Selected Messages Book 3


Section 11—Last-Day Events


With the focus of Adventism on the return of Christ, the climactic last-day events associated with His second coming have ever been a theme of major interest to Seventh-day Adventists. It could not be otherwise, for Seventh-day Adventism sprang from a religious milieu, the Millerite Movement, which stressed eschatological events—the resurrection, the last judgment, the punishment of sin and sinners. 3SM 380.1

The visions given to Ellen White at the outset of her mission brought the importance of the Seventh-day Sabbath prominently into view as the testing truth, which in the last days would divide the inhabitants of the earth into two classes—those who obey God and will be eternally saved and those who reject His law and will be eternally lost. The attitude of the individual toward the Seventh-day Sabbath would be the determining factor. 3SM 380.2

The closing events of this earth's history highlighted the little 219-page Great Controversy published in 1858, and were the crucial, climatic issue of the great controversy depictions in the books bearing that title issued in 1884, 1888, and 1911. 3SM 380.3

How carefully Adventists have studied the closing chapters of this book, and have thrilled at the inspired picture of what is before the church and the world! With no abating of interest they have scrutinized all the published Ellen G. White writings for kindred statements that might throw some added light on coming events. In this section we present for the first time a number of heretofore unpublished eschatological statements, which help to round out the picture of the final events of earth's history. 3SM 380.4

As Sunday law issues intensified in the late 1800's and agitation for a national Sunday law in the United States increased, Ellen White wrote perceptively of “The Impending Conflict” in Testimonies for the Church 5:711-718, discussing the significance of the issues then facing Seventh-day Adventists, declaring that the church was not ready for the issue, and conjecturing that God might yet, “in answer to the prayers of his people, hold in check the workings of those who are making void His law” (p. 714). 3SM 381.1

As the laws calling for Sunday observance in certain of the Southern States were enforced and Adventists were arrested, imprisoned, and forced to labor in chain gangs for not observing these laws, the Sabbath-Sunday issue took on greater significance and came in for earnest study at the 1889 General Conference session. Carefully reviewing the principles involved, Ellen White counseled caution in any action that might be taken by the delegates. 3SM 381.2

Agitation for Sunday legislation gradually waned, but in succeeding years Ellen White kept the issues of the final conflict before church leaders. Times might have changed, so far as actual persecution for Sabbath observance was concerned, but the issues and the principles involved remained the same. Since Ellen White's death further changes have taken place, but we believe that the same principles and the same issues will be revived in the coming conflict, present appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. 3SM 381.3

The major portion of this section includes eschatological statements which frequently parallel the presentation given in The Great Controversy, but which just as often provide new details and new insights. These materials have been divided into three main areas, namely: 3SM 381.4

1. Lessons from meeting the Sunday law crisis of the late 1880s and early 1890s. 3SM 381.5

2. General counsels appropriate for a people approaching the end. 3SM 381.6

3. Involvements of “the last great struggle,” with the Sabbath-Sunday issue as the crucial factor. 3SM 382.1

The reader will note that, while Ellen White calls our attention to trying experiences ahead, which will doubtless include martyrdoms, and predicts apostasies in our ranks, she also forecasts large accessions to the church and gives encouraging assurance of heaven's sustaining grace to God's loyal people. 3SM 382.2

White Trustees.