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Temptations of Christ

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While I hope that many of you will join me in drilling deep into the temptations of Christ on the Study Board for this weeks Come Follow Me lesson,  I have a provocative question to prompt interest, which I wish to pose here:

In Mt 4:1, we are told that the Lord, Jesus Christ, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, "to be tempted of the devil." 

Yet, in Mt 4:7, we are told "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

If the Lord isn't to be tempted, then why did the Spirit lead him to be tempted? ;)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I posted this about a month ago, after doing some counseling with my adult children  

 

1) Command that these stones be made bread.  - Christ had just fasted for 40 days.  No doubt He was hungry.  The superficial temptation is to satisfy our physical carnal desires.  But deeper, is the sin of Pride.  Satan was tempting Christ to use his creative powers to prove that He was God by transmuting stone to bread.  Beware of Pride  And Christ's response - Deuteronomy 8:3

2) If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down. - Satan even quotes scripture Psalm 91: 11-12 to bolster his temptation.  The superficial temptation is to rely upon others, and once again to prove his godly powers.  But as I studied this - and recalled the events in Gethsemane, coupled with hardship that occurs during a normal lifetime.  I recognized that Satan was going to a much darker place.  He was trying with all his might to cause Despair to enter into the heart of our Lord and Savior.  Real despair - the type that leads to concepts of suicide or annihilation. Despair is a tool of the Devil, it is the complete absence of Hope.  Both of these temptations are of an emotional nature. There are times in our lives when all seems at loss and no forward progress appears as a possibility.  We must recognize that Despair is from the Evil One and fight it with hope.  Do Not Despair  Christ's response - Deuteronomy 6:16

3) All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  On the surface once again we see the temptation for worldly stuff.  But it was at the cost of changing allegiances from God to Satan.  As I look deeper though, I perceive a common sin that many of us indulge.  We seek Shortcuts, the path of least resistance.  God wants all of his children to have - all that He has.  But He wants us to obtain these gifts, rewards, property, and increase through the process of overcoming all things.  Only when we deserve the rewards should we have them.  These sins can be somewhat perceived as a spiritual nature.  Christ created the Earth.  At age 12 He could have overcome Rome and conquered the entire world.  When Peter smote off of the Roman centurion's ear, Christ stated, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"  A single roman legion is considered 5,000 soldiers.  Imagine 5,000 military soldiers invading your hometown.  And recognize that a single angel of the Lord killed over 185,000 men in 2 Kings 19:35.  Jesus was proclaiming his authority to command 60,000 Angels!  But He didn't.  He bid his time and suffered the will of the Father in all things.  How many times do we seek after things that we have not earned.  Fornication or adultery, purchasing goods on debt, unjust abuse of power, dishonest dealings with our fellow man to produce lucre we did not earn.  God wants us to have everything, but He wants us to earn it, so that we can be a wise steward and use our increase to bless others.  There is no heavenly lottery. Christ's response - Deuteronomy 6:13-14

Pride is the root of all sin.  Despair is a tool of the Devil, we have no business dwelling with despair.  If darkness gathers we must use the light of hope to dispel its effects. In ourselves and others.  And we must trust in the Lord to have the patience and work ethic to achieve the gifts and increase that the Lord has in store for us.  

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8 hours ago, zil said:

The JST fixes this problem.

Perhaps. But does it also fix these:

  • They which have continued with me in my temptations, Luke 22:28.

  • he himself hath suffered being tempted, Heb. 2:18.

  • was in all points tempted like as we are, Heb. 4:15.

  • learned he obedience by the things which he suffered, Heb. 5:8.

  • he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, Mosiah 3:7.

  • suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not, Mosiah 15:5.

  • suffering pains … and temptations of every kind, Alma 7:11.

  • He suffered temptations but gave no heed, D&C 20:22.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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7 hours ago, mikbone said:

1) Command that these stones be made bread.  - Christ had just fasted for 40 days.  No doubt He was hungry.  The superficial temptation is to satisfy our physical carnal desires.  But deeper, is the sin of Pride.  Satan was tempting Christ to use his creative powers to prove that He was God by transmuting stone to bread.  Beware of Pride  And Christ's response - Deuteronomy 8:3

This  is a good lead -n to my second provocative question:

Christ has used his "creative powers" on several occasions to make bread. He provided manna to Israel, coincidentally while they were in the wilderness. He  provided bread and fish  for the 5000 and the 4000 (see HERE), also presumably and coincidentally in Judea. If it was appropriate on those occasions, then why would it have been inappropriate to do so then? Or, would it have been appropriate?

P.S. Perhaps you could re-post your interesting comments in the  Study Board for this weeks Come Follow Me lesson, so they can be discussed in greater detail.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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14 hours ago, wenglund said:

While I hope that many of you will join me in drilling deep into the temptations of Christ on the Study Board for this weeks Come Follow Me lesson,  I have a provocative question to prompt interest, which I wish to pose here:

In Mt 4:1, we are told that the Lord, Jesus Christ, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, "to be tempted of the devil." 

Yet, in Mt 4:7, we are told "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

If the Lord isn't to be tempted, then why did the Spirit lead him to be tempted? ;)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

I suspect "the Lord thy God" is the Father to whom Christ was subject.

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6 hours ago, wenglund said:

Christ has used his "creative powers" on several occasions to make bread. He provided manna to Israel, coincidentally while they were in the wilderness. He  provided bread and fish  for the 5000 and the 4000 (see HERE), also presumably and coincidentally in Judea. If it was appropriate on those occasions, then why would it have been inappropriate to do so then? Or, would it have been appropriate?

 

Why we do what we do is usually more important that what we do.

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6 hours ago, wenglund said:

This  is a good lead -n to my second provocative question:

Christ has used his "creative powers" on several occasions to make bread. He provided manna to Israel, coincidentally while they were in the wilderness. He  provided bread and fish  for the 5000 and the 4000 (see HERE), also presumably and coincidentally in Judea. If it was appropriate on those occasions, then why would it have been inappropriate to do so then? Or, would it have been appropriate?

P.S. Perhaps you could re-post your interesting comments in the  Study Board for this weeks Come Follow Me lesson, so they can be discussed in greater detail.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

I think it wold have been inappropriate a) to be baited by the devil to provide a sign and b) to serve Himself.

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29 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think it wold have been inappropriate a) to be baited by the devil to provide a sign and b) to serve Himself.

Doing as Satan suggested would have been a sin and he came to earth to be like us. When was a the last time you turned a rock into bread? Oh, right, we as humans do not have that ability. Therefore he would have been cheating, thus sinning.

he was in the desert to fast and experience hunger and want, not to show off his godlike powers.

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8 hours ago, wenglund said:

Perhaps. But does it also fix these:

  • They which have continued with me in my temptations, Luke 22:28.

  • he himself hath suffered being tempted, Heb. 2:18.

  • was in all points tempted like as we are, Heb. 4:15.

  • learned he obedience by the things which he suffered, Heb. 5:8.

  • he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, Mosiah 3:7.

  • suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not, Mosiah 15:5.

  • suffering pains … and temptations of every kind, Alma 7:11.

  • He suffered temptations but gave no heed, D&C 20:22.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

You didn't ask about those, just about the apparent conflict between the two Matthew verses.  And there's a difference between being tempted and the Spirit explicitly leading him somewhere for the express purpose of being tempted - the one rational, the other absurd.

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9 hours ago, wenglund said:

This  is a good lead -n to my second provocative question:

Christ has used his "creative powers" on several occasions to make bread. He provided manna to Israel, coincidentally while they were in the wilderness. He  provided bread and fish  for the 5000 and the 4000 (see HERE), also presumably and coincidentally in Judea. If it was appropriate on those occasions, then why would it have been inappropriate to do so then? Or, would it have been appropriate?

P.S. Perhaps you could re-post your interesting comments in the  Study Board for this weeks Come Follow Me lesson, so they can be discussed in greater detail.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

This is not provocative.

Everything that Jesus does is appropriate.  Everything Jesus expressly rejects - such as making bread out of stone to break his fast at the behest of Satan - is inappropriate.

God's powers is not used for self glorification (inappropriate).  Rather, His power is used only in Service (appropriate) and such is the source of His glory.

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Pertaining to the three types of temptations our Savior experienced the following talk by Howard W. Hunter, "The Temptations of Christ," is a good read.

1) First temptation covers the appetites of the flesh. We all will list to obey the flesh or the spirit. He that is spiritually minded hath eternal life, he that is carnally minded (flesh) receives death.

2) Second temptation covers the temptation of power. The desire within us all to perform some exploit that will cause all onlookers to be amazed at the power we have.

3) Third temptation covers the root of all evil - pride. The desire to be worshipped (an icon or idol), to have power and the riches this world has to offer.

Others have provided some additional thoughts, which appear to have some application also.

Edited by Anddenex

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6 hours ago, zil said:

You didn't ask about those, just about the apparent conflict between the two Matthew verses. 

I had the other scriptures in mind when I posed the question, and just used the Matthew scriptures because that is what I am studying this week. But, I understand there was no way you would have known that.

Quote

And there's a difference between being tempted and the Spirit explicitly leading him somewhere for the express purpose of being tempted - the one rational, the other absurd.

I see the difference, but I don't get the absurdity, particularly given that we, including Christ, have come to earth, in part, for the expressed purpose of being tempted./tested.

To me, it seems quite rational that Jesus would be led into the wilderness, in part, for the purpose of being tempted, since it was requisite to, and apt preparation for, his mortar mission as the great exemplar. His experience in the wilderness was not only highly symbolic  of the mortal phase of the Plan of Salvation as well as the exodus of Israel and other journeys into strange lands (Abraham, Lehi, Brigham Young, etc.),  but through it he also literally set forth the way for mankind to rise above temptation.  As Paul said: in Heb. 2:

17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

 

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6 minutes ago, wenglund said:

I see the difference, but I don't get the absurdity, particularly given that we, including Christ, have come to earth, in part, for the expressed purpose of being tempted./tested.

The Holy Ghost (the Spirit) does not lead us into temptation.  Temptation is something we experience because of agency, opposition, and our fallen nature, but the Spirit doesn't say, "Here, come on into this here brothel and see if you can take it." or other such things.  The Spirit leads us to God and to good.

Undoubtedly, Christ was tempted in all things - beyond our ability to withstand, I'm sure - but it wasn't the Spirit that led him into temptation.

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9 hours ago, CV75 said:

I suspect "the Lord thy God" is the Father to whom Christ was subject.

 

6 hours ago, anatess2 said:

God's powers is not used for self glorification (inappropriate).  Rather, His power is used only in Service (appropriate) and such is the source of His glory.

These are the two points I was hoping would be brought out by my two provocative questions. At their core, each of the three temptations was an enticement to not only violate laws of appetite and so forth, but also the two great commandments upon which rest all the laws and the prophets .  They were designed to defy the will of Him to whom we ought to be subjected,and those to whom he would have us serve.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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6 hours ago, anatess2 said:

This is not provocative.

Everything that Jesus does is appropriate.  Everything Jesus expressly rejects - such as making bread out of stone to break his fast at the behest of Satan - is inappropriate.

God's powers is not used for self glorification (inappropriate).  Rather, His power is used only in Service (appropriate) and such is the source of His glory.

I find this interesting to consider. Where is the line? Jesus's "power" includes the ability to move His hands. Did he utilize that power to feed himself when he broke His fast? Of course. So where's the line. Where is using power -- any power -- to feed oneself crossing the line of appropriate to inappropriate? Is there something inherently wrong with turning water into wine if one has "the power" to do so? What if that "power" is a chemical/physics process? If I develop the scientific process to convert water to another liquid is the usage of that "power" inherently inappropriate to use if I'm going to consume the liquid myself? If Satan hadn't "tempted" Christ, is the act of turning a stone into bread to eat after a fast de facto sinful?

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6 hours ago, zil said:

The Holy Ghost (the Spirit) does not lead us into temptation.  Temptation is something we experience because of agency, opposition, and our fallen nature, but the Spirit doesn't say, "Here, come on into this here brothel and see if you can take it." or other such things.  The Spirit leads us to God and to good.

Undoubtedly, Christ was tempted in all things - beyond our ability to withstand, I'm sure - but it wasn't the Spirit that led him into temptation.

I see where you are coming from.

I just view the phrase "led up of the Spirit"," to mean that the Spirit gives us the strength to face, and the assistance to overcome, the requisite temptations. 

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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1 hour ago, wenglund said:

 

These are the two points I was hoping would be brought out by my two provocative questions. At their core, each of the three temptations was an enticement to not only violate laws of appetite and so forth, but also the two great commandments upon which rest all the laws and the prophets .  They were designed to defy the will of Him to whom we ought to be subjected,and those to whom he would have us serve.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

In this way Jesus was 1. tempted to tempt the Father to rescue Him, 2. to provide a sign to the devil to prove He was divine, and 3. to provide to Himself a sign that He was worthy of the Father's protection. We can see elements of the devil enticing Him into fear, doubt, insecurity, pride, competitiveness and a carnal, sensual and devilish attitude. "If" can be a powerful word!

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4 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I find this interesting to consider. Where is the line? Jesus's "power" includes the ability to move His hands. Did he utilize that power to feed himself when he broke His fast? Of course. So where's the line. Where is using power -- any power -- to feed oneself crossing the line of appropriate to inappropriate? Is there something inherently wrong with turning water into wine if one has "the power" to do so? What if that "power" is a chemical/physics process? If I develop the scientific process to convert water to another liquid is the usage of that "power" inherently inappropriate to use if I'm going to consume the liquid myself? If Satan hadn't "tempted" Christ, is the act of turning a stone into bread to eat after a fast de facto sinful?

I’d say Power is that which is beyond the capability of the limited mortal body.

Turning stone to bread would not be de facto sinful if the act was done for the purpose of completing his mortal ministry.  For example, if it is between him dying of hunger or living to fulfill the Atonement, turning stone to bread would be an act of obedience to God’s plan.

 

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7 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I find this interesting to consider. Where is the line? Jesus's "power" includes the ability to move His hands. Did he utilize that power to feed himself when he broke His fast? Of course. So where's the line. Where is using power -- any power -- to feed oneself crossing the line of appropriate to inappropriate? Is there something inherently wrong with turning water into wine if one has "the power" to do so? What if that "power" is a chemical/physics process? If I develop the scientific process to convert water to another liquid is the usage of that "power" inherently inappropriate to use if I'm going to consume the liquid myself? If Satan hadn't "tempted" Christ, is the act of turning a stone into bread to eat after a fast de facto sinful?

One of the purposes behind Christ being tempted was so that he would be "made like his brethren"  and "suffered being tempted" so that he could "succor those that are tempted."  ( Heb. 2:17-18)

For this to occur necessitated that Jesus resolve his hunger in the same way as his brethren.: His use of power, then, could not exceed that of his brethren.

Nevertheless, your question can be expanded beyond eating and drinking to also include the use of "power" to heal the sick and afflicted--be it taking herbs and medicine to giving or receiving priesthood blessings.

And, while it seems evident that, during his mortal ministry, Jesus used his "powers" for the benefit of others--including healing the sick, I don't see why it would be wrong for him to use those powers at times to heal himself (assuming he ever got sick) or to prevent himself from getting sick. After all, we are told to lovie thy neighbor (brethren) as thyself.

As for where to draw the line? I think Jesus Christ made that abundantly clear. The line for him, and ought to be for all of us, is the "will of the Father."

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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5 hours ago, CV75 said:

In this way Jesus was 1. tempted to tempt the Father to rescue Him, 2. to provide a sign to the devil to prove He was divine, and 3. to provide to Himself a sign that He was worthy of the Father's protection. We can see elements of the devil enticing Him into fear, doubt, insecurity, pride, competitiveness and a carnal, sensual and devilish attitude. "If" can be a powerful word!

II am glad you mentioned competitiveness since it is not often considered  in the context of Christ's temptations.  

In a way, I believe that Satan was tempting Christ to  provide some physical show of power that came anywhere close to his own--not just in the way that Satan was able to transport Christ here and there, but also the vast kingdom of the world over which Satan ruled. It was the ultimate power struggle, on earth, so to speak.

I figure that Satan knew Christ wouldn't take the bait, and would thus consider it as proof of Satan's superiority--not unlike when a bully get's in someone's face and ask what they are going to do about it, and considers himself the better when the people being bullied don't rise to the challenge. 

However, the beauty and splendor in Christ's responses to the temptations was that it spiritually demonstrated that Satan was  powerless over him, and as such Christ's power and his works and dominions, before then and to follow, far exceeded that of Satan'--not unlike how greater courage may be evident in walking away from bullies picking fights.

This, as always, is an object lesson  for all of us. Gaining empowerment that far exceeds Satan comes from not succumbing to the temptations of Satan.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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3 hours ago, wenglund said:

As for where to draw the line? I think Jesus Christ made that abundantly clear. The line for him, and ought to be for all of us, is the "will of the Father."

Legit!

Which makes way more sense as to how the temptations were, indeed, temptations. The temptation was, I think, do thine own will, or worse, do the tempter's will instead of the Father's. 

Excellent thought. 

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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