Did the devil take Jesus physically or figuratively to the top of the mountain
Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:02 AM
Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:41 AM
The KJV states that "the devil taketh" Jesus to a "pinnacle of the temple" and also to a "high mountain" (Matt. 4:5-8; Luke 4:5-9). The JST says it was "the Spirit" who transported Jesus to these places (JST Matt. 4:5-8; Luke 4:5-9).
It was literal. No different for a Saint to be taken to another earth to view it and then return. By which power this is done? By the Spirit.
Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:48 AM
Jesus Communes with God in the Wilderness
References: (Matthew 4:1-2; JST Matthew 4:1-2; Mark 1:12-13; JST Mark 1:10-11; Luke 4:1)
After his baptism by John in Jordan at Bethabara, two things happened in the life of our Lord that always come to pass in the lives of those faithful people who find their own Bethabaras and are immersed in their own Jordans by the legal administrators of their day:
(1) the Spirit of God descended upon him with power though in his case that Spirit had ever guided his thoughts and words and acts, andAfter baptism of water comes the baptism of fire. After baptism—when converted souls commit themselves to the Lord's cause; when they covenant to forsake the world and serve the Lord—the devil tries even harder to lead them astray. Then it is that they are tested in all things to see if they will abide in the gospel covenant, even unto death, that they may be found worthy of a celestial inheritance.
(2) greater temptations confronted him than had ever been the case before.
Also, after his baptism Jesus did what every person who is born of the Spirit should do: he withdrew from the thronging masses of humanity to a place apart to commune with God. Matthew's account, as he originally wrote it, says: "Then"—that is, following his baptism—"Jesus was led up of the Spirit, into the wilderness, to be with God. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, and had communed with God, he was afterwards an hungered, and was left to be tempted of the devil." Mark tells us he "was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him." Nothing more of this forty-day period is recorded, but we cannot do other than conclude it was a time of rejoicing and spiritual refreshment beyond anything ever experienced by mortal man on earth.
Enoch "was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father, and of the Son of Man," and he beheld marvelous visions beyond anything that the mind of man can conceive. He saw all the spirits that God had created, the nations of mortal men, the coming of Christ and his crucifixion, the Second Coming of the Son of Man, the millennial era, and many other things that are not recorded. (Moses 6 and 7.) The brother of Jared talked for three hours at one time with the Lord and learned many of the wonders of eternity, which are so far beyond mortal comprehension that the Lord has not permitted them to be translated in our day. (Ether 2-4.) Moses saw worlds without number and their inhabitants, and confronted and withstood Satan face to face. (Moses 1.) Paul was caught up into the third heaven and saw wondrous things, "and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." (2 Cor. 12:1-4.) Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son and the vision of the degrees of glory. (JS-H 1; D&C 76; 137.) Great hosts of faithful people, in tune with the Infinite, have seen and heard the mysteries of the kingdom, things that are "only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory." (D&C 76:114-18.)
If all these things, and more, happened in the lives of the prophets, what should we expect to find in the life of the greatest Prophet? If there are eternal laws by obedience to which men see visions and commune with the Infinite, what glorious communion with heaven should we find in the life of the one who obeyed all the laws ever given to mortals? If the veil has been rent for lesser men, and they have seen inconceivable glories and heard unspeakable words, what should we suppose was seen and heard by the greatest Man? Surely the spiritual stature of the Man Jesus was such that for forty days the lions and wild beasts treated him as they did Daniel. Surely the visions of eternity were opened to his view as they were to Paul and Joseph Smith. Surely he saw all that was seen by Enoch and Moses and Moriancumer. Surely there was purpose and preparation, refinement and testing, growth and development, during this period when our Lord's body was made subject to his spirit. Fasting and prayer and pondering and visions and revelations prepare men for the ministry, and it was no different, except in degree, where the preparation of the Lord Jesus was concerned.
We now come to one of the two remaining great spiritual experiences that were part of the period of fasting and testing to which Jesus was subject. "Then Jesus was taken up into the holy city, and the Spirit setteth him on the pinnacle of the temple," we learn from the Joseph Smith Translation. The Spirit did it, not the devil; how unthinkable it is that Lucifer would have power to transport the Son of God, or anyone for that matter, to a place of his choosing! He has no such power! Jesus was placed on the appointed pinnacle by the Spirit!
Other prophets had been and would be transported bodily from place to place by the power of the Spirit. Ezekiel was lifted up and carried by the Spirit. (Ezek. 8:2-3.) Nephi "was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceeding high mountain," upon which he "never had before" set his "foot." (1 Ne. 11:1.) Mary herself "was carried away in the Spirit" at the time of the conception of Jesus. (1 Ne. 11:19-21.) Nephi the son of Helaman "was taken by the Spirit and conveyed away out of the midst" of those who sought to imprison him, and thus "he did go forth in the Spirit, from multitude to multitude, declaring the word of God." (Hel. 10:16-17.) After Philip baptized the eunuch, "the Spirit of the Lord caught [him] away," and he was carried to Azotus. (Acts 8:39-40.) It is not an unheard of thing for the Lord, by the power of the Spirit, to transport mortals from place to place; and it would appear that Jesus was to have all the experiences enjoyed in mortality by any of the prophets who went before or who came after, excepting only that he was not translated and taken into heaven without tasting death as some had been and would be.
Why the Spirit took him to the pinnacle of the temple is not stated. Perhaps it was to show him the throngs of worshippers and let him see anew the sacrifices being offered in similitude of his coming sacrifice. In any event, "Then the devil came unto him and said, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
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