How God Protected Ellen White’s Writings
is . . . constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from
the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of
none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there
is no vision, the people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will
work ingeniously, in different ways and through different
agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in
the true testimony.”—1 Selected Messages, 48 [see 2 SM
78 for context].
will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic.
The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the
churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear
a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his
delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit
of God are heeded.” —1 Selected Messages, 48.
is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and
strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God,
or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work
. . . bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is
no halfway work in the matter.”—5 Testimonies, 671.
you lose confidence in the Testimonies you will drift away
from Bible truth. I have been fearful that many would take a
questioning, doubting position, and in my distress for your souls
I would warn you. How many will heed the warning? As you now hold
the Testimonies, should one be given crossing your track,
correcting your errors, would you feel at perfect liberty to
accept or reject any part or the whole? That which you will be
least inclined to receive is the very part most needed.”—5
STATEMENTS IN THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY
of the most remarkable things about the writings of Ellen White is that
everything agrees and dovetails so well! A person has to read for years
in order to find oddities that appear to disagree with other passages.
comparison, it is not difficult to find anomalies in the Bible which do
not agree with other passages. Quite a few could quickly be mentioned.
Yet we accept the Bible as fully inspired of God, which is what it is. A
comparison of Matthew, Mark, and Luke reveals many of them.
critics of Ellen White search for the rare oddities, in her writings,
and hold them up to us as examples supporting their contention that her
writings are not inspired.
difficult to find such unusual statements, but here are a few of them:
EATING IN 1858
concerning swine’s flesh would prove no injury if you have them to
yourselves; but in your judgment and opinion you have made this
question a test, and your actions have plainly shown your faith in
this matter. If God requires His people to abstain from swine’s
flesh, He will convict them on the matter.”—1 Testimonies,
gradually gives more and more light to His prophets. The book of Isaiah
is an example of this. So is Exodus and Leviticus. It was not until 1848
that Ellen White reproved the use of tobacco. Prior to that time, she
said nothing about it.
above statement was penned on October 21, 1858; but, in His wisdom, the
Lord waited until 1863 before giving her the wide-ranging health reform
vision. The above statement said that, in 1858, eating of pork was not a
test of fellowship, which was true. She also said that God might give
more light on this matter later, which was also true.
overarching lesson from this passage—is that it is printed in our Testimonies!
It was never expunged. This demonstrates that we can trust those books!
BESIDE THE ALTAR
apparent oddity is the statement that Christ is today standing before
the altar of incense, pleading our cases. That altar is in the first
commission the angels of heaven to pour out the vials of His wrath on
our world, to destroy those who are filled with hatred of God. He might
wipe this dark spot from His universe. But He does not do this. He is
today standing at the altar of incense, presenting before God the
prayers of those who desire His help.
“The souls that turn
to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of
tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites
them to His own divine-human nature. They stand beside the great Sin
Bearer, in the light proceeding from the throne of God.”—Desire
of Ages, 568.
context is speaking about Christ’s great love and care for His erring
earthly children. Ellen is so filled with feeling that she waxes
eloquent with powerful symbolic language to illustrate her meaning:
“pour out the vials of His wrath,” “wipe this dark spot,”
“standing at the altar of incense,” “turn to Him for refuge,”
“strife of tongues,” “impeach these souls.” Notice the final
sentence: They stand beside their Mediator, “in the light proceeding
from the throne of God.” That light is not now in the first apartment,
which is blocked by a veil from God’s glory in the second. So, by
faith, they are standing by Him in the second, not the first, apartment.
statements can be doctrinally inaccurate. A few lines down from
“standing at the altar” is “They stand by their Mediator.” Both
are symbols; neither one is literally true. We are not now standing by
our Mediator in heaven. These are metaphors. Here is another example of
“For as the new
heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me,
saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.
“And it shall come
to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to
another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord.
“And they shall
go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed
against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire
be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”—Isaiah
24 is obviously metaphorical, and not a reality. After the wicked have
been eliminated, the righteous will not go forth from the holy City and
look at dead corpses all over the ground. The wicked were totally burned
up in the fire which purified the earth. The metaphor means that the
wicked are no longer able to trouble anyone. A fire which no creature
can quench will have done its work thoroughly. The wicked are gone.
“While the earth was
wrapped in the fire of destruction, the righteous abode safely in the
holy City. Upon those that had part in the first resurrection, the
second death has no power. While God is to the wicked a consuming fire,
He is to His people both a sun and a shield. Revelation 20:6; Psalm
“ ‘I saw a new
heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were
passed away.’ Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked
purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally
burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences
alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His
crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet,
are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought.”—Great
similar figure of speech is found in Malachi 4:3; cf. 4:1-3, to
also indicate the total destruction of the wicked is described.)
by the altar,” in DA 568, is also a metaphor and not a reality. Christ
is pleading for us today; that is what it means. Ellen has dozens of
statements about Christ’s work for us in the second apartment after
1844. So we have total clarity, as to her meaning, and the fact that
this one passage must be interpreted as a most beautiful metaphor.
ON THE SUMMIT
of Ages is one of
the most glorious books Ellen wrote. Why people would want to pick flaws
in it is almost beyond comprehension. Another apparent (apparent)
oddity, that they point to, is found near the end of the book.
“Its steeps had
echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that proclaimed Him king.
On its sloping descent He had found a home with Lazarus at Bethany. In
the garden of Gethsemane at its foot He had prayed and agonized alone.
From this mountain He was to ascend
to heaven. Upon its summit His feet will rest when He
shall come again. Not as a man of sorrows, but as a glorious and
triumphant king He will stand upon Olivet, while Hebrew hallelujahs
mingle with Gentile hosannas, and the voices of the redeemed as a mighty
host shall swell the acclamation, ‘Crown Him Lord of all!’
”—Desire of Ages, 830.
in Bible prophecy, the prophet describes an incident and then skips
entire centuries and mentions another. In other prophecies, missing
portions are filled in. The Spirit of Prophecy does the same thing.
Frequently an inspired source does not give the full picture all at
once. Think about it. You do not find the complete picture in Daniel 2,
7, 8, 9, or 10-12. You do not find it anywhere in Revelation. You have
to carefully fit them together.
the above passage, Ellen is very briefly mentioning a future event. Be
aware that, in doing so, she may skip over intermediate predicted
events, just as the Bible writers do.
purpose of the above passage is quite obvious: solely to list the times
that the Mount of Olives is important in history, from His time to the
end of sin.
His stay at Lazarus’ home. (2) His agony in Gethsemane. (3) His
ascension. (4) His return to the top of the mount. When does the fourth
incident occur: at Christ’s Second Coming or at His Third? Obviously,
His third, for these reasons:
Scripture explains Scripture, and she elsewhere says Christ will not
touch down on Olivet till His Third Coming.
As “its steeps . . echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that
proclaimed Him king” during His triumphal entry, so, the passage says,
when He next touches the top of the mount, everyone—everyone—will
praise Him as He once again returns, and proclaim Him King. When does
that occur? Not at Christ’s Second Advent, for then the righteous are
pale with fear and the wicked are crying out in horror (Great
Controversy, 641-642). It occurs at His Third Advent. He descends
from heaven with His people and the holy City, and He is praised by His
redeemed, some of whom were Jews and some were Gentiles. Then the dead
are raised to life and Jesus and the redeemed enter the holy City.
At the above-described coming, the trump of God does not sound nor do
the dead in Christ arise from the dead. That is because it is Christ’s
Third, not His Second, Advent.
Two pages after Desire of Ages, 830, there is a parallel passage
(page 832). But this one is speaking not about Christ’s Third
Coming,—but about His Second. He will descend from heaven in a cloud,
the trump of God will sound, the dead in Christ will rise, and He
receives His faithful ones to Himself that where He is, there they may
VERY IMPORTANT A.L. WHITE COMPILATION
CIRCULATION OF GREAT CONTROVERSY
STORY OF THE 1888 GREAT CONTROVERSY CRISIS
study, The Circulation of Great Controversy, was prepared in 1938
by its director, Arthur L. White, in the main office of the Ellen White Estate
(which at that time was located in Elmshaven, California, prior to its
later removal to Washington, D.C.)
White was Ellen White’s grandson. This study was presented, by him, to
the Field Missionary Secretaries’ Council at Sanitarium, California on
September 30, 1938. All of the following material, including subheads,
is as originally given by him, with the exception of bracketed items and
bold face emphasis, which we have added. Whenever we could locate a
quotation in the currently published books, we placed the reference in
brackets. Here is his complete compilation:
among the reasons for the wide circulation of Great Controversy
is the fact that the book is of more than human origin. The author in
the Introduction points to the Source of her information. She says:
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
workings, in different ages, of the great controversy between Christ,
the Prince of life, the author of salvation, and Satan, the author of
evil, the first transgressor of God’s holy law”[Great
Controversy, p. xiii].
“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.”—[Great
Controversy, pp. x-xi].
of the Source of the information which was presented in 1888 in a little
volume [2 Spiritual Gifts, 1858], touching the high points of the
conflict story, the last part was enlarged and became the Great
“In this vision at
Lovett’s Grove, much of the material of the great controversy which I
had seen ten years before was repeated, and I was shown that I must
write it out; that I should have to contend with the powers of darkness,
for Satan would make strong efforts to hinder me, but angels of God
would not leave me in the conflict, that in God must I put my
trust.”—2 Spiritual Gifts, 270 [Life Sketches, 162, is almost
identical. For the full story, read pp. 162‑163 (1880)].
statement brings to view that, along with the revelation the of scenes
of the great controversy, Mrs. White was shown that, in writing these
out, she would be opposed by Satan. This is readily understood; for if
the Lord’s humble servant could be hindered from exposing his work and
methods of attack, there would be less interference with his work.
great adversary was not slow in bringing his attacks. Before Mrs. White
reached her home a few days after the vision at Lovett’s Grove, she
was stricken with paralysis and despaired even of her life. Healed
through prayer, but not completely restored at first, Mrs. White wrote
out the story in a very brief form as now found in the last pages of Early
Writings [1 Spiritual Gifts,
1858, now in Early Writings, 133‑295].
the work was about completed she was shown—
“In the sudden
attack at Jackson, Satan designed to take my life to hinder the work I
was about to write; but angels of God were sent to my rescue, to raise
me above the effects of Satan’s attack.”—[2 Spiritual Gifts,
272; Life Sketches, 163 is almost identical (1880)].
1884 there came, from the press, the first edition of [what was later
enlarged to become] our present Great Controversy [Spirit of
Prophecy, Volume 4; released in the autumn of 1884]. It was popular
from the first; and ten editions were printed and sold within the first
four years of the life of the book. It was enlarged in 1888. Mrs. White
frequently spoke of the special value of this book and of the Source of
its inspiration. A few brief quotations follow:
“I was moved by
the Spirit of the Lord to write that book, and while working upon it I
felt a great burden upon my soul. I knew that time was short, that the
scenes which are soon to crowd upon us would at the last come very
suddenly and swiftly, as represented in the words of Scripture:
‘The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night’ [Colporteur
Ministry, 127; Letter 1, 1890].
“The Lord has set
before me matters which are of urgent importance for the present time,
and which reach into the future. These words have been spoken in a
charge to me, ‘Write in a book the things thou hast seen and heard,
and let it go to all people, for the time is at hand when past history
will be repeated.’ I have been aroused at one, two, or three
o’clock in the morning with some point forcibly impressed upon my
mind, as if spoken by the voice of God . . [Colporteur Ministry, 128;
Letter 1, 1890].
“I was shown . .
that I should devote myself to writing out the important matters for
volume four [the 1888 edition was also called Volume 4]; and that
the warning must go where the living messenger could not go, and that
it would call the attention of many to the important events to occur in
the closing scenes of this world’s history.”—Letter 1, 1890
[Colporteur Ministry, 127].
“God gave me the
light contained in Great Controversy and Patriarchs and
Prophets; and this light was needed to arouse the people to prepare
for the great day of God, which is just before us. These books
contain God’s direct appeal to the people. Thus He is speaking to
the people in stirring words, urging them to make ready for His coming. The
light God has given in these books should not be concealed.”—Manuscript
23, 1890 [Colporteur Ministry, 129].
the new enlarged edition of 1888 Great Controversy came from the
press, there was every hope that the book would have a wide sale and
accomplish much good. Certain conditions in our publishing work,
however, thwarted these hopes; for the management of the Review and
Herald had passed from the hands of men who had long experience in the
work to the hands of businessmen—a banker, a title lawyer, and later a
strong effort was made to have Mrs. White release all royalties on Great
Controversy. The banker‑manager, being a good financier,
objected to paying royalties on books that he supposed would have only
limited circulation. Mrs. White stated positively that she had been
instructed otherwise and could not relinquish the royalty.
she returned from Europe, it was found that the manager and some of his
associates were determined to bring out books that were free from
royalty. Bible Readings was brought out by a variety of authors
who donated their work, so the book could be put on the market without
royalty. This book was a great success.
the enlarged editions of Great Controversy and Patriarchs and
Prophets came out, the canvassing business was in the hands of men
who were advocating, “One book; everybody on one book; all agents on
one book.” Bible Readings was pushed to the front and Great
Controversy and Patriarchs and Prophets lay idle on the
shelves and had only a limited sale.
Mrs. White protested against this, she was promised that, after running Bible
Readings a year, they would take up Great Controversy and
concentrate on it. When the year was done, those in charge of the
publishing and canvassing work did not fulfill their promise and Bible
Readings was majored for several years, to the neglect of other
books. Then in later years, when the book passed to other hands in the
canvassing work, Great Controversy and Patriarchs and Prophets
were brought to the front and had a good sale.
this brief recital of the circumstances surrounding the neglect of Great
Controversy, the following extracts will be understood and
“About this time
when the new edition of Volume Four [1888 Great Controversy],
came from the press, the new book, Bible Readings, was
introduced. This book had a great sale, and has been permitted to
swallow up every other interest. Canvassers found it an easy book to
handle, and Volume Four was kept out of the field. I felt that
this was not right. I knew that it was not right, because it was not in
harmony with the light which God had given me.”—B.L.
“As soon as Great
Controversy came from the press it should have been pushed forward
above every other book. I have been shown this. Had it been
circulated at the time it was lying idle, there would have been a very
different order of things among our workers. The impressions made would
have brought decided changes. But instead of this the book was
suppressed, although the promise was made me that it should go forward
if I would take the lowest royalty. The book that should have gone
did not go; and the men who should have worked to carry it forward
discouraged the canvassers from handling it. Thus saith the Lord,
‘I will judge for this false, dishonest work.’ ”—B.L. 1899.
“Just at this point
his satanic majesty was in the management of the books at the Review and
Herald office. Those at the head of the publishing work there would
handle neither Great Controversy nor Patriarchs and
Prophets, the books God has specified the people must have at once.
They promised me faithfully that after certain months they would handle
these books, but they failed to keep their word. When Great
Controversy should have been circulated everywhere, it was lying
dead in the Review and Herald Office and the Pacific Press.”—Letter
“My mind has been so
fully occupied with the burden upon me of getting before the people the
light having especial reference to these last days, and the crisis
before us. The world is to be warned, and I have felt so deeply over Volume
Four standing still as it has done . .
“I do not demerit Bible
Readings. It is a book which will do a great amount of good, but it
can never take the place the Lord designed that Volume Four
should have in the world and among our people. I have spread before
them the light given me of heaven in that book.”—E25a 1889.
“This sale of Bible
Readings, had it been preceded by the sale of Great Controversy,
would have had far more weight than it had in going first. The Lord
knew all about this. He knew that principles were violated. He knew the
falsehoods told and reiterated, that the books bearing the vital truth
to the people would not sell. He knew that ministers and presidents were
advised to recommend that all handle the one book; and that the
keeping of Great Controversy from the field has done a work that
men will have to answer for in the Judgment.”—Manuscript 64,
“This book has to a
great degree been misplaced by another book, which has kept from the
world the light God has given.”—Manuscript 24, 1891.
“I know that the
statement made, that these books cannot be sold, is not true. I
know; for the Lord has instructed me that this is said because human
devising has blocked the way for their sale. It cannot be denied that
these works were not the product of any human mind, they are the voice
of God speaking to the people, and they will have an influence upon
minds that other books do not have.”—Manuscript
23, 1890. [Colporteur Ministry, 129].
“For nearly two
years the book containing warnings and instructions from the Lord, given
especially for this time, has been lying in our publishing houses, and no
one feels the necessity or importance of bringing it before the people.
Brethren, how long am I to wait for you to get the burden? Now Volume
One, or Patriarchs and Prophets, is ready for circulation;
but, even for this book, I would not allow Volume Four to remain
longer as a light under a bushel. I am in sore distress of mind, but
who of my brethren cares for this?
“Has the Lord
moved upon my mind to prepare this work to be sent everywhere, and is He
moving upon my brethren to devise plans which shall bar the way so that
the light which He has given me shall be hid in our publishing houses
instead of shining forth to all who will receive it?
“It is now urged
that only one book at a time shall have a place in the field—that all
the canvassers shall work for the same book. I do not see the force or
propriety of this. If the Lord has light for His people, who shall
venture to put up barriers so that the light shall not reach them?
One book is published at little expense, and it is therefore sold
cheaply; other books that present truths essential at this time, have
involved greater expense; shall they therefore be kept from the people? Bible
Readings is a good book to occupy its own place, but should not be
permitted to crowd out other important works which the people need. The
presidents of our conferences have a duty to do; our board of directors
should have something to say in this matter, that the different
branches of God’s work may receive equal attention.
canvassers are controlled by the prospect of financial gain; if they
circulate books on which they can make the most money, to the neglect of
others that the people need, I ask, in what sense is theirs a missionary
work? Where is the missionary spirit? the spirit of
“The work of the
intelligent, God‑fearing canvasser has been represented as equal
to that of the gospel ministry. Then should the canvasser, any more than
the minister, feel at liberty to act from selfish motives? Should he
turn his back on all the principles of missionary work, and handle the
books—placed before him, shall I say, as a temptation—on which he
can make the most money? Should he have no interest to circulate any
book but that which brings him the greatest financial gain? How is the
missionary spirit revealed here? Has not the canvassing work ceased to
be what it ought to be? How is it that no voice is raised to correct
this state of things?”—[E.G. White 1888 Materials, 654-655].
“I speak to you who
are engaged in the canvassing work. Have you read Volume Four?
Do you know what it contains? Have you any appreciation for the subject
matter? Do you not see that the people need the light therein given?
If you have not already done so, I entreat you to read carefully these
solemn warnings and appeals. I am sure that the Lord would have this
work carried into all the highways and byways, where there are souls to
be warned of the dangers so soon to come.”—B.L. 1890
[Colporteur Ministry, 127. Letter I, 1890].
there came a change of attitude toward her books, Mrs. White recognized
it and rejoiced over their wide circulation; for thus the words of truth
which had been given her were passed on to the people. A recognition of
this change is noted in the two following extracts, written in 1894 and
“Light was in
that book which came from Heaven; but what account will those men have
to give to God for the little faith and confidence manifested in that
book that the warnings should not come to the people when they should
have had them. I am so glad the people can have them now. The
delay was Satan’s devising. He was working diligently and had
brought about a condition of things that the work cannot go as it
would have gone.”—Letter O-55, 1894.
“Years ago when I
was in Battle Creek I was much distressed that Great Controversy
should lie idle on the shelf. For two years it was held back that
Bible Readings might have more attention. All that I could say
did not change the course of those who had control of the canvassing
work . . There is not now a studied, determined effort to hold back
those books that are of the most importance. We are planning to bring
out many books.”—H-70, 1907 [Letter 70, 1907].
1899 Mrs. White was led to speak of the experience in which Great
Controversy was neglected, giving as a reason the danger of a
repetition of that experience. She said:
“The rights of
brethren are to be respected; there should not be a multiplication of
books, when it is well understood one will interfere with the sale of
the one just preceding it. This was the way with Great Controversy.
This book was not left to have a fair chance in being handled with Bible
Readings. The Bible Readings was brought in before the books
of great importance—Great Controversy and Daniel and
Revelation, which relate to the vital interests before us. Through
the instruction to the canvassing agents, Great Controversy had
little opportunity to be circulated, and was nearly eclipsed. There is
danger that the same course will be followed, therefore it is
necessary to refer to the light given on this subject. It was presented
to me that one book was crossing the track of another. This is not
righteous judgment. I have now to say, that selfishness be uprooted. Let
the precious plants of God’s own garden of the heart live and
flourish.”—J-91, 1899 [Letter 91, 1899].
FOR WIDE CIRCULATION
reasons for Mrs. White’s burden for the wide circulation of Great
Controversy have been set forth many times, and they should
constitute a sound basis for a continued impetus:
Controversy should be very widely circulated. It contains the story
of the past, the present, and the future. In its outline of the closing
scenes of this earth’s history, it bears a powerful testimony in
behalf of the truth. I am more anxious to see a wide circulation for
this book than for any others I have written; for in the Great
Controversy, the last message of warning to the world is given more
distinctly than in any of my other books.”—K‑281 1905
[Colporteur Ministry, 127, Letter 281, 1905].
“Let there be an
interest awakened in the sale of these books. Their sale is
essential, for they contain timely instruction from the Lord. They
should be appreciated as books that bring to the people light that is
especially needed just now. Therefore these books should be widely
distributed. Those who make a careful study of the instruction contained
in them, and will receive it as from the Lord, will be kept from
receiving many of the errors that are being introduced. Those who accept
the truth contained in these books will not be led into false paths.”—[Colporteur
“Many will depart
from the faith and give heed to seducing spirits. Patriarchs and
Prophets and Great Controversy are books that are especially
adapted to those who have newly come to the faith, that they may be
established in the truth. The dangers are pointed out that should be
avoided by the church. Those who become thoroughly acquainted
with the lessons in these books will see the dangers before them,
and will be able to discern the plain, straight path marked out for
them. They will be kept from strange paths. They will make straight
paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.”—[Colporteur
Ministry, 129‑130; Evangelism, 366].
“In Desire of
Ages, Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy, and in Daniel
and Revelation, there is precious instruction. These books must be
regarded as of special importance, and every effort should be made to
get them before the people.” —[Colporteur Ministry, p. 123].
“We are warned to
avoid the mistakes the Israelites made in stubbornly refusing to receive
the warnings that came to them from God.”—W-229, 1903 [Letter
229, 1903; 2 Manuscript Releases].
RESULTS IN THE FUTURE
“The results of
the circulation of this book [Great Controversy] are not to be
judged by what now appears. By reading it some souls will be aroused
and will have courage to unite themselves at once with those who keep
the commandments of God. But a much larger number who read it will
not take their position until they see the very events taking place that
are foretold in it. The fulfillment of some of the predictions will
inspire faith that others will also come to pass, and when the earth is
lightened with the glory of the Lord, in the closing work, many souls
will take their position on the commandments of God as the result of
this agency.”—Manuscript 31, 1890 [Colporteur Ministry,
HINDER THEIR SALE
OUR DUTY IS TO
SPREAD THE LIGHT THESE
“The larger books, Patriarchs
and Prophets, The Great Controversy, and The Desire of Ages,
should be sold everywhere. These books contain truth for this
time—truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world.
Nothing is to hinder their sale.”—Colporteur Evangelist, 35
[Colporteur Ministry, 124; Review, January 20, 1903].
“It is a duty we
owe to our people and to God, to send every ray of light given me of
God, demanded at this time for every tongue and nation.”—E‑25a
“The light given was
that Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation, The Great Controversy, and
Patriarchs and Prophets would make their way. They contain the
very message the people must have, the special light God had given His
people. The angels of God would prepare the way for these books in the
hearts of the people.”—[Colporteur Ministry, 123-124].
OF GREAT CONTROVERSY
“The work which
the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will
have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding
circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or
withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the
faith.”—[5 Testimonies, 463].
been given me that the important books containing the light that God
has given regarding Satan’s apostasy in heaven should be given a wide
circulation just now; for through them the truth will reach many minds.
Patriarchs and Prophets, Daniel and Revelation, and The Great
Controversy are needed now as never before. They should be widely
circulated because the truths they emphasize will open many blind eyes .
. Many of our people have been blind to the importance of the very books
that were most needed. Had tact and skill then been shown in the sale of
these books, the Sunday-law movement would not be where it is today.”—Colporteur
Evangelist 21 [Colporteur Ministry, 123; Review, February 16, 1905].
“Sister White is
not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that
during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the
precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servants to
be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the
hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour. The Lord has
declared that these books are to be scattered throughout the world.
There is in them truth which to the receiver is a savor life unto life. They
are silent witnesses for God. In the past they have been the means
in His hands of convicting and converting many souls. Many have read
them with eager expectation and, by reading them, have been led to see
the efficacy of Christ’s atonement and to trust in its power. They
have been led to commit the keeping of their souls to their Creator,
waiting and hoping for the coming of the Saviour to take His loved ones
to their eternal home. In the future these books are to make the Gospel
plain to many others, revealing to them the way of salvation.”—[Colporteur
Ministry, 125; Review, January 20, 1903].
“The Lord has sent
His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here
a little, there a little. Little heed has been given to the Bible, and
the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater
light. Oh, how much good would be accomplished if the books
containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the
principles they contain! There would be a thousandfold greater
vigilance, a thousandfold more self‑denial and resolute effort.
And many more would now be rejoicing in the light of present
truth.”—[Colporteur Ministry, 125-126; Review, January 20,
“My brethren and
sisters, work earnestly to circulate these books. Put your hearts into
this work, and the blessing of God will be with you. Go forth in
faith, praying that God will prepare hearts to receive the light.”—Colporteur
Evangelist, 36‑37 [Colporteur Ministry, 126; Review, January 20,
White’s last recorded statement, relative to the book Great
Controversy, was made after a careful study of the revised edition
published in 1911. She wrote as follows:
“A few days ago I
received a copy of the new edition of the book Great Controversy,
recently printed at Mountain View, and also a similar copy printed at
Washington. The book pleases me. I have spent many hours looking
through its pages, and I see that the publishers have done good work.
“The book, Great
Controversy, I appreciate above silver or gold; and I greatly desire
that it shall come before the people. While writing the manuscript of Great
Controversy, I was often conscious of the presence of the angels of
God. And many times the scenes about which I was writing were
presented to me anew in visions of the night,
so that they were fresh and vivid in my mind.”—[Colporteur
“Recently it was
necessary for the book to be reset because the electrotype plates were
badly worn. It has cost me much to have this done, but I do not
complain; for whatever the cost may be, I regard the edition with
great satisfaction.”—W-55, 1911 [Letter 56, 1911; cf.
Colporteur Ministry, p. 128].
The objective of the author, in presenting
Great Controversy to the world, might well be taken as the
objective of those who take part in its circulation:
“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 light on the origin and the
final disposition of sin as to make fully manifest the justice and
benevolence of God in all His dealing with His creatures; and to show
the holy, unchanging nature of the law is the object of the book. That
through its influence souls may be delivered from the powers of darkness
and become “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light’;
to the praise of Him who loves us, and gave Himself for us, is the
earnest prayer of the writer.”—Great Controversy, p. xii].
above concludes the Arthur L. White compilation,
The Circulation of Great Controversy. The remainder of this tract will
be composed of additional quotations that are relevant to this subject.
“I write from
fifteen to twenty pages each day. It is now eleven o’clock, and I have
written fourteen pages of manuscript for Volume Four [1888
Great Controversy] . . As I write upon my book, I feel intensely
moved. I want to get it out as soon as possible, for our people need it
so much. I shall complete it next month if the Lord gives me health
as He has done. I have been unable to sleep nights, for thinking of the
important things to take place. Three hours and sometimes five is the
most sleep I get. My mind is stirred so deeply I cannot rest. Write,
write, write, I feel that I must, and not delay . .”—Letter
11, 1884, (February 19, 1884). E.G. White Brochures: Messenger to the
Remnant, p. 57.
“When the storm
of God’s wrath breaks upon the world, it will be a terrible revelation
for souls to find that their house is being swept away because it is
built upon the sand. Let the warning be given them before it is too
late. We should now feel the responsibility of laboring with intense
earnestness to impart to others the truths that God has given for this
time. We cannot be too much in earnest.”—[6 Testimonies,
“I have been
repeatedly shown that our presses should now be constantly employed
in publishing light and truth. This is a time of spiritual darkness
in the churches of the world. Ignorance of divine things has hidden God
and the truth from view . . 1 seemed to be in a council meeting where
our bookwork was being discussed. There were a number of our brethren
present, leaders in our work, and Elder Haskell and his wife were there
consulting together and with the brethren about the circulation of our
books, tracts, and periodicals.
“Elder Haskell was
presenting strong reasons why the books which contain the knowledge
that has been communicated to Sister White—the books containing the
special message to come to the world at this present time—should be
more freely circulated.
“ ‘Why, he
inquired, ‘do not our people appreciate and circulate more widely the
books bearing the divine credentials? Why is not a specialty made of the
books containing the warnings regarding Satan’s work? Why do we not
give greater effort to circulating the books that point out Satan’s
plans to counterwork the work of God, that uncover his plans and point
out his deceptions? The moral evils of his deceptions are to be
removed by opening the eyes of the people so that they shall discern the
situation and the dangers of our times; so that they shall make diligent
effort to lay hold by faith upon Christ and His righteousness.’
“ . . [Another scene
later in this same vision:] Because books were being sold at low
prices, some being especially reduced for the occasion, many were
purchased, and some by persons not of our faith. They said: ‘It
must be that these books contain a message for us. These people are
willing to make sacrifices in order that we may have them, and we
will secure them for ourselves and our friends.’
dissatisfaction was expressed by some of our own people. One said: ‘A
stop must be put to this work, or our business will be spoiled’ .
. Then I heard a voice of our Counselor saying: ‘Forbid them not.
This is a work that should be done. The end is near. Already much
time has been lost, when these books should have been in circulation. Sell
them far and near. Scatter them like the leaves of autumn. This work is
to continue without the forbiddings of anyone . .’
“Some of the workers
continued to appear much cast down. One was weeping and said: These
are doing the publishing work an injustice by purchasing these books
at so low a price; besides, this work is depriving us of some of the
revenue by which our work is sustained.’ The Voice replied: ‘You
are meeting with no loss. These workers who take the books at
reduced prices could not obtain so ready sale for them except it be at
this so-called sacrifice.’ ”—9 Testimonies, 65‑67,
May God help
us each one to be faithful. Time is short, and there is much to do. We
must believe these inspired books, we must read and obey these inspired
books, we must share these inspired books.
THREE EDITIONS OF GREAT CONTROVERSY
editions of the large book, Great
were published: the 1884, 1888, and 1911. For more information on them,
see our ONLINE book, Editions of Great Controversy.
Let Ellen White speak:
Controversy should be very widely circulated. It contains the story of
the past, the present, and the future. In its outline of the closing
scenes of this earth’s history, it bears a powerful testimony in
behalf of the truth. I am more anxious to see a wide circulation for
this book than for any others I have written; for in Great
Controversy, the last message of warning to the world is given more
distinctly than in any of my other books.”—Letter 281, 1905
(Colporteur Ministry, 127).
THE 1858 VISION
this vision at Lovett’s Grove, much of the material of the great
controversy which I had seen ten years before was repeated, and I was
shown that I must write it out; that I should have to contend with the
powers of darkness, for Satan would make strong efforts to hinder me,
but angels of God would not leave me in the conflict, that in God must I
put my trust.”—2 Spiritual Gifts, 270 (Life Sketches, 162 is
almost identical. For the full story, read 162-163).
the sudden attack at Jackson [Michigan], Satan designed to take my life
to hinder the work I was about to write; but angels of God were sent to
raise me above the effect of Satan’s attack.”—2 Spiritual Gifts, 270 (Life Sketches, 163 is almost identical).
was shown . . that I should devote myself to writing out the important
matters for Volume Four [Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4 was
the 1884 Edition of Great Controversy]; and that the
warning must go where the living messenger could not go, and that it
would call the attention of many to the important events to occur in the
closing scenes of the world’s history.”—Letter 1, 1890
(Colporteur Ministry, p. 128).
was moved by the Spirit of God to write that book, and while working
upon it I felt a great burden upon my soul. I knew that time was short,
that the scenes which are soon to crowd upon us would at the last come
very suddenly and swiftly.”—Letter 1, 1890 (Colporteur Ministry,
write from fifteen to twenty pages each day. It is now eleven o’clock,
and I have written 14 pages of manuscript for Volume Four . . As
I write upon my book, I feel intensely moved. I want to get it out as
soon as possible, for our people need it so much. I shall complete
it next month if the Lord gives me health as He has done. I have been
unable to sleep nights, for thinking of the important things to take
place. Three hours and sometimes five is the most sleep I get. My mind
is stirred so deeply I cannot rest. Write, write, write, I feel that I
must, and not delay.”—Letter 11, 1884 (February 19, 1984).
this time when the new [second] edition of Volume Four [the 1888 Great
Controversy] came from the press, the new book, Bible Readings,
was introduced. This book had a great sale, and has been permitted to
swallow up every other interest. Canvassers found it an easy book to
handle, and Volume Four was kept out of the field. I felt that
this was not right. I knew that it was not right, because it was not in
harmony with the light which God had given me.”—B.L., 1890.
do not demerit Bible Reading. It is a book which will do a great
amount of good, but it can never take the place the Lord designed that Volume
Four should have in the world and among our people. I have spread
before them the light of heaven in that book.”—E-25a, 1889.
keeping of Great Controversy from the field has done a work that
men will have to answer for in the judgment.”—Manuscript
nearly two years the book [Great Controversy] containing warnings
and instructions from the Lord, given
especially for this time, has been lying in our publishing
houses, and no one feels the necessity or the importance of
bringing it to the people. Brethren, how long am I to wait for you to
get the burden? Now Volume One, or Patriarchs and
Prophets, is ready for circulation, but even for this book I would
not allow Volume Four to remain longer as a light under a bushel.
I am in sore distress of mind, but who of my brethren cares for this?
the Lord moved upon my mind to prepare this work to be sent everywhere,
and is He moving upon my brethren to devise plans which shall bar the
way so that the light which He has given me shall be hid in our
publishing houses instead of shining forth to all who will receive it? .
. If the Lord has light for His people, who shall put up barriers so
that the light shall not reach them?”—B.L., 1890.
was in that book which came from Heaven; but what account will those men
have to give to God for the little faith and confidence manifested in
that book that the warnings should not come to the people when they
should have had them.”—O-55, 1894.
few day ago I received a copy of the new edition of the book, Great
Controversy, recently printed at Mountain View, and also a similar
copy printed at Washington. The book pleases me. I have spent many hours
looking through its pages, and I see that the publishers have done good
book, Great Controversy, I appreciate above silver or gold, and I
greatly desire that it shall come before the people. While writing
the manuscript of Great Controversy I was often conscious of the
presence of the angels of God. And many times the scenes about which I
was writing were presented to me anew in visions of the night, so that
they were fresh and vivid in my mind.”—W-55, 1911 (Letter 56,
1911, the second of the above two paragraphs is in Colporteur Ministry,
it was necessary for the book to be reset because the electrotype plates
were badly worn. It has cost me much to have this done, but I do not
complain, for whatever the cost may be, I regard the edition with great
satisfaction.”—W-56, 1911 (Letter 56, 1911).
facts stand out:
(1) Great Controversy is the most important book for
these last days, (2) Satan hates it more than any other book.
(3) It has been the most reviled and slandered of any of the Spirit
of Prophecy books. Why?
are more facts:
(1) All editions of Great Controversy are equally inspired.
(2) Give the book to the people, in whichever edition you
prefer—but give it to them. (3) The book provides the reader
with the issues and warnings he needs just now. The deceptions and
events of the future are unveiled, and—before he lays down the book
at its last page—the book brings him personally to the brink of
eternity to make his own life decision.
results of the circulation of this book [Great Controversy] are
not to be judged by what now appears. By reading it some souls will
be aroused and will have courage to unite themselves at once with those
who keep the commandments of God. But a much larger number of those
who read it will not take their position until they see the very events
taking place that are foretold in it. The fulfillment of some of the
predictions will inspire faith that others will also come to pass, and when
the earth is lightened with the glory of the Lord in the closing work, many
souls will take their position on the commandments of God as the result
of this agency.”—Manuscript 31,
1890 (Colporteur Ministry, pp. 128-129).
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 shed a
light on the fast-approaching struggle of the future.”—Great
God Protected Ellen White’s Writings—48
pp. $4.00 + $2.50 (foreign p&h: $6.80). The history of that
protection. Also includes The Teachings of Vern Bates, Searching
for Changes in the Testimonies, and A.L. White’s remarkable
history, Circulation of Great Controversy. Forty-four pages are
Secret Writers Charge—96
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other people secretly wrote her writings. This has been enlarged by 16
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White Did Not Plagiarize—84
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of the End—224
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Not Reject the Spirit of Prophecy—32
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to our website, ellenwhitedefend.com for a large collection of
additional articles defending her writings.