The Temptation Of Christ (Heathen Edition), by George S. Barrett
It should be noted at the outset that this book is not really a heathen book but Heathen Edition is the publisher of the work. The subject of the temptation of Christ is one that is quite fascinating. There are all kinds of questions one wonders about when one thinks of the temptation of Christ . First, the thoughts of the reader would likely be drawn to the question of the great temptation of Christ when Jesus resisted Satan’s blandishments concerning the stones turning into bread, or making a public show of divine deliverance, or choosing to avoid the cross in order for a lifetime of rule over the entire earth as a viceroy for Satan. Those readers who are aware of the troubles that Jesus faced in the Garden of Gethsemane would likely think of that as well. If that is what you are looking for in a book relating to the temptation of Jesus Christ, you will be well pleased with this book, and so I was pleased with it myself. A great deal of one’s enjoyment from books comes from expectations and when they are met there is much to enjoy and much to celebrate.
This particular volume is a short one at just over 100 pages. After an introduction by the publisher, the book begins with a foreword and preface. The author then discusses the possibility and necessity of the temptation (1), the reality of the temptation (2), the instrument and divine ordering of the temptation (3), and the time and place of the temptation (4). After these introductory chapters, the author talks about the first (5), second (6), and third (7) temptations in order. After that the author moves beyond the temptations that are likely familiar to the reader to discuss the life of temptation (8) that Jesus Christ had to deal with from Satan’s external efforts to derail His divinely appointed mission. The author then discusses the ministry of angels, an interesting aspect of the temptation of Christ (9) that is often neglected by readers and interpreters of the passage. Finally, in true and brave nonconformist fashion, the author talks about Christ’s victory as the pledge and power of our own victory over sin (10). And with this, the author is done after having written a fine and very intriguing volume dealing with the question of the temptations of Christ dealt with in scripture.
There are at least a couple of elements here that are worth discussing, and how the reader feels about them is likely to greatly influence their impression of this book. For one, the author adopts a psychological approach to the temptations of Christ. Some readers will likely appreciate this, as psychological readings of the Bible or other ancient writings is very common in the present day when such matters are viewed as being at the base of character and personality and behavior. Other writers, though, will not find very much to enjoy about a psychological interpretation of scripture, and being fairly warned is important in this regard. Perhaps more generally appealing rather than divisive is the author’s insight that Satan’s temptations have a pattern about them, in that Jesus’ answer to the first temptation influences Satan to exaggerate that answer in the second, and that Jesus’ response to the second prompts Satan’s attempt in the third temptation. In this regard the author implicitly encourages the reader to work out the question of balance, and how it is not only important to resist and overcome Satan’s specific tactical threats but also be aware of the fact that they could be attempts to maneuver one into a different position that results from overreacting to the initial threat. This sort of strategic insight should be of interest to many readers.
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