A number of metaphors are used to depict the solid rock upon which Christ’s church is built – the foundation, the platform, the pillar supporting the platform. All speak the same truth. The book in your hand is based on Ellen White’s metaphor that the central pillar supports the foundation in a similar way that a cornerstone supports the building -- Jesus Christ, “the chief corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20.
Metaphors are figures of speech where a descriptive term is given to an object or person that is not literally applicable. Some believe Ellen White’s references to Jesus as the ‘Son of God’ prior to the incarnation is hindsight, and the name ‘Son’ and ‘Father’ are used as metaphors. Is this so?
For instance, the prophet wrote, “The Son of God declares concerning Himself…The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old…When He appointed the foundations of the earth: I was by him, as one brought up with him: I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” Patriarchs and Prophets p34.
The text quoted in Proverbs 8 begins with wisdom. Some brethren think the whole chapter is about wisdom, however a careful reading shows that wisdom becomes a metaphor for God’s Son “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3. The prophet makes this clear.
When Lucifer learned that the Father and His Son would create man upon the earth, without consulting him, envy filled his heart. Through pride and jealousy, this highly honoured angel began to covet the position of the Son. Patriarchs and Prophets p15.18.
“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 his energies of that master mind, which, next to Christ’s, was first among the hosts of God.” Ibid p35. (DA 129)
It was then necessary for God to make His Son’s position, as the Prince of heaven, absolutely clear to the angels. “Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that 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.
The Son of God had wrought the Father's will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due.” Patriarchs and Prophets p36.
Think about it. If the Son is a metaphor, Lucifer’s jealousy must also be a metaphor. Even the council called by the Father to make clear His Son’s authority must be metaphoric. The whole chapter becomes meaningless. Dare we do this?
Finally, Lucifer is cast from heaven. “The Son of God, the Prince of heaven, and His loyal angels engaged in conflict with the archrebel and those who united with him.” Lift Him Up p19. The prophet tells us that the death of Christ would “justify God and His Son in their dealing with the rebellion of Satan.” Patriarchs and Prophets p69.
Although the plan of redemption had been laid before the creation of the earth, it became a struggle for the Father, whether to let man suffer the penalty for sin or to allow His Son to pay the price Himself. A vivid picture reveals the Father’s trial in allowing His Son to fulfill the covenant of peace. Zechariah 6:12.13.
“Soon I saw Him (the Son) approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father… Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father we could see His Person… He then made known to the angelic choir that a way of escape had been made for lost man; that He had obtained permission to give His own life as a ransom for the race…” Early Writings p126.
“Said the angel, ‘Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, No.’ It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His darling Son to die for them.” Ibid p127.
The death of Christ would “answer the question as to whether the Father and the Son had sufficient love for man to exercise self-denial and a spirit of sacrifice.” Patriarchs and Prophets p70.
In the Garden of Eden, it was “the Son of God who gave our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs” – Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses. Ibid p366. “These holy men of old held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face.” Ibid p366.
When Abraham met three heavenly beings at his tent, after the two angels departed for Sodom, he was left “alone with Him whom he now knew to be the Son of God.” Ibid p139.
The great test of faith for Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah was not only a lesson for them regarding the plan of salvation, but the angels also began to understand.
“It had been difficult even for the angels to grasp the mystery of redemption – to comprehend that the Commander of heaven, the Son of God, must die for guilty man. When the command was given to Abraham to offer up his son, the interest of all heavenly beings was enlisted.
With intense earnestness they watched each step in the fulfillment of this command… and when the father’s hand was stayed as he was about to slay his son, and the ram which God had provided was offered in the place of Isaac – then light was shed upon the mystery of redemption, and even the angels understood more clearly the wonderful provision that God had made for man’s salvation.” Ibid p155.
Consider the analogy – Isaac was Abraham’s real son. Was God’s Son a metaphor?
It was “the Son of God, enshrined in the cloudy pillar (who) led the way” to the promised land. Ibid p437. When Moses stood high on the hill before the people he was told, “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock…” Exodus 17:6.
The prophet said, “Moses smote the rock, but it was the Son of God who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, stood beside Moses, and caused the life-giving water to flow.” Patriarchs & Prophets p298.
When Nebuchadnezzar threw the three Hebrew worthies into the fiery furnace, they walked with a divine Being. Was it the Son of God? Or are these words metaphoric?
Sister White asked, “How did that heathen king know what the Son of God was like? The Hebrew captives… had told of Christ, the Redeemer to come; and in the form of the fourth in the midst of the fire the king recognized the Son of God.” Prophets and Kings p509.
Over and over the term ‘Son of God’ is used by the prophet, not as a metaphor, but as reality. Metaphors are valuable tools of language, but used incorrectly they teach a false message.
Believe the truth.
“God sent his Son from the heavenly courts… But the world hated the Son of the infinite God.” Review & Herald. Sep 20. 1881.
This is our challenge today -- to believe that God really did send His Son. To deny Christ His heavenly origin, makes God “a liar.” 1 John 5:10.
It is such a blessing to know that “God should consent to let His only begotten Son come to a world all seared and marred with the curse, to walk a man among men, and to suffer death by crucifixion -- does not this bear eloquent witness to the power of God's love?” Youth’s Instructor. August 21, 1902.
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