The Truth About Angels


The Second Temptation

“Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written: “He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.”—The Desire of Ages, 124. TA 173.4

Satan, to manifest his strength, carried Jesus to Jerusalem, and set Him upon a pinnacle of the temple.—Spiritual Gifts 1:32. TA 174.1

He [Satan] again demanded of Christ, if He was indeed the Son of God, to give him evidence by casting Himself from the dizzy height upon which he had placed Him. He urged Christ to show His confidence in the preserving care of His Father by casting Himself down from the temple. In Satan's first temptation upon the point of appetite, he had tried to insinuate doubts in regard to God's love and care for Christ as His Son, by presenting His surroundings and His hunger as evidence that He was not in favor with God. He was unsuccessful in this. He next tried to take advantage of the faith and perfect trust Christ had shown in His heavenly Father to urge Him to presumption. “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”—The Review and Herald, August 18, 1874. TA 174.2

The wily foe himself presents words that proceeded from the mouth of God. He still appears as an angel of light, and he makes it evident that he is acquainted with the Scriptures, and understands the import of what is written. As Jesus before used the word of God to sustain His faith, the tempter now uses it to countenance his deception. He claims that he has been only testing the fidelity of Jesus, and he now commends His steadfastness. As the Saviour has manifested trust in God, Satan urges Him to give still another evidence of His faith. TA 174.3

But again the temptation is prefaced with the insinuation of distrust. “If Thou be the Son of God.” Christ was tempted to answer the “if,” but He refrained from the slightest acceptance of the doubt. He would not imperil His life in order to give evidence to Satan.—The Desire of Ages, 124. TA 175.1

When Satan quoted the promise, “He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee,” he omitted the words, “to keep thee in all Thy ways“: that is, in all the ways of God's choosing. Jesus refused to go outside the path of obedience. While manifesting perfect trust in His Father, He would not place Himself unbidden in a position that would necessitate the interposition of His Father to save Him from death. He would not force Providence to come to His rescue, and thus fail of giving man an example of trust and submission.—The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1902. TA 175.2

If Jesus had cast Himself from the pinnacle, it would not have glorified His Father; for none would witness the act but Satan, and the angels of God. And it would be tempting the Lord to display His power to His bitterest foe. It would have been condescending to the one whom Jesus came to conquer.—Spiritual Gifts 1:33. TA 175.3