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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    The Symbolic and the Real

    We come now to a point of hermeneutical interest. Although the great controversy presentation deals much with narrative of events past, present, and future, often in the light of Bible prophecy, it also abounds in doctrinal presentation and views of heavenly things. No special hermeneutical problem resides in the historical narrative. She tells the story in simple terms. The treatment of heavenly things embodies events (a) antedating Creation; (b) paralleling world history; and (c) postdating the Second Advent. On some phases of these events, at times questions are raised.EGWW 153.1

    Writing of the Holy Scriptures, Ellen White makes this significant declaration:EGWW 153.2

    The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared: “Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.”EGWW 153.3

    The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. 16Note: In narrating the experience of William Miller, Ellen White, with no suggestion that the position he took was not correct, declares: He [Miller] saw that the prophecies, so far as they had been fulfilled, had been fulfilled literally; that all the various figures, metaphors, parables, similitudes, etc., were either explained in their immediate connection, or the terms in which they were expressed were defined in other scriptures, and when thus explained, were to be literally understood.—The Great Controversy, 320. Christ has given the promise: “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.”EGWW 153.4

    If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.—The Great Controversy, 598, 599.EGWW 154.1

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