The temptation of Jesus by Satan is a challenge and attempt to get Him to use His power and reach His goals in the wrong way. That is without satisfying the demands of justice. We are going to look at this in some detail so bear with me.
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Let's look at the first phase of the temptation. Jesus was hungry. Don't forget that elsewhere in the bible it tells us that Jesus' food is to do the will of the Father. So Jesus was not hungry for something to eat. He had just begun his ministry by being baptized in Jordan by John. Now after 40 intense days of communing with the Father, he wants to get on with it. He has been wanting to be about his Father's work since he was 12 or even earlier. So he is hungry to get started and do the Father's will.
Satan wants to offer Jesus a way to accomplish his objectives, but it's a way that goes against the father's will and would not accomplish His work.
"If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Now why make stones into bread. How about some peanut butter too? How about some meat! And why change the stones. Just command some food to appear out of thin air. Just order up a Whopper, fries and a coke! The son of God can do this, can't he?
Joking aside, what we have here is an allegory. There is a lot of meat here if we just look for it. Usually we just skip over such things, but sometimes the Spirit will provide a clue as to the meat is.
Well a clue to understanding this passage can be found in looking at the two elements, Stones and Bread. If you search the bible for verses that contain both words, these will come up.
Lu 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Mt 7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
First note that we are making a double comparison here. Stones and Bread, Serpents and Fish, these elements make up an analogy. As stones are to bread, so serpents are to fish. As Jesus went about seeking to save the souls of men, he used good old figurative language to get his point across. When speaking to farmers, he talked about harvesting wheat. While talking to fishermen, he spoke of catching nets full of fish. Since the wheat makes up our bread, you can see that bread and fish are two major metaphors for saving souls. Stones and serpents stand for the unsaved. So lets expand the analogy like this. As unsaved is to saved so are stones to bread and so are serpents to fish.
The next element to consider is that Jesus speaks of a son asking a father for bread. This refers to Jesus asking His Father for the souls of men. This is found in the Psalms.
Ps 2:7 ^ I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Elsewhere in scripture you can find mention of the stony heart contrasted with the soft heart or heart of flesh. That comparison parallels the Stones and Bread comparison.
Eze 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
2Co 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
The bible also speaks of the temple being made up of living stones. Here those who are saved are described as stones. But you have to contrast them in a different way. Dead stones are the unsaved and living stones are the saved. Both are made from clay, the dust of the earth, but only one has Life!
There is another interesting comparison of Stones and Bread in the law of Moses.
In the passage beginning at Leviticus 23:10 The Lord gives instructions for observing the feast of first fruits. 50 days after that comes Pentecost, and on that day he mentions two loaves of bread.
Le 23:16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.
Now the feast of Pentecost is first celebrated 50 days after the feast of First Fruits. First fruits being the day Moses led the people out of the red sea and on to the far shore. First Fruits commemorates the redemption of the first born which actually took place the night they left Egypt.
That day is traditionally regarded as the day when Moses came down from the mountain bearing two tables of stone. The tables of stone speak of the Law and the Old Covenant. So what do we see happening at later observances of Pentecost? Well the passage above tells us about two loaves of bread. Two tables of stone lead to two loaves of bread. So stones and bread are compared once again. Stone speaks of the old covenant, and the law. The bread speaks of the new covenant and the spirit.
So comparing stones and bread is a symbolic way of discussing the saving of men's souls by the establishment of a new covenant.
Let's look back at the temptation again.
In this temptation there are three stages: Stones and Bread; Cast thyself down; and The Kingdoms of the World.
Each of these stages relates to one of Jesus' purposes in coming here. Stones and Bread has to do with saving the souls of men. Cast thyself down is about being willing to give his life.
The kingdoms of the world has to do with regaining the full authority over the earth that Adam lost. He came to give His life for the souls of men, and to destroy the works of Satan.
In each case of the temptation Satan is offering Jesus the easy way out. He is suggesting a simple solution or course of action that will give him what he wants without having to go to a lot of trouble.
A. In the Stones and Bread, Satan is saying: Look here, you want to save the souls of men, right? Well just give the command, you have the power don't you? Just go ahead and proclaim 'all is forgiven'. It's simple and easy, right? [Sure, look what happened when David did just that.]
B. In Cast thyself Down, Satan is saying: You came here to die didn't you? Well why go through all the torture and torment that's in store for you? Just jump off the roof here and have a quick painless death, you won't feel a thing! It's so simple anybody could do it!
C. In Kingdom's of the World, Satan is saying: Alright Jesus, you want to get the kingdoms of the world back? No Problem! Just bow down to me! Just one time! Nobody will ever know! And you can have it all just the way you want!
Would you buy a used car from this character?
If Jesus were to just cast himself down, he would never become the passover lamb for us, never take on the sins of the world, and never fulfill dozens of prophetic scriptures that he must. This was definitely not the way to go. Jesus endured the suffering that the Father required because he had a revelation of the Joy to come as the author and finisher of our faith.
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The Kingdoms of the World are not just the nations but Spiritual Domains as seen from a high mountain which speaks of the High Places! Jesus cannot just get these kingdoms from Satan. He will take them from Satan. There will come a point when He asks the Father. Then they are given to him by the Father
Isaiah 51 speaks of populating the heavens when Satan falls.
Isa 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
In Revelation 11 we read that the Kingdoms of the world become the Kingdoms of our God and his anointed, Christ and the saints who are in Christ. Some of the saints will be given these kingdoms as their reward.
Re 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
We also read there that he takes his power and reigns! This gives the phrase 'our God reigns' a whole new meaning.
Isa 52:7 ^ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Now on to other topics. We are going to look briefly at these as each one could be a major study in itself.
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