The Great Controversy

Rainbow in StormHere are presentions on the history and future of the church, drawn from the book, The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White. They are only rough outlines, raising certain key points, but may be of use to those studying this marvelous book.

The presentations were originally developed during an international Missionary Seminar held in our church center in Germany. The bulk of them were prepared in PowerPoint by our minister, Andreas Dura; although there are also a few by the students (who had to each take a chapter and present it from the front of the class).

I am sharing them here, as PNG images of each slide, which you can browse on the site (or download by right-clicking and saving each image). I will also offer a download link to an ODP file (the LibreOffice/OpenOffice equivalent of Microsoft’s PowerPoint).

The theme of the book The Great Controversy is the triumph of God’s love over the machinations of Satan; the eventual success of the principles of truth and love over those of rebellion and disobedience.

There is a tendency in mankind to associate power with right, as if the possession of the power to follow a certain course of action, justified the course of action. For example, the German army, under Hitler, wore on their belt buckles the slogan, “Gott mit uns,” or “God with us” (although the usage of this dated back a few hundred years earlier). They naturally presumed that if God was not with them, then they wouldn’t have had such remarkable and swift military success. This however, is a false idea, based on a misunderstanding of God’s character.

God fights with righteousness, or as it says in Revelation:

Revelation 19
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

To war in righteousness means that Jesus fights according to the principles of the Law, for this is the only standard of righteousness held forth in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation:

Genesis 15
6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Genesis 26
5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Deuteronomy 4
8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Psalm 119
142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

Romans 8
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Revelation 22
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Isaiah 26
2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

How did Jesus war against Satan when He was on this earth? By the principles of truth and love. He never lied, stole, killed, coveted, or put his own dreams above the plans of His Father. His was a sinless and selfless life, and it was by that pure, holy life he unmasked the lies and misrepresentations that Satan had clothed God’s character and law with. Jesus’ life proved most emphatically that those who keep God’s laws with unswerving faithfulness, are blessed and reach the highest development of their character.

Satan has circulated the lie that prosperity and blessing can only be fully attained by occasionally setting aside God’s laws. He claims that they are restrictive, and make men narrow and unable to grow. Most of the people in this world today fully subscribe to that view, and spend a large portion of their lives planning their own dreams and careers, either without consideration of God’s will, or hoping that God will somehow bless their plans. They are quite pleased with their successes, and because they receive approval from their neighbors, friends, and community, feel confident that they are “good” people, and are on the “right” path. But they measure their success not by character development, or Christ-likeness, but by the acquirement of worldly treasures, awards, or recognition.

This kind of life is worthless in God’s sight. It is simply man’s own righteousness, offered up like the offering of Cain. It is unacceptable to God because it is based on principles that war against His kingdom, and perpetuate sin, misery, and suffering. This kind of self-righteous life makes allowance and excuse for sin, and by implication represents the heavenly Father as stern, and hard for giving us a law that was not possible, nor for our best good, to keep.

The apostle Paul understood this very well, and after his early diligent training as a Pharisee of Pharisees, which held much promise of promotion and high position in the Jewish religious establishment, he had to count all this as “dung” in order to win Christ (Philippians 3). He had to trade in his “own righteousness”, that is what he could accomplish by the power of his flesh and old heart, for “Christ’s righteousness”, that is, what Christ could accomplish through him by the implantation and development of the divine seed. This he gladly did, and became one of the greatest teachers in God’s kingdom, although there was little recognition or esteem of that in his lifetime.

So the battle between sin and righteousness continues on this earth, and the studies in these presentations show how it has unfolded from age to age, and what forms it will take in the future.

In the end, love will triumph, but only through much suffering, hardship, disappointment and sacrifice, for these are the circumstances under which false love will fail and fade away, while true love will grow stronger and shine brightest. So it was in the life of Jesus, and so it must be for His followers.

Romans 13
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The same weapons He used, must be used again by His church, under His guidance, and this will bring on the final scenes recorded in the last half of the book of Revelation.

Just like the Gospels, the book of Revelation is also a book about the life and principles of Christ, only this time lived out through His faithful people on earth.

Revelation 1
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

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