Great Controversy Project- The Bible and the French Revolution

Chapter: The Bible and the French Revolution

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Favorite Quotation: “The Bible is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.”

I like this quote because throughout history Satan has attempted to keep the word of God from mankind. He doubled his efforts in France during the 16th century; doing everything he could to wipe the knowledge of the scriptures from the minds of men. This resulted in the degradation, ignorance, and misery of the people, culminating in the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. Voltaire, the famous atheist, declared that while “twelve men had established the Christian religion, one man (himself) would overturn it.”Centuries after his death, the Bible has become more available, more valued, and distributed in hundreds of languages all over the world

Lessons I’ve Learned:

  1. God is always in control and will protect His Word. Although it may seem that the whole world is against God and His people, and though they may be persecuted for their faith, truth will eventually win out and God will be vindicated.
  2. Satan’s “go to” trick is deception and we will be deceived if we are not grounded in the Word of God and our minds guarded by the Holy Spirit. “When error in one guise is detected, Satan only masks it in a different disguise and multitudes receive it just as eagerly as the first.”


  1. The history of the French Revolution and Reign of Terror illustrate graphically what happens to a nation that refuses to read and study the Bible for themselves; listens to the lies of Satan; refuses to grant religious tolerance to their neighbors; and turns their backs on God. The Bible brings true knowledge of God and His law. “Wherever the gospel was received, the minds of the people were awakened. They began to cast off the shackles that had held them bondslaves of ignorance, vice and superstition. They began to think and act as men.”When the citizens of France, willingly governed and controlled by Rome, abolished, outlawed and burned the Bible, “the spirit of liberty went with” it.
  2. Secular thought teaches that man is inherently good and that left to his own devices, (without God) will create a utopian society with freedom for all. This idea was never proved more baseless than in the French Revolution. During “the brilliant era of Louis XIV, when science was cultivated, letters flourished, the divines of the court and of the capital were learned and eloquent men, and greatly affected the graces of meekness and charity,”7 Protestant reformers were hunted like wild beasts, slaughtered by the thousands without regard to gender or age; their bodies left to rot where they fell. Their country, laid waste with the sword, the ax, the (stake), was converted into one vast, gloomy wilderness.” 8 There is no true liberty, fairness, and virtue apart from God.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What part did papal rule play in setting the stage for the French Revolution?
  2. How might the knowledge of God and the Bible have prevented the French Revolution?
  3. What other social and economic factors led to the Revolution?
  4. What was ironic about the placement of the first guillotine?
  5. What was the prophecy concerning France found in Revelation? (Rev. 11)

Family Worship Idea:

Read the chapter and Revelation 11. Discuss the fulfillment of the prophecy. Discuss some of the questions listed above.

Personal Biography: Althea Espinoza

I was raised in the SDA faith, but not grounded in a relationship with God. I left the church for ten years, but knew the doctrines of the church were sound, so I could not join any other church. Thankfully, God continued to work on me through the Holy Spirit and I returned to church and was re-baptized.  God arranged that I would meet a group of people my age (28- 30) during this time who were having Bible studies at Earl & Leota Hack’s home. I was able to understand our doctrines and the principles behind them fully through this study and to stay connected to the church by the friends I made. Since then, it has been up and down. Marriage, children, divorce, and financial troubles that dog me, and sometimes have discouraged me, have tried my trust in God. I pray for consistency, true commitment, and trust in God for both myself and my children.

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