The three temptations of Christ
The temptations of Christ are mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark 1, and Luke 4. After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the desert of Judea. The adversary we often call Satan tempted Jesus.
There were three basic aspects of these temptations:
- . Use his power to turn "Stones" into bread for himself.
- . Offer power over the world from the Pinnacle of the "temple".
- . Use divine power to protect from falling from a high "Mountain".
And then afterwards he was ministered to by angels.
In Matthew, Jesus appears to cite at least three scriptures:
- Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.,
- Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name., and
- Deuteronomy 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
These all reference the sequence of the trials of Israel as they wandered in the desert. These, of course, are representing the metaphor that points to spiritual principles we may all face in our own lives.
The truth is Jesus was to be king of the world, but not like the kings who follow in the ways of Cain, Nimrod, Pharaoh, Saul and Caesars of the world. Evil wants people to look away from The Way of God and follow a different path of power and force, manipulation, and deception. He does not want you to empower others, but covet other peoples' liberty, their right to choose, bestowed by God upon the nature of mankind. God gave us choice, for without choice there is no love. Satan merely wants loyalty and obedience to his own will at the forfeiture of the will of others. This is where all three temptations meet The Ways of God and Satan depart.
"Stones" into bread
Stones of the altars and the temple of God were men called out to provide a service for a government of God that operated according to the perfect law of liberty. They were not to exercise authority one over the other but be servants. Like the Levites these stones did not go up by steps. When the ministers of God begin to issue edicts and commands and lord it over one another they are turning the stones of the altar into bread for themselves.
There are Churches today that require that a portion of the offering goes up to another level of a hierarchy but while there is rank in the kingdom appointed by God it i based on being a greater servant a humble brother and not like the rulers of other systems of goernment.
Pinnacle of the "temple"
Like the forbidden "going up by steps" the idea of being raised over others or their institution wreaks of personal lordship over others. The Temples were always to provide the righteous benefits of Pure Religion through freewill offerings but the Temples of the world used force. John the Baptist was a faithful High priest that said the people were to provide aid and benefits through charity rather than force. His temple was made of men who served and Jesus came for that purpose. His baptism would not be like that offered at Herod's temple of power where the Corban of the Pharisees made the word of God to none effect.
There is a spiritual message about not entering into the competitive dialectic only becomes apparent to those who rise above judgment by forgiveness and love of Christ. There is a great temptation to look down on others who do not see what you see. There is obvious judgment and anger but there is also a more subtle judgment of those who want to war against our faith. They want to upset us, drag us into the fray of egotistical competition.
You must always return to the understanding that you are no one's savior. You are not the light unto the world. You can only walk in the Spirit if you walk with the God as an obedient and humble child giving all credit and glory to the Father.
A high Mountain
Mountains are people piled together in systems of men. George Slatyer Barrett viewed this third as a "...the old but ever new temptation to do evil that good may come; to justify the illegitimacy of the means by the greatness of the end."
That the mountain is a metaphor for a people brought together by the social contract with rulers like Cain, Nimrod, Pharaoh, Saul and Caesar. The kingdoms of the world were the governments formed by incorporating constitutions and systems which promise liberty from the responsibility to love one another and instead set up covetous systems of socialism making the people human resources.
Being a ruler of the people is risky business. With great power comes great temptation but more important is with a little power comes more subtle temptation. Few good hearted souls enter the realm of power with the desire to become a dictator. But to desire to rule over many or a few, by force or by cunning or by charisma is still the same sin.
One of the greatest tools of Satan is flattery. People who cannot be god will eek to be god makers. They will vote you into power, praise you, place you on an emotional pedestal. You must guard against others doing this to you and you must guard against you doing it to yourself. Again I repeat you are no one's savior. You are not the light unto the world. You can only walk in the Spirit if you walk with the God as an obedient and humble child giving all credit and glory to the Father.
Rulers rise because every man falls to these same temptation of oppressing their neighbor rather than loving them until we see "The masses continue with an appetite for benefits... they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch." Polybius.
The authoritarian state uses force and violence to become the Benefactors of the people. They force one class of citizen to provide for another. Christ forbid that type of government. He told us not to make the Fathers of the earth our Benefactors.
Jesus was the Christ, the anointed, the Messiah the rightful and righteous king of the Kingdom of God, but that kingdom does not look like or work like the kingdoms or governments of the world where men exercise authority one over the other or turn their neighbor into bread and circuses for their own wantonness and entertainment.
These three ideas or paths of temptations were always with Christ, and those who followed him stayed with Him as he did not fall to these temptations which are always with us.
There is the clear temptation to rule over others and turn people into providers for our own benefit, but there are more subtle ways of manipulating people, which we see in modern Churches and temples where men go up by steps to stand on pedestals of pomp and ceremonies.
A minister of God should never desire the loyalty of the people he serves. He is to lead them to God and keep himself separate. He should strive to keep himself independent of the people financially and emotionally.
Ultimately, there is the personal pride and hubris that comes from claiming to believe or boasting to be a Believer in God or Jesus, while not actually doing what He said to do. The Modern Christians want to claim to believe, and they conclude God must save them, even though they do contrary to His will for them. They might quote Ephesians 2:8, 9 (" ... Not of works, lest any man should boast"), claiming faith is just believing, and they therefore contrive a basis of salvation on which they solidly stand (priding themselves in having "rightly divided the word of truth" 2 Timothy 2:15).
The Temptation of Ministers of Christ
The temptations of Jesus Christ are faced by every minister of Christ.
Jesus hoped that those who came to follow The Way of His ministry would learn to trust God and thereby become a brotherhood of righteousness. They would face the same temptation of exercising power over others by force or by crafts more subtle. Learning to trust in The Way would take every man to the corners of their own holy temple and to the bottom of their soul.
Modern societies have fallen prey to the same temptations Jesus faced; they have returned to the sin and mire of Babylon, Egypt, and Herod's Judah. Jesus' Kingship was very controversial because He was restoring every man to his possession and to his family. The kingdom of God is a network of families coming together under the perfect law of liberty binding themselves by faith, hope, and charity, rather than social contracts with civil benefactors who exercise authority one over the other.
The early Church did not pray to the Patronus of Rome for mercy and justice nor free bread in times of need. Christian prayed to Our Father who art in Heaven for forgiveness as they showed forgiveness for others and shared their daily bread with others. Christian bread was contributed freely by the thanksgiving of Christ's faithful believers. Anyone who professed Christ was cast out of the social welfare system - Corban - of the Pharisees at Herod's golden temple that made the word of God to none effect.
Corban means sacrifice. It is also translated offering, oblation, offered, sacrifice, and treasury in the Bible. The purpose of the sacrifice was to care for the needy of society, which included anyone who did not have sufficient resources within their family to provide for a crisis. Corban has been a part of all governments and societies of man.
Corban was a religious Rite for the welfare of the people. Cain, Nimrod, Pharaoh, Caesar, and Herod were benefactors in the provision of free bread by forcing the sacrifice, contributions, of the people.
The followers of Jesus the Christ also had provisions to care for the needy of their society. They accomplished this without the benefactors of the “world” which exercised authority over the contributions of the people.  Pure Religion was providing for society in a way that was unspotted by the covetous authoritarianism of the “world”.
- “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so:” Luke 22:25. Also Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42.
Public works projects, commercial ventures, and even war was financed through similar fund raising institutions or temples. This community in affluence and apathy eventually built temples to manage services on a centralized governmental scale with a broadened scope. By 70 B.C, a bread dole was decreed for distributing free bread to 40,000 adult males, which increased over the centuries to include over 300,000.
There was little need for individual charity with the government taking over this responsibility. Every year, 500,000,000 bushels of grain were imported from Egypt alone. This grain was stockpiled and redistributed daily from warehouses along Trajan’s dock covering over 160 acres. With these massive government giveaway programs in place, the local farmers needed to be subsidized and individual charity died from neglect.
As the republic moved away from voluntarism and charity, the people were seduced by the temptation of easy entitlements offered by benefactors who exercised authority. The voluntary charitable network which had bound families together into a strong society were gradually replaced by an authoritarian system of bureaucrats who imposed a civil duty and legal obligation to contribute. A once titular leadership became law makers whose authority and power was soon centralized into the hands of one Caesar or dictator after another, until Rome declined and fell.
- “Protection draws to it subjection; subjection protection” 
- “The real destroyers of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.” Plutarch, 2000 years ago.
It has always been common practice to expand the power of government though the offer of social contracts and schemes to an acquiescing, if not consenting, populous by enticing people with benefits and promises provided at the expense of their neighbors.
Mammon is entrusted wealthlike the camp of the golden calf people deposit their wealth under the control of another. Jesus compares God and mammon as two masters, both requiring service and bestowing benefits and grace upon its faithful members. One will fail, the other is everlasting.
- “And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.... If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true [riches]?” Luke 16:9-11
Jesus also tells us to be faithful with the unrighteous mammon, while we should pursue the righteous. We should not be cheating the present master while we are in the process of seeking the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.
- "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government [dominion]. Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.” 2 Peter 2:
- "And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; Luke 22:25
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- suggesting gluttony by offering a way to relieve Jesus' personal hunger. What it was really about was power to turn the stones of the altar of God into his own source of wealth and pomp.
- The adversary offering power over others, even the kingdoms of the world. Jesus received that power, but by another means and method which Modern Christians often do not understand. That power which is spiritual comes to others by that same means. Each minister must lay down their life, their ego, pride, fear, and ambition so they may pick up a more abundant spiritual driven life according to His purpose.
- hubris by suggesting that Jesus manipulate God and His angels by using them for his own personal advantage or purposes.
- Exodus 20:26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.
- Barrett, George, Slatyer. The Temptation of Christ, Macniven & Wallace, Edinburgh, 1883
- 2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
- Leviticus 25:10 “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”
- James 1:25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.”
- Exodus 23:32 “Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. Exodus 34:12 “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:” --- 2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. --- Matthew 5:34 “But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:... for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” --- James 5:12 “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”
- Title for Caesar, Patronus of Rome means Our Father who art in Rome.
- Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.... Give us this day our daily bread.”
- Acts 11:29 “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:”
- Protectio trahit subjectionem, subjectio protectionem. Coke, Littl. 65.
- Psalms 69:22, Romans 11:9, Exodus 20:17, Exodus 23:32, Exodus 34:15, Proverbs 1:10.., Proverbs 23:1-3, Romans 13:9, Mark 7:22, Matthew 5:34, James 5:12
- “Mammon, an Aramaic word mamon “wealth” … derived from Ma’amon, something entrusted to safe keeping. Encyclopedia Britannica.