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Dr. Utr. Iur.

Frank

Van den Broeke

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★ Reflexion on the Life of Moses and the Temptations of Christ

★ Biblical description: Stories in the Life of Moses: Botticelli Sandro

★ Biblical description: The Temptations of Christ: Botticelli Sandro

    ★Reflexion on the Life of Moses and the Temptations of Christ

Moses and Jesus faith are tested

I like the devil in the work of Botticelli. In this detail of “the Temptations of Christ”  he couldn’t be holier. Disguised as itinerant friar, with cape, staff and rosary .... but with little wings of a bat and feet like the claws of a hen. And above all: he knows the Scripture so well! Like many TV - preachers! That’s dangerous! He will put Jesus to the test, just like the Lord tested Moses in his faith. Here we have two scenes that prepared Moses as well as Jesus for their public life.

            Moses seemed to have everything. He was even pointed out as becoming the successor of the pharaoh. Probably, he had just to wait a bit more and once being the successor of the pharaoh he could change laws, even helping the Israelites towards the promised country. But his conscience could not bear anymore the suffering and injustice of his follow brothers of Israel. We dare not to seek to defend Moses in the murder of the Egyptian. Moses’ act was in defiance of the authority of Egypt, and it was premeditated murder (Ex 2:12).

Tempation of Moses - Temptation of Christ

For me, this was always difficult to understand: Did Moses had to kill? ... for finding so his way of freedom? Maybe the catechism of the Catholic Church can give us a help in understanding (sea beneath): “a sin to combat social injustice”.

But through his act he get tested by the lord: next day two Hebrews were fighting. But they don’t want his advise anymore. By his killing he lost all his authority. He ! The adopted son of a pharaoh! Humiliated!!

So a second test came over Moses: He has to leave what he considered his country and going to the desert of Madian. Faith asks for space and time so that man can listen.

But at the well in the desert he lost again his temper, and for the same reason: social injustice. Seeing helpless women, he defends them from pestering shepherds. He, the son of a pharaoh, is taking the humble task by helping to water Jethro’s daughters flock. His actions were inspired by his faith in a God of Justice. The desert turns the proud youngster in a humble man; from ruler he becomes the servant of servants. (diakones - deacon) There is something in it: only when you get stripped of superfluous items like wealth, power, you can turn in yourself and find your true vocation.

Now he was ready to meet the Lord. His despicable murderous act and the desert made him ready for a last test the Lord was to give him. Unworthy, taking of his shoes, he will encounter the Lord in the burning bush who ordered him to lead his people out of Egypt to the promised country. But also there, as we will see in the future, his authority and the Israelites will get tested further in their faith. (Deut 8:2 ss)

And also Jesus got tested: the devil, disguised as a monk tries to redefine the nature of Jesus’ sonship given him by His Father on the moment of his baptism. “Since you are the Son of God”! he exclaims. And who is the devil? Also called Lucifer. Listen to the name: LUX FERRE: the man who brings you light, who is enlightning you! Yes indeed!

The Illuminati of Dan Brown in his book Angels & Demons. Also in the book they are apparently men of God, just like the monk here with habit, pilgrim-stick and rosary ... but with the feet o a hen and wings of a bast. We always think that the devil is working with our vices. But no! The devil is more than happy we have them. But the devil is working on our virtues, our talents, and tries to brake them down. Therefore he doesn’t deny Jesus’ sonship, but he wants that Jesus act like God. Isn’t it that everybody has to follow the call that God made for him? Those who are not following their call with contrived and humble heart will fail. The abuse scandals of power in the banking-world, in politics and even in the Church are proving that. Jesus' talent was that He is the son of God. Therefore He has powers nobody has. The devil is proposing to change the stones in bread ... (with thàt talent, .. something simple to do!). And maybe later selling the bread and sharing the profits. Let say someone is beautiful and caring mother. The devil will use the beauty to lurk that person in prostitution, where she can use her talent.

But if Jesus IS the Son of God, he should act like God. This temptation will haunt him also when He is on the cross: “If you are the Son of God ... safe yourself!” (Matt 16:40-43)

But Jesus is not a fake, a magician who transform one substance (stone) in an other (bread), and showing his power over nature. Jesus waits until his father act (see Matt 4:11). (1)

The second test comes when the devil asks that He should jump from the temple in trying to reverse the order. It would look that his Father is there to serve his Son, by saving Him, rather than the reverse. The Son came to serve, not to be served. (just like Moses in the desert of Midian and also Moses will have to serve JHWH after receiving the order to leave Egypt with his people.) Mystics over the centuries underwent a similar experience: St Teresa d’Avila, St Philipp Neri in the Catacombs...)

The last test is offering Jesus wealth and a temporal kingdom. But Jesus is not a political revolutionary, contrary of the political cast of his time like Herod (Matt 2:6) who taught he would be a temporally king. But His Kingdom is not of this world.

The devil offers a kingdom without sacrifice ... a kingdom without a cross, and everlasting temptation ... for a lot of politicians, rulers,bankers.

When Jesus refused to kneel for the devil/monk, the real nature of the devil under the habit appears before he flees away.

Jesus and the devil/monk argue the Scripture: both are really adept in it. But the narrative tells us that the Scripture can be used for righteous or unrighteous causes. As soon the devil is gone, Angels are offering him all what he declined by preparing the Eucharist, the ultimate sacrifice, prepared also in the front of the painting.

Conclusion:

By leading his people out of material slavery in Egypt to the promised country, Moses is undergoing a serial of physical tests. Through those, JHWH was testing his faith.

Jesus will lead his people out of spiritual slavery (sin) to the Kingdom of Heaven. It were spiritual tests/temptation ... the same Spirit that lead him in the desert. Jesus as model for tested believers. After he renounced everything the devil offered Him, He will receive it all and more.

That means that a contrived and humble hart will receive much more than it asked for.

By following the link to an article of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi (an economist) of the 14 Nov.1013 inThe Catholic Herald.co.uk we can find how how bankers can live their trade, avoiding the temptations in the light of the  Encyclica  “The Light of Faith (Lumen Gentium) “. Have a good lecture!

CATECHISM OF CATHOLIC CHURCH

How we can explain or accept that Moses killed a man?

CCC 1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are "sins that cry to heaven" such as the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,

CCC 1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them as e.g. by protecting evil-doers.

CCC 1869 Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. "Structures of sin" are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a "social sin." (Esort.ap.Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 16)

Sandro Botticelli

1483-5

    ★ Biblical description of Stories in the life of Moses: Botticelli Sandro

    ✤ On the Right: Moses kills an Egyptian who mistreated an Israelite and in the back we see him forced to flee.

Ex 2:11-15

11 It happened one day, when Moses was grown up, that he went to see his kinsmen. While he was watching their forced labour he also saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen.12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.13 On the following day he came back, and there were two Hebrews, fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, 'What do you mean by hitting your kinsman?'14 'And who appointed you', the man retorted, 'to be prince over us and judge? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' Moses was frightened. 'Clearly that business has come to light,' he thought.15 When Pharaoh heard of the matter, he tried to put Moses to death, but Moses fled from Pharaoh. He went into Midianite territory and sat down beside a well.

Hebr. 11,24-27

24 It was by faith that, when he was grown up, Moses refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter25 and chose to be ill-treated in company with God's people rather than to enjoy the transitory pleasures of sin.26 He considered that the humiliations offered to the Anointed were something more precious than all the treasures of Egypt, because he had his eyes fixed on the reward.27 It was by faith that he left Egypt without fear of the king's anger; he held to his purpose like someone who could see the Invisible.

    ✤ In the middle front: Moses helps to water Jethro’s daughters flock (one of them is Zipporah) after defending the girls from pestering shepherds in the desert called Madian.

Ex 2:16-22

16 Now there was a priest of Midian with seven daughters. They used to come to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock.17 Some shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses sprang to their help and watered their flock.18 When they returned to their father Reuel, he said to them, 'Why are you back so early today?'19 'An Egyptian protected us from the shepherds,' they said, 'and he even drew water for us and watered the flock.'20 'And where is he?' he asked his daughters. 'Why did you leave the man there? Ask him to eat with us.'21 Moses agreed to stay on there with the man, who gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage.22 She gave birth to a son, whom he named Gershom 'because', he said, 'I am an alien in a foreign land.'

    ✤In the middle above: Moses takes his shoes of under the oak-tree (The place where Pope Sixtus IV, builder of Sistene Chapel would sit, being his coat of arms an “oak-tree; Della Rovere)

Ex 3:5

5 'Come no nearer,' he said. 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.

   ✤ On the left back: Moses on the mount Horeb; encounter with the Lord in the form of the burning bush.

Ex 3:1-12

1 Moses was looking after the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led it to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.2 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame blazing from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing, but the bush was not being burnt up.3 Moses said, 'I must go across and see this strange sight, and why the bush is not being burnt up.'4 When Yahweh saw him going across to look, God called to him from the middle of the bush. 'Moses, Moses!' he said. 'Here I am,' he answered.5 'Come no nearer,' he said. 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.6 I am the God of your ancestors,' he said, 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.' At this Moses covered his face, for he was afraid to look at God.7 Yahweh then said, 'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying for help on account of their taskmasters. Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings.8 And I have come down to rescue them from the clutches of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that country, to a country rich and broad, to a country flowing with milk and honey, to the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.9 Yes indeed, the Israelites' cry for help has reached me, and I have also seen the cruel way in which the Egyptians are oppressing them.10 So now I am sending you to Pharaoh, for you to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.'11 Moses said to God, 'Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'12 'I shall be with you,' God said, 'and this is the sign by which you will know that I was the one who sent you. After you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.'

   ✤On the left in front: Moses lead the people out of Egypt to the Promised Country

Ex 12:37-38

37 The Israelites left Rameses for Succoth, about six hundred thousand on the march-men, that is, not counting their families.38 A mixed crowd of people went with them, and flocks and herds, quantities of livestock.

    ★ Biblical description of the temptations of Christ: Botticelli Sandro

   ✤On the left in the back: Jesus led by the Spirit (on the left) to the desert where he encounters the devil with wings of a bat, claws of a his and disguised as monk with a rosary, ask Jesus to change stones in bread.

Matt. 4:1-4 (also: Mark 1:12 and Luke 4: 1-4)

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the desert to be put to the test by the devil.2 He fasted for forty days and forty nights, after which he was hungry,3 and the tester came and said to him, 'If you are Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves.'4 But he replied, 'Scripture says: Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'

    ✤On top in the middle: The second temptation: The devil ask Jesus to trow Himself from the temple. (in this case “Ospedale di Santo Spirito” in Rome, build by Pope Sixtus IV himself)

Matt. 4:5-7 (also: Mark 1:12 and Luke 4:9-13)

5 The devil then took him to the holy city and set him on the parapet of the Temple.6 'If you are Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down; for scripture says: He has given his angels orders about you, and they will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone.'7 Jesus said to him, 'Scripture also says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'

   ✤Upper right: Angels are preparing the table of the Eucharist while the devil is tempting Jesus with the wealth of the earth beneath the rock. When Jesus ask him to kneel and to worship for Him, the devil flies away.

Matt. 4:8-11 (also: Mark 1:12 and Luke 4:5-8)

8 Next, taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.9 And he said to him, 'I will give you all these, if you fall at my feet and do me homage.'10 Then Jesus replied, 'Away with you, Satan! For scripture says: The Lord your God is the one to whom you must do homage, him alone you must serve.'11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels appeared and looked after him.

    ✤In the middle in front: An acolyte is offering the High Priest a plate with bled for the sacrifice.