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Bamidbar: The Temptation of Messiah

Updated: Jun 20

“The book of Numbers is one long story of the gap between where the people were, and where they were supposed to be.” Rav Hirsch

Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1 – 4:20) is the first Torah portion in the book of Numbers. It contains 7,393 Hebrew letters, 1,823 Hebrew words, 159 verses and comprises 263 lines in the Torah scroll. It opens, 

וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר׃

“HaShem spoke to Moses in the wilderness (bamidbar) of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt. . .” Numbers 1:1

On the seventh day after Passover, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea. This crossing has been likened to a tevilah[1], an immersion, commonly referred to as “baptism”. They then began to journey through the wilderness for a little over forty days. On the fiftieth day, they reached the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah on the festival of Shavuot, also called Pentecost. This Torah portion, Bamidbar, is usually read on the Shabbat before the Festival. The word bamidbar literally means, ‘In the Wilderness’. 

The Wilderness

Why was it necessary to give the Torah in the wilderness? The Mekhilta d’Rashbi says,

“The Torah was given to the people of Israel in the ownerless desert. For if it were given in the Land of Israel, the residents of the Land of Israel would say, “It is ours”; and if it were given in some other place, the residents of that place would say, “It is ours.” Therefore it was given in the wilderness, so that anyone who wishes to acquire it may acquire it.” Mekhilta D’Rashbi, cited at [2]

When Israel received the Torah, HaShem displayed untold marvels with His Voice, and the people were elevated so high, that the potential to merit the final Redemption was within their grasp. Unfortunately, Israel succumbed to temptation, from the Golden Calf to the evil report of the Meraglim, the Ten Spies. 

For forty days, the spies covertly explored the land of Israel. They brought back an evil report about the land, causing untold damage, faithlessness and fear within the hearts of the people. Numbers 14 reports the punishment for this action,

“According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.” Numbers 14:34, ESV

While Israel was removed from Egypt, Egypt was not yet from Israel.  Slavery is much more than forced labor at the threat of a whip. Slavery is a mindset, a victim mentality, an inability to overcome the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, that lurks within the heart of mankind. What exactly is the ‘yetzer hara’? The Talmud says,

הוּא שָׂטָן הוּא יֵצֶר הָרָע הוּא מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת הוּא שָׂטָן

“Satan, the Yetzer Hara, and the Angel of Death are one.” Baba Batra 16a, The William Davidson Talmud, [3]

These three are one in essence but the battles are fought on different planes: the spiritual, internal and physical. R’ Shimon ben Lakish says,

“A person’s evil inclination overcomes him each day and seeks to kill him, as it stated: “The wicked watches the righteous and seeks to kill him” (Psalms 37:32).” Sukkah 52b, The William Davidson Talmud, [4]

In the wilderness, Israel faced numerous temptations and trials from within and without. They battled Sihon and Og in the physical realm, Balak and Bilaam in the spiritual plane, and finally Amalek in both worlds simultaneously, waging war from Above to Below. But perhaps the greatest challenge Israel faced was their own yetzer hara. The greatest enemy is oneself. 

From Adam to the Messiah himself, this is a battle that every human being must face. 

The Temptation of the Messiah

Just as Israel immersed in the Red Sea and then proceeded to undergo trials in the wilderness, so too Yeshua was led through the desert immediately after his immersion. The Gospel of Matthew says,

“Then Yeshua was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the adversary.” Matthew 4:1

Why does the Messiah, the ideal human being, require testing? The Midrash Rabbah explains,

“The L-rd tries the righteous, but the wicked and he that loves violence His soul hates” (Ps. 11:5). The L-rd tries the righteous implies that the Holy One, blessed be He, never raises a man to high rank before He has first tested and tried him.” Numbers Rabbah 15:12, Soncino Press Edition

Every single person undergoes struggles, trials and testing. The spiritual pattern is that just before great blessing descends from Above, one is tested to determine if they are worthy. The brother of Yeshua, Yaakov HaTzaddik (James the Just) said,

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Yaakov (James) 1:2-4, ESV

This is called in Hebrew ירידה לצורך עליה, yeridah l’tzorech aliyah, a descent for the sake of an ascent. As Messiah will be raised to the highest rank, he must also go through the most difficult trials of all time. This may remind us also of Avraham Avinu, of whom it is said,

“With ten trials our father Abraham was tried, and he withstood them all to make known how great was the love of Abraham our father.” Pirkei Avot 5:35

Interestingly, the gematria of Avraham is equal to that of Bamidbar:

248 = אברהם = מקום המזבח = בצלם אלקים = במדבר

Bamidbar = B’tzelem Elokim = Maqom HaMizbeach = Avraham = 248 In the Wilderness = In the Image of G-d = The Place of the Altar = Abraham = 248

While it is beyond the scope of this article to fully explore, each of these words link to this concept of overcoming temptation. 

To what can this concept be likened? One commentary likens it to a bridge built for a train,

“As the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West. Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload.  The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed an entire day.  One worker asked, “Are you trying to break this bridge?”  “No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.”  In the same way, the temptations (trials) Yeshua faced weren’t designed to see if He would sin, but to prove that He wouldn’t.” [6]

Jewish traditions suggest that the desert is a haunt of demons,

“Sources suggest that many believed that demons were especially attracted to places like pagan temples, bathhouses, graveyards and deserts. Readers would thus sense the suspense as Jesus battled with Satan on Satan’s own turf.” The IVP Bible Background Commentary on Mark 1:12-13, pg. 130

This is also echoed in the l’azazel goat procedure on Yom Kippur, and appears to be referenced in the Gospels,

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest…” Luke 11:24

In Zechariah 3, we see that Satan (Adversary) opposed the High Priest named Yehoshua ben Yehotzadak. In the Greek Septuagint (LXX), the word Satan is rendered as diabolos, from which we derive the English word ‘devil’. Someone reading the Greek version of Matthew may have seen a connection to the passage in Zechariah,

“The account of Matthew uses language from the Old Testament. The imagery of a conflict between an earlier “Jesus” and “the devil” would be familiar to Matthew’s contemporary readers, recalling the vision of a conflict between Satan and the Angel of the L-rd. In the Septuagint Greek version of Zechariah 3 the name Iesous and term diabolos are identical to the Greek terms of Matthew 4.” [7]

The temptation of Yeshua was not just against the Evil One, but even against his own natural human will. Sacrificing one’s own desires, and nullifying the self, is called bittul hayesh, the nullification of what is. Even beyond the boundaries of the Negev Desert, Yeshua had to die to himself daily even to the point of the execution stake. Yeshua said,

לֹא כִרְצוֹנִי כִּי אִם־​כִּרְצוֹנֶךָ

“Not my will, but Your will be done.” Matthew 26:39

Forty Days

Just as Israel spent forty years in the desert, so too did Yeshua spend forty days of testing, as the Gospel of Matthew says,

“When he had fasted forty days and forty nights. . .” Matthew 4:2

According to the Apocryphal text Life of Adam and Eve, the first man immersed himself in the Jordan for forty days while being tested by the Adversary following the exile from Eden,

“O L-rd my G-d, my life is in your hands. Banish this Adversary far from me, who seeks to destroy my soul, and give me his glory which he himself has lost.’ And at that moment, the devil vanished before him. But Adam endured in his penance, standing for forty days (on end) in the water of Jordan.” Life of Adam and Eve [8]

The number forty is one of the most well known numbers in the Bible and Jewish tradition. But what is its significance and meaning? 

  1. 40 Seahs – The halachic amount water required for a kosher mikvah (Eruvin 4b)

  2. 40 Days and Nights it rained during Noah’s flood

  3. 40 Days Moshe was on Mount Sinai to receive the Torah (Exodus 24:18)

  4. 40 Days Moshe was on Mount Sinai after the Golden Calf (Deut 9:18)

  5. 40 Days of the Spies (Numbers 13:26, 14:34)

  6. 40 Days of Teshuvah – from Elul 1 to Tishrei 10, Yom Kippur

  7. 40 Years of wandering in the wilderness prior to entry into Eretz Yisrael

  8. 40 Years King David reigned over Israel

  9. 40 Days Elijah was in Horev (1 Kings 19:8)

  10. 40 Days Yonah preached to Nineveh (Jonah 3:4)

  11. 40 Days Ezekiel lay on his side symbolizing 40 years of Judah’s sin

  12. 40 Years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, the miracles stopped (30 CE)

  13. 40 Years of age is when man attains binah, understanding

  14. 40 Days of fasting of Yeshua in the Wilderness

  15. 40 Days after the resurrection, Yeshua ascended (Acts 1:2)

  16. 40 Days of embryonic formation

  17. 40 Weeks of gestation within a womb

Like the forty days of embryonic formation, or forty weeks of gestation within a womb, the number forty appears to signify the process of development. This is the reason for the challenges, trials and tribulations: Growth. Development. To actualize the potential latent within the soul. It is not enough that one believes in the mind, they must bring this faith into the World of Action (Assiyah). 

There is another element we must look at regarding the forty days, as elucidated by Moshe ben Aharon HaKohen of Krakow (1670 – 1716 CE). Around thirty years of age, he became a believer in Yeshua, converting to Christianity under the name Johann Kemper. The erudite Jewish scholar Elliot R. Wolfson writes of him,

“A number of scholars have duly noted the complex and fascinating spiritual odyssey of Moses ben Aaron of Cracow who became Johann Kemper of Uppsala. Kemper’s conversion to Christianity from Judaism would have been interesting enough, but what adds to this intrigue is the fact that all of his compositions, which are written in Hebrew, demonstrate beyond any doubt that he possessed complete mastery over traditional Jewish learning of both an exoteric and an esoteric nature. . . The literary works composed by Kemper display an astonishing blend of rabbinic halakhah and Christian spirituality, and the bridge that links the two spheres of religious discourse is the kabbalistic symbolism derived primarily from the zoharic corpus.” Elliot R. Wolfson, New York University, Messianism in the Christian Kabbalah of Johann Kemper [9]

In 1711, he composed a three volume work on the Zohar entitled Matteh Moshe (The Staff of Moses). Prior to this, in 1703, he translated the Gospel of Matthew from Syriac, and subsequently wrote a Kabbalistic commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, named Me’irat Enayim (The Enlightenment of the Eyes), in which he writes,

“Just as by the first redemption, before they came to the land, they had to be vagrant and wandering in the wilderness for forty years, so it was needed that Yeshua, to accomplish the last redemption, should endure fasting for forty days, one day for each year.” Yohannes Kemper Me’irat Enayim, Rem. 11, v 11 cited in Torah Club, Chronicles of the Messiah, Volume 1, First Fruits of Zion, pg. 191

In other words, just as there is a parallel history between Yeshua, Moshe and Eliyahu, so it is with the nation of Israel. This is a key to understanding the deeper connection of Yeshua’s temptation which we will explore below. 

Out of Egypt I Called My Son

“There is a very great resemblance and conformity between Christ and his people in these things.” John Gill

The Gospel of Matthew says,

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the L-rd appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the L-rd had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13-15

Anti-missionaries are quick to point out that this is not a Messianic prophecy at all, as there is no indication this is speaking of the Messiah, moreover the second verse says that the ‘son’ went and worshipped idols (!),

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away. They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.” Hosea 11:1-2

The skeptics seize this ‘aha’ moment. Matthew ‘painted Jesus into the Tanakh’! He twisted the Jewish Scriptures to trick unsuspecting people into believing in his false Messiah. Many Gentile Christians are genuinely confused, unsure of what to do with this information. As we have noted from Moshe ben Aharon of Krakow’s commentary above, the truth is much deeper than this. Like Moshe Rabbeinu, like Eliyahu HaNavi, Yeshua HaMashiach is intricately connected to the Holy Torah and his people Israel. The Nation of Israel is called G-d’s ‘Son’,

‘Thus says HaShem, Israel is my firstborn son.” Exodus 4:22, ESV

In fact, the Yalkut Shimoni links this to the Messiah,

“Where does the Torah speak about [the Messiah]? As it is written in Exodus 4:22, “Israel is My son, my firstborn.” Where in the decrees of the Prophets? It is written in Isaiah 52:13, “Behold my servant will prosper,” and nearby that passage it says in Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold.” And where in the Writings? Psalm 110:1 says, “HaShem says to my L-rd, “Sit at my right hand,” and Psalm 2:7 says, “He said to Me, You are my son.” Yalkut Shimoni ii.621, cited in The Chronicles of the Messiah, Volume 4, First Fruits of Zion, pg. 124

Like the Yalkut, Matthew is not citing Hosea 11 as a direct reference to the Messiah, but is illustrating the connection between the Messiah, who is the yechida of Israel, to his Nation. Dr. Craig Keener observes,

“The three texts from Deuteronomy (6:13, 16; 8:3) he cites (Mt 4:4, 7, 10) were commands G-d gave to Israel when he tested Israel for forty years in the wilderness, the context of the first one addressing G-d’s “son”. The IVP Bible Background Commentary, Matthew 4

Jewish scholar Dr. Michael Brown explains,

“…Matthew finds many important parallels between Israel’s formative, early years and the early years and formative ministry of the Messiah…Therefore, with good reason, he looked to Hosea 11:1 as a prophetic parallel to the early years of the Messiah: As it happened to Israel, G-d’s son, so also it happened to the Messiah, G-d’s Son.” Dr. Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Volume 4: New Testament Objections, pg. 21

Another Jewish scholar, Dr. Michael Rydelnik, explains,

“The basis of Matthew’s use of Israel as a type of the Messiah is from Nm 23 and 24, which present Israel as a general type of the Messiah. Moreover, that type specifically identifies coming out of Egypt as a point of correspondence between Israel and the future Messiah . . . Matthew understood that the Pentateuch had established Israel as a type of the future King Messiah. Furthermore, he understood that the Torah had established a specific parallels between Israel and the future king, namely, that G-d will bring them both out of Egypt. ” The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy

In order for their point to stand, the skeptics had to create a strawman and misrepresent the text of Matthew. Messiah and Israel have parallel histories, one reflecting the other. This principle of the mirror image between Mashiach ben Yosef and Israel is rooted in the Midrash Tanchuma,

“Every misfortune that occurred to Joseph likewise befell Zion….everything fortunate that occurred to Joseph likewise happened to Zion.” Midrash Tanchuma, Vayigash, Siman 10, translated by Samuel A. Berman, [10]

This is also cited by R’ Hillel Shklover in Kol HaTor, noting that Yosef and Tziyon have the same gematria,

יוסף = ציון = 156

“Whatever happened to Yosef, happened to Zion.” Kol HaTor

The Messiah is the Embodiment of all Israel. As Israel went into Egypt to escape death (through famine), so too did Messiah flee to Egypt to escape death. As Pharoah tried to kill the baby boys, so was the newborn Messiah. As Israel spent forty years in the wilderness, so too did Yeshua. The Messiah is the Second Moses beginning the Final Redemption. 

Matthew’s midrash is not twisting the text at all. He is illustrating the parallel lives, histories and connections between Yeshua and his people. This is something that is even known among non-Jewish Christian commentators, 

“In both the cases, they had just experienced G-d’s power and favor. Jesus experienced G-d’s favor at his baptism. And the Israelites had just seen the most powerful manifestation of G-d’s power at work at the Red Sea.  Next, they found themselves wandering and starving in the wilderness. (Jesus for Forty days, and Israelite for 40 years!)” Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness, [11]

Had the anti-missionaries bothered to study the passage even a bit, they would have known this information. Even explains,

“Matthew presents the three scriptural passages cited by Jesus (Deut 8:3, Deut 6:13, and Deut 6:16) not in their order in the book of Deuteronomy, but in the sequence of the trials of Israel as they wandered in the desert, as recorded in the book of Exodus. . . Additionally Matthew presents the three scriptural passages cited by Jesus (Deut 8:3, Deut 6:13, and Deut 6:16) not in their order in the book of Deuteronomy, but in the sequence of the trials of Israel as they wandered in the desert, as recorded in the book of Exodus.”, The Temptation of Jesus [12]

Bread From Above

“When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward.” Matthew 4:2

It is remarkable that Yeshua was hungry afterward. Most of us get very hungry after a few hours. How is it possible to not experience hunger until the end of a forty day period? Is it possible to survive for forty days without food? Medical News Today reports,

“A typical, well-nourished male weighing 70 kilograms (154 pounds) technically has enough calories stored to survive between 1 and 3 months. However, people who have voluntarily stopped eating to participate in hunger strikes have died after 45-61 days, which suggests that a person would be unlikely to survive for 3 months.”[13]

With water intake, it is medically possible to survive under these conditions, although certainly not advisable, as life threatening conditions such as a heart attack can result. Nevertheless, how is it possible that after forty days, Yeshua became hungry? We must look into Jewish history for answers. Moshe Rabbeinu had a similar experience in the wilderness of Sinai,

“So he was there with HaShem forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” Exodus 34:28, ESV

It is physically impossible to survive for forty days without water. Eliyahu HaNavi also fasted forty days as he journeyed through wilderness of Sinai,

“And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the Mountain of G-d.” 1 Kings 19:8, ESV

The answer seems to be that one receives sustenance not from food below, but from Above. Like Moshe, like Eliyahu, the Messiah was sustained from the Radiance of the Shekhinah. Alfred Edersheim points out the parallels between these three, 

“…we must expect … points of correspondence between Moses, Elijah, and the Messiah. In fact, these may be described as marking the three stages in the history of the Covenant. Moses was its giver, Elijah its restorer, the Messiah its renewer and perfecter . . .” Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Fasting is an important spiritual practice. Oftentimes, our yetzer hara, our flesh, is in charge, making decisions, and calling the shots, while our pure soul is locked in the jail of the body, as Pirkei Avot de’Rabbi Natan says,

“When a man bestirs himself and goes off to some unchastity, all his limbs obey him, For the evil impulse is king over his two hundred and forty eight limbs. When he goes off to some good deed, all his limbs begin to drag. For the evil impulse within a man is monarch over his two hundred  and forty eight limbs, while the good impulse is like a captive in prison, as it is said, For out of prison he came forth to be king (Eccl. 4:14), that is to say, the good impulse...And some say: The verse in Ecclesiastes refers to Joseph the righteous…” Pirkei Avot de Rabbi Natan, translated by Judah Goldin, Yale University Press, pg. 85

Fasting breaks this cycle, inverting the order, allowing the soul to rise above the flesh. This allows our Yetzer HaTov (The Good Inclination), which is connected to Yosef HaTzaddik, to emerge from prison to become ‘king’. Yosef HaTzaddik is the prototype for overcoming temptation, when he fled from Potiphar’s wife. In terms of fasting, one Christian commentary says,

“Fasting is the most effective way of passing through the wilderness. Fasting helps to focus on the spiritual matters and takes our attention from matters related to flesh. So, even though Jesus was physically weak, he was spiritually strong.” Temptations of Jesus, [14]

To be sure, fasting without prayer is simply dieting. But when one prays to receive sustenance from Above, subjecting the flesh to the spirit, the yetzer hara to the yetzer hatov, we become like the angels. In the case of Yeshua, the Adversary waited until he was hungry to present the first temptation. Temptation often attacks where one is the weakest, looking for a chink in the armor. He said to Yeshua,

“If you are the Son of G-d, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:3

If? Why does the Adversary use the word “if”? The question of Yeshua’s Messianic awareness is hotly debated among Biblical scholars. At what point did Yeshua know he was the Messiah? Does the Adversary’s opening salvo somehow strike at doubt within Yeshua? This seems unlikely. Yeshua was aware of his identity and mission from at least the age of twelve, being ‘about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).’ Moreover, if Yochanan HaMatbil (John the Immerser) recognized the Messiah while still in the womb of his mother (Luke 1:41), how much more would Yeshua recognize his own Messianic status? There seems to be no room for an identity crisis.

It seems more likely that this “if” could be a strike against the ego of Yeshua. Imagine if you were the greatest living pianist in the world, having been trained vigorously from a young age. An opponent challenges you, saying, “If you are as good as everyone says you are, play this piece from Beethoven.” In most people, this would ignite the flame of ego, causing it to rise like leaven, desiring to silence the critic. Naysayers and critics often provide fuel for motivation, but may also arouse pride in the process. 

Combine this with Yeshua’s physically weakened condition. He had fasted for forty days. He was hungry, possibly feeling terrible, irritable and while experiencing difficulty focusing. Physical temptations can be extremely powerful. Xus Casal of makes an interesting and unique observation,

“Notice that there was no one with Yeshua when this incident happened. The only way they could record this is if he told someone, and he usually made use of metaphorical language. So here we have a situation that should be familiar to everyone of us, when we are alone and feel the temptation to do things, sometimes little things that are not a sin per se, but when we do them these things lead us to do something even worse and worse until we finally sin. This is precisely what happens with the stones into bread. Is it a sin to feed yourself? Not really, but what if this small thing of using the power of creation (Maasei Bereshith) to feed yourself leads you to act only to satisfy your personal desires and then to go against Heaven’s will, ending in a grave sin? Our sages say “Sanctify yourself by abstaining from things that are permitted to you” [so that you won’t fall into what is not permitted] (Yevamot 20a).”15

In the face of this onslaught, Yeshua turns to the Torah. He says,

לֹא עַל-הַלֶּחֶם לְבַדּוֹ יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם כִּי עַל כָּל מוֹצָא פִי ה׳ יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם

“The man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of HaShem does the man live.” Deuteronomy 8:3

D. Thomas Lancaster points out that the Hebrew does not say “man does not live by bread alone” but “THE man does not live by bread alone.” While this statement is true of every human being, there may be a hint to The Man, that is, the Messiah in this verse. Moreover, Jewish tradition expects the Messiah to bring forth the manna like Moshe did. The Jewish scholar Joseph Klausner explains,

“. . . Just as Moses brought redemption to his people, so also will Messiah bring redemption. . . Just as Moses, after revealing himself to his brethren in Egypt and announcing to them that deliverance was near, was forced to go into hiding for a time, so also will be Messiah be forced to hide himself after the first revelations, just as Moses crossed from Midian to Egypt riding on a donkey (Exod 4:20), so also will Messiah come riding on a donkey; just as Moses caused manna to rain from the sky, so will Messiah bring forth different kinds of food in a miraculous way; and just as Moses gave to the children of Israel wells and springs of water in the wilderness, so also will Messiah make streams of water flow in the desert. Not only this, but the acceptance of suffering because of the iniquities of others, which late Jewish legend attributes to the Messiah…is also attributed to our master Moses. (This may be called suffering for atonement; Christian scholars call it vicarious suffering, and in Christianity this idea has become an important article of faith.)” Joseph Klausner, The Messianic Idea in Israel, pages 17-18, 19, 27

Yeshua later fulfilled Jewish expectations by miraculously bringing forth bread for others, feeding 5,000 people, leaving twelve baskets left over, calling to mind the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Matthew 14:31-21). In the second incident, he fed 4,000 with seven baskets left over, evoking the 70 nations of the world (Matthew 15:29-39). These events also echo the manna in the wilderness, and look forward to the miraculous food of the Messianic Banquet. 

One of Yeshua’s greatest desires was for his beloved people to recognize him as their Messiah. This was not for his own glory, but in order to protect them from the impending disaster and bring the final Redemption, uniting G-d and Man back together. He knew this would not happen and wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). Tears flowed from his eyes as he foresaw the coming destruction of the Temple, his Father’s House, the future persecutions and two-thousand year exile. 

Similar to a boxer taking many different blows from various angles, this was one punch that was particularly difficult to grapple with: To remain concealed as the Tzaddik HaEmet, and not reveal himself openly as the awaited Messiah to his people. This seems to be the reason for the ‘if’ because Yeshua truly is the King of the Jews.

It was for this purpose he was born into the world.  

The Pinnacle of the Temple

“Then the devil took him into the Holy City. He set him on the pinnacle of the Temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of G-d, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you.’ and, ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you don’t dash your foot against a stone.’” Matthew 4:5-7

“If.” Again, the Accuser uses the word “If.” While creating bread during extreme hunger seems tempting, jumping off a high place does not. Therefore, why is this a temptation? What about this makes it a difficult challenge to Yeshua?

There have been various attempts to identify this precise location in the Temple complex. The Greek word for ‘pinnacle’ is πτερυγιον (pterugion). Archaeologist Benjamin Mazar identified it not as the roof of the Heichal (Temple proper)[16], but as the southeast corner of the outer court, high above the Kidron valley. If this is true, Josephus describes the location,

“…this portico deserves to be mentioned better than any other under the sun; for while the valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen, if you looked from above into the depth, this further vastly high elevation of the portico stood upon that height, insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be dizzy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth.” Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 15.11.5 [17]

According to Eusebius, Yaakov HaTzaddik, the brother of the Master, was later thrown down from this spot before he was beaten to death.18 Returning to the temptation of Messianic expectations, if Yeshua is truly the Messiah, he would have emunah shleimah, perfect faith, that HaShem would care of him, as Psalm 91 declares. Even the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon seems to echo it,

“For if the tzaddik (righteous man) be the son of G-d, he will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies.” Wisdom of Solomon 2:18

Xus Casal makes another interesting observation,

"The verse: “so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” is rendered in the Targum Tehillim as “so that you will not stumble against the Evil Inclination, which is likened to stones at your feet” (Targum Tehillim 91:12) – that is, the same stones that he wanted to turn into bread; i.e. the selfish desires.”[19]

Thus, he should prove it to HaShem, himself and to the people down below in the courtyards of the Temple. If they saw Yeshua reveal himself from the pinnacle of the Temple, descending into their midst, they would proclaim him to be King of Israel, shouting Hoshannah! He would be able to fulfill his heartfelt desire to protect his people and restore the world. It would fulfill a Jewish expectation recorded in Pesikta Rabbati,

“When the king Messiah appears, he will stand on the roof of the Temple and will make a proclamation to Israel saying, “Meek ones, the day of your redemption has come. And if you do not believe me, behold my light which rises upon you, as it is said ‘Arise and shine for your light is come, and the glory of the L-rd is risen upon you.’ Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 36, translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 682, Cf. Yalkut Shimoni on Isaiah 499

Yeshua again draws strength from the Torah, quoting Deuteronomy again,

לֹא תְנַסּוּ אֶת ה׳ אֱלֹקיכֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר נִסִּיתֶם בַּמַּסָּה

“You shall not put HaShem your G-d to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.” Deuteronomy 6:16

Yeshua’s response is in accordance with the Talmud, which records R’ Yannai as saying,

“A person should never stand in a place of danger saying that they on High will perform a miracle for him, lest in the end they do not perform a miracle for him.” Shabbat 32a, The William Davidson Talmud, [20]

This statement has important halachic implications for daily life. While we absolutely must trust in HaShem with perfect faith, nevertheless we are to act with good common sense, and take responsibility for our lives, health and wellbeing – and especially that of others. We are not allowed to deliberately place ourselves in danger, unless it is to sanctify the Name of G-d. 

The Kingdom of This World

“And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Luke 4:5-8, ESV

The Gospels present the Adversary offering the kingdoms of this world to Yeshua. The Messiah is to rule over all of the kingdoms of the earth according to the Prophets. Yeshua is presented with the opportunity to seize power over the world in a moment when his people are oppressed, ruled over by Rome. This temptation is incredibly difficult to overcome, again striking at Yeshua’s desire to accomplish his mission: To save his people and restore the Kingdom of David. Moreover, he can become the Messiah while bypassing the crucifixion. This temptation may have been the most powerful and difficult to overcome. 

Moreover, this route would have been virtually instantaneous. It is the ultimate case of instant gratification. Very few would be able to turn down this offer of near absolute power over the world’s kingdoms. The satan mentioned all of this has been handed to him and he gives it to whomever he wishes. It may be said that Armilus, the Antichrist, will take the evil one up on this offer. 

However, some anti-missionaries have a problem with this verse. They believe this depiction is contrary to Judaism, promoting a kind of dualism. While popular Christianity may indeed over-emphasize the power of the Sitra Achra (The Other Side, i.e. the demonic realm), the text of the New Testament itself is in harmony with Second Temple Judaism. In fact, Judaism teaches that each of the seventy nations has an angelic prince who rules over the region (Daniel 10:13). Another verse in the New Testament says,

“In their case the G-d of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the Good News of the glory of Messiah, who is the Tzelem Elokim (image of G-d).” 2 Corinthians 4:4

The Greek word θεος (theos, G-d) is equivalent to the Hebrew word אל “el.” In Hebrew thought, neither “el” nor “elokim” exclusively refer to HaShem. In fact, the word ‘elokim’ can simply mean ‘ruler’ or ‘judge’ and can refer to angels or even human beings. The Midrash Rabbah says of the angel of death,

“When Israel stood at Mount Sinai and said, ‘All that the L-rd had spoken will we do, and obey’ (Ex. 24:7), the Holy One, blessed be He, called the angel of death and said to him: ‘Even though I made you a universal ruler (קוזמוקרטור, kosmokrator) over earthly creatures, you have nothing to do with this nation.” Leviticus Rabbah 18:3, Soncino Press Edition

The Greek loan word kosmokrator means world ruler, exactly as the New Testament presents. In fact, the book of Ephesians uses this exact word to speak of the ‘cosmic powers’,

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers (κοσμοκράτορας, kosmokratoras) over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesian 6:12

Thus, contrary to anti-missionary claims, there is no dualism being presented. Above all of these ‘cosmic powers’ there is One Authority above all: HaShem Himself. Xus Casal cites the Talmud,

“Today, he says to man: ‘Do this’, and tomorrow he tells him: ‘Do that’, until he bids him, ‘Go and serve idols’, and he goes and serves them. Rabbi Abin said: which verse [teaches this]? (Psalm 81:10) ‘There shall no strange G-d be in you, neither shall you prostrate to any foreign G-d’. Who is this strange G-d that resides in man himself? That is the Yetzer haRa” (Shabbat 105b).” [21]

When presented with the Third ‘If’, Yeshua again relies upon Torah, quoting Deuteronomy,

“Then Yeshua said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the L-rd your G-d and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” Matthew 4:10-11

The book of Yaakov (James) says,

“Submit yourselves therefore to G-d. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to G-d, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8

Moreover, there is a key point that must be noted. Yeshua says in relation to his impending death,

“Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out.” John 12:31

It is important to note the extent of the Accuser’s authority is limited to “this world.” The word for “this world” in Hebrew is Olam Hazeh. This carries a precise theological meaning in Jewish thought. It refers to this fallen world of sin, death and the grave. It is contrasted with the word Olam Haba, the World to Come. The Olam Haba is the time when death will be destroyed and HaShem will be with His people. Both the New Testament and Rabbinic literature describe the descent of a New Jerusalem with giant gates of pearls, gemstones and towers. The bridge between these two worlds is called the Messianic Era, which is the one thousand year reign of the Messiah. This background illuminates the words that Yeshua spoke,

מַלְכוּתִי אֵינֶנָּה מִן־​הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה

“My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36

The Garden of Eden

“And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.” Mark 1:13

The Christian Hebraist Lightfoot comments,

“He was among the wild beasts, but was not touched by them. So Adam first before his fall.” Lightfoot on Mark 1:13 [22]

Others concur,

“Some have read this reference to the wilderness as a comparison to Adam in the Garden of Eden, implying that Yeshua was a new Adam (cf Book of Romans 5).” [23]

The polar opposite of the desert wilderness is the Garden of Eden. R’ Ari Kahn comments,

“The desert seems like the very antithesis of Eden: barren and empty, either too warm or too cold, desolate, lifeless, devoid of hope. The Torah describes the desert where the Jews wandered: “…Great and terrible wilderness, where were venomous serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water. (Deut. 8:15) The only hint of Eden is the venomous snake seeking victims. Indeed, it seems strange that this wilderness should be the epicenter of spirituality … Perhaps the vast desert, where supplies are scarce and self-preservation ephemeral, is the perfect place to find G-d.” R’ Ari Kahn, M’oray HaAish: The Desert, [24]

To grasp the significance of the temptation of the Messiah in the Desert, we must return to the beginning. We must return to the Garden of Eden. As we learned above, the word bamidbar (in the wilderness) is equivalent to b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of G-d,

248 = בצלם אלהים = במדבר

Adam HaRishon was granted dominion and authority over this world,

“Then G-d said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26, ESV

In effect, HaShem said to Adam, ‘I will be Ruler above, you be the ruler below’. And where Adam was created outside of the Garden and placed there, Chava his wife was formed within the Garden itself. They were given One Mitzvah: Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Interestingly, there was no commandment to refrain  from the Tree of Life. It seems that HaShem wanted Adam to choose Life, exactly parallel to what Deuteronomy says,

“…if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other G-ds and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the L-rd your G-d, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the L-rd swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:17-20, ESV

She was tempted by the serpent to eat of the fruit,

“So when the woman saw that the tree was 1) good for food, and that it was a 2) delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to 3) make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:6, ESV

A parallel passage in the letter of 1 John says,

“Do not love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him. For all that is in the world, 1) the lust of the flesh, 2) the lust of the eyes, and 3) the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does G-d’s will remains forever.” 1 John 2:15-17, ESV

Remember the threefold nature of the Yetzer Hara according to the Talmud,

הוּא שָׂטָן הוּא יֵצֶר הָרָע הוּא מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת הוּא שָׂטָן

“Satan, the Yetzer Hara, and the Angel of Death are one.” Baba Batra 16a, The William Davidson Talmud, [25]

Let us explore the these three-sided triangles of the yetzer hara and sin,



1 John


It was good for food.

Bread from Stones

Lust of the Flesh

Angel of Death

It was a delight to the eyes

Jump from the Temple

Lust of the Eyes

Yetzer Hara

It was to be desired to make one wise

Pride of Life

Worship to receive Power


Adam faced temptation from within the Garden, which was his own territory. When Adam sinned, he effectively obeyed the Adversary, removing his crown and giving it to the primordial serpent. To retrieve this crown, Yeshua had to face the Enemy on his territory. Biblical scholar Jeremy Chance Springfield shares the following insight,

“While Adam failed in the best possible environment, in the guarded panoramas of Eden, Messiah’s temptation would instead be in the most desperate and desolate of vistas: the safe harbor of Eden was long desiccated and gone – no paradise remained in the world for Him to repose in order to meet the temptation coming His way, and so to prove His calling, He would encounter tribulation in the wasteland.  Furthermore, whereas Adam was given all fruit to eat in the Garden – save one – Messiah was prohibited food and taken to a place where scant any could be found.  These contrasts reveal so much for those who have eyes to see.” Jeremy Chance Springfield, His Temptation, Random Groovy Bible Facts [26]

One final observation: How would one translate ‘wild animals’ into Hebrew? The word would be chayyot. This may be translated as Living Creatures, a class of angels that carry the Throne Chariot of HaShem. It is possible that on some level, Yeshua experienced a Maaseh Merkavah vision. 

Son of G-d

“Spiritual trials must precede spiritual elevation.” Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Oftentimes, we forget that Yeshua is human. We marvel as he walked upon the water, healed the sick and resurrected the dead. Many attribute these miracles to him being the embodiment of the Word of HaShem, the Light from the beginning, the King Messiah. While that is true, when Yeshua performed these miracles, it was not his own power, but only through perfect faith in the Father. To prove this, Shimon Kefa, Simon Peter, himself healed the sick and walked upon the water! 

Yeshua was able to bring these miracles into the world precisely because he emptied himself, and submitted his will to the Father’s will. Through this bittul, self nullification, he became a Conduit for the Spirit of HaShem to work in the world. He also demonstrated the way that each of us, who are connected to him like branches upon a vine, can do the same works even in the face of temptation,

“Submit yourselves therefore to G-d. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to G-d, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8

This doesn’t mean it is easy. In fact, G-d doesn’t call us to accomplish the easy. The easy is not praiseworthy. When John F. Kennedy stated the vision to put a man on the Moon, he said,

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

We must choose to overcome, utilizing the best of our energies and skills. HaShem calls us to overcome not because it is easy, but because it is hard. The early believers in Yeshua and the Sages of Israel surrendered themselves completely to the will of HaShem. They were martyred by the Romans, endured baseless hatred for G-d’s glory, and overcame insurmountable challenges. We must draw strength from their example and ultimately from Yeshua as we overcome trials and temptation in our own lives. To repeat the words of James,

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Yaakov (James) 1:2-4, ESV

Andrew Ketel comments,

“Often we look at these experiences in a negative light.  But these are not experiences, which are tailored to see you fail, but rather they are allowed to see what you are made of (Deut. 8:2-3, Ps. 11:5, Pirkei Avot 5:4).  It is G-d’s method of “testing” you for the purpose He has ordained for you to fulfill. . . we must realize that this temptation is not meant to make us sin, but rather it is meant to enable us to conquer sin, which in turn makes us better or stronger for the work ahead (I Cor. 10:13)… we should embrace these times because though them we should realize there is an awesome task awaiting us.” Andrew Ketel, Kehilat Beit Mashiach [27]

We can become the Guf HaMashiach, the Body of the Messiah, through our own bittul, becoming conduits for the Spirit of Mashiach to manifest its power into the world. Pirkei Avot says,

“Do His will as though it were your will, so that He will do your will as though it were His. Set aside your will in the face of His will, so that he may set aside the will of others for the sake of your will.” Pirkei Avot 2:4, [28]

Similarly, it may be assumed that all of these temptations were easy for Yeshua to overcome. We may think that the challenges he faced were minor hurdles for him. This point of view actually diminishes Yeshua. Yeshua even prayed if there were another way, another route,

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39, ESV

He surrendered his will completely to HaShem’s will, and in doing so, overcame sin and temptation for Israel and the world. The Pesikta d’Rav Kahana says,

“Why was the Torah given in the desert? To teach us that if a person does not surrender himself to it like the desert, he cannot merit the words of Torah. And to teach us that just as the desert is endless, so is the Torah without end.” Pesikta d’Rav Kahana, cited at [29]

The Book of Hebrews says,

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Yeshua, the Son of G-d, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the Throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

We have examined the three IF’s that were presented to Yeshua, and how each of those challenges were incredibly difficult for him to overcome. And yet he did by submitting himself to the Torah’s guidance. Which brings us to the crucifixion, the ultimate defeat which Yeshua transformed into the greatest victory. Zechariah 12:10 says,

“They will look to me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and will grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for his firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10

The Talmud Bavli, in Sukkah 52a, records a machlochet, a dispute, between R’ Dosa and the Rabbis:

“What is the cause of the mourning (mentioned in Zechariah 12:10)? — R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point. One explained, ‘The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph’, and the other explained, ‘The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination (yetzer hara)’. It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph.” Sukkah 52a, Soncino Press Edition

R’ Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin writes, 

נהרג על ידי גוג ומגוג. ונאמר עליו (זכריה י”ב, י’) והביטו אשר דקרו כמו שאמרו ז”ל בסוכה (נ”ב). משמע פשטיה כאילו ישראל דקרוהו. והיינו דמצד עצמו ודאי היה משפטו שלא למות כלל, רק לפי שלא נהפך למלאך כאליהו, ויש לו חיבור עם שאר בני אדם מישראל להיות יחד קומה שלימה דכנסת ישראל שבאותו דור. והם לא ניקו לגמרי, על כן הוכרח ליהרג לכפר על בני ישרא רבי צדוק הכהן מלובלין זי”ע ספר פוקד עקרים אות ה

“Messiah Son of Joseph who wipes out all traces of Amalek, the one who will be perfectly clean, dies during the end times at the hands of Gog and Magog…’They will look upon him whom they pierced’ means literally that Israel pierced him, although legally speaking he did not deserve to die…since his generation was not clean; however, he had to be killed in order to atone for the people of Israel.” Poked Akarim, Letter Heh, cited in The Concealed Light, “Pierced”, Tsvi Sadan, Vine of David, pg. 49

The Jewish scholar Dr. Tzvi Sadan says, 

“The death of the Son of Joseph, continues Rabbi Tzadok, not only wipes out all traces of Amalek, Israel’s archenemy, at atones for Israel, but by his death the evil inclination is also destroyed: “And by killing him comes the slaying of the evil inclination from the hearts of all the people of Israel.” (Poked Akarim, letter he).” Poked Akarim, Letter Heh, The Concealed Light, “Pierced”, Tsvi Sadan, Vine of David, pg. 49

It was not enough to remove Israel out of Egypt. Any Messiah that takes us out of Egypt but does not take Egypt out of us cannot complete the Final Redemption. Yeshua’s mission was to eradicate Egypt, the Yetzer Hara, out of the hearts of Israel by his death. 

As we mentioned, one of Yeshua’s greatest desires was for his people to recognize him as the Messiah, in order that the Final Redemption may come. 

“And when they had crucified him. . . over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Yeshua, the King of the Jews.”. . . And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “… If you are the Son of G-d, come down from the cross.”So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel, let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in G-d. Let G-d deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of G-d.’” Matthew 27:35, 37, 40

The Fourth IF. “If you are the Son of G-d.” This was the moment. This is the greatest temptation of all. His greatest desire, to openly manifest himself as the Messiah to Israel. However, he had to lay his life down for the forgiveness of sins and to destroy the Yetzer Hara, the evil inclination. 

As we submit to HaShem’s will, enabled by the atonement of the Mashiach, within each of us the process of the death of Death can begin. And even as the last “IF” was shouted at Yeshua, he willingly gave up his spirit, and cried out,

“It is Finished.” John 19:30


Mirror Images



Miraculous Birth

Miraculous Birth

Land of Yisrael is named ‘Yeshua’: Yehuda, Shomron V’Aza (Judea, Samaria And Gaza)

Named Yeshua

Fled to Egypt to escape death

Fled to Egypt to Escape Death

Pharaoh killed the baby boys

Herod killed the baby boys

Rachel Weeping for Her Children in Exile

Rachel Weeping for Her Children

The Firstborn Son

The Firstborn Son

Out of Egypt I called my Son

Out of Egypt I called my Son

Immersed through the Red Sea

Immersed in the Jordan

Tested in the wilderness for 40 years

Tested in the wilderness for 40 Days

Fails the Test by Speaking against the Manna

Passes the Test by Only creating the Manna when it was HaShem’s will

Is Tempted with Idolatry

Is Tempted with Idolatry

Twelve Tribes

Twelve Disciples

Is Called “Adam”

Is Called “Adam”

Mocked and humiliated

Mocked and humiliated

Suffering Servant

Suffering Servant

Rejected by the Nations of the World

Rejected by the Nation of Israel

Killed by the Gentiles

Killed by the Gentiles

Resurrected on the Third Day Hosea 6:2

Resurrected on the Third Day Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20

Resurrected on the Third Year (1948) after V-Day (1945)

Resurrected on the Third Day

Salvation comes from the Jews

Salvation comes through Messiah

Nation of Kings and Priests

King and Priest

Light to the Nations

Light to the Nations

Nations will bring gifts to

Nations will bring gifts to

Will Rule Over the Nations

Will Rule Over the Nations



  1. “They were all immersed into Moshe in the cloud and in the sea.” – 1 Corinthians 10:2

  2. Mekhilta D’Rashbi, cited at

  3. Baba Batra 16a, The William Davidson Talmud,

  4. Sukkah 52b, The William Davidson Talmud,

  5. Pirkei Avot 5:3,

  6. Adapted fromToday in the Word, March 14, 1991

  7. Wikipedia, Temptation of Jesus

  8. Life of Adam and Eve

  9. Elliot R. Wolfson, New York University, Messianism in the Christian Kabbalah of Johann Kemper

  10. Midrash Tanchuma, Vayigash, Siman 10, translated by Samuel A. Berman,

  11. Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness,

  12., The Temptation of Jesus

  13. How long can the average person go without food?,

  14. Temptations of Jesus,

  15. Commentary on Matthew 4, Xus Casal,

  16. Benjamin Mazar, The Mountain of the L-rd, Doubleday publishers, pg. 149, cited at Wikipedia, Second Temple

  17. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 15.11.5, Project Gutenberg

  18. Eusebius, Ecclesiatical history 2.23.11

  19. Commentary on Matthew 4, Xus Casal,

  20. Shabbat 32a, The William Davidson Talmud,

  21. Commentary on Matthew 4, Xus Casal,

  22. Lightfoot on Mark 1:13

  23., The Temptation of Jesus

  24. R’ Ari Kahn, M’oray HaAish: The Desert,

  25. Baba Batra 16a, The William Davidson Talmud,

  26. Jeremy Chance Springfield, His Temptation, Random Groovy Bible Facts

  27. Andrew Ketel, Kehilat Beit Mashiach

  28. Pirkei Avot 2:4,

  29. Pesikta d’Rav Kahana, cited at

  30. Midrash Tanchuma, Vayigash, Siman 10, translated by Samuel A. Berman,  “Observe that every misfortune that occurred to Joseph likewise befell Zion. It is written of Joseph: and Israel loved Joseph more than all his children (Gen. 38:3), and of Zion it is written: G-d loves the gates of Zion (Ps. 87:2). Concerning Joseph it is stated: And they hated him (Gen. 37:8), and about Zion: She hath uttered her voice against Me, therefore I have hated her (Jer. 12:8). With reference to Joseph it is said: For behold, we are binding sheaves (Gen. 37:7), and in regard to Zion: Ye shall come home with song, bearing sheaves (Ps. 126:6). It is written of Joseph: Shalt thou indeed rule over us? (Gen. 36:8), and of Zion: That sayeth unto Zion: “Thy G-d reigneth” (Isa. 52:7). Joseph: And Joseph dreamed a dream (Gen. 37:5), and Zion: When the L-rd brought back those that returned to Zion, we were like unto them that dream(Ps. 126:1). Joseph: Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down to thee? (Gen. 37:10), Zion: They shall bow down to thee with their face to the earth (Isa. 49:23). Joseph: And his brothers envied him (Gen. 37:11), Zion: I am jealous of Zion with great jealousy (Zech. 8:2). Joseph: Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren (Gen. 37:14), Zion: Seek the peace of the city (Jer. 29:7). Joseph: They saw him from afar off (Gen. 37:18), Zion: Remember the L-rd from afar off (Jer. 51:50). Joseph: And before he came near unto them they conspired (Gen. 37:18), Zion: They hold crafty converse against the people (Ps. 83:4). Joseph: And they stripped Joseph of his coat (Gen. 37:23), Zion: They shall strip thee of thy clothes (Ezek. 23:26). Joseph: They took him and cast him into the pit (Gen. 37:24), Zion: They have cut off my life in the dungeon (Lam. 3:53). Joseph: And the pit was empty (Gen. 37:24), Zion: And in the pit there was no water (Jer. 38:6). Joseph: And they sat down to eat bread (Gen. 37:25), Zion: We have given the hand to Egypt, and to Assyria, to have bread enough (Lam. 5:6). Joseph: And they drew near and lifted up Joseph (Gen. 37:28), Zion: Ebed-Melech the Cushite drew him up (Jer. 38:13). Joseph: And Jacob rent his garments (Gen. 37:34), Zion: And in that day did the L-rd, the G-d of hosts, call to the weeping (Isa. 22:12). Joseph: All his sons and all his daughters rose to comfort him (Gen. 37:35), Zion: Strain not to comfort me (Isa. 22:4). Joseph: And the Midianites sold him into Egypt (Gen. 37:36), Zion: The children also of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the sons of the Jevanim (Joel 4:6).Everything fortunate that occurred to Joseph likewise happened to Zion. It is written of Joseph: And Joseph was of beautiful form and fair to look upon (Gen. 39:6), and of Zion it is stated: Fair in situation, the joy of the whole earth (Ps. 48:3). Concerning Joseph it is written: He is not greater in this house than I (Gen. 39:9), and of Zion: The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former (Hag. 2:9). Joseph: The L-rd was with him (Gen. 39:2), Zion: And My eyes and My heart shall be there (II Chron. 7:15). Joseph: And showed kindness unto him (Gen. 39:21), Zion: I remember for thee the affection of thy youth (Jer. 2:2). Joseph: And he shaved himself and changed his raiment (Gen. 41:14), Zion: And the L-rd shall have washed away (Isa. 44:4). Joseph: Only in the throne will I be greater than thou (Gen. 41:40), Zion: At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the L-rd (Jer. 3:17). Joseph: And arrayed him in vestures of fine linen (Gen. 41:42), Zion: Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments (Isa. 52:1). Joseph: He sent Judah before him (Gen. 46:29), Zion: Behold, I send My messenger (Mal. 3:1).”

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