Go to The Great Controversy Sabbath School Lessons| Also see Apocalypse Resources

Beginning of the End - a condensation of Patriarchs and Prophets by Ellen WhiteThe best resource we can recommend for understanding the great war between Christ and Satan is the Conflict series by Ellen White. If you haven’t read these before, you may want to begin with the condensed modern-language versions. (Note that the images are the covers of the modern-language condensed versions. If you prefer the original, longer versions, click on the titles, such as Patriarchs and Prophets.)

Beginning of the EndStory of Redemption by Ellen G White – a condensation of Patriarchs and Prophets that begins with the chapter, “Why was sin permitted?” and traces God’s efforts to woo people back to Himself from the days of Adam and Eve to the time of David, a man after God’s own heart.  

If you want a short overview of the whole conflict between Christ and Satan, the way Ellen White originally wrote it, you’ll appreciate The Story of Redemption. It’s an early book that presents the Great Controversy theme before the later books were written. It also contains some details that are not in the later book. 

Royalty and Ruin - Condensed Patriarchs and Prophets by Ellen WhiteRoyalty and Ruin is  a condensation of Prophets and Kings. The conflict continues with the story of the wisest man who ever lived – Solomon, who had such a promising start but nearly ruined his chance at eternal life through compromise with the practices of the heathen around him, beginning with multiple marriages. (Five chapter on Solomon alone, but you won’t be bored!) The conflict between the God of love and the enemy of humanity is traced from Solomon to the time just before Christ’s birth. This book fleshes out the details in the biblical narrative. 

Humble Hero Desire of Ages in modern English.Humble Hero tells the story of Jesus – the Desire of Ages in condensed format and modern English. With the birth of Jesus the conflict intensifies. Satan could not imagine that the Creator of the world would stoop so low as to become one with His creation. Nevertheless, the enemy of humanity exulted. Now that Jesus had only the powers of a human, Satan could surely tempt Him and overthrow Him as he had done to every human who ever lived. He dogged Christ’s every step. Nevertheless, the Savior scattered light and healing wherever He went. This book presents Jesus as fully God and fully man in riveting detail. 

Unlikely Leaders - modern-language version of Acts of the Apostles.

Modern-language version of Acts of the Apostles

Unlikely Leaders tells the story of the continuing conflict. It’s the condensed version of Acts of the Apostles. Satan had lost the war with Christ by initiating His crucifixion without ever getting Him to yield to temptation, but he was determined to stamp out His little group of followers. What a great title! “Unlikely leaders” indeed! Peter, the impetuous fisherman, James and John, nicknamed  the “sons of thunder” due to their tempestuous temper,  Matthew, a despised tax collector.. . All working-class people, and none with an education to speak of. But they became vessels of the Holy Spirit and demonstrated what God can do with the unlikeliest of material. Reading their stories makes us realize that God can use you and me too, if we will but let Him. 

The Adult Bible Study Guide: 2024 Q2: The Great Controversy

The Sabbath School lessons for April – June 2024 follow the chapters of The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan by Ellen G. White. Comments on each day’s lesson often provide interesting insights. (You can also read The Great Controversy for free online. Check it out to see whether the Kindle version is worth the 99 cents, as we think it is.)

Love Under Fire - Condensation of The Great Controversy by Ellen WhiteLove Under Fire is the condensed version of The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan(The Kindle version is only $0.99). The conflict continues after the first generation of Christ followers passes off the scene. This book tells the story of the apostles as they sought to fulfill the commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” that Christ gave them. When Satan saw that he had failed in devouring the Child of the woman, namely Christ (see  Rev. 12:4), he turned his fury on the  followers of Christ and persecuted them. (Rev. 12:13). This conflict continued through the centuries from the early church until this very moment. Along the way, we read of the heroic lives of God-inspired followers from the early church to the 19th Century. But the book also reaches farther back in reviewing the spiritual background of the  battle between Christ and Satan, with chapters such as, “Why was sin permitted?”,  “Evil Spirits”, and others. The last chapters of the book deal with the future as outlined in the Bible, but fleshed in with more details. 

Keeping in mind that the book was written more than a hundred years ago, it would be unbelievable how accurately the events of the last 100 years or so are described, except that we know that God knows the future and is able to inspire humans to communicate essential details to others for the purpose of strengthening the faith of His followers. 

If you haven’t read the book – either in the full version or the modern-language condensed version, there’s no better time than now to do so. And I can confidently predict that you won’t regret beginning with the condensed version. After that, you may want to read it again in the full version, with its full complement of Bible references. 

Note: You can also read The Great Controversy for free online. You can also read it or any other Ellen White book in your Kindle or ITunes app. Go to your app store and search for the EGWwritings app (see image on left). The app or egwwritings.org really great for looking up quotations or reading shorter passages, but we prefer the Kindle versions for reading whole books. Your experience may vary, and you can check for yourself to see whether the Kindle version of the books are worth the 99 cents to you. 

It is instructive and often fascinating to read about the characters in The Great Controversy since apostolic times. Martin Luther was a major figure, and if you read our recommended books, you may find that much of what you thought you knew about Luther is actually not true. Since I had read the best-selling Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, by Eric Metaxas  years ago, I had high expectations of Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, by Eric Metaxas, also a best-seller. And I am not disappointed. I am finding so much of what I read relates directly to the Great Controversy theme, with which most of us are familiar. And it is inspiring my own faith. Here’s an extended quotation that high-lights a central truth of both the Reformation and the Bible itself: 

“We cannot earn heaven by our acts, because Jesus has already done that for us. We need only accept his free gift. And if we see the magnitude of that gift, we are moved to do good things. But it is as gratitude for what God has already done in saving us, not as a way of earning our own salvation. Once we receive God’s free gift of love in Jesus, we are properly moved to want to love him back and to love our fellow man.

When God in his sheer mercy and without any merit of mine has given me such unspeakable riches, shall I not then freely, joyously, wholeheartedly, unprompted do everything that I know will please him? I will give myself as a sort of Christ to my neighbor as Christ gave himself for me.38 (Quoted from Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, by Roland Herbert Bainton, p. 230

Once we embrace Christ, we are instantly made righteous because of his righteousness, and not because of anything we have done or could do. So our good works do not earn us God’s favor. That favor we already possess, even though we are sinners who sin and cannot help sinning. By turning to God in faith—as sinners who understand that we are sinners—and by crying out for God’s help, we do all we can by acknowledging our helplessness. At this point—in which our faith acknowledges the truth of our situation—we are instantly clothed with the righteousness of God. And it is now our gratitude to God for this free gift of his righteousness and salvation that makes us want to please him with our good works. We do them not out of grievous and legalistic duty or out of a hope to earn his favor but out of sheer gratitude for the favor we already have. Our service to him is redeemed and transmuted into a free servitude. That is the power of faith in Christ. All that is base and dead can be redeemed by faith unto glory and life.

Luther summed it up in this typically colorful image. “Is this not a joyous exchange,” he asks, “the rich, noble, pious bridegroom Christ takes this poor, despised wicked little whore in marriage, redeems her of all evil, and adorns her with all his goods?””

Note that in this excerpt, Metaxas references Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, by Roland Herbert Bainton, and if you are hungry for more on Martin Luther, that may be a good choice as well.