It may well be argued that the language of the wilderness temptations implies there was physical movement going on, e.g. the tempter came to Jesus and led Him away. We now consider how such language is relevant to our evil desires inside our mind.
The records of the temptations of our Lord seem to indicate that the ‘devil’ which tempted Him was His internal nature rather than an external tempter. However, some have found problems with this view—not least because the tempter is described as “coming to” Jesus and leading Him. The purpose of this study is to show that temptation and desire are often described in terms of physical movement, thus enabling us to analyze them in a way which is easier to visualize than to describe them in purely abstract terms.
We know that our Lord “was tempted in every point like as we are” (Hebrews 4:15); and “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts (desires) and enticed” (James 1:14). For Jesus to be tempted like us, He had to go through the same process of temptation as we do. So to some extent He also was “drawn away” by the evil desires—the ‘devil’—which He had within Him. This would explain why the devil is described as taking Jesus into Jerusalem and into a mountain; this “taking” is the same as being “drawn away” in James 1. This association of our evil desires with the idea of physical movement is picked up frequently in the New Testament. “Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13) is a case in point. We are led by our evil desires, as Jesus was to a small extent in the wilderness; and yet God is expressed here as ultimately in control of these things. He is greater than our evil desires, and is able to stop them leading us, to “keep us from falling” (note the connection of temptation and physical movement again). The world generally makes no resistance to being led by the devil—thus “silly women” are “led captive…led away with divers lusts…led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Timothy 3:6; 2 Peter 3:17). Jesus was not led by the devil—His lusts which He shared with us—as much as these people. But nevertheless, the same basic idea of sin leading us in order to tempt us was true of Him. The Greek word translated “taketh” in Matthew 4 in relation to Jesus being taken by the devil is used both figuratively and literally (Strong). The following examples show its figurative use:
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Author: Duncan Heaster
Keywords: Satanology, Adversary, Christ tempted, Christ tempted in the wilderness, Christ's temptation, Christ's temptation in the wilderness, Devil, Devil and Jesus, Devil tempts Jesus, diabolos, Evil angel, Evil Inclination, Evil nature, Evil one, Hara Yetser, Ha-ra Yetser, Hara Yetzer, Ha-ra Yetzer, Hara Yezer, Ha-ra Yezer, Jesus' temptation, Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, Jesus tempted, Jesus tempted by Satan, Jesus tempted by the devil, Jesus tempted in the wilderness, Jesus's temptation, Man's sinful nature, Personification of evil, Satan, Satan and Jesus, Satan tempts Christ, Satan tempts Jesus, Seducer, Sin in the flesh, Sin within, Sinful nature, Snatcher, Temptation, Temptation from within, Temptation in the wilderness, Tempted in the wilderness, Tempted of Satan, Tempted of the devil, Tempted sexually, Tempted to do evil, Tempts Christ, Tempts Jesus, The devil tempts Christ, The devil tempts Jesus, The Evil Inclination, The Evil One, Wicked one, Wilderness temptation, Yatsar, Yetsarim, Yetser ha ra, Yetser ha tov, Yetser ra, Yetser tov, Yetzer, Yetzer ha ra, Yetzer ha tov, Yetzer Hara, Yetzer ra, Yetzer tov, Yezer ha ra, Yezer ha tov, Yezer Hara, Yezer tov, Two inclinations, Tempter
Bible reference(s): Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2-5, Luke 4:13
Source: “The Real Devil A Biblical Exploration.”
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