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Christology Questions V:

the Baptism, Temptation and Spiritual Death of Christ

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Question #1: 

Good day Dr. Luginbill,

I have been reading up on the content on your site and have found it extremely helpful. On reading on the subject of baptism, I came across one verse in my daily reading of the Bible, that seemed a bit confusing. John 3:22 which states "after this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them and baptized". I know that it was never Jesus himself who baptized but his disciples did on his behalf; although under the consent and order and sanction of Jesus. Is the baptism here speaking of water baptism? Now I know that you have emphasized all throughout your website that Jesus always meant baptism of the Spirit and not water baptism and I agree with this but what about the verse above? Also, wouldn't this following verse signify that he was into water baptism as well because here it is compared to John's baptism; the Pharisees hearing of Jesus baptizing more people than John. Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples (John 4:1-2 NIV). A comparison would be made only if the subject was the same, right? For example, John's water baptism compared to Jesus' baptism.

Please help me with the above two scenarios. May the blessings of our Savior continue to rest upon you.

Yours in Christ,

Response #1: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

I think there is no question but that water-baptism continued (and was legitimate) until the cross. After all, this was a sign to Israel that her Messiah had come. The water-baptism of John was a "baptism of repentance (of believers returning to God)", that is, a ritual designed to demonstrate the people of God (Israel) coming back to Him to receive His Messiah. Since Jesus is the Messiah, and since He had not taken up His kingdom yet, said ritual was still appropriate before the cross, before the resurrection, and before the coming of the Spirit. As long as Jesus was still on earth, all this was still a matter of faith, and the fact that He did not take up His kingdom in glory tested the faith of many, even the faith of His herald, John (Matt.11:3; Lk.7:19-20). So it is not surprising that the disciples baptized with water. What is surprising is that Jesus, who was after all preaching repentance as well (e.g., Matt.4:17), did not. That fulfills in part the prophecy that John would baptize with water, but the Messiah would baptize – not with water (so Jesus did not baptize with water) – but with the Holy Spirit. The complete fulfillment only comes after Jesus "sends the Spirit" on the day of Pentecost.

I hope you find this helpful. Please do feel free to write me back about any of this.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

What righteousness did Jesus want to be fulfilled by being baptized by John?

Yours In Jesus whose coming we all await.

Response #2: 

Our Lord's water-baptism symbolized what He would do on the cross for all mankind: He went down into the water, analogous to the baptism of fire He would undergo in being judged for all of our sins (Lk.12:50), that is, His spiritual death on the cross (see the link); His rising out of the water symbolized His resurrection thereafter (cf. Rom.4:25). This is the only way that we become righteous, namely, through faith in Him who opened the door to receiving God's righteousness through faith.

In anticipation of all the wonderful things to come when our Lord returns!

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hi Dr. Bob,

Hope you are keeping well. I have another question for you this time. It's more like I need clarity on a subject we have recently discussed here. I'm sorry if I you have already answered these questions as I may have missed them. I understand and believe that the baptism that is needed today is not water baptism but Spirit baptism. However, I have a few questions for you. To start off, why was Jesus baptized? Why did he receive the baptism of repentance? Was it to declare the start of His ministry or was it for John to show to the people that "Here is your Messiah"? If so, why would John stop Jesus from being baptized? Also, more importantly, why did Jesus say that He is doing so to fulfill all righteousness? People usually take this up to say that we ought to do what Jesus did, as much as possible. So, if He who was sinless could take the baptism of repentance, we must too. What would you say of that?

I hope I have understood rightly what you have written about the apostles baptizing the people. It was because they were still stuck to the mentality of older customs, right?

Also, as I understand the concept of baptism of the Spirit, would I be right in saying that it means that once we believe in Jesus we are now sealed with the Spirit, like an anchor for our soul that will take us directly into the presence of God? Also, that through the Spirit, that which is hidden is revealed to us. However, what does the second part of Matthew 3:11 mean - Baptism with fire? Does it mean persecution or judgment?

Please correct me in the places I have gone wrong and please do help me out in these places of doubt.

As always, I sincerely appreciate how diligent you are in your response. May God continue bless you abundantly.

In Jesus Christ,

Response #3: 

Good to hear from you.

Jesus' water-baptism was absolutely unique and had nothing to do with repentance (as John himself clearly understands when he protests). The baptism does inaugurate His ministry by symbolizing its most important objective, namely, the cross: going down into water where the sinners have been previously represents His expiating of the sins they have symbolically washed off; rising from the water represents the resurrection (along with ascension and session) which our Lord would experience afterwards and which is available to us as a result through faith in Him. His water-baptism symbolizes His spiritual death (and the solving of the sin problem) and the eternal life (through resurrection) that all have through faith in Him, His perfect Person and perfect work.

The Baptism of Jesus by John

The symbolism of Jesus' water-baptism

The baptism of Jesus Christ

As to the "baptism of fire", this is the alternative for those who reject the Messiah, who refuse to place their faith in Jesus Christ. This will be fulfilled in part at the second advent when all who have taken the mark of the beast will be cleansed by fire from the Messiah's threshing floor (see the link), and in full when all unbelievers are case into the lake of fire at the last judgment (see the link).

For more on the baptism of the Spirit and what it entails, and on the sealing of the Spirit, please see the links in the newly posted BB 5: Pneumatology:

"The Baptism of the Holy Spirit"

"The Sealing of the Spirit"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Dr.,

Good evening. In reading your Peter Series particular the section on Faith and Blood, Jn.19:33-35, where you mention Jesus did not bleed to death, was the cause of his death a lacerated heart or he shed his own blood when speared? I have searched the internet prior to coming to you for clarification and getting various answers. The two most common one is due to broken heart (lacerated heart) and/or Jesus shedding his own blood. The Roman soldier did not effectively shed his blood. Can you direct me to a short exegesis on this from your end?

Thank you in Christ Jesus.

Regards

Response #4: 

Christ's spiritual death on the cross is what cleansed our sins, and He was physically alive when He suffered this spiritual death (see the link). Scripture is very clear about how our Lord died physically: He discharged His spirit of His own will (Jn.10:17-18):

Then Jesus shouted out again in a loud voice and sent forth His spirit.
Matthew 27:50

Then Jesus gave forth a great shout and exhaled.
Mark 15:37

And having shouted loudly, Jesus said, "Father, into your hands I commit My spirit". And having said this, He exhaled.
Luke 23:46

So when He had taken the wine-vinegar, Jesus said, "It (i.e., salvation) has [now] been accomplished!", and having thrown back His head, He gave up His spirit.
John 19:28-30

The only actual blood spilled on the cross (apart from the wounds He received prior to and during crucifixion) came from the piercing of our Lord's side by the Roman soldier's lance, and this happened after He had given up His spirit.

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
John 19:33-34 NIV

The term "blood of Christ" is thus not meant to be taken literally (any more than our Lord is an actual "lamb" though He is the Lamb of God), but is a metaphor which compares the suffering of spiritual death on our Lord's behalf in being judged and paying the price for all of our sins (while yet alive) to the death of an animal whose literal blood is shed on the altar. Please see the link: in BB 4A "The Blood of Christ".

These are very important doctrinal questions. Suffice it to say that not understanding the details on these critical points can lead to all manner of heresy (as, sadly, one finds commonly taught and practiced in very many churches around the world today). So please do have a look at these links and write me back if you have any questions.

Yours in the One who died for all of our sins that we might be made "the righteousness of God in Him", Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Thanks for the clarification and lucid response. I now understand better the term "blood of Christ". And you are correct, majority of believers think it is his literal blood. Some take it as meaning Christ offered His blood on the heavenly alter.

In Christ.

Response #5: 

You're very welcome,

Indeed, there are very many disturbing and non-biblical heresies afoot on this important subject today. Jesus' physical suffering on the cross was tremendous, but it was His spiritual death that brings salvation (and defies description in terms of suffering). Understanding what our Lord really did do for us – His undergoing of judgment for all of our sins – can only deepen our love for Him even as we begin to appreciate something of the depth of His love for us.

In our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Regarding Hebrews 4:9 you wrote:

The one thing that the use here of shabbat does do quite clearly is to contrast this new "rest" with the ritual of the Law in which a weekly day-observance of the Sabbath plays such a large role. By expanding the "rest" beyond one day repeated every week to the same sort of "Sabbath" that the Lord entered into after all was done, Paul makes it clear that now, after "all has been done" through Christ's sacrifice, we believers, including Jewish believers, need to make that next step too, giving up a ritual which exemplifies the spiritual rest that would be available in the Spirit after Christ had died for our sins in preference to that actual, blessed new "rest" itself which is a moment by moment rest in Christ.

Since you make the reference to our Lord and His work, should we understand the next verse as referring to Him:

Hebrews 4:10 (NASB)
For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

Response #6: 

It's referring to us; I think it is certainly fair to say that our Lord walked in the moment by moment rest Paul is talking about in Hebrews chapters 3-4 at all times (see the link: "The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism"). In this as in all things, He is our role model.

Question #7: 

Could you clarify Psalm 2:7 (NASB):

"I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

In particular, what is meant by "Today I have begotten You"?

If this refers to our Lord's physical birth, then why does Peter quote this verse in the context of resurrection rather than birth in Acts 13:32-33 (NASB):

32 And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.'

I also heard an interpretation according to which Psalm 2:7 refers to the resurrection and Romans 1:4 is given as a reference to support this teaching:

Romans 1:4 (NASB)
4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Please clarify.

Response #7: 

In verse 33, Peter explains how the Father fulfilled the all-encompassing promise of verse 32: "by having raised up Jesus". So the resurrection is the divine seal of approval which has brought the promise of salvation to pass (even though parts of that fulfillment have yet to be seen and await the second advent and the resurrection of the Church). That is what Paul says too in Romans 1:4: the resurrection is a means of "marking Jesus out" as genuinely being the Son of God. The resurrection is the proof. So what Peter means by quoting Psalm 2:7 is "the resurrection proves that Jesus whom you put to death is God's Son, that the decree of Psalm 2:7 is about Him, because Jesus was resurrected, the very mark of being the Messiah". That is why the argument in Acts does not stop there but goes on in the following verses to give the details of the prophesied resurrection of the Messiah.

Question #8:  

Regarding "in Him" in Colossians 2:15 you wrote:

The Greek has en autoi, which could be "in Him" or "in it", since the dative is not distinguishable between masculine or neuter. If we take it as masculine (as I certainly do), then "in Him", referring to Christ's victory on the cross, is correct.

If we take it as meaning "in Him" which refers to Christ, I take it that the "He" earlier in the verse must refer to the Father? Otherwise all third person pronouns refer to Christ.

What is the meaning of the two "He" earlier in the verse (NASB)?

15 When He (the Father or Christ?) had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He (the Father or Christ?) made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him (Christ).

Response #8: 

Going back to verse twelve, we see that it is the Father who is the One who has wrought all these things "with Christ" (v.13) and "in Him" (v.15). So I translate this as follows:

[God] has erased the charge against us along with its particulars (i.e., our sinful nature and personal sins) which opposed our [relationship with Him], and He removed it [as an obstacle] between us by nailing it to the cross. [For by means of the cross, God] has stripped [demon] rulers and authorities [of their power] and subjected them to public humiliation, having triumphed over them in [Christ].
Colossians 2:14-15

Question #9: 

On what basis can we draw the conclusion that Hebrews 6:4-6 refers to coming back to the rituals of the Law? It doesn't seem to be implied in the context?

Hebrews 6:4-6 (NASB)
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Response #9: 

To see what is going on here in chapter six, we need to keep in mind everything Paul has written in Hebrews hitherto. Hebrews, in terms of its chapters, can be thematically outlined as follows: C.1: Jesus superior to angels (contrary to Jewish teaching); C.2: Jesus became a human being to accomplish atonement for sin (so that the animal sacrifices are just symbols); C.3: Jesus superior to Moses (who gave the law of sacrifices); C.4: Jesus the Initiator of the true Sabbath (as opposed to the Sabbath of the Law); C.5: Jesus the true High Priest (so that His spiritual sacrifice is the true sacrifice); C.6a: These are all basic things "you in Jerusalem" ought to know; C.6 our passage: "you are behaving like the Exodus generation who started well but fell away; you can be restored, but not 'while you are crucifying the Son of God afresh' ".

Since the entire focus of Hebrews to this point has been to show the fulfillment of the Law in Jesus Christ and the folly of misapplying the old and rejecting the new, it would seem that this phrase you ask about must be interpreted in that same light. It may well be that even so the original recipients were scratching their heads about how it was they were "subjecting Him to public disgrace" but they must have realized at least that it certainly had to have something to do with their attitude towards and continuing participation in the Law – which has been under attack by Paul since the beginning of the epistle. Later on (in chapter ten), this is made even more explicit: "there is no more sacrifice for sin remaining" (besides that of Christ), so that animal sacrifice is no use . . . in fact it is part of the problem (v.26). By continuing to sacrifice animals – which represents the cross to come – these believers were saying in effect by their actions that they didn't believe that the cross had truly been effective in expiating sins. So "Jesus needs to be crucified again" is what participation in animal sacrifice after the cross says to unbelievers.

Question #10: 

Before, you mentioned communion, and want to ask how I can ... I don't know ... what I need to do? I am not currently the part of a church, since I am not in quite the living conditions I want to be in, and could be moving soon (or could not be, I don't really know for sure yet). When does communion generally take place? Do Christians do it, or is it only associated with the Catholic church? (That last question I'm sure I know the answer to, that we do as well, but would like to know for certain the details). John 6:22, or 30-59 specifically, talks about this I think? Was Jesus talking about communion here?

Response #10: 

On communion, most churches have many aspects of this wrong. Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me" – and that is what communion is, recalling our Lord Jesus and His death on our behalf whenever we eat and drink. We have so much to be grateful to Him for. Not only did He create us, but He also went into the darkness of Calvary on the cross to be judged for every single one of our sins. Dying for the least of our sins is greater than our greatest blessing in this world and more than compensation for all our troubles – and He died for them all. The cross is bigger than the universe and all human and angelic conception. It is the grace, the life, the power, the wonder, the love of God. Saying thank you and remembering our Lord and what He did for us whenever we have a meal is not too much too ask. Please see the links:

The Lord's Supper and Confession of Sin

"Communion and the Blood of Christ"

"The communion ceremony outside of the local church"

In the One who paid the price of prices that we might be forgiven and have life eternal, Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hi. The denomination that I belong to is one of the few that does not practise water baptism or communion but allows its members to be baptised or take communion in other churches if they so wish. I have long believed that we should 'live by faith' and that the above 'sacraments' are unnecessary. I also find a seldom used verse in Ephesians 2 v15 which appears to say that ordinances (AV) have been abolished. In some commentaries Jewish 'washings' are included in this. Having read your excellent 'Is water baptism necessary?' I wondered what your view was on Ephesians 2:15. It would seem to make sense to me that God would make salvation as simple to understand as possible, i.e. 'the simplicity of the gospel' without adding two contentious ordinances. Thanks.

Response #11: 

Very good to make your acquaintance, and thanks for your kind words.

Here is how I translate the operative phrase in Ephesians 2:15: "by discharging the Law of the commandments and its requirements". So yes, it is clear to me that this passage is a direct parallel to Paul's assuring us at Romans 10:4 that "Christ is the fulfillment (lit., "end") of the Law, resulting in righteousness for everyone who believes [in Him]".

In terms of the gospel, salvation comes from accepting the Gift of Christ by faith. There are no rituals or sacraments necessary; and in fact if a person adds anything (such as a "sinner's prayer" or an emotional display or circumcision or baptism or anything else) and assumes that this addition is what is saving him/her, then that is salvation of works, not of grace – whereas of course the truth is the other way around (Eph.2:8-9). Please see the link in BB 4B:  God's Plan to Save You

As to communion, while I will allow that this ceremony has been 1) over-ritualized by every denomination of which I am aware, and 2) misunderstood and misapplied nearly universally, it is true that Christ Himself told us to "do this as a way of remembering Me" (Lk.22:19); and Paul, who denigrates water-baptism, affirms communion (1Cor.11:18ff.). Even in Corinth the ceremony was misunderstood and abused, and that trend continues today (to greater and lesser degrees depending on the church and denomination). Communion does not "bestow grace" nor is it some sort of magic ritual; communion is a way of regularizing our remembrance of our Lord – His perfect Person, God and Man – and what He did for us: dying on the cross for all of our sins that we might have eternal life with Him. In my opinion, there are much worse things than making a habit of remembering Him, "whenever you eat and drink" (1Cor.11:25). Here are a few links on this:

Communion and the Spiritual Death of Christ

The Communion Ceremony outside of the Local Church

The Meaning of the Communion Ceremony: To Remember Christ

Communal Worship in Acts

Communion and the Blood of Christ

The Last Supper

The Leftover Baskets of Bread and Fish in John 6

The Lord's Supper and Confession of Sin

In Jesus Christ our Savior and our all,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Dear Robert,

Thank you for your speedy reply and taking the time to explain the verse. You may have worked out that I am either a Quaker or a Salvationist. As a Salvationist we remember Christ's sacrifice for us every mealtime as we say grace. Also when we come together for meals on various occasions in the church. These are of course meals, not bread and wine. If we are deemed by God to be disobedient, and this matter is not a salvation issue, perhaps we may 'lose rewards' as described in 1Cor.3:5? Hopefully not! Thanks again.

Response #12: 

Eternal reward comes from fulfilling the mandates of spiritual growth, progress and production (see the link); it doesn't have anything to do with polity or ritual. Also, I can't see any biblical problem with this practice as you describe it. It seems to me that doing as you do has the capability of fulfilling the mandate better than the ritual in most churches, depending on how you do it, what you mean by it, and what you are thinking in your heart when you do it – it's all about what is going on inside, after all. What goes on in the heart of the person remembering Christ is what is important in any case, not hewing to some prescribed formula (see the previous links).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Hi Robert. Thank you so much for your reply and clearing up these things in my own mind. You are doing an excellent work on your web site and I have many more of your articles to study. No doubt I shall be back in touch to 'pick your brains' if you don't mind. There are so many dodgy 'biblical web sites' available that we can be led astray and totally confused by it all.

I have read your impressive CV. Just for info, I am 60+ and live in Edinburgh Scotland. Thanks again. God Bless You.

Response #13: 

You're most welcome,

Feel free to write any time.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Well one thing Jesus say my god my god why thou forsakest me is God could not stand the sin on him god covered earth with clouds and darkness to hide Jesus from his sight and Jesus at that time felt a broken fellowship from the father he thought he'd forsaken him the fellowship has been lifted as a result of sin on the son Jesus Christ felt god was not there but he was there the whole time but hidden from his eyes so Jesus felt the broken fellowship alone.

Response #14: 

Dear Friend,

The meaning of Psalm 22:1 is covered at the following links:

Christ was Forsaken for us in Dying for us

Kenosis and the Cross

Psalm 22:1, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

In essence, this statement was made after Christ bore our sins, after salvation was accomplished, and after the victory had been won. This statement was for our benefit: why was He forsaken? He had to be judged by the Father in our place for us to be saved. That is the great "why?", as Christ knew very well – and it would be good if every Christian today had some small conception of the magnitude of what He did for us in paying the price for our every sin, rising in the flames of darkness, being burned and not consumed until He had taken away the sins of the world.

Yours in the dear Lord Jesus who suffered and died for all of our sins,

Bob Luginbill

Question #15: 

Solomon's genealogy in 1 Chronicles and Matthew 1 dont match. Do you have an explanation? Also, in Matthew 1 vs. 17 it states that there are 14 generations from the carrying away to Babylon to Christ yet when you count there are only 13. Why the discrepancy?

Thanks

Response #15: 

Dear Friend,

The only thing I find related to Solomon's genealogy in 1st Chronicles is that he is David's son by Bathsheba (1Chron.3:5). Matthew, rather than naming Bathsheba, says "David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife (i.e., Bathsheba)" (Matt.1:6). In my view, the reason for that is that Matthew was being led by the Spirit to make the point of God's grace, even in the line of the Messiah (who was perfect and without a sin nature because of the virgin conception).

As to Matthew 1:17, Greek and Hebrew count "inclusively", so that there are three days between Friday and Sunday (i.e., Friday, Saturday, Sunday). It is only in the modern world that we see this issue differently. The discrepancy is our problem, not the Bible's.  There are fourteen if Christ Himself if included in the count.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #16: 

Hi Bob,

And I quote:

Although they may not recognize it, Conservatives are much more enthused about the teaching of Paul than they are of Jesus' teaching. Just listen to them, or look at what they write. Most of the time, even when they mention Jesus' name, it isn't to promote his teaching about himself, but to promote Paul's teaching about Christ. Here is a perfect example of :how "Christian Conservatives" view their identity as "Christians" , not by what Jesus taught, but by what Paul taught. Unlike Jesus of Nazareth, however, who was a Liberal who built up the weak and the poor, while tearing down the mighty, Paul of Tarsus was a Conservative who did a great deal of putting down the weak: women, slaves, Jews, homosexuals and the poor, while empowering those in power, as I will spell out in Paul's own words below. Paul has proven himself the dream theologian of Conservatives, who for centuries has provided them any number of bible passages to help white, European, male, prosperous, heterosexual "Christians" keep the rest of mankind under their feet.

The sad part of this person's response? Based on my readings of the NT, it seems true. Jesus was extremely non-judgmental of everyone except the theological conservatives (the Pharisees) at the time. If you observe His teachings, He corrected the liberals exactly once (the Sadducees, regarding the resurrection of the dead), while His strongest comments were directed to the Pharisees. Here are a few pieces of evidence that, while not decisive, lend credibility to this person's claim.

Jesus on the subject of judgment:

'Do not judge, or you too will be judged.' (Matthew 7:1)

Paul on the subject of judgment:

'Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!' (I Corinthians 6:3)

Jesus on human appearances:

'Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.' (Luke 12:27)

Paul on human appearances:

'Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled?. Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?' (I Corinthians 11:14-16)

Jesus on being righteous:

'The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ''God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'' But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ''God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.' (Luke 18:11-14)

Paul on being righteous:

'Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.' (I Corinthians 6:9-11)

In short, Paul places a very strong emphasis on behavior, appearance, and social hierarchy, and treats every one of those things as if they were not simply the product of sinful people making up meaningless rules but actual divine commandment on par with not harming others. Jesus places a strong emphasis on one's internal devotion to God, and decries behavior, appearance, and social hierarchy.

Response #16: 

As to the proposition that Jesus and Paul say different things, I would have to vigorously disagree. Our Lord's words are all completely consonant with the Old Testament, and the writings of the apostles agree absolutely with everything Jesus said. There is an absolute seamlessness between the three. It is true that things are expressed differently in all three major divisions of the Word of God, but it is all the Word of God and the truths are the truths, being completely and indivisible consistent with each other.

When you say, "Paul places a very strong emphasis on behavior" etc., but that "Jesus places a strong emphasis on one's internal devotion to God" etc., knowing you, I know that I will not have to reel out example after example where our Lord discusses behavior or where Paul's comments are clearly reflective of his own deep devotion and his solicitation of a similar response from his readers. In other words, I don't find any "there there".

As to this person's comments, they are exactly the sort of thing one expects to hear from unbelievers, partly because they are trying to diminish scripture (and Christ's deity and/or Paul's authority) in order to get themselves off the hook from paying any serious attention to it, but also partly because they are unable to understand scripture, being unbelievers.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1st Corinthians 2:13 NKJV

We can discuss your examples if you wish (suffice it to say unless and until we do so that these are all apples vs. oranges comparisons as far as I can see), but the statement you quote which attributes to Paul "putting down the weak" and our Lord being a "liberal" who "built up the poor" makes my point entirely. In truth, neither the Lord nor His greatest apostle were concerned with worldly matters except as they are tied into spiritual ones. Our Lord preached the kingdom and entrance into it by faith – as did Paul; our Lord made it very clear that sin prevents that entry – absent faith – just as Paul did. Any comments against any behavior and/or class of people (e.g., the rich and powerful) have the purpose of making this issue clear (obviously). The person quoted has either not read the Bible or failed entirely to understand what it means in any case.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

To clarify, I don't actually believe him to be correct, but I found his words to give me pause and to hit me in an area of insecurity.

Response #17: 

Yes, the devil is very good at probing our defenses for weaknesses. No doubt this individual is "in his service".

Question #18:  

Hello Robert,

A question had arisen which has a most worrying edge, "Who are you" it proclaims. And it is found in John 8:41 and John 8:25. In the Gospel of John, we find a group of men-the Pharisees- debating, questioning and arguing with Jesus. But, then, astonishingly they accuse Him of being the issue of an illegal and immoral union. While the Pharisees were clearly frustrated in trying to get straight answers in their questioning of Jesus, this accusation of fornication, was clearly meant to convey their contempt of him. The Pharisees were men of religious learning, and I do not see such men, though in angry retort, deliberately making an issue of Jesus’ linage without good cause or knowledge. Accordingly, I studied more closely the story of the virgin birth, as related in the Gospel by Matthew. The facts clearly show that Mary, who, was contracted to marry Joseph, was found to be pregnant, by someone other than her espoused, while still unwed. Nobly, Joseph still married Mary, so that her child might be born in the sanctity of marriage. And by doing so, Joseph almost certainly saved Mary from being stoned to death for the sin of fornication. It is clear from the charge made by the Pharisees that, while they had knowledge of fornication by Jesus' mother, they clearly had no knowledge of any virgin birth or seeding by God of any Jewish woman- a claim that would have been regarded as most blasphemous by the Jewish community. Therefore, the charge leveled against Jesus was of itself perfectly justified in its context. Stung to the quick Jesus angrily retorts with a string of insults himself. Hardly appropriate behaviour I suggest for a superior being to exhibit. In the meanwhile it is interesting to note that Jesus did not deny or defend the charge of fornication made against his mother. According to the writings that the disciple John, would later put down, Jesus had already been recognised, and proclaimed as the Messiah, even as King of Israel, in the wake of his baptism by John the Baptist. The Pharisees however have never heard of any such fantastic claim. No astonishing news such as the arrival of Jesus as a Messiah or King, had ever reached their ears. No news had reached their ears either of a voice from heaven declaring "This my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" No witness had come forward-from the crowd on the bank-to the Jewish Priests and elders, to confirm any of the Baptists’ alleged cries of wonder and proclamation. Such stunning news would have been of the utmost importance to the religious Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. However the absence of such news is self- evident in the "Who are you question" put to Jesus by the Pharisees. The answer, or rather, the complicated and evasive rhetoric offered, by way of reply, by Jesus denied the Pharisees, yet again, of any straightforward answers to their questions. The Jews had long awaited a Messianic descendent of King David. One who would lift the yoke of Roman oppression from the neck of Israel. Furthermore, it is biblically stated that an angel appeared to some shepherds in a field, telling them of the joy that a new king of the Jews had been born and where to find this child-king and furthermore telling them to spread the joy-to spread the news. Yet 30 years later the Pharisees still had no knowledge or notion of who Jesus was or might be! The 'who are you' question is like a key to a box. Yet we are frightened to open the box because of what we might find. Thoughts please.

Response #18: 

Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, a true human being and undiminished deity in one eternal person forever since the point of the virgin birth.

I think the only people who are worried about this "issue" you relate are those who do not accept Jesus Christ for who He really is. They will of course have to stand judgment before Him, and all whose names are not found in the Lamb's book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.

It is written: " ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ " So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Romans 14:11-12 NIV

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:12-15 NIV

For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ, who He is, God and man, and what He has done, expiating all our sins in the fiery flames of darkness at the cross, we have absolutely nothing to worry about. All others had better ask this question is honesty and truth – not as Pontius Pilate, the archetypical unbeliever, did. Once the dim light of this life fades, eternity will begin, and there are only two possibilities thereafter based upon the real question: "What think ye of Christ?"

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Bob,

Thank you for your swift reply. Unfortunately you declined to give thought, it seems, to the issue raised by the Pharisees when questioning Jesus. Which is a shame for the question has important ramifications. You mention a book. The Lamb's book of Life. A book I have never heard of until now. Was such a book ever mentioned by Jesus? I know not of it. I am further astonished and appalled by the notion of people being cast into a Lake of Fire. Who on this earth ever came up with the notion of a Lake of Fire? There certainly has been mention of this fate, by others, of an Eternal Lake of Fire, which, of course, equals eternal pain. But what sadistic mind ever thought that concept up? Certainly not a gentle god, not a peaceful God? Would you not agree?

Regards

Response #19: 

Dear Friend,

You asked for my thoughts; I gave you my true thoughts.

The Lamb's book of life is found at Revelation 21:27 (see the link for discussion).

The Lake of Fire is found at Revelation 19:20; 20:10; 20:14-15 (see link for discussion).

You seem to put more stock in philosophical impressions of what "may and may not" be possible according to your limited human abilities to perceive the physical world – based upon what you find acceptable rather than in what the Bible clearly teaches.

Are you are believer in Jesus Christ? He is the perfect God-Man who came into this world to die for our sins that we might have eternal life through faith in Him (see the link: salvation).

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:12 NASB

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Thank you Bob, for your time and reply. The concept that Jesus came into this world to die for our sins so that we might have eternal life is quite fascinating-invoking as it does a multitude of questions. We must ask just how many billions of people is Jesus interested in-and he must have an interest-if he is prepared to want to die for the billions of people he has never met or even knows. The sins of the billions of people who have lived and who now live and who will live will be as the grains of sand in the vastest desert. Why is Jesus interested in the first place in the countless number of inferior beings crawling about on this earth? None of us are of his equal, his intellect, his wisdom or the equal any of his attributes. He is a godly immortal and we are but chattering apes. Why does he want us? Are we but pets? Are we but a curiosity? His father never really wanted us for he drowned 99% of humanity. So what is Jesus going to do with us? What is he going to do with the Billions upon Billions of us? We will certainly never make ideal dinner companions. Thoughts

Response #20: 

Yes it is profoundly amazing. I would go further. For God to throw in His lot with mankind by becoming a human being as well as God is an incredible sacrifice we cannot really begin to appreciate. More even than that, for the Son of God to die for one single human sin, the least sin of the least sinner who ever lived and every other sin of every other human being besides, is something that outshines the sun, something greater than the universe and all human and angelic experience past, present and future. The entire effort of all moral creation cannot be placed on the scale with smallest part of what Jesus did for us. And He died for every sin of every single human being, past, present and future. This is not only mind-boggling but should be even more appreciated than even the most serious and devout Christians realize. Suffice it to say that the cross is the only thing worth knowing, worth mentioning, worth speaking about or thinking about – for the entire plan of God and all of creation is founded upon it. This is the love of God – for all who are willing to accept it.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV

Praise to the One who died that we might live in light, life and glory forevermore, our dear Savior Jesus Christ!

Bob L.

Question #21: 

Dear Robert,

According to biblical writing the parents of John the Baptist were divinely favoured and blessed by God; in spite of their advanced years they were allowed to bring a son into the world. John their son would become the herald of Jesus. He would proclaim Jesus as the Messiah and in doing so prepare the way for Jesus-who would shake off the yoke of Roman oppression and regain the throne of Israel. Or rather that is the impression we have received, the acceptance if you will of the biblical writings concerning both John and Jesus. Yet despite promises made by an angel to Mary, the mother of Jesus , Jesus never sat upon the throne of David- he never became a king of Israel. Curiously, The births, lives and deaths of both John and Jesus mirror each other-like images found merging and moving across the surface of glass. Fantastic images or rather fantastic promises made no less than by an emissary of God-an angel in fact. The parents of both John and Jesus, especially Mary were beguiled by the smooth, electrifying promises of greatness made by an angel. And they willingly, faithfully and happily accepted those promises. Mary happily brought her son into the world. Happily watched him grow into a man waiting for the glorious day when he would become a king. But then suddenly shockingly, savagely she found her son taken from her to be crucified. A bloodied, dejected figure hanging upon a cross for all the world to see. How come, then, that the angel never bothered to mention this savage curtailing of her son’s life to Mary, when he first whispered how she had found favour in the eyes of God? Even the Baptist’s parents were never informed of the execution of their son as a man. Why, then, was the truth hidden from both Mary and the parents of John regarding the future of their sons? Thoughts please.

Response #21: 

Hello Friend,

I'm not sure where you get "prepare the way for Jesus-who would shake off the yoke of Roman oppression and regain the throne of Israel". I understand that this is the typical secular view of the events, but it's not biblical. This is the "cross before the crown" that the contemporaries of our Lord wanted, but it was not what the plan of God demanded: a first advent where the Suffering Servant would atone for the sins of the world before His return in glory to rule the world at the second (Is.53). Of course, the necessity for both things and the way in which they would develop was a mystery that was not understood (at least by most) until these events unfolded. Even John was taken aback by the fact that our Lord did not do as your quote suggests. But Mary Magdalene, for instance, "got it" (pouring myrrh on His head before the crucifixion), and later so did the disciples . . . after the resurrection. But our Lord's mother Mary volunteered, after all, and was not left entirely in the dark about what was to come:

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
Luke 2:34-35 NIV

John's parents were advanced in years and it is doubtful therefore if they were alive to see him killed (the same is true of our Lord's step-father, Joseph; see the link).

Nothing Mary is recorded to have said or have done suggests that she regretted being the human mother to the incarnate Lord. Far from it. And, remember, she lived to see Him risen from the dead in glory.

Finally, the real suffering was not the crucifixion per se. It was the three hours of judgment in the dark for the sins of the world which our Lord endured which is beyond human ken. What we do know is that without this ineffable sacrifice none of us could be saved. As it is, salvation is "near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart" (Rom.10:8) – one only has to put one's faith in Jesus Christ and embrace Him as Savior to be spared the hell, darkness, judgment and damnation that would otherwise have been our collective lot.

In anticipation of the great day of resurrection and reward, of light and glory in the New Jerusalem forever through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #22: 

Robert, thanks for your reply,

Yet, I must confess I find the the statement by Luke (2:34) to be completely ambiguous. It could refer to anything. Mary must have wondered what on earth this complete stranger was talking about when he directly said "And a sword will pierce your own soul too" Yet curiously she never asked. And what was so important about these words by Simeon, that they would become included in Luke's Gospel? Or even become known to Luke. He became a disciple thirty years after Mary had met a stranger called Simeon. Thirty years is a long time. Why would Mary need to remember Simeon? And if she did why on earth would she find it necessary to acquaint Luke of that fact-if indeed she did? Thoughts please

Response #22: 

Hi Friend,

Here is what I read in scripture:

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NIV

I have tested this principle in my own life and ministry and found it to be absolutely true many time and many times over. If we approach these things as believers anxious for the truth of the milk of the Word, we are often surprised by the wonders such truths bestow. A good teaching ministry will unlock some of these things just in the course of "doing business", but believers are only benefitted when they believe the truth of what is being taught. Secular skepticism and unbelief are of no particular value, at least not when it comes to the Word of Truth.

I don't find anything odd or inconsistent or disturbing or out of place (etc.) in any of these passages. In fact, I find them blessed in every way. What Simeon told Mary was perfect. Telling her all the details would have made things impossible to bear; telling her nothing might have been unfair. This is the perfect message, perfectly recorded by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of us "upon whom the end of the ages has come", a blessing . . . if we are willing to receive it.

In Jesus Christ through whom alone is life eternal.

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Hello sir Robert.

I would like to ask what are your thoughts about the Immaculate Conception of Mary? I am fully against it considering that the Bible states that only Jesus is sinless. But just would like to ask your insights about it with an addition of historical perspective. Also, what are your thoughts about the Catholic Doctrines like 'Infallibility of the Pope' and about sacraments? Thank you so much sir! God bless you!

Response #23: 

I agree. Mary was a wonderful believer – but she was a human being. The virgin birth is what allowed our Lord to come into the world without a sin nature (the sin nature being passed down through the male line), not any supposed sinlessness on Mary's part.

Here are some links on this topic:

The Incarnation and the Virgin Birth

Mary 'Full of Grace'?

Mary "Highly Favored"

More about Mary

Christology Questions IV

On Roman Catholicism generally and the other issues you mention, I do talk about these things at various places at Ichthys (please see the link for one place to start).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24: 

Hi Bob,

Behold! He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the peoples of the earth will grieve on account of Him. (Revelation 1:7)

What does 'even those who pierced him' mean?

Sincerely,

Response #24: 

This is a reference to the cross. At the second advent, the sign of the cross will appear in the heavens and will be seen worldwide. This will let the world know that Jesus is indeed the Christ, and this will be a particularly heavy blow to the Jewish unbelievers alive on earth, the "this generation" of hardness who rejected Him and called for His crucifixion, and who have dominated among the Jewish people ever since.

"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."
Zechariah 12:10 NKJV

Here are some links where these matters are discussed:

"This Generation"

"The Repentance of Israel"

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus for whose return we breathlessly wait,

Bob L.

Question #25: 

Hi Bob,

In Hebrews 10, Paul said that Jesus said the following:

Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;

This appears to be referencing Psalm 40:6.

However, the verse in Psalm 40:6 states that 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire – but my ears you have opened.' What should one make of this?

Sincerely,

Response #25: 

Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Spirit, is allowed to modify the Psalm 40:6 quotation to bring out the full meaning. "Piercing ears" was a ritual that marked out a slave as one who voluntarily undertook to remain a servant, so that this is the perfect way to represent the Messiah's willingness to come into the world in subservience to the Father's will in order to die for the sins of the world. But because the "body" is what the Messiah actually had to take on – becoming a true human being, taking on true humanity – and because it was "in His body" that the Lord had to bear the sins of the world, Paul expands the quote to make clear wherein this piercing will take place – not just the ear, and not just symbolically. In other words, the issue is put symbolically in the Hebrew, but Paul is writing after the incarnation, after the cross, and after the shadows which partially obscured the true nature of the Messiah and His sacrifice have been fully lifted – so that it was good and right for the Spirit to bring this out in greater contrast and detail.

Here is how I translate the verse in Psalms:

(6) You have taken no pleasure in sacrifices and offerings, [but instead] You have pierced My ears (i.e., "given Me a body and marked Me as a voluntary Servant"; cf. Ex.21:5-6; Deut.15:16-17). You have not asked for burnt offerings or sin offerings. (7) [But] then I said, behold, I have come [into the world (i.e., as the true sacrifice)]. In the scroll of the Book it has been written about Me. (8) It is My good pleasure to do what pleases You, My God. For your Law is in My inmost parts.
Psalm 40:6-8 (cf. Heb.10:5-10)

This, by the way, is not as jarring for Septuagint readers as may be imagined because that version had "prepared" instead of "pierced" (which is what is actually in the Hebrew), so that Paul has only changed the noun from the LXX (Greek OT) rendering – not just the ears are prepared, but also the entire body. Moreover, when the Hebrew is considered in tandem with the NT Greek, we now understand that the body is not just prepared for our Lord . . . it was also literally "pierced", and not just physically through crucifixion, but also through His spiritual death on the cross whereby all sin was atoned for (see the link).

In the Name of the One who died that we might have eternal life with Him, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #26: 

Hello Dr.,

Thank you for the answers and helpful links. As to the one you can't remember, I'm referring to Rev. 12:1-5 where from John's stand point Jesus has shown him a sign of a woman who is ready to give birth to a son who will rule with an iron scepter. So I was wondering who that son could be if not Jesus, but who can't be "born again".

In Jesus our Lord,

Zambia

Response #26: 

The child in Revelation 12:1-5 most definitely is Jesus Christ. John says here "Now a great sign appeared in heaven" (v.1) – signaling us quite clearly that this is symbolic (a "sign"). It's amazing to me how many people take virtually all of Revelation symbolically, while little of it really is, yet often have trouble taking the things which are symbolic as symbols. When we do have a symbol it is clear enough since John is always told, as in this case, when something is to be taken as a symbol and when it is not meant in an entirely literal way. The symbols here are easy enough to interpret (see the link); this allegory gives us the whole course of the angelic conflict played out in human history in a very tight symbolic way, with Jesus Christ being at the center of things – as of course He is – but with the woman Israel also coming in for prominence since her persecution during the Tribulation is important to stress, especially at this point in the narrative (the mid-point of the Tribulation where much of the trouble begins: the so-called "Great Tribulation).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27: 

Hi, Doc.

Satan's second temptation of Christ in quoting scripture. You stated those words indeed refer to The Lord: I am confused as to the context of the verses quoted. It was a psalm, yes? Since it was referring to Christ, what point of His life on earth was the psalm referring to?

He suffered, and the angels didn't stop it, so it was certainly The Lord's choice to go through it, but that leaves me wondering how the psalm relates to Christ. Was this an angelic protection during his upbringing before His ministry? Or is it in reference to redirection? This is one that's always confused me a tad.

I pray all is well with you.

Response #27: 

Thanks for your prayers! I'm keeping you and your family in mine day by day as well.

As to your question, yes indeed many of the Psalms are "Messianic" and have a prophetic application to our Lord's first (and sometimes second) advent. That is true of Psalm 91:11-12, quoted by Satan (Matt.4:6; Lk.4:10-11) but, as is inevitably the case with the devil's use of scripture, misinterpreted. This passage does not mean that our Lord would not have to endure trials and troubles in this world – just as that would also be an incorrect interpretation for these verses in their application to believers. Far less does it mean that Christ (or any believer) could do anything desired and still be protected from everything no matter what. That is clearly not the intent of the passage in Psalms, and Satan obviously understood this. He was trying to get the Lord to rationalize scripture instead of taking it from the Spirit in proper humility. This is something our Lord would/could never do. However, it is something believers often do. If we (wrongly) take this passage to mean that we can jump off high buildings and not be hurt, we will soon be splattered on the pavement. Likewise, if we lapse into carnality on the one hand or slack off in our learning and applying of the truth on the other, we can expect to be tripped up (literally as well as metaphorically). If, however, in humility and proper interpretation we are walking in the path the Lord wants us to take, He will be with us, using any and all necessary means, to ensure that we can indeed walk this "path of righteousness", for "His Name's sake", without faltering (Ps.121:3). And that will be true even when we have to "walk through the valley of the death-shadow". Whatever we have to face, He will be with us; His rod and staff will comfort and protect us; as the Psalm quoted says, He will send His angels to keep us from stumbling irrevocably – if we are walking as we should, truly following Him, genuinely seeking to grow and progress and serve our Lord, doing so in a sanctified way. This has always been true. It was true for the Archetype of the believer's walk, the life of our Lord, our role model in all things; and it is true for all those who have ever belonged to Him. We do have trouble in this life, but no trouble is insurmountable for God and for those who are serving Him the way our dear Lord desires us to do so. And even if we lose our lives in His service, we are only here after salvation for Him and His good pleasure, and ought to be happy to return to Him when and where and how He decides is best – so that even the end of the path of righteousness, wherever and whenever and however it comes, will not see us truly stumble, but rather rise up in victory to meet the One who died that we might live forever with Him.

Yours in Jesus Christ for whose return we eagerly wait.

Bob L.

Question #28:  

Good day Dr. Luginbill,

I hope you had a good weekend. Also, I hope I haven't bothered you with my back to back questions. Please do let me know if I do. From the get go you have been very helpful and cooperative in clearing so many of my doubts and I truly appreciate it.

Coming to my questions; firstly, with regard to the temptation of Jesus by Satan, the Bible says that He was taken by Satan to the holy city and to the high mountain. What I would like to know is if he was taken to these places in the Spirit; in His mind (battle in the mind) or was he physically transported or teleported to these places? Again, was this whole temptation a battle in His mind or did He physically go to the holy city and the mountain?

Secondly, did the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness exclusively to be tempted by the devil so that He is ready to start His ministry or did the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to wait upon The Lord and the devil took advantage of His vulnerable state and tempted Him. Yes, the Bible mentions that He was led by the Spirit to be tempted but the reason I am asking is so that I don't miss any true meaning in this verse by just casually reading it. Being led to be tempted sounds a little harsh doesn't it?

Please do share your thoughts on these.

Many thanks and blessings to you once again.

Yours in Christ,

Response #28: 

It's always good to hear from you. As to your questions, first, here is what I read in Matthew:

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
Matthew 4:5 NIV

This is a good rendering from the Greek (the language at Luke 4:9 is similar), and in my opinion does not allow for anything other than an actual, literal trip to Jerusalem; also, were Jesus not physically present, it is hard to imagine how the test would have been a true test. Clearly, these are very special circumstances (there is only one Messiah and only one first advent), and we should not imagine that Satan is allowed to do this with every "Tom, Dick and Harry".

As to the entire 40 days, it seems to me that being in the desert that long without sustenance day and night was itself a test, but also a preparation (as prayer and fasting is a means of building reliance on God). But you do have a point. Here is what Luke says:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Luke 4:1-2 NIV

I can vouch for this rendering, so I think we have to assume that the entire 40 days were a time of testing, and not only on account of the hostile environment and lack of food (even though only the last three tests/temptations are recorded for us in scripture). It's a good reminder of the amazing amount of suffering our Lord undertook on our behalf, even to get to the cross – where the smallest part of what He did for us in dying for our sins outweighs to an infinite degree the entire creation along with all human and angelic history and suffering.

In our dear Lord who ransomed us with His own blood, His spiritual death for all of our sins.

Bob L.

Question #29: 

Hello Brother Bob,

My question is: Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit after baptism, and was then led into he desert where he was tempted for 40 days. Was the temptation directed at Jesus full of the Spirit, or at the incarnate God man Jesus? It would seem if it was of Jesus full of the Spirit that it would have not been possible to tempt him.

Your thoughts

God's Blessings on your ministry

Response #29: 

Our Lord's physical, human body was indwelt by the Spirit from birth, and He was always 100% responsive to the Spirit's guidance (the true meaning of "filling"; see the link). Also, God cannot be tempted; as a result, whatever trials He went through He went through in His human body only. The "ground rules" of the first advent stipulated that He was not allowed to use His divinity to aid His humanity to the extent of essentially negating the living of a genuine human life – only thus could He come to the cross as a proper Substitute for our sins. That truth is encapsulated in traditional doctrinal formation as the doctrine of kenosis (see the link).

People have long wrestled with the question whether or not the "temptation was real" since Christ is God, but He was (and is) also truly a man, and during the first advent there was a wall of separation between His two natures for the purposes discussed. So while the traditional formulation of this difficult point is the Latin phrase, non posse pecare, posse non pecare ("not able to sin; able not to sin), the latter is closer to the truth in terms of His human experience, i.e., He was "able not to sin" and did not. Although of course He would not fail (the entire plan of God and all creation is founded upon His coming victory).

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus who gave everything for us (in ways we cannot really fathom).

Bob L.

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