Tempt the Messiah - Commentaries

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The Commentaries

Here I will explain some of my interpretation of the Biblical text and the ideas behind the art. Most of the artwork was made in an effort to express thought relating to when Satan tempted our Lord. I will share some of these things, as well as respond to some prior questions and comments from readers. I will try to talk about these things in a way that everyone can understand, even someone that is not Christian.

Part 1 – Bread in the Desert

I give it this title for several reasons. In the desert Satan tempts our Lord to turn stone into bread. Also, Christ claims to be the Bread of Life – and in this part of the story he is… in the desert. So, lets get started.

Satan asked Christ to turn stone into bread.

Why? Christ was hungry according to the text. So what’s the big deal here? If Christ turns stone into bread and eats it, what difference does that make to us? Broaden your scope when looking at this. Bread serves to nourish the body. But a stone cannot be eaten. When Adam was created, he was like bread unto God. But because of sin, Adam became like stone – and humanity could no longer abide in God. So here we understand Christ, who is God in the flesh, hungers in the natural body… and eternal spirit. What we see here is a parallel. Satan suggests that God should take the substance of humanity (now like stone) and remake it into something else, something that will serve God (like bread). Essentially, Satan is proposing that God have a creation do-over.

Now, Satan wants this because… he also is part of creation. If God remakes humanity, God can remake the fallen angels; he can remake Satan back into Lucifer, the anointed cherubim (his previous identity). With these ideas in mind, some of the art should make more sense. The picture above symbolizes Satan tempting humanity, in the wily way in which he did it. The stone represents us. I will call it the... Adam-stone. Once as bread, but now as stone.

One reader said that this part with the floating stones reminded him of a cartoon called Dragon Ball Z.  In that cartoon, when the super-powered characters charge up with energy before a fight, strange things happened – like the earth would break loose and float around. I must admit that I have seen this cartoon many times. Enjoyed it. Looking back, maybe I was influenced by that.

Stone or stones into bread?
In the Gospel of Matthew, the text reads "stones" (plural) . In Luke, it says this "stone" (singular). I take this to mean either, or both. Adam was a single soul, represented by the stone that Satan holds in his hand. But Adam embodied all of humanity that would come after him down through time. So, the stones floating around them and across the desert represent all of humanity throughout time. These souls rise to attention, awaiting God’s response to the proposal of the Devil.

The Adam-stone has fallen from the hand of Satan (notice that the motion marks of the stone spell "Adam"). Indeed, all the stones have fallen to the earth. This represents what we call The Fall – when we sinned and fell from glory, through Adam.

Satan wants to be Lucifer again. He desires to return to the Holy Mountain of God and to walk in the midst of the stones of fire again (Ezekiel 28:14&16). The sand-wings represent his desire. In the art, Satan assumes the position of blessing. For Catholic Christians, this gesture is a way to receive a blessing from the priest at a time when they are spiritually unclean and unable to receive the sacrament of communion (the bread and the wine). You should see the parallel: though Satan is unworthy, he wants God to bless him in the utmost way – to remake and restore him.

In the above picture, we see the Adam-stone at the feet of Satan. Off to the side is the… Eve-stone. Back in the Garden of Eden, Satan talked Eve into eating the forbidden fruit and she gave some to Adam. But it was Adam that was told directly by God to avoid receiving the knowledge of good and evil.

Why is the knowledge of good and evil a bad thing? Think about that. To have knowledge of these things we must experience both, thereby understanding them by basis of comparison. Do we have to destroy each other and the world to have ultimate knowledge of evil?

"THE HEAVENS AND EARTH SHALL SHAKE..." the Biblical text reads. Shake indeed!

Thus far we have talked about humanity’s fall from a state of existence absent of evil and where all things were good in human life eternal. Now what? HOPE. The partial Biblical text that is quoted above continues to read, "…BUT THE LORD WILL BE THE HOPE FOR HIS PEOPLE". God will not do away with us to make a new creation. He has a different plan to save us from the evil that we brought upon the earth and ourselves.

Though Satan is seen standing with the Adam-stone at his feet, Christ does not do this and kneels before the stone with an outstretched hand. This is a symbol of how God stepped down from his divinity to serve his beloved creation, rather than exert his power and control over it.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

Not... bread alone... but by every word... of God, he says? I could say so much here. But maybe my words would get in the way. I will mention what God said about creation before the fall - "it is good". Well, how do we reconcile that with… the way things are now? This is where Christ comes in.

Did you notice that the shadow of Christ in this picture actually looks like the shadow of a cross? Obviously, this points to the crucifixion of Christ. By the supernatural event of the cross Christ can bend the energy within us (our spirits) from evil to good - and to be able to do this is the most powerful thing in the world… more powerful than guns and bombs.
"See, I make all things new."
To get the official line on these things, you can do a Bible study on "justification" and "sanctification". Add to that a study in Revelation about the end of days and the Second Coming of Christ (the above quote from Christ is in that book - chapter 21, verse 5). So this making of "all things new" began after Eden and spans all the way to the expected return of Christ to earth.

Here you see the eye of the Devil. In it you see an image of the little town of Bethlehem and the star that announced our Savior’s birth. Satan has known since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden that a hero would be born with the power to crush evil – "…and he shall crush your head." (Genesis 3:15). Since then Satan has watched heroes in perceived majesty come and go. None were the Savior. Satan was always looking for a mighty man that did mighty deeds – such would be his nemesis we would think. But God came to us… poor. He lived… humbly. He died… in a shameful way. But… our hero rose… triumphantly… and he will change the universe!

Christ can bend the energy within us...
You might be saying, "Hey, he skipped over a bunch of stuff. And what about explaining why Jesus hit that girl in the head with a staff?"

Well, maybe you can put yourself on the right track after reading about the ideas so far. And I will add more as I have time. But I will give a hint to help you see the spiritual application of that particular part of the art: The staff represents the authority and full word of God - and that is what Christ strikes Satan upon the head with...