Let us worship God. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honor dwelleth. I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Let us pray. Oh Lord our God, we thank thee that we are privileged to be thy people, to be members of thy family, the household of faith. Teach us day by day to walk as thy faithful children, to know that thy hand is upon us for good, and in everything to give thanks unto thee. This morning again, oh Lord, we come to submit ourselves to thy word for thy word is truth. [inaudible 00:01:06] by thy word we see our place, our time, and our duty in terms of thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.
RJ Rushdoony (01:23):
Our scripture this morning is Jude verses five through seven. Jude is the brief letter just before Revelation, written by our Lord’s brother, our subject examples of apostasy. Jude five through seven. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt afterward destroyed them, that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
RJ Rushdoony (02:49):
Jude’s concern in his brief letter is with the influx of alien faiths and influences into Christianity and to the church. Because we have today as over the centuries false and evil doctrines and religions masquerading as true Christianity, what Jude has to say is very important for us.
RJ Rushdoony (03:23):
Paul not only denounced all heresies, he also called attention to their errors. Jude’s approach is different. He tells his readers you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once declared unto the saints. Before Jude, the other men like Paul and John had sharply and clearly defined the line between the faith and heresies. Now Jude says, “You have the truth. Fight for it and defend its priority.”
RJ Rushdoony (04:10):
In verse five, Jude grimly reminds them that Israel had been miraculously delivered out of the land of Egypt. Israel’s deliverance was a spectacular one, far more notable than was their own redemption as Christians. All the same, because Israel showed ingratitude and rebelliousness, God destroyed almost the whole nation. One miracle revealed another in Israel’s years in the wilderness, but God still destroyed a carefully protected people because of their unbelief. Why should He spare the early church? They were equally, if not more, blessed.
RJ Rushdoony (05:17):
Obviously this letter was written before the fall of Jerusalem, or else Jude would certainly have cited that as a great example of God’s judgment on unbelief. His phrase, “Though you once knew this,” is more accurately to be translated those… Though you know all things, once and for all, they cannot plead ignorance in other words. It was a temptation to say of the Hebrews who left Egypt that they were slaves, not as enlightened as the present generation. The problem, however, was not an intellectual one, but a moral one. We always want to shift the nature of the problem onto ignorance or inability to learn somehow or not as learned, anything but to say it’s a moral problem. Anyone can understand that.
RJ Rushdoony (06:47):
It was a temptation to plead ignorance to say of the Hebrews who left Egypt that they were slaves and not as enlightened as the present generation, but they could not do that. It was a moral failure. The people of the Exodus, like the present generation, trusted more in their own understanding than in the Lord. The new teachers who had entered the church in Jude’s day, the Gnostics stressed intellectual understanding and denigrated moral issues as simplistic. They never saw a moral problem, rather intellectual ones, educational ones, ignorance of certain premises supposedly.
RJ Rushdoony (07:49):
Their writings in fact lacked moral content and were more metaphysical than ethical. The Lord had saved the people out of the land of Egypt and this Israel had conveniently chosen to neglect or to treat as their due because they were the chosen people.
RJ Rushdoony (08:17):
It is all too easy for Christians to see themselves as a chosen people who therefore deserve only the best from God, when the calling of the elect is to serve God in the war against the city of man, the current tower of Babel. Instead of realizing how much we owe God, we tend to think more of what God should give to us, thus we become whiners instead of moral forces.
RJ Rushdoony (08:57):
Jude’s first example of ingratitude and apostasy is Israel after its deliverance from Egypt. Jude’s second example is the company of the fallen angels. They refuse to keep their first estate or principality created by God for a high and holy place. They sought apparently more power. The reference in Romans 8:38 and Ephesians 1:21 are to angelic spheres of authority, to angelic spheres of service and this dignity they forsook. In rebelling against God they lost all their privileged status. The fallen angels did not remain in their proper place or office, and they left their proper habitation. As a result, they are now in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
RJ Rushdoony (10:21):
The emphasis here, however, is not on the fallen angels, but on Christians who may go astray. They are a more privileged group than were the Hebrews of the Exodus and even the fallen angels. Jude is saying in effect if these things can happen to them, why not to you? You are the most privileged people because of Jesus Christ.
RJ Rushdoony (10:54):
Jude’s third example is Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the plains. They were privileged to have so rich and fertile an area, well watered and with a lush growth. These are set forth by God as examples of His judgment, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, Jude says. Two sins in particular are sighted, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh. The word fornication in the original Greek covers more than sexual acts, although this is a part of the meaning. It means lasciviousness, blasphemous attitudes, and more. Strange flesh has reference to homosexuality. The cities were wealthy, proud, and arrogant. It has been said of urban life that men there see more of man’s work than God’s work and they accordingly become too prone to seeing man and independence from God, and with such a perspective they become ungrateful and apostate.
RJ Rushdoony (12:25):
The Gnostics saw themselves as men who addressed the faith and advanced it because they were in harmony with the philosophy and science of their age. They were living, it was felt, in a golden era of mankind with government, philosophy, science, technology, and human thought generally at its highest. For man to resist merging their simple biblical faith into the highest of man’s wisdom was for them absurd. Their thinking was like that of our time.
RJ Rushdoony (13:16):
Jude’s requirement is simple. You should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. The thinkers of the city of man are contemptuous then, as they are now, of God’s revelation. They have their own word of truth. The great scholar on Gnostic literature, Dr. Hans Jonas, not a Christian, wrote of the resemblance between Gnostic myth and the myth of Neo Darwinian biology. So our science in Dr. Jonas’s eyes is simply a form of Gnosticism. The mythology of Darwin has great prestige as against the Bible. This will help us to understand what the early church faced, the whole array of science, philosophy, technology, this whole world of thoughts said you have to reinterpret everything you believe in terms of this body of knowledge or you will be fools. The wisdom of that era found the Christian revelation to be wanting. Time has disposed of the wisdom of that era. But we face a new generation of self styled wise men. This is why the letter of Jude is so timely. It gets to a problem that has plagued the church age after age and is especially prevalent today.
RJ Rushdoony (15:28):
Let us pray. Father, we thank thee for the words of Jude. We pray they may open our eyes to the foolishness of the world’s wisdom around us when it seeks to erect itself above thee and thy word. Make us faithful adherence to Jesus Christ and to thine inscriptured word. Teach us so to walk day by day that guided by thy word and by thy spirit, we are in all things more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. In His name we pray, Amen.
RJ Rushdoony (16:30):
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes.
Speaker 2 (16:37):
Rush, even among supposed conservatives and evangelicals, there is a growing toleration today for homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality. To what do you attribute that?
RJ Rushdoony (16:50):
Well, Romans 1 defines homosexuality, male and female, as the ultimate form of rebellion against God, and out of it flow Romans 1 tells us all these evil attitudes from the family on out into all of society, and therefore it is seen as the ultimate act of rebellion against God, and as a burning out of man. We are told that they burned in lust one towards another. The literal meaning there is they burned out in lust, so it’s seen as a burning out of man.
RJ Rushdoony (17:46):
So it’s an exceedingly serious matter. It seeks an unnatural order. It is a rebellion not only against God, but against the world of nature. Humanism went from a faith in God when it turned away from the Lord to a worship of nature, but they found nature too restrictive. And so the most recent attitude of the avant garde homosexuals is that an artificial world is a kind of world we must have, because then we are indebted to neither God nor to nature. We have created our own sphere. And so they seek a totally artificial world.
Speaker 2 (18:50):
Evangelical conservatives being largely antinomian today don’t have a means of really opposing it effectively, I presume.
RJ Rushdoony (18:58):
If you’re an antinomian, how can you oppose it? Yes.
Speaker 3 (19:04):
It’s interesting often… Often you hear in many modernist churches as Andrew was kind of alluding to, you really see the failure of systematic theology. When you look at verse seven, it couldn’t be more clear in the New Testament about God’s word as to homosexuality, but they just choose to ignore what even the New Testament teaches about homosexuality.
RJ Rushdoony (19:30):
They choose to ignore it and they have a standard rule that unless something is repeated in the New Testament, it’s okay. Well, the law against bestiality is not repeated in the New Testament. Does that make it okay? That’s the absurdity of that position. In their antinomianism, they leave themselves without any pudding with regard to theology. What is the meaning of the atonement if you had wiped out the law? What is the purpose of regeneration if it is not to make us righteous or just in our keeping of the law? So when they start throwing out the law, they wind up losing almost everything because scripture is a seamless garment. Yes?
Speaker 4 (20:34):
In verse seven, it says-
RJ Rushdoony (20:36):
Could you speak up?
Speaker 4 (20:37):
It says in verse seven talking about Sodom and Gomorrah, they were obviously consumed rather instantly, but at the end he says undergoing the vengeance of everlasting fire. Could you discuss that? Is he referring to Hell there, and is he referring that the citizens of those cities are burning in Hell today? Was this a very small manifestation of Hell or could you just elaborate on that?
RJ Rushdoony (21:07):
Well, that’s a good question if I understood it correctly. The wicked have for the time being something in the way of Hell, but the fullness of Hell they will have after the judgment and the resurrection of the body. There is in one of C.S. Lewis’s books, The Great Divorce, an interesting bit of imagery in that Hell is there depicted as a place of semi-darkness where you can barely see, and the people of Hell convinced themselves that it is the dawn that is ahead instead of total darkness. They see themselves as righteous, and therefore this is the dusk that precedes the morning and the dawn. So they are, according to C.S. Lewis’s perspective, self-deluded, even in Hell.
RJ Rushdoony (22:39):
And of course Sartre wrote No Exit, also about Hell, in which the people of Hell sit around in the room wondering whether the door is locked or open and nobody tries it and they’re all just talking to themselves. No communication, each is his own world.
RJ Rushdoony (23:12):
Any other questions or comments? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer. Our Father, we thank thee for the majesty and the truth of thy word. We thank thee that thou hast made us thy people and has commanded us to do those things to establish thy kingdom upon earth. Make us zealous in thy service, joyful in our calling. 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.