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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    The Presentation of the Great Controversy

    Basic to an understanding of God’s character, His actions, and His purposes and basic to an understanding of the philosophy of man is the great controversy presentation that begins with a sinless universe in which God is supreme over all; the fall of Lucifer; the creation of our world and of man; man’s response to evil; the steps in the redemption of the fallen race; man’s preparation for translation; the climactic termination of life on the earth; the destruction of sin and sinners; and the earth restored to its Edenic state inhabited by a redeemed race immune to sin and rebellion. The various books of the Sacred Canon deal with segments of the story. To Ellen White, nearly two thousand years this side of the last of the Biblical records, the whole picture was unveiled in great sweeps and then in more detail. The concepts permeated her entire work, and placed a certain mold on the work of the denomination. Certain segments of paramount importance were first given to her as presented in such chapters of Early Writings as “My First Vision,” “Subsequent Visions,” and so on. Then in 1848 the over-all picture was opened to her in one grand panoramic sweep. The opportunities and facilities for writing and publishing were extremely limited at the time. There is reason to believe that certain segments of the depiction were presented in chapters of her first book, Experience and Views, and now are a part of the first section of Early Writings.EGWW 148.5

    In 1858 after the publishing work was well established the view was again repeated. Of this she wrote:EGWW 149.1

    In this vision at Lovett’s Grove, most of the matter of the Great Controversy which I had seen ten years before, was repeated, and I was shown that I must write it out.—Spiritual Gifts 2:270.EGWW 149.2

    This she proceeded to do immediately, and within six months of the vision the 219-page Spiritual GiftsThe Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and His Angels appeared. It opens with the words, “The Lord has shown me that Satan was once an honored angel in heaven” and closes with the triumphant declaration: “The kingdom ... was then given to the saints of the Most High, who were to possess it forever, even forever and ever.” No less than once for each page Ellen White indicates that what she was presenting to her readers had been revealed to her in vision.EGWW 149.3

    As repeated and more-comprehensive visions were imparted to her down through the years and as the church grew and could absorb larger books, the great controversy presentation was made in the four 400-page volumes of The Spirit of Prophecy and later in the five volumes of the Conflict of the Ages series, comprising 3,500 pages. Getting this vital theme before the church and the world was a task that stretched through most of Ellen White’s life, from the 1858 issuance of Spiritual Gifts to her last work, on Prophets and Kings in early 1915.EGWW 149.4

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