245 – THE TEMPTATION
We believe in the Trinity, that is, in the absolute power of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit over all and over all who believe, for it is written, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). There are the sons of the devil, and these are not under the power of the Trinity. We read this in 1 John 3:8. Jesus called the Pharisees, religious and zealous of the law of Jehovah, as sons of the devil (John 8:44). Paul persecuted in the name of Jehovah, and he was not a child of God (Acts 22:14-16). What makes up the true Christian is not his faithfulness to a religious creed, but his works (Titus 1:15-16). Jude was an apostle and was a child of the devil (John 6:70; Luke 22:1-5). Jesus said: “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the rotten tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:16-17). If Jesus tells us to love our enemies, and bless those who curse us; and tells us to do good to those who hate us (Matt. 5:44-45), it is obvious that the one who persecutes, affronts, or defames is a child of the devil.
Let us talk about the Trinity.
- The Gospel is a work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-6; Eph. 4:4-6).
- The Gospel is a mystery revealed only in the New Testament (Eph. 6:19).
- The mystery of the Kingdom of God appeared only in the New Testament (Eph. 6:16; Matt. 12:28).
We get a hold of the Kingdom of God through the Gospel (Matt. 13:9-11).
As there was no Trinity in the Old Testament, since the government was in the hands of Jehovah and all the armies of heaven, as we read in 1 Kings 22:19-23 and Ps. 103:19-22, there was neither a kingdom of God, neither the Gospel. Let us proceed with the analyses:
The Father is the fountain of the truth, and the Spirit is the revealer of the truth (John 14:6; 14:16-17; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:7-10).
- The Father only sends; the Son is sent and also sends. The Holy Spirit is only sent (John 16:7; 20:21-22).
- The Father sanctifies by forgiving; the Son sanctifies through the shed blood; and the Holy Spirit sanctifies through acting in man (Matt. 6:14-15; Heb. 10:14, 29; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 1:4).
- The Father saves through the Son (John 3:16-17). The Son saves as he gives his own life (John 10:17-18; 15:13). The Holy Spirit saves as he regenerates (1 Cor. 6:10-11; Titus 3:5-7; John 3:3-6).
- Love comes from the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost (John 3:16; Rom. 5:5)
- Grace comes through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 8:9; Heb. 12:2). Fellowship comes through the Holy Spirit(2 Cor. 13:13).
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, though with an only purpose and objective. The three of them think and act in the same way. The three of them deliberate always in the same way. They are three operations exactly alike, from three distinct persons. There are no disagreements in anything. When Jesus said: “I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE” (John 10:30), Jesus is saying that they are one in nature, intention, and in works. If Jesus did something other than what the Father would do, he would not say, “I and the Father are One.” Now, the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and from the Son, and this is what they are: the three of them are one. John, the apostle, said:“For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement” (John 5:8).
James declares concerning God, the Father, “No one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt any one” (James 1:13). Now, if the Father does not tempt, the Son does not tempt, and the Holy Sprit cannot tempt, for it comes from the Father and the Son. If the Son would tempt anyone, he would cease from being one with the Father, and would destroy the unity of the Trinity. Jehovah fell into the temptation of Satan and delivered him Job, doubting his faithfulness. The very Jehovah confesses this (Job 2:3). Satan invested against Jesus, just as he had done to Jehovah, but Jesus did not deliver the apostles to him (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus does not tempt anyone and does not cooperate with Satan, as Jehovah has done.
It is obvious that the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son also cannot tempt anyone, for he would proceed from the devil, or Satan, then. But in Matthew 4:1, we read that Jesus was led by the Spirit to the desert to be tempted by the devil. How is this?
The text of Matthew 4:1 is kind of vague, but Luke speaks clearer: “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the spirit in the wilderness for forty days, while tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2). Luke refers to two spirits. The Holy Spirit of the Father is the one that strengthens the Christian against temptation. And why do we believe that Jehovah leads men to the place of temptation? Because Jehovah is the god who tempts. He tempted Abraham (Gen. 22:1-2).He tempted his people Israel in the desert for 40 years (Deut. 8:2). He tempted King Hezekiah, a faithful servant (2 Chr. 32:31). Well, if Jehovah tempts, the spirit who comes from him does, also.
The Holy Spirit does not tempt, and cannot tempt, by the following reasons:
- Temptation comes from the carnal weakness, and the Holy Spirit helps in the weaknesses (Rom. 8:26; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Gal. 4:14).
- The passion of sins resides in the flesh (Rom. 7:5). And from the flesh spring the temptations (1 Cor. 10:13). The Holy Spirit fights against the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17). When he lives in us, he mortifies the flesh (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 4:14), therefore he could not tempt, for he is the strength contrary to the flesh.
- Temptation causes sadness in the heart of the Christian (1 Pet. 4:12-13), but the Holy Spirit is only joy (Acts 13:52; Rom. 14:17). The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the anointing of joy (Heb. 1:9).
Jehovah anointed Saul. David declared it (1 Sam. 24:6; 26:9); therefore Saul was a picture of the Messiah that was to come. Jehovah placed an evil spirit in Saul to destroy him. Why did Jehovah do it? He did it because Saul forgave Agag, king of the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:1-9). Is it a mortal sin not to kill someone? Jesus taught another thing (Matt. 5:43-48). Now, Jesus forgave everyone, good and bad, unrighteous, adulterous and adulteresses, thieves and honest people. Jesus did not obey the orders of Jehovah, given in the Old Testament. If the things of the Old Testament are pictures (1 Cor. 10:6,11),then Saul is a picture of Jesus Christ, and the evil spirit that came upon Saul is the same that led Jesus to the desert to be tempted by the devil with the purpose of casting him down. But Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, triumphed; and we will all triumph if we are filled with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 4:1; Eph. 5:18).
By PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA