A day or so before the crucifixion Jesus left the temple after teaching and sat with His disciples on the Mount of Olives. The temple and associated buildings were within eyesight and some of the disciples pointed their beauty out to the Lord. This is when Jesus made a dramatic prophetic statement referring to the coming destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.

Matthew 24:2

“And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

This was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman armies leveled Jerusalem to the ground. Jesus speaks in greater detail about this event and the period of time leading up to it. It would serve as a prophetic warning to the early church, particularly the church in Jerusalem. It was a warning that would keep every hair of their heads from being lost (Luke 21:18). This detail of instruction is found in two passages of Scripture: one in Mark and one in Luke.

Mark 13:9-13

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. (10) And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. (11) But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. (12) Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. (13) And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

The Time-jumping characteristic to some Prophetic Passages

This passage is framed by other portions of prophecy that specifically point to a different time altogether. It is a sort of time-jumping that is characteristic of many prophetic passages. An example of this can easily be seen in a different prophecy in Isaiah concerning the Messianic Kingdom (Is. 9:6-7).[39] The Lord’s preceding words in Mark 13:5-8 are about the beginning of the coming tribulation and are directed to the future remnant, not His current disciples. The portion that starts in Mark 13:14 again jumps forward to the tribulation period – the sign that begins the last three and a half years of that period.[40] It is a portion which is also specifically directed as instruction to the future Jewish remnant. But verses 9-13 are definitely spoken to His present disciples, warning them of coming persecution and hardship in their ministry, and the general scope of events leading up to the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD. The gospel at that time was taken to the nations by Paul, who is definitely in the Lord’s thoughts when He mentions a testimony before rulers and kings.

Luke 21:12-24

“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. (13) But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. (14) Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; (15) for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. (16) You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. (17) And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. (18) But not a hair of your head shall be lost. (19) By your patience possess your souls.”

(20) “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. (21) Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. (22) For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (23) But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. (24) And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

As we found in Mark, this passage from Luke is framed with the same elements of time-jumping common to prophetic language. His preceding words in Luke 21:8-11 point to the beginning of the coming tribulation, while verses 25-36 point to His return that ends the tribulation of those days. However, the passage above is for His disciples and the early church in Jerusalem. The armies surrounding Jerusalem in verse 20 identify the event as the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. His words leading up to this verse (vs. 12-19) are the same general warnings to His present disciples that we read in Mark. What He adds in verses 20-24 speaks of the destruction itself and God setting aside, for a time, the calling of Israel as a people of God. By these last few verses (vs. 20-24) we are assured we are talking about the 70 AD event. This was when the remaining Jews were ‘led away captive into all nations.’

The Major Prophetic Passages from the Synoptic Gospels

  1. Jesus’ first words reference the coming tribulation period and are spoken directly to the end-time Jewish remnant.       They will serve as words of warning to His elect. These passages are Luke 21:8-11 and Mark 13:5-8.
  2. In these same passages Jesus then switches back in time to talk prophetically to His present disciples, warning them concerning the time period leading up to the destruction of the city and temple by the Roman armies in 70 AD (Luke 21:6 and Mark 13:2). These passages are Luke 21:12-24 and Mark 13:9-13.
  3. In these same passages Jesus now jumps forward again to the time of the signs of His return to this world (Luke) or the sign that marks the last three and a half years leading up to His physical return (Mark). These passages again contain words that will serve as direct warnings to the future Jewish remnant. These passages are Luke 21:25-36 and Mark 13:14-37
  4. Matthew’s gospel is the gospel of Messiah and is very Jewish in its character.[41] The prophetic passage in Matt. 24:4-44 all concerns the time of Jacob’s trouble or the time immediately preceding it in the end. There isn’t anything in that passage that specifically refers to His current disciples.

How would we define this Present Evil Age?

What I want to look more closely at is what is referred to in Scripture as this present age. When Jesus sat down on the Mount of Olives His disciples came and asked three questions (Matt. 24:3). The first was, “Tell us when will these things be?” This we have already discussed, for it refers to the destruction of Jerusalem that was to come shortly. The second and third questions are asked together. “And what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?” The appearing of the Son of Man to the world is what in fact ends this present age. But how might we define the age, its parameters and character?

1.)    We would be tempted to call it the Christian age, or the age of the gospel, but this wouldn’t be correct. All Christ’s answers concern the subjects of prophecy. It is all about the temple, Jerusalem, and Israel. It is about Jacob’s trouble, references to Daniel, and His second coming as Messiah and the Son of Man. His words are so much more Jewish than Christian.

2.)    We might then be tempted to call this the Jewish age. We could point to Daniel’s 70 week prophecy which is decidedly about Jerusalem, the temple, and the Jewish people (Dan. 9:24). However it’s not likely a prophecy would start an age without some historic event. The 70 week prophecy basically begins in the middle of Cyrus’ reign with the rebuilding of Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed it. Also, this prophecy has a suspension or parenthesis between the 69th and 70th week that isn’t easily explained by the thought of a Jewish age.

3.)    It is the first prophecy in the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:27-36), that defines and describes the present age. This dream is from man’s viewpoint – a great image whose splendor was excellent, whose form was awesome (v. 31).

This Present Age – the Times of the Gentiles

How can I be so sure this is the present age? I believe in the passage quoted above Jesus defines the age as ‘the times of the Gentiles.’ (Luke 21:24) And we should not mistakenly define the age from the time Rome sacked Jerusalem all the way to Christ’s return. Rather it is from the time Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and took Judah captive. This is when the world dominion of Gentile power begins. God sets up the Gentiles to rule the known world throughout the entire age. The statue of the king’s dream defines the age of the Gentile world dynasties – a.k.a. ‘the times of the Gentiles.’

What other evidence of this present age brings us to make these same conclusions? Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. When will we know these times are fulfilled? He tells us in the next few verses.

Luke 21:25-27

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; (26) men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (27) Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

The destruction of the Gentile Statue

The ‘times of the Gentiles’ come to an end in the same way that the coming tribulation ends – with the advent of the Son of Man from heaven.   This is the end of the tribulation and this is the end of the age. This truth is confirmed in Daniel’s vision of the four Gentile beasts – “One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Dan. 7:13) It is also confirmed in the ending of the king’s dream.

Daniel 2:34-35

“You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. (35) Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

The stone cut out without hands is the Son of Man from heaven. Christ returns and strikes the Gentile statue in its feet – the final form of the fourth beast as depicted in Rev. 13:1-7. The feet of iron and clay are the form the fourth beast assumes at the end of the Gentile age, ascending out of the bottomless pit (Rev. 17:8, 11:7). The feet are completely destroyed by the stone. The scene of this destruction is depicted in graphic detail in Rev. 19:15-21 – it is ‘the supper of the great God.’   In the king’s dream there is no trace left of any remaining Gentile rule, power, or dominion, as the entire statue is ground up into chaff by the Son of Man.

An Age of Gentile Civil Power

What else might we say is characteristic of the age? This period of time starts after the presence and glory of Jehovah leaves Jerusalem and its temple and the earth (Ez. 10:18-19). When the age ends, the presence and glory of Jehovah will return to Jerusalem and to a new millennial temple (Ez. 43:1-6). This is a biblical principle of great importance to recognize relating to the glory of Jehovah physically present on earth in Israel and government of the world. This present age itself is one of Gentile civil power, the principle of God’s government taken away from Israel and given to the Gentiles. It is a period of time between when the presence and glory of God was in Israel, and when it will be again in the future. It is a time of testing of responsibility for the Gentiles. However, being man in Adam, their testing had predictable results. The Gentiles use civil power to exalt themselves and work unrighteousness, not to honor God and do His will. The characteristic behavior of Gentile civil world power is depicted by God as beasts and can easily be understood from a few passages from Daniel.

Daniel 4:30

“The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

The beast character is one of iniquity, pride, and self-exaltation. But particularly it is independence from the will of God or in any way answering to God. It simply does its own thing, goes its own way, and does its own will. The beasts do not acknowledge the Most High God. Immediately after the above passage was spoken by Nebuchadnezzar God judges him, making him behave as a beast for seven years.

This character of a beast disappears when he is made to acknowledge God (Dan. 4:31-37). This in itself is an important principle to understand – how the character of the beast is made to disappear. The example of Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment ending shows this prophetic principle. It is this principle that is the only means of properly explaining the three distinct epochs of the fourth beast – the Roman Empire (Rev. 17:8).

Daniel 8:4

“I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.

The ram is a symbolic beast depicting the Medo-Persian Empire that succeeded Babylon. We easily see the characteristic beast behavior. It does its own will independent from God.

Gentile failure in responsibility in Civil Power

In civil power and dominion the Gentiles bring in other characteristics. Three prominent failures can be seen in the first three kings of the age.

  1. The first king, Nebuchadnezzar, institutes kingdom wide idolatry (Dan. 3:1-7).[42]
  2. The second king, Belshazzar, blasphemes God by his use of the temple vessels that are holy and sanctified to Him, even in captivity (Dan. 5:1-5).
  3. The third king, Darius the Mede, makes himself a god to be worshiped (Dan. 6:6-9).

The Gentile idolatry, blasphemy, and self-deification are evils that run through the entire age. All the Caesars of the time of the fourth beast were prone to all three, just in a worsening display. If you closely examine the final form of the fourth beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit in the tribulation period, along with the second beast from the earth, you will see the full ripening of these evils for the end of the age (Rev. 13). In principle this is what evil does – it never improves, it only worsens, and in the end its full ripening is its perfection.

The end of the Gentile age will result in the greatest displays of evil this world has ever seen (Matt. 24:21). And this is for good reason – the dragon, with its seven heads, the perfection of evil, is cast down to the earth and comes with great wrath, for he knows his time is short (Rev. 12:7-13). The two beasts of Revelation 13 are then given the dragon’s full authority and power, and the first beast his earthly throne. All this is another characteristic of the present age.

Satan established in the Heavens

When God was present in Israel, God ruled the earth by direct government. His throne was the ark behind the veil in the tabernacle or Solomon’s temple. Leaving the earth, He turned direct government over to the Gentiles. God is seen in Daniel as He who overrules all things providentially. In Daniel He is called the God of heaven (Dan. 4:25-26), but not the God of the world and the earth. When the presence and glory of Jehovah left Israel and the earth, Satan became the god of this world, of this earth, and of this present age. He could not have had these titles while the glory of Jehovah was still present in Israel. But with the onset of Gentile civil world power Satan is established in the heavens (not ‘the’ heaven were the throne of God resides – Rev. 4:2).[43]

Ephesians 6:12

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The principalities and powers are angelic administrations. They are rulers of the evil of this present age. There are angels of wickedness in the heavens.   If Satan is later cast down to the earth (Rev. 12:7-12), then his authority, power, and influence is presently established in the heavens. We first see these spiritual realities of the age in the book of Daniel (Dan. 10:10-21), with Gabriel struggling against the prince of the kingdoms of Persia and Greece.

Eph. 2:2

“…in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”

Satan, the god of this Gentile Age

Although the phrase ‘the course of this world’ brings a certain beneficial understanding to the beginning part of this verse, a better translation may be ‘the age of this world.’ Paul is speaking of this present age and Satan as the god controlling it. The age has a certain progress and course of ripening evil that is under his influence. The prince of the power of the air is Satan established as spiritual wickedness in the heavens.

2 Corinthians 4:4

“…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

Ephesians 1:21

“…far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”

Satan definitely came to be the god of this present age. The principalities and powers are the spiritual wickedness established in the heavens influencing the development and character of the age. The Scriptures show that this age progresses in evil to its end. However the believer, being in Christ, is no longer part of this age, as he is not part of this world.

Galatians 1:3-5

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

The return of the Son of Man in power and glory will mean the end of all Gentile rule and dominion. Satan and his wicked spirits will be bound from the earth. The living in the world will be judged. The curse and corruption of creation will be lifted. The age that follows will be the Son of Man sitting on His throne of glory reigning in righteousness and peace. This is how this present age will end and a glimpse of the character and differences of the age to come.

Delivered from this Present Evil Age

But Christ has given Himself for us that He might deliver us from this present evil age. The believer has been delivered and set apart from it, although we still walk on this earth in the midst of it. We should know what the evil age looks like because we should be taught and grounded in the Scriptures. When the believer identifies evil and corruption, he is always instructed in the Word of God to turn from it (II Tim. 2:19, 22, 3:5).

The Progress of Evil

We cannot stop the progression of this present evil age. God Himself does not stretch forth His right arm of power to stop it. He tells us about its progression in the Scriptures. We see it in Daniel. We can read about its final form in Revelations. We should be listening to Paul’s warnings in the epistles (Acts 20:17-31, II Tim. 3:1-5, 13, 4:3-4).   Do these passages mean the believer/church ought to be able to stop it? When Jesus entered the world it did not know Him and eventually rejected Him. He did not change it or save it, but condemned the world at that time (John 12:31). The Scriptures simply mean what they say and reveal, and contain the mind and ways of God concerning these things. We ought to take the Scriptures more seriously. They teach that the evil ripens until the end. It is the character of this present evil age. The believer/church cannot stop it. Your prayers will not stop it. Your prayers would not be in line with the Word of God.

The Mind of God

We think we can change the world. We think we can save the world. We think we can change and save America. It is all exaggerated thoughts and prayers.   It is man trying to feel like he does something important by which he will exalt himself. God has already condemned the world that you say you can change and save. How is this the mind of God? How does this line up with revealed Scripture? The age is following its evil course. The world follows the course of this age. The believer/church cannot steer it otherwise.

There are certain things we can be doing as believers. We share and preach the gospel as God directs, and see who God is drawing to Christ (John 6:44). By this God uses us as instruments of His grace in what He is doing. The one thing that remains as far as the true wheat and the Lord returning for us is the term Paul uses (Rom. 11:25) – until the ‘fullness of the Gentiles comes in’. This fullness is a quantity entering the body of Christ that only the Father would know. This is one of the reasons why the early church constantly expected the Lord’s return for them in their days. It is why the Thessalonians mistakenly feared that those believers among them who had fallen asleep (died) had lost any hope of being included in the rapture event (I Thess. 4:13). Paul assures them this is not true, that when Christ comes for the church, God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (I Thess. 4:14). The rapture event means the resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ. Those of us that remain alive will by no means precede those who are asleep (I Thess. 4:15).

By the redemptive work of the Son of Man, we have been delivered from this present evil age, and this, according to the will of God our Father (Gal. 1:4). Before the ending fireworks of the coming tribulation, before the end of this present age, our Father will send the Son to catch up His body and bring it glorified into His presence. Will this not be deliverance from this present evil age? It is the blessed hope of the church. It is the believer’s constant expectation.

                                                           Chapter 13: Endnotes



[39] In Isaiah 9:6-7 you have ‘unto us a Child is born’ – this is spoken by Israel, but more importantly and in a greater spiritual reality, it belongs to the future Jewish remnant. This remnant is what Jesus saves in the end, as far as the nation of Israel is involved in the counsels of God. They are the ones who truly say, ‘unto us a Son is given.’ These are the ones in Israel who will see the government upon His shoulders.

But certainly a Child born refers to an event 2000 years ago, at least in some measure. If we discuss the government upon the Son’s shoulders, then we are jumping forward in time. This is characteristic of many prophetic passages. Another example of this is in the great image in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar found in Dan. 2:31-36. In v. 33 it says, “Its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” The legs of iron represent the Roman Empire in the time of the first appearance of Messiah to Israel. The feet are yet future, when the Roman Empire will be revived and in power again, and when Messiah will be presented to Israel a second time.

There are many examples we can find in prophecy that have this feature – ‘time jumping’ – and there is an obvious reason for it. All of the time-jumping in prophetic passages are jumping over the same thing. They are all by-passing the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:3-5, 9), and the time of God’s dealing with heavenly things. The mystery was kept secret since the world began (Rom. 16:25). Therefore, the mystery has no connection with the world and is not of the world. This is one reason it cannot be found in prophecy, because prophecy is about the world and the earth, and the earthly calling. The mystery simply doesn’t fit in prophecy, and would violate biblical principles if we force it there. That is why prophecy always skips over the time of the mystery.

Actually, when Israel was set aside by God with the rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah, both prophecy and time ground to a halt. Prophecy is about Israel and God’s government of the earth. Time in Scripture only relates to Israel in the counsels of God. Therefore, we see that presently, time is not being counted, the earth is not being dealt with, and prophecy is not being fulfilled. As long as God is still dealing with His mystery, all these elements are suspended. As long as the true wheat remain in the spoiled crop in the field (the world), having not yet been gathered up and removed from the field (the rapture), and placed into His barn (heaven), then these things remain on the sidelines (Matt. 13:30). These understandings are sound biblical principles found in God’s Word as taught by the Spirit.

[40] The ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel marks the middle of the final seven years (one week) of counted time towards unbelieving Israel. The antichrist will confirm a covenant with the nation for one week (7 years – John 5:43), but will make an abomination in the middle of the week, bringing an end to sacrifices and offerings in the temple (Dan. 9:27).

[41] Matthew’s gospel is the Messianic gospel. In it, Christ is presented from the outset as the accomplishment of Old Testament prophetic statements and promises. It is the character of this gospel. The phrasing, ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying…’ is used constantly (Matt. 1:22, 2:5, 2:15, 17, 3:3…). Matthew presents Jesus Christ as Immanuel the Messiah, the Lord in the midst of Israel. And this is always very earthly and physical in its nature (Matt. 11:2-5). The gospel that Jesus and His disciples preached was that of the kingdom of God now present by the presence of Immanuel in Israel, a kingdom heralded by its forerunner, John the Baptist, preparing the way of Jehovah (Luke 3:2-6, Matt. 3:3). The presentation of Messiah to Israel is found in Luke 4:17-29 and the gospel of Messiah they preached was the kingdom of God present among them (Luke 4:43, 8:1, and 9:1-6, 9:60 – 10:11). This preaching of the kingdom of God was restricted to Israel (Matt. 10:5-6, 11:1, 15:24-26) and included Messiah providing the children’s bread to the nation – physical healing, physical deliverance, and feeding of the poor.

Having said all this about Messiah we must realize that ‘Messiah’ is a title taken up by the Son of God to fulfill a work in the counsels of God. But Messiah was rejected by Israel. They would not have Him as King. As such there would be no kingdom of God through the Messiah in Israel at that time. At His rejection, Israel’s house would remain desolate for a long time (Matt. 23:37-39). This is the setting aside of the title of Messiah along with all the promises associated with it in the counsels of God. Along with this, Israel is set aside in the principle of the calling of God, their city and temple would be destroyed, and the practice of Judaism stopped. Prophecy stops. God ceases His dealings with the earth, the earthly calling in Israel, and earthly things of the kingdom of God.

If Messiah is set aside, there would be need for the counsels of God to turn to something different. This would be the title of the Son of Man and His suffering and death. The redemptive work is what is associated with the Son of Man title, along with His resurrection and glorification to the right Hand of God. The gospel associated with this title is one of crucifixion and death (I Cor. 2:2, 15:1-4). What follows His death is all that God does to glorify the Son of Man (John 13:31-32), having been glorified by His death.

This transition from Messiah to the Son of Man, from the earthly physical blessings and mission of Messiah to that of the redemptive death of the other, is uniquely shown in Matthew’s gospel. Instead of the kingdom of God through a Messiah in the flesh to Israel, God’s counsels transition to the kingdom of heaven dependent on the Son of Man crucified, resurrected, and gone away to heaven (Matt. 13:24, 37, 25:14, Luke 19:11-12). The use of the phrase ‘the kingdom of heaven’ is exclusive to Matthew’s gospel. John the Baptist, Jesus, and the disciples all declare that ‘the kingdom of heaven is a hand,’ because it doesn’t exist until the Son of Man is resurrected and gone away into glory. The kingdom of heaven as described by the Lord in word and parables cannot be found anywhere in prophecy. The kingdom of heaven contains a mystery of God’s that is hidden from prophecy and the prophets. This is the transition in the counsels of God as it is described in this way so uniquely in Matthew’s gospel.

In summary: In Matthew’s gospel John the Baptist, Jesus, and His disciples emphatically put forth a unique and different declaration, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2, 4:17, 10:7, and 13:24-30). This is a new revelation involving an entirely different kind of kingdom, and all centered on the title and role of Jesus as the Son of Man raised and glorified (Matt. 13:37). This is of importance for properly understanding the revelation and character of this kingdom and God’s counsels concerning it.

[42] Israel was filled with idolatry in the time of Elijah. The kingdom of Israel was scattered by the Assyrian into the nations. The kingdom of Judah fared slightly better and remained in the land longer. Eventually they were taken captive to Babylon. This is when the nation of Israel was delivered from its unclean spirit of idolatry (Matt. 12:43-45). They haven’t practiced idolatry for a long time now. But the spirit that went out of Israel is just biding its time and going through dry places. The unclean spirit of idolatry will return to the nation of Israel at the end of the age during the tribulation. Only then it will be seven more spirits more wicked than the first (Matt. 12:45). This will be the last state of unbelieving Israel.

[43] Another viewpoint is that Satan became the god of this world after the crucifixion of Christ. At least he is fully acknowledged in God’s revelation as such at that time. The God who created the world had entered the world only to be rejected by the world (John 1:10). In the cross the world thinks it had victory. The cross represents the hatred of the world against God fully manifested, and it represents the full power of Satan and darkness against Christ. But it was not Satan’s victory as the world believes. To God and the eye of faith it is the resounding defeat of Satan, who held the power of death (Heb. 2:14-15). At the cross the Prince of this world was cast out, and the world was condemned (John 12:31-32). For believers, we patiently wait for the complete physical reality of this declared and set judgment to come to pass, both for the world and Satan. This physical reality is the subject of the book of Revelation.

However, Satan seems to have established authority previous to the cross. The presence and glory of God had left the earth in the time of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon’s world empire. When Satan met Jesus in the temptation in the wilderness, he offers Him the kingdoms of the world as his to give as he pleases (Matt. 4:8-10). This certainly was a real temptation for he possessed these to give in exchange for worshipping him. The three temptations by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11) are all of the Son of God as the Son of Man. They have no inference to the Messiah title.