THE TEMPTATION OF JOB
Question: When the devil sinned, he was driven to the earth away from God’s presence and became the enemy of man and God. Why is it that the devil was able to go before God again to accuse Job? Why would God even grant the devil’s request to test Job? If Job’s faith was not strong at that time and he had failed, who would be responsible for this? (Honan)
Answer: God has His timing, and before the time He has set for the devil is up, the devil can still come before God. By Revelation 12, he will not be able to do it any longer. God permitted the devil to do things to His children in order to manifest the faith of His children for His glory. If Job had failed, the one responsible would have been Job himself. The outward temptation only shows the inward reality. Of course, the devil also is partly responsible. Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 10:13 cannot be wrong.
Question: In the Old Testament age, men were for the most part ignorant of God’s will. There was often the custom of esteeming the male and despising the female. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus broke down the boundary between male and female. Both are created by God, both are God’s children, and therefore, there is no important difference between them. In 1 Corinthians 11:5 the apostle Paul says, "But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered disgraces her head." Also 1 Timothy 2:12 says, "But I do not permit a woman to teach." May I ask, is it sinful for a woman to pray with no head covering? Is it sinful for a woman to preach? Why is it that in these days women pray without a head overing? How come there are still so many women who preach! (Honan)
Answer: Because men rebelled against the teachings of the Bible, they drifted with the current of the world. Adam was created first and then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13). Man is the head of the woman (1 Cor. 11:3), and the woman was created to help the man (v. 9; Gen. 2:18). These are unchanging principles of the Bible. The present women’s liberation movement tries to overthrow God’s ordained order. How sad it is! Originally, women did have their own position; to oppress them or to take advantage of them is not permitted by the Bible. However, for anyone to change the positions which God has ordained for male and female is abominable to God. It is not because I am a male that I speak this way. If I were a female, I would also insist on the same. The Bible is the only standard for our words and actions. We do not want to hear what worldly philosophy says. We dare not say whether it is sinful for a woman to pray with no head covering and to preach in the meetings. But one thing we know: to do this is against the commandment of the Scripture. Some may ask, "If the Bible says this, will it not be standing in the way of the tide of the age?" Our answer is this: "When have we ever seen the Bible going along with the tide of the age?"
PREACHING IN HADES
Question: First Peter 3:19-22 says that the Lord Jesus went down to Hades and preached to the spirits in prison—those who were drowned by the Deluge in the days of Noah. Is there such a thing that the Lord Jesus went down to Hades to preach? First Peter 4:6 also recorded, "The gospel was announced also to those who are now dead." If the dead are still able to hear the gospel, then the living ones do not have to believe any longer. Is this kind of teaching possible? Otherwise, how are these verses to be explained? (Honan)
Answer: This question has been answered in Issue No. 1. Please read it.
THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS
Question: Did the Holy Spirit purposely lead the Lord Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness on that day, was it a visible kind of temptation, or was it an invisible kind of temptation?
A visible kind of temptation would be one in which the devil tempted Jesus through man. If the devil tempted Jesus through man, please read Luke 4:5 [KJV], which says that he led Him up to a high mountain! How can there be such a high mountain in the wilderness? What was the name of this mountain? Verse 9 says, "And he led Him into Jerusalem and set Him on the wing of the temple." Was there a Jerusalem in the wilderness? Was there a temple? If there were none, how did the devil take Jesus to these places?
An invisible kind of temptation would be for the Lord Jesus to go into the wilderness after He was baptized in the river Jordan and be caught up in a trance while contemplating and meditating there, and for the devil to take advantage of this, leading Him to a high mountain and to Jerusalem, showing Him everything, and inducing Him to submit to him, thus annulling the work of salvation. Which one of these two understandings is right? Please instruct me. (Honan)
Answer: The first Adam failed because of temptation. Unless the last Adam goes through temptations also, He cannot prove His qualifications. At the river Jordan God has already acknowledged Him to be His Son. Now this has to be declared before Satan. The Holy Spirit purposely led the Lord Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted. The devil tempts us by entering into our mind. However, from John 14:30 we see that he could not enter into the Lord Jesus to tempt Him. Therefore, he probably came with a form. But even with a form, the devil is free to come and go in a supernatural way (Job 1). Hence, there is not a problem as you have imagined.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 17, by Watchman Nee)