Luke 4:5 Then the devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6“I will give You authority over all these kingdoms and all their glory,” he said. “For it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish. 7So if You worship me, it will all be Yours.”

Where did Satan take Jesus? Where was this high place? Where was this vantage point?


4 Answers 4


The assumption

There is an underlying assumption with respect to the idea of kingdom, as humans we assume it refers exclusively to human rulers and earth bound kingdoms. This is mostly based on translation because the Greek should better be translated as realm or the translated word kingdom should be understood as “the right/authority to rule over a region” βασιλειας

Biblically and practically speaking, even today, the power resides in the heavenly places (specifically above the clouds in the second heaven below the firmament).

Broader context

Throughout the Bible we notice the idea of true power residing and coming down from the position of the heavenly place.

“Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭11:4‬ ‭

We see that kings valued the power of the heavens

“I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.” ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭5:14‬ ‭

We see Jesus pointing out the need for first establishing dominion in the divine council of heaven before it is established on the earth

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭

We understand that the nations were divided among the elohim and appointed different geographic regions on the earth that they ruled over, as well as different people groups

“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 ‭

but these gods resided in the heavens and represented man in the heavenly divine council in the sky.

“God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭82:1‬ ‭

“For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭89:6-7‬ ‭

We see that Paul makes the argument about where the real struggle is and it’s not on the earth with flesh and blood

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭

These principalities or archons are the rulers of this age that wanted to kill Jesus Christ and curb their ultimate destruction in the eternal hell fire by preventing the restoration of man through redemption. Had they known that killing Jesus was the solution they would never have crucified Jesus

“None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭

Verse in question reread

Now with all this cliff note style background and context read the verse again

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭

Was Jesus on the mountain looking down, looking out or looking up?

A clue is in the Greek word being used βασιλειας and this is not the word for kingdom but the word used of power or principality or the right to rule. Where does this power reside? In castles and earthly regions? NO! This power resides in the heavenly places with the sons of God that corrupted themselves and became the gods of the nations. These gods gave their power to satan

And notice satan doesn’t offer Jesus kingdoms but authority which is consistent with the Greek word used here εξουσιαν and βασιλειας

“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 ‭4:6‬ ‭

So what did satan show Jesus on top of that very high mountain? The principalities those with authority over the nations, so visually therefore Jesus was either looking straight on if the mountain was taller than the clouds or up above the clouds. And what Jesus saw was indeed the spiritual realm.

Flat Earth

With respect to whether the earth is flat, this is not a passage that proves the shape or more correctly the plane of the earth. Biblically the earth is flat, the cosmology is that of a flat earth but this verse doesn’t prove nor deny the earth’s form. Other verses in the Bible show that the earth is flat, stationary, covered by a firmament and the sun, moon and stars are local circling around the earth.

  • 1
    Your answer motivated me to ask this question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/81201/…
    – user38524
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 18:46
  • HAHAHA @SpiritRealmInvestigator I appreciate the challenge but there are plenty of materials online already and with the exception of two out of context verses there is no evidence of a globe earth in the Bible. Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 18:49
  • 1
    Great insight into the kingdoms and their rule! Upvoted
    – Sherrie
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 15:51

The passage does not say exactly what Jesus saw. All we have is what was written in Luke and Matthew. Adding or guessing at details would be speculation.

The Bible is full of stories where we might wish for greater detail. In spite of our wishes the information given in the Bible was given by God for a specific purpose. It's fun to "what if..." or speculate but the key to understanding God's message is focusing on the intent of what has been given by looking at the context, the whole paragraph, chapter, the whole book and sometimes the Bible as a whole.

This passage is from a portion of the Gospel of Luke where Satan tempted Jesus, trying to divert Jesus from his mission. Each of the three temptations were specifically designed to appeal strongly to Jesus. It's a full and direct attack on God's plan.

Whatever Jesus saw the key thing to understand is that Satan gave Jesus an idea of how grand, amazing, and wonderful being the ruler of the kingdoms of the world would be. It was an offer of worldly sovereignty rather than a spiritual kingdom. Satan offered an easy short cut rather than the hard path Jesus needed to follow.

It came down to a question of who was in charge.
7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'

What the passage demonstrates is that in spite of the temptation to deviate from God's plan and take the "easy" route Jesus stayed focused on serving God only.


Did Satan show Jesus a flat earth?

No, because the earth is not flat.

An ant can only perceive a 2-d world: front and back, left and right.

We can perceive a 3-d world. We can jump up and down in height.

Perhaps, Satan and Jesus saw a 4-d world by observing back and forth in time at a 4-d position/location.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 21:52

This question is based on the assumption that Jesus saw the kingdoms of the world physically. This is simply not possible. Here are some that could not be seen even from the altitude of Everest if it existed in Jerusalem:

  • The island of Britania
  • The Roman capital
  • The Egyptian nation
  • The Parthian empire
  • The Chinese empire
  • Germainia
  • Hispania (Spain)

... and so forth. That is, it would have been impossible to see much beyond the borders of Judea.

Thus, it is more likely that Jesus was shown something in a kind of vision or pantomime to represent all the kingdoms of the world. The reason for the "high place" was so that they would be alone and uninterrupted.

  • 3
    The parallel account at Mt 4:8 adds the detail that the Devil took Jesus to “an unusually high mountain.” Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 21:18
  • "The reason for the "high place" was so that they would be alone and uninterrupted." Where in the commentary are there grounds for this? Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 17:26
  • @AnthonyBurg - unless you wish to make some other non-physical assumption such as the Devil teleporting Jesus to various places (a flat earth is just as non-physical), what other explanation is possible?
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 20:42
  • Why would they need to go to a 'high place' in order to show Jesus something in a vision? This theory doesn't make a lot of sense, IMO. The obvious explanation AFAICT is that the Gospel writer was speaking figuratively. Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 22:11
  • @AnthonyBurg - perhaps, but that is the point - the two of them were alone.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 22:16

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