Selected Messages Book 3


The 1888 Edition of The Great Controversy

Work Begins on the Enlargement of The Great Controversy—Basel, Switzerland, June 11, 1886. I think you will want to hear some particulars in regard to our family. We now number ten. W.C.W. [White] and Mary and Ella are well. Sarah McEnterfer is well, and just as busy as she can be taking letters by dictation and writing them out on the calligraph [typewriter]. Marian's [Davis] health is about as it usually is. She is at work on volume 4, “Great Controversy.”—Manuscript 20, 1886. 3SM 111.2

Bidden to Portray Scenes of the Past and the Future—As the Spirit of God has opened to my mind the great truths 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. In pursuance of this purpose, I have endeavored to select and group together 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.”—The Great Controversy, Introduction, xi. 3SM 111.3

Scenes Presented Anew While Writing—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.—Letter 56, 1911. 3SM 112.1

Vivid Scenes of Christ's Second Advent—The sky opened and shut, and was in commotion. The mountains shook like a reed in the wind, and cast out ragged rocks all around. The sea boiled like a pot, and cast out stones upon the ground. And as God spoke the day and hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence and then paused while the words were rolling through the earth.... 3SM 112.2

I have not the slightest knowledge as to the time spoken by the voice of God. I heard the hour proclaimed, but had no remembrance of that hour after I came out of vision. Scenes of such thrilling, solemn interest passed before me as no language is adequate to describe. It was all a living reality to me, for close upon this scene appeared the great white cloud, upon which was seated the Son of man.—Letter 38, 1888 (Published in Selected Messages 1:75, 76.) 3SM 112.3

Reading the Page Proofs—Last Work on the Book—I have just read the manuscript of the three last chapters. I cannot see but that it is all right and of the most intense and thrilling interest. I am glad you have sent these pages and I want the book—the very first one from the press—sent to me.... 3SM 112.4

Last Sabbath was an impressive, solemn time. I spoke upon some of the very scenes described in these last chapters and there was deep feeling in the meeting.—Letter 57, 1884. 3SM 113.1

Steps Taken to Make It the Best Possible—In the preparation of this book, competent workers were employed and much money was invested in order that the volume might come before the world in the best style possible.... 3SM 113.2

The Lord impressed me to write this book, in order that without delay it might be circulated in every part of the world, because the warnings it contains are necessary for preparing a people to stand in the day of the Lord.—Manuscript 24, 1891. 3SM 113.3

Experience of Ellen White While Writing The Great Controversy—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” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). 3SM 113.4

The Lord has set before me matters which are of urgent importance for the present time, and which reach into the future. The words have been spoken in a charge to me, “Write in a book the things which 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. I was shown that many of our own people were asleep in their sins, and although they claimed to be Christians, they would perish unless they were converted. 3SM 113.5

The solemn impressions made upon my mind as the truth was laid out in clear lines before me, I tried to bring before others, that each might feel the necessity of having a religious experience for himself, of having a knowledge of the Saviour for himself, of seeking repentance, faith, love, hope, and holiness for himself. 3SM 113.6

I was assured that there was no time to lose. The appeals and warnings must be given; our churches must be aroused, must be instructed, that they may give the warning to all whom they can possibly reach, declaring that the sword is coming, that the Lord's anger upon a profligate world will not long be deferred. I was shown that many would listen to the warning. Their minds would be prepared to discern the very things that it pointed out to them. 3SM 114.1

I was shown that much of my time had been occupied in speaking to the people, when it was more essential that I should devote myself to writing out the important matters for Volume IV, [To Ellen White the 1888 edition of The Great Controversy was still Volume IV in the presentation of the great controversy story, and was often referred to by her as such.—Compilers.] 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. 3SM 114.2

As the condition of the church and the world was opened before me, and I beheld the fearful scenes that lie just before us, I was alarmed at the outlook; and night after night, while all in the house were sleeping, I wrote out the things given me of God. I was shown the heresies which are to arise, the delusions that will prevail, the miracle-working power of Satan—the false Christs that will appear—that will deceive the greater part even of the religious world, and that would, if it were possible, draw away even the elect. 3SM 114.3

Is this work of the Lord? I know that it is, and our people also profess to believe it. The warning and instruction of this book are needed by all who profess to believe the present truth.—Letter 1, 1890. 3SM 114.4