Who does John 14:29-31 refer to

29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

By way of further background - this appears to relate the the above verse.

Genesis 17:20 20) As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.

5 Answers 5


The word translated prince in the Greek is archon which in the LXX is used in several different ways, it ultimately means to be in charge of, in the sense of a leader, or the first in command.

Who is therefore the first in command and in charge of this world? And more importantly how did he attain this position?

“in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:2‬

The text from which the question was asked gives some clues

“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” ‭‭John‬ ‭14:30-31

In OT understanding if you gave your allegiance to another god by offering them worship, sacrifice or doing their bidding, such as the lying prophets of Ahab bearing false witness, then the spirit to whom you have given legal jurisdiction to, now has power to appeal in the divine council to act on you. 1 Kings 22

Jesus makes the point that this prince/ruler has NO claim on Him but that Jesus will allow Himself to be subjected to this ruler as the Father has commanded Jesus to do.

“Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:3-4‬ ‭

In this case Judas fits the Ephesians 2:2 qualifications and being a son of disobedience and the ruler having claim on Judas entered into Judas to execute his plan of capturing Jesus which would later mean execution on the cross.

Who is this prince of the world?

In English it’s satan, but his name means accuser. When he presented himself before the divine council in Job 1&2 the accuser could only do as God allowed him to do to Job. In this case the Father commanded Jesus to allow Himself to be captured. “Not my will but your will be done”.

How did the accuser get to be the ruler of the WORLD?

Also in OT understanding the nations were divided among the sons of God

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:8‬

Each nation received as was allotted to them. However in time these sons of God corrupted themselves and stop being intermediaries between the God most High and their respective human people

“God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭82:1-2‬ ‭

They started to corrupt themselves and were punished by having their immortality stripped from them. Meaning they will be sent to damnation in hell.

These corrupted sons of God who later became the gods of the nations consolidated their powers in their respective kingdoms by giving it to the accuser or satan

And satan says this much himself.

“And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:5-6‬

So that is how the archon of this world was able to be the prince/ruler or this world

The nations were divided among the gods, these gods corrupted themselves but the people remained subjected to their gods and these gods gave their allegiance to the accuser of satan who is the prince of this world and is only able to have claim on the children of disobedience but if God allows His own children then he has legal claims on them too with limitations.

But Jesus has already paid to restore the whole of Creation and will ultimately do just that. Right now the powers of the air are trying to buy time and delay their inevitable damnation in hell fire.

  • Thank you for your reply, I have edited the question, clearly this is taking about someone to come after - it might be linked to Ishmael. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 15:44
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    @another theory This answers the question as to who the prince of this world is. You seem? to be suggesting that because it doesn’t link to Ishmael, that it shouldn’t be considered? Maybe because of that reference in Genesis to ‘princes’? How about the ‘princes’ that the angel sent to Daniel met? - the Prince of Persia, and, that same angel also referred to the prince of Greece. This ‘fits’ Deuteronomy 32.
    – Dave
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 17:46
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    Good answer! - The Op appears to be alluding to the descendants of Ishmael but that in NOT in the NT.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 20:26
  • In ancient pagan understanding the king was guided by a spirit, a god or an alien by our modern understanding. Certain archaeological findings show how from generation to generation the human king and his respective spiritual “prince” were both catalogued and named. Even if one were to make the case that one of the sons of Ismael would lend his body to an archon, the power and knowledge resides with the spiritual archon and not the human @anothertheory. Since humans have short lives in comparison it can’t be one ruler but multiple generations of rulers, whereas this speaks of one Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 20:45
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    Surely "Satan" is used as a proper name, not as a description, by Jesus himself as Matt 16:23; or that was the opinion of Greek scholars who prepared the critical editions listed at biblehub.com/texts/matthew/16-23.htm In other words, the Biblical authors intended it to be read as a name, albeit a name with a descriptive meaning, of course. This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Why do so many modern Bible scholars insist on reading it always as only a description? This is surely not justified. Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 18:39

"The Prince of this World" in John 14:30 should be understood within the context of John 14:31! What is the role of the 'The Prince' to come? To tell the world - "that Jesus love the Father and did as Jesus was commanded"!

The role of the Prince to come is to tell the world that Jesus did as he was commanded - should this role then be assigned to Satan - if Satan was indeed the 'Prince'? This is a deliberate deflection of Jesus' Prophecy, to confuse.

  • Welcome to the BH group. There's a tour if you'd like to take it to learn more about how the group works. Some feedback on your question: when you speak of a "deliberate deflection" it sounds like a personal insinuation about the motive of the questioner. To maintain a friendly and respectful culture here, this should be avoided. You can certainly challenge the assumption of the question but should avoid impugning the motivations of he questioner. – Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 20:44

The phrase prince/ruler of the world/cosmos is used three times in the Gospel of John. In transliterated Greek it is archōn tou kosmou.

Jhn 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out;

Jhn 14:30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me;

Jhn 16:11 - concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Considering how the phrase is used elsewhere, it seems that Jesus is speaking of a spiritual being, not a descendant of Ishmael. It is interesting to note, however, that here, this being has a positive role: "he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me." If so, the we need to ask: what role would this being (Satan) have in allowing the world to learn what Jesus loves/obeys the Father?

Here John probably refers to the fact that Satan had a role, through Judas Iscariot, in bringing about Jesus' crucifixion, which was his ultimate act of loving obedience to the Father's will. Thus, John tells us:

Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. (13:27-28)

John 14:29-31 refers to Satan, whom Jesus viewed as the spiritual sovereign of the physical world. Because of Jesus' perfect submission to the Father's will, Satan had no hold on him. His opposition to Jesus would ultimately only serve to show the world that Jesus loved and obeyed the Father.


Read the Testament of Levi and you will know that the Prince of the world was and still is Belial. Jesus said plainly, "All Liars shall have there part in HELL. The TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.

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    Commented Jan 27 at 4:24

The prophet Yeshayahu spoke of a savior the Prince of Peace called "Immanu-El" (עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל) and another ruler who casts lots over nations called Shining One "Helel" (הֵילֵל).

In Isaiah 14:12, the prophet Yeshayahu refers to the Prince of this world as the "Morning Star" ( Heylel, הֵילֵ֣ל) . Helel originally referred to the "Shining One" / King of Babylon.

  • The word "הילל" comes from the root "הלל" meaning to "Shine".

Isaiah 14:12

[12] How have you fallen from heaven, the morning star? You have been cut down to earth, You who cast lots on nations. (אֵ֛יךְ נָפַ֥לְתָּ מִשָּׁמַ֖יִם הֵילֵ֣ל בֶּן־שָּׁ֑חַר נִגְדַּ֣עְתָּ לָאָ֔רֶץ חוֹלֵ֖שׁ עַל־גּוֹיִֽם)

In Proverbs 15:27, He is referred to as Botsea Batsa ( בּוֹצֵ֣עַ בָּ֑צַע ) - He who is Greedy for Gain.

If you are Greedy and make yourself Shine at the expense of others, then you are the Prince of this world.

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