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Tribulation Vision


As a community, we have had some recent talks about moving away from money, as we move closer to the Tribulation. We see people like Suelo (who has been living moneyless for a decade now) and Mark Boyle (who has done much the same in the UK for about 2 years now) as spiritual giants when it comes to testifying with their lives the fact that you don’t need money to survive. And, while we do still use money as a group at this stage to make us more efficient in getting the message out, we see ourselves soon doing without money altogether as a form of currency to buy or sell with. We see ourselves soon becoming a ‘zero-currency community’.

In the meantime, we are taking active steps to prepare for the Great Tribulation, where Christians will need to live with the consequences of choosing to live outside of the Beast/Anti-Christ socio-economic system. (Revelation 13:16-18 ) One of those steps includes going on more faith outreaches where members live for days, weeks, and sometimes even months without using money, in order to increase their faith in God as our ultimate Provider. But another step is simply examining our own motives for why we do what we do, to ensure that they are primarily (a) to serve God and (b) to love other people. We feel that a combination of both of these methods should lead to greater spiritual growth, and increase our unity as the body of Christ in the process.

Someone mentioned here recently that we as Christians don’t merely want to ‘survive’ the Great Tribulation; we want to continue to effectively reach out to people whom we would consider ‘lost’, by exposing them to the radical teachings of Jesus. If merely surviving was our complete vision, then we might as well start building bunkers and stock-piling tons of non-perishable food items, to last us through the return of Jesus. But we have a feeling that the kind of faith Jesus is looking for cannot quite be covered with just amassing and accumulating as many material provisions as we possibly can in the immediate here and now. We feel God is looking for faith that goes a bit deeper than that.

Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt to take a cold, hard look at some of the worst possible outcomes – not even counting persecution just yet – which could come from our refusal to accept the Mark of the Beast, and our willful initiative to live outside of the ‘system’. Two of the most basic concerns which come to mind when thinking along such lines would no doubt be fear about freezing (from the cold if one is pushed to live outside in the elements), or starving (because one cannot buy food without the Mark). In fact, from what I have heard elsewhere, the two terms were often used to mean the same thing, indicating a striking similarity between the two forms of suffering. Nevertheless, if we want to really prepare for the Great Tribulation, then I think we need to take a confident look at these two bullies – freezing and starving – and be willing to let them conquer us, before we would renounce our faith. Once we have developed that kind of resolve within ourselves, we may also find that it takes us a lot longer to freeze and/or starve to death than we initially thought!

Then there is the issue of persecution, something Jesus told us to rejoice about. (Matthew 5:12 ) While the Bible gives warnings about Christians being hated by all men, and being betrayed by friends and family, another source of probable persecution during the Trib will likely be the system authorities. It’s a known fact that law enforcement officers around the globe tend to despise poor, and especially homeless people; if we find ourselves in one or both of those camps during the Trib, it's quite likely that we too will get a fair bit of persecution from system authorities. Brace for it!

Another point for consideration is our communication medium as we march toward the Trib. At the moment, we have found that distributing our message via printed material - and accepting whatever donations people choose to offer for it - to be the most effective way for us to fulfill Christ's command to 'preach the gospel to every Creature'. (Mark 16:15 ) However, we may not always be able to employ such methods to get the message out. Eventually, we may have to find other ways to preach the word, without using books, DVDs, or other printed materials. We may have to get inventive.

The internet is such a useful tool, because it allows people to (theoretically) communicate with the whole world, without having to physically meet such people in person. But even the internet may not be around and available for us to use forever. We may need to just talk to people about Jesus' teachings, or use art or music or posters or signs to make people aware. While I think that God will give us more specific instructions about how to get the job done when the time comes, it also doesn't hurt for us to be thinking about such things in the meantime, as well. At some point, we need to blend our own mind and thoughts with the mind and voice of God.

Finally, I'll briefly address two other points I feel are worth discussing when we talk about the Trib: gathering together, and working for love. While we believe that the true church of Christ was and remains invisible to this day, we also believe that the time is soon coming - during the Trib - when we will see a visible gathering together of people with faith, sincerity, and love, from all over the world. We should all welcome and look forward to such a day; expect it!

Lastly, there's working for love. I definitely believe that the biblical principle of 'you don't work, you don't eat' (2 Thessalonians 3:10) will apply, possibly even more-so, throughout the Great Tribulation. In many ways, this brings us back to one of our first points, about focusing on reaching out to others during the Trib, rather than becoming myopic about mere survival for ourselves. I believe there will be heaps of opportunities to show practical love to people at that time - much like we can do now - and I think we should be doing all we can to spread such love while we can, both now and then.

In essence, we need to develop a vision for the Tribulation that moves us beyond just surviving, and on to thriving. We need to confront our fears with regard to things like starving and freezing, and brace ourselves for some of the toughest persecution we have ever seen - and do it with a smile. :) We need to open our minds to consider alternative communication mediums to get the message out, and patiently await the visible gathering together of Christ's true church. And with all that we do, we need to do it in love. That's the Tribulation vision.
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