You will notice that this is similar to the page called Metaphors, however, it has a different slant. Some will be attracted to one above the other, so please allow for the similarities. Just note the lesson.
When Satan came upon Christ in the wilderness, He questioned His relationship to the Father -- “If Thou be the Son of God….” -- notwithstanding He had heard the Father declare Jesus to be His “beloved Son”.
Did Satan know the identity of Christ?
Of course He did.
“Satan well knew the position that Christ had held in heaven as the Beloved of the Father. That the Son of God should come to this earth as a man filled him with amazement and with apprehension.” DA 115. 5BC 1078.
Think about these words. The prophet is telling us that Satan knew the identity of Jesus. He knew the position He had held in the heavenly courts.
How did he know?
He was there. In heaven he was not satisfied with his position and wanted the power of Christ. “And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.” PP 35.
“Why” questioned this mighty angel, “should Christ have the supremacy? Why is He honoured above Lucifer?” PP 36.37.
Did He know why?
Yes. Christ was the begotten Son of God, and Lucifer a created angel. “The high honors conferred upon Lucifer were not appreciated as God’s special gift, and therefore called forth no gratitude to his Creator…. He was beloved and reverenced by the heavenly host, angels delighted to execute his commands… Yet the Son of God was exalted above him, as one in power and authority with the Father. He shared the Father’s counsels, while Lucifer did not thus enter into the purposes of God.” PP 36.37.
Lucifer was jealous of the Son’s authority, and after the Father had made clear the “true position of His Son...”, Lucifer allowed his "jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined.” PP35. GC 494. “The preference shown to Christ he declared an act of injustice both to himself and to all the heavenly host…” PP 40.37.
“There had been no change in the position or authority of Christ. Lucifer’s envy and misrepresentation and his claims to equality with Christ had made necessary a statement of the true position of the Son of God; but this had been the same from the beginning.” PP 37.38.
What did Lucifer want?
Lucifer “… hoped to win all the angels to his side, to become equal with God Himself, and to be obeyed by the entire host of heaven.” PP40. “He aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.” PP35.
“To dispute the supremacy of the Son of God, thus impeaching the wisdom and love of the Creator, had become the purpose of this prince of angels. To this object he was about to bend the energies of that master mind, which, next to Christ’s, was first among the hosts of God.” PP35.36.
Gradually the perfect harmony of heaven was broken. Angels “were now discontented and unhappy because they could not penetrate His (God’s) unsearchable counsels; they were dissatisfied with His purpose in exalting Christ. These stood ready to second Lucifer’s demand for equal authority with the Son of God.” PP38.39. “… none but Christ, the only begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will.” PP36.
“But angels who were loyal and true maintained the wisdom and justice of the divine… Christ was the Son of God; He had been one with Him (the Father) before the angels were called into existence. He had ever stood at the right hand of the Father….” PP38.39.
Finally God’s Son led the loyal angels in battle against Lucifer and his angels. We know the result, but do we understand that the war is still raging? In fact, it is for this reason this website exists.
The prophet has made it absolutely clear that Christ is the only-begotten Son of God, but on reading these words through the Spirit of Prophecy, many say they are metaphors. Instead of Christ being God’s Son from a point in eternity, He was co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. This is NOT what the prophet has written.
If we make her words metaphors, what of her statement in the Desire of Ages that Satan knew the position of Christ in heaven? This must be a metaphor too.
Before Lucifer’s rebellion, he was “a high and exalted angel, next in honor to God's dear Son.” SR 13.
But he allowed “jealousy of Christ to prevail…” GC 494.
He “disputed the supremacy of the Son of God.” PP 35.36.
He regarded the “preference shown to Christ… an act of injustice…” PP 37.40.
He questioned, “Why Christ should have the supremacy?” PP 36.37.
He “covet(ed) the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son…” PP 35.
He demanded “… equal authority with the Son of God.” PP 38.39.
He hoped “to become equal with God Himself…" PP 40.
If all the above are metaphors, then the prophet’s words of Satan knowing Christ’s position mean nothing.
“Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners.” DA 49.
“When Satan and the Son of God first met in conflict, Christ was the Commander of the heavenly hosts; and Satan, the leader of revolt in heaven, was cast out. Now their condition is apparently reversed, and Satan makes the most of his supposed advantage.” DA 119.
You would think if Ellen White had become a Trinitarian by the time she wrote the Desire of Ages, she would have realised that her outline of Lucifer’s fall was not literally true, but metaphoric language. But instead of stating this, she repeats her message.
"‘If Thou be the Son of God’. The words rankle with bitterness in his (Satan’s) mind. In the tones of his voice is an expression of utter incredulity. Would God treat His own Son thus? Would He leave Him in the desert with wild beasts, without food, without companions, without comfort? He insinuates that God never meant His Son to be in such a state as this. ‘If Thou be the Son of God’, show Thy power… Command that this stone be made bread.” DA 118.
“Not without a struggle could Jesus listen in silence to the arch-deceiver. But the Son of God was not to prove His divinity to Satan, or to explain the reason of His humiliation.” DA 119.
If Christ was not the Son of God until His conception to Mary, the outline of Lucifer’s fall is not just a metaphor; it is a false teaching. If it is heresy for brethren and sisters to believe it today, then it was heresy for our prophet to believe it one hundred and seventy years ago. And even in 1898, when the Desire of Ages was compiled from the prophet’s writings by Marian Davis, this fact would not have changed. Why did our prophet include heresy in the Desire of Ages?
Of course it wasn’t heresy. We can say our pioneers matured, but this is not true when it comes to a contradiction of previously-written doctrinal positions. The contents of the Conflict of the Ages was either true doctrine or it was error. To make the prophet’s words metaphors is simply an excuse not to believe it today.