In another blog about volunteering for things at church, Mark Butler quotes a scripture in Abraham 3:
And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.
Never mind exactly how that scripture applied to the topic, I have a separate question: Of all Lucifer’s actions (from these verses only), which was the first that was wrong? A few possibilities:
1) When he rejected his first estate (volunteering is good and anger has its place, but he went too far).
2) When he got angry (volunteering is good, but don't get mad when you don't get picked).
3) When he volunteered second (if he really wanted it, he wouldn’t have delayed).
4) When he volunteered (because he should have accepted what everyone knew: Jesus had been chosen before the question was even asked).
I don’t support explanation #3, because it implies that Lucifer would have been right if he had only been faster. I can't believe that "fastest finger" is the way to make this kind of selection.
Of course, #1 was his ultimate mistake, and #2 helped him get there. But I believe that #4 was the real problem for Lucifer. Lucifer knew that Jesus was the Christ, but he wanted the title—albeit, not the responsibility—for himself.
Are there problems with explanation #4? For one, I don’t think that the text explicitly supports this reading. Another scripture might give it some support, mainly because it shows that Jesus was the Christ long before he was born:
Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people.... (Ether 3:14)
This interpretation relies on the assumption that in whatever way Jesus was “prepared...to redeem” us, it was done openly: i.e. everyone in the spirit world knew his role. This also hinges on the meaning of “foundation of the world.” When did this happen? Is the “foundation of the world” the beginning of human life, the beginning of the earth’s creation, or the beginning of our spiritual lives? Abraham 3:24 sounds like it is talking about the foundation of the world (which occurs right before the question of who will be the Savior).
If everyone already knew who God had chosen and prepared, why ask the question? I think the point is to show that Jesus is willing to do the Father's will. The alternative is that we might think that God forced Jesus to be the Christ. I do not think this is to show that Jesus is doing something without being asked.
I think this question also allowed each of us to identify Jesus as the Christ at a crucial time. I imagine us answering the question in our own minds, "Well, clearly he should send Jesus." This might have been our first experience identifying Jesus as our leader--right as Lucifer would rise as an alternative choice.