Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.( Matthew 4:7-10)
We can only marvel at the vast powers granted to the Devil, for the time being, in this account of the temptation of Jesus. Consider that Satan was able to transport Jesus to the very Pinnacle of the Temple of God in the previous temptation.
Was he taken there in a vision, trance or perhaps a dream? Or was Jesus somehow actually physically transported to the temple in Jerusalem, by the Adversary? We don’t know for sure but the experience was vivid and real.
Again in this final temptation, Satan is able to show Jesus all of the Kingdoms of this World and their glory. Then the adversary offered the Kingdoms of this world, to Jesus, as if they were His. Luke has Satan claiming that these Kingdoms were his, having been given to him. Jesus didn’t deny Satan’s assertion.
And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.(Luke 4:6)
Who is this malevolent being set against the church,and against the Word of God?
He is called the”prince of this world” twice in the Gospel of John, and Paul, by the Holy Spirit refers to Satan as the “god of this age”. John warns us that “the whole world lies in the wicked One”. We wrestle not against flesh and blood,Paul warns,but against “principalities,powers and rulers of the darkness of this world,and spiritual wickedness in high places…”,(Ephesians 6).
This is why the present dispensation has been called “this present evil age”, and “ the evil day”.
All of the influences and institutions of this world; education,religion,entertainment,information sources,opinion shapers, molders of minds, leadership in law, commerce , government and even medicine has come under the power of, and are at the service of the Prince of the age.
The Apocalypse tells us that soon, “The Kingdoms of this world”,shall become “the Kingdoms of our LORD and of his Christ”. This is one of the final turns of events of the eschaton, but necessitates Jesus offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins, suffering,dying,and being raised from the dead,and inaugurating the church age.
But Satan is offering Jesus a much easier path to glory, at the cost of a momentary compromise. Satan presents Jesus with a classic ends/means situation. Here was an easier way to attain his goal. A way without the humiliation and sufferings of the cross.
We gain insight into the core issue of Spiritual warfare in this story. We see what the issues all boil down to in the real conflict raging for the souls of men: worship.
Man was made to worship, and he will worship. But worship is exclusive, we were created to worship God alone. “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God,with all of thy heart,and all of thy soul and mind and strength”.
Only God is worthy of all of our affections. He alone who made us, completes us. To worship anything less than God is the very essence of sin. We fell as a race because we “knew God but would not glorify him as God…”, this is the fountainhead of our corruption.
Satan has set himself as the rival to God for the affections of mankind. All false worship is in fact Satan worship. The Devil craves and demands worship. He has the entire world of unbelieving men in deception; worshipping man made idols, Demons such as Allah, or in the secular world, technology and the achievements of modern men.
The Lord Jesus again prevailed, but not in himself, humanly speaking. Jesus overcame the very real and powerful temptation to worship Satan by invoking the Word of God! “It is written…”. Deuteronomy six came to mind,there in the wilderness,”You shall worship the Lord your God,and him only shall you serve”.
Perhaps the greatest and final test for humanity is coming rapidly, for the Mark of the Beast will soon be introduced in this “smart planet” we have created by our technology. It will just seem to be the next step in the decades long shift from cash and checks, to digitilized commerce. There will be so many obvious practical reasons for this, it will seem retrograde to resist it.
In the evaluation of God,however, participation in the Mark will be considered an unforgivable act of worship, it will be the final act of man’s defection from God.When the gospel comes to man in its final form it will come a a call to worship the true God,and to realize that the beast system is more than political, or economic, it is a system of false worship.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.(Revelation 14:7-11)