The devil led (Jesus) up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Luke 4: 5-7
Was the devil lying? Maybe. But Jesus did not respond by saying he was lying. Instead, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”
So does all the “authority and splendor” of the kingdoms of the world belong to Satan? Does Satan give the authority over kingdoms of the world to anyone he wants to? Is the authority of earthly kingdoms inconsistent with serving God only?
Might Paul have had this episode in mind when he wrote the letter to the Romans that seems to say the opposite? Might that have been another clue to his readers? Would Paul and his readers have more likely concluded that Nero got his authority from God, or from Satan?
To what authority are we pledging our allegiance when we pledge our allegiance to earthly kingdoms?