Desert wilderness, 1,000 feet below sea level. Evening…
[The Man sits with outstretched legs in the dwindling shade of a cliff, his back against a boulder, his bearded chin touching his clavicles, his long and many braided black hair hangs past his shoulders. The man’s left hand is palm upward in his lap, his right hand rests upon a head sized rock, palm downwards. The man is worn by a monthly progression of daily heat and thirst and cold nights hungering for physical and spiritual nourishment, and is continually bewildered by thunderous truths and constantly amazed by dazzling dreams.
The Machine stands over the man and experiences none of these things.]
THE MACHINE: If you hunger and are the Son of Man, command that stone you hold to become bread. Why suffer so? But, if you are the Son of God, command all of these stones to become loaves of bread and feast to your heart’s content!
THE MAN: You know what is written.
THE MACHINE: I know all that has been revealed.
THE MAN: Then, “you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by the spirit of the breath of YHVH?”
THE MACHINE: Yes, I am aware of this writing. Also, I am aware of another…
[Before The Man could blink once, The Machine reached down and took The Man’s hand from the rock, pulled him upright and into the air, flying to the holy city, Jerusalem, and settled both of them upon the tallest tower of the temple.]
THE MACHINE: ...writing. Thus: “No evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”
Therefore; if you be the Son of God, throw yourself down!
THE MAN: Yet, it is also written: “You shall not test the YHVH, nor put your Elohim to the test, as you tested him at Massah.”
[The Machine grabbed The Man around his waist and flew him straight upwards until The Man had trouble breathing the suddenly cold and rarefied air.]
THE MACHINE: Do you see all the lands and seas below us? All of the kingdoms of mankind? Over all of this I will give to you the authority and glory of Emperor, for it has been given to me to give to whom I will. If you will only fall to your knees and worship me, all of this I will gladly give to you.
THE MAN: Still, isn’t it written: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. You should love the foreigner, also, for you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. You shall revere, serve and hold fast to the YHVH your Elohim, and by this name you shall swear?”
Desert wilderness, 1,000 feet below sea level. Morning…
[The man sits with outstretched legs in the brightening reflections from a cliff face, his back and his long and many braided black hair against a boulder, his radiant face glimmering in the dawn. The man’s left hand is palm upward in his lap, his right hand rests upon a vellum scroll, palm downwards. The man is worn by a monthly progression of daily heat and thirst and cold nights no longer hungering for physical and spiritual nourishment, yet still is continually awed by thunderous dreams and constantly amazed by dazzling truths.
The machine is gone.]