*NOTE: The Biographical Sketch, Foreword and references at the end of each chapter were not written by Ellen White or in the original book.
BY ELLEN G. WHITE
and John Spenser
Contents Biographical Sketch
Word List Chapter
1 The Fall of Satan
2 The Fall of Man
3 The Plan of Salvation
4 The First Advent of Christ
5 The Ministry of Christ
6 The Transfiguration
7 The Betrayal of Christ
8 The Trial of Christ
9 The Crucifixion of Christ
10 The Resurrection of Christ
11 The Ascension of Christ
12 The Disciples of Christ
13 The Death of Stephen
14 The Conversion of Saul
15 The Jews Decided to Kill Paul
16 Paul Visited Jerusalem
17 The Great Apostasy
18 Mystery of Iniquity
19 Death, Not Eternal Life in Misery
20 The Reformation
21 The Church and World United
22 William Miller
23 The First Angel's Message
24 The Second Angel's Message
25 Advent Movement Illustrated
26 Another Illustration
27 The Sanctuary
28 The Third Angel's Message
29 A Firm Platform
32 The Shaking
33 The Sins of Babylon
34 The Loud Cry
35 The Third Message Closed
36 The Time of Jacob's Trouble
37 Deliverance of the Saints
38 The Saints' Reward
39 The Earth Desolated
40 The Second Resurrection
41 The Second Death
Biographical Sketch Ellen Gould White 1827 - 1915
A devoted disciple of Jesus Christ, Ellen was a Methodist until the age of 17. She was disfellowshipped for talking about and believing in the soon coming of Christ in 1843. God gave her visions and a message to bear to the world, only after 2 other people had rejected that burden. She wrote many articles and books giving reproof and exhortation. After receiving light on the health message, she became a strong health advocate, calling for a diet similar to the original diet in the Garden of Eden, abstinence from harmful things, and temperance in all things.
Mrs. White never called herself a 'prophet', although she had no problem with those who called her that, but when asked, she referred to herself as a 'messenger'. In that reply, she showed that her work of health reform, calling for repentance from sin, and supporting a movement to "repair the breach", involved more than what a prophet is usually considered as doing - telling about future events from God's point of view. She produced several devotional classics with "Steps to Christ" being among her most popular. But she considered this book, "The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and His Angels" her most important.
Foreword To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Here at the beginning of the 21st century, it seems like everybody has become a prophet. There are even prophetic web-rings on the internet. But some of them say things that seem a little strange. How can we know for sure they are truly who they say they are - receivers of the words of God? - by comparing what they say with the law and the testimony. Surely the same God who gave his words in times past to people and had them written down (which later became the several books in the Bible), would not contradict himself!
Jesus directly prophesied of this, knowing that the issue of prophecy would be a big test for those in the last days: "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." Matthew 24:11. For added emphasis, God gave these words to John: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1John 4:1. Of course Ellen White is no exception. Take this book and compare it to the Holy Scriptures; does it meet the test or not? Pray to our merciful Father in heaven, and he will send his Spirit to guide us into all truth (^-^).
It seems almost unbelieveable now, but until the last couple of years in the 20th century, nearly all who called themselves 'Christians' were dead-set against anyone who claimed to have revelations from God. They usually quoted Revelation 22:18-19 to prove their point: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
But is this saying that after John died that there would be no more prophets from God? If so, why would Jesus have us beware of 'false' prophets? Why did the Holy Spirit thru John say to test the spirits? Wouldn't all this be so much easier if we knew just to ignore all those after John who claimed to have words from God? But that isn't God's plan. He gives new truth when needed, and makes his will known, and the true in heart will check to see that it is true, and then joyfully accept and follow it. Of course Satan will be allowed to work too. If he wasn't allowed to, he could accuse God of being unfair.
The Holy Spirit thru Paul asks some very important, and often overlooked, questions in 1Corinthians 12. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have the gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Then he declares that he will show unto us a "more excellent way", saying the gifts are of no benefit to us if we do not have Love. In chapter 14, he goes a step further by telling us to "Pursue love, and desire spiritual (gifts), but especially that you may prophesy." "Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues." "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1Thessalonians 5:19-21.
Ellen White was given the "Great Controversy" vision in the spring of 1858 at Lovett's Grove, Ohio, U.S.A. Most of it she had seen in vision 11 years earlier, but this time she was instructed to write it out even though Satan would make strong efforts to hinder her. Some portions, especially chapter 30, were published in the 1847 "Little Flock", 1851 "Christian Experiences and Views", and 1854 "Supplement" book(let)s. It is all inspired by the Holy Spirit, penned by a frail, but Godly woman and first published in 1858.
There are those who question why there are so many problems in our world with wars, crime, unholy sex, and yes, even with religious beliefs. The basis for answers to these questions can be found in understanding the great controversy between Christ and Satan which has been going on since before any of us humans ever existed.
May the Lord bestow his best gifts upon you, Reader, as you "prove all things" which are written in this book by the Word of God - The Bible.
*NOTE: The Biographical Sketch, Foreword and references at the end of each chapter were not written by Ellen White or in the original book.
CHAPTER 1 The Fall of Satan The Lord has shown me that Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ. His countenance was mild, expressive of happiness like the other angels. His forehead was high and broad, and showed great intelligence. His form was perfect. He had a noble, majestic bearing. And I saw that when God said to his Son, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of Jesus. He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man. He was filled with envy, jealousy and hatred. He wished to be the highest in heaven, next to God, and receive the highest honors. Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony and perfect subjection to the government of God.
It was the highest sin to rebel against the order and will of God. All heaven seemed in commotion. The angels were marshaled in companies with a commanding angel at their head. All the angels were astir. Satan was insinuating against the government of God, ambitious to exalt himself, and unwilling to submit to the authority of Jesus. Some of the angels sympathized with Satan in his rebellion, and others strongly contended for the honor and wisdom of God in giving authority to his Son. And there was contention with the angels. Satan and his affected ones, who were striving to reform the government of God, wished to look into his unsearchable wisdom to ascertain his purpose in exalting Jesus, and endowing him with such unlimited power and command. They rebelled against the authority of the Son of God, and all the angels were summoned to appear before the Father, to have their cases decided. And it was decided that Satan should be expelled from heaven, and that the angels, all who joined with Satan in the rebellion, should be turned out with him. Then there was war in heaven. Angels were engaged in the battle; Satan wished to conquer the Son of God, and those who were submissive to his will. But the good and true angels prevailed, and Satan, with his followers, was driven from heaven.
After Satan was shut out of heaven, with those who fell with him, he realized that he had lost all the purity and glory of heaven forever. Then he repented and wished to be reinstated again in heaven. He was willing to take his proper place, or any place that might be assigned him. But no, heaven must not be placed in jeopardy. All heaven might be marred should he be taken back; for sin originated with him, and the seeds of rebellion were within him. Satan had obtained followers, those who sympathized with him in his rebellion. He and his followers repented, wept and implored to be taken back into the favor of God. But no, their sin, their hate, their envy and jealousy, had been so great that God could not blot it out. It must remain to receive its final punishment.
When Satan became fully conscious that there was no possibility of his being brought again into favor with God, then his malice and hatred began to be manifest. He consulted with his angels, and a plan was laid to still work against God's government. When Adam and Eve were placed in the beautiful garden, Satan was laying plans to destroy them. A consultation was held with his evil angels. In no way could this happy couple be deprived of their happiness if they obeyed God. Satan could not exercise his power upon them unless they should first disobey God, and forfeit his favor. They must devise some plan to lead them to disobedience that they might incur God's frown and be brought under the more direct influence of Satan and his angels. It was decided that Satan should assume another form, and manifest an interest for man. He must insinuate against God's truthfulness, create doubt whether God did mean as he said, next, excite their curiosity, and lead them to pry into the unsearchable plans of God, which Satan had been guilty of, and reason as to the cause of his restrictions in regard to the tree of knowledge.
See Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:1-19; Revelation 12:7-9
CHAPTER 2 The Fall of Man I saw that the holy angels often visited the garden, and gave instruction to Adam and Eve concerning their employment, and also taught them concerning the rebellion of Satan and his fall. The angels warned them of Satan, and cautioned them not to separate from each other in their employment, for they might be brought in contact with this fallen foe. The angels enjoined upon them to closely follow the directions God had given them, for in perfect obedience only were they safe. And if they were obedient, this fallen foe could have no power over them.
Satan commenced his work with Eve, to cause her to disobey. She first erred in wandering from her husband, next, in lingering around the forbidden tree, and next in listening to the voice of the tempter, and even daring to doubt what God had said -- In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. She thought, Perhaps it does not mean just as the Lord said. She ventured to disobey. She put forth her hand, took of the fruit, and ate. It was pleasing to the eye, and pleasant to the taste. She was jealous that God had withheld from them what was really for their good. She offered the fruit to her husband, thereby tempting him. She related to Adam all that the serpent had said, and expressed her astonishment that he had the power of speech.
I saw a sadness came over Adam’s countenance. He appeared afraid and astonished. A struggle appeared to be going on in his mind. He felt sure that this was the foe which they had been warned against, and that his wife must die. They must be separated. His love for Eve was strong. And in utter discouragement he resolved to share her fate. He seized the fruit, and quickly ate it. Then Satan exulted. He had rebelled in heaven, and had sympathizers who loved him, and followed him in his rebellion. He fell, and caused others to fall with him. And he had now tempted the woman to distrust God, to inquire into his wisdom, and to seek to penetrate his all-wise plans. Satan knew the woman would not fall alone. Adam, through his love for Eve, disobeyed the command of God and fell with her.
The news of man’s fall spread through heaven. Every harp was hushed. The angels cast their crowns from their heads in sorrow. All heaven was in agitation. A counsel was held to decide what must be done with the guilty pair. The angels feared that they would put forth the hand, and eat of the tree of life, and be immortal sinners. But God said that he would drive the transgressors from the garden. Angels were commissioned immediately to guard the way of the tree of life. It had been Satan’s studied plan that Adam and Eve should disobey God, receive his frown, and then be led on to partake of the tree of life, that they might live forever in sin and disobedience, and thus sin be immortalized. But holy angels were sent to drive them out of the garden, while another company of angels were commissioned to guard the way to the tree of life. Each of these mighty angels appeared to have something in their right hand, which looked like a glittering sword.
Then Satan triumphed. Others he had made to suffer by his fall. He had been shut out of heaven, they out of Paradise.
See Genesis chap.3
CHAPTER 3 The Plan of Salvation Sorrow filled heaven, as it was realized that man was lost, and the world that God created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness and death, and there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die. I saw the lovely Jesus, and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon his countenance. Soon I saw him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, He is in close converse with His Father. The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with his Father. Three times he was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time he came from the Father, his person could be seen. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and trouble, and shone with benevolence and loveliness, such as words cannot express. He then made known to the angelic host that a way of escape had been made for lost man. He told them that he had been pleading with his Father, and had offered to give his life a ransom, and take the sentence of death upon himself, that through him man might find pardon. That through the merits of his blood, and obedience to the law of God, they could have the favor of God, and be brought into the beautiful garden, and eat of the fruit of the tree of life.
At first the angels could not rejoice, for their commander concealed nothing from them, but opened before them the plan of salvation. Jesus told them that he would stand between the wrath of his Father and guilty man, that he would bear iniquity and scorn, and but few would receive him as the Son of God. Nearly all would hate and reject him. He would leave all his glory in heaven, appear upon earth as a man, humble himself as a man, become acquainted by His own experience with the various temptations with which man would be beset, that he might know how to succor those who should be tempted; and that finally, after his mission as a teacher should be accomplished, he would be delivered into the hands of men, and endure almost every cruelty and suffering that Satan and his angels could inspire wicked men to inflict; that he should die the cruelest of deaths, hung up between the heavens and the earth as a guilty sinner; that he should suffer dreadful hours of agony, which even angels could not look upon, but would vail their faces from the sight. Not merely agony of body would he suffer; but mental agony, that with which bodily suffering could in no wise be compared. The weight of the sins of the whole world would be upon him. He told them he would die and rise again the third day, and should ascend to his Father to intercede for wayward, guilty man.
The angels prostrated themselves before him. They offered their lives. Jesus said to them that he should by his death save many; that the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of his Father as a ransom for man.
Jesus also told them that they should have a part to act, to be with him, and at different times strengthen him. That he should take man’s fallen nature, and his strength would not be even equal with theirs. And they should be witnesses of his humiliation and great sufferings. And as they should witness his sufferings, and the hate of men towards him, they would be stirred with the deepest emotions, and through their love for him, would wish to rescue, and deliver him from his murderers; but that they must not interfere to prevent anything they should behold; and that they should act a part in his resurrection; that the plan of salvation was devised, and his Father had accepted the plan.
With a holy sadness, Jesus comforted and cheered the angels, and informed them that hereafter those whom he should redeem would be with him, and ever dwell with him; and that by his death he should ransom many, and destroy him who had the power of death. And his Father would give him the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, and he should possess it forever and ever. Satan and sinners should be destroyed, never more to disturb heaven, or the purified, new earth. Jesus bid the heavenly host be reconciled to the plan that his Father accepted, and rejoice that fallen man could be exalted again through his death, to obtain favor with God and enjoy heaven.
Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. And the heavenly host sung a song of praise and adoration. They touched their harps and sung a note higher than they had done before, for the great mercy and condescension of God in yielding up his dearly Beloved to die for a race of rebels. Praise and adoration were poured forth for the self-denial and sacrifice of Jesus; that he would consent to leave the bosom of his Father, and choose a life of suffering and anguish, and die an ignominious death to give life to others.
Said the angel, Think ye that the Father yielded up his dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no. It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give his beloved Son to die for them. Angels were so interested for man’s salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory, and give their life for perishing man. But, said my accompanying angel, that would avail nothing. The transgression was so great that an angel’s life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercessions of his Son would pay the debt, and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery.
But the work of the angels was assigned them, to ascend and descend with strengthening balm from glory to soothe the Son of God in his sufferings, and administer unto him. Also, their work would be to guard and keep the subjects of grace from the evil angels, and the darkness constantly thrown around them by Satan. I saw that it was impossible for God to alter or change his law, to save lost, perishing man; therefore he suffered his beloved Son to die for man’s transgression.
Satan again rejoiced with his angels that he could, by causing man’s fall, pull down the Son of God from his exalted position. He told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man’s nature, he could overpower him, and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation.
I was then shown Satan as he was, a happy, exalted angel. Then I was shown him as he now is. He still bears a kingly form. His features are still noble, for he is an angel fallen. But the expression of his countenance is full of anxiety, care, unhappiness, malice, hate, mischief, deceit, and every evil. That brow which was once so noble, I particularly noticed. His forehead commenced from his eyes to recede backward. I saw that he had demeaned himself so long, that every good quality was debased, and every evil trait was developed. His eyes were cunning, sly, and showed great penetration. His frame was large, but the flesh hung loosely about his hands and face. As I beheld him, his chin was resting upon his left hand. He appeared to be in deep thought. A smile was upon his countenance, which made me tremble, it was so full of evil, and Satanic slyness. This smile is the one he wears just before he makes sure of his victim, and as he fastens the victim in his snare, this smile grows horrible.
See Isaiah chap.53
CHAPTER 4 The FirstAdvent of Christ Then I was carried down to the time when Jesus was to take upon himself man’s nature, humble himself as a man, and suffer the temptations of Satan.
His birth was without worldly grandeur. He was born in a stable, cradled in a manger; yet his birth was honored far above any of the sons of men. Angels from heaven informed the shepherds of the advent of Jesus, while the light and glory from God accompanied their testimony. The heavenly host touched their harps and glorified God. They triumphantly heralded the advent of the Son of God to a fallen world to accomplish the work of redemption, and by his death bring peace, happiness, and everlasting life to man. God honored the advent of his Son. Angels worshiped him.
Angels of God hovered over the scene of his baptism, and the Holy Spirit descended in the shape of a dove, and lighted upon him, and as the people stood greatly amazed, with their eyes fastened upon him, the Father’s voice was heard from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.
John was not certain that it was the Saviour who came to be baptized of him in Jordan. But God had promised him a sign by which he should know the Lamb of God. That sign was given as the heavenly Dove rested upon Jesus, and the glory of God shone round about him. John reached forth his hand, pointing to Jesus, and with a loud voice cried out, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
John informed his disciples that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world. As his work was closing, he taught his disciples to look to Jesus, and follow him as the great teacher. John’s life was without pleasure. It was sorrowful and self-denying. He heralded the first advent of Christ, and then was not permitted to witness the miracles, and enjoy the power manifested by him. He knew that when Jesus should establish himself as a teacher, he must die. His voice was seldom heard, except in the wilderness. His life was lonely. He did not cling to his father’s family, to enjoy their society, but left them in order to fulfill his mission. Multitudes left the busy cities and villages, and flocked to the wilderness to hear the words of the wonderful, singular Prophet. John laid the axe at the root of the tree. He reproved sin fearless of consequences, and prepared the way for the Lamb of God.
Herod was affected as he listened to the powerful, pointed testimonies of John. With deep interest he inquired what he must do to become his disciple. John was acquainted with the fact that he was about to marry his brother’s wife, while her husband was yet living, and faithfully told Herod that it was not lawful. Herod was not willing to make any sacrifice. He married his brother’s wife, and, through her influence, seized John and put him in prison. But Herod intended to release him again. While there confined, John heard through his disciples of the mighty works of Jesus. He could not listen to his gracious words. But the disciples informed him, and comforted him with what they had heard. Soon John was beheaded through the influence of Herod’s wife. I saw that the least disciple that followed Jesus, witnessed his miracles, and heard the comforting words which fell from his lips, was greater than John the Baptist. That is, they were more exalted and honored, and had more pleasure in their lives.
John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, to proclaim the first advent of Jesus. I was pointed down to the last days, and saw that John was to represent those who should go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah, to herald the day of wrath, and the second advent of Jesus.
After the baptism of Jesus in Jordan, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the Devil. The Holy Spirit had fitted him for that special scene of fierce temptations. Forty days he was tempted of the Devil, and in those days he ate nothing. Everything around Jesus was unpleasant, from which human nature would be led to shrink. He was with the wild beasts, and the Devil, in a desolate, lonely place. I saw that the Son of God was pale and emaciated through fasting and suffering. But his course was marked out, and he must fulfill the work he came to do.
Satan took advantage of the sufferings of the Son of God, and prepared to beset him with manifold temptations, hoping he should obtain the victory over him, because he had humbled himself as a man. Satan came with this temptation, If thou be the Son of God, command that this stone be made bread. He tempted Jesus to condescend to him, and give him proof of his being the Messiah, by exercising his divine power. Jesus mildly answered him, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
Satan was seeking a dispute with Jesus concerning his being the Son of God. He referred to his weak, suffering condition, and boastingly affirmed that he was stronger than Jesus. But the word spoken from heaven, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased, was sufficient to sustain Jesus through all his sufferings. I saw that in all his mission he had nothing to do in convincing Satan of his power, and of his being the Saviour of the world, Satan had sufficient evidence of his exalted station and authority. His unwillingness to yield to Jesus’ authority, shut him out of heaven.
Satan, to manifest his strength, carried Jesus to Jerusalem, and set him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and again tempted him, that if he was the Son of God, to give him evidence of it by casting himself down from the dizzy height upon which he had placed him. Satan came with the words of inspiration. For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Satan wished to cause Jesus to presume upon the mercy of his Father, and risk his life before the fulfillment of his mission. He had hoped that the plan of salvation would fail; but I saw that the plan was laid too deep to be thus overthrown, or marred by Satan.
I saw that Christ was the example for all christians when tempted, or their rights disputed. They should bear it patiently. They should not feel that they have a right to call upon God to display his power, that they may obtain a victory over their enemies, unless there is a special object in view, that God can be directly honored and glorified by it. I saw that if Jesus had cast himself from the pinnacle, it would not have glorified his Father; for none would witness the act but Satan, and the angels of God. And it would be tempting the Lord to display his power to his bitterest foe. It would have been condescending to the one whom Jesus came to conquer.
“And the Devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the Devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Here Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world. They were presented in the most attractive light. He offered them to Jesus if he would there worship him. He told Jesus that he would relinquish his claims of the possessions of earth. Satan knew that his power must be limited, and finally taken away, if the plan of salvation should be carried out. He knew that if Jesus should die to redeem man, his power would end after a season, and he would be destroyed. Therefore it was his studied plan to prevent, if possible, the completion of the great work which had been commenced by the Son of God. If the plan of man’s redemption should fail, he would retain the kingdom which he then claimed. And if he should succeed, he flattered himself that he would reign in opposition to the God of heaven.
Satan exulted when Jesus left heaven, and left his power and glory there. He thought that the Son of God was placed in his power. The temptation took so easily with the holy pair in Eden, that he hoped he could with his satanic cunning and power overthrow even the Son of God, and thereby save his life and kingdom. If he could tempt Jesus to depart from the will of his Father, then his object would be gained. Jesus bid Satan get behind him. He was to bow only to his Father. The time was to come when Jesus should redeem the possessions of Satan by his own life, and, after a season, all in heaven and earth should submit to him. Satan claimed the kingdoms of earth as his, and he insinuated to Jesus that all his suffering might be saved. He need not die to obtain the kingdoms of this world. But he might have the entire possessions of earth, and the glory of reigning over them, if he would worship him. Jesus was steadfast. He chose his life of suffering, his dreadful death, and, in the way appointed by his Father, to become a lawful heir to the kingdoms of earth, and have them given into his hands as an everlasting possession. Satan also will be given into his hands to be destroyed by death, never more to annoy Jesus, or the saints in glory.
See Deuteronomy 6:16,8:3; 2Kings 17:35-36; Psalms 91:11-12; Luke chap.2-4
CHAPTER 5 The Ministry of Christ After Satan had ended his temptations, he departed from Jesus for a season, and angels prepared him food in the wilderness, and strengthened him, and the blessing of his Father rested upon him. Satan had failed in his fiercest temptations, yet he looked forward to the period of Jesus' ministry, when he should at different times try his cunning against him. He still hoped to prevail against him by stirring up those who would not receive Jesus, to hate and seek to destroy him. Satan held a special counsel with his angels. They were disappointed and enraged that they had prevailed nothing against the Son of God. They decided that they must be more cunning, and use their power to the utmost to inspire unbelief in the minds of his own nation as to his being the Saviour of the world, and in this way discourage Jesus in his mission. No matter how exact the Jews might be in their ceremonies and sacrifices, if they could keep their eyes blinded as to the prophecies, and make them believe that it was a mighty, worldly king who was to fulfill these prophecies, they would keep their minds on the stretch for a Messiah to come.
I was then shown that Satan and his angels were very busy during Christ's ministry, inspiring men with unbelief, hate and scorn. Often when Jesus uttered some cutting truth reproving their sins, they would become enraged. Satan and his angels urged them on to take the life of the Son of God. Once they took up stones to cast at him, but angels guarded him, and bore him away from the angry multitude to a place of safety. Again as the plain truth dropped from his holy lips, the multitude laid hold of him, and led him to the brow of a hill, intending to thrust him down. A contention arose among themselves as to what they should do with him, when the angels again hid him from the sight of the multitude, and he, passing through the midst of them, went his way.
Satan still hoped the great plan of salvation would fail. He exerted all his power to make the hearts of all people hard, and their feelings bitter against Jesus. He hoped that the number who would receive him as the Son of God would be so few, that Jesus would consider his sufferings and sacrifice too great to make for so small a company. But I saw that if there had been but two who would have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, to believe in him to the saving of their souls, he would have carried out the plan.
Jesus commenced his work by breaking the power which Satan held over the suffering. He healed those who had suffered by his evil power. He restored the sick to health, healed the lame, and caused them to leap in the gladness of their hearts, and glorify God. He gave sight to the blind, restored to health by his power those who had been infirm and bound by Satan's cruel power many years. The weak, the trembling, and desponding, he comforted with gracious words. He raised the dead to life, and they glorified God for the mighty display of his power. He wrought mightily for all who believed on him. And the feeble suffering ones whom Satan held in triumph, Jesus wrenched from his grasp, and brought to them by his power, soundness of body, and great joy and happiness.
The life of Christ was full of benevolence, sympathy and love. He was ever attentive to listen to, and relieve the woes of those who came to him. Multitudes carried the evidences in their own persons of his divine power. Yet many of them soon after the work was accomplished were ashamed of the humble, yet mighty teacher. Because the rulers did not believe on him, they were not willing to suffer with Jesus. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. But few could endure to be governed by his sober, self-denying life. They wished to enjoy the honor which the world bestows. Many followed the Son of God, and listened to his instructions, feasting upon the words which fell so graciously from his lips. His words were full of meaning, yet so plain that the weakest could understand.
Satan and his angels were busy. They blinded the eyes and darkened the understanding of the Jews. Satan stirred up the chief of the people and the rulers to take his life. They sent officers to bring Jesus unto them, and as they came near where he was, they were greatly amazed. They saw Jesus stirred to sympathy and compassion, as he witnessed human woe. They saw him in love and tenderness speak encouragingly to the weak and afflicted. They also heard him, in a voice of authority, rebuke the power of Satan, and bid the captives held by him, go free. They listened to the words of wisdom that fell from his lips, and they were captivated. They could not lay hands on him. They returned to the priests and elders without Jesus. They inquired of the officers, Why have ye not brought him? They related what they had witnessed of his miracles, and the holy words of wisdom, love and knowledge which they had heard, and ended with saying, Never man spake like this man. The chief priests accused them of being also deceived. Some were ashamed that they had not brought him. The chief priests inquired in a ridiculing manner if any of the rulers had believed on him. I saw that many of the magistrates and elders did believe on Jesus. But Satan kept them from acknowledging it. They feared the reproach of the people more than they feared God.
Thus far the cunning and hatred of Satan had not broken up the plan of salvation. The time for the accomplishment of the object for which Jesus came into the world was drawing on. Satan and his angels consulted together, and decided to inspire Christ’s own nation to cry eagerly for his blood, and invent cruelty and scorn to be heaped upon him. He hoped that Jesus would resent such treatment, and not maintain his humility and meekness.
While Satan was laying his plans, Jesus was carefully opening to his disciples the sufferings he must pass through. That he should be crucified, and that he would rise again the third day. But their understanding seemed dull. They could not comprehend what he told them.
See Luke 4:29; John 7:45-48; 8:59
CHAPTER 6 The Transfiguration I saw that the faith of the disciples was greatly strengthened at the transfiguration. God chose to give the followers of Jesus strong proof that he was the promised Messiah, that in their bitter sorrow and disappointment they should not entirely cast away their confidence. At the transfiguration the Lord sent Moses and Elias to talk with Jesus concerning his suffering and death. Instead of choosing angels to converse with his Son, God chose those who had an experience in the trials of earth. A few of his followers were permitted to be with him and behold his face lighted up with divine glory, and witness his raiment white and glistening, and hear the voice of God, in fearful majesty, saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him.
Elijah had walked with God. His work had not been pleasant. God, through him, had reproved sin. He was a prophet of God, and had to flee from place to place to save his life. He was hunted like the wild beasts that they might destroy him. God translated Elijah. Angels bore him in glory and triumph to heaven.
Moses had been a man greatly honored of God. He was greater than any who had lived before him. He was privileged to talk with God face to face as a man speaketh with a friend. He was permitted to see the bright light and excellent glory that enshrouded the Father. Through Moses the Lord delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses was a mediator for the children of Israel. He often stood between them and the wrath of God. When the wrath of God was greatly kindled against Israel for their unbelief, their murmurings, and their grievous sins, Moses’ love for them was tested. God promised him that if he would let Israel go, let them be destroyed, he would make of him a mighty nation. Moses showed his love for Israel by his earnest pleading. In his distress he prayed God to turn from his fierce anger, and forgive Israel, or blot his name out of his book.
When Israel murmured against God and against Moses, because they could get no water, they accused him of leading them out to kill them and their children. God heard their murmurings, and bade Moses smite the rock, that the children of Israel might have water. Moses smote the rock in wrath, and took the glory to himself. The continual waywardness and murmuring of the children of Israel had caused him the keenest sorrow, and for a little he forgot how much God had borne with them, and that their murmuring was not against Moses, but against God. He thought only of himself, how deeply he was wronged, and how little gratitude they manifested in return, for his deep love for them.
As Moses smote the rock, he failed to honor God, and magnify him before the children of Israel, that they might glorify God. And the Lord was displeased with Moses, and said that he should not enter the promised land. It was God’s plan to often prove Israel by bringing them into strait places, and then in their great necessity exhibit his power, that he might live in their memory, and they glorify him.
When Moses came down from the mount with the two tables of stone, and saw Israel worshiping the golden calf, his anger was greatly kindled, and he threw down the tables of stone, and broke them. I saw that Moses did not sin in this. He was wroth for God, jealous for his glory. But when he yielded to the natural feelings of the heart, and took glory to himself, which was due to God, he sinned, and for that sin, God would not suffer him to enter the promised land.
Satan had been trying to find something wherewith to accuse Moses before the angels. Satan triumphed in that he had caused him to displease God, and he exulted, and told the angels that when the Saviour of the world should come to redeem man, he could overcome him. For this transgression Moses came under the power of Satan -- the dominion of death. Had he remained steadfast, and not sinned in taking glory to himself, the Lord would have brought him to the promised land, and then translated him to heaven without seeing death.
I saw that Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before he saw corruption. Satan claimed the body as his, but Michael resurrected Moses, and took him to heaven. The Devil tried to hold his body, and railed out bitterly against God, denounced him as unjust, in taking from him his prey. But Michael did not rebuke the Devil, although it was through his temptation and power that God’s servant had fallen. Christ meekly referred him to his Father, saying, The Lord rebuke thee.
Jesus told his disciples that there were some standing with him who should not taste of death till they should see the kingdom of God come with power. At the transfiguration this promise was fulfilled. The fashion of Jesus’ countenance was changed, and shone like the sun. His raiment was white and glistening. Moses was present, and represented those who will be raised from the dead at the second appearing of Jesus. And Elias, who was translated without seeing death, represented those who will be changed to immortality at Christ’s second coming, and without seeing death will be translated to heaven. The disciples beheld with fear and astonishment the excellent majesty of Jesus, and the cloud that overshadowed them, and heard the voice of God in terrible majesty, saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him.
See Exodus chap.32; Numbers 20:7-12; Deuteronomy 34:5; 2Kings 2:11; Mark chap.9; Jude 9
CHAPTER 7 The Betrayal of Christ I was then carried down to the time when Jesus ate the Passover supper with his disciples. Satan had deceived Judas, and led him to think he was one of Christ’s true disciples; but his heart had ever been carnal. He had seen the mighty works of Jesus, he had been with him through his ministry, and yielded to the overpowering evidences that he was the Messiah; but he was close and covetous. He loved money. He complained in anger of the costly ointment poured upon Jesus. Mary loved her Lord. He had forgiven her sins which were many, and had raised from the dead her much loved brother, and she felt that nothing was too dear to bestow upon Jesus. The more costly and precious the ointment, the better could Mary express her gratitude to her Saviour, by devoting it to him. Judas, as an excuse for his covetousness, said that the ointment might have been sold and given to the poor. But it was not because he had any care for the poor; for he was selfish, and often appropriated to his own use that which was entrusted to his care to be given to the poor. Judas had not been attentive to the comforts and wants of Jesus, and to excuse his covetousness, he often referred to the poor. And this act of generosity on the part of Mary was a most cutting rebuke of his covetous disposition.
The way was prepared for the temptation of Satan to find a ready reception in Judas’ heart. The Jews hated Jesus; but multitudes thronged him to listen to his words of wisdom, and to witness his mighty works. This drew the attention of the people from the chief priests and elders, for the people were stirred with the deepest interest, and anxiously followed Jesus, and listened to the instructions of this wonderful teacher. Many of the chief rulers believed on Jesus, but were afraid to confess it, fearing they would be put out of the synagogue. The priests and elders decided that something must be done to draw the attention of the people from Jesus. They feared that all men would believe on him. They could see no safety for themselves. They must lose their position, or put Jesus to death. And after they should put him to death, there were still those who were living monuments of his power. Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. And they feared that if they should kill Jesus, Lazarus would testify of his mighty power. The people were flocking to see him who was raised from the dead, and the rulers determined to slay Lazarus also, and put down the excitement. Then they would turn the people to the traditions and doctrines of men, to tithe mint and rue, and again have influence over them. They agreed to take Jesus when he was alone; for if they should attempt to take him in a crowd, when the minds of the people were all interested in him, they would be stoned.
Judas knew how anxious they were to obtain Jesus, and offered to betray him to the chief priests and elders for a few pieces of silver. His love of money led him to agree to betray his Lord into the hands of his bitterest enemies. Satan was working directly through Judas, and in the midst of the impressive scene of the last supper, he was contriving plans to betray Jesus. Jesus sorrowfully told his disciples that all of them would be offended because of him, that night. But Peter ardently affirmed that although all should be offended because of him, he would not. Jesus said to Peter, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
I then viewed Jesus in the garden with his disciples. In deep sorrow he bade them watch and pray lest they should enter into temptation. Jesus knew that their faith was to be tried, and their hopes disappointed, and that they would need all the strength they could obtain by close watching and fervent prayer. With strong cries and weeping, Jesus prayed, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. The Son of God prayed in agony. Large drops of sweat like blood came out of his face, and fell upon the ground. Angels were hovering over the place, witnessing the scene, while only one was commissioned to go and strengthen the Son of God in his agony. The angels in heaven cast their crowns and harps from them, and with the deepest interest silently watched Jesus. There was no joy in heaven. They wished to surround the Son of God, but the commanding angels suffered them not, lest, as they should behold his betrayal, they would deliver him; for the plan was laid out, and it must be fulfilled.
After Jesus had prayed, he came to see his disciples. They were sleeping. He had not the comfort and prayers of even his disciples in that dreadful hour. Peter who was so zealous a little before, was heavy with sleep. Jesus reminded him of his positive declarations, and said unto him, What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Three times the Son of God prayed in agony, when Judas, with his band of men, was at hand. He met Jesus as usual to salute him. The band surrounded Jesus; but there he manifested his divine power, as he said, Whom seek ye? I am he. They fell backward to the ground. Jesus made this inquiry that they might witness his power, and have evidence that he could deliver himself from their hands if he would.
The disciples began to hope as they saw the multitude with their staves and swords fall so quickly. As they arose and again surrounded the Son of God, Peter drew the sword and cut off an ear. Jesus bid him put up the sword, and said unto him, Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? I saw that as these words were spoken, the countenances of the angels were animated. They wished then, and there, to surround their commander, and disperse that angry mob. But again sadness settled upon them as Jesus added, But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? The hearts of the disciples sunk again in despair and bitter disappointment, as Jesus suffered them to lead him away.
The disciples were afraid of their own lives, and fled one this way, and the other that, and Jesus was left alone. O what triumph of Satan then! And what sadness and sorrow with the angels of God! Many companies of holy angels, with each a tall commanding angel at their head, were sent to witness the scene. They were to record every act, every insult and cruelty imposed upon the Son of God, and to register every pang of anguish which Jesus should suffer; for the very men should see it all again in living characters.
See Matthew 26:1-56; Mark 14:1-52; Luke 22:1-46; John chap.11, 12:1-11, 18:1-12