Copyright
Ellen Gould Harmon White.

The great controversy between Christ and Satan during the Christian dispensation online

. (page 1 of 60)
Online LibraryEllen Gould Harmon WhiteThe great controversy between Christ and Satan during the Christian dispensation → online text (page 1 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


JHEK



JHWl



THE



GREAT CONTROVERSY



BETWEEI CHRIST AND SATAK



DURING



THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION,



BY MRS. E. G. WHITE,

AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE OF CHRIST," "PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS,

"SKETCHES FROM THE LIFE OF PAUL," "STEPS TO CHRIST,"

AND OTHER WORKS.




PACIFIC PRESS PUBLISHING COMPANY,
OAKLAND, CAL.,

NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO, AND KANSAS CITY.



I







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year i8S8, by

w>^.~ g -f Wnzt*.,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



PUBLISHER'S PREFACE.



N the leader of those " angels which kept not their first estate"
(Jude 6) fell from his holy and exalted place in Heaven, he precipitated
upon the universe of God an awful controversy.

From the very nature of the case, there must be eternal antago-
nism between righteousness and sin. Between purity and pollution
there can be no coalition; nor could the supreme Author of all things,
the God in whom inheres every perfection, maintain any other than
an attitude of uncompromising hostility to sin and all its fruits, to the
author of rebellion and all his followers.

Another conclusion is apparent: God, as the foe of all evil, and at
the same time omnipotent, could not, consistently with his own nature,
suffer rebellion to enter within his realms, and abide forever. The in-
truder must be cast out; the disturber of the peace must be destroyed.
There can be no question as to the issue of this controversy between a
holy Creator and the rebellious creature.

That sin might make a full revelation of its nature and results to
the intelligences of all worlds, this controversy was not arrested in its
inception. When sin is finally destroyed, it will have given sufficient
evidence to satisfy every mind that it deserves the infliction; and all
will joyfully acquiesce in its merited doom.

Happily we have no evidence that, outside the apostate angels, any
other world than our own has fallen under the influence of this sinful
revolt. But this is enough to make it a matter of absorbing interest to
us; for Satan and his angels being cast out of Heaven, this world has
become the sole theater of the struggle between right and wrong. All
men have become involved therein. Between them and salmtioii
there lies the problem of recovery from sin, the attainment to l^km-
dition of reconciliation and acceptance with God.

What theme is therefore entitled to be regarded with more absorb-
ing interest than this great controversy the stages through which it
has passed, its present development, and the outlook for the future.
How and under what circumstances will the controversy end? and
have we any evidence that the long-wished-for termination is drawing
near ?

To the consideration of these great themes the following pages are
devoted; and we have the clearest assurance that the author possesses

(a) (iii)



19399ft



PREFACE.



peculiar qualifications for such a work. From her childhood she has
been noted for her reverence and love for the Word of God, and her
piety and devotion to his service. Unbounded faith in the promises
of the Holy Scriptures has been both an inducement and a means to
enable her to live near to the Saviour. The blessing of the Holy Spirit
has been vouchsafed to her in large measure. And as one of the offices
of this Spirit was declared to be to show unto the followers of Christ
"things to come" (John 16:13), working through that prescribed chan-
nel which, as one of the endowments of the church, is described as
the gift of prophecy (1 Cor. 12:9, 10; 14:1), so we believe she has been
empowered by a divine illumination to speak of some past events which
have thus been brought to her attention, with greater minuteness than is
set forth in any existing records, and to read the future with more than
human foresight. Those who know what it is to hold communion with
our heavenly Father, will, we think, as they read these pages, feel con-
strained to believe that the writer has drawn from the heavenly fount-
ain, and received help from that throne of grace where Christ sitteth as
our merciful High Priest, and whence he is ever ready to send forth as-
sistance to the many sons wiiom lie is bringing unto glory. Heb. 2:10.

Aside from the great volume of inspiration the Bible no other book
presents a more wonderful and intensely interesting history of the pres-
ent dispensation, to the complete restitution of all things, than the vol-
ume here offered to the public. And as the closing scenes of this world's
history are of the most thrilling and momentous nature, these are more
particularly dwelt upon in this work. The reader, as he follows the nar-
rative, beginning with a sketch of our Lord's great prophecy in Matthew
24, will find himself entering into new sympathy with the church in her
warfare and her sufferings, as she passes on to her promised redemption ;
and the soul of every believer will kindle at the vivid description of the
final triumph of the people of God, the destruction of Satan and all his
followers, the total and eternal extirpation of evil from the universe, and
the renovation of the earth as the everlasting inheritance of the saints,
when this great controversy is concluded.

While the subjects here presented involve the loftiest imagery, and
most wonderful depth, even as the apostle declares, " the deep things
of ( Jod," which the Spirit alone is capable of searching into (L Cor. 2 : 10),
yet they are treated in language chaste, simple, and easy to bo under-
stood. And we rejoice to know .that the reading of this work leads to
greater confidence in, and love for, the Holy Scriptures, to greater sym-
pathy with Christ, in his marvelous work for the redemption of men,
and to greater reverence for the God of all grace, in whom are all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Numerous editions <>f tl' ls wirk having already been exhausted,
we feel a peculiar gratification in sending forth this edition, enlarged

(*)



PREFACE.



and improved, and adapted to circulate in various tongues. The illus-
trations will add to the interest and value of the work. May it still
prove a blessing to all who read, and redound to the glory of the Most
High.



AUTHOR'S PREFACE.



BEFORE the entrance of sin, Adam enjoyed open communion with
his Maker ; but since man separated himself from God by transgres-
sion, 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 Pet. 1 : 21.

During the first twenty-five hundred years of human history, there
was no written revelation. Those who had been taught of God, com-
municated their knowledge to others, and it was 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 char-
acteristics 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 01 his servants. He has given dreams and
visions, symbols and figures; and those to whom the truth was thus re-
vealed, 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 human com-
position. But the Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the
language of men, presents 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 endowments, the books of the



PREFACE.






Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the
nature of the subjects 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 contra-
diction, 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 a 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
experiences 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 selec-
tion of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was intrusted
to earthen vessels, 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 gra.ce and truth.

In his Word, God has committed to men the knowledge necessary
for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authorita-
tive, infallible revelation of his will. They are the standard of char-
acter, 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 teach-
ings. 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 teaching and experience must be tested.
(d)



PREPACK.



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 enlightenment, 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 con-
fusion, 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 entire 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 individual 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 different 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
vou 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, extend to the church of Christ
in all ages. The Saviour assures his followers, "I am with you al way,
even unto the end of the world." Matt. 28 : 20. And Paul declares
that 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 fullness of Christ." Eph.
4:12,13.



PREFACE.



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 tlie
hope of his calling, and what ... is the exceeding greatness of
his power to us-ward who believe." Eph. 1 : 17-19. The ministry 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 repentance and baptism in the
name of Christ, for the remission of their sins; and lie 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." A cts 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 prophecy received a partial fulfillment 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 increase in in-
tensity 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, lie comes down "having 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 thousand 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. " without spot and blameless." 2 Pet. .'!. 1 - I.
At this time tin! special endowment of divine grace and power is not
edfnl to the church than in apostolic' days.

Through the 'Humiliation of the Holy Spirit, the scenes of the long-
continued conflict between good and evil have been opened to the



PREFACE.



writer of these pages. From time to time I have been permitted to
behold the working, in different 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 fol-
lowers. 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 misrepresent the char-
acter 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 them-
selves free from its requirements, and his persecution of those who
dare to resist his deceptions, have been steadfastly 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, mani-
fest 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 what has thus been revealed, to trace the
history of the controversy in past ages, and especially to so 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 to-
gether 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 conflict before
us. Regarding them in the light of God's Word, and by the illumina-
tion 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 presented 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 Drief, a com-
prehensive view of the subject, or lias summarized details in a con-
venient manner, his words have been quoted; but except in a few in-
stances no specific credit has been given, since they are not quoted for
the purpose of citing that writer as authority, but because his state-
ment affords a ready and forcible presentation of the subject. In nar-
rating the experience and view's of those carrying forward the work of
reform in our own time, similar use has occasionally been made of
their published works.

It is not so much the object of this book to present new truths con-
cerning the struggles of former times, as to bring out facts and princi-
ples which have a bearing upon 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 testi-
mony 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 fully make manifest the justice and benevo-
lence of God in all his dealings with his creatures; and to show the
noly, 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 ns, is
the earnest prayer of the writer.

1 :. ( K AY.

1 1 1: \ I.DSBURG, CA r,., 1
May, 1888. ]

(h)



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.

THE Siege and Overthrow Foretold. Glory of the Chosen City. The Tri-
umphal Entry. The Son of God Overwhelmed with Anguish. Unbe-
lief a*d Ingratitude of Israel. Jerusalem a Symbol of the World.
A Twofold Prophecy. Christ Warns his Followers. Potents of Dis-
aster. Escape of the Christians. The Siege by Titus. Famine and
Suffering. The Sanctuary in Flames The City Demolished.
Slaughter and Captivity of the people. A Symbol of the Final De-
struction 17-38

CHAPTER II.
PERSECUTION IN THE FIRST CENTURIES.

PAGANISM against Christianity. First Martyrs for the Faith. The Cata-
combs a Refuge. Peace Purchased by Compromise. The Leaven of
Idolatry. Separation of the Faithful. Why the Gospel Occasions
Strife ". 39-48

CHAPTER HI.
THE APOSTASY.

THE Rise of the Papacy Foretold. Suppression of the Scriptures. The
Rites of Heathenism Adopted. The Change of God's Command-
ments. Establishment of Romanism. Beginning of the Dark Ages.
Infallibility of the Church. The Power of the Pope. Henry IV.
at Canossa. The Boast of Gregory VII. Pagan and Papal Errors.
The Inquisition. The World under the Rule of Rome 49-60

CHAPTER IV.
THE WALDENSES.

CHRISTIANS in the Dark Ages. The Gospel in Great Britian. Columbaat
lona. The Saxons Embrace Romanism. Extermination of the
Primitive Church. The People of Piedmont and the Papal Power.
The Protesters Flee to the Mountains. The Waldensian Bible. The
Youth Trained for Trial. Missionaries in Disguise. Crusades against
the Vaudois. The Bull of Extermination. Seed for the Reforma-
tion 61-78

(v)



vi CONTENTS.



CHAPTER V.
JOHN WYCLIFFE.

TOKENS of Light. The Morning Star of the Reformation. Wyclifle's Tal-
ents and Education. His Study of the Scriptures. The Pope's De-
mand for Tribute. Wycliffe and the Friars. Ambassador to the
Netherlands. He Rebukes the Greed of Rome. His Death Decreed.
God's Overruling Providences. The Rival Popes. Wycliffe Trans-
lates the Bible. His Arraignment before Three Tribunals. His
Triumphant Defense. Is Summoned to Rome. His Letter to the
Pope. Close of Wyeliffe's Life. Persecution of the Lollards. The
Reformer's Work not Destroyed *... 79-96

CHAPTER VI.
HUSS AND JEROME.

THE Gpspel in Bohemia. Corruptions of the Hierarchy. Denounced by



Online LibraryEllen Gould Harmon WhiteThe great controversy between Christ and Satan during the Christian dispensation → online text (page 1 of 60)