The kingdoms of the world (Lk 4:5-4:5)

“Then the devil

Led Jesus up.

He showed him,

In an instant,

All the kingdoms

Of the world.”

 

Καὶ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτὸν ἔδειξεν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐν στιγμῇ χρόνου.

 

This is the 3rd and final temptation in Matthew, chapter 4:8-10, but here in Luke it is the 2nd temptation.  The wording is almost the same, indicating a shared common source, perhaps Q.  Luke said that the devil led Jesus up (Καὶ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτὸν), presumably a high mountain, as in some Orthodox manuscripts and in Matthew.  He then showed him (ἔδειξεν αὐτῷ) in an instant or moment in time (ἐν στιγμῇ χρόνου), all the kingdoms of the world (πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τῆς οἰκουμένης).  Exactly how he did this is difficult to discern.  This time, the devil took Jesus to an exceeding high mountain, where he showed Jesus all the great kingdoms of the world.  Luke was more restrained in his description of the various kingdoms, since he did not mention their splendor and glory, the way that Matthew had.

Advertisements

Ezekiel is brought to a high mountain in Israel (Ezek 40:1-40:2)

“In the twenty-fifth year

Of our exile,

At the beginning

Of the year,

On the tenth day

Of the month,

In the fourteenth year

After the city

Was struck down,

On that very day,

The hand of Yahweh

Was upon me.

He brought me there.

He brought me,

In visions of God,

To the land of Israel.

He set me down

On a very high mountain.

There was a structure,

Like a city,

To the south.”

This is the last section of the Book of Ezekiel. This is sometimes called the Torah of Ezekiel, because he sets out the size and rules for the Temple, after the exile. Like Moses, many centuries earlier, Ezekiel has his own very specific descriptions about how this Second Temple should be constructed. Once again, Ezekiel has a vision on a precise date, on the 10th day of the 1st month, the 25th year since the beginning of the exile, the 14th year after the destruction of Jerusalem, 573 BCE. Continuing with his first-person singular narrative, he said that he was brought to a high mountain in Israel with a great city to the south.

The holy mountain (Ezek 20:40-20:40)

“Says Yahweh God.

‘On my holy mountain,

The mountain height

Of Israel,

There all the house of Israel,

All of them,

Shall serve me

In the land.

There I will accept them.

There I will require

Your contributions,

The choicest of your gifts,

With all your sacred things.’”

It was very clear that Yahweh wanted all the people of Israel to worship him on the holy high mountain and no place else. This holy mountain was the only place where they could serve him. Yahweh would accept their contributions only there. In fact, he required their choicest gifts and sacred items. Yahweh was precise. He was against all the other high places in Israel and Judah. The holy sacred mountain was the only place for sacrifices.

The planted sprig in Israel (Ezek 17:23-17:23)

“I will plant it

On the mountain height

Of Israel.

Thus it may produce

Boughs.

It will bear fruit.

It will become

A noble cedar.

Under it,

Every kind of bird

Will live.

In the shade

Of its branches,

Will nest

Winged creatures

Of every kind.”

Yahweh said that he was going to plant this tender sprig on a high mountain in Israel. There it would produce branches and fruit. It would become a large noble cedar tree. Every kind of bird would live under its shade. All kinds of winged creatures would nest in its branches. It almost sounds like a bird sanctuary in Israel.

Yahweh will plant the sprig (Ezek 17:22-17:22)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I myself

Will take a sprig

From the lofty top

Of the cedar.

I will set it out.

I will break off

A tender one

From the topmost

Of its young twigs.

I myself

Will plant it

On a high mountain,

On a lofty mountain.’”

Yahweh himself was going to plant this sprig branch on a high mountain. He was going to take it off the top of a very high cedar tree. He was going to break off a tender twig from the top of that tree. Then he was going to plant it on a high lofty mountain. There would be no more eagle plantings. Yahweh himself was stepping in.

The return of the exiles (Bar 5:5-5:9)

“Arise!

O Jerusalem!

Stand upon the height!

Look toward the east! See your children

Gathered from the west,

Gathered from the east, At the word

Of the Holy One! They are rejoicing

That God has remembered them. They went out from you

On foot.

They were led away

By their enemies.

But God will bring them

Back to you.

They will be carried in glory

As on a royal throne.

God has ordered

That every high mountain

With the everlasting hills

Will be made low.

The valleys will be filled up

To make level ground.

Thus Israel may walk safely

In the glory of God.

The woods

With every fragrant tree

Have shaded Israel

At God’s command.

God will lead Israel with joy,

In the light of his glory,

With the mercy,

With the righteousness

That comes from him.”

This author concludes this book of Baruch with a call to Jerusalem to arise and stand tall. They were to look to the east to see their children, both from the east and west, returning and rejoicing because God had remembered them. They went out on foot, led away by their captive enemies. However, they would return as if carried in glory on a throne. Every high mountain and hill would be leveled, while the valleys would fill up, to make a level ground so that they could walk safely in the glory of God. The fragrant trees of the woods would shade them. God would lead them with the joy and the light of his glory that comes from his mercy and righteousness.

Against the sexual immorality of idolatry (Isa 57:7-57:8)

“Upon a high lofty mountain

You have set your bed.

There you went up to offer sacrifice.

Behind the door,

Behind the doorpost

You have set up your symbol.

In deserting me,

You have uncovered your bed.

You have gone up to it.

You have made it wide.

You have made a bargain

For yourself with them.

You have loved their bed.

You have gazed on their nakedness.”

Third Isaiah speaks out against the sexual immorality of this idol worship. On a high mountain of worship there would be a bed. With the symbol of the idol behind the door or the doorpost, there they opened their wide bed to others. Thus, they deserted Yahweh when they offered their sacrifices. They made a bargain with their sexual partners, where they loved and gazed on each other’s nakedness. These were the implications of sexual immoral acts of naked bodies in a bed.