So I was talking with my brother the other day about the above.
He said to me he actually did a talk on this and said that Watchtower thinks that Satan leading Jesus to the high mountain and to the top of the temple could have been visions.
If this was real then this would never have happened in Watchtower world. Not with their shunning policy. Me and my brother seldom communicate sadly, but no way would we go anywhere for fear of being seen with an inactive JW for over 10 years.
From the website:
When Satan tried to tempt Jesus, did he actually take Jesus to the temple, or did he show the temple to Jesus in a vision?
We do not know for sure how Satan showed the temple to Jesus.
The Bible writers Matthew and Luke both wrote about what happened. Matthew said that “the Devil took” Jesus to Jerusalem and “stationed him on the battlement of the temple,” that is, the “highest point” of the temple. (Matthew 4:5; footnote) Luke said that the Devil “led him into Jerusalem and stationed him on the battlement of the temple.”—Luke 4:9.
In the past, our publications said that Satan may not have physically taken Jesus to the temple when he tried to tempt him. The Watchtower of March 1, 1961, compared this to when Satan tried to tempt Jesus by showing him all the kingdoms of the world from a high mountain. It said that there is no mountain that is high enough for someone to be able to see all the kingdoms of the world. The Watchtower then said that in the same way, Satan probably did not physically take Jesus to the real temple. However, later articles in The Watchtower said that if Jesus had jumped off the temple, he could have been killed.
Some say that since Jesus was not a Levite, he would not have been allowed to stand on top of the temple sanctuary. So they say that Satan must have tried to tempt Jesus using a vision. Hundreds of years earlier, Ezekiel was also taken to a temple in a vision.—Ezekiel 8:3, 7-10; 11:1, 24; 37:1, 2.
But if Jesus was taken to the temple in a vision, some may wonder:
Would Jesus really have felt tempted to jump off the temple?
The other times Satan tried to tempt Jesus, he asked Jesus to turn real stones into real bread and wanted Jesus to do a real act of worship to him. So is it possible that Satan also wanted Jesus to jump off the real temple?
But if Satan did not use a vision and took Jesus to the real temple, then some may wonder:
Did Jesus break the Law by standing on top of the temple sanctuary?
How did Jesus get from the wilderness to the temple in Jerusalem?
Let us consider some additional information that will help us answer these last two questions.
Professor D. A. Carson wrote that the Greek word for “temple” used in Matthew and Luke probably referred to the entire temple area and not just to the sanctuary, an area where only Levites were allowed to go. The southeastern corner of the temple area had a flat roof that was the highest in the temple. Jesus could have been placed on that roof. The distance from that point to the bottom of the Kidron Valley was about 140 meters (450 feet). The historian Josephus said that this area was so high that if a person stood there and looked down, he “would become dizzy.” Even though Jesus was not a Levite, he could have stood there and nobody would have objected.
But how could Jesus get from the wilderness to the temple in Jerusalem? We do not know for sure. The Bible simply says that Jesus was taken to Jerusalem. It does not say how far Jesus was from Jerusalem or how long he was tempted by Satan. So it is possible that Jesus walked to Jerusalem, even though this may have taken a long time.
When Satan showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world,” he probably used a vision, because it is not possible to see all these kingdoms from any mountain on earth. This may have been similar to the way we can use a movie screen to show someone pictures of other parts of the world. Satan may have used a vision, but he actually wanted Jesus to bow down and worship him. (Matthew 4:8, 9) So when Satan took Jesus to the temple, it is possible that he actually wanted Jesus to risk his life by jumping off the temple. But Jesus rejected him. How much more of a temptation this would have been than if Jesus had only been tempted in a vision!
So it is possible that Jesus actually went to Jerusalem and stood on the highest point of the temple. Of course, as was said at the beginning of this article, we do not know for sure exactly how Satan showed the temple to Jesus. But we can be sure that Satan kept trying to get Jesus to do something wrong and that each time, Jesus firmly rejected him.