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Matthew 4:1-25
Introduction to Messiah
Last Updated 3/8/00


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Jesus answered him, "It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali-- to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

4:1 The devil

Hebrew: "haSatan" (HAH-say-TAHN) - the adversary, opponent, rebel.


  • Isaiah 14:11-15 is a taunt of the king of Babylon with a "hidden" reference to Satan
  • Ezekiel 28:11-19
  • Job 1, 2, 40, 41, 42:6 - a created being opposed to God
  • Genesis 3 & Revelation 12:9

Satan is the background source of all sin, evil and opposition to God. The Tenakh and "New Testament" take for granted a supernatural realm of good and evil, angels who serve God and those who serve Satan. This topic will be dealt with in our Revelation study.

4:2 Forty days and forty nights

One of many "New Testament" comparisons betweenYeshua and Moses. Moses received all the Torah after fasting 40 days. Yeshua was tempted to break Torah after fasting 40 days (see section below on "Temptations").

4:3 Son of God

The Tenakh hints at such a person:

  • Isaiah 9:5-7
  • Micah 5:1-2
  • Psalm 2:7
  • Proverbs 30:4
  • Daniel 7:13

4:4-10 "It is written ..."

Refers to the Tenakh - "Tenakh" is an acronym formed from the first letters of the three parts of the Hebrew Bible:

  • Torah (meaning: instruction, revelation or teaching) The first 5 books of Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  • N’vi’im (prophets) Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel & the "minor prophets"
  • K’tuvim (writings) Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Chronicles, Nehemiah

In Jewish studies, the entire Tenakh is sometimes referred to as "Torah," as it is all God's revelation. In the same sense, the entire Bible (with "New Testament") is "Torah."

4:4-10 Temptations

It may seem strange that Satan can tempt (or "bless") anyone, especialy the Son of God, but nonetheless he and his "angels" are given that ability. Ultimately, even their actions serve the purpose of God. Satan tempts Yeshua with three categories of sin mentioned in 1 John 2:15-17, and Yeshua quotes the Torah to resist Satan all three times: Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 6:16; Deuteronomy 6:13.

Interestingly, as Moses was given the design for the Tabernacle (which later became the Temple, and which Judaism teaches is a "representation" of God's heavenly realm), Satan conversely took Yeshua up to the top of the Temple and offered Him "his" realm.

Satan is the inventor of the lie (John 8:44) and misuses scripture (at verse 6) citing Psalm 91:11-12 out of its context.

4:17 "Near"

As mentioned earlier, this should be translated, "the Kingdom is offered."

4:23 Preaching the good news of the kingdom ... healing every disease and sickness ..."

Good news as most are familiar with is the "Gospel." Christianity generally teaches the "Gospel" is; the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah. But how can Yeshua be preaching this if He is still alive? The apostles likewise preached the same while Yeshua was alive. Also, Hebrews 4:2-6 says that the Gospel was preached to the Israelites, some 1300 years before Yeshua's time. How can this be?

The explanation is in the Matthew verse itself -- the Gospel has to do with the healing of disease and sickness and restoration of creation, as will be seen in its fulness in the Millennium. For more information on this, see Yovel Year (Jubilees) and the Gospel. (CAUTION: This article is from our Revelation study and contains some advanced concepts. Use the BACK button to return here.)

See also: Isaiah 26:14, 29:18, 35:4-6, 61:1.

4:24 "... all over Syria"

This is possibly a mistranslation in the Greek texts, as the DuTillet Hebrew Matthew has instead, "the people" (which has a similar spelling to "Syria" and makes more sense).