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The temptations of Jesus in the desert: power

The Temptations of Jesus

By on 24 May 2020

The Temptations of Jesus

The temptations of Jesus

The temptations of Jesus in the desert meant a confrontation with power, personified in the figure of the devil.

Initial situation: 3rd phase of the Hero's Path (desert)

Jesus' life corresponds to the hero's path. Thus, like all people who choose the path of love, he too was put to the test by the Holy Spirit.
Up to this point, he had already completed the first two steps of the hero 's path: becoming aware of the path of love as God's Son and baptism as a sign (initiation). Consequently, the next step now awaited him, the test in lack and privation (desert). About this in the Bible:

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil; and when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, at last he hungered. [1]

Christ and the devil as opponents

The animus, drive in matter

The spirit that tempts Jesus is called the "DEVIL".
He is the correct counterpart of Christ, because both Christ / Messiah, the Anointed One, and the Devil or Anti-Christ represent as archetypes the drive in matter(animus). But while Christ as the anointed one stands for the positive drive to devotion out of love, the devil symbolises the negative drive out of deficit feeling or pain.

[S. Christ / Messiah, the Anointed One and the Anti-Christ.]

The Devil as Anti-Christ and Drive from Deficit

The devil represents the negative drive in matter, which separates man from love and trust out of lack and deficit and drives him into the realm of power. In this context, only the suggestion of a lack leads to awakening the desire for power, because whoever feels in deficit wants to be able to take and receive confirmation.

[S. The Negative Animus as Devil or Pain Body and The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from Paradise].

Proof of God as spiritual temptation: Unbelief

Desert: lack and abstinence to strengthen the spirit

The desert stands for lack and deprivation. But in connection with the weakening of the body, the spirit becomes stronger. Thus, 40 days of fasting preceded Jesus' temptations. After that he was hungry. Temptations always start with a lack, be it real or suggested.

Test of faith: spiritual temptations

The temptations of Jesus concern the level of the spirit. Here faith is now put to the test. The physical level, 40 days of fasting, are mentioned in one sentence:

When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was finally hungry. [1]

But the spiritual temptations are treated in more detail. They are also described very briefly, but their images or symbols lead into the depths of existence.

"If you are the Son of God...": Temptation of God

The devil tried to incite Jesus to question the authority he had as the Son of God and to abuse it in his own interest and for purposes of power.
In order to manipulate him, he therefore questioned his calling: "Is it really true??? If it is, then you can ... " and doubled up: "Prove it (to yourself and everyone who sees it)!". And as the ultimate climax, he challenged Jesus to demand confirmation from God: "God must abide by it, for he too is bound by the Scriptures he has given."

Unbelief: Lack of love

To demand a sign from God out of unbelief is a "temptation of God". It is doomed to failure because the lack of trust (the "unbelief") is the sign of the lack of love which is the cause of all evil in the world.

The three temptations of Jesus in detail

The first temptation (body): Power over Matter

Hunger: stones to bread

When Jesus had fasted for 40 days, the first temptation came to him: that he might make bread out of stones. Jesus was challenged to use his authority to work a material miracle. Literally:

And the tempter came unto him [Jesus], and said, If thou be the Son of God, say that these stones become bread. And he answered and said, It is written, Not by bread alone shall man live, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Mt 4:4)

"Man does not live by bread alone ...": the soul and relationships

With his answer, Jesus referred to the soul-spiritual level as equally important for life.
Relationships belong to the soul level, also the relationship with God. - Perhaps one can even go so far as to say: "God is relationship").

Relationship involves communication, the Word. "The word becomes flesh" when man takes up the teachings of wisdom and puts them into action. Thus, Jesus himself emphasised again and again that he always acted according to its will (and word).

"The son only does what he sees the father do .... "More quotes on this:

I and the Father are one. (John 10:3)
The Son can do nothing ofHimself except what He sees the Father doing, for whatever He does, the Son also does. (Jn 5:19)
Believe me that I am in the Father , and the Father is in me: but if not, believe for the works themselves. (Jn 4:11)

Stones to bread - exploitation of people

In the ancient traditions, people are repeatedly referred to figuratively as "stones", for example as living stones from which the temple of God is built. And Jesus referred to himself as the "cornerstone".[3]. What if these "stones" are eaten? How is this to be understood? - Those who have physical-material power can exploit people, which is certainly a temptation for the powerful.

"The stone cries for help from the wall ...". More:

This statement is also handed down from Jesus: "If my disciples are not allowed to rejoice in the grace of God, then the stones will cry out! (Lk 19:30). This means in other words: "If the love of God does not reign, the people will cry out". Already the prophet Habakkuk accused the ruler Nebuchadnezzar of blood guilt, rape of the land, the city and all its inhabitants, saying, "The stone cries out for help from the wall!" (Hab 2:11)

Broken Stones in Babylon - Rape

The Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh also tells us that Gilgamesh could not sail across the waters of death because he had "broken the stone ones". The "smashing of the stony ones" (as well as the felling of cedars) in the Gilgamesh epic is a veiling expression for the rape of virgins by the ruler.

The second temptation (soul): Power over spiritual forces

In the second temptation, Jesus was asked to demonstrate his calling as the Son of God by throwing himself from the pinnacle of the temple. This was also supported by a passage from the Jewish tradition on the Messiah:

Then the devil takes him into the holy city and sets him on the pinnacle of the temple and says to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down! For it is written, He shall command his angels concerning thee, and they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest by any means thou dash thy foot against a stone." Jesus said unto him, Again, it is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

The Word of God as a Sword

For his part, Jesus countered with a word from the sacred texts, calling the issue by its name: "Do not tempt God! Whoever demands a sign from God as proof is not acting in faith and unity with God.

He who truly loves has faith and therefore needs no proof.

The third temptation (spirit): World domination through worship of power

The theme of the third temptation is about world domination at the price of one's own soul, through worship of power. Power here stands in contrast to responsibility, which includes love.

Again the devil takes him up into a very high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof, and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan. For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

The text says that the "devil" gives power to the one who worships him.
Two aspects are particularly noteworthy in this passage. It states:

1. power rules the world.

Obviously the kingdoms of the world belong to the devil, otherwise he could not give someone power over them. In other places in the Bible, too, the devil is called the "prince of this world"[4]. This is also expressed in the saying: "Power rules the world".

Power 2: Worship of the Devil

Whoever "worships" power worships the devil, because whoever exercises power for selfish motives and to the detriment of others, acts "in his spirit". In this, power is the opposite oflove. Power is the principle of fear and ego, the identity of separation. Love is the principle of unity and wholeness, the principle of God. (Power coupled with love is called responsibility according to this understanding).

Those who worship God as a loving Father will do words and deeds of love. Thus our behaviour bears witness to who or what we worship, a thought expressed in the Bible thus: "By their fruits you will know them"....[5].

The Holy Spirit - Light of Consciousness

49 Temptations to the fullness of the Spirit (50!)

Overcoming in 49 factors to full power (50)

40 and 9 "days

After Jesus had first fasted for 40 days and thus overcome the temptations on the level of the body, he was still tested 3 x 3 = 9 "days" on the level of the spirit, again in the three areas of body, soul and spirit. Having overcome in these temptations also, he entered into all the fullness of God. So says the Bible:

Then the devil leaves him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

With this, Jesus had gained authority over matter and entered the next phase of the hero's journey: powerful service to others.

Deficiency and abstinence in 40 factors 

The 40 "days" symbolise overcoming in all areas of material existence (represented by the 4 elements). The factor 10 stands for the double negative dynamic, white and black magic, power through seduction and violence. 

Only those who have practised physical abstinence and have thus metaphorically overcome the "40 days" for 40 negative factors are also ready to face spiritual temptations. This is how Paul admonishes the believers:

Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing, let him see that he does not fall. So far you have only been tempted by man. But God is faithful, who will not let you be tempted above your strength, but will make an end of the temptation so that you may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:12 and 13)

3 x 3: the temptations in the spirit 

Love or power?

After the 40 days Jesus was tempted in the realm of the spirit. Here the question is always: love or power? These two opposing forces are represented by God and the devil.  

The temptation of power in 3 areas of life and the 3 aspects of wholeness

To overcome in these temptations, Jesus had to stand for love in each of the three realms of body, soul and spirit , in all aspects of the masculine side of God, the loving consciousness (seeMasculine Wholeness 3-in-1, Father - Son - Spirit).

    The three areas of life: body, soul and spirit:

    1. BODY: Hunger! Jesus had the power to turn stones into bread, but he was determined to act only according to the Father's word. 
    2. SOUL: Proof of sonship with God. Jesus did not need proof of his faith. To demand it would have been a sign of unbelief.
    3. SPIRIT: Jesus renounced world dominion, which was connected with the worship of the spirit of power, and remained faithful to the Father.

      The three aspects Son of God, Father, Great Father (red, white black)

      The symbols that appear in the temptations of Jesus also point to the three phases of man's life (see The Three Colours Red-White-Black):

      1. SOHN - Youth: Stones to Bread - Consumption or Relationship (Word of God)?
      2. FATHER - Adulthood, fatherhood: being carried (by angels) or carrying it yourself, i.e. taking responsibility?
      3. GREAT FATHER - mature age: power or love?

      This overview provides that:

      After that: all the fullness of God, the 50 and Pentecost.

      50 days from Easter to Pentecost

      By passing the test in all these temptations, Jesus took up residence in God's fullness. This fullness is open to every believing person. Every year Pentecost is celebrated, which signifies the fullness of the Holy Spirit after overcoming temptations in 49 factors.

      40 days from Easter to Ascension: 40 physical temptations

      Jesus walked the earth for 40 days after his resurrection. This can be seen as a sign that man is not left alone on earth in his temptations.

      Another 9 days from Ascension Day to Whitsun

      He then "ascended" into heaven, the realm of the spirit. It took another 9 days until Pentecost. On the 50th day, the Holy Spirit descended on the believers and filled them with power, joy and authority for ministry.

      Finally, this intercession of Paul(Eph 3:14-21):

      "The Father give you knowledge of all the fullness of God".

      Therefore I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every fatherhood in the heavens and on earth is named:

      May He grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
      that the Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith and that you may be rooted and grounded in love,
      so that you may be able to fully grasp
      with all the saints [the full dimension of faith] what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
      and to know the love of the Christ that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.

      But to Him who is able to do above all things, above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory [...] for ever and ever! Amen.

      Back to:

      Overcome in temptations

      Further texts:

      The Heroic Way
      Christ / Messiah, the Anointed One

      The drive
      The Ego
      The Animus
      The negative animus as devil or body of pain
      Animus and Anima in their collective aspect
      The Whore and the Animal
      The Ego and the Self
      The Drive
      The human being 3-in-1, body/soul/spirit

      Mentioned lore:

      The Gilgamesh Epic - The Shattering of the Stones


      [1] Gospel according to Matthew, New Testament of the Bible, Chapter 4, 1-11 (Elberfelder Übersetzung)

      [2] Revelation of John, New Testament of the Bible, chap. 13

      [3] Gospel according to Mark, New Testament of the Bible, chapter 12:10 with reference to Psalm 118:22

      [4] Bible, New Testament, Gospel according to John, Chapter 12:31-36 (Elberfelder Übersetzung)

      [5] Gospel according to Matthew, New Testament of the Bible, chapter 7,16

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