, , , ,

The previous post in this series may be found here.

V. [The Time/The Day of Battle]

The fifth point, is the day and time when this was done, in which we are to note two things. The word, “Then[1] relates as well to the end of the chapter next going before [the previous chapter], as to the present instant.

First then, when as Christ was but newly come out of the water of Baptism, and immediately after the heavens had opened unto him, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the likeness of a Dove, and while he was yet full of the Holy Ghost[2]; did the Devil set upon him.

When as the voice from heaven had pronounced, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased;” the devil straight [immediately] adds, “In whom I am ill pleased.” And so [the Devil] addresses himself against him [against Jesus].

And it is God’s property[3] to look for much at his hands[4], to whom he hath given much. When he gives a man a large measure of grace, he gives the devil withal [together with/at the same time] a large patent[5]. Our Savior had great gifts, and the devil is like a thief, that will venter[6] most for the greatest booty[7].

Secondly, in regard of the present, we are to note, that in 30 years[8] the Devil did nothing to our Savior: but now when he goes about to gird himself with our salvation, according to Psalm 45.3[9], then doth the Devil gird on his sword also; that is as much to say, as the better the work is, the more resistance it shall have.

Ten repulses did the Israelites suffer, before they could get possession of the promised Land of Canaan:[10] and as many did David endure, before he was invested in the promised Kingdom[11]. Many lets[12] came before the Temple was re-edified, as is to be seen in Ezra and Nehemia.

[The I wills]

Yea? (saith the Devil) Has God anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows?[13]

            I will see if I can anoint him with the oil of sadness above his fellows.

Has he been baptized of water and the Holy Ghost?

            I will provide another Baptism for him, namely of fire.

Has God sent down the Holy Ghost upon him in likeness of a Dove?

            I will cause tribulation, and a crown of thorns to light upon his head. [Matt. 27:29]

Has a voice come down from Heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son?

            I will provide a voice for him, that shall ascend from the foot, that shall say, If thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross. [Matt. 27:40]


The structure of this argument runs as follows:

First, The Devil waited for a particular moment, just after the baptism and public approval by God of Jesus (the Father’s blessing, the Spirit’s descent) to attack.

The goodness of God toward Jesus provoked the malice and rage of the Devil. The pure malice of the Devil is a hard thing for us to understand at this time. The culture in general has a tendency to either God as a neglectful or indulgent uncle; perhaps as a genie who can be controlled by the proper “spell”; or someone who is prudish and limits our happiness. The Devil by way of contrast, is powerful, works for the individual, and temptations are to things we like.

Andrews here presents the Devil as pure malice and envy. Andrews is far more consistent with the biblical representation than our culture. When read of a murder or other torment, we should understand that is something the Devil desires and approves. He likes the injury of human beings. Even in preaching, the pure malice at work here is not always well expressed. He hates you and would love to see your tortured.

Andrews then answers an unstated objection: If God loves us, and if the Devil is a malicious beast; then why would God give him any room to act?  It is the nature of God to expect a great use of the grace he gives. The more grace God gives to a man, the more room for the Devil to act against that man.

Since Christ was given the most; the Devil will have the greatest range to attack.

Andrews develops this at greater length as his “second” point. The Devil waited 30 years to attack Christ. But now that Christ was on the field, the Devil attacked with full force. He then references OT examples of this being a pattern of God: God anoints David as king and then Saul sets upon David for years. The exiles return from Babylon and are constantly thwarted in their efforts to rebuild Jerusalem (temple and wall).  Thus, when Christ sets to his work, the Devil sets to his.

Andrews ends this section with an allusion to the “I wills” of Satan:

Isaiah 14:13–14 (ESV)

            13          You said in your heart,

‘I will ascend to heaven;

                        above the stars of God

I will set my throne on high;

                        I will sit on the mount of assembly

in the far reaches of the north;

            14          I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.’

Thus, Andrews makes us of a biblical form without quoting a single word. And in his sermon he replicates the defiance and evil without copying the words.  God will speak; Satan will speak. God will act; Satan will look to revenge.

[1] Matthew 4:1 (ESV) “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

[2] Matthew 3:16–17 (ESV) “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

[3] It is the nature of God.

[4] To expect a certain return.

[5] In this context, a “patent” is the right to do something. The Devil is granted cause trouble which is in the same measure to which God grants grace.

[6] “Venter”. Someone who gives “vent” to malice.

[7] Booty: plunder taken from an enemy or by a pirate. The Devil will be like a pirate killing in an effort to take everything.

[8] The first 30 years of Jesus’ life.

[9] Psalm 45:3 (ESV)

            Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,

in your splendor and majesty!

[10] The recorded battles of the Israelites under Joshua entering Canaan.

[11] From the time of his anointing by Samuel until he took the throne, David faced continual trials; primarily from by Saul.

[12] A let would be a difficulty encountered. The remainder of the sentence goes on to reference the difficulties which were faced by the Israelities returning from exile to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

[13] Hebrews 1:8–9 (ESV)

But of the Son he says,

                        “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

                      You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

                        therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”