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Friday, May 18 2012
Who Is Tempting You?
The English word "temptation" originated from a Latin word, temptare, which meant to test, as in to prove something to be either good or bad. The opposite of temptation, contempt, uses the same root word, but with a prefix that means contrary i.e. contempt means contrary to temptation. As we will read, humans can have either contempt for Satan, or contempt for the LORD, as proven by which "temptation" they choose.
"Tempt" or "temptation" is used to translate a variety of Hebrew and Greek words of the Holy Scriptures. Examples:
As written throughout the Holy Scriptures, "temptation" can be for good, to prove righteousness, or for evil, as a lure to corruption. Both originated when the first humans rejected the temptation of the LORD to do good (see The Church In The Garden), by not taking of the one tree that they were not to touch, and instead chose the temptation of Satan, to follow him as a covetous thief and rebel (see Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal).
The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" served the purpose of tempting, proving, the first humans to be righteous. The LORD didn't create the tree as a temptation to do evil, but as a temptation to do good.
"2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden [see The Garden In Eden]; and there he put the man whom he had formed." (Genesis 2:8 KJV)
Humans became sinners when they chose to accept the fraud that Satan had to offer, rather than the truth and goodness that the LORD had already offered and provided to them (the point will be explained further as we progress in this study).
"3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
"God did tempt Abraham"
The LORD declared Abraham to be a righteous man, after he was tempted, as in proven (the meaning to the actual word written in the Scriptures), to be so (see Works Means Obedience; also What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?). That began with Abraham's obedience to come out of Babylon (see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees) and continued throughout his life. The greatest test ("temptation") for Abraham came when the LORD "did tempt Abraham" with the command to sacrifice his son - a "trial run" that the LORD provided to Abraham.
"21:33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. 21:34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days." (Genesis 21:33-34 KJV)
The LORD "tempted" (keeping in mind the meanings of the actual original words of the Scriptures) His people, not only to test them, but as an encouragement to do right, "by temptations, by signs, and by wonders."
"4:32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? 4:33 Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? 4:34 Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm [see also Christ's Crossing Of The Sea], and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?" (Deuteronomy 4:32-34 KJV)
The "great temptations" that the Israelites were given to witness were provided to give them courage to come out from under the great power of those who held them in slavery, "whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out."
"7:18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; 7:19 The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid." (Deuteronomy 7:1818-19 KJV)
"Wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?"
When humans defy the LORD, they are "tempting" Him to see how far they can go before they have gone too far. As stated by Moses, "wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?"
"17:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. 17:2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?" (Exodus 17:1-2 KJV)
Those who "tempted" the LORD, after He had "tempted" them with the ability and encouragement to be free, lost their way to the promised land (see A Journey Without A Destination).
"14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 14:23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it" (Numbers 14:22-23 KJV)
How do people "tempt" the LORD? By refusing to "diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee."
"6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. 6:17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 6:18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers" (Deuteronomy 6:16-18 KJV)
Consider the difference when they didn't "tempt" the LORD - by heeding the "temptation" (the display of power over their oppressors) that He had given to them.
"106:8 Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. 106:9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. 106:10 And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 106:11 And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: 106:14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. 106:15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." (Psalm 106:8-15 KJV)
Many regard the "Old Testament" to be un-Christian, or even anti-Christian, but the Church began at the creation of the first humans and has continued ever since (see the series of studies beginning with The Church In The Garden). The LORD God who provided the "temptation" to be righteous has always been Jesus Christ ("for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ") and the LORD God that they tempted with their defiance has always been Jesus Christ ("Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents").
"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ [see Christ's Crossing Of The Sea]. 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
"He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted"
As we've read, by the time that the LORD God was born as a man, He already had vast experience with being "tempted." But His birth as a human added a new dimension.
"2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 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. 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:16-18 KJV)
For the first time, Satan was able to "tempt" the LORD in the same way that He tempts all humans. The Messiah's statement "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" is profoundly dual, considering that Jesus Christ was and is "the LORD God" (see Appearances Of The LORD God).
"4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil [see also Who's Hiding On Your Wall?]. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Satan then continued his temptations of Christ, through those who had been tempted by Satan - and lost.
"16:1 The Pharisees [see also The Passed Over Pharisees] also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.
Their temptation continued, this time regarding the legal matters of divorce. It was answered, by Jesus Christ, by reiterating what He had said, as the LORD God, when the first two humans were created: "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh."
"19:1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan [see Beyond Jordan]; 19:2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
So too, a woman caught in the act of adultery, by the hypocrites who had been committing adultery themselves. The answer was given by the One who had delivered the Commandment against adultery.
"8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
The temptations of Christ were presented by various routes - some religious, as we've seen, others political i.e. "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?"
"22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 22:16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? [see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars]
And then, to top it off, a lawyer "asked him a question, tempting him":
"22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
The ultimate temptations of Christ then came as He was about to be Sacrificed: "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." The Messiah was Sacrificed because He chose to allow it to happen, despite the temptations, not only that He was being subjected to, but to the temptations that were readily available to Him e.g. "26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? [see also Legions Of Men And Angels] 26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (Matthew 26:53-54 KJV).
"26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Satan Tempting The Church
The true Church of God are "they which have continued with me in my temptations." Peter and Judas are prime examples of two men who were tempted by Satan, with two very different outcomes. The denial of Christ by Peter was answered with "that thy faith fail not," while the denial of Christ by Judas was answered with "woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed."
"22:21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22:22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! [see The Traitor In History And Prophecy] 22:23 And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
The famous "Lord's Prayer" has the well-known "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." That verse has led many to believe that "temptation" is itself evil, but as we've read in this study, "temptation" is only evil when it is Satanic - hence the reason that the verse explains itself with "deliver us from evil." How does the LORD deliver us from evil? As we've read, with the "temptation" to not do evil.
"6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Satan's evil "temptations" begin at the moment that someone comes to know the Truth and to live by it. Paul's epistle to the Galatians was sent for that very reason.
"1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The Thessalonians also experienced it, "lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."
"3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain." (1 Thessalonians 3:4-5 KJV)
The good news is that Satan's power is infinitely less than that of God. Those who choose to reject Satan's temptation are guaranteed to win if they hold to their choice to live (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners).
"6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 6:2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
Consider now the full meaning of "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations," the righteous over the evil.
"1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Fact Finder: What gives faith the strength to overcome Satan's temptations?
This Day In History, May 18
1152: Eleanor, duchess of Aquitaine and recently divorced from King Louis VII of France, married Henry Plantagenet (later Henry II of England) at Poitiers.
1592: The Tanaka Memorial, Hideyoshi's plan for Japanese world domination was published. It was revived 349 years later prior to the December 1941 attacks on British, Australian and U.S. bases and possessions all across the Pacific and southeast Asia.
1642: Montreal, Quebec was founded. Today, Montreal is the second-largest city in Canada, and the second-largest French-speaking city in the world (second only in population to Paris, France, although Montreal is larger in area).
1756: England declared war on France.
1792: Russia invaded Poland.
1803: Britain declared war on France after Napoleon Bonaparte continued his interference in Italy and Switzerland.
1804: Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of France.
1830: Edwin Budding of England signed an agreement for manufacture of his invention - the lawn mower.
1845: Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin set out from England to map the Northwest Passage through the Arctic. He and his men of the "Franklin Expedition" never returned.
1966: An attempted assassin was killed in an explosion in a third floor washroom of the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa, only steps away from the public viewing gallery. He had apparently planned to throw the bomb into the Government assembly, thereby killing the Prime Minister and many other members of Parliament, but it detonated prematurely.
1974: India became the sixth nation with nuclear weapons when its first bomb was successfully exploded in the Rajasthan Desert.
1980: 60 people were killed from eruption of Mount St. Helens in a remote area of Washington State. Scientists estimated the force of the eruption to be 2,500 times more powerful than the U.S. atomic bomb that was used to incinerate Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.
1982: A jury in New York City convicted Sun Myung Moon, founder and leader of the Unification Church (the "Moonies") of tax evasion. He served 13 months in prison.
1990: A modified French TVG train set a new world rail speed record at 515 kilometers per hour (320 miles per hour).