Ellen Gould Harmon White.

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Columbia (Bntoertfttp


Bequest of

Frederic Bancroft


I Contro


Great Controversy

Between Christ and Satan





"Patriarchs and Prophets," "Prophets and
Kings," "The Desire of Ages," "The Acts
of the Apostles," and various other works


"Lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world."




Copyright, 1888, 1907, 1911, by
Mrs. E. G. White

Entered at Stationers' Hall
All Rights Reserved



* ^»JPB EFACEf«l|l

This book, reader, is not published to tell us that there
is sin and woe and misery in this world. We know it all
too well.

This book is not published to tell us that there is an
irreconcilable controversy between darkness and light, sin
and righteousness, wrong and right, death and life. In our
heart of hearts we know it, and know that we are partici-
pators, actors, in the conflict.

But to every one of us comes at times a longing to know
more of the great controversy. How did the controversy
begin? or was it always here? What elements enter into its
awfully complex aspect? How am I related to it? What
is my responsibility? I find myself in this world by no
choice of my own. Does that mean to me evil or good?

What are the great principles involved? How long
will the controversy continue? What will be its ending?
Will this earth sink, as some scientists tell us, into the
depths of a sunless, frozen, eternal night? or is there a
better future before it, radiant with the light of life, warm
with the eternal love of God?

The question comes closer still: How may the con-
troversy in my own heart, the strife between inflowing self-
ishness and outgoing love, be settled in the victory of good,
and settled forever? What does the Bible say? What has
God to teach us upon this question, eternally important
to every soul?

Questions like these meet us from every side. They rise
insistent up from the depths of our own heart. They
demand definite answer.

Surely the God who created in us the longing for the
better, the desire for the truth, will not withhold from us
the answer to all needed knowledge; for "the Lord Je-
hovah will do nothing, except He reveal His secret unto
His servants the prophets."


It is the aim of this book, reader, to help the troubled
soul to a right solution of all these problems. It is
written by one who has tasted and found that God is
good, and who has learned in communion with God and
the study of His word that the secret of the Lord is with
them that fear Him, and that He will show them His

That we may better understand the principles of the
all-important controversy, in which the life of a universe
is involved, the author has set it before us in great, con-
crete object-lessons of the last twenty centuries.

The book opens with the sad closing scenes of Jerusa-
lem's history, the city of God's chosen, after her rejec-
tion of the Man of Calvary, who came to save. Thence
onward along the great highway of the nations, it points
us to the persecutions of God's children in the first cen-
turies; the great apostasy which followed in His church;
the world-awakening of the Reformation, in which some
of the great principles of the controversy are clearly mani-
fest; the awful lesson of the rejection of right principles
by France; the revival and exaltation of the Scriptures,
and their beneficent, life-saving influence; the religious
awakening of the last days; the unsealing of the radiant
fountain of God's word, with its wonderful revelations of
light and knowledge to meet the baleful upspringing of
every delusion of darkness.

The present impending conflict, with the vital prin-
ciples involved, in which no one can be neutral, are simply,
lucidly, strongly set forth.

Last of all, we are told of the eternal and glorious
victory of good over evil, right over wrong, light over
darkness, joy over sorrow, hope over despair, glory over
shame, life over death, and everlasting, long-suffering love
over vindictive hate.

Former editions of this book have brought many souls to
the True Shepherd; it is the prayer of the publishers that
this edition may be even more fruitful of eternal good.

The Publishers.



Before the entrance of sin, Adam enjoyed open com-
munion with his Maker; but since man separated himself
from God by transgression, the human race has been cut
off from this high privilege. By the plan of redemption,
however, a way has been opened whereby the inhabitants of
the earth may still have connection with heaven. God has
communicated with men by His Spirit, and divine light has
been imparted to the world by revelations to His chosen
servants. <; Holy men of God spake as they were moved
by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21.

During the first twenty-five hundred years of human
history, there was no written revelation. Those who had
been taught of God, communicated their knowledge to
others, and it M T as handed down from father to son, through
successive generations. The preparation of the written word
began in the time of Moses. Inspired revelations were
then embodied in an inspired book. This work continued
during the long period of sixteen hundred years, — from
Moses, the historian of creation and the law, to John, the
recorder of the most sublime truths of the gospel.

The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written
by human hands ; and in the varied style of its different
books it presents the characteristics of the several writers.
The truths revealed are all "given by inspiration of God"
(2 Tim. 3: 16) ; yet they are expressed in the words of men.
The Infinite One by His Holy Spirit has shed light into the
minds and hearts of His servants. He has given dreams
and visions, symbols and figures; and those to whom the


truth was thus revealed, have themselves embodied the
thought in human language.

The ten commandments were spoken by God Himself,
and were written by His own hand. They are of divine,
and not of human composition. But the Bible, with its
God-given truths expressed in the language of men, pre-
sents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union
existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and
the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of
Christ, that "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among
us." John 1:14.

Written in different ages, by men who differed widely
in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual en-
dowments / the books of the Bible present a wide contrast
in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the sub-
jects unfolded. Different forms of expression are employed
by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly
presented by one than by another. And as several writers
present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there
may appear, to the superficial, careless, or prejudiced
reader, to be discrepancy or contradiction, where the
thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns
the underlying harmony.

As presented through different individuals, the truth is
brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more
strongly impressed with one phase of the subject; he grasps
those points that harmonize with his experience or with
his power of perception and appreciation ; another seizes
upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of
the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed
upon his own mind — a different aspect of the truth in
each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths
thus revealed unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to
meet the wants of men in all the circumstances and experi-
ences of life.

God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the
world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy
Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work.
He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and


what to write. The treasure was intrusted to earthen ves-
sels, yet it is, none the less, from Heaven. The testimony
is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human
language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient,
believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine
power, full of grace and truth.

In His word, God has committed to men the knowledge
necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be
accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His
will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of
doctrines, and the test of experience. "Every scripture
inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness;
that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely
unto every good work." 2 Tim. 3:16, 17, Revised Version.

Yet the fact that God has revealed His will to men
through His word, has not rendered needless the continued
presence and guiding of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary,
the Spirit was promised by our Saviour, to open the Word
to His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings. And
since it was the Spirit of God that inspired the Bible, it
is impossible that the teaching of the Spirit should ever be
contrary to that of the Word.

The Spirit was not given — nor can it ever be bestowed
— to supersede the Bible ; for the Scriptures explicitly state
that the word of God is the standard by which all teach-
ing and experience must be tested. Says the apostle John,
"Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they
are of God: because many false prophets are gone out
into the world." 1 John 4:1. And Isaiah declares, "To
the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according
to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
Isa. 8:20.

Great reproach has been cast upon the work of the Holy
Spirit by the errors of a class that, claiming its enlighten-
ment, profess to have no further need of guidance from
the word of God. They are governed by impressions which
they regard as the voice of God in the soul. But the spirit


that controls them is not the Spirit of God. This following
of impressions, to the neglect of the Scriptures, can lead
only to confusion, to deception and ruin. It serves only to
further the designs of the evil one. Since the ministry of
the Holy Spirit is of vital importance to the church of
Christ, it is one of the devices of Satan, through the errors
of extremists and fanatics, to cast contempt upon the work
of the Spirit, and cause the people of God to neglect this
source of strength which our Lord Himself has provided.

In harmony with the word of God, His Spirit was to
continue its work throughout the period of the gospel
dispensation. During the ages while the Scriptures of
both the Old and the New Testament were being given, the
Holy Spirit did not cease to communicate light to individ-
ual minds, apart from the revelations to be embodied in
the Sacred Canon. The Bible itself relates how, through the
Holy Spirit, men received warning, reproof, counsel, and
instruction, in matters in no way relating to the giving of
the Scriptures. And mention is made of prophets in dif-
ferent ages, of whose utterances nothing is recorded. In
like manner, after the close of the canon of Scripture, the
Holy Spirit was still to continue its work, to enlighten,
warn, and comfort the children of God.

Jesus promised His disciples, "The Comforter, which is
the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name,
He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." "When
He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into
all truth: . . . and He will show you things to come."
John 14:26; 16:13. Scripture plainly teaches that these
promises, so far from being limited to apostolic days, ex-
tend to the church of Christ in all ages. The Saviour
assures His followers, "I am with you alway, even unto
the end of the world." Matt. 28:20. And Paul declares
that the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit were set in
the church "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till
we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge


of the Son of God, unto a, perfect man, unto the measure
of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Eph. 4:12, 13.

For the believers at Ephesus the apostle prayed, "That
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may
give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the
knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being
enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His
calling, and . . . what is the exceeding greatness of His
power to us- ward who believe." Eph. 1:17-19. The min-
istry of the divine Spirit in enlightening the understanding
and opening to the mind the deep things of God's holy
word, was the blessing which Paul thus besought for the
Ephesian church.

After the wonderful manifestation of the Holy Spirit on
the day of Pentecost, Peter exhorted the people to repent-
ance and baptism in the name of Christ, for the remission
of their sins; and he said: "Ye shall receive the gift of the
Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your
children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the
Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:38, 39.

In immediate connection with the scenes of the great
day of God, the Lord by the prophet Joel has promised a
special manifestation of His Spirit. Joel 2 : 28. This proph-
ecy received a partial fulfilment in the outpouring of the
Spirit on the day of Pentecost; but it will reach its full
accomplishment in the manifestation of divine grace which
will attend the closing work of the gospel.

The great controversy between good and evil will in-
crease in intensity to the very close of time. In all ages
the wrath of Satan has been manifested against the church
of Christ; and God has bestowed His grace and Spirit upon
His people to strengthen them to stand against the power of
the evil one. When the apostles of Christ were to bear
His gospel to the world and to record it for all future ages,
they were especially endowed with the enlightenment of the
Spirit. But as the church approaches her final deliverance,
Satan is to work with greater power. He comes down "hav-
ing great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a


short time. ' ' Rev. 12 : 12. He will work ' ' with all power
and signs and lying wonders. "2 Thess. 2 : 9. For six thou-
sand years that master-mind that once was highest among
the angels of God, has been wholly bent to the work of
deception and ruin. And all the depths of satanic skill
and subtlety acquired, all the cruelty developed, during
these struggles of the ages, will be brought to bear against
God's people in the final conflict. And in this time of peril
the followers of Christ are to bear to the world the
warning of the Lord's second advent; and a people are
to be prepared to stand before Him at His coming, "with-
out spot, and blameless. ' ' 2 Peter 3 : 14. At this time the
special endowment of divine grace and power is not less
needful to the church than in apostolic days.

Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the scenes
of the long-continued conflict between good and evil have
been opened to the writer of these pages. From time to
time I have been permitted to behold the working, in dif-
ferent ages, of the great controversy between Christ, the
Prince of life, the Author of our salvation, and Satan, the
prince of evil, the author of sin, the first transgressor of
God's holy law. Satan's enmity against Christ has been
manifested against His followers. The same hatred of the
principles of God's law, the same policy of deception, by
which error is made to appear as truth, by which human
laws are substituted for the law of God, and men are led
to worship the creature rather than the Creator, may be
traced in all the history of the past. Satan's efforts to mis-
represent the character of God, to cause men to cherish a
false conception of the Creator, and thus to regard Him
with fear and hate rather than with love; his endeavors
to set aside the divine law, leading the people to think
themselves free from its requirements; and his persecution
of those who dare to resist his deceptions, have been stead-
fastly pursued in all ages. They may be traced in the
history of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, of martyrs
and reformers.


In the great final conflict, Satan will employ the same
policy, manifest the same spirit, and work for the same
end, as in all preceding ages. That which has been, will
be, except that the coming struggle will be marked with a
terrible intensity such as the world has never witnessed.
Satan's deceptions will be more subtle, his assaults more
determined. If it were possible, he would lead astray the
elect. Mark 13 : 22, Revised Version.

As the Spirit of God has opened to my mind the great
truths of His word, and the scenes of the past and the
future, I have been bidden to make known to others that
which has thus been revealed, — to trace the history of the
controversy in past ages, and especially so to present it
as to shed a light on the fast-approaching struggle of the
future. In pursuance of this purpose, I have endeavored
to select and group together events in the history of the
church in such a manner as to trace the unfolding of the
great testing truths that at different periods have been
given to the world, that have excited the wrath of Satan,
and the enmity of a world-loving church, and that have
been maintained by the witness of those who "loved not
. their lives unto the death. ' '

In these records we may see a foreshadowing of the con-
flict before us. Regarding them in the light of God's word,
and by the illumination of His Spirit, we may see unveiled
the devices of the wicked one, and the dangers which they
must shun who would be found "without fault" before the
Lord at His coming.

The great events which have marked the progress of
reform in past ages, are matters of history, well known and
universally acknowledged by the Protestant world; they
are facts which none can gainsay. This history I have pre-
sented briefly, in accordance with the scope of the book,
and the brevity which must necessarily be observed, the
facts having been condensed into as little space as seemed
consistent with a proper understanding of their application.
In some cases where a historian has so grouped together


events as to afford, in brief, a comprehensive view of the
subject, or has summarized details in a convenient manner,
his words have been quoted; but in some instances no
specific credit has been given, since the quotations are not
given for the purpose of citing that writer as authority, but
because his statement affords a ready and forcible presenta-
tion of the subject. In narrating the experience and views
of those carrying forward the work of reform in our own
time, similar use has been made of their published works.

It is not so much the object of this book to present new
truths concerning the struggles of former times, as to bring
out facts and principles which have a bearing on coming
events. Yet viewed as a part of the controversy between
the forces of light and darkness, all these records of the
past are seen to have a new significance; and through them
a light is cast upon the future, illumining the pathway of
those who, like the reformers of past ages, will be called,
even at the peril of all earthly good, to witness "for the
word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."

To unfold the scenes of the great controversy between
truth and error; to reveal the wiles of Satan, and the
means by which he may be successfully resisted; to present
a satisfactory solution of the great problem of evil, shedding
such a light upon the origin and the final disposition of sin
as to make fully manifest the justice and benevolence of
God in all His dealings with His creatures; and to show the
holy, unchanging nature of His law, is the object of this
book. That through its influence souls may be delivered
from the power of darkness, and become "partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in light," to the praise of Him
who loved us, and. gave Himself for us, is the earnest
prayer of the writer.

E. q. w.


en? en? tn? trx> n-go^ro <g g o <^ro "^ro era



I The Destruction of Jerusalem - 17

II Persecution in the First Centuries - 39

III The Apostasy - - - 49

IV The Waldenses - - - - 61

V John Wycliffe - - - 79

VI Huss and Jerome - 97

VII Luther's Separation from Rome - - 120

VIII Luther Before the Diet - - - 145

IX The Swiss Reformer - - - 171

X Progress of Reform in Germany - - 185

XI Protest of the Princes - - 197

XII The French Reformation - - 211

XIII The Netherlands and Scandinavia - - 237

XIV Later English Reformers - - 245

XV The Bible and the French Revolution - 265

XVI The Pilgrim Fathers - - - 289

XVII Heralds of the Morning ... 299

XVIII An American Reformer - - - 317

XIX Light Through Darkness ... 343

XX A Great Religious Awakening - - 355

XXI A Warning Rejected - - - 375

XXII Prophecies Fulfilled - - - 391

XXIII What Is the Sanctuary? - - 409



XXIV In the Holy of Holies

XXV God's Law Immutable

XXVI A Work of Reform

XXVII Modern Revivals

XXVIII The Investigative Judgment

XXIX The Origin of Evil

XXX Enmity Between Man and Satan

XXXI Agency of Evil Spirits

XXXII Snares of Satan -

XXXIII The First Great Deception

XXXIV Spiritualism

XXXV Aims of the Papacy

XXXVI The Impending Conflict -

XXXVII The Scriptures a Safeguard -

XXXVIII The Final Warning

XXXIX ''The Time of Trouble"
XL God's People Delivered
XLI Desolation of the Earth
XLII The Controversy Ended -

Appendix ...

Index of Scripture References
General Index -





"If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy
day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now
they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon
thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and
compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and
shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within
thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon an-
other; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." 1

From the crest of Olivet, Jesus looked upon Jerusalem.
Fair and peaceful was the scene spread out before Him. It
was the season, of the Passover, and from all lands the chil-
dren of Jacob had gathered there to celebrate the great na-
tional festival. In the midst of gardens and vineyards, and
green slopes studded with pilgrims' tents, rose the terraced
hills, the stately palaces, and massive bulwarks of Israel's
capital. The daughter of Zion seemed in her pride to say,
"I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow;" as lovely then, and
deeming herself as secure in Heaven's favor, as when, ages
before, the royal minstrel sung, "Beautiful for situation, the
joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, . . . the city of the
great King. " 2 In full view were the magnificent buildings
of the temple. The rays of the setting sun lighted up the
snowy whiteness of its marble walls, and gleamed from
golden gate and tower and pinnacle. "The perfection of
»Luke 19:42-44. »Ps. 48:2.



beauty" it stood, the pride of the Jewish nation. What
child of Israel could gaze upon the scene without a thrill
of joy and admiration ! But far other thoughts occupied
the mind of Jesus. "When He was come near, He beheld
the city, and wept over it." 1 Amid the universal rejoicing
of the triumphal entry, while palm branches waved, while
glad hosannas awoke the echoes of the hills, and thousands of
voices declared Him king, the world's Redeemer was over-
whelmed with a sudden and mysterious sorrow. He, the Son
of God, the Promised One of Israel, whose power had con-
quered death, and called its captives from the grave, was
in tears, not of ordinary grief, but of intense, irrepressible

His tears were not for Himself, though He well knew
whither His feet were tending. Before Him lay Gethsemane,

Online LibraryEllen Gould Harmon WhiteThe great controversy between Christ and Satan : the conflict of the ages in the Christian dispensation → online text (page 1 of 61)