The flight of the Church into the wilderness is a predictable event aside from Scriptural testimony. If the skincode came out tomorrow, leaving your family no normal recourse for earning an income or buying food and water, I doubt very much that you'd just be inclined to wait for death to take it's toll. Therefore, the day will come when there will be an unparalleled evacuation from population centers.
This mass exodus will certainly create great preoccupation amid political spheres. My prediction is that leaders will conspire to keep the believers in "Egypt" for the sake of the holy-cow called, "The Economy." True, many unhappy workers and unemployed individuals will just love the fact that we will leave them tremendous job openings, and liberal sorts will be only too happy to see our moral absolutes go to the wayside with us, but politicians will likely choose to persuade us to conform to the 666 system because our going will be disastrous, not only to the economy and the tax revenue, but to many other needs in the human community.
When we refuse to stay on Biblical grounds, conflict with the liberal media and the authorities will result. You can just imagine how preoccupied the media will be in all this, for it will surely be among the top stories for a lengthy period. We will be badly portrayed as deserters of the human community. Liberal Christians, who view the book of Revelation as far less than a true glimpse of the future, will mock.
It shouldn't surprise us if special laws are passed in a forceful attempt to get us back to work. If that does occur, many goats will be purged from among us when they decide to take the skincode rather than to face prison. The prisons are already overcrowded so that another method of dealing with the more stubborn sheep will be required. Some post-tribulationists are predicting concentration camps to handle or eradicate us more cheaply.
We should not think as pre-tribbers would have us think, that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth completely during the 1260 days, so that Satan will be given full reign over the globe. This idea comes only from the twisting of 2 Thessalonians 2:7, bent out of shape only to produce a pre-trib' rapture that isn't there. God merely removes His method(s) of restraint on Satan at that time, but He will still be in control of the devil, His puppet. That is how we should view things. Therefore, just like Pharaoh of Moses' day, the authorities which oppose us will be frustrated by a strange and unbeatable Power.
Under humane principles, the authorities ought to cancel the skincode system due to so many citizens being emphatically opposed--so emphatic that they are willing to quit jobs and resign from normal life. And so these people in charge of the world are not going to be normal. A form of economic madness possesses them already...a foolish dependency on computerized purchasing...even after they have realized from the Y2K-scare how easily the entire world can be brought down to utter, utter despair with something so likely as massive computer failure.
With so many other foolish things taking place in waves of wickedness, are we ashamed to speak to the people responsible? We are to be passive in regards to fighting back with the weapons of the world, yes, but not silent. Learn the will of God from the fiery testimony in the ministry of the Two Witnesses. If they are our example, I'd say it's just fine to shake a tongue as well as a leg. Just watch how you speak, and don't be surprised if you get yourself in hot water if you use hot language. I strongly recommend that you not appoint yourself to the ministry of the Two Witnesses, for that ministry is a Spirit-controlled ministry, and many false prophets have come claiming to be one or the other of the Two Witnesses.
With modern churches steeped in pre-tribulationism, while concerned about their community image, they are hardly positioned to be of any value in controversial issues such as this one promises to become, and although they avoid persecution in this way, they also rob themselves of the fruit that would otherwise spring forth. Maintaining a good reputation with outsiders does not mean that we should sacrifice the proclamation of society's sinfulness, or its related destination toward Armageddon, no more than a doctor should refrain from announcing to his patient that he by his actions is risking terminal illness. Churches should welcome a "bad" reputation if it results from the offering of such vital information to society. There is more to tribulation endurance than securing food and sharing it with others. We must also glorify God in the work that He will perform in shaming this world.
I predict a optional skincode for some time prior to the enforcement stage, but I could be wrong. Amongst the scrambling Christians during the optional stage, there will undoubtedly be a high level of competition in the quest to secure decent refuge and supplies. Can you imagine just five percent of the North American population trying to purchase food simultaneously to last 3 1/2 years? The food production industries are not set up to handle such demand. When stores welcome the situation with wide-open doors, the authorities might resort to specially-enacted laws in order to dodge a national emergency. Nonetheless, it will be a little like Egypt revisited, with God's people "pillaging" the "Egyptians" on the way out to the wilderness.
The earlier you buy, the more likely you're going to get supplies trouble-free, but just don't buy food too early so that it spoils. The same limitations exist with the purchase of land, when demand for it is high.
I foresee another tactical diaspora (scattering) directed by the Lord. Because many remote regions of the world will not be computerized, many unbelievers therein will have no need of receiving the skincode. And won't the Lord know it? Because we are destined to flee into remote regions by force of the skincode, into countless nooks and crannies over the face of the earth, won't we feed the gospel to the mark-less therein? In return, they will feed us their potatoes. We will fellowship with them and have a teaching ministry among them, and they will teach us how to live without a grocery store.
The one thing that will alleviate some demand for supplies will be the failure of pre-tribulationists to purchase their provisions. Sadly, since many believers will prepare nothing at all, it means that we are going to ration food for their sake.
If a church is shy in announcing the congregation's need for wilderness self-sufficiency in the tribulation, worried about persecution which may result from its own pre-tribulationist (or Latter Rain) members, it is robbing itself of God's assistance in this matter. But that church would also fail to inform its members of possibly the greatest risk to their Christian experience. What good will it have done for the church leaders to have maintained a good reputation with pre-trib' members when, later, the tribulation is in full swing? You realize that the pre-tribbers will appreciate your post-trib' message, no matter how forcefully you insist upon delivering it now, once they themselves are chin-deep in tribulation survival.
The divine purpose of the 666 system is not for Satan's personal delight so that he can grind us to a pulp, but it's God's method of separating us from the filthy world of lucre that now has the churches conformed to its nature. We are going to be moved by the skincode to a finer, spiritual plane. We must leave the old estate behind and become partners with the Bridegroom in the New Estate. It will hurt us some to be pried from our properties and luxuries to live like desert nomads, and some won't stand for it but will take the mark instead, but do you think Western-World churches (and I include myself) will enter spiritual realms of sparkling holiness with the material mind-set we share with unbelievers today, concerned about the shiny appearance of the outside of the dish, and not yet having learned much of what it means to sacrifice for others (sharing the valued goods on the inside of the dish)?
LET EMPATHY ARISE
Could God allow fully-unprepared and spiritually-weak Christian babes, as per the pre-tribulation doctrine of "Tribulation Saints," to be the only elect sheep left on earth...to be horrified by anti-Christians the world over in the most intense battle Satan has ever waged against God using human agency, while every devoted Christian -- every bold speaker, every dedicated humanitarian, every seasoned missionary, every wise counselor, and every refined servant -- is up in the sky looking on, drinking wine at the Feast with Christ?
If it's merely in logic that we must base our argument, since the Bible doesn't support that view, then, in being far more logical, I would think that God is training Christian workers/soldiers now, before the tribulation, for the sole purpose of assisting any new converts which might arise in the tribulation. Would God pull his best troops out of the field when they are needed more than ever, to set them up in glory merely to look on? What glory would there be in that?
Many are those who, in the 59th minute, will see the signs of the Bible come to pass and then turn to Christ on account of that divine testimony. Is God to leave them alone in their new faith? Nay. But we can be sure that the 1260-day period will be a great time of Christian service superseding the first-century apostolic ministry, and we are the ministers, IF we are not the foolish virgins or the goats.
For those pre-tribbers who have wanted to conform to first-century Christianity -- the tribulation will be your chance! Did you want the first-century blessings without the first-century persecutions? Persecution is what brings people closer together, and heroes are born of this. When we suffer persecution in a family setting, zeal sets in and consumes us, for the sake of others among us. Suffering makes us weak and meek, but only then does the hour of Power strike.
The tribulation will either teach us how to sacrifice for others, cheerfully, or it will turn us into the dark and selfish creatures that lurk just below the skin of our sinful nature. We're going to be tried, and the real persons that we are will surface, to the surprise of many. Many believers, said Jesus, will find themselves betraying the people of God, and I think it will be to their own surprise. If empathy does not characterize all those who will at first be eager to endure the tribulation, then envy, dissatisfaction, and ultimately, a spirit of division, will.
Separation from the world of wealth means that we're going to need each other, wear each others' shoes for a change, and with the words of Jesus as our guide, lay down our lives for someone else. You may as well plan on it ahead of time, but if the idea of tribulation empathy turns you off, pray it isn't because you are the wrong kind of person for the Kingdom. Charismatics like to dwell on the powers of the Holy Spirit, powers to perform miracles and cast out demons, but the Holy Spirit Himself is concerned with matters much more pressing, even our character. A hero who turns out to have bad character is forgotten? If Jesus died for our sins only to turn into a slouch, a cad, or a weasel, how wonderful would His coming Kingdom promise to be?
Christians can hardly touch each others lives closely enough during their church meetings. They may be able to grant friendly smiles and shakes...but the morning ends without much sacrifice so that the command of God goes mute, for deep relationships are not sown in that everyone keeps to his very own. Instead of a church becoming a single family, then, families within the churches remain isolated in a pattern reflected by the pagan world: what's mine is mine, and what's yours is yours. Truly, we are more isolated from each other than we are a family of God. Those accustomed to fine dining and regular get-aways hardly know the despair of poor folk in their own church! Imagine the Lord's "reward" to such peacocks when the time of visitation arrives.
Heaven is a family affair, and the tribulation is an introductory lesson -- an initiation -- in what is yet to come. While the riches of Heaven consist of gratifying relationships, the mark of the beast is, to the contrary, a preoccupation with the economy, the evolution of mankind's pride in technology, and a conforming to the selfish spirit of the one whose name the mark reflects. One can easily see why God would want to separate us from that fanatical world, and to give us a few years in the wilderness to prepare our souls, by just letting us be in tune with one another, with no one rich nor poor.
Does having "one mind" merely mean that we are to agree with one another in every way? Wouldn't it much more imply a single Family sharing in each other's struggles? Spiritual maturity is measured not by our ability to understand spiritual mysteries, or prophetic truths, but by how we treat one another in a family setting.
All the commands of God have to do with how we treat each other, and how we treat God, our Father. If spiritual maturity is our goal, then, while James in his epistle said it comes to those who persevere in tribulation, the importance of great-tribulation endurance is underscored. If the Lord seems far from you at times, don't be dismayed, for then you are in the midst of a faith-building trial. The fear within our hearts, and the silence from Heaven above, may make it appear as though the Holy Spirit is not guiding us, but we know that eventually, the skies turn from bronze to cotton once again, and our hearts surge again with refreshed faith.
The mark of a true Christian is not a constant smile. Being the light of Jesus doesn't mean that the face must always shine. Who doesn't love to smile, and who doesn't desire a brilliant face? But because trial after trial besets us while we witness open sin in our midst, it's okay to frown at times, to show a face of disappointment, or sorrow, or anger. It's not "stuffy" to feel these things. It wouldn't be very unlike the face that Jesus would at times wear. The seal on the foreheads of the Jerusalem Jews (Ezekiel 9) will be granted to those who mourn for the sins of Israel. But personally, I can no longer dwell constantly on the sins around me. though I crave the day that Christians rule everywhere, when they cease to permit unbridled freedoms to those who displease God. On that day, the wicked will wear the frowns, and we shall dance a dance of the happy-go-lucky.
THE END-TIME JUDAS KISS
If we are so adapted to the world's luxuries now, how will we fare in the period of rationing, when, as it were, God supplies only "manna." We can be sure there will be those among us who will complain in the desert and crave to go back to the pot roasts of Egypt. If we think the "manna" God will then supply is not sufficient, then our preoccupation will not yet be on our Spiritual increase? Many so-called Christians will instead fall prey to the increase in lawlessness: "Because of the increase in lawlessness," said Jesus, "the love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).
The "lawlessness" is that which God is now restraining so that it might appear at the Appointed time, the time which defines the tribulation period. God's aim in releasing this is to weed out all people who care not for His Family...that those not trained/interested in love should fall away. And this is why the entire Church must pass through the tribulation, that only those who pass the test(s) shall be saved.
Although there has always been lawlessness, the global order will soon pick it/Satan up and throw it into everyone's face as never before, for God will allow Satan to popularize blasphemy and falsehood the world over. Anyone not interested in truth and Spirituality (in the Spirit of Jesus) at that time will be overcome with lawlessness and its many forms of adverse spirituality, including the worship of material things, and especially intense sexuality.
Therefore, the mark of the beast will act as a filter. Those who pass the test with love-filled faith will not be filtered out of God's Kingdom. In this way, the Church as a unit will be purified, for purification has to do with filtering out the bad. In the end, the Elect will be God's heroes. The goats among the sheep, like Judas Iscariot, will be more concerned with the increase in silver, and, like Judas, some will offer the Family a "kiss" for the purpose of betraying us to our enemies. Read Christ's words:
"Then they will deliver you to affliction and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. Many [believers] will then be offended and will deliver one another for hating one another; and many false prophets will be raised and will cause many to err, and because lawlessness is to be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures [in Jesus] to the end, this one will be saved" (Matthew 24:9-13).
If you're wondering who our greatest foes might become, look inward towards "Christian" circles. Traitors may not necessarily persecute us directly, but they will "deliver" us to what we can presume to be police-related arrests. This is a very good reason for all of us to keep our noses absolutely clean.
Isaiah says, "And it shall be, they shall be hungry, and one will rave and curse his King, and his God, with face upward" (8:21).
While this passage specifically speaks of bloodline Jews in the Great Tribulation period, the same is a warning for us. We would expect some believers who are turned away from retreats to be less than understanding, who then go on in an apostate manner because they feel that God, too, has turned away from them. And there will be a special hatred for the sheep. Such goats will be given the phony red-carpet treatment by the secular authorities, as was Judas by the Pharisees.
So be warned now: the media derision of those days will convince many goats to take sides against us, which may then bring upon us our very own "Gethsemane." If your spouse divorces you in the near future, God may be doing you a favor, knowing beforehand that he/she will bend to the skincode and thereby become a threat to your security. If there are custody issues in regards to children, the spouse that is faithful to the secular world will likely get the children with ease, and we don't know just yet if this will be a means by which your children will receive the skincode, but it sure raises hairs just to think about it.
Perhaps children under a certain age will not be coded. Quite likely the skincode will not be issued to someone without a bank account. As for older children, in their early-to-mid teens for example, they are old enough to reject the skincode should the parent with the skincode try to urge them to receive it.
If you, a sheep, should end up entering the tribulation unprepared, and then seek food and shelter in a tribulation retreat, only to be turned away, have the wisdom and the character to understand that they are turning you away because they are already over-crowded. Instead of betraying them, and betraying God in the process, seek God's guidance and endure faithfully day by day. You will have great opportunity for eternal salvation even if you are rejected by the wilderness sites. Scripture assures you of that. If you must, succumb to death with a clean, mark-less body, and your soul will go up immediately in victory.
Be somewhat secretive in your retreat planning, avoiding even your own children and parents if they are not strong Christians -- especially a spouse -- and watch your conversation closely with those in church. I would tell no one over the internet where your retreat is located.
ENDURANCE WITH A CAPITAL END
The Elect are going to endure to the "end" of what? To the end of the tribulation period, obviously. But can it not also refer to the end of one's life, if that is how it ends for them during the tribulation? Fine, yes.
What are we to say, that "the end" Jesus speaks of refers to the start of the tribulation period? To the middle? The very fact that Jesus warns the end-time Christian population to "endure" in order to be saved spells out its going through tribulation, but that Jesus would come right out and reveal the obligation to endure the severest of trials "TO THE END" is a brilliant proclamation of post-tribulationism that no Bible expert in his right mind should defy.
If anyone insists that the "end" of verse 13 refers only to the end of one's life, then just read of the next verse, 14, and it can be noted that it refers to the end of this age: "And this gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come."
The scene in Revelation 13 is such that the Beast has festered upon the earth. Anti-Christ, the man, is blaspheming God to high Heaven, and the False Prophet is striving to conquer the Christian Elect by supporting and promoting skincode legislation as the sole form of purchasing. In the midst of this situation, Jesus says, "Here is the endurance and faith of the saints."
When in the next chapter there is a warning not to take the mark because those that do will be thrown into a Lake of Fire, again the text says, "Here is the endurance of the saints, the ones keeping the commands of God and the faith of Jesus."
What he appears to be saying is, "Here is the war for which you will need endurance, saints."
The best insurance against your falling away from the faith is to be a hero. Don't let God spit you out of His mouth; be hot. Be a hot star! Be a hot and shining star which He can proudly lift to the skies.