Timely Greetings Volume 2, No. 34
IF YOU WERE NOTHING,
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE?
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF D. SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, APRIL 17, 1948
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
Our text is found in 1 Kings 3:5.
1 Kings 3:5 -- "In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask
what I shall give thee."
Solomon asked for wisdom, and along with it he got everything a man could desire to have. (1
Kings 3:10-14.) If we were given a choice such as Solomon was given, what would we ask for?
-- I fear many of us would not ask for as good a thing as Solomon asked. I think most of us
would ask for a reasonable amount of money, and some of us perhaps would ask for great riches,
others for a wife or a husband. And what makes me think this? -- Simply because I see so many
applying themselves to earning and hunting, not to learning.
Supposing you were nothing, and you had enough sense to hear God's voice, as did Solomon,
saying: "What do you wish to be? Ask for it, and that shall ye be." You would, of course, want
to be the best in God's creation -- a human being.
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Let us suppose that your request has been granted, that you have now become a fine human
being, but have advanced no further: You as yet belong to no family, race, government or people.
You know nothing about God and nothing about religion.
Next in your progress among the living, you would want to choose your nationality. Which of
all the people on earth would you choose to be? I would choose to be a Hebrew, because the
Hebrew nation of all the nations on earth has for its parentage prophets, kings, and priests. The
Hebrew nation, of course (I do not mean the unbelieving present day Jews), at the present time
has no government of its own; it is scattered among the nations. You would therefore have to
choose the government under which you would like to make your home. Since the United States
of America is the most prosperous nation, and since under its rule you can move about with
greater freedom than in any other nation, you would doubtless choose to become one of its
Suppose next you were greatly impressed to connect yourself with a church. There being but
three religions to choose from -- Pagan, Christian, and Mohammedan -- which one would you
choose for your own? Your God-given wisdom would tell you that it would have to be the one
that has the best and longest record, the one that has proved its origin and endurance, the one that
has proved itself capable of saving a sinner, raising the dead, and translating the living.
Since the religion of Christ alone has proved itself capable of performing all these and of
predicting the rise and fall of nations and peoples, past, present, and future -- from time
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immemorial to the time of the end. And since its founder alone claims credit for creating the
world; and of being the Son of God, the beginning and the end, the Saviour of all mankind, you
would want to join it. In fact, if one is to reap the fullest benefit from religion, then these are the
qualifications which his religion must have. And if these are the chief reasons for one's embracing
religion, then there is no alternative but to take the Christian religion, for it alone backs up its
guarantee with actual facts, with actual performance.
Suppose you have now become a whole-hearted, an altogether Christian, but you are
confronted with still a greater problem; that is, you find Christianity divided into many sects, one
differing from the other both in doctrine and deportment. You are therefore forced to choose the
sect you would like to join, the sect you would like to make your own.
Your choice, of course, would have to be again based on facts, not on assumption. And since
the Bible Itself has now become your only guide, your only teacher, you would have to consult It,
and your choice would have to be made accordingly. And if you be living now in the time of the
end, the time in which The Revelation of John actually speaks and shines upon the path of the
saints, you would of course have to consult the book of The Revelation first and join the sect
which It recommends. And which is it? -- Let us turn to Revelation 12 --
Rev. 12:15 -- "And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he
might cause her to be carried away of the flood."
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The woman, you know, is the symbol of the sect, the Church.
Rev. 12:16 -- "And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed
up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."
Only this Church, you see, is favored even by the earth itself. This sect alone is saved from the
Dragon's flood, saved from being carried away by the flood of hypocrites and "tares" in her midst.
Rev. 12:17 -- "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the
remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus
Here, you see, the remnant -- those who are left after the others are swallowed by the earth, so
to speak -- keeps the commandments of God and has the testimony of Jesus Christ. This remnant,
or sect, that keeps the commandments of God, therefore, is the only one that Inspiration
recommends, the only one that is worth joining, the only one that can profit any one. It alone
possesses the power to escape any and all of the calamities that are now brewing throughout the
world. It is the only sect that finds favor with God. No other would do, for no other could profit
Then, too, it alone has the testimony of Jesus Christ -- the living Spirit of Prophecy in its midst
(Rev. 19:10), -- the Spirit Who leads into all Truth, Who alone can rightly interpret the Scriptures
(2 Pet. 1:20, 21). Plainly, then, Inspiration would have you join no sect but this "remnant."
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Keeping the commandments of God, though, involves keeping everyone of them, for
"Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10.
And remember, too, that the keeping of the commandments can openly be recognized only by the
keeping of the Sabbath commandment, the commandment which says:
"Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord
thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant,
nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the
Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:
wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Ex. 20:9-11.
The Sabbath day, you see, is created holy, but the first six days are created for work. The
seventh-day Sabbath is the only Sabbath, and in all the holy Word of God there is no command to
keep another day in its stead. The keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath alone testifies of one's faith
in the Creator, and against evolution. A Sabbath substitute, therefore, can no more be acceptable
as a commandment of God than could Cain's offering have been accepted as God's ordained
No, do not contradict the Lord by saying the seventh-day is for the Jews only, for the Lord says:
Isa. 56:2-7 -- "Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that
keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and
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keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself
to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the
eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my
Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant; even unto them
will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of
daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the
stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be
His servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting It, and taketh hold of My
covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of
prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house
shall be called an house of prayer for all people."
The only Sabbath Jesus ever knew was the seventh-day Sabbath, and looking forward to the
great tribulation, deep in the Christian era, He said: "But pray ye that your flight be not in the
winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the
beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Matthew 24:20, 21. The Sabbath, you
see, is for all peoples, both in Old and New Testament times. Moreover, again speaking of the
Christian era, the time the earth is made new, Inspiration declares:
Isa. 66:23 -- "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one
Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before
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Me, saith the Lord."
Since "The Revelation," the book that speaks to the people of God at this time, recommends the
sect that keeps the commandments and that has the gift of prophecy, you cannot wisely connect
yourself with any other sect. And since God so declares, it must be that there is but one such
people at this particular time who have the living testimony of Jesus Christ, the Gift of the Spirit
of Prophecy. Moreover, for God to place the Gift with more than one people, would be for Him
to cause confusion and disaster to His own work, to thwart His own purpose. Still further, if
more than one has the Gift, then they all would necessarily have to agree as one. But since there
are no two sects that agree with each other, the truth that there is but one sect that has the Gift is
an absolute reality. And while you may choose to keep the Sabbath commandment, you cannot
inspire yourself with the Spirit of Prophecy -- this Gift is bestowed upon the remnant by God
Your next problem in your progress of life would be to find the proper name of that
commandment-keeping people, a name that would actually by practice express that they are "the
remnant," for a Divinely inspired name must in actuality point out the people whom Inspiration
here recommends. Any other name on them would be misleading, and the same name on any
other people would be misleading, too.
Let us not neglect to note, too, that the name of a people is not really a name but a title. And
titles, you know, change as fast as Truth unfolds, as fast as Truth advances from one phase of the
gospel work to another.
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To illustrate: Even the personal names of the patriarchs, by which various movements of the
past were named, were changed as time went on. Abram, you recall, in the process of time was
called Abraham; and Jacob was called Israel. Then, too, the Church of Moses' time was called
Israelite, at Christ's time it was called Judean, and after that Christian. Finally came the time that
it was called either Catholic or Protestant. Then either Lutheran or some other. Each one of
these was the offspring of the old. Not those who lag behind, but those who march on with the
messages of God, as time goes on, are always recognized by Heaven as the Church.
At the commencement of each message the people that marched on with the Truth were the
individual members of the church which had become a church through the acceptance of a
message, a message which its founder brought forth. For example, the entire Jewish church did
not become a Christian church, but the Christian church drew its members from the Jewish church
and brought them to advanced Truth, Truth especially adaptable for the time and the people then.
As we are now living in the time of The Revelation, in the time of the unfolding of the
prophecies which point to the setting up of the Kingdom as well as to the second advent of Christ,
the Church at this time, therefore, could not logically go by a name other than a name which
would befit her present (advanced) phase of the gospel work.
Plainly, then, her name must express the truths she advocates: that is, the keeping of
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the commandments, the second advent of Christ, and also the restoration of the Davidian
Kingdom according to prophecy. Hence the logical name that would represent her work from this
time down to the time the Kingdom is set up, is to be Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, -- a name
that testifies of the Kingdom message, of keeping the commandments of which the seventh-day
Sabbath is a part, and of the second advent of Christ.
Now you see that every additional timely Truth brings an additional timely name. And you who
have not been baptized in the name of the Church, but in the name of Christ through the Truth of
the Spirit, you who are not tied to any man, but to Christ, cannot help going on with the Spirit of
Prophecy Who unfolds the Truth and names Its people. You could not, therefore, afford to
calmly stand by, dreaming of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing while in fact
you are spiritually poor and naked. And you will stay that way if you neglect to advance with the
Truth for this time.
Finally, you need to know concretely what is the Kingdom message, the "additional message"
(Early Writings, pg. 277), and the phase of its work that promotes the title "Seventh-day
Adventist" to the title Davidian Seventh-day Adventist.
Isa. 11:11, 12, 16 -- "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand again
the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from
Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and
from the islands of the sea. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall
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assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners
of the earth.... And there shall be an highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left,
from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt."
If God's people who are in Babylon are to come out of her to escape her plagues (Rev. 18:4)
and to avoid the sins that are in Babylon when she rides the beast and rules the world (Rev. 17)
they must necessarily go to a place that is not vulnerable to her plagues, and where there is no sin.
Where is that place? -- Let the Bible give the answer:
Ezekiel 37:21-28 -- "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children
of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and
bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of
Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall
they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more
with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will
save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so
shall they be My people, and I will be their God. And David My servant shall be king over them;
and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My
statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant,
wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwel
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therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children forever: and My servant David
shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an
everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My
sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be
their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify
Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore."
Ezek. 36:22-28 -- "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this
for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among
the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the
heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the
Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you
from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own
land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and
from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put
within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of
flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall
keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall well in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye
shall be My people, and I will be your God."
Now you can more fully appreciate the name
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Davidian Seventh-day Adventists. And so if you were nothing yesterday, and a Divinely
enlightened human being today, you would at last be a Davidian Seventh-day Adventist.
Suppose, though, you would then wish to go on to perfection? You would of course again cry
out to the Lord, and say:
Mic. 6:6, 7 -- "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?
shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased
with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my
transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
And now this is God's answer to your cry:
Mic. 6:8 -- "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Yes, here you have the answer to your heart's desire: Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly
with thy God; be not high-minded and self-sufficient. And what is more, Inspiration continues:
Mic. 6:9 -- "The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear
ye the rod, and Who hath appointed it."
The Shepherd's Rod, the books that Inspiration so named and inspired its contents, being the
only Rod in the world that can be heard speaking, the Lord commands that you should hear it,
that you do not waste any time in deciding
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between the Rod literature and some other. For there is none other today than the Rod literature
which God recommends you to hear. And when you hear the Rod, you will find yourself wrapped
in the love of Christ and in the "arms" of God. Try it.
Now listen to His Word and let Him in the language of the prophets tell you more about the day
you and I are now approaching, the day with which we are almost face to face. With the light
already given, the following scriptures need no special comments; they are self-interpretative.
Micah 6:9 -- "The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name:
hear ye the rod, and Who hath appointed it."
Zech. 13:8, 9 -- "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein
shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through
the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on
My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The Lord is my
Zech. 12:8-10 -- "In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is
feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the
angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all
the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me
whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for
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Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in
bitterness for his firstborn."
Jer. 30:9 -- "But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up
Ezek. 37:24-26 -- "And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one
shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. And they
shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt;
and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever:
and My servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace
with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them,
and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore."
Since you are now instructed in Truth and righteousness, and since the earth has not yet
swallowed up the Dragon's flood, also since this message is but the announcement that the earth
will soon swallow the flood, with which class of church members would you love most to
associate? -- Hear ye now the class which the Lord recommends:
Matt. 5:3-16 -- "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are
they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the
earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall
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obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for
righteousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile
you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice,
and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets
which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith
shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under
foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do
men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that
are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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