It is well known that the order of the temptations in Matthew is not the same as in Luke. Commentators and Harmonise3rs assume that one is right and the other is wrong; and proceed to change the order of one in order to make it agree with the other.

See Ap 96.


We have already seen from the Structure on page 1304, and notes there, that each of the Four Gospels has its own special character and design. These are not to be determined by human ingenuity or on modern lines, but to be gathered from the Structure.

This shows that they may be regarded as being the completion of the Old Testament, rather than the beginning of the New. In any case, they have nothing whatever to do with the founding of “the Church”. or with the beginning of “Christianity” (See App 113, notes on the Structure of the Acts as a whole, and Romans 15:8).


Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:


Was = has become minister, see Acts 1:22, see 2:25, & 3:30. Cp Matt 10:5—6. John 12:36. See Romans 1:25 page 1511.

To Confirm = Mark 16:20. 1 Cor 6—8. 2 Cor 1:21. Col 2:7. Heb 2:3; & 13:9.

     Acts 1:22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection.

Be ordained to be = become.

    Ordained = (To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on. To authorize as a rabbi).


Romans 2:25 For circumcision verity profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.


Romans 3:30; 20; 19; 08; 06; 05; 02.

30. Seeing it is one God, Which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

20. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

19.  Now we know what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: 8 that every mouth may be stopped, and all the 6world may become 5 guilty before 2 God

08. And not rather, (as we slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) “Let us do evil, that good may come?” whose damnation is just.

06. God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

05. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God , what shall we say? Is God unrighteous Who taketh vengeance.

02. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them (Jews) were committed to them the oracles of God.

To be coherent these seven verses have been laid out backwards, hence the superscript numbers above the line of text.

The law = works of the law. CP verse 3:27 Where is boasting then? it is excluded—20  By what—19 law? of works? Nay: but—20 by the law of faith.

see verse Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.

Cp Matthew 10:5—6

5. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.

6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Romans 1:25—26 

25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen.

The truth of God:  the truth of God for the lie. Man transferred his worship from God (the Truth) to the devil. The lie is that Satan is man’s benefactor and is to be worshipped.

Creature = the things created; not only sun, moon, stars. men, the animate creation, but Satan himself, the arch enemy, who by means of his “lie”

(Gen 3:4—5)transferred the worship of man from the Creator to himself, the creature.

26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.


They are four distinct presentations  of the Messiah, and together form one perfect whole. The twofold subject of the Lord’s fourfold ministry (Ap119) shows this very clearly; and excludes all modern hypotheses.

This being so, only these events, miracles, and discourses of our Lord are selected which are needed for the presentation of our Lord and His ministry, and which bear upon, illustrate, and thus emphasise the special object of each Gospel.

This is why certain words and works are are peculiar to one Gospel, and are omitted from another; and why certain utterances of the Lord are repeated on other occasions, and with varying words. Also why we have “the kingdom of heaven” only in Matthew, and “the kingdom of God” in the other Gospels (See Ap 114).

It has been too generally assumed that events and discourses, which are similar, are identical also. But this is not the case, as may be seen from Ap 116,152,153,155, 156,157,158, 163, 164.

By failing to distinguish or to “try the things that differ” (Phil1:10), and to rightly divide “the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15) as to its times, events separated by great landmarks  of time are brought together and treated as though they were one and the same, whereby difficulties are created  which baffle all the attempts of those who would fain remove them.

The special object of each of the Four Gospels may be seen from the structure on page 1304.


Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence tii the day of Christ;

That ye may: your proving or trying.

Are excellent = differ. We are to test the things, and having found them to differ, we must not join them together, but rightly divide them. (2 Tim 2:15).

Without offence Acts 24:16. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward verse 14God , and toward men.

Verse Acts24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.

The way = see notes on verse 9:2. being of the way. note the term “the way” to describe the way of the believers.

2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be shamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Study: Be diligent.  

Shew present = Colossians 1:22,28.

22. In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight:

28. Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom;

Cp Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Approved Rom 14:18. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Workman: This word is translated “labourer”, “worker”, or “workman”.


But an examination of the combined accounts, giving due weight to the words and expressions used, will explain all the differences, and show that both Gospels are absolutely correct; while the differences are caused by the three temptations being repeated by the devil in a different order, thus making six instead of three.

Mark and Luke agree in stating that the temptations continued all the forty days (Mark 1:13. Luke 4:2); they are described as follows:-


1.      (Luke 4:3—4) “The devil (ho diabolos) said to Him, `Speak to this stone (tō lithō toutō) that it become a loaf (artos).’” This appears to be the first temptation: and there is no reason whatever why it should not have been repeated in another form; for it is nowhere stated that there were three, and only three temptations.1.

1. This is like other traditional expressions; for where do we read of “three” wise men?  We see them In medieval paintings. Where do we read of angels being women? Yet as such, they are always painted. Where do we find in scripture other common sayings, such as “the talent hid in a napkin”/ It was hidden “in the earth”. Where do we ever see a picture of the crucifixion with the mark of the spear on the left side?

2.      (Luke 4:5—8)  “And the devil, conducting (anagagōn) Him, shewed to Him all the kingdoms of the habitable wold, or land (Greek oikoumenē,

Ap 129.3) in a moment of time” Nothing is said about an exceeding high mountain”, Lachmann brackets the words “into an high mountain”, and Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, WH, and R.V. omit them. The devil claims to possess the right to the kingdom of the world, and the Lord does not dispute it. Satan says: “To Thee will I give this authority (exousia) and all their glory, for to me it has been delivered, and  to whom soever I wish I give it. Therefore, if Thou wilt worship before me, all shall be Thine.”

Nothing is said here about “falling down”, as in Matthew. Here, only “authority” is offered; for all the critical Greek texts read “pasa” (not “panta”) fem, to agree with exousia. The Lord did not say, “Get thee hence” (as in Matt 4:10), but “Get thee behind Me”, which was a very different thing. Satan did not depart then, any more than Peter did when the same was said to him (Matt 16:23).

3.      (Luke 4:9—12.) “And he conducted (ēgagen) Him to Jerusalem, and set Him upon the wing (or battlement, Dan. 9:27m.) of the temple, and said to Him, “If Thou art the Son of God, cast Thyself down hence, for it is written that to His angels He will give charge concerning Thee, to keep Thee (tou diaphulaxai se):’&c. There is nothing said about this “keeping Thee” in Matthew; moreover, it is stated that having finished every form of temptation, “he departed from Him for a season”. Note that the devil departed of his own accord in Luke 4:13, while in Matthew the Lord summarily dismissed him, and commanded him to be gone (Matt 4:10).

4.      (Matthew 4:3—4.) After the “season” (referred to in Luke 4:13), and on another occasion therefore, “he who was tempting Him (ho peirazōn), having come (proselthōn),said, “If thou art the Son of God, say that these stones become loaves (artoi)”. “Not this stone”, or a “loaf” (artos) as in Luke 4;3, Moreover he is not plainly called “the devil”, as in Luke 4:3, but is spoken of as the one who had already been named as tempting Him (ho peirazōn); and as “having come” (proselthōn): not as simply speaking as being then present.

5.      (Matthew 4:5—7) “The (tote)”—in strict succession to the preceding temptation of the “stones” and the “loaves”—“Then the devil taketh (paralambanei) Him unto the holy city, and setteth Him upon the wing(or battlement) of the temple” &c, Nothing is said here about the angels being charged to “keep” Him (as in Luke 4: 10); nor is there any reason why any of these three forms of temptation should not have been repeated, under other circumstances and conditions.

6.      (Matthew 4:8—10.) Here it is plainly stated that the second temptation (Luke4:5—8) was repeated: for “Again the devil taketh him unto an exceedingly high mountain, and sheweth to Him all the kingdoms of the world, kosmos (Ap 129.1), not oikoumenē (Ap 129.3), as in Luke 4:5, and their glory, and said to Him: “All these things”, not “all this authority”, as in Luke 4:6, will I give to Thee if, falling down, Thou wilt worship me”. Here, in the last temptation, the climax is reached. It was direct worship. Nothing is said in Luke about falling down. Here it is boldly and plainly said, “Worship me”, This was the crisis. There was no parting of Satan’s own accord here. The moment had come to end all these temptations by the Lord Himself. “Go! said the Lord (hupage), Get thee hence, Satan… Then the devil leaveth (aphiēsin) Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him”.

   This angelic ministry marked the end. There is no such ministry mentioned at the end of the third temptation in Luke 4:3—12); for then Satan departed of his own accord, returning in (Matthew 4:3) after “a season” (Luke 4:13).  True, the Lord “get thee behind Me Satan” (Luke 4:8); but He did not, then, summarily dismiss him, nor did Satan depart: he continued with his third temptation, not departing till after the third had been completed.

We thus conclude that, while there were temptations continuous during the whole of the forty days (Mark 1:13. Luke 4:2.), they culminated in six direct assaults on the Son of man, in three different forms; each form being repeated on two separate occasions, and under different circumstances,

but not in the same order. This accords with all the variations of the words used, explains the different order of events in the two Gospels, and satisfies all the conditions demanded by the sacred text.

The two different orders in Matthew and Luke do not arise from a “mistake” in one or the other, so that one may be considered correct and the other incorrect; they arise from the punctilious accuracy of the Divine record in describing the true and correct order in which satan varied the six temptations; for which variation, he alone, and neither of the Evangelists, is responsible.  


The Temptations of Christ. The Companion Bible.


Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil, And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered.


Luke 4:3—4

3. And the devil said unto Him, “If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.”

4. And Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written , That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.


Luke 4:5—8

5. And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

6. And the devil said unto Him, “All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it.

7. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shalt be Thine.”

8. And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, `Thou shalt worship the    LORD thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’”



Mark 1:13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan;

                 and was with the wild beasts;

                 and the angels ministered unto Him.  


Matt 16:23 But He turned, and said unto Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Get thee behind… The Lord saw in this a direct assault by satan himself through Peter. See Matt 16:22.


Matt 4:10—11

10. Then Jesus saith unto him, “Get thee hence satan: for it is written, `Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’”

11. Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.


Luke 4:9—12

09. And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him, “If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence:

10. For it is written, `He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee:

11. And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.

12. And Jesus answering said unto him, “It is said, `Thou shalt not tempt the LORD thy God


Luke 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season.

Departed of his own accord: For a season = Until a convenient time. see Matt 4:11. Returning again and repeating the three temptations in a different order and under different circumstances Ap 116.