Presumptuous Sins and Death

The words are Rushdoony’s, but the bold is added by myself.

A slight spelling error — “al” instead of “all” — is corrected without comment.

Our scripture is Numbers 15:30-31, and Deuteronomy 17:12-13. Violence as presumption.

Numbers 15:30-31

“30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

31 Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

Deuteronomy 17:12-13

“12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.

13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

These texts speak of presumption, and acting presumptuously as a capital offence. In the first passage, Numbers 15:30-31, we are told that anyone whether a foreigner or a native who does ought presumptuously is to be cut off. The second passage makes it clear that cutting off means here not excommunication but the death penalty. And it has reference to the appeal to the supreme court and in the Hebrew supreme court there were not only judges but a priest of the number of the court and if the man then continued his presumptuous position he was to be executed.

Now what is the offense that is referred to here? What does it mean to act presumptuously? The marginal note probably will inform you that this means acting with a high hand, but it has reference to a denial of law and a defiance of it. Today we would call it revolutionary violence, a revolutionary or an anarchistic position that denies the validity of all law. That says we are the law and we will refuse to obey all law and order that is contrary to our wishes. This was of course the essence of Amaleks position. A defiance of God, a religious lawlessness whereby God was challenged and denied. It is acting presumptuously or with a high hand. Raising one’s hand in defiance of the Lord, taking aggressive action against God and his law order.

One scholar has said of this passage in particular, Deuteronomy, Waller, a church of England scholar of a century ago that acting presumptuously means and I quote: “A proud self-assertion against the law. The penalty of death arises necessarily out of theocracy, God is the king of the nations, rebellion against his law is treason, and if it be proud and willful rebellion the penalty of death is only what we should expect to see inflicted. Unquote. As we saw two weeks ago in analyzing the passage with respect to Amalek, Exodus 17:16, this was Amaleks position. The marginal reading there brought this out. Because the hand of Amalek is against the throne of heaven therefore the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

That is, because Amalek is presumptuous, its hand is against the Lord, therefore God is at war with Amalek in every generation. Now, the Amalekites are those therefore who raise their hand against all law and order. Who deny it in principle, because they deny in principle that there can be any transcendental law, that is, any law of God governing them. Today this is increasingly the dominant position of our society. After all it is taught in the schools. So that, increasingly, this contempt of the idea of law appears on all sides.


We might as well turn the world over to them because after all if we believe that in the church then we had better join the Marquis de Sade and Karl Marx and {Bakunik?}. But our text says that those who are guilty of presumptuous sin must die. When they take the law and declare that it is no law, when they feel that they have no right to be above and beyond the law, either the society exacts the death penalty or God will exact the death penalty finally on that society. You cannot allow total revolution against God and man and survive! Moreover, scripture tells us all who are guilty of presumption are hated by God. For example, Proverbs 8:13 declares the fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Pride and arrogancy and the evil way and the froward mouth do I hate.

God says emphatically that he hates the evil and he expects us to hate them. The fear of God is to hate evil, Proverbs tells us. To love evil therefore is to hate God. The humanistic mind today tries to be wiser than God and is going to save everybody by loving everyone and it views the God of scripture as rather nasty because he talks about hating the evil. Well, he very emphatically does. And in Proverbs the 1st chapter verses 24-33 God declares:

“24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:

30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

From this passage finally certain things are apparent. God not only hates evil, he laughs at the downfall of the wicked. Now, the humanist would say that that’s very nasty of God… but I prefer God to the humanist. Second, God says that when these people call upon him he will not answer. God says, I refuse to be used as an insurance policy or a spare tire! Now, an insurance policy is something we keep just for an emergency, a spare tire just the same way, a spare in the trunk that we hope we never have to use.

Very unpleasant to use a spare tire. And many people feel that way about God, he’s a spare tire and I’m better off if I never have to call upon him at all, but if I have to, okay. I’ll just carry him along as a spare tire. And God says, NO I will not be so used. They will call upon me then and I will not hear them. And finally, whoso hearken unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. We live in a world of presumptuous men, violent men, who with a higher hand seek to destroy all law and order… but in the face of this, our security is the Lord. Let us pray.

Almighty God our heavenly father we give thanks unto thee for thy word. We thank thee that as we face a world of Amalekites, of violent men who seek to destroy all law and order that thou art our refuge and strength, our very present help in trouble. Make us strong in thee, fill us with holy laughter when the time of destruction comes and make us ever mindful our Father that thy destruction has as it’s purpose to prepare the way for thy word, thy kingdom, thy holy government. Make us ever mindful that thou art on the throne. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sixth Commandment: Violence as Presumption
by Dr. R.J. Rushdoony

Lots of Christians like to send their children to the free public schools, where they are taught to deal with God in a presumptuous manner.

Still burning their children before Moloch in the name of convenience, I see.

“Either the society exacts the death penalty or God will exact the death penalty finally on that society.”

But we already know what way the Western societies have chosen: and you can see it in more than the declining birth rates, the increasing debt loads on the nations (and, in many cases, on families too!) the increasing insanity among Our Betters, and the great fearful manias over things that earlier generations would have laughed at as shadows and trivialities.

“But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” God be praised, this is also true. These are dark days, indeed, but they will pass soon enough. The free money fantasies will end, as will the vast web of fragile illusions that the publicly presumptuous few has foisted on the gullible (and often, privately presumptuous) many.

Hear the Lord, and you will live, and your children will inherit the land. Race, sex, intelligence, wealth, power and privilege… these are thin reeds, compared to righteousness and humility, love and justice, as defined by God.

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