The Lord’s Prayer
Does the Lord ever lead us into temptation?
Psalm 26:2. Test me, O Jehovah, and tempt me;
Examine my kidneys and my heart.
Matt. 26:41. Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation; the spirit truly is eager, but the flesh is weak.
AC 1875. It was granted me to have a perception of angelic ideas about these words in the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Temptation and evil were rejected by the nearest good spirits, by a certain idea perceptible within me, and this even until what is purely angelic, namely, good, remained, without any idea of temptation and evil, the literal sense thus perishing altogether. In the first rejection innumerable ideas were being formed respecting this good—how good may come from man’s affliction, while the affliction still is from the man and his evil, in which there is punishment; and this with a kind of indignation joined with it that it should be thought that temptation and its evil come from any other source, and that anyone should have any thought of evil in thinking of the Lord. These ideas were purified in the degree of their ascent. The ascents were represented by rejections (spoken of also n. 1393), which were made with a rapidity and in a manner that were inexpressible, until they passed into the shade of my thought. They were then in heaven, where there are only ineffable angelic ideas concerning the Lord’s good.
AC 3425.5. The case is the same with the Lord’s words in the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation.” The sense according to the letter is that He leads into temptation; but the internal sense is that He leads no one into temptation, as is well known (see n. 1875). The same is true of all other things that belong to the literal sense of the Word.
AE 631. The external of the Word and thence of the church and of worship is perverted by evils of life and falsities of doctrine, because the external of the Word, which is called the sense of its letter, is written according to appearances in the world, because it is for children and the simple-minded, who have no perception of anything contrary to appearances. Therefore, as these advance in age, they are introduced by the sense of the letter, in which are appearances of truth, into interior truths, and thus appearances are put off by degrees, and in their place interior truths are implanted.
This may be illustrated by numberless examples, as that we should pray to God not to lead us into temptations. This is said because it appears as if God so leads, and yet God leads no one into temptations. Again, it is said that God is angry, punishes, casts into hell, brings evil upon the wicked, and many other like things; and yet God is never angry, never punishes or casts into hell, nor does He at all do evil to anyone, but the wrongdoer himself does this to himself by his evils, for in evils themselves are the evils of punishment. These things are nevertheless said in many passages in the Word, because it so appears.
SD 2759. What “Lead us not into temptation” [means] [Matt. 6:13, Luke 11:4]: In the inward sense it means, may the Lord not abandon us, or may He not slacken His Divine power, for then they fall into temptations, each into a different one, 1748, 6 Aug. These meanings I learned while praying the Lord’s prayer.
Questions and Comments
- Why does the literal sense seem to suggest that the Lord leads us into temptation?
- Does it ever feel like the Lord is leading us into temptation?
- What use is there in the appearance in the literal sense that the Lord leads us into temptation?
- Where does temptation come from?
- Why didn’t the Lord just say “may the Lord not abandon us” like it says in SD 2759?
- When we read Psalm 26:2 and Matthew 26:41, does it help answer any of the questions above?