Old Paths

Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14

Vol. 14, No. 4 Straight and Narrow April 2005

The Stage is Being Set

By Allen Stump

The first college class I took was Drama 101. (Now please understand that when I first attended college, I was not a Christian. I now believe that such acting is not in keeping with a God of truth.) This specific class involved putting on several performances of the musical comedy called, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

When I took the class I was certainly not an actor, and I could not play an instrument for the orchestra so the instructor gave me the position of stage manager. My responsibilities included making sure all the stage props were made and properly set up at each different site where we had a performance.

The actors could not begin their part until I had done my job. When I was getting the stage ready, the director might say, “The stage is being set,” meaning that all the props or pieces of background were being put in place. After the stage was ready, the director would use the expression, “The stage is set.”

For over 160 years since 1844 Adventists have been saying, “The stage is being set” for the final events. Today, the current events speak very clearly that the stage is almost set. John Paul II’s health is growing worse all the time and his successor is on the horizon. As the following article, “Technology and the Enforcement of the Mark of the Beast” shows, the technology for enforcement of the mark of the beast is already here, just not fully implemented.

On March 2nd the United States Supreme Court heard two cases concerning public displays of the Ten Commandments. The decisions will be given out this summer. Many court watchers believe that this court does not wish to be known as the court that bans the Ten Commandments! Next month we will be highlighting these two cases and their oral arguments.

In light of these, and many other fast-paced movements that are happening, we should realize that the “stage” is almost set and the Lord’s coming is very soon. We need to warn the world and share the truth of the three angels’ messages with everyone. I know you will be thrilled as you read some of the reports in this issue of Old Paths. However, we realize that this is not even “a drop in the bucket” compared to what must be done. Please pray for those in missionary service and get involved yourself. You may not feel qualified, but regardless of your background or status, you can do what the demoniacs of the Gadarenes did. They told others what great things the Lord had done for them and you can too! The demoniacs had not been to school or studied under the rabbis. They had not read Present Truth or Old Paths. Their opportunities to learn were very limited. However, they had personally met the Lord and they could tell others what great things Jesus did for them. As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women … players.” The stage is waiting on you.

Prayer Requests

Time is surely short and we should be praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit now as never before. I am very encouraged by the following inspired statement:

 “… the Lord will pour out his Spirit only upon those who really hunger and thirst after righteousness.” (R&H, June 26, 1888)

Let us unite in prayer for God’s spirit to be upon His people.We know that God would be pleased to pour out His spirit in a special manner at the West Virginia camp meeting, including making a way for the overseas ministers to be allowed visas to enter the United States.

May that be followed by an outpouring of His spirit at St. Louis far greater than the disciples received at the day of Pentecost. If we humble ourselves and unite as the disciples did, this can be a reality! Editor

Technology and the Enforcement
of the Mark of the Beast

By Lynnford Beachy

(This article is adapted from an study published in last month’s edition of Present Truth entitled, “National ID and the mark of the Beast.”

“He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16, 17)

If anyone thinks he knows anything about the  mark of the beast, it is a Seventh-day Adventist. Adventists know that the Papacy, united with Protestant America, will cause everyone to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads. For years, Adventists have studied how the will of the papacy would be enforced. With the advent of new technology and new legislation, a possible scenario is emerging.

Recently I read the astonishing news of a new law, called the Intelligence Reform Bill, signed into law by President Bush on December 17, 2004, and a new bill, called the Real ID Act (it has passed the House, and is currently on its way to the Senate). In light of this new legislation, many are fearing that the time for end-time Bible prophecy to be fulfilled is nearer than we had thought. Indeed, many of the Bible’s end-time prophecies are being fulfilled right before our eyes. Could a new nationally and internationally standardized biometric identification system be a tool used to enforce the mark of the beast?

Let’s look at a few points in the new legislation.

The Intelligence Reform Bill

This bill was signed into law on December 17, and “Requires DHS to develop a system to use biometric data to track people entering and exiting the United States.” (“Key provisions: U.S. intelligence reform bill,” CNN, December 8, 2004, online at: www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLI TICS/12/08/intelligence.key.facts.)

This legislation became law after the United Nations urged the world community to implement “a worldwide, standardized system of identity confirmation” using biometrics. (A bulletin released on May 28, 2003 by The International Civil Aviation Organization—a specialized agency of the United Nations. Online at: www.icao. int/icao/en/nr/2003/pio200309.htm.)

Biometrics is a means of identifying a person by biological features unique to an individual, using advanced computerized recognition techniques.… Facial recognition was selected as the globally interoperable biometric for machine-assisted identity confirmation with MRTDs [Machine Readable Travel Documents]. In a comprehensive analysis of various available biometrics, the face rated highest in terms of compatibility with key operational considerations, followed by fingers and eyes.… States will have the option of using one or two secondary biometrics to supplement facial recognition for personal identification.… More than 100 Member States have issued to date some 700 million MRTDs and the numbers are increasing rapidly. (Ibid.)

The use of passports embedded with biometric identification technology to track people was summarized in a recent CNN article.

A controversy is brewing over a U.S. State Department decision to put identification chips [Radio Frequency Identification—RFID] inside all new passport covers, a program scheduled to start by late 2005.… The passport chips will hold… from 64 kilobytes to eventually 514 kilobytes, as much as the first personal computers. They will hold the same information as a paper passport plus a digitized photo and face template for the still-unproven facial recognition software, which also is supposed to identify you from a distance, unnoticed

The fact that passport data can be read unencrypted, with no physical contact, from up to 30 feet away, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, upsets privacy advocates…

The State Department says it doesn’t want to encrypt that data because the system will be too expensive for poorer nations to implement. It says it is still working on a way to block the free range broadcast of unencrypted personal information, and for now at least, the readers are too big for criminals to carry around. (“Passport chips raise privacy concerns,” CNN, January 6, 2005, online at: www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/01/06/passports—emphasis supplied.)

Privacy Issues

The use of biometric facial recognition technology to track people’s movements has alarmed privacy groups. Commenting on the new passports, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a White Paper (an authoritative report on a major issue) with the following information:

The passports contain two notable features. First, they contain a biometric, specifically, face recognition. Face recognition is not only among the least reliable biometrics currently available, but unlike others such as fingerprints, it is one that can be used from a distance to track individuals without their knowledge or consent.

Second, the passports will contain RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. RFID tags are tiny computer chips that, when they receive a radio signal from an RFID reader, use the energy of that signal to broadcast the data that they store. This technology is rapidly becoming familiar to Americans through such applications as toll-booth speed passes, building entry key cards, and other contactless applications.

The data stored in these radio chips will include all the printed information that is on a U.S. passport, including: 1) name 2) date of birth 3) place of birth (a key to identity theft) 4) a digital photograph and a digital face recognition template.

RFID chips raise many serious privacy and security issues, especially when placed in identification documents.…

Ultimately, widespread adoption of RFID-enabled identity documents would create the potential for the constant, real-time tracking of individuals.” (An ACLU White Paper, November 26, 2004, online at: www.aclu.org/Privacy/Privacy. cfm?ID=17078&c=130—emphasis supplied.)

This may not be a concern to many of the people living in the United States who do not travel internationally, and therefore do not need a passport. However, this international standard of using RFID chips and biometric data for identification is in the process of becoming a requirement for state issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. Some states already require biometric identification for obtaining driver’s licenses.

The US State Department soon will begin issuing passports with radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips embedded in them, and Virginia may become the first state to glue RFID tags into all its driver’s licenses. (“US National ID cards on the way?” ZDNet, February 15, 2005, online at: www.zdnet.com. au/news/security/0,2000061744,39181189,00.htm.)

The New York Times published an article detailing some major concerns with the RFID system.

“I think it means we’re going to end up with a police state, essentially, by allowing the secretary of homeland security to designate the sensitive areas and allowing this integrating screening system,” said Marv Johnson, the legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. If the requirement to show the identification card can be applied to any mode of transportation, he said, that could eventually include subways or highways, and the result would be “to require you to have some national ID card, essentially, in order to go from point A to point B.” (“Congress Close to Establishing Rules for Driver’s Licenses, The New York Times, October 11, 2004, online at: www.nytimes.com/2004/10/ 11/politics/11identity.html?ex=1255147200&en=e92e51cb9a7f e19e&ei=5090&partner=rssuser land.)

There is a strong push by the federal government to require states to include this biometric ID system in their driver’s licenses.

The Real ID Act

This bill has passed the House and is currently headed for the Senate. The bill does not require states to update their driver’s licenses, but they do use some strong incentives to make it happen.

“Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary,” Ron Paul of Texas, one of the eight Republicans to object to the measure, said during the floor debate this week. “However, any state that opts out will automatically make nonpersons out of its citizens. They will not be able to fly or to take a train.”

Paul warned that the legislation, called the Real ID Act, gives unfettered authority to the Department of Homeland Security to design state ID cards and driver’s licenses. Among the possibilities: biometric information such as retinal scans, fingerprints, DNA data and RFID tracking technology.…

The legislation approved by the House last Thursday follows a related measure President Bush signed into law in December. That law gives the Transportation Department two years to devise standard rules for state licenses, requires information to be stored in ‘machine-readable’ format, and says noncompliant ID cards won’t be accepted by federal agencies. (ZDNet, loc. cit.)

Tracking Devices Implanted Under People’s Skin

The thought of carrying a document, whether a driver’s license or a passport, that contains RFID microchips is troubling. Yet, there is something even more startling. Referring to RFID microchips, one reporter states,

The chip, smaller than the width of a human hair and holding only 64K of memory, also has enough room to store biometric data, including digital fingerprints, photos and iris scans… The chips, known as radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, are similar to the ones used to track livestock, identify lost pets and speed toll payments through E-Z Pass systems. Wal-Mart Stores and other major retailers are beginning to use them on merchandise, and the Food and Drug Administration just gave hospitals the okay to inject them into their patients. (“U.S. moves closer to e-passports,” October 25, 2004, online at: news.com.com/2100-1012-5425314.html.)

That’s right! Doctors are implanting these tracking devices under people’s skin. The makers of these injectable RFID chips have also manufactured injectable GPS devices that can be tracked by satellite. (adsx.com/news/2003/051303.html)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the practice of injecting humans with tracking devices for medical purposes, according to a Florida company that makes the devices.… The computer chips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, are designed to be injected into the fatty tissue of the arm. Using a special scanner, doctors and other hospital staff can fetch information from the chips, such as the patient’s identity, their blood type and the details of their condition, in order to speed treatment.… In Mexico, more than 1,000 patients have been implanted with VeriChips.… The tags, which are inserted with a syringe, have been used to track pets and livestock for years, the company said. (“FDA approves injecting ID chips in patients,” October 13, 2004, online at: news.com.com/FDAap provesinjectingIDchipsinpatients/2100-7337_3-5408223.htm)

These implanted chips can be used as tracking devices as well as a means to purchase goods and services.

Applied Digital Solutions of Palm Beach, Fla., is hoping that Americans can be persuaded to implant RFID chips under their skin to identify themselves when going to a cash machine or in place of using a credit card. The surgical procedure, which is performed with local anesthetic, embeds a 12-by-2.1mm [1/2 by 1/16 inch] RFID tag in the flesh of a human arm.… RFID tags are miniscule microchips, which some manufacturers have managed to shrink to half the size of a grain of sand. (“Chip implant gets cash under your skin,” November 25, 2003, online at: news.com.com/Chipimplantgetscashunderyourskin/2100-1 041_3-5111637.html.)

Already most grocery stores have incorporated some sort of discount shopping card system. The discounts on sale items that used to be available to all are now only available to the holders of special cards. Some grocery stores are making it easier on their customers by allowing them to use their fingerprints as combination credit cards and discount cards. What used to be avoided is common place today. The trend is going toward further invasion of privacy. Facial recognition biometrics, as used in the new passports, has already gained a foothold in grocery stores.

Though fingerprint scanners have an early lead in the nascent biometrics market, facial recognition—identification based on unique characteristics of the face—may be the long-term winner. The technology is best suited for environments where cameras already exist, such as ATMs, airports, and other secure areas.…

The most high-profile acceptance of facial recognition among corporations is in a new generation of check-cashing machines. InnoVentry Corp., for instance, has incorporated Visionic’s technology in check-cashing kiosks in Las Vegas casinos as well as in Kroger grocery stores and Wal-Marts.… Facial recognition is also penetrating law-enforcement markets. Viisage’s programs are being used to match surveillance images or even photo-realistic composite photos with images stored in criminal databases to identify lawbreakers. (“About Face,” June 12, 2001, online at: www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,96264, 00.asp.)

RFID tags have become very cheap, and are starting to be used in products that we buy every day, including clothing, food packaging, and just about everything else you can think of, and the proliferation of these tags is growing each day. (For a short report on this, see www.technologyreview.com/articles/garfinkel1002.asp.)

With the advent of all these high-tech surveillance and tracking systems, it is easy to see how a world power, such as the United States, could enforce its agenda to prohibit God’s people from buying or selling.

The Mark of the Beast

The Bible uses some of the strongest language to warn us against receiving the mark of the beast. (See Revelation 14:9-11.) Adventist have long understood that the mark of the beast involves the issue of worshiping God according to His commandments, specifically the fourth, the Sabbath commandment. What is a possible way of enforcing buying and selling?

Many financial transactions today are done without the use of physical money. More and more people are using plastic cards to make purchases, or they write checks. It is, in many places, an oddity to see people in a grocery store using cash to make purchases. Some stores and businesses will not even accept cash. Just try to buy a brand new car with cash, and see what happens. We are heading toward a cash-less society.

We have heard stories of people’s credit cards being revoked, and their bank accounts frozen. To many people this would be devastating, especially if we had a totally cash-less society. If all transactions were done by computers, a person’s ability to buy and sell could be taken away very easily. If RFID chips, or biometric identification, are used in place of cash, it would be very difficult for someone to buy or sell unless they fit in with the program. Those controlling the computers would have the ability to prohibit certain people from buying or selling.

It would be very easy for the US to use the Sabbath commandment as a means to cause people to worship the beast and receive its mark. For example, the US could require a person’s ID, that enables them to buy and sell, to be renewed each week by participating in a work program on Sabbath, or some other activity that violates the Sabbath. Yet, how could they openly require people to violate the Sabbath commandment in a world where many people are “Christians,” and the beast itself is a “Christian” power? The answer is simple when we realize that the majority of Christianity violates the Sabbath commandment every week without thinking anything of it. Satan knew about the mark of the beast many years ago, and he has been planning his attack for a long time. He has succeeded in convincing most of the world that Sunday, the first day of the week, is the Christian Sabbath because Christ was raised from the dead on that day, even though there is not a single Bible text that tells us that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day of the week to the first.

The Trinity Connection

Very interestingly, the pagan-papal Trinity doctrine is involved in this issue as well. The papacy instituted Sunday observance in honor of the god they worship. The Catholic Church claims, “[Sunday] is a day dedicated by the Apostles to the honor of the most holy Trinity,…” (Douay Catechism, page 143) Those who pay homage to the papacy by keeping Sunday are doing so “in honor of the most holy Trinity.” (Ibid.) Observance of a holy day is a manner in which people worship God—it is one of the hows of worship, not the whom. Sunday observance was instituted by the Roman Catholic Church in honor of their god, the Trinity. The Trinity is who is worshiped through Sunday observance.

The Trinity doctrine was never a part of the religion of God’s people. However, the Papacy arose on the strength of the Trinity. On page 11 of the book, Handbook for Today’s Catholic, we read,

The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church… The Church studied this mystery with great care and, after four centuries of clarification, decided to state the doctrine in this way: in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…

The rise of the Trinity doctrine was predicted in the Bible many years before the fourth century. Speaking of the rise of the papacy, the angel Gabriel told Daniel, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” (Daniel 11:36, 37)

This description of the papacy is almost identical to Paul’s description in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. Notice, Gabriel said that when the papacy comes to power it will disregard the God of his fathers. In other words, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the God of Peter, Paul, and the other apostles, would be disregarded by the papacy. Gabriel continued, “But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.” (Daniel 11:38, 39)

Just as prophesied in the Bible, when the papacy came to power, the “God of [their] fathers” was disregarded, and a “strange god” emerged whom their “fathers knew not.” This prophecy was fulfilled to the letter when Satan inspired the papacy to invent and adopt the Trinity doctrine in the fourth century.

Notice what God says about those who worship strange gods. “They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.” (Deuteronomy 32:16, 17) When people worship the strange god of the papacy, Satan gets what he so desperately desires—worship.

So we can see that the institution of the mark of the beast is a vehicle that enables Satan to receive worship. This he does by forcing people to honor a false day of worship, bringing honor to a false god (the Trinity).

The Evangelical Agenda

Today, the Evangelical community in the United States is pushing for more authority and power in the government. Their agenda includes outlawing abortion, the support of the nation of Israel, and protecting the sacredness of Sunday.

Even today, in the United States, we have many Sunday laws on the books—called blue laws. Have you ever wondered why many businesses are closed or have shorter hours of operation, on Sunday? In many cases it is not because of choice, but because laws restrict their businesses on Sunday. In most states it is illegal to buy or sell alcohol until noon on Sunday. In the state of Indiana it is illegal to buy or sell a car on Sunday. There are many other such Sunday laws in effect all over the country. All of these Sunday laws are religious laws, and are in direct violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Interestingly, the United States Supreme Court acknowledges that Sunday (blue) laws were at first based on religion, but today the court claims that they may be retained for secular reasons!

According to the Bible, Sunday is one of the “six working days.” (Ezekiel 46:1) God said, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.” (Exodus 20:9) Honoring one day of the week above another is strictly religious in nature, directly relating to our worship of God. There can be no other reason for honoring a day of the week than that of worship. Seeing that Sunday observance can only relate to worship, the government has no right to regulate what I may or may not do on Sunday, if it is lawful any other day of the week. Yet, this is precisely what the government sought to do in the time of Constantine, and it was used to persecute God’s people, and it is what the so-called “Christian Coalition” is seeking to do again.

The mark of the beast crisis will revolve around worship and the government legislation of worship. It is certain that the governments of this world will pass a universal law regarding worship. They will follow the example of Constantine and enforce religious observance of Sunday.

Please do not get me wrong, those who have ignorantly, or even knowingly, kept the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath have not yet received the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast will be mandated by the government. Until that happens, nobody can receive the mark of the beast.

The Mark is not a Tattoo or Microchip

Let me make something very clear. The mark of the beast is not a physical tattoo or RFID tag or any other microchip. Microchips may be used to keep people from buying and selling, but they, themselves, are not the mark of the beast. Today, there are hundreds of people who have already, willingly allowed microchips to be implanted under their skin. These people have not received the mark of the beast. It is not a sin to have a microchip in your identification card or even placed under your skin. That alone cannot possibly be the mark of the beast because it does not involve worship, nor the breaking of God’s commandments. For anyone to receive the mark of the beast they must worship contrary to God’s law, and violate one of God’s commandments regarding worship.

While we do not know at this time the exact manner of how the mark of the beast will be enforced, we can clearly see that the stage is being set for the final movements which will be rapid ones. Whether the technology discussed in this article will be used by Satan to try to enforce His agenda, or some similar or future technology is used, we can understand that the ability is now within man’s grasp to easily control the economic affairs of others in a manner not heretofore dreamed of. May God grant us the grace to be ready for those things “coming on the earth.”


Old Paths

We are so blessed by the last Old Paths. It does the heart good to hear of the young people doing God ‘s work. FL

Thank you for sending such a worth while brochure [newsletter]. Last month’s information was such a blast. I have read it a few times and get very excited each time I read it. Thank you. May God bless you all.    Australia

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Allen Stump’s article on  “Preferences vs. Convictions” was a good one. In it he said we really must choose our preferences or convictions on things and stick to it. I totally agree! We must not waiver in our convictions. We must stand firm. We need a higher standard! We need to live it before others. GA

My friend has been receiving your newsletters. I would like to receive the newsletters as well as Present Truth and Old Paths. I will greatly appreciate it. Thank you. Maranatha, NY

Hopefully you are all fine in the LORD our GOD, kindly send me copies of Old Paths newsletter. I have been reading your tracts and other books here and they have helped me a lot since I became a Sabbath keeper four years ago. I will be very grateful of your kind response. Looking forward to hearing from you. Zambia

I have enjoyed your news articles in Old Paths. God indeed uses you in His vineyard! Jesus will soon be coming and we can all go home. What an awesome, wonderful day that will be!!! I do hope you and your family are feeling better and your son is stronger. We do enjoy Old Paths and Present Truth. They are a real blessing to our spiritual walk with God. TN

(Editor: Hans is currently doing very well. Thank you very much for your prayers.)


I’m sending you this check as a donation for the evangelistic materials that you are sending. I’d like to ask you to pray, that those who receive it may not only accept the truth about God, but become truth-bearers as well. We send our greetings to all at Smyrna. IN

I have been reading your book called, The Foundation of Our Faith. I have some brothers in Christ who go to the SDA church who told me I should  not read  your stuff because you are an off shoot of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Can you explain what they mean by saying you are an “off shoot”? I guess they all got upset with me and two brothers who study what we learned about the Holy Spirit. Even ______, the layman of the ______ Church in Idaho, who comes in to the Oregon State Institution where I am at tells us that Smyrna Gospel Ministries is not teaching what Ellen White teaches and so it ends up in one big debate and has divided our little church. Me and two brothers try our best to show our other brothers what we have found and we believe it to be true. I don’t know how you found all this information that I have been reading, but I do believe in what I have read so far. Please pray for us to stay strong in the Lord and also pray for our brothers here that they will see what we have seen and do believe. OR

We have not met, nor been introduced, but I have received literature of yours from a mutual friend, Richard Stratton of Philadelphia Press, and am sending you a small offering in thanks for the literature you are publishing and the truth you are sharing with the saints. May God continue to bless you and lead you in spirit and in truth.OR

Please send me as many as this [offering] will afford of Pastor Bob’s Confession. AZ


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(Editor:  Recently we videotaped the message on “The Omega of Deadly Heresies.” We are currently editing the tape and hope to have it out this spring.)

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I had a confrontation with a SDA chaplain a couple of days ago. I showed him John 20:17, John 17:1-3, 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Revelation 14:7. He likes John 1:1. I told him that 1 John 5:7 was not put in the Bible until the 15th or 16th century, after the death of Christ. I asked him to look at the SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 comments on page 675 for an explanation. He said that he had been an Adventist only a short time but that he would search out the doctrine of the Trinity. MN

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We praise God every day that He showed us His people all around the world. It doesn’t look like we will be able to get to camp meeting this year but would sure like to get the tapes or CDs of the speakers and music. Could you please put us on your list and bill us? May the God of heaven bless you and yours. CO

Report from Hungary

Dear Brothers and Sisters

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)

By the grace of the Lord, the work has started in Hungary too. Brother Erwin Zoor of Germany has printed about 39 different booklets and brochures in the Hungarian language for us and they have already been distributed.

During the fall of 2004 I was able to give two courses of lectures in the towns of Szombathely (90,000 people) and Kőszeg (13,000 people). I began by presenting four lectures in a community center.

At each meeting I presented a health talk followed by a Biblical discussion. The health subjects were about the illnesses of our days and how we can prevent them, a balanced vegetarian diet, and lifestyle principles of the Bible. Many times I took homemade food with me, which the people greatly enjoyed. During the Bible study time I presented the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – in three different lectures. I emphasized that the Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. Thankfully, the Lord had provided booklets on the subject, which I gave the people to take with them.

At the first lectures there were about 50 people in attendance. Although the number of people decreased some, there was a wonderful opportunity to share a lot of materials. The people had many questions that I needed to answer. I told the people that it is very important to have a close and intimate relationship with God and Jesus. I taught them that we can, and must, come to the Father to have a living relationship with Him. By the end of the courses a very warm and friendly atmosphere had been formed. The one-hour lectures usually ended up being two hours long.

The people expect me back in the spring to continue the courses. I have also received invitations to two other places in Szombathely.

In Kőszeg I had 10 lectures and we had more time for conversations. The meetings started at 5 p.m. The library is scheduled to close at 8 p.m., but we never finished by that time. After the meetings were formally closed when the library closed, there were still many questions and I would continue discussions and answering questions on the street. We discussed many topics. Some were the problem of the Trinity doctrine, who died on Calvary, Heaven, the plan of salvation, and a healthy lifestyle.

During the third meeting one person from the audience asked me, “What will we do when these lectures end, we shouldn’t finish them!” I talked with the head librarian and we meet every Monday (after the courses of lectures) like a little church with 10-12 people.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, God’s presence was felt every evening. I can’t describe the attentiveness of the people who have heard the first serious messages from God in their lives. It was a wonderful and happy experience to see what kind of power God has and that I can be a little part of this in serving Him.

I plan to give a course of lectures in six places during the spring of 2005. God helps, and everywhere the gates are opening in front of us. We thank you very much for your brotherly help without which we couldn’t exist. Please think about us in 2005 also because we need to do more in the work. Our 30-yr.-old car broke down but thankfully it is currently repaired and we know that everything is in the Lord’s hands. We just need to go forward in faith.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

Yours in the blessed hope,

Élő Zsolt and his family, your Brethren in Hungary.

 Youth’s Corner - Jerry

I have a special story to tell you about something that happened to me a long time ago and it is about Jerry.

Now, Jerry had lots of beautiful hair. He had four little legs, and he had a droopy moustache around his mouth. He was my favorite dog. He was a Scottish Terrier and I loved Jerry, but I have to tell you that my mother sometimes didn’t love him. When Jerry misbehaved she would roll up a newspaper and go after him. I didn’t understand why then, but now I know that Jerry had probably done some things in the house that Mother didn’t appreciate, and, when that happened, Jerry took off like a flash, scampering right across the wood floor. You could hear his nails going clickity-clack, clickity-clack as he ran, and then he went scooting and sliding around the corner into my bedroom. Once he got in there, he slid right under my bed into the farthest corner. I felt so bad. Why would anyone be so scared and want to go hide somewhere so far away in the dark? So, I got down on my knees and on my tummy, and I scooted under the bed and said, “Jerry, it’s okay. It’s all right, Jerry. Come on out.” He wouldn’t budge, but his tail would go thump, thump, thump, and he was glad I was under there with him. I patted him on the head and pulled on his collar and talked to him and said, “Jerry, come on out. It’s okay,” but he would not move. He was too scared of that rolled up newspaper and he knew he had done something wrong.

Jerry was so wonderful. He loved to go outside. As soon as we got the leash out, he went right to the front door and started to bark. He knew he was going for a walk. Sometimes we let him out in the back yard where he could run around and play and do the things that dogs like to do outside. One day when it was time for him to come in, there was no Jerry. He was gone. We looked all over for Jerry. We went up and down the street calling for Jerry. We went to the street behind us, calling, “Jerry, Jerry,” but he didn’t come. He was gone. So, that night when it was time for bed, what do you think I did? I knelt down beside my bed and I prayed to our heavenly Father. “Please, dear Father, Jerry is gone and I don’t know where he is. Can You send Jerry home, please?” Then I went to sleep.

The next day, I went looking all around. I looked out in the back yard, but there was no Jerry. He wasn’t back yet. So, that night, again, what do you think I did? I prayed, “Dear Father, I miss Jerry. Where is Jerry? Please send Jerry home.” Now sometimes my granddaughter Ashleigh says to me, after she has prayed, “Did Jesus hear my prayer?” Do you know what I tell her each time? “He always hears your prayers. He loves to hear your prayers. For sure, our heavenly Father hears the prayers of boys and girls that love Him.” So, that night I prayed again, and every night I prayed for a long time. Every day I looked for Jerry, but he wasn’t to be found. He was gone.

About three weeks later, my Daddy said, “Honey, Jerry may not come back,” and the way he looked at me, I knew he really didn’t think Jerry was coming back, and I said, “But, I’m praying,” and that night I knelt down again and I prayed, “Jerry is gone, Father. We need Jerry.” And I went to bed. The next day, there was still no Jerry. I don’t know how many more nights of prayer and days of watching there were after my Daddy had said Jerry might not be coming back, but one day I was at the back door looking into the back yard and I noticed something. In the back yard there was a fence with lots of brush and bushes on it, and I thought I saw something moving around in the bushes. It was a nose or some kind of head in the brush, trying to climb up over the fence, and guess who it was! It was Jerry! I couldn’t believe it! I yelled inside, “Jerry’s back,” and I went running out, and there came Jerry, climbing up over that fence and hopping into the back yard. He had a chain that he was dragging. Someone had found him and decided to keep him, but he had gotten loose and he came right back to our house!

I hugged him. He jumped up in my arms and I was happy and Jerry was happy. Do you know what I did that night? I prayed again, but this time I said, “Thank you, Father, for sending Jerry back.”

What I want you to remember is, even though we may pray a long time about something, God still hears our prayers. He always answers our prayers in the way that is best, and He thought it was best, after about three weeks, to let Jerry come home. So, when we pray and we ask God about things that bother us or about things that make us happy, remember that God always answers our prayers in the best way possible and we can trust Him to always do what is right. Don’t give up after the first day or the second day or even the third day, but keep praying to God because He always, always hears the prayers of boys and girls.  Onycha Holt

 Some Reports from Africa

[The following reports have been edited for space and clarity.    Editor]

K. A. Kitomari – Tanzania

Recently while visiting a friend, I saw a magazine that is known as Nyakati (meaning Times), which is based on writing about various stories concerning churches. I saw a heading that says, “Seventh-day Adventists Argue About the Trinity.” According to the story, they were interviewing Pastor Paulo Tulla regarding an argument that came up about the Trinity in the Seventh-day Adventist church in Tanzania. He expressed himself very well. On his explanation point he led many people to understand that the Trinity is the lesson of pagans and not the lesson of Christians. This magazine is well known and many people read it, almost the whole  country and our neighbor country, Kenya.

When I reached home I looked for Paulo Tulla to ask him about his interview in that magazine (Nyakati). He told me that he has prepared for me a way to start preaching now in every Seventh-day Adventist church in all areas, because now they are separated. Therefore they will need our message. It should be remembered that Pastor Tulla received our message and he has taken it to their Sabbath church and it has made the difference.

Adam Mwambene – Tanzania

We closed the year with such a great joy as we have had a wedding ceremony of a couple who have just received the truth about God message, baptized and got married. These two are among the group of seven people whom, all together, decided to stand for the truth from their location. But our God is so faithful that last year was like a blowing fire as we have had two big groups decide to join hands in the truth after we had witnessed to them for a couple of days. The first group is from some independent Adventists who separated themselves from the main SDA Church calling themselves Seventh Day Fellowship (SDF). They have about 100 members now and are enjoying studying the truth about God and the worship of the true heavenly Father and His dear only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Another group with which we are still laboring is a group of about 45 members. With this group we are already in touch with their leaders who have accepted the truth about God and they have given us an opportunity to share with their flock the truth.

On a recent Sabbath here in Dar es Salaam, a young Muslim man gave his life to follow Jesus Christ. This followed a Bible study we conducted at home after Sabbath services in the church. This brother requests your prayers as he made it plain that great opposition awaits him from his family members for the decision.

We are always thankful in our prayers for you and especially for your untiring labor and great sacrifices for the love of souls. We thank you indeed for your prayers, too. Surely we need them as, especially, we want to go forward in taking the message to others. With warmest greetings to all the dear brethren for whom we want to encourage to keep the faith in this new year.

Maurice Anyango – Kenya

This year I have planned several meetings to spread the truth about God in different parts of Kenya. Last year my time was mostly committed and I never had the opportunity to conduct meetings. Mostly, I was busy with the work of construction of the orphanage. Now that I have more time, I want to give a great deal of attention to the work of God. Apart from camp meetings, I will be doing door-to-door visitation and prayer for the sick in hospitals. I always include the orphans during prayer visitation for the sick in hospitals.

We have planned to hold a camp meeting this year just next to the site where we are staying. There is a big field whereby we are going to make tents using local mats. We do not have the original tents. We have made invitations by writing letters to different people, including pastors and bishops of different denominations. The meetings will commence on Tuesday, the 15th of February, 2005, and end on Sabbath, the 19th of February, 2005. All visitors will leave on Sunday, the 20th. So it means we will host them for five days.

I have discovered that many people who have heard the message about the Trinity and who no longer believe it, heard it from their preachers who had attended our meetings and decided to preach the truth. Therefore, I feel it good to invite preachers and hold seminars with them. Apart from the Trinity, we shall have different topics to discuss. I am sure God wants His people to hear the truth. Pray that the Lord will bless us with people who will be ready to accept the truth and help spread it in different parts of Kenya.

 Onward Makache –South Africa

In November, we visited a church of about 200 in Empangeni, where we had been invited to preach the truth. Our services started at 7 am. Brothers Nkosana, Mphathisi, and Sister Kwanele took the podium and propagated a series of spirit-filled health reform messages. They presented  Daniel’s example, that Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king’s portion. (Daniel 1:8) The main issue at stake was to equip the people with the knowledge that wrong habits of eating and drinking cause errors in thought and action.

The people understood that we have to go back to God’s original blueprint in everything, including the restoration of proper worship. In order for us to be acceptable, and offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, we reached a conclusion that we ought to change to a meatless diet and leave all other harmful food substances, which corrupt the integrity and character of any human being. This had been a general call in the morning. The usual quarterly lessons were abandoned as the light of righteousness dawned in the hearts of the church members.

At 9:30 am, Brother Onward presented a subject on prayer, highlighting the main points in the Lord’s Prayer. We learned that prayers should be directed to God through our Lord Jesus. Actually, this alone destroyed the doctrine of the Trinity, which people are still holding onto. We identified that God had a Son whom He sent, and through Him are our sins are forgiven, and that we find atonement through Him only. We also identified that in order to overcome we have to believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. The people accepted this as the teaching of the Bible.

Patrick Katambo – Tanzania

The work here has revived, many people agree with the truth we proclaim and want to know more. With my fellow brother, Theophil, we have planned to visit Kibondo where there are many refugee camps, to spread the truth about God. We ask, if possible, please enable us to fulfill our goal.

From Mwanza to Kibondo Center is about 980 kilometers  (about 612 miles) and then we may go to visit the camps, where the needs are. The trip to Kibondo refugee camps was suggested by Brother Theophil whom I work with because he came from that area. Even their tongue is the same. He thought to do as in Mark 5:18-19. That was to go everywhere telling others what the Lord had done for him. All his relatives dwell at the refugee camps. Brother Theophil is heavily burdened over his country because they still need to hear the great truths of Adventism including the Sabbath.

Please continue to share more truth with us in the work of God. We desire to follow every good way which will bring souls to Christ.

Chinyemba Mafo – Zambia

Last year much effort was concentrated to raise a company of believers. This has been a test and trial and much experience has been gained.

One of the obstacles was, and is, the people’s concept of “The Church.” The idea of being a Christian without belonging to a denomination is proving to be a great stumbling block to many because of the sense of belonging. We encounter such questions as: “What is the name of your church? Are you forming another church? Where is your headquarters?”

A recent visit to Brother Damian P. Namate revealed that he is still holding firm to the truth. I advised him that he can duplicate “The Good News about God” video series and photocopy The Foundation of Our Faith. Last year, with help from Smyrna, I published Individuality in Religion so that those who can afford, like him, can start learning to bear responsibilities in advancing the truth.

We have regular meetings as a small group and have discussed to establish a small fund for publishing some tracts, while continuing with door-to-door work, the response is encouraging.

During the second week of January I hiked for an hour and 30 minutes to a place called Nalonga where I expected to face stiff opposition as it is heavily dominated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, only two families had a hostile attitude. One family rejected receiving tracts because they could not accept the idea of an independent Christian and accused me of deceit. The other family declared that I was the false prophet who is bringing confusion as prophesied in the Bible.

The biggest hurdle is literature. As a group we have planned to be publishing what we can afford to share with neighbors and hold a Truth About God conference in August. Experience has taught us that the approach we used last year in September is not very effective for people attending for an hour each day. With help, this may prove to be more successful.

We could not go ahead with French translations for we failed to secure a French Bible.

Your help is greatly appreciated for the advancement of the truth here in Zambia.

Damian Pumulo Namate – Zambia

Thanking God for affording me the opportunity to get in touch with you through this letter. I am fine and I hope you too are doing fine.

Brother Chiynemba Mafo  and I have turned Senanga District upside down with the Good News about the only one true God of the Bible and His only begotten Son whom He sent.

We are being disfellowshiped one by one, but we do not care. History is simply repeating itself. What is happening to us is what happened to the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ after His shameful death. We shall continue to spread the Good News till we die or till the Master appears gloriously in the clouds of Heaven to take us home.  I’ll shake your hand there. The messages I have continued to receive from Smyrna Gospel Ministries by way of the Present Truth and Old Paths have kept me very informed and spiritually strong. Keep sending them to me.

Vusa Ncube – Zimbabwe

As I’m writing I’m so grateful to the Lord for working wonders in the heart of Brother Nkululeko who, after a three-day period of prayer and study, made the decision of accepting and sharing the truth about God and His love. Brother Nululeko is a young man who was formerly a strong Pentecostal church member. He says he is now in a war of parting with the error that he has been building on the past of his Christian era. I pray and also invite your prayers that God may help me as I plan some further studies in his home place of Mbondweni, in Lupane district. I pray that the Lord may continue working wonders in many souls around the world.

Fred Musungu – Uganda

The government officers who promised me a plot of an acre are asking me when we are to begin building? They suggested that if we get funds they will provide labor for there are several youths without jobs to do. It needs $5000 US to construct a church and school of five rooms [at the refugee camp]. We are also training our interested members in missionary work.

WV Camp Meeting Notice

The West Virginia camp meeting will be June 21-25 with the theme being, “Sharing our Experience.”

We have invited speakers from Africa,  Jamaica, and Romania. Please remember to pray for the brethren from overseas who are trying to get visas to be able to visit. The Romanians have received their visas.

As always, we eagerly look forward to this special time of study, prayer, and fellowship. As in the past, the meetings will be held at Smyrna and camping is free to all. All campers will be responsible for their own meals, except on Sabbath when a haystack lunch will be served. Kitchen facilities will not be available but camp stoves are welcome in the camping area.

This is a camp meeting. You need to bring a tent or make other arrangements. We do not have cabins or rooms available. Smyrna has a few tents and other camping supplies for those who do not have their own and cannot afford to purchase them. The supply is limited, so if you need to use a tent, camp stove, sleeping bag, or other items we may have, please request  them early. We plan to have some meetings for all age groups except children under age 4. Weather permitting, nightly bonfires with singing will be open to the young and young at heart. Allen Stump 

Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.

Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail berean@smyrna.org

Please also visit our Present Truth Website!