“How long?” is the ultimate time query in the great controversy between good and evil—how long will it last?

From eternity past to eternity future the principle of selfless, self-giving love has been the law of life for the universe. It flows from the heart of the unselfish Ones who created and support all things. It is continual—the love flows continually.

At some point in past time, the opposite principle of selfishness originated in the heart of the highest created being. Since that time, this root of what we call sin has also manifested a continuity as well, in conflict with the eternal principle.

A significant number of God’s intelligent, ministering angels adopted this self-focus. The principle of receiving only to give was abandoned for receiving and even taking to keep. Suffering came into existence.

After humans chose selfishness, God revealed the interface between these two continual principles in the sacrificial system, involving blood, fire, and ashes—daily death, in the giving of life, and the taking of life. These ceremonies pictured how the unselfish Ones would continue giving, in fact, must continually give, in new ways, to meet the constant needs created by selfishness.

Embedded in that symbolism is the amazing prophecy that the continuity of this conflict is not eternal…

Embedded in that symbolism is the amazing prophecy that the continuity of this conflict is not eternal, that selfishness is temporary. Eventually, a series of discontinuities would occur that would bring it to an end—the fulfillments of the yearly feasts. The first was when the Lord of time and space Himself became our Passover.

The continuity of the two principles in the great controversy would meet the final discontinuity of the Day of Atonement, removing selfishness and restoring unselfishness to its eternal reign of peace. The daily would meet the Day. We are currently immersed in this transition time—for the Day has begun!

The Day has a fast accomplished by a feast, answering the “how long” questions. “Faith in Christ alone can destroy selfishness and self-idolatry in the human soul. How long will the Lord bear with the perversity of man? How long will He be insulted by his self-sufficiency and rejection of His invitation to receive His call to come to the gospel feast?”  (Ellen White, The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 468).

Let us enter into the Day, to help Him hasten the end of selfishness and its pain!

Fred Bischoff
Adventist Pioneer Library

Fred Bischoff became involved in Adventist history while working as a preventive medicine physician in southern California for Kaiser Permanente and serving on the clinical faculty, School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Loma Linda University. He found his greatest joy in exploring and explaining "the simplicity that is in Christ" in relation to history and prophecy, which culminate in the Adventist mission.