was a part of these fertility cult religions.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:39:32 Again, what we must say, these were not primitive religions. The evolutionists try to portray these fertility cults as though they represented an early stage in the development of religion. In reality, they represented a stage of decline of decadence of cultural collapse. Just as today we have, as we are declining and collapsing, a tremendous amount of sexuality and sex worship, many of these black masses and magical groups, their worship is a worship that is no different than the old fertility cult.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:40:23 In all of these, today, it’s a mark of cultural decay. The point is a very important one because man when he is healthy, when he is prospering does not see sex as primary in his interest. He is concerned more with work, with calling with status, with property, with exercising dominion. This is the basic urge in man, but when you have a cultural collapse, and men cease to be men in the true sense of the word, then sexuality replaces man’s normal interests with an abnormal interest in sex. Now, he may be less virile, but he is more intensely interested then. But, it has been shown again and again, in times of war, for example during WWII. When people were in prison camps, after they lost hope, those who were without faith, as they faced starvation, became just before the period when they became too weak to function, so intensely and insanely interested in sex that it was dubbed almost unbelievable. Why? Being without faith and without hope, sex had replaced the normal god-given desire in man to exercise dominion through a calling, through his position as head of the house hold and so on. So that whenever you have a fertility cult in a culture, you know that instead of being a culture that is low on the evolutionary scale, it is a culture that has collapsed, that has decayed.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:42:44 This is true whether you deal with say cultures like the ancient cultures of the near east or with the tribes of Africa. The very interesting thing that there are evidences among the tribes of Africa of ancient Egyptian civilizations. Very definite traces of it. The African was not originally an inhabitant of the whole continent. Even when the white man landed in South Africa, it was still practically uninhabited. The whole lower half, virtually, of that continent. Only a few tribes of wandering bushman and [inaudible 00:43:44] who could be numbered in the hundreds could be found in the northern part of what is now the Union of South Africa. They had not moved very far into central Africa. And there are remnants even down to Rhodesia of stone fortresses and all which they don’t know much about. But one time, various peoples had rules and we know of Arab empires that ruled down into some areas of central Africa. So that many of the practices of the modern African represent the cultural decline and collapse of superior cultures that were there before and ruled over them and they just have the dregs of it now. This is true elsewhere in the world.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:44:47 Thus, when we first meet with the cultures of the near east, in the Bible, as well as in the historical records, they will fall down. It would have been centuries after the flood, after they had been established and they had declined. It’s always interesting to go to an ancient culture and look at it’s documents. And let’s take a look at some of the writings of some of these people that I deal with in chapter three. One instance, I can’t locate the passage, we have one culture looking back on Dilmun as the golden age. Now, I wanted to site it a very interesting one. They look upon it as paradise. And of course, Dilmun, of which Geoffrey Bibby has done some very interesting work on, was an ancient civilization before Crete’s day that was very powerful, very prosperous, very wealthy, we’re just learning a little bit about it. And so, they looked back on what as paradise. That they had significantly a backward look so that in some of the earliest inscriptions we have found, men looked back and say those were the good old days. That’s when we had a good order, law and order, prosperity, peace and so on.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:47:09 Now, going centuries later to 1728 to 1686 BC to the code of Hammurabi. It’s very interesting to see the kind of law they had. Now I’m going to read from the code of Hammurabi and then from Hittite law. I’m gonna comment on it. Now from the code of Hammurabi.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:47:46 “If the wife of a senior, a citizen, has been caught while lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the water. If the husband of the woman wishes to spare his wife, then the king in turn, may spare his subject.” Very interesting. They had a sense of justice. Remember, they all have the original revelation of God given to all people in Noah’s day. But, if the husband wanted to spare the wife, then the adulterer had to be spared, too. Justice had to be even handed. ” If the finger was pointed at the wife of a senior because of another man that she had not been caught while lying with the other man, she shall throw herself into the river for the sake of her husband.” Women’s lib would not like that. In other words, she was to protect her husband’s reputation if she were talked about. Not exactly my idea of a just law.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:48:57 Then, ” If the senior was taken captive, that is during war, that there was sufficient to live on in his house, his wife shall not leave the house, but she shall take care of her person by not entering the house of another.” In other words, she cannot remarry as long as there is something to live on, but if he’s attractive and there’s nothing to live on, she’s free. “If that woman did not take care of her person that has entered the house of another, they shall prove it against that woman and throw her into the water.” This is a favorite way in Hammurabi faith, apparently.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:49:50 Then, to site a few more, to give an indication of the life of the times, “If a father dedicate his daughter to deity as a [inaudible 00:50:14], a sacred prostitute or a devotee, and did not present a dowery to her after the father had gone to his fate, she shall receive as her share in the goods of the paternal estate, her one third patrimony. But she shall have only the use of her debit as long as she live since her heritage belong to her brother.” This is a very interesting law in that it reveals a very common practice of the day that was regarded as a very holy practice. For people to dedicate their daughters to the temples as sacred prostitutes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:50:54 Then to pass on to Hittite law to give you an idea of the cultures. I’m just giving a sampling. Every type of thing was covered with very minute regulation. So, if they had a highly urban civilization with all kinds of laws for control of merchandising, of trade, everything. This from a Hittite law:
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:51:29 “If anyone steals a bull, if it is a weanling it is not a bull, if it is a yearling it is not a bull. If it is a two year old, that is a bull. They would formally give 30 head of cattle. Now, he shall give 15 head of cattle. Specifically, five 2 year olds, five yearlings and five weanlings. And he shall pledge his estate as security.” I sited those laws as they form quite a contrast with biblical law. These are laws from highly developed, very advanced civilizations, but the basic biblical law of restitution is not there. The biblical law of restitution is that if a man has stolen a cow, he restores five fold. Why? Because that cow is able to multiply and therefore, he restores the one he does and he restores five others as penalty. Restitution; the full value. If he steals 100 dollars, he restores that hundred plus another hundred. He is fined commensurate of the value of that which he steals. And to steal a cow, the theft of it is the theft of future calves as well, so he pays in terms of that.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:53:12 But the principal of restitution was not in these laws. The punishment did not fit the crime. For women to be thrown into the water and drowned just because she was talked about when there was no guilt proven, just to spare her husband’s reputation. That is not justice. And when a man has to restore 15 fold, and as the law says, earlier it was 30 fold, but that was a little too much, and then his whole estate has to be put up as security. It is really expropriation. It is not justice. The principal of justice that the punishment should fit the crime and it should be restitution commensurate of the value of that which was stolen. So, it could be from two fold to five fold, depending on the kind of thing it was. This you do not find anywhere else in the world, and we, as we become humanistic, have lost it. We’ve gone to the idea of poison, which is a humanistic idea. It used to be restitution and if you didn’t have it to restore, you became a bond servant and worked it off.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:54:43 Now, to go on to some observations on rights from the period. From [inaudible 00:54:55] which was a sister state in the days of Sumer, or the Caldese. This, I think is very interesting. Alcodian observations on life and the world order. “once come the evil things everywhere, I looked backwards, persecution whoa. Like one who did not offer a libation to a god and at mealtime did not invoke a goddess. Who did not bow his face and did not know reverence and who’s mouth prayer and supplication cease, for whom the holiday had been eliminated. Who became negligent despite their images, who did not teach his people religion and reverence, who did not remember his god, although eating his food, who forsook his goddess and did not offer her a libation. Nay worse than one who became proud and forgot his divine law, who swore fervilously in the name of his honorable deity like such one I’ve become. Yet, I myself, was thinking only of prayer and supplication. Supplication was my concern. Sacrifice my rule. The day of the worship of the gods was my delight. The day of my goddess procession was my profit and wealth. Veneration of the king was my joy and I enjoyed music in his honor.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:56:27 I taught my land to observe the divine ordinances, to honor the name of the goddess I instructed my people. The king’s majesty I equated that of a god and reverence for the royal palace, I inculcated in the troupes. Oh that I only knew these things are well pleasing to a god. What is good in ones site is evil for a god. What is bad in one’s own mind is good for his god. Who can understand the council of the gods in the midst of heaven. The planet of god is deep waters, who can comprehend it? Where has befuddled man kind ever learned what a god’s conduct is.”
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:57:08 Now, there’s your answer. This is from the supposedly sacred writings. Here’s your answer to others who say well other religions have their bibles. Here’s a man who begins by saying, well I’ve done something wrong and that’s why I’m having problems. The gods don’t like me because I’ve neglected these things and then he says no, I observed all these things, I did everything and look at me. How do I know what’s good to a god and what’s bad to him? The things I think are good he seems to think are wrong and the things I think are bad, he seems to think are good. Where has befuddled mankind ever known what the gods expect of him?
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:57:53 Now there’s a cry out of the ancient world, called the cry that would not listen for the word of God because his witness is always there. But this is paganism. They had no certain word. Or to site another citation, this again from [inaudible 00:58:24]. And this is a pessimistic dialogue between master and servant. And this I think is a very very telling one. Because here is a very wealthy, powerful master and I’ll just read portions of this. It is long. Who is writing this
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:58:48 “He has whatever he wants. He can say I want this and it’ll be brought to him. Bring me food, bring me my chariot so I can take a ride. Bring me some women. Bring me this, but there’s no pleasure in all of these. So, the commands of many [inaudible 00:59:07] the command, life is meaningless. Servant, obey me.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:10 Yes, My lord Yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:12 Bring me at once the chariot, hitch it up, I will ride to the palace.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:16 Ride, my lord, ride. All your wishes will be realized for you. The king will be gracious to you.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:22 No, servant I shall not [inaudible 00:59:24].
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:24 Do not ride, my lord, do not ride.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:29 Servant, obey me. Yes, my lord, yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:32 Bring me at once water for my hands and give it to me. I wish to dine.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:36 Dine, my lord, dine. To dine regularly is the opening of the heart. It brings joy. Through a dinner, eat and then happiness and with washed hands, the sun god shall not come.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:46 No, servant, I shall not dine.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:49 Do not dine, my lord, do not dine. To be hungry and eat, to be thirsty and drink comes upon every man.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:56 Servant, obey me.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:59:59 Yes, my lord, yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:03 I will build a house. I will not build it.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:07 Servant obey me.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:09 Yes, my lord, yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:12 I intend to start a rebellion.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:14 Do it, my lord, do it. If you do not start a rebellion, what becomes of your clay that is your body? Who will give you something to fill your stomach?
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:23 No, servant I shall not do something now.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:27 Do it not, my lord, do it not. The man doing something valiantly is killed or is maimed or captured and at last, taken prisoner.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:36 Servant, obey me.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:38 Yes, my lord, yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:42 I would love a woman.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:42 Yes, my lord, love love. The one who loves a woman forgets pain and trouble.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:48 No, servant, a woman I shall not love.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:51 Do not love, my lord, do not love. A woman is a well, a woman is an iron dagger, sharp one who cuts a man’s neck.”
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:00:58 And so on it goes, to the very end, and then finally;
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:05 “Servant, obey me.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:06 Yes, my lord yes. Now what is good?
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:10 To break my neck, your neck, throw both into the river, that is good.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:14 Who has time enough to ascend to heaven? Who is proud enough to ascend the earth?
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:20 No, servant, I shall kill you and send you ahead of me.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:24 Then would my lord wish to live even three days after me?”
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:27 Now, that’s a very telling dialogue of a man to whom life means nothing. He’s ready to try anything. He’s a friend of the king, he thinks he’ll go there and chat with the king, but it doesn’t mean anything. I’ll start a rebellion, but no it doesn’t mean anything. Bring me a woman, that doesn’t mean anything. Food, I’ll build me a better house. Nothing means anything. Let’s both die. No, I’ll kill you and send you ahead first.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:01:59 This is the kind of pessimism you see; the loss of will to live that came upon every one of these ancient countries. They committed suicide first by losing their will to live before they were overthrown by an enemy. Then one more quotation, and this from another [inaudible 01:02:41] statement. Now, this will go back, you see, to the days of Abraham and earlier.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:02:51 “The primeval king, the god Naru, creator of mankind. A glorious god, Naru, who nipped off their clay. The queen who formed them, the divine lady, Mama, M-A-M-A, they bestowed upon humanity ingenious speech, falsehood and untruth they conferred upon them forever. Enthusiastically, they speak of the rich man’s graciousness. He is a king, his tutelary deities go at his side as if he were a thief they mistreat a wretched man. They bestow slander upon him, they plot murder against him. [inaudible 01:03:29] They bring every evil upon him because he lacks protection. Dreadfully, they destroy him. They extinguish him like a flame.” In other words, for this man, the deck is stacked. The gods are favorable to the rich and the powerful and the rest of us are treated like dirt. Life is no good. It is misery. And so, what is there to live for?
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:04:05 This is what over and over again, in one nation after another, in antiquity, people decide. Life is meaningless. What is there to live for? And they collapse before an enemy knocks them over. This has always been the destiny of humanism, and this is why it is important for us to study history. Last time, you recall, I said those who are interested in history in the past are those who are interested in the future. And so, as we study, we shall see the pattern of things. How cultures rise and fall. That the meaninglessness of life without god overwhelms them before an enemy overwhelms them. And then in the Christian era, we shall see the new strands that come in and how there’s the wrestling with humanism.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:05:21 Next week, if you will continue your reading through chapter seven, and we will try to pick up a little speed as we lay a little more groundwork and get to the more familiar modern era where we can go into more detail if possible. Are there any questions now about anything in the written text or what we have been discussing? Yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:06:13 We don’t know what Shakespeare’s faith was, but this we do know. When Shakespeare went to school, the study of the bible was mandatory in school, so that he would have known it thoroughly, from cover to cover. Long sections by heart. Moreover, not only was that mandatory, but he also knew much of the book of common prayer by heart. This would also be in his schooling. So that, this is why when you read Shakespeare, the echos of the bible and the book of common prayer are so very very extensive. He was schooled on that. That’s where he basically learned to read and write. Not from textbooks. Those were his textbooks, so that it was inescapable for him to know the bible and the book of common prayer. Yes.
Speaker 2: 01:07:23 [inaudible 01:07:23] And you read about earthquakes. More powerful earthquakes happened before any of the earthquakes that we [inaudible 01:07:34]
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:07:33 Well, there is evidence that in every era of judgment, there have been more earthquakes over and over again in history. More disasters, but that has happened over and over again in history. Thus, in the declining days of Rome, the number of disasters, the various [inaudible 01:08:07] was very great. In my book, Physical Philosophy of History, I just go to the almanacs and I show how in the 50 years before WWII there were no where near as many earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and so on as in the 14 or 15 years after WWII. In other words, there’s an increase right now. But this has happened over and over again in times of judgment.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:08:37 So, they’re wrong in saying it’s just a sign of the end. It’s a sign of judgment again and again in history. Yeah. Any other questions? Yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:09:07 There are one or two good biblical atlases. I’ll try to get out the ones I have and see which ones I recommend. If I have them all, a lot of them are still in storage and the garage. Yeah.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:09:33 Right. It would be a very invaluable thing. And maps are very interesting because they tell us so much. It’s hard to realize that at one time, Lithuania which to us is such a little country, extended all the way to the black sea. Was a very powerful country. And now, it’s no longer in existence. The Soviet Union has swallowed it up. And before that, it was just one of the three Baltic Republic small countries. But it was a very powerful empire once and maps can tell us that. Yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:10:24 Well, of course, my belief is that we are in a time of judgment now, but I believe that we shall have a long time of godly rule and prosperity before the end times. This is my belief. In the book of Isaiah certainly indicates that there will be an era of tremendous worldwide peace and prosperity, a long life span, an aquarius era in the latter days. Yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:11:02 Yeah. He meant exactly what he said that he had come to fulfill the law and it means to put it into force. Now, that statement would be ridiculous if Jesus said think not that I have come to destroy the law, I have come to fulfill the law, if it meant what some people say that he came to end it. He would be then saying, think not I came to destroy the law, I came to do away with it. So that’s the contradiction. What he says instead is, I have come to put the law in force. Yes.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:12:37 Yes. The origin of Halloween, which has now become meaningless. It has no meaning, really. It’s just a meaningless relic. Is very definitely in the distant antiquity, it goes back at least a couple of thousand years BC and there are scholars, notably Rehwinkel – Alfred Rehwinkel, R-E-H-W-I-N-K-E-L, and his book [inaudible 01:13:11] who had developed a very good case for the fact that Halloween celebrates the dead from the flood. And many many ancient legends and myths, and you find Halloween all over the world, state that it was about time that the people died in the judgment of God in a flood, and therefore, their spirits are commemorated on the anniversary of the date of the flood. Now, this is the ancient story concerning it, there’s no reason to doubt it because Halloween falls on that date, which in terms of the Bible, was the date of the beginning of the flood.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:13:59 So, it’s the time when in the ancient world, the ungodly began to honor the people before the flood who were ungodly and who perished. In other words, by declaring, look we were on their side as against God, so we’ll honor them as against God.
Speaker 5: 01:14:23 How, as Christian parents, how far do you go in trying to determine with little ones? I tried to switch it over to reformation Sunday.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:14:47 They’ve basically conned us now. Because the meaning is gone, really. No one knows it any longer or what it means except a few Christians, so the real problem today with Halloween is it’s becoming dangerous for kids to be out. And I was really shocked the other day to see in the paper warnings to parents. First of all, telling them to accompany their children and to go only in their neighborhood where there were lights on the porch and if they received anything that indicated that the candy had been opened or if there was any sign of any bruise on the apple, not to do anything but throw it away. That the number of people who were putting poison into candy bars and razor blades into apples and things of that sort is a legion now. It’s an appalling fact that the police are seriously thinking about wishing they could abolish it because of that problem. So, their counsel, which I thought was [inaudible 01:15:55] was if you can, eliminate it with your children, or else take them to a few selected homes in your neighborhood of people you know. So, it’s not a harmless holiday now.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:16:21 Well, it is exactly 9, so our time is up.
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
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