Class Notes: 4/17/2013
Mark 1:12-13; Matt 4:4-11; Jesus defeats Satan by his use of the Word of God under the power of the Holy Spirit
In our verse by verse study of Mark we are presently in Mark 1:12-13; where we see that God the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the desert wilderness area to be tested by Satan for 40 days.
In order to get more detail on the testing we are presently looking at the parallel passage in Matt 4:1-11; We left off in Matt 4:4; where Jesus had told Satan off for telling him to make the stones into bread.
We saw that Jesus never put His own power or His own works above or on a level with obedience to the Father's plan. To rely on the power of the Spirit was the Father's plan for Jesus Christ during his first advent so in obedience to the Father's plan He relied upon the power of the Spirit when he used the Word.
Jesus' strength was in the Word of God not in a miracle that He could perform. Reliance upon God and fulfilling the plan of God depends upon knowing the Word of God. The believer can only become spiritually self-sustaining by feeding on the Word and converting the Word into spiritual strength. Heb 4:12;
Just as physical food when eaten is converted into physical energy, doctrine in the stream of consciousness is converted into spiritual energy.
Satan is tempting the Lord to abandon the kenosis protocol that the Father had established for him and utilize His divine attribute of omnipotence to create bread out of stones to satisfy His hunger.
Our Lord's response is to use personal love for God as a problem-solving device. He is motivated by reciprocal love for God to place His complete reliance on the Father's logistical grace and His immutable Word.
Dr. Dwight Pentecost expands on this in his book, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ: A Study of the Life of Christ Academie Books, 1981, 101-102, where he quotes A. M. Fairbairn's Studies in the Life of Christ, pages 93-94:
"Jesus had to live His personal life within the limits necessary to man, and in perfect dependence on God. Man cannot create; he lives by obeying nature. Now, had Christ by a direct miracle fed Himself, He had lifted Himself out of the circle and system of humanity, had annulled the very terms of the nature which made Him one with man.
The moment he had stooped to save self He had become disqualified to save men. The ideal human life must be perfect in its dependence on God, absolute in its obedience. And so His choice was not to be His own Providence, but to leave Himself to the Divine."
Dr. Pentecost summarizes the first temptation." Christ responded to this temptation by quoting from Deut 8:3; "Man does not live by bread alone." Christ showed Himself to be in obedience to the will of God, and for Him that will was revealed in the Word of God. Submission to the Word of God is essential to obedience to the will of God.
He recognized that the highest good is not to satisfy or gratify but to obey. In this temptation He showed absolute obedience to the will of God and absolute dependence on God to support Him in His obedience."
We exhibit this same principle when we comply with 1John 5:1-4;
Matt 4:5-7; describes the second test. This test has to do with the Word, because Satan, for the first time, had just been defeated by the Word and since the power is in the Word and since Jesus Christ in His humanity is relying on the Word Satan tries to pull the power that He is using out from under Him. He tries to undermine Him by destroying the Word as His standard of reference for living.
Since Jesus had resisted the temptation to act independently of the indwelling Spirit and the power of the Word Satan moves on to attack the Word itself that is the source of His ability to resist.
He attacks the Word by misquoting the Word, distorting the Word, and using passages in the Word that are not applicable to the situation.
The distortion of the Word by removing it from its context and interpretation has led many sincere and ignorant believers astray. Sometimes the more "sincere" believers are the more susceptible they are to being led astray because they want to do the right thing.
Sincere but ignorant believers have good intentions but they don't have enough accurate doctrine to know how to do the right thing in a right way at the right time.
These temptations that Satan presents to our Lord demonstrate that those with human good intentions but no accurate doctrine do the devil's best work.
The basis of pivot power is the Word that produces Divine good, the basis of political power is human good intentions that result in the production of human good and evil.
Matt 4:5; Then the devil took Jesus into the holy city and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,
"Then," a temporal adverb referring to chronological sequence, these temptations are in chronological order; "the devil took him up into the holy city" In the Bible the "holy city" always refers to Jerusalem; "and" had him stand" ( he places) him on a pinnacle."
The location of this test is described as being the "pinnacle of the temple." There is controversy among scholars about the exact location of this site. The generally accepted solution correlates Mal 3:1; with Satan's selection of a high point in the temple complex.
The majority opinion is that this was the parapet on the temple's roof, its highest point was the southeastern corner that was estimated to have been seventy cubits or about 105 feet high on a cliff overlooking the Kidron valley.
This particular point is looking out about 550 feet over the Kidron valley because they are standing on the high point of the roof of the temple that is over 100 feet high and looking over a cliff that was about 450 feet straight down.
Matt 4:6; and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give His angels charge concerning You'; and 'On their hands they will bear You up, lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'"
"If" is a first class condition (and you are); "throw Yourself down.". Son of God is a title of deity and has nothing to do with the situation. Satan is talking to Jesus Christ and he says now to His deity: "Jump."
But deity can't jump because deity is omnipresent. We see from this that the devil is trying to distort the Word. The command to jump is an aorist active imperative of the Greek word "ballo" that means to cast yourself down or to let go without any concern to where you fall.
Jesus had said previously that He would live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. He has declared that in His humanity He will rely entirely upon the Word of God as the pattern or standard of reference for His incarnation.
So the devil says in effect that if He is going to rely upon the Word of God there is no reason why He can't jump off the cliff and quotes a portion of scripture to prove the fact that He ought to jump just to demonstrate that He would actually live by the Word.
"for it is written" is a quote of, Psa 91:11,12; The devil rationalizes that because the deity of Christ can't jump he will go back to the humanity of Christ. The humanity of Christ is going to rely on the Word of God and Satan quotes scripture and misapplies it to imply that if He jumps God will protect him just because "it is written"
Satan's is distorting the Word. To jump into the valley would violate the Divine law of gravity. Jesus Christ, is living under Divine law. God does not protect negative volition that disregards Divine law.
If someone was to push the Lord over the cliff then the scripture that Satan quotes might apply but there is no protection for the one who uses his volition to act independently of the Word or uses the Word in a distorted fashion.
In this temptation we see Satan's knowledge and use of Scripture in his challenge of the Lord. Mal 3:1; "Behold, I (God the Father) am going to send My messenger (John the Baptizer ), and he will clear the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek (Messiah), will suddenly come to His temple; even the messenger of the covenant (the offer of the kingdom to Israel in the First Advent), in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the Lord of the armies.
In the first test we saw that Our Lord quoted Deut 8:3; "Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God," to counter Satan's first test.
Satan therefore decides to counter with a Bible verse in his second challenge. He presents the temptation with a false interpretation of Mal 3:1; In this verse, God prophesied that at the First Advent His Messiah would "suddenly come" before the people at the temple.
Satan proposes that Jesus fulfill this prophecy by making a dramatic entrance before the people by jumping from the pinnacle and landing unharmed right in front of them as they gather for worship in the temple.
In essence, Satan proposes, "Let's go up to the highest point of the temple complex where You can just swoop down in front of everybody and proclaim Yourself Messiah."
In order to oblige the Lord who said He would rely upon every word from the mouth of God, He then quotes from Psalm 91:11-12;
Satan's deceptive interpretation asserts that if the Lord really wants to fulfill every word then He should jump from the temple roof to the ground below and the angels would see to it that He landed safely.
Our Lord immediately recognizes the fallacy of Satan's logic. Angelic surveillance and protection of human beings is not permitted to violate the rules of engagement that require man to function within the environment of divine creation and to make good volitional decisions based on accurate understanding of that environment.
For man to do otherwise would be presumptuous and result in testing God, therefore, the angels would not be permitted to intervene and protect Him from his bad choice.
Satan is asking the true humanity of Jesus Christ to test God. Satan's temptation asserts that if Jesus is the Son of God then He may claim that Mal 3:1; permits Him to jump off the temple roof, and God will be forced to order His angels to preserve His human life.
Dr. Dwight Pentecost in his book The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1981), on page 103 how this would be testing God.
"Satan's implication was that Jesus, as a Son, had a right to put His Father to a test. The one who puts another to a test is putting himself in a superior position. For Christ to put God to a test would be for Him to abandon His dependence on God. You test another because you do not have confidence in him. If you have full confidence, no test is necessary."
Our Lord also picked up on Satan's misquote of the Psalms 91:11-12; passage that left out a key phrase.
v11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.
v12 They will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
Satan omitted the phrase "guard you in all your ways". The Person being guarded is the true humanity of Messiah. All His ways are in perfect compliance with the directive will of God the Father's plan for the Incarnation.
Satan's objective was to tempt the Lord to violate that plan and move Jesus from the directive will into the permissive will of God.
Merrill F. Unger in Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament. Vol. 1. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981), page 881 states:
"All Christ's ways as man were God's ways of implicit reverent faith and filial obedience and dependence, and so God's angels guarded His sinless humanity. Satan attempted to make Christ act presumptuously, out of God's will, and thus tempt God by needlessly testing His power and faithfulness."
If He had fallen because He was pushed, God would protect. But this is a case of using one's own volition and the passage does not cover suicide.
There are times when God's protection is definitely promised but when the believer uses his own volition to operate independently of God's plan, God's Word, or God's law then he is outside of divine protection.
Suicide is an illustration of this. God does not protect the believer who tries to commit suicide from death because suicide is the superimposition of human volition over the directive will of God.
For Jesus to jump into Kidron valley would have meant certain death for His humanity because it was not the Father's directive will for Jesus to jump. It was the Father's directive will for Jesus to die on the cross about three years later.
Nothing is more insidious than the use of God's Word to get someone to act independently of God, and that is the way the woman fell. In the garden the woman fell because she added to the Word of God.
People are constantly misusing the Word of God in order to act independently of the will of God and the plan of God. This is pseudo-spirituality and emotionalism.
Matt 4:7; Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Knowing, from Scripture, that jumping from the temple roof would be testing God, the Lord again rejects the temptation by quoting Deut 6:16; "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
The Lord did not need to identify Himself to the people of Israel by some dramatic entrance that defied the laws of physics. For Him to do to do so would have violated the kenosis protocol because other members of the human race could not do it.
Jesus turns the first class condition of verse 6 back on Satan. The pertinent thing is what Satan said at first, "If thou be the Son of God (and you are)."
The issue is not to jump when Satan commands this amounts to tempting the Lord to take Himself right out of this life. Satan is tempting the Father to permit His humanity die. Satan quotes scripture that did not apply and Jesus counters by quoting scripture that does apply.
Not all scripture applies to every situation. The more mature believers become and the more doctrine they understand the better qualified they are to accurately apply the correct scripture to the situation as our Lord did.
Matt 4:8; Again, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory;
v9 and he said to Him, "All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me."
In this case "If" is second class condition (if, but you won't)" fall down and worship me." In this case Jesus would have received the kingdoms of the world without going to the cross and this would also have been a deviation from the Father's plan.
Jesus Christ could have taken the kingdoms of the world as they were without going to the cross but He refused it.
Matt 4:10; Then Jesus said to him, "Go Satan! For it is written, ( Deut 6:13; ) 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and (Deut 10:20;) serve Him only.'"
"Go Satan", the present active imperative of the Greek word "hupago", is very dramatic, like: "Get out of here". Jesus gives Satan an order to get lost.
"for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only" this is the issue. The object of Satan is to hinder Christ from going to the cross.
This passage also affirms the fact that Satan is the "ruler of this world" because you cannot give what you do not possess.
Satan's rulership of the world is also confirmed by several other passages of Scripture: John 12:31; John 14:30; John16:11; 2Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; and Rev 13:2;
In Matt 4:8-9; we see the first New Testament verification of this doctrine. And the things with which Satan tempts our Lord are "the kingdoms of the world and their glory."
But the glories of the earthly kingdoms that Satan rules are not to be compared to the glory they will enjoy under the rulership of our Lord during His millennial reign.
This is a last-ditch effort by Satan. Jesus Christ is going to conquer the world at the Second Advent and restore the environment to the pristine perfection it had prior to the Fall of Adam. Rom 8:19-21;
Satan offers Jesus the world as it is without having to endure the requirements of the cross if Jesus in His true humanity would worship Satan.
In order for Jesus to accept this proposal He would have to be motivated by a lust to rule the world immediately rather than waiting for the perfect timing of the plan of God at the Second Advent.
In order to do this He would have to abandon His mission in the Incarnation that was to become a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the human race. Satan's scheme is logical for if it had been successful the appeal trial would have been decided in his favor.
As was the case with the first two temptations, the Lord rebukes Satan and dismisses him with another appeal to Scripture: Deut 6:13; "You shall worship the Lord your God," and Deut 10:20; "and serve Him only."
It is interesting to note the correlation between Satan's temptations of Jesus and the woman. John F. Walvoord provides a useful diagram on page 27 of the Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament (Victor Books, 1983):
Satan’s Temptations of the Woman and of Jesus
Temptation Genesis 3 Matthew 4
Appeal to physical appetite. “You may eat of any tree.” (v. 1) “You may eat by changing stones to bread.” (v. 3)
Appeal to personal gain. “You will not die.” (v. 4) “You will not be hurt.” (v. 6)
Appeal to power or glory. “You will be like God.” (v. 5) “You will have all the world’s kingdoms.” (vv. 8-9)
Unlike his original success in Eden, Satan was consistently rebuffed by the Lord in the wilderness, at the temple, and on the mountain. Jesus successfully passed evidence testing with reference to the plan of God by relying on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit and the application of the Word of God.
Summary of the Three Temptations of Christ
The First Temptation: Asserts that the self-gratification of the needs of the physical body is the highest good. It implies that man is only biological life. The suggestion is that the only reason for man's obedience to God is if God meets every demand of his need as it arises. Self-gratification is presented as greater than the will of God. But Jesus shows us that submission to the Word of God is equal to submission to the will of God.
The Second Temptation: This is a temptation of arrogance. If you have confidence in God then no test is necessary. If Jesus to removes Himself from the directive will He is removed Him from God's protection.
The Third Temptation: This temptation seeks to elicit a lust for stuff and to bypass the cross that is the Father's plan for Jesus' life. Christ's worship of Satan would fulfill his ambition stated in Isa 14:14; "I will be like the Most High."
It is the plan of the Father that Jesus Christ should rule the world, but this plan demands the cross before the crown as the basis for establishing an eternal kingdom.
In the third temptation Satan offers a plan that bypasses the cross and Satan tempts Jesus to accept the crown, without the cross. Satan is the only one who could tempt Jesus this way because he is the ruler of the world.
The offer of Satan to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world is a legitimate offer because Satan is the ruler of the world Satan's plan always ignores, distorts, obscures, or rejects the cross.
1John 2:15; Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
v16 For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world.
Matt 4:11; Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. "Then," chronologically, "the devil left him" Satan obeyed the order to get lost. The word "leave" means to depart quickly; "and, behold angels came and were serving him".
This brings us back to where we left off in our study of Mark 1:12-13;
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