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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    Chapter 24—(1858) The Great Controversy Vision and Broader Concepts

    The vision at Lovett's Grove, Ohio, on a Sunday afternoon in mid-March, 1858, was one of great importance. In this the theme of the great controversy between Christ and His angels on the one side and Satan and his angels on the other, was seen as one continuous and closely linked chain of events spanning six thousand years. This vision has put Seventh-day Adventists into a unique position with clear-cut views of the working of Providence in the history of our world—a viewpoint quite different from that held by secular historians, who see events of history as the interplay between the actions of men, often seemingly the result of chance or natural developments. In other words, this vision and others of the great conflict of the ages yield a philosophy of history that answers many questions and in prophetic forecast gives the assurance of final victory of good over evil.1BIO 366.1

    For the setting of this vision, we must go back to the turn of the year and notice some of the intervening activities. There had been a very favorable response to the reading of the Ellen G. White testimony at the conference held in Battle Creek the preceding November, with a strong standing vote calling for its publication. Also at that conference, James White had made a stirring presentation on “the unity and gifts of the church.” This, it was reported, “seemed to have a place in the hearts of the people” (Ibid., November 12, 1857), with many expressing their pleasure on seeing this subject taking its “proper place in the church.”1BIO 366.2

    In response, White re-presented the subject in four Review and Herald articles carrying through the turn of the year. Also, the December 31 issue and the second published in January carried articles by him entitled “A Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Present Truth.” These warmed the hearts of the believers.1BIO 366.3

    In the same issues were numbers 8 and 10 of a twenty-eight-part series by Uriah Smith titled “Synopsis of the Present Truth.” These were some of the first Review articles to be accompanied by illustrations. Woodcuts made by Uriah Smith himself, through the skillful use of his woodcarving tools, depicted the beasts and images seen by Daniel and John in prophetic vision.1BIO 367.1

    Notice was given of the progress in publishing tracts in French and German (Ibid., December 24, 1857), soon to be available to those who wished to spread the third angel's message to the people of other countries and languages. J. H. Waggoner, in a series of four significant articles, was holding before readers the “nature and tendency of modern spiritualism.” Among the appointments were those for J. N. Loughborough and James White, who were now often associated in ministering on weekends in nearby churches (Ibid., December 24, 1857; Ibid., January 28, 1858). Ellen White, of course, accompanied them.1BIO 367.2

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