How are you prepping for the future?
What does the future look like to you?
While you may not realize it, how you answer this question greatly affects how you live your life.
Back in 2011, as part of our prepping plan, my wife and I moved from Tampa, Florida to Traverse City, Michigan in order to get out of ‘the city’ and live someplace near plenty of fresh water.
When people inevitably asked us why we moved from Florida (a place where Michiganders often wish they could live) to Northern Michigan (a place that’s covered in snow for at least 4 months out of the year), we always danced around the real reason and tried to give them an answer that wouldn’t make them ask more questions.
We never lied to anyone, but we also knew that telling people the full truth would only paint a target on our backs when the ‘end’ finally came and these same people needed food, water, shelter, and security.
What was the full truth?
We believed the future was dark, and we wanted to be as prepared as we could be.
Unlike Christian premillennialists, we didn’t believe that we were going to be raptured away from the earth before the apocalypse showed up (aka pre-tribulation doctrine). We believed the Biblical ‘end of the world’ was coming, and the ‘church’ wasn’t going to get the luxury of skipping the hard part (aka post-tribulation doctrine).
We also believed that even if we were wrong about the timing of the Biblical side of things, the United States was still on a collision course with collapse.
We had 100% certainty that the country was going to experience its own version of the Weimar Republic. The dollar was going to collapse. Marshall law was going to become the new norm. FEMA camps were going to be the new ‘concentration camps’. And while we never really knew how it was going to happen, we essentially knew that we would ultimately need to live in a completely self-sustained community if we were going to have any chance of thriving in the aftermath of all this fallout.
We were officially “preppers”.
Prepping for The End of the World
When I look back on that season of life, I’m continually amazed at just how many of our life’s choices were affected by this belief in a future ‘end times’. I’m not just talking about purchasing a few extra cans of food and a case of bottled water. I’m talking about:
- Moving our family 1,400 miles north
- Spending thousands of hours studying how to become preppers
- Learning new skills like canning, gardening, animal husbandry, etc.
- Paying for seminars, going to expos, joining online groups, etc.
- Spending at least $50,000 on prepping supplies, survival tools, and luxuries
- Skipping vacations for 5 years in order to get our property more and more ‘off-grid’
- Paying $15,000 to move another family onto our 10-acre lot so we could start living in community
- Raising rabbits, chickens, turkeys, ducks, horses, and goats
- Planting an orchard in our backyard
- Generating bug-out plans; complete with bug-out bags, rendezvous points, and landing zones
- Purchasing old military vehicles and customizing them to withstand an EMP blast
And this is only the stuff I’m willing to tell you about. 🙂
All of this culminated to the point where we actually transitioned our then 7-year-old non-profit ministry organization into an emergency preparedness educational website. Heck, even the name of the organization was already perfect for this kind of work, Category Five Ministries. While prepping had nothing to do with the original reason for the ministry name (it was originally a Christian music festival in Morehead City, North Carolina called “Category Five Rocks the Coast”), given that there are 5 fairly standardized categories of emergency preparedness, we took this remarkable coincidence as a ‘sign’ that this was God’s original mission for us all along. We were ‘supposed’ to be professional preppers, and we were going to help others learn how to survive the coming doom.
What we believed about the future so impacted our lives that it essentially became our life. I even wrote a book about it!
Then, just as our company was starting to gain recognition in the national prepper community, something happened.
Adopting a New Perspective on Life – Becoming Preterist
After almost 5 years of being 100% focused on creating a lifestyle that could survive an apocalypse, my theology started to change.
I started becoming a preterist.
It didn’t all happen at once, of course. Over a period of about 6-8 months, I began to educate myself about the idea of ‘fulfilled eschatology’ and study ‘AD70 doctrine’. I already didn’t believe in the ‘rapture’, but I learned that even the basic belief in a future ‘end times’ was a relatively recent development in the history of the Christain church (approx. 400 years old).
Even more astounding, I learned that for over 1500 years one of the few things that almost every Christian sect agreed on was the belief that a vast majority of apocalyptic prophecies in the Bible were actually a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in AD70.
In short, I started to see that all of the ‘end times’ scriptures I was basing so much of my beliefs upon for the future were not actually talking about the end of the world in my future. Instead, they were scriptures that had already been fulfilled back in 70AD, and the Biblical ‘end times’ had already come and gone.
What Changed My Mind
For those who have never heard the idea that the Biblical ‘end times’ have already come and gone, you’re probably doing the mental math and concluding that I don’t know what the word “end” means. 🙂 After all, if the ‘end times’ have come and gone, why are we still here?
It’s here I would like to remind you of a simple truth put forward by my favorite teacher, Thomas Troward. “If anything is true, there is a way in which it must be true.”
How can it be true that ‘the end’ is behind us?
Allow me to share my journey through the series of videos that changed my life.
VIDEO #1: It all started with a video from Dr. Jonathan Welton called Understanding Matthew 24. If you don’t know, Matthew 24 (and the corresponding records of the same conversation in Mark 13 and Luke 21) is the primary section of Jesus’s ministry that discusses the ‘end times’.
C.S. Lewis once said that Matthew 24 was the most embarrassing passage in the Bible because it showed that even Jesus wasn’t a 100% accurate prophet.
Is it possible that it isn’t Jesus who was wrong, but our interpretation of what He said that could use some work?
Dr. Welton’s teaching on Matthew 24 is a breath of fresh air for anyone looking to better understand the ‘end times’ and all of the apocalyptic prophecies throughout scripture. In this teaching, he explains what preterism is, and shows the audience that Jesus wasn’t talking about events that were to take place 2000+ years in the future. Instead, Jesus was actually prophesying the coming destruction of the Jewish religious world, and every single word He said actually came true 40 years later (1 generation).
VIDEOS #2 and #3: After seeing the first video I had to admit, painting Jesus as a perfectly accurate prophet who correctly described the coming events of AD70 made a whole lot more sense than 88 Reasons the Rapture is in 1988. Not only that, it made a whole lot more sense with the kind of person I knew God to really be (but that’s another story).
Needless to say, I was hooked, and I had to hear more. Thankfully, Dr. Welton had an entire Last Days Series on YouTube to watch, so it wasn’t long before I was able to continue my education in fulfilled eschatology.
The next thing that really caught my eye was 2 videos which cover the prophetic ideas laid out in the Old Testament book of Daniel.
The King Has Come: Daniel 9 and The Kingdom Is Here: Daniel 2 both bring an amazing level of clarity to the cryptic visions that Daniel experiences. Not only does Dr. Welton explain the prophecies and their fulfillment in Christ, but he also shows us how the Jews already knew what these prophecies were about and when they were supposed to come to fruition. While they had misconceptions about the details, the fact that the Jewish nation knew the Messiah was ‘supposed to show’ up in the days of Jesus is evidence that they knew what the prophecies of Daniel meant.
VIDEO #4: After watching everything Dr. Welton had available on the subject and reading his book Raptureless, I just had to find other teachers who understood this stuff and hear it from another angle. I devoured everything I could find from teachers like Dr. Lynn Hiles, Jamie Englehart, Dr. Kenneth Gentry and more. I studied the Biblical prophecies about the ‘end’ at least another dozen times. I purchased ancient historical texts from authors like Josephus and Tacitus. I joined online groups and asked every question I could think of. I went to seminars and conferences. I searched for answers anywhere and everywhere.
Then, as if in answer to an unknown prayer, a friend of mine’s dad sent out a mass email with a link to a video by Dr. Martin Trench. While I hadn’t necessarily been obsessing over any particular point of the preterist (or partial preterism) argument, this particular teaching seemed to be the exact thing I needed to put all the puzzle pieces together.
The Ancient Biblical Teaching of the Ages is one of those teachings that just makes too much sense to ignore. In it, Dr. Trench shows how the concept of ‘the ages’ was no mere figure of speech in the days of Christ, and that every single person who heard the language of the ‘end times’ instinctively knew it was a reference to the end of their current age (the Age of Aries, specifically). The last days that Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all spoke about was never meant to be applied to us 2000+ years later. The apostles and disciples knew this. Even the vast majority of the Church has known this throughout history. Yet somehow we’ve forgotten what a broader view of time looks like.
Once I understood this broader concept of time, it not only brought perspective to my interpretation of biblical apocalyptic prophesies, it also brought clarity to what’s currently happening in the world around us today.
We Actually Are Living in the Last Days
I now know why so many people feel like the world is coming to an end.
It makes perfect sense to me when I see systems from the last age start to crumble under the weight of a newly established age of technology and globalism.
I understand why the even the Church of tomorrow looks nothing like the Church of the last 2000 years.
Everything I was seeing, sensing, feeling, reading about, talking about, writing about… everything I was prepping for… all of it… it all makes sense to me now.
The reason the world feels like it does today is that we actually live in the ‘last days’ of the Age of Pisces.
Just like the people of Jesus’ day, we too find ourselves alive at the ‘culmination of the ages’. Everything is changing on a scale that has never been seen, and this change is no accident.
God put the stars in the sky for signs and seasons. From the beginning of time, the story of man’s journey has been chronicled in the stars. Because the Age of Pisces is coming to an end, it feels like the world is coming to an end. This isn’t because the stars have somehow “forced” humanity into another transition. The stars are simply the reflection of what humanity has become, and perhaps more than any other transition before, the coming of the digital age couldn’t bring a more drastic change if we tried. Heck, even the earth itself is showing the effects of the culmination of the ages.
Every system. Every nation. Every religion. Every industry. Every community. Every Person. Everything and everyone can tell that ‘the end’ is coming. Each of us gets to interpret what that means for ourselves and our own lives, but make no mistake, what you believe about tomorrow will greatly affect what you do today.
From Prepper to Preterist
Needless to say, when I changed my view of the future and reinterpreted my perspectives on current events, I had no choice but to change what I was doing with my life. This is not to say that emergency preparedness and survival needs aren’t important. As a matter of fact, I’m very thankful for all that I learned when I was building my prepper company. While I have a newfound hope for the future (as expressed in our #1 Epoch Ethos), I still have eyes to see the potential collapse of the existing systems as we know them. In some ways, I’m even more certain of the coming change than I was before.
But that’s just it. Notice how I said, “the coming change” and not “the coming end”? That’s because whatever is happening around us, while potentially apocalyptic in scale, doesn’t automatically equate to ‘the end’ of the world.
The end of an age? Yes.
The end of the world? Not so much.
So what was the first thing we did after transitioning from preppers to preterists? We went on vacation. 🙂
What did we do with all our prepping supplies, survival products, survival tools and equipment, and off-grid systems now that we believed in a fulfilled eschatology?
We revisited every aspect of our lives that had been guided by a set of beliefs that we no longer carried and slowly started to make the necessary changes we needed to make in order to have a life that was more in line with our new-found hope for the future. Because our new perspective still has a vision for hard times ahead, we still own a majority of the products and tools that we purchased. On the other hand, most of the systems we had in place for off-grid living and self-sustainability have either fallen by the wayside through neglect or been placed in storage for potential future use.
It needs to be stated that we still very much believe everyone should be mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for potential hardships to come. Whether personal (losing a job), regional (natural disaster), national (currency crash), or global (WWIII), the wisdom of being ‘prepped’ for such an occasion is obvious.
Above all else, prepare your mind and your relationships. Trust your gut, rule over any fear, and follow the spirit.
Beyond that… We hope this article and the videos have given you cause to have hope for the future. If so, now you can become part of the solution for getting humanity to the other side of this culmination of the ages in one piece, and maybe even have fun while you’re doing it.
As a final note… The very website you’re reading this blog on is a result of the journey shared in this article. Epoch is actually a Greek word that means “a division of time”. The entire reason The Epoch exists is to share the continued discovery of our eternal identity as humans, and we believe our eternal identity includes the fact that we’re not going anywhere. Earth is our home, and the universe is our future.