Jesus Enters Spirtual Warfare
In our previous posting we looked at the sequence of events that led to the ministry of Jesus. The first event was His baptism in the Jordan River, where He was empowerment by the Holy Spirit and God’s voice was heard proclaiming Him to be His Son. Next, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He was tested for 40 days and nights while abstaining from food and water. We identified how His fasting weakened His flesh but at the same time brought Him closer to God. From this we concluded that perhaps we all could rely less upon ourselves and more on God in the circumstances we find ourselves in.
A major point in all of this is that the devil will attempt to deceive us into deneing our identity and purpose in this life, just like he did with Jesus in the examples that will follow in this posting. So let’s pick up where we left off to see how the devil attempted to trick Jesus in this way.
Jesus has been tested while fasting for 40 days and nights, is hungry and exhaustd and yet, more testing comes:
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. Luke 4:3
The devil’s statement is an insult and a direct challenge to Jesus’ idenity as the Son of God (as recentyly declarded by God at His baptish). The devil’s strategy was to place Jesus in a no win situation. Logically, the Son of God would not be suffering of hunger and thirst in the wilderness when He had the power to eliminate His suffering. The devils trap however, stems from the fact that he knew that God could not intervien. Since man lost his dominion to the devil in the garden, only a man could win it back. Jesus had to come as a man, not God. Let me explain:
On one hand, if Jesus doesn’t turn the stone into bread as the devil suggests (doing what the devil suggests is always a bad idea) then how can Jesus be the son of God as He claims? On the other hand if He turns the stone into bread then He has come to the earth as God and not as a man. This would then disqualify Him from His mission. All of this requires even more explanation, which is provided below.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God and was given dominion over the earth and the things in it. Despite this, man was defeated by Satan in the garden of Eden and as a result Satan took dominion over the earth, including man. To restore man to his intended place of dominion in the garden, another man would have to be victorious over Satan.
To set a necessary foundation we present the following passages:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:26-30)
This next passage tells the rest of the story:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’“ Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”; therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 2:7- 3:24)
Man was made in the image and likeness of God and all the creatures of the earth were subject to him, including the devil (who took the form of a serpent). However, when the devil decieved Eve into eating the fruit of Tree of Good and Evil against the commandment of God, all dominion ceased for man and he was cast out of the garden. In these actions the devil gained a spiritual warfare victory over man and took dominion over the earth and everything in it. It was as they say, to the victor goes the spoils.
So, getting back to the testing of Jesus in the wilderness, we now understand that man was defeated by the trickery of the devil in the garden. Since man lost His access to the garden and His dominion over the earth, it would take another man to restore what had been lost. Therefore, Jesus came to earth taking the form of a man and giving up His deity. Therefore, to command the stone to become bread would have required an act of God. If it was performed by Jesus then He would have been disqualified from his mission (to save the world from the dominion of the devil). But if He is the Son of God, how is it that He is alone and starving in the wilderness? Seemingly in a trap, Jesus replys with a spiritual response in defeating this temptation:
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:4)
The key word in Jesus’ response is, “Man.” Man shall not live by bread alone. In this statement Jesus states that He is man. And Jesus the man, being empowered by the Holy Spirit was victorious in this battle of spiritual warfare, simply by using the Word of God as His weapon.
Jesus was tempted by the devil in a seemingly innocent way, but one that had grave consequences. In the balance were His identity (as the Son of God) and His mission (to free us all from the bondage of the devil). Jesus was able to resist this temptation because He knew the Father proclaimed Him to be His son and that the Holy Spirit had led Him into the wilderness for testing. This testing was necessary to determine if He was ready to move forward in His ministry to save us all from death.
If this type of testing can happen to Jesus then it can happen to us also. Therefore, it is critical that we know who we are in the Lord and what our mission is. It is critical to know scripture and what the enemies’ strategy is as well. This information can be found by moving into the Truth, the passageway into the Holy Place of God. It is a place of prayer where God enlightens us with this information and prepares us for spiritual warfare. It requires a deper relationship with God to develop than most ever achieve. If you care to learn more please follow the following link and brouse through all of the subcomponents under it: