The Devil’s Dues

Christ's hiking trip with satan

by Joel Ramshaw

Matthew 4:1-2, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.”


The Test of our Faith

It is easy to do the right thing when times are good, and when there are plenty of friends around. The test of our faith is not our performance in these good times, but in the bad. It is easy to resist the temptation to steal or defraud others when you already live in an extremely prosperous nation. What happens when times of lack and scarcity arise? It is easy to treat people nicely when well-fed, but try fasting a few days and watch what happens to your mood. All of a sudden we see the beastlike flesh showing its true and previously-unacknowledged power over us. Spirit should rule over flesh; fasting will expose whether this is really the case. Being able to maintain Christlike character in a time like this is what truly counts. This is why the Spirit led Christ into the wilderness to be tested of the devil.

A Goat for Satan

Another reason Christ had to go to the wilderness to have his encounter with satan can be learned from what the Bible and book of Enoch have to say about is that desert places and treeless wilderness areas as strongholds of demonic activity. In Leviticus, the Hebrews had a ritual where they would lay hands on a goat, transferring their sins to it, then offer the tainted goat to Azazel by sending it into the desert. This ritual was not to honor or gain favours from Azazel but rather to give the people a visible sign of the need to seperate sin from their camp and send it back to its origin. The book of Enoch describes Azazel as being the most wicked fallen angel, causing maximum harm by teaching humans warfare and weaponry, sexual seduction, metallurgy and alchemy. Being so totally wicked and depraved, he had to be judged seperately from all the other rebellious Watchers. The archangel Raphael was given an assignment to bind him permanently, to prevent his further corrupting the human race. The archangel was successful in opening a portal in the desert and sealing Azazel in a prison of darkness. This is the reason the scapegoat offering was sent to the desert to be received by Azazel. Moving on to the New Testament, Christ himself is symbolized by the scapegoat. By his death on the cross, Christ took our sins upon himself to redeem us. As the fulfillment of the scapegoat ritual, Christ had to go to satan in the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:10 (ESV), “but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel”


Enoch 10:4-6, “And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire.”

(((notice the “rough and jagged rocks.” AZAZ-EL is a name with very jagged characters with criss-crossing A’s and Z’s.)))


Enoch 8:1, "And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals [of the earth] and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. 2. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways."


Enoch 10:8, “The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin


Matthew 12:43, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.”


The First Test:
Bread Loaves or Priestly Stones

Christ had no access to food or friends in this dry and desolate area. When do negative thoughts recirculate in a person’s mind? Usually when you are by yourself. Hungry and alone, Christ could now be proven whether his character was truly worthy of his destiny.

Matthew 4:3-4, “And when the tempter came to him, he said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” But he answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.””


Christ being tempted with loaves is a direct parallel to the test Esau was given. Esau would have been the main patriarch of God’s people, with the lion's share of family inheritance. Failing the test of appitite however, caused that destiny to be transferred to his younger twin Jacob:

Genesis 25:29-34,
“And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”


Now when the devil tempted Christ to “command these stones” to become bread, the true stones he was after were the 12 gemstones in the breastplate of the high priest. Christ was given his destiny, to be high priest for the entire earth, if he could suceed in passing all his trials. The catch is, Christ could not use any godlike attributes while on earth or this would be cheating and he would be disqualified. People would say “it was easy to Christ to stay out of sin since he could just do a miracle anytime he ran into a problem.” Christ instead, had to get all his power from the Holy Spirit and by praying to God the Father. He only did what any other human can do if we were to fully yield to God. This power is for ministry and helping others though so it would not be released for personal breadmaking purposes. If Christ were to turn natural stones to bread, he would also be giving up the spiritual gemstones if his priestly anointing, forfeiting his destiny.

Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”


Another major feature of this first temptation is the importance of fasting to receive our spiritual birthright. Instead of natural lands and wealth as Jacob received from Esau, we are looking to receive spiritual inheritance: gifts, callings, and anointings from God. In the wealthy 1st world we often lack as much opportunity to truly suffer for Christ as people in other parts of the world. Fasting is one of the ways we can learn to put the spirit over the flesh and discipline over discomfort. If you have never fasted, try doing one-day fasts once a week or so (or most of one day until evening). There are some areas we can only progress in spiritually by learning the discipline of fasting and no other way will make up for it. Everyone reads the story of Jacob and Esau and thinks “what a fool,” but the question is, do you ever fast? That is what the story really symbolizes. Perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror before judging biblical characters for their mistakes.

Second Test:
The Spirit of Suicide

Matthew 4:5-7, “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, 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.” Jesus said unto him, "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."


Notice how Jesus is rather passively following the devil in this verse. Why would he do this?? Obviously Christ knew satan had only trickery and deception, rather than his well-being in mind. The only thing we can say is, Jesus knew he was going to have to face temptation sooner or later, not run away from it. For this reason, he allows the devil a fair chance to take his best shot to try to trick him. Sometimes in our own lives, when overcoming a sin stronghold, we have to “flee” rather than “fight” the temptation. Avoiding some situations can be the best strategy temporarily for weak points. Our goal however, should be a level of discipline and maturity where we do not have to simply ‘hide’ from tempting situations but as Christ, are strong enough to stand against them when the time comes.

Jesus here was attacked by a spirit of suicide, trying to make him give up and jump off the building. This the same spiritual attack Elijah faced while in the wilderness, as well as the prophet Jonah, with the goal of making them give up and focus on their own problems rather than the divine mission. Jesus however, was able to overcome this challenege by keeping his focus on the Word, responding with his quote from Deuteronomy 6:16.

1 Kings 19:4, “But [Elijah] himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”


Jonah 4:3, “Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”


The Mountain Journey:
The Third Test

Matthew 4:8-9, “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”


We again face the strange situation of Jesus basically following the devil, this time on a much longer hiking trip. We can get imaginative and picture Jesus trying to keep up on the trail, dodging horns and hooves and branches while he and satan are climbing the mountain. Now the amazing thing is that this mountain is high enough to see all the kingdoms of the earth. Of course there are no “exceedingly high” mountains in Jerusalem or anywhere else in Israel for that matter, especially which would allow all the kingdoms of our spherical earth to be viewed at once. We should understand, the ‘height’ of the mountain was never intended to refer to its physical elevation, but instead to its strategic spiritual importance.

Which mountain did Jesus climb with the devil? The symbolism points clearly to Mount Hermon. This is one of Israel's northernmost mountains and it was the point from which the fallen angelic Watchers first descended to corrupt the earth. It has heavy significance as a spiritual “observatory,” as it was the Watchers headquarters on earth (Even in the natural, its main function in modern times is as a military observatory for the Israeli army). This mountain is also spoken of in ancient texts as being one of Baal’s headquarters. So by climbing this mountain, the devil is taking Christ to satan’s home ground.

Enoch 6:1-6, “1. And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. 2. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.' 3. And Semjâzâ, who was their leader, said unto them: 'I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.' 4. And they all answered him and said: 'Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.' 5. Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. 6. And they were in all two hundred; who descended [in the days] of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it.”


Isaiah 14:13, “For thou [Lucifer] hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:”


This third temptation was for Christ to accelerate his destiny by not waiting on God. This is the same trick the devil used on Abraham. Abraham doubted God’s promise to give him a son with his own wife, and instead impregnated his slave Hagar to create Ishmael. Ishmael is the father of the Islamic/Arabic peoples, which are now the foremost enemies the Jews have to face today.
Another example is Moses. He knew he was called to deliver the enslaved Jews, and tried to fulfill this calling using his own methods by killing an Egyptian slavemaster. He may have been justified in doing this, but it was not a good strategic move in the long run. It caused his destiny to be delayed by many years as he had to flee into the desert to avoid being sentenced for murder.

The core of the temptation here was for Jesus to function as a natural messiah rather than spiritual. Satan offered to empower Jesus so he could overthrow Roman rule and reign as the most powerful king on earth. Jesus knew he was called to be a king. The devil was not calling him to deny this, but rather to do it his own way rather than trust in the Father. The antichrist is the one who will take up the devil’s offer to try to function as an earthly and natural messiah empowered by satan to take dominion of the kingdoms of the earth, as the book of Revelation speaks of. To be king spiritually, Christ had to reject the will of both the public and the devil to rule as an earthly king. When we try to accelerate God’s plan by going about it our own way, we delay destiny at best and forfeit it at worst.

John 6:15, “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”


To show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, I believe the devil projected what is called a Second Heaven Vision into Jesus mind. A second heaven vision is where a prophet receives a supernatural vision from satan instead of from God. It will usually contain scenes of war and destruction and try to magnify the devil’s power and cause fear. They show satan’s destructive plans for earth which may or may not be accurate or successfully come to pass. This is why it is important not to open any gateways by becoming casual towards sin or becoming fearful. In Jesus case, it was not due to any mistakes of his but simply a test which allowed him to experience this second-heaven vision with the devil showing Jesus “all the kingdoms of the earth in a moment of time.” For all three of the trials, the devil never had to appear physically or speak with an audible voice to tempt Jesus. We forget he was most likely speaking to Jesus simply by the voice in his mind as Christ travelled through the wilderness. Rather than expecting the devil to appear in front of us with horns and hooves, we should instead be prepared for the much more subtle sound of temptation within our head. And as Christ resisted all three temptations by quoting sections of Deuteronomy back to him, we can take example and resist satan by spending time every day learning and speaking God’s word.

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