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Devil Brought To A High Place

Matthew 4:8 - Can it be taken literally that the devil took Jesus to a high place where he showed Him all the kingdoms of the world?

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 ---alan8869_of_UK on 4/20/06
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I believe the text is literal. However it could be a figure of speech but that still would not dilute the message in the text.
---mima on 2/25/08

i dont beleiev it happened literally it was a metaphore as is used in most of the bibles books
---simon on 5/5/07

alan, probably just to the top of buildings. If he would have went any higher, he would have been out of his realm (the world).
---Donna on 5/4/07

Lupe, I mentioned that earler on. The fact that Jesus responded to Satan with scripture is pretty amazing too.
---chris on 5/1/06

2. In the book of Psalm we see David expressing his feelings many times and even shows his pain. In the book of Proverbs Solomon authored his proverbs before his heart was turned away from God (1 Kings 11:1-11). So the conditions, feelings, and the time when God's word was recorded makes a big difference as to how we read a passage.
---Lupe2618 on 5/1/06

I myself don't believe it was a mountain per-say, but a high place. The point is not the mountain. I believe the writer was speaking from his point of view as many of them did many times in explaing things to us in scripture. Sometimes they put their feelings and also we have to consider the time in history when it was written. So much is involve that we have to look at. The point was the temptations and how Christ dealed with Satan on the questions.
---Lupe2618 on 5/1/06

John, my purpose is simply to present a case to explore the possibilities that this passage could be interpreted as a literal, physical occurrence. I've stated before that either way works for me. The detail that makes me want to investigate literal possibilities is the context that is used in the prior verses, which is clearly literal, is the same for this event. The way it begins with "again" leads me to believe that it is a repetitive action rather than a distinct one.
---chris on 5/1/06

I know not what straws you are grasping at here.

Just because the New World had neither kingdoms, not democracies, it does not mean that Jesus had to see them as either a kingdom or a democracy.

"Kingdom" can refer to the powers, etc behind the rulers here. That is mere conjecture about the event, and I reserve the right to be wrong. So, I wonder at your purpose?
---John_T on 4/30/06

Chris ... Europe is a pretty vast area, and in England there was a kingdom aat that time (Julius Caesar had a fair problem with them. Look at any globe, and you will see how high the mountain would have to be to get a sight-line from Israel to Britain.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/30/06

Again... that is assuming that kingdoms have spread to the other side of the earth. Which I doubt was the case. Look at North America for an example... how long after Christ's death did it take us to find this continent? Sure it had inhabitants, but I would hardly call it a kingdom.
---chris on 4/29/06

All I am saying is that given Earth's curvature, there is a physical limit of straight-line sight horizons.

Thus to see ALL THE KINGDOMS, it requires another thought process, beyond the physical. That is why IMO the first part of the verse is spiritual.
---John_T on 4/28/06

Alan, I am agreed it could be spiritual, but would not doubt it if it was literal either. I can see both ways on this one so I could have debated it either way. I was not trying to debate under false pretences, just trying to pose a "what if" question (devils advocate).

John, the horizon will move farther away the higher your altitude. That is fact. I brought it up because I questioned earlier, How far did the kingdoms spread at that time? Were kingdoms on the other side of the earth?
---chris on 4/27/06

Thanks for the straight sight line trig, but it doesn't work in earth. The Earth is a globe, and at one hight, the maximum sight distance remains constant on a sphere.

The maximum horizon will hide what is behind it, as well as things on the other side of the Earth.

Thus,IMO "high place" must be in some sort of a spiritual realm for the word "all" to be true in the passage.
---John_T on 4/26/06

In some parts of the Bible it makes a big difference whether one interprets literally or spiritually. I don't think this is one of them. In this passage it is the temptation that matters, not the mountain.
---Donna2277 on 4/26/06

Chris, # 2 .Yes God can do anything He wants, all things are possible with God.
But this was SATAN, showing Jesus all these nations. Do you suggest that he was able to change the physical shape of the Earth to be able to tempt Jesus?
God could have done it, if He wished to break the physical laws He established when creating Earth, but Satan could not have done it.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/26/06

Chris, # 1 You almost say (even if you do not literally admit it) that you have debated under false pretences. You also seem to have agreed that it is possible that the passage is not physically literally accurate.
I have elsewhere said that the Truth of Scriopture is not affected if the actual words used are not literally accurate.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/26/06

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Once again I remind you that I dont know what happened. In all honesty, it is not important to me. The relevance of the story is that Satan could not tempt Jesus and that it was scripture Jesus used to counter Satan. You dont have to try to convince me that it was spiritual. I can see either being true. I was only debating it to see if you would budge even an inch that there is a possibility it is literal. Obviously you wont. I hope you believe all things are possible for God.
---chris on 4/26/06

Chris ... Pakistan is nowhere near Jerusalem, and there are no mountains in the Middle East which even approach the height of the Himalayas.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/26/06

of course you are right Donna ... Neither Jesus nor Satan could see all the kingdoms on the whole world with their physical eyes.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/26/06

then, place the mountain between your locations... that cuts the distance in half. 30,000 feet up and you would see around 500 miles away. THere is 1000 miles viewing distance total. Raise the mountain some more... etc.
---chris on 4/26/06

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I dont know for sure what happened, but will never close my mind to the capabilities of God. You say it is not possible, but I say you underestimate his power. Most say it is not possible to walk on water, feed thousands from a couple fish, regrow human limbs, etc. Were those things spiritual or literal? How high can a sky diver leave a plane without the need for oxygen? What if there was an exceedingly high mountain that high?
---chris on 4/26/06

Chris ... Rome lies some thousands of miles away from Jerusalem. How high would yopu have to fly in order to see one from the other? Let alone the other side of the world.
Let's face it, it could not have happened physically.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/26/06

There was a a man named baalam, he could speak to God by dreams but yet could not receive Gods word in his heart. he limited God and took a chance on his own way of thinking to satisfy his desires. It cost him his life. We can only please God by believing his word and obeying it. so take it literally
---Exzucuh on 4/25/06

The temple where Satan set Jesus on the "pinnacle", is on the "temple mount". From Mt Herman, I think.. on a clear day.. you might see Jordan. The Golan Heights overlook Lebanon. The Samaritans lived between Jerusalem and Galilee. (I'm not sure what other tribes occupied what areas). To Satan, with limited vision, these could be "kingdoms". IMO Satan knew that Jesus, the Creator, would know all kingdoms of the world whether or not His physical eyes could see them.
---Donna2244 on 4/25/06

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-2- It would be possible Alan. The various mountain ranges in the middle east can be exceedingly high. Pakistan's Nanga Parbat is over 26,000 feet high. At that hight your line of sight would be roughly 200 mile radius (400 mile diameter). Depending on which mountain and which kingdoms existed and even if there was a more exceeding high mountain (that maybe crumbled when the earth quaked ad Jesus's crucifiction... say as high as the airplanes fly now days... it is definately possible.
---chris on 4/25/06

-1- Alan as you ascend to higher altitudes your horizon gradually extends further away in all directions. This increasing distance to the horizon is an increase in line-of-sight.

The relationship between altitude and maximum straight line-of-sight distance can be calculated with an easy formula that is a reduction of required trigonometry:

Distance [miles] = 1.23 * SQRT(Altitude [feet])
39 miles at 1,000ft
123 miles at 10,000ft
389 miles at 100,000ft
---chris on 4/25/06

Chris ... gues it would have to be such an exceedingly high mountain that it could not have been an actual physical one. Do you know how much the earth curves between the Middle East and Rome, let alone Britain, or other continents.
Perhaps satan made a specially high one just for the purpose, but it would stll,not enable one to see the other side of the world.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/25/06

Alan, I would guess that is why it is called an "exceeding" high mountain.
---chris on 4/25/06

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I am just guessing. I have no clue (but will one wonderful day).

I still wonder why its the same:
v.5 Then "the devil taketh him up into" the holy city...
v.8 Again, "the devil taketh him up into" an exceeding high mountain...

The word "again" leads me to believe he repeated his previous action. I venture to guess they must both be taken literally or both spiritually. Based on the context of the first instance, I would guess it is literal.
---chris on 4/25/06

Chris: IMHO verse 4 is a spiritual location, and verses 5-6 are physical locations.

The reason for this is that "high place" can be anything high, and that to "see all the kingdoms of the world" infers that the ones who ruled each were seen.

Since the 3 temptations were each an attack on the divinity of Jesus, I see that as a PLAUSABLE explanation. I reserve the right to be wrong in this.
---John_T on 4/24/06

Now I suppose it is conceivable that at that time in history, there was no actual kingdom in the world, except within physical sight of Jesus' mountain, but if we are to take it that Jesus was only shown kingdoms Satan would have been promising Him only them, and not the whole world.
Perhaps Satan was promising Him only that?
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/24/06

Now Chris, to answer your latest question, we know that there were nations far far away, for the Wise men came from the East. And the Romans came from Rome, which would have been over the horizon, and we know from Roman history that at that time their Empire spread all over Europe & Indeed in England there was within a few yeara the monarch Boadicea ... and that is well over the horizon & hidden behind many mountain ranges.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/24/06

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aChris ... I did not refer to verses 5 & 6 because the difficulty of literalness does not arise with those, It is quite probable that Jesus did go physically to the pinnacle, and was tempted to throw Himself off.
But He could not have literally and physically seen the whole world from the highest mountain, unless a miraculous flattening of the earth occurred at the time (and Satan could not have done that)
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/24/06

That didnt answer my question. I guess that's ok though, I will give an answer to yours. I am wondering, how many kingdoms were there during that time period? Is it not possible that they all were in or around the middle east? I am not so sure they needed to look to the other side of the earth. A horizon will change drastically the higher you raise the point of view. (I'm not saying that it was physical or spiritual because I dont know, I just wanted to give you all something to think about)
---chris on 4/24/06

Chris ... if physical, how did they see all the nations of the whole earth? Do the scientists lie when they tell us about horizons, and do our eys lie when we cannot see over them??
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/24/06

Curious, if it was not physical then explain verses 5 & 6:
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 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.
If spiritual, why the physical challenge? Then v.8 starts "again" as if it were the same as v.5
---chris on 4/24/06

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KJV opos (G3735)translates as mountain 41 times, mount 21 times, and hill three times.
Strong, J.
KJV (G3880) 50 occurrences; AV translates as take 30 times, receive 15 times, take unto twice, take up twice, and take away once. Strong, J.

This demonstrates that there is NO clue as to exactly where and how this came about. IMHO this can be either a physical spiritual high place. Both Satan and Jesus can be in physical or spiritual places
---John_T on 4/24/06

Bruce5656: Good point! I'm glad this isn't a salvation issue & we can disagree agreeably. :-)

I don't believe Satan, "is capable of assuming physical form," at will, i.e., he can't create a body for himself . Yes, he was an actual physical creature (G3:14-15). G3:1 says God made him .

Did Satan show up in the wilderness in a physical body to tempt Jesus? I don't think so. Unless the Lord shows me otherwise, I will stand on what I believe Scripture says.
---Leon on 4/24/06

Leon ... Please read the passage in KJV or whatever translation you like. none of them contain the concept "Jesus saw what Satan showed Him in His spirit"
The actual words of the passage, if taken literally mean Jesus went up into the high place and saw the whole world. To see the truth of the passage, both you and I have interpreted it as meaning not quite that, but that (on which we both agree) it was Jesus spirit that saw it, or in my words, in His minds eye
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/23/06

Satan (may or) may not have a body but we do know that he is capable of assuming physical form for the purpose of interacting with men. ie the temptation of Eve.
---Bruce5656 on 4/23/06

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"I see that in order to make the passage make literal sense, you have to had to add not just words, but concepts."

Not so Alan, God forbid! Holy Scripture (the Bible) speaks loud & clear without any modifications (eisegeses) from " you ", me or anyone else.
---Leon on 4/22/06

Leon ... I am not focussing on what you say, but now you challenge me to do so, I see that in order to make the passage make literal sense, you have had to add not just words, but concepts.
I do agree with you about what happened, and you will see that it is just what I said in my response of 4/20 #2
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/21/06

Alan...: I really don't understand your dilema. Again, "I believe Jesus ' literally, as described in scripture ', saw what Satan showed Him in His (Jesus') spirit."

Are you of the mind that what happens in the spirit realm is not literal? I believe what happens in the spirit realm is more real than what we see in this (earth) realm.

May I suggest you not focus on Leon. Rather, focus on the word of God (the Bible) for absolute clarity.

Peace... :-)
---Leon on 4/21/06

Leon, No, of course I know that mortal could not see the whole world. I just do not see how you can say that it did not happen as described, but still maintain that it is literal.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/21/06

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Bruce5656..Alan...: EPHESIANS 6:12

Satan is a spirit... he has no body .

Again, it's all about " spiritual warfare fought in the earth realm ."

No Alan, I don't believe that happened. That's carnal. I believe Jesus saw what Satan showed Him in His spirit . " Spirit " Alan, not "flesh"! By the way, do you believe, " mortal eyes could see the whole world ."?
---Leon on 4/21/06

Leon ... You say the verse is literal, which would mean that Satan on the form of a person took the human Jesus up to a high place where His mortal eyes could see the whole world.
Do you believe this happened?
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/20/06

What indication is there in scripture to back up your statment "The disembodied, evil spirit of Satan"?
---Bruce5656 on 4/20/06

Literal, yes! Figuratively, absolutely not!

Key to understanding the battle between Jesus & Satan is to understand it was spiritual warfare fought in the earth realm . The disembodied, evil spirit of Satan targeted & tried to use Jesus' flesh (1 Jn. 2:15-17) as a weapon against Him. But after fasting 40 days...though weak in his flesh, Jesus was mightly built up in the Holy Spirit & was able to walk in, & defeat the enemy with the word of God, the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).
---Leon on 4/20/06

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It is my understanding the "all" the references of "high places" means that it took place in the spirit realm. So the devil and Jesus were in the spirit, because Jesus was flesh, and the devil is a fallen angel.
---Fred_S. on 4/20/06

I have no reason to believe it wasn't lieral. The wilderness Jesus went to, the temptation, the stones, the mountains, the devil, the pinnacle of the temple, if one is real, the others would be also.
---john on 4/20/06

Mima ... # 2 I mean I think Jesus went up to the high place, and in his mind's eye, He saw the whole of mankind, the whole of creation. And Satan tempted Him. I wonder whether Satan was there as a physical being? ... probably not, but just somehow put the temptation in Jesus' mind.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/20/06

Mima ... I absolutely agree the message is not diluted, whether the words be literal or figurative.
But how could Satan and Jesus see over the horizon and to the other side of the globe? So I think it must have been figurative rather than literal.
---alan8869_of_UK on 4/20/06

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