Pre-Trib Rapture Doctrine and Preparedness, by P.H.

In my conversations in person and online as well as select daily readings including SurvivalBlog; it seems to me that there are a few very common themed roadblocks that people throw out as reasons why they can’t or don’t need to prepare or are unable to take their prepping to the next level.
The four that come to mind are:
1)      My spouse doesn’t buy into the need to prepare
2)      We can’t afford to move
3)      God is in control; He will take care of us.
4)      Your prepping is actually a sign of a lack of faith: The Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory.
For the purposes of this article I am going to leave number one alone as much has been written about it and I don’t feel that I have much to add to the topic other than to say that if you are “equally yoked” with a spouse who is also a survivalist then count your blessings. That being said I believe that the conclusions I will draw regarding the latter three topics is also likely the reason a spouse is not “on board” with prepping.
We can’t Afford to Move;

Let me begin this topic by excluding those who are in the heart of major metropolises doing “great commission” work and those who are serving our country. I know brothers who are survivalists and in the military who when serving in “The Sand Box” are very concerned that the flag could go up and they would likely be up a creek without a paddle. Also stateside they realize that their preparations are lacking due to where they may be stationed, frequent moves, lack of storage space and too much month left at the end of the paycheck since they are the sole bread winners for their families. They deserve our praise for being in harm’s way.

Many people have given their testimony regarding pulling up stakes and moving to a safer location. My personal favorite was the SurvivalBlog submission “The Big Picture – Making a Life Changing Move” by A.L.  His writings remind me of the colloquialism of “nuff said.”

Another popular testimony is that of Pastor Chuck Baldwin; they pulled up stakes after 35 years of preaching and deep roots from their home in Florida moving to where they now reside in Montana. Read his testimony titled The Hardest Decision of My Life.

Pastor Baldwin has said some controversial things in the past that not everyone agrees with but allow me to make two points. First, I was impressed by the fact that it wasn’t just he and his wife who made the move; in fact if was five families and 17 people. Secondly when he says that it was the hardest decision of his life, I take him at his word.

My testimony is not as impressive as those two but it follows the theme. 25 years ago my wife and I moved from a large metropolitan area in California to a mid-sized city in what is now called the American Redoubt. We did our homework and had visited said location twice. When it came time to move it meant leaving all our family and friends behind. We loaded all our worldly possessions (we were newlyweds so my dog was probably the most valuable possession)  into my pickup and my wife’s small car. We arrived at our new “home town” with no place to stay, no jobs lined up, not one person in the region we knew, no credit available to us and $5,000 in cash.

I can report that from that day to this we have never borrowed a nickel from anyone other than for the purchase of real estate. The journey has been incredible and the blessings that we have received by taking that leap of faith are uncountable.

There are many great people and blogs out there with similar stories. I think of the homesteaders I know in the Clark Fork, Idaho area, Enola Gay’s blog Paratus Familia and Patrice Lewis in her Rural Revolution blog. [JWR Adds: Those are two of Avalanche Lily’s favorite blogs.]

The common themes are this. Very few people relocate to a safer location with significant resources at their disposal, nor do they relocate to pursue the treadmill of creating (paper) wealth. Most stories you hear have required a leap of faith and very frugal living to “live the life.” In a word; sacrifice.
Another theme you will see is that the definition of wealth  has been redefined by those who have moved out of the cities and suburbs to their piece of ground, homestead, rural retreat, etc. From my observations most of those people tend to be happier even though they work extremely hard. That happiness, I believe is derived from a sense of purpose that is hard to find in the work-a-day world of large cities.

Several years ago we were new to birthing (goats and sheep). We had a few successes under our belts but we ran into a problem and of course it was in the middle of the night in the middle of winter with zero moon. Bottom line, we were in a bind. It was clear the babies were not going to make it so it was all about saving our prized  French Alpine. We don’t like to impose on people but like I said, we were in a bind and over our heads. I called our neighbors who live two miles away and 3:10 am who have much more experience with livestock.

They answered the phone straight away with a “hello?”  I said Dan this is Jeff we are having problems with a birthing and wondered if you had any advice for us. He said “I will be right over.” He and his wife arrived at our place nine minutes later. His wife gets out of the vehicle and in a very upbeat and cheerful tone says “good morning neighbors!” It took an hour of physically and emotionally draining work but we saved the babies (Kids) and the doe. That to us is wealth. Having neighbors who have your back that you can call on any time day or night and they are there for you means more to me than a fat 401k would.

I will concede that there are people who through no fault of their own lack the resources to make a move. I also believe in personal responsibility and cause and effect and know that when a good number of people claim that they can’t afford to move what I hear is that they are unwilling to make the sacrifices entailed in such a move.

It’s a choice. Can you afford not to move?

God is in Control
I will never forget a conversation I had with a gentleman after a Bible Study we attended. Based on that study I knew the answers he would give to my first few questions. For OPSEC reasons he did not know that we are survivalists.

Me: So John you believe that Christians will be here on earth during the Great Tribulation?
John: Certainly, that is clear in the Bible.
Me: And you believe that the Great Tribulation is coming soon?
John; Very soon.
Me: And you believe in the concept of the Mark of the Beast?
John: Yes, I believe that we as Christians who do not take the mark will not be allowed to conduct commerce, buy, sell and so on.
Me: So that means what? You can’t buy groceries, fuel, clothes etc?
John: Yes exactly.
Me: What are you doing about that?
John; What do you mean?
Me: I don’t know, this is your scenario, I just wondered if you were doing anything to prepare for this?
John: You mean like storing food?
Me: Well, I don’t know, like I said, this is your scenario but sure, if you won’t be able to buy groceries, how are you going to feed your family? (Husband, wife and three pre-teen children)
John: Well I had thought about that but I would just end up giving all the food away as charity.
Me: Wouldn’t it be better to be in a position to dispense charity rather than to have to rely on it?
John (pause); Our main course of action is to pray and get close to God and put our faith in Him.
Me: I see.
John: My wife has brought up the same questions (come to find out she is a closet prepper). But I don’t want to get all bogged down in trying to sort through every conceivable disaster to prepare for.
Me: (The guy hasn’t gotten bogged down in anything) Are you in danger of that?
John: I just want to be careful not to turn inwards towards myself rather than outwards towards God.
Me: Well, I would say that using your resources and time to help insure the health and safety of other people is the inverse of selfishness.
John: Maybe, I just don’t want to take away from what God’s plan is for Me: to be a blessing to other people.
Me: (gag) Well, again, this is your scenario but it would seem to me that if what you think is going to come to pass, does come to pass, and you don’t do anything to prepare for it, you will be the inverse of a blessing to those you love the most.
John; (long pregnant pause)…it’s something to think about..he changes the subject.

My suspicions are that there are a lot of people like this. On the one hand their eyes are open but on the other they have every conceivable reason why they don’t have to do anything. These are also the types where if you start talking about firearms for self protection you can get the; “Oh, we want to be careful about that, remember those who live by the sword die by the sword.” Wow! What do you do with that?

In the safety of a blog that doesn’t compromise OPSEC I think what you do with that is call a spade a spade. The doing of the Bible and the doing of survival might not be required to save your soul but it could save your life and the lives of people you care about. My sense is that likely it is just a means to an end to support laziness. When all Hell is breaking loose I really think that God is going to have “bigger fish to fry” than keeping food on your table. Don’t ask God to do for you what you should be doing for yourselves.

A few weeks ago I read an article and I cannot remember who wrote it but the gentlemen had no compunction about telling it as he saw it. To paraphrase he was talking about this very subject about all the places the Bible (Jesus) warns us to be prepared for myriad things. Then he says, so if you don’t heed the Bible’s warnings and prepare like it tells you to; when you and your family are starving that will be the least of your pains because you will be gnashing your teeth for not doing what you should have, then you will die and go before God and you will get to explain why you didn’t do what He told you to do!  Yikes!  No holds barred there, but I like his bluntness.

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture: “You see, your preparations are actually a sign of a lack of faith on your part.”
This is a good one.
First of all let’s not meld three concepts into one as they are want to do. There are personal times of “tribulation” there are “tribulations” and there is “the great Tribulation.” So, even if you’re certain that you won’t be around for the “Great Tribulation” it does not mean that there is nothing to prepare for. Twice Paul begged God to be” taken away home” out of his personal tribulation and God refused as He had additional plans for Paul. If Jesus’ right hand man Paul didn’t get a pass from his tribulations why do you think you will?
I am not a “man of the cloth” rather just a man trying to walk the walk but in my opinion the concept of the Pre-Trib rapture is false doctrine. Potentially dangerous false doctrine.

In no way does the Bible clearly articulate the concept of Pre-Trib rapture. To my reading the citations used by those to support the concept are subjective in nature. “The cow jumped over the moon which was made of green cheese.” So clearly the cow represents Israel and the moon means the Euphrates River and the fact that it was made of green cheese means the moon was not kosher.

Okay, so I exaggerate but you get the point. This is what I refer to as the “clearlies” and the “obviouslies.”  When you are reading “The Theologians Guide to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture”, etc you run across a lot of “clearlies” and “obviouslies” and that to me means it is not “clear” or “obvious.” Without getting bogged down with back and forth scripture citations let’s ask some common sense questions that deserve common sense answers.

1)    The Pre-Trib rapture first got introduced as a working idea in the 1800s. Prior to that there is no mention of it that I can find by any prophet, scholar, preacher, writer, nobody. Why?
2)    What does Satan have to offer? Three things to my thinking: lies that contain half truths, the allure of “enlightenment” and the desire to divide Christians. God offers whole truths, no lies, the offer of redemption not enlightenment and desires for us to unite.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
3)    Did this notion of a Pre-Tribulation rapture serve to unite or divide Christians? If you’re not sure you need to get around the Internet a bit more and see the vitriolic arguments for and against levied by “Christians” at each other. If the modern notion of a Pre-Trib rapture served to divide Christians in a big way (and it has) it serves Satan’s purposes, not God’s.
4)    What explanation do some Pre-Tribbers offer as to why this concept was never spoken of prior to the mid 1800s? Yep! Some form of enlightenment by the believers bestowed upon them in that day that was previously not known. Who was it that offers enlightenment again?
5)    Do the Pre-Trib believers of today that you know see their beliefs as more enlightened than those who do not hold those beliefs? The ones that I know do. Do those who don’t believe in Pre-Trib rapture carry an air of more enlightenment than those who do?  I for one don’t. This is best illustrated by the fact that Pre-Trib rapture believers have absolutely told me to my face that my preps are a lack of faith. Satan’s lies are so subtle that they have convinced themselves that the false doctrine they embrace is a higher level of faith (enlightenment and division all in one) than those of us preparing to provide four ourselves in times of trouble. Who was it that seeks to divide us and offers enlightenment again?
6)    The Bible is the book for believers. Our handbook if you will. If the believers are all going to be “taken away home” just in the nick of time what is the point of the Bible going into great detail about the Great Tribulation period if none of us are going to be here? We really wouldn’t need to know anything about that would we? What purpose does that information serve if everything in the “Good book” is there for a reason?
7)    Not the least of which the Mark of the Beast. Why would we need to think about that or hear about that if we are all gone?
8)    The Pre-Tribbers assert that at the rapture (at the onset of the Great Tribulation) Jesus comes down to the clouds and at the end of the Great Tribulation. He actually walks on Earth and that that is the second coming. So which one is Judgment day? Those who get raptured to Heaven and those left behind at the beginning of the Great Tribulation; is that judgment day? Or is it judgment day when Christ returns?  Are there two judgment days? Two unsealing of the Book of Lambs? If all the saved Christians are taken away home right before all hell breaks loose why have a great tribulation at all?
9)    Be extra leery of theses that support your biases. i.e. people with lazy streaks who  convince themselves that they don’t have to do anything. Nothing worth having is attained easily. We know that our salvation is attained through grace not works but we also know that there is a certain element who are all too keen on the idea of having to do nothing. “Works for me, back to the ball game.” That is fine, it’s a choice, but when you castigate those of us preparing that doing so is “lacking faith” it is hard for me to not think of the word “foolish” or even “mockery.” Mocking God’s people seems like a bad idea to me.
10) And now we get down to brass tacks. Does the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory better serve the desires of Satan or God? How could we know? Using logic I think we can certainly gain some insight. What happens if I am wrong and the rapture occurs prior to the tribulation and I am taken away home? Nothing really, I will be saved and in Heaven and probably won’t even know what hit me, much less have the time to rationalize, “Oh I guess I got that Pre-Trib rapture thing wrong.” Now let’s go the other way. What happens to Christians who have built much of their belief system around the Pre-Trib rapture, what if they are wrong? The great tribulation is “game on” and they are still here on earth. How many of them are going to question God? Question their faith? “He” didn’t come through for us, it was all a pack of lies! How many of them are going to renounce their faith? How many of them will swallow the next big lie that God doesn’t exist and turn their allegiances to the antichrist and become the sworn enemies of those remaining Christians? To me, that’s the main “rub” right there. This is exactly what the Pre-Tribbers have been set up for in my opinion. Not all of them will swallow the next big lie certainly, but many will.
To me the main lesson here for those of us who count ourselves as Christian Survivalists is this; In a SHTF scenario identifying friend from foe is going to be a huge challenge. None of us are naive enough to think that the bad guys are going to introduce themselves as evil. But let us also not be naive enough to think that all “Christians” are going to be your friends. The Bible is clear on this and maybe none more famous than Isaiah 3:5:

“People will oppress each other– man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honored.”

Since, like Judah, we have broken our covenant of protection, this may well metaphorically speak to our futures as well.

God is in charge but that doesn’t make doing nothing a wise call.