BIBLE CHARACTERS MENTIONED IN THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE BIBLE LESSON*
April 2, 2006
Compiled by Lt Gen C. Norman Wood, USAF (Ret), Burke, VA 22015
RESPONSIVE READING: The Temptation (Matt 4: 1-11)
“God Himself is never the agent of temptation (James 1:13), but here—as in the Book of Job—God uses even satanic tempting to serve His sovereign purposes.” (MacArthur Commentary)
[Dev’uhl] (Gr. diabolis)
“DEVIL. Evil; a lie; error; neither corporeality nor mind; the opposite of Truth; a belief
in sin, sickness, and death; animal magnetism or hypnotism; the lust of the flesh, which
saith: ‘I am life and intelligence in matter. There is more than one mind, for I am mind, —
a wicked mind, self-made or created by a tribal god and put into the opposite of mind,
termed matter, thence to reproduce a mortal universe, including man, not after the image
and likeness of Spirit, but after its own image.’" (S&H 584:17)
The devil is “the personal dimension of that which opposes God’s purposes in His world.” (Holman Dictionary) He is portrayed as a slanderer, the arch-enemy of man's spiritual interest in Job, Zechariah, and Revelation. The devil is called also "the accuser of the brethen" in Revelation.
In Leviticus, the word "devil" is the translation of the Hebrew sair, meaning a "goat" or "satyr,” alluding to the wood-demons, the objects of idolatrous worship among the heathen.
In Deuteronomy and Psalms it is the translation of Hebrew shed , meaning lord, and idol, regarded by the Jews as a "demon," as the word is rendered in the Revised Version.
In the narratives of the Gospels regarding the "casting out of devils" a different Greek word (daimon) is used. In the time of our Lord there were frequent cases of demoniacal possession in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Mason, Frank E. (CSB and Assistant Pastor), “The Temptation of Jesus,” BIBLE LESSONS, Christian Science Journal (December 1888), p. 465.
--Immediately after Jesus' baptism he was led into the Wilderness to be tempted.
--Satan, material belief, had for thousands of years held despotic sway over mankind, oppressing them with burdensome and cruel tasks.
--Jesus must be tempted in every point like ourselves, in order to nullify and prove the nothingness of each claim.
• Hunger, pain, suffering, physical and mental, must be known and met.
---From the belief of birth to the belief of death, every method, every mode of
materialism, must be counteracted by the production of their opposites.
• If the opposite, the positive, is not perceived, the negative will seem correct, and will assert itself as true.
Hedrick, Miss Judith H. (CS), “Armed against the devil,” Christian Science Sentinel (11 May 1998), p. 10.
--Although evil can appear very real, the Bible helps us see that it is a deception or lie.
• Referring to the devil, Christ Jesus taught, “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).
---The armor of God helps us stand against the deceptions of the devil and prove evil’s unreality.
• Jesus understood that God, Spirit, is the only power and presence.
--evil is not a personal devil, but a wrong belief.
• We do not battle against a real or personal evil any more than Jesus did.
---Rather we deny the lie that evil exists.
---If we believe the lie, we are subject to it.
• When we stand for truth and deny the lie, we prove the nothingness of the lie.
SECTION I: The Test of Blame in Temptation (James 1: 1,12,13)
The twelve tribes mentioned in v.1 is “a common NT title for Jews (cf. Matt 19:28; Acts 26:7; Rev 7:4).” (MacArthur Commentary)
James (Half-brother of Jesus)
Joseph = Mary
James “is listed first among the brothers of Jesus, presumably as the oldest of them (Matt 13:55; Mark 6:3),” (Interpreter’s Dictionary) “along with three other brothers of Jesus.” (Oxford Guide to People & Places)
Mark suggests that James was initially hostile to Jesus’ message and activity. Paul relates in I Corinthians that he was, however, a witness to the risen Jesus; and relates in Galatians that he was a major leader in the Jerusalem church.
Leishman, Thomas L., “The Letters of James and of Jude,” Christian Science Journal (July 1942), p. 226.
--These two brief epistles are here considered together, since it is generally held that their authors were brothers, who also were numbered among those who are described as “the brethren of the Lord.”
We learn from Matthew’s Gospel (13: 55) that Jesus had four brothers—who may have been, as many suppose, children of Joseph by a former marriage, being thus more strictly “half-brothers” of the Master.
---John indicates in a revealing phrase that during Jesus’ ministry “his brethren” did not “believe in him” (John 7: 5), but, at a later date, “James the Lord’s brother” won the honorary title of “apostle” (Gal 1: 19), and is referred to as one of the outstanding leaders in the church at Jerusalem; while it appears that Judas (or “Jude”) and possibly other members of Jesus’ immediate family became active Christians following his ascension (compare Acts 1: 14).
--As contrasted with the Pauline epistles, the letter of James is inclined to lay stress upon “works” rather than upon “faith,” this thought being clearly brought out in the familiar and repeated affirmation that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20,26); while Paul asserts that “a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ” (Gal 2:16).
Platt, L. Prescott, “No Tempter or Tempted in God’s Allness,” OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO YOUNG PEOPLE, Christian Science Sentinel (29 November 1952), p. 2093.
--On page 393 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” Mary Baker Eddy says, “A false belief is both the tempter and the tempted, the sin and the sinner, the disease and its cause.”
• Sometimes it may seem easy to see that the tempter is a false belief, and we may have a fairly clear realization of the unreality of the temptation; but error may argue loudly that man is a mortal and is being tempted.
--Then is the time to get back to the fundamental but simple truth of Christian Science, that because God is all, He includes within that all-ness man as His own spiritually perfect idea.
• God is forever expressing Himself in all His perfection, and we can know that, in our real self, we are that expression.
---What appears as our material body is only a material belief about us, never our actual selfhood.
SECTION II: Abraham’s Offering of Isaac (Gen 22: 1-3,5,7-9,11,12)
Genesis 22 is a love chapter. Perhaps it is the most beautiful, heart-stirring chapter in all of Genesis. The intense, deep, all-pervading love of a man for the person of the living God whom he adores is perfectly expressed in this act of Abraham which is both obedient and costly and becomes the most glorious mountain peak of his noble life.