Spring 1997 Newsletter: Rise and Shine
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
 
 
Here we are, one year closer to the coming of our Lord. Last year I believed His coming was soon. Imagine how much more I feel about it now. He surely is coming soon! But things are mysteriously quiet. When things get quiet, I get a little bit nervous.

I think that the Lord is going to come sooner than anyone of us can ever imagine. And I think that the Lord wants His people to be prepared in a way that they have never been prepared before. We are living in the end of time, and we are the only hope that a dying world has. Can you imagine the importance of that? We are the only hope that a dying world has!

I’m a Seventh-day Adventist. I assure you I’m not a Seventh-day Adventist because it’s the easiest faith in the world. I’m a Seventh-day Adventist because it is the truth. I’m a Seventh-day Adventist because I believe the doctrines and the teachings of this Church, because they tell me of the great signs of the soon coming of the Lord. And if I don’t have the blessed hope within me that I will soon see my God coming in the clouds of heaven, then I have no reason to do what I do.

The world around us is in chaos. What does the Lord expect of you and me in this time? And what is it that He wants us to do when we step out to bring the message of hope to the people? Isaiah 60:1-3 says this:

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.


What is it that we have that kings would even inquire after it? What is it that we can bring to a world in darkness that will give it hope and will make it want to live for the day when Christ will return?

Daniel 12:3 says that there will be a people of understanding and wisdom who will lead many to righteousness. What does it mean to have wisdom? Does it mean to be intelligent? Does it mean to have a university degree or to be highly educated? It means none of these things. Wisdom is available to every single child of God just for the asking.

The Bible defines wisdom and understanding in Psalm 119:99, 104: “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation…Through thy precepts I get understanding.” Obedience to God grants us wisdom.

 

Wisdom that God has given us is about His character and His precepts and how He wants us to live. It is an understanding that we have a duty to impart to a dying world. That is why we are here.

There is a passage in the Bible that discusses how to evangelize even the kings of this world. It contains messages pertaining to our time that we would do well to study in more detail. In 1 Kings 10:1, we find Solomon grounded in the faith, full of zest for the Lord:

Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions (NKJV).


The name of the Lord stands for His character, His precepts—everything embodied about Him—everything that we understand about the Lord.

If we are the people that are to bring a message to the dying world, I can assure you that they will come to test us with hard questions…very hard questions.

Did Solomon understand the name of the Lord? Did he understand why he was here on this planet? Did he know what his duty was to those around him? In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, he sums it up:

Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil (NKJV).


Imagine that! Solomon was a good old-fashioned Seventh-day Adventist! He says “Fear God”. What does it mean to fear God? To be afraid of him? Absolutely not. It is to revere Him, to understand Him, to see His beautiful character, and to love Him.

Adventists believe that as the remnant they stand on twin pillars, faith in Jesus and the commandments of God. Do we believe that we are living in the time of judgment?

We are Laodicea—the nation of judgment. We are to bring the standard of judgment to the world, not forgetting the faith of Jesus—the atonement of Jesus—with Jesus being our only means of salvation. We need to bring a balanced religion based on faith and the consequences of faith. Do we really understand the character of God?

I spent a lot of time with young people. I have a big crowd of young people that comes to my house every Friday night. Many of them are ex-Seventh-day Adventists. Among them is a Satanist priest who used to be a Seventh-day Adventist. They all have burning questions in their minds.

Is God really just?

Does God really know what’s going on?

Is God in control?

These are hard questions. Are we ready to face the world out there when they ask us these kind of questions? When little children are starving around the world and people are pointing their fingers at God, can you stand in the breach and say God is in control? Can you protect His character?

When the queen of Sheba came, she didn’t come alone. She came with her whole entourage, with much gold and precious stones, with her servants, “and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about ALL that was in her heart.” You have no idea how people long for the truth, how they long for fulfillment and just don’t get it because the world supplies endless counterfeits.

The queen of Sheba was a high official with all her regiment. We are advised in the Spirit of Prophecy that if we can reach the rich, the upper echelons, then we will definitely succeed in reaching the lower classes.

As Seventh-day Adventists, are we grounded in our doctrine? Titus 1:9 says, “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (NKJV).

Titus 2:8 says, “sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you” (NKJV).

I’m so saddened that today we want to make less prominent the differences between the world and us. We have may things in common, but there are certain succinct differences that are very important in terms of present truth to a dying world. When people come and have hard questions, can we answer them?

Do we really know our Bibles so that we can explain to them law and grace, righteousness, justification, sanctification, faith and works, and the balance between the two? Can we speak to them about the investigative judgment or 1844? Can we answer so that they have no more argument?

What about Colossians 2:16? Can we explain the difference between the ceremonial law and the moral law? Do we know the doctrines essential for our salvation at this time so that we can explain things and teach people the importance of the very truth for which we stand?

1 Kings 10:3 says, “So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.” Can we do that? Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV says, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh, is there anything too hard for me?” That very God is the same God who endowed Solomon with the wisdom to answer all the questions. You and I have the same Source.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (NKJV). We have no reason to fear anything or anybody, even if they are a queen or a king because God can give to the most simple of us all the heavenly wisdom required to answer all their questions.

Of course we have to do our part. We can’t just sit back and expect that when the time comes, everything will be given to us. We have to study, we have to know the doctrine, we have to know the truth for our time, if we want to be able to draw from this Source of power.

In verse 1 Kings 10:4, we read, “the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built.” Are people going to look at the house we are building?

Isaiah 58:12 calls us repairers of the breach. We are building a spiritual house, and we are the ones who are to repair the broken walls, the trodden down doctrines of the Bible. People will scrutinize our building. They will look at our house and say, “Do these people really have the truth?”

The house we are building will be looked at very carefully. In 1 Corinthians 13:2 we read, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” This is not talking about sickly sentimental love that has no power in it other than the deceptive counterfeit for which it is being dished out today.

It is talking about the kind of love that enabled Marie Durand, because of her love for her Lord and the doctrines she stood for, to remain in prison for 38 years rather than deny her Lord. It is talking about the kind of love the reformers and martyrs had for their Lord and the doctrines that caused them to choose death rather than to deny their Lord. Wisdom is a culmination of knowledge and this kind of love.

When the queen looked carefully at Solomon and the house he was building, something happened in her heart. Something changed. But it wasn’t enough. She was looking for a way out. She looked further. 1 Kings 10:5 says she looked at “the food on his table.”

Do you think Solomon understood the principles of health reform? Do you think he had any idea what was to be on his table? Was it going to be different from those of other kinds?

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
And put a knife to your throat
 If you are a man given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food (Proverbs 23:1-3 NKJV).


Solomon was a health-reforming Seventh-day Adventist. He knew the commandments were important. He knew that an abiding faith in God was important. And he understood that his lifestyle had to reflect his relationship with his Lord. He knew his body was the temple of the living God. Do we always know these things? The queen of Sheba was watching carefully. She was watching his every move. In the same manner, you and I will be watched.

She also looked at “the seating of his servants.” Obviously there was something different in the seating of his servants to what it was out in the world at that time. The Bible tells us, “Do not be like the Gentile princes who lord it over their servants.” Solomon was a humble king. Jesus Himself, King of kings and Lord of lords, came as a Servant of servants.

She also looked at their apparel. There was something strange, something different about them compared to any other monarch that she had ever visited. Even their clothing was different. Do we have dress reform in our churches? It sounds so old-fashioned today, doesn’t it?

Carefulness in dress is an important consideration…We are strangers and pilgrims in this world. We are to wait, watch, pray, and work. The whole mind, the whole soul, the whole heart, and the whole strength are purchased by the blood of the Son of God. If our hearts are united with Christ’s heart, we shall have a most intense desire to be clothed in His righteousness. Nothing will be put upon the person to attract attention or to create controversy. We should not be the first to follow fashion, but we should also not be the last.


The queen also looked at Solomon’s cupbearers. Do our cups contain the sweet wine of true doctrine? Is our cup running over with the water of life that we are offering, or is our cup half empty?

Then she looked at the “entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD.” The Hebrew word used for “entryway” means “burnt offering.” If she saw the burnt offering, then she must have witnessed the sacrificial lamb and thought to herself, “What does this mean?” And she must have understood that it was the substitute for her sinfulness.

What do we think when we enter into church? Do we take our church-going seriously? Are we there faithfully every week? Is our behavior appropriate to the presence of the Lord of hosts?

Once she had received all the answers to her questions and seen the difference in his lifestyle, even in the fine detail, the marked difference spoke to her of the workings of a Higher Being on the soul. Verse 5 says “there was no more spirit in her.” All the spirit of resistance crumpled within her. Then she said in verse 6, “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.”

Do you know how often it is that Adventists are scrutinized, how we are watched secretly? Is our lifestyle showing people what God can do for them? I have heard people often say “There is more to this truth and to this Gospel than I ever imagined. I will never be able to comprehend the fullness.”

The queen of Sheba says, “Blessed be the LORD your God.” May it be said of us and of our God. The queen of Sheba was so pleased. She gave him so many gifts, so many spices that there never again came such abundance of spices and wood which the king used for building the house of the Lord (1 Kings 10:12).

When we have done what we can, when we have taught the world, will we feel that we have supported the house that we are building? Will we have added supports?
“Now King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked.” (1 Kings 10:13 NKJV) May it be said of us.

Jesus says in Matthew 12:42, “The queen of the South will rise up in judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (NKJV). The queen of Sheba is saved. We will see her again.

May it be that we have learned a lesson from these words of God, and cherished them in our hearts. May we speak the message with boldness, and prepare ourselves by understanding the times in which we are living. May we learn about the special teachings, the present truth, so that we have all the answers for the questions people have in their hearts.

 

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Reformation
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