The Great Controversy is a book by Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and held in esteem as a prophetess or messenger of God among Seventh-day Adventist members. In it, White describes the "Great Controversy theme" between Jesus and Satan, as played out over the millennia from its start in heaven, to its final end when the world is destroyed and recreated. Regarding the reason for writing the book, the author reported, "In this vision at Lovett's Grove (in 1858), most of the matter of the Great Controversy which I had seen ten years before, was repeated, and I was shown that I must write it out.” The theme of the original small book was expanded first to a four-volume set of books (1870-1884) and then to a separate volume in 1888. The current, 1911 edition is also one of the five-volume Conflict of the Ages set. The 1884, 1888, and 1911 books incorporate historical data from other authors.
The original book was written largely for an Adventist audience with a focus on showing how God had led them up to and through the 1844 movement and preparing them for the End Times by describing the events that will occur in the Christian churches and in the world before Jesus returns. Later editions were written largely for a non-Adventist audience to be used as an evangelistic tool. The first presentation of the concept was published in 1858, with a later presentation in a four-volume expansion in 1870-1884 (see table below). The book was first published on its own in 1888, and the last edition during the author's lifetime was published in 1911.
The author herself valued this book "above silver or gold", and recommended it to be circulated to all.