The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews also refers to Jesus having been tempted “in every way that we are, except without sin.
TThe account of Matthew uses language from the Old Testament. The imagery would be familiar to Matthew’s contemporary readers. In the Septuagint Greek version of Zechariah 3 the name Iesous and term diabolos are identical to the Greek terms of Matthew 4. Matthew presents the three scriptural passages cited by Jesus (Deut 8:3, Deut 6:13, and Deut 6:16) not in their order in the Book of Deuteronomy, but in the sequence of the trials of Israel as they wandered in the desert, as recorded in the Book of Exodus. Luke’s account is similar, though his inversion of the second and third temptations “represents a more natural geographic movement, from the wilderness to the temple”. Luke’s closing statement that the devil “departed from him until an opportune time”he account of Matthew uses language from the Old Testament. The imagery would be familiar to Matthew’s contemporary readers. In the SeptuagintGreek version of Zechariah 3 the name Iesous and term diabolos are identical to the Greek terms of Matthew 4. Matthew presents the three scriptural passages cited by Jesus (Deut 8:3, Deut 6:13, and Deut 6:16) not in their order in the Book of Deuteronomy, but in the sequence of the trials of Israel as they wandered in the desert, as recorded in the Book of Exodus. Luke’s account is similar, though his inversion of the second and third temptations “represents a more natural geographic movement, from the wilderness to the temple”. Luke’s closing statement that the devil “departed from him until an opportune time”
Do we remember “Depart from me Satan…” Jesus’ disciple?!
“But when Jesus had turned about and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” Mark 8:33
A more opportune time?!
I believe there is a Satan precisely because I believe in Jesus. If Satan is our mythological holdover from a prescientific age, then the lifelong struggle of our Lord Jesus was mere shadowboxing. Take Satan and his forces out of the Gospels, and Jesus is left like a fool punching the air.
From the beginning of his ministry (Matthew 4:1–11) to the end (Luke 22:3), Jesus was in conflict with the powers of darkness. And it is the clear teaching of the apostles, Peter (1 Peter 5:8), James (James 4:7), John (1 John 2:13; 3:8; 5:18), and Paul (1 Thessalonians 3:5) that Satan is against the church and must be resisted by faith and the word of God. We do well to know his tactics.
For example, I have been struck recently at how well Satan knows the Bible and how he loves to quote Scripture in order to destroy faith. Remember how he tried to persuade Jesus to throw himself down from the temple roof? He argued from Scripture! “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’” (Matthew 4:6). Note well! Satan does not always try to ruin faith by saying, “The Bible isn’t true.” He often tries to destroy our faith by affirming some passage and using it to lead us into disobedience.
All Christians suck life from God’s holy word. We die without it. We will not let it be taken from us. We will go to jail rather than stop reading it. So what does Satan do? His one aim is to destroy our faith. The word of God alone keeps faith alive. But we cleave to it and Satan cannot tear it away. So he studies it. How else could he quote Psalm 91:11–12 to Jesus? He studies it. And he studies how to distort it and pervert it by plausible misinterpretations. Yes, they must be plausible. He is not so happy when his sub-demons put absurd misinterpretations into our head because they are far too easily corrected.
What makes Satan happy is when he can get Christians to believe that Proverbs 15:6justifies the accumulation of wealth in a world of hunger; that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 abolishes charity; that Romans 9:16 makes evangelism superfluous; that 1 Timothy 2:4 means God is not sovereign in conversion; that John 10:28means a “Christian” can do whatever he wants and still be saved; that Hebrews 6:4–6 means there is no security and assurance for God’s elect.
Is it a sobering thought that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17)? Yes! And indeed it is. What did Jesus say when Satan quoted Scripture? He said: “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matthew 4:7). He quoted Scripture against Satan’s use of Scripture. He knew the Bible better than Satan.
What is the upshot for us?
- Do not believe everyone who can quote you a text. History is strewn with cults who twisted the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
- Read widely in the Bible and ask yourself continually how this part fits with that part and that with this. It is when the pieces start to fit together that we are most secure from distortion.
- Read theological books that the decades and centuries have proved to be deep, solid, and lasting.
- Fast and pray that God will open our eyes to see true and wonderful things in his word (Psalm 119:18).
- Obey what you do understand and you will understand more.
Ok, ok…I have to break this down, because we flung ourselves into this share.
Let me start (though we have shared above.) Where exactly in The Word are Jesus’ rebuke of tempation from? We have to know The Word, and know it well. Remember…
“And it is no wonder; for even Satan himself is able to take the form of an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 11:14
So, what do we do? Can an angel misquote The Word of God? This is why we have to know it cold.
At the very beginning of the book of Psalms, it says:
How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
Y’all, all was written for a reason!