What Is the Devil's Only Promise?

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What is the only promise ever recorded being made by Satan the devil? To whom did God's adversary make his pledge? Was the devil promising something he could legitimately give or was he lying?

Words spoken by Satan are recorded only four times in the Bible (Genesis 3, Job 1 and 2, and Matthew 4 / Luke 4). Matthew and Luke's account, however, are even more unique in that they reveal the only Biblically recorded conversation between God's great adversary and Jesus Christ. They are also special as they contain the only known promise ever made by the devil!

Background of the Promise

Jesus, immediately after his baptism, fasted for 40 complete days. God allowed the devil, during the entire time of the fast, to throw whatever temptation he wanted at Christ. Satan's last, and indeed greatest, temptation he launched was his most brazen. Let's take a look at Luke's account of this fascinating promise as it offers more details than what is found in Matthew.

Satan the devil rejected after tempting Jesus
Temptation on the Mountain
Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308 - 11

Then the devil led Him up into a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this authority, and the glory of them all; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I desire. Therefore, if You will worship me in my presence, all things shall be Yours." (Luke 4:5 - 7, HBFV throughout).

Satan promised Christ an immediate and easy way to rule the world without having to first overcome all the trials and suffering that would come his way. All Satan asked, in return for his "generous" offer, was that the Lord acknowledge the deal by openly worshipping him!

A Familiar Tactic

Interestingly, the devil's promise to immediately gratify Christ's goal to rule the earth was strikingly similar to the tactic he used in Eden to get Eve to sin. In Eden he appealed to Eve's desire to instantly gain wisdom and power when he asserted that by merely eating a certain piece of fruit she would magically become, "like God" (Genesis 3:5).

A Most Subtle Deception

Jesus' response to the devil's promise did not refute that God's enemy, at the time, had the authority he claimed. It did, however, strike at the heart of his offer that required him to obey and worship someone other than God the Father.

"Get behind Me, Satan; for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.' " (Luke 4:8).

The devil was clearly trying to deceive Christ by promoting the idea that only good things, and nothing bad or adverse, would happen if he worshipped him. The truth, however, is that a whole host of overwhelmingly negative consequences would have come that would have affected everyone and everything in both the spiritual and physical universes!


Strictly speaking, the devil did not lie regarding his stated right to give Jesus what he promised. Instead, a critical part of his deception was to focus on what he promoted was a positive outcome and not to mention at all (a sin of omission) the dire consequences of Jesus sinning.

The Lord, by rejecting the devil's promise and fulfilling his role as God's perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, qualified to annul the devil's power over both mankind and the earth (Matthew 28:18, 1John 3:8, Hebrews 2:14). At his Second Coming he will assume his rightful authority to rule the earth as the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" (Revelation 19:16)!

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