The Bible is false (and Jesus is not God) because Jesus obeyed Satan

One of the attacks raised by Muslims is to say that the Bible is false because Jesus obeyed Satan.  They will quote Matt 4:2-10:

And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.' " 5Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and *said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON {their} HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.' " 7Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.' " 8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus *said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.' " (NASB)

They say that in order for Jesus to be taken to the holy city (v. 5) and taken to a high mountain (v. 8), Jesus had to obey the command of Satan.  Their logic is that this proves the Bible is corrupted and can't be trusted.

First of all, if the Muslim wants to use this line of reasoning, then it proves that the Quran is false.  Please read the quote from the Quran below and notice where Satan tells God what he wants, and God "obeys." It's in verse 14 below (Note:  in Islam, "iblis" is Satan):

"It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis; he refused to be of those who bow down. 12 (Allah) said: "What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay." 13 (Allah) said: "Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures)."  14 He said: "Give me respite till the day they are raised up." 15 (Allah) said: "Be thou amongst those who have respite." (Surah 7:11-15)

Some Muslims say the above translation is not correct.  Since the important verses are 14 and 15, I have copied three English translations located here:

YUSUFALI: He said: "Give me respite till the day they are raised up."
PICKTHAL: He said: Reprieve me till the day when they are raised (from the dead).
SHAKIR: He said: Respite me until the day when they are raised up.
YUSUFALI: (Allah) said: "Be thou among those who have respite."
PICKTHAL: He said: Lo! thou art of those reprieved.
SHAKIR: He said: Surely you are of the respited ones.

"He said:  'Give me respite till the day they are raised up.  15 (Allah) said:  'Be thou among those who have respite.'" (The Holy Quran:  English translation of the meanings and Commentary.  Revised and Edited by The presidency of Islamic Researches, IFTA, Call and Guidance, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Complex, For the Printing of the Holy Quran.  This Quran was sent to me by a Muslim.  It was printed in Saudi Arabia!)

Therefore, we can see that the Muslim's criticism actually undermines his own holy book.  If the Bible is not true based on his reasoning, then neither is the Quran.

Second, the Matthew text does not say that Jesus obeyed the devil.  It only says that the devil took him to a city and a mountain.  There is no reason to demand that Jesus "obeyed" the command of the devil.  The text just doesn't tell us what was said by who.  It could be that Satan asked permission to take Jesus someplace.  It could be that Jesus told Satan to take him.  But, since the text doesn't tell us, we can't say either way; so the Muslim's criticism is unfounded.

Third, the text says that Jesus was led up by the Spirit (Matt. 4:1) to be tempted of the devil.  It was the plan and design of God that Jesus be tempted by the evil one.  Therefore, Jesus was following the ordained plan and will of God.  He was not obeying Satan.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.