Significance of the Test

When Christ bore the test of temptation upon the point of appetite He did not stand in beautiful Eden, as did Adam, with the light and love of God seen in everything His eye rested upon; but He was in a barren, desolate wilderness, surrounded with wild beasts. Everything around Him was repulsive. With these surroundings, He fasted forty days and forty nights, “and in those days he did eat nothing.” He was emaciated through long fasting and felt the keenest sense of hunger. His visage was indeed marred more than the sons of men. Con 37.2

Christ thus entered upon His life of conflict to overcome the mighty foe, in bearing the very test which Adam failed to endure, that through successful conflict He might break the power of Satan and redeem the race from the disgrace of the fall. Con 37.3

All was lost when Adam yielded to the power of appetite. The Redeemer, in whom both the human and the divine were united, stood in Adam's place and endured a terrible fast of nearly six weeks. The length of this fast is the strongest evidence of the great sinfulness of debased appetite and the power it has upon the human family. Con 37.4

The humanity of Christ reached to the very depths of human wretchedness and identified itself with the weaknesses and necessities of fallen man, while His divine nature grasped the Eternal. His work in bearing the guilt of man's transgression was not to give him license to continue to violate the law of God; for transgression made man a debtor to the law, and Christ Himself was paying this debt by His own suffering. The trials and sufferings of Christ were to impress man with a sense of his great sin in breaking the law of God, and to bring him to repentance and obedience to that law, and through obedience to acceptance with God. He would impute His righteousness to man and so raise him in moral value with God that his efforts to keep the divine law would be acceptable. Christ's work was to reconcile man to God through His human nature, and God to man through His divine nature. Con 38.1

As soon as the long fast of Christ commenced, Satan was at hand with his temptations. He came to Christ enshrouded in light, claiming to be one of the angels from the throne of God, sent upon an errand of mercy to sympathize with Him and to relieve Him of His suffering condition. He tried to make Christ believe that God did not require Him to pass through the self-denial and sufferings He anticipated; that he had been sent from heaven to bear to Him the message that God only designed to prove His willingness to endure. Con 38.2

Satan told Christ that He was to set his feet in the blood-stained path but not to travel it, that like Abraham He was tested to show His perfect obedience. He also stated that he was the angel that stayed the hand of Abraham as the knife was raised to slay Isaac, and he had now come to save His life; that it was not necessary for Him to endure this painful hunger and death from starvation; and that he would help Him bear the work in the plan of salvation. Con 38.3

The Son of God turned from all these artful temptations and was steadfast in His purpose to carry out in every particular, in the spirit and in the very letter, the plan which had been devised for the redemption of the fallen race. But Satan had manifold temptations prepared to ensnare Christ and obtain advantage of Him; if he failed in one temptation, he would try another. He thought he would succeed, because Christ had humbled Himself as a man. He flattered himself that his assumed character as one of the heavenly angels could not be discerned. He feigned to doubt the divinity of Christ because of His emaciated appearance and unpleasant surroundings. Con 39.1

Christ knew that in taking the nature of man He would not be equal in appearance to the angels of heaven. Satan urged that if He was indeed the Son of God He should give him evidence of His exalted character. He approached Christ with temptations upon appetite. He had overcome Adam upon this point, and he had controlled his descendants, and through indulgence of appetite, had led them to provoke God by iniquity until their crimes were so great that the Lord destroyed them from off the earth by the waters of the Flood. Con 39.2

Under Satan's direct temptations the children of Israel suffered appetite to control reason, and they were, through indulgence, led to commit grievous sins which awakened the wrath of God against them, and they fell in the wilderness. He thought that he should be successful in overcoming Christ with the same temptation. Satan told Christ that one of the exalted angels had been exiled to the earth, that His appearance indicated that, instead of His being the king of heaven, He was the angel fallen, and that this explained His emaciated and distressed appearance. Con 39.3