Matthew 4:9-10 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”
The author Luke elaborates with more detail in Luke 4:6: where it reads, and the devil said to him, all this power will I give you, and the glory of them: for that is delivered to me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world; but are they really his to give? He said they are delivered to him; delivered by whom? He said he has the ability to give it to whomever he desires; but does he really have that authority? It seems obvious that although Satan was again attempting to manipulate the truth; Jesus knew where the source of true power and authority came from, and how much authority and control Satan really had. In the book of John; Jesus calls Satan the prince of this world three times:
John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.
John 16:11 the prince of this world is judged.
The Apostle Paul calls Satan the god of this world in:
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
We see that Satan is given the title of prince of the world and god of the world; but it’s important to understand how that title actually applies to Satan. Satan is not a literal prince of earth literally. Neither is Satan the god of this world in the sense of being a god. Satan is a creation from the one true God as an angel who became the leader of the fallen angels, also known as his demons. Satan is the prince and god of this world not because he has won it over from God. God is omnipotent; all powerful so therefore God looses nothing and there is nothing that is out of God’s control and you can rest your suffering on that. Satan is god and prince of this world in the sense that he is allowed to have by God a measure of influence over the evil and wickedness of the world by means of mans natural sinful and wicked nature. Consider the following verses:
Ephesians 2:1-2 And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience.
The Apostle Paul is here speaking to the Ephesian Christian; showing them what their new life in Christ is in comparison to what it used to be before their spirit was renewed by the Holy Spirit of God. Notice that Paul says prior to their conversion they lived, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience. The sons of disobedience are those who do not believe in Christ and are therefore continually disobeying the commandments of God. Satan does not care about the governing the earth, or having dominion over it; Satan hates God because he wants to be God so he hates everything God stands for and wants to influence nothing by evil and chaos in order to distort every order of God peace and order; and that is what he is the prince and god of.
However Satan is limited in power and the authority he has is measured by God’s sovereign will, and praise God for that! Whatever amount of authority he may have he has it only because God gave it and God will soon remove it from Him to bring Satan’s destruction. Consider the next verses:
Jesus told Pilot in John 19:11 Jesus answered, you could have no power at all against me, except it were given you from above. This implicates that the source of power given to all dignitaries to include even Satan comes borrowed from God. Remember in:
Job 1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have not you made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? you have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face. 12 And the LORD said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
We see from this dialogue between our LORD and Satan; that it is God who granted the Devil power over the substances of Job. It is God who restrained the Devil from afflicting the physical person of Job, and the Devil obeys the LORD’s every command. The power he has over the world is but borrowed from the LORD and only temporary.
In relation to Satan tempting Christ; perhaps the power Satan offered Jesus Christ, if Christ would have submitted to Satan; Christ may or may not have gained. This may be a theological debate, but I do not believe Satan owns the governments of the world or has been given authority to give the kingdoms of the world to whoever he chooses as he told Jesus; that was a lie from the Devil. I believe it was his manipulation to Christ so that Christ would fall and worship Satan, the temptation was that if Jesus bowed to Satan, Jesus would avoid the suffering and crucifixion that was planned by God for the Son of God. It was already God’s intention to give Christ all the kingdoms of the world; with the condition of obeying all of God’s commandments so He may be a credible ransom at the cross for humanity. Praise God.
Back to the book of Job reference; what do you think Satan was doing and currently does as he walks to and fro through the earth and walking up and down in it? 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. Satan and his demons are constantly on the watch for whom it is they need to tempt to fall into sin. He especially considers those who profess to be Christians, but are not doers of the word of God, which reveals they may entirely be deceived into thinking all they had to do was confess and they are set for eternity no matter what.
We see then that the source of true authority, power, and control is revealed in God, and since Christ defeated Satan’s temptations; it is also in Christ. This is revealed in situations such as when Jesus commands demons to leave those whom they posses in Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed, and spoke among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.
Now at the moment of the temptation of Christ; everything that may fascinate the lust of the eyes was shown to Jesus, if He would only transfer His allegiance from God to Satan. How many men would bow the knee to the Devil at the instant of a heartbeat if all the power, riches, and woman of the world were offered to him? This is not far from reality for those who are given fortune and fame in this world. They have both directly or indirectly bowed their knees and rendered their souls over to the Devil. With abundance of fortune and fame comes the luxury of having every commodity available to feed every sinful attribute to be found in men’s carnality. When a person reaches this level of earthly glory; do you know what they call it? They declare it success; nonsense! The only thing they have been successful at is making it nearly impossible for them to humble themselves, and see their sins which necessitates a savior; and demands that they repent and obey Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus said in:
Matthew 19:23-24 then said Jesus to his disciples; truly I say to you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
These people have not gained success in life; instead they have succeeded in giving their souls to Satan to be tortured for eternity. Jesus said in
Matthew 16:26 for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Those who want the kingdoms of the world in exchange will give away their soul, but those want to save their soul; in exchange will give away their sin, and that is repentance.
Satan being the father of lies and the master of deceit; conveys a lie in the form of a truth. The very cunning serpent that he is makes his attempt to manipulate Christ into believing that, all Satan is in control of belongs to Satan, and there is the lie in the form of a truth. Control and authority is given to Satan, but he does not own it. What Satan was offering Jesus Christ; was already prepared to be given to Christ by God. However; the path set by God for Christ would be that of a suffering servant whose physical end would be met by torture, murder, and poverty where He would not even have money for His own burial. Satan’s temptation to Christ if He would have submitted; would have bypassed all that suffering and all the pain with the condition of swearing His allegiance to Satan by worshiping him instead of the true God. This is Satan’s ungodly desire; that all will worship him even the Son of God because Satan wants to be as God.
Christians do not lose your faith in God. No matter what type of suffering you may be going through; keep your faith in Christ. Worship your God in and out of temptation, peace, or calamity. Remember:
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
Finally Jesus Christ responds to Satan’s temptation for the last time in the wilderness but not for the last time overall; as it is written in Luke 4:13 that Satan departed for a season; therefore implying that the temptations from Satan were continual. In the prior two temptations Jesus displayed His patience and toleration for Satan’s insults. But now Jesus rises passionately to Satan’s revilement and addresses him personally by name, and shows him who has the true authority as Christ commands Satan to disappear from His presence. Jesus again quotes Old Testament scripture to combat Satan;
Deuteronomy 6:12 You shall fear the LORD your God, and serve him, and shall swear by his name.
Jesus rightfully adds the word “only” to the verse because Christ is the Word of God and always has been the Word of God; therefore, He can rightfully add to His word for clarity or point however He chooses because Christ is truth and cannot bring any disorder. The word fear in the Old Testament is meant in the same sense as worship in the New Testament. Just as He told Satan; the same applies to us that we are to fear our LORD God who is the same in Christ, and worship Christ and serve only Him alone.
The victory of Jesus Christ over Satan’s temptations reveals to us how it is we are to overcome Satan’s temptations, as well as sufferings. The victory of Christ reveals to the Christian that the end result of the war between the Devil and our LORD is won by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It encourages us and gives us hope and faith to keep fighting knowing that God is ultimately in control of all circumstances good or evil. Jesus reminds His followers of the importance to memorize scripture, the importance of understanding scripture in its context, the importance of recalling scripture when necessary, when to properly apply it, and how to use it in response to deceit and manipulation.
Finally Christian brothers; know and anticipate many trials and temptations in our life. This is the true life of a Christian, which we are living in a life of constant warfare. We have an enemy who perseveres in seeing our destruction. Not only does Satan seek the destruction of all humans who he passionately hates, but he especially hates the Christian; not the professing Christians because he merely mocks them because they know not their doctrine and prophets, but the living Christian who lives the word of God. It is the living Christian who is a continual threat to the kingdom of darkness because we are the salt and light of the earth. We; as we are obedient to the Holy Spirit bring true illumination to the blinded minds of the world who Satan wants to suppress; the light that radiates through the entire world from the preaching of the Gospel of Christ who is the true morning star. Consider these final verses.
James 1:2- 8My brothers and sisters,1 consider it nothing but joy2 when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 5 But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a double-minded individual,1 unstable in all his ways.