The closest to living like the early church in the book of Acts is the Twelve Tribes. I’ve lived and worked with them on two occasions – for a month and a half on each occasion – and believe them to be serious believers blessed with God’s Holy Spirit. They’re working towards restoring all things as prophesied in Malachi 4:5,6; Matthew 17:10-12; Acts 3:20,21 and doing a good job of it. Many in the Twelve Tribes believe their leader, Yoneq, is the prophesied Elijah to come and restore all things just before the Messiah returns to set up the Millennial Kingdom. This is not a teaching of Yoneq or the community – only what some believe to be the case. Even though I can’t say for sure Yoneq is in the spirit of Elijah, he has done a fine job starting the Twelve Tribes and leading it. I can think of no one more deserving of the title. However, I believe the Twelve Tribes needs to do the following in order to continue to progress towards restoring everything.
1) Permit members of the community to take Nazirite vows and additional vows according to Numbers 6. If the plan is restore everything, restoration of the law of the Nazirite is a must. The law will be a blessing to those who observe it. In Acts 21:17-26, we see the keeping of the law of the Nazirite by the early church in Jerusalem under the direction of the elders of the church. God’s law has always been perfect and a blessing to those who keep it. In Psalm 19:7-9; James 1:25, it is clear that all the law is perfect and brings freedom. The Nazirite law, therefore, is perfect and brings freedom to those who keep it. We’re also obligated to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4. The Nazirite vow came from the mouth of God. It’s an individuals choice to take the vow or not that’s not subject to group control.
2) Discontinue the weekly Lord’s Supper observance as a new Passover requirement. The Lord did not add any new legal requirements to the Passover before He was crucified. Mandatory wine drinking was never a part of the Passover law. When the Messiah first started His ministry He warned the people that He did not come to abolish the law or the prophets. Matthew 5:17. He would not have added to or subtracted from the law as His Father commanded in Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32.
3) Permit community members to eat vegan/vegetarian diets as they as individuals see fit. The vegan/ vegetarian diet has powerful healing powers and the Scriptures show this to be the case. See Daniel 1:8-16. The Bible prophesies a restoration of the vegan/vegetarian diet of Genesis 1:29,30. See Hosea 2:18; Isaiah 11:6-9. Even though Paul’s statement that the weak in faith eat only vegetables may not be accurate, it would still be wise for Twelve Tribe members who eat meat not to look down on those who would rather eat only vegetables as it was done in the beginning and as Daniel did with God’s help. Genesis 1:29-30; Romans 14:1-6; Daniel 1:9. This is an individual choice that should not be subject to group control. Other than the Passover lamb, meat eating is not required by biblical law. Deuteronomy 12:20 makes clear the discretionary nature of meat eating. If you “crave meat” you may eat as much of it as you want.
4) Fasting should also not be subject to group control. How long and the manner of the fast should be an individual choice. Choosing to go on vegan fasts as Daniel did in Daniel 10:2-3 should be permitted. Likewise, juice or water only fasting should be permitted. The Twelve Tribes should encourage long cleansing fasts for health or for spiritual reasons.
5) Meat that has been artificially fattened through drugs and other factory farming methods should be considered unclean because the fat can’t all be removed and much of the toxins from the drugs and pesticide laced feed resides in this fat. Toxins are stored in the animal fat the same as in human fat. Fat is known to be unhealthy even when free of contaminants. There will likely be severe health consequences from eating such unclean meat over time. From my understanding of Leviticus 3:17, no fat whatsoever or from any animal source can be eaten. If you eat the fat from an animal that can be sacrificed then you are to be cut off from the people. Leviticus 7:22-27. The Twelve Tribes should consider selling only healthy fish and organic eggs in its cafes.
6) The Twelve Tribes should not reject outright the claims of new believers – desiring to join the Twelve Tribe – that they’ve already experienced the Holy Spirit and are already on the path to salvation. Salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit are available to those not yet living in community. Notice in Luke 19:5-9 how quickly Zacchaeus received salvation and the Holy Spirit when he repented and gave half of his possessions to the poor. The Holy Spirit does work best in a community such as the Twelve Tribes and everyone ultimately needs to surrender their life to a community such as the Twelve Tribes, but God and His Holy Spirit do operate outside of community. Likewise, baptism should be administered promptly whenever someone repents of his sins and starts the process of change. Notice how Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before being baptized. Acts 10:24-48.
7) The Twelve Tribes should not bar anyone from joining their communities because they’re unable to sing, dance, or speak in the assembly. Some people are unable to do these things. It’s more important to love God and treat your brother fairly and mercifully than to sing, dance, and speak well in the assembly. The Father accepted Moses when he had a problem speaking and appointed his brother to speak to the people for him. Exodus 4:14-16.
8) Discontinue the practice of requiring men to have short pony tails. The men should be allowed to have short hair. There’s no biblical law to support a practice of short pony tails on men. Long hair should only appear on men who have taken Nazirite vows. Long hair is for women and short hair is for men as Paul rightly observed.
9) Start a mission to help the weak and the poor. The Twelve Tribes could do this by starting a community at the Port Austin Bible Campus (PABC) and assisting with helping the homeless. PABC needs help starting a green drink program to strengthen the weak and poor as a part of their homeless shelter mission. Drinking 3 green drinks a day would likely give them more strength and vitality over their unhealthy diets. The Nutri-Bullet advertisement video advocates only one Nutri-Blast, as they call them, a day. See http://www.nutribullet.com/site/watchtheshow. Because of the bad health of most of the homeless, 3 green drinks should do wonders.
10) On black/white race history and slavery, the Twelve Tribes should point out that both sides were wrong in this. God did not intervene because Africans were living a totally pagan lifestyle contrary to the Scriptures and white conquerors were establishing a Satanically false Christianity throughout the world and taking slaves to make riches for the upper classes as a part of the process. See, for example, Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity. Because of the havoc wreaked by this destructive exploitation and oppression that destroyed the moral fabric of society, we (black and white) continue to suffer many problems and conflicts today. For this reason, the poor and weak (black or white) should not be looked at harshly by the Twelve Tribes.
11) Do not use physical punishment on the children. Instead, systematically discipline the children by teaching them the commandments and what they mean according to Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and by showing them how to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4. Even though the Twelve Tribes uses physical punishment well and the children respond to it reasonably well, the Twelve Tribes could do better with a system that uses no physical punishment that produces fear of punishment. The apostle John pointed out that perfect love drives out fear and fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18. The Kung Bushmen are a good example of a society that didn’t use punishment on their children that produced well behaved children. See first 8 minutes of The Gods Must Be Crazy, at http://vimeo.com/116436527. They lived cooperatively, sharing in everything, but didn’t have the Scriptures to guide them in other important areas of life. From my understanding of the Scriptures, the goal is to instill the law into the hearts and minds of men so well that there will be no sin and no need to punish anyone. Hebrews 10:15-18; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:19-20. I believe remembering to teach the law to the children in order to comply with Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is something that must be done to turn the hearts of the children to their parents. Malachi 4:4-6.
12) The tribe of Judah should be reserved for those in modern day Israel in keeping with the prophesy in the book of Zechariah. Zechariah 12:1-14; 13:1-9; 14:1-21.
13) Produce literature warning that the building of gods plans of the atheist scientists/technologists will likely produce the worst idol man has ever built and the mark of the beast will likely arise from this machine. The literature should mention that the Twelve Tribes communal/religious lifestyle is the only way to avoid taking the mark. In response to the atheist idea of merging our minds with their godlike machine, the Twelve Tribes should advocate restoring all things as prophesied which will result in the restoration of Eden-like conditions to the earth. Promise to make this restoration in small cities like Vauban, Germany here in the United States utilizing the latest in computing, robotics and solar technologies to reduce labor and harness the sun’s energy. See Germany’s Green City of the Future. This will give mankind an alternative to fall back on should the man-made god-machine idea ultimately turnout disastrous as biblical prophecy indicates.
14) Grow the low THC, high CBD strains of marijuana that are not psychoactive (won’t get you high) and provide it to people who are sick and in need of this alternative medicine in place of highly toxic and addictive narcotics and psychiatric drugs that are causing severe side effects and death in too many cases. This should be done in the spirit of the Good Samaritan described in Luke 10:25-37. There’s a religious duty to have mercy on one’s neighbor during the current health and drug crisis sweeping the country. The Twelve Tribes has the necessary skills to grow this type of marijuana and the spiritual strength and wisdom to provide assistance to those in need. The documentary Weed2 shows how safe and effective marijuana is for a number of medical conditions. Project CBD lists more conditions the high CBD strains are good for. See http://www.projectcbd.org/.
15) Become involved with the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children in order to influence legislation that will permit the Twelve Tribes style of discipline to continue. The Twelve Tribes could open up its communities to the organization so it can see the way it disciplines its children and how successful it has been in this regard. Even though I believe in a non-punitive methods of child-rearing, I do not believe the Twelve Tribes should be forced by man-made law to stop. See the You Tube video, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjxXuDYdBzY, for the views of one the leaders of the movement against the physical punishment of children.
I believe a ministry or outreach to the Twelve Tribes is needed to convince them to take the above action. Other intentional communities also need to be encouraged to adopt the biblical model like the Twelve Tribes so they can avoid the mark of the beast and survive.