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The Pinnacle

The English word pinnacle, derived from the Latin word pinna, meaning a feather, is used to translate the original Greek word of the New Testament, pronounced pter-oog-ee-on, meaning a little wing. The Temple that existed on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem during the human lifetime of Jesus Christ (i.e. the Herodian Temple, see Temples and "My Father's House") had, on the southeastern side of the Temple court, a range of cloisters that formed three arcades. The pinnacle, a parapet or wing-like projection (hence the name pinnacle) above the roof of those cloisters was the highest point of the Temple, towering about 350 feet above the adjacent Valley Of Kidron (shown in the photo). It was from atop that pinnacle that the "temptation of Christ" occurred.

The Temptation of Christ

Temptation Of Christ Matthew and Luke refer to the pinnacle of the Temple during the "temptation of Christ." Matthew's account:

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And He fasted forty days and forty nights [see The Forty Day Fasts], and afterward He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."

"But He answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

"Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the Temple, and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give His angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"

"Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"

"Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to Him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."

"Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.'"

"Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him." (Matthew 4:1-11 RSV)

The account by Luke:

"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry.

"The devil said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."

"And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" And the devil took Him up, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to Him, "To You I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours."

"And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'"

"And he took Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on the pinnacle of the Temple, and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"

"And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"

"And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time."

"And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning Him went out through all the surrounding country." (Luke 4:1-14 RSV)

Fact Finder: Why did Jesus Christ let Satan get away with "the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, "All these I will give you"?
See Who Still Rules The World Today?


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