FRIDAY MORNING MANNA  

Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR & FORTY– Part XI

Fourfold Lie/Deception Embedded in the First Temptation Alone

 

 Main Source: Confrontation, originally published under the title of Redemption; or The Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness by E.G. White, pp. 37-40:

    “When Christ bore the test of temptation upon the point of appetite He did not stand in the beautiful Eden, as did Adam, with the light and love of God seen in everything his eye his eyes rested upon; but Christ was in a barren, desolate wilderness, surrounded with wild beasts. Everything around Him was repulsive. With these surroundings, He fasted forty days and forty nights, ‘and those days he did eat nothing.’ He was emaciated through long fasting and felt the keenest sense of hunger. His visage was indeed marred than the sons of man [Isa. 52: 14].

    “Christ thus entered upon His life of conflict to overcome the mighty foe, in bearing the very test which Adam failed to endure, that through successful conflict He might break the power of Satan and redeem the race from the disgrace of the fall.

     “All was lost when Adam yielded to the power of appetite. The Redeemer, in whom both the human and the divine were united, stood in Adam’s place and endured a terrible fast of nearly six weeks. The length of this fast is the strongest evidence of the great sinfulness of debased appetite and the power it has upon the human family.

Why understanding Christ’s human-divine nature is essential to eternal salvation

     “The humanity of Christ reached to the very depths of human wretchedness and identified itself with the weaknesses and necessities of fallen man, while His divine nature grasped the Eternal. His work of bearing the guilt of man’s transgression was not to give him license to continue to violate the law of God; for transgression made man a debtor to the law, and Christ Himself was paying this debt by His own suffering.

     “The trials and sufferings of Christ were to impress man with a sense of his great sin in breaking the law of God, and bring him to repentance and obedience to that law, and through obedience to acceptance with God. He would impute His righteousness to man and so raise him in moral value with God that his efforts to keep the divine law would be acceptable. [Pls. note when our efforts only become acceptable with God!]

   “Christ’s work was to reconcile man to God through His human nature, and God to man through His divinenature. [This is the main pipeline, the ladder Jacob was shown in a dream-vision of the plan of redemption.!

A Fourfold Deception Embedded In the First Temptation Alone   

      “As soon as the long fast of Christ commenced, Satan was at hand with his temptations. He came to Christ [1] enshrouded with light, claiming to be one of the angels from the throne of God, sent upon an errand of mercy to sympathize with Him and to relieve Him of His suffering and condition. He tried to make Christ believe that [2] God did not require Him to pass through the self-denial and sufferings He anticipated; that he had been sent from heaven to bear to Him a message that God only designed to prove His willingness to endure.

      “Satan told Christ that [3] He was to set His feet in the blood-stained path but not to travel it, that like Abraham [42 generations earlier, Matt. 1: 17] He was tested to show His perfect obedience. He also stated that [4] he was the angel that stayed the hand of Abraham as the knife was raised to slay Isaac, and he had now come to save His life; that it was not necessary for Him to endure this painful hunger and death from starvation; and that he would help Him bear the work in the plan of salvation.

     “The Son of God turned from all these artful temptations and was steadfast in His purpose to carry out in every particular, in the spirit and in the very letter, the plan which had been devised for the redemption* of the human race. But Satan had manifold temptations prepared to ensnare Christ and obtain advantage of Him; if he failed in one temptation, he would try another. He thought he would succeed, because Christ had humbled Himself as a man. He flattered himself that his assume character as one of the heavenly angels could not be discerned. He feigned to doubt the divinity of Christ [as many Christian and all pagan, heathen, and polytheistic religions and faiths do] because of His emaciated appearance and unpleasant surroundings.

     “Christ knew that in taking the nature of man He would not be equal in appearance to the angels of heaven. [“As man was created a little lower than angels, so did Christ incarnate into His human nature a little lower the angels. Heb.2: 6-9]. Satan urged that He was indeed the Son of God He should give him evidence of His exalted character. _]. He approached Christ with temptations upon appetite. He had overcome Adam on this point, and he had controlled his descendants [starting with Cain his first son], and through indulgence of appetite [opposite of a fruit of the Spirit, temperance], had led them to provoke God by iniquity until their crimes were so great that the Lord destroyed them from off the earth by the waters of the Flood [see Gen. 6].

     “Under Satan’s direct temptations the children of Israel suffered appetite to control reason, and they were, through indulgence, led to commit grievous sins which awakened the wrath of God against them, and they fell in the wilderness [Heb. 3: 7-19, Ps. 95: 7-11]. He thought that he should be successful in overcoming Christ with the same temptation.

    “Satan told Christ that one of the exalted angels had been exiled to the earth, that his appearance indicated that, instead of his being the king of heaven, he was the angel fallen, and that this explained His emaciated and distressed appearance!

Christ Did No Miracle for Himself

  

    “Satan then called the attention of Christ to his own attractive appearance, clothed with light and strong in power. He claimed to be a messenger direct from the throne of heaven, and asserted that he had a right to demand of Christ’ evidences of His being the Son of God. Satan would fain disbelieve, if he could, the words that came from heaven to the Son of God at His baptism. He determined to overcome Christ and if possible make his own kingdom and life secure. His first temptation to Christ was upon appetite. He had, upon this point, almost entire control of the world [4,000 years after the fall in Eden], and his temptations were so adapted to the circumstances and surroundings of Christ that his temptation upon appetite were almost overpowering.

     “Christ could have worked a miracle in His own behalf; but this would not have been in accordance with the plan of salvation [or plan of redemption]. The many miracles in the life of Christ show His power to work miracles for the benefit of suffering humanity. By a miracle of mercy He fed five thousand [not numbering women and children] at once with five loaves and two small fishes. Therefore He had the power to work a miracle and satisfy His own hunger. Satan flattered himself that He could lead Christ to doubt the wordsspoken from heaven at His baptism. If could tempt Him to question His Sonship, and doubt the word of truth spoken by His Father, he would gain a great victory.

 

     “He found Christ in the desolate wilderness without companions, without food, and in actual suffering. His surroundings were most melancholy and repulsive. Satan suggested to Christ that God would not leave His Son in this condition of want and suffering. He hoped to shake the confidence of Christ in the Father, who had permitted Him to be brought into this condition of extreme suffering in the desert, where the feet of man had never trod. [NOTE: The extreme sufferings of Christ in the wilderness of temptation, in Gethsemane, and Calvary—in all these three occasions He was prophesied to “tread the winepress alone.”Isa. 63: 2, 3].

   “Satan hoped that he could insinuate doubts as to His Father’s love, which would find a lodgment in the mind of Christ, and that under the force of despondency and extreme hunger He would exert His miraculous power in His own behalf and take Himself out of the hands of the heavenly Father. This was indeed a temptation to Christ. But He cherished it not for a moment. He did not for a single moment doubt His heavenly Father’s love, although He was bowed down with inexpressible anguish. Satan’s temptations, though skillfully devised, did not move the integrity of God’s dear Son. His abiding confidence in His Father could not be shaken.

 

NOTE: Here’s why the popular theology “once saved, always saved” is unbiblical, thus, misleading.  Why? First, Satan the tempter and his fallen angels are still very much alive. He never sleeps nor slumbers like we do, knowing his time is getting shorter every day for his scheduled arraignment before the judgment seat of Christ! Even if one has already given himself to Christ and made a covenant to follow Him all the way to the end, he is never beyond temptation as long as he is still on sinful earth in his sinful, fallen, and corruptible [subject to disease, decay, and death), flesh nature!

He Parleyed Not with Temptation

 

Parley. “Mutual discourse or conversation; especially an oral conference with an enemy, as with a regard to a truce; to speak with another, specifically to confer orally with an enemy, as on an exchange of prisoners.”  Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Edition, Merriam-Webster, 1942.

     The Savior condescended to take on eternally the human nature, without ceasing to be Jehovah Creator. But the incarnated Jesus “did not condescend to explain to His enemy how He was the Son of God, and in what manner as such He was to act. In an insulting, taunting manner, [reminds one of this just past presidential debates!] Satan referred to the present weakness and the distressed appearance of Christ in contrast with his own strength and glory. He taunted Christ with being a poor representative of the angels, much less of their exalted Commander [Jesus, the Archangel], the acknowledged King of the royal courts, and that His present appearance indicated that He was forsaken of God and man. He said that if Christ was indeed the Son of God, the Monarch of heaven, He had power equal with God [Phil. 2: 6, 5-11], and He could give him evidence of this and relieve His hunger by working a miracle, by changing the stone just at His feet into bread. Satan promised that it Christ would do this he would at once yield his claims of superiority, and that the contest between himself and Christ should there be forever ended.

   “Christ did not appear to notice the reviling taunts of Satan. He was not provoked to give him proofs of His power, but meekly bore his insults without retaliation. The words spoken from heaven at His baptism were precious evidence to Him that His Father approved the steps He was taking in the plan of salvation, as man’s substitute and surety.” (end of quote from Confrontation).

THE LESSON:

      “The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection [of character]. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man [James 4: 6-9], who must draw his power from God. On the one side there is infinite wisdom, compassion, and power; on the other, weakness, sinfulness, and absolute helplessness.

    God wishes us to have the mastery over ourselves [1 Cor. 9: 25]. But He cannot help us without our consent and co-operation. The divine Spirit works through the powers and faculties given man.”- Acts of the Apostles, pp. 481, 482.

(To be continued next week)