Consider the evidence:
Preppers throughout the world sense a coming, apocalyptic event. If you are a prepper, God’s warnings, in part, are already clearly formed in your heart: “A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself [knows how to escape calamities]: but the simple pass on, and are punished”–Proverbs 22:3. [Words in brackets mine] In the book of Hebrews, we read of perhaps the most famous prepper of all time: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith,” (Hebrews 11:7). Notice, Noah was prepared because he feared [heeded] the Lord’s warnings: the fact that we believe the scriptures is made evident in that they change the way we live our daily lives. God warns that a time of trouble worse than anything ever before witnessed in human history will occur at the end of the age: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matthew 24:21).
Preppers believe in storing food and ensuring access to clean water. God advises us that the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer (Proverbs 30:25). Like the ants, we must lay up a storehouse of food. This is God’s way of preparing His people for difficult times. [Notice, the political leaders of many nations lack the godly wisdom to prepare in this way; in fact, just the opposite is occurring (running up high debts and living on short-term inventories).]. In the Old Testament, God warns Joseph in a dream of a coming drought of seven years duration, counseling him to use the seven years of abundance that will precede the drought to store up food for the time of adversity. Because Joseph follows God’s counsel, the people of Egypt are spared: and the dearth was in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread (Genesis 41:54).
Preppers believe that large cities are potential death traps. God teaches us that the conies [field mice] are but a feeble folk, yet they make their houses in the rocks (Proverbs 30:26). Like the mice, we must use every natural advantage at our disposal to secure our homes and protect our families. Field mice are weak and timid; yet, they are safe in the rocks because they seek the protection that nature affords them. In order to safeguard our families, we must develop a working knowledge of basic security practices, products, and systems. If possible, we must seek the protection that nature affords for remoteness. Obviously, in the event of any major catastrophe or societal breakdown, major cities will become harsh, unforgiving, merciless environments.
Preppers believe that people are the greatest force multiplier. God’s counsels that the locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands (Proverbs 30:27). Like the locusts, we must form small groups of networked communities for mutual assistance, so as to magnify our strength. Notice, the locusts all move in concert, yet they have no identified leader among them. Christians are all under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, having the scriptures to guide them. No one man rules over them: rather, those mature men among them who have demonstrated wisdom and right conduct over time are to work together to care for and provide guidance to their local assemblies and communities. We must move away from a culture of isolation (which is a perversion of the Lord’s congregation) and develop a corporate lifestyle and perspective.
Preppers believe in self-sufficiency. God reminds us that the spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces (Proverbs 30:28). Like the spider, we must be industrious. Notice, the servants of influential men do not think spiders are fit to be found in palaces. Yet, no matter how hard they work to kill them, they cannot get rid of them all—for the spider takes hold with its hands—working hard to prepare a place for itself. If we are industrious to do all that God has commanded us to do to prepare [as simple acts of faith], He will sustain and comfort us in the day of adversity, preparing a table before us in the midst of our enemies when the time of trouble arises (Psalms 23:5).
Unforeseen circumstances and difficulties are a given. [It’s what you don’t see coming or anticipate that usually kills you.] Without God’s divine intervention to make provision for and guide His people, we will not survive the time of trouble. Proverbs 24:10 reads, If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. While God counsels us to make natural preparations, it is only those who have been spiritually prepared before hand by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit who will survive the day of battle. Scripture is clear that securing God’s blessing during times of trouble will be dependent upon sound spiritual training and moral development: we must both know and follow God’s counsel to receive His reward. Here is an example of the practical instruction contained in the Bible:
“If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Proverbs 24:11-12).
It is the nature and character of God to seek after justice (Isaiah 58:6). If we are able to aid those in mortal peril from unjust persecutions, we are to do so, especially if they are of the household of faith [Christians]: for we cannot feign ignorance about their suffering and expect God to deliver us from our own afflictions (Galatians 6:10). Rather, we are commanded to help: in fact, our expectation for our own survival is dependent upon understanding this truth. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).
The Bible contains the words of life and death, and it is only by studying its counsel that we can learn how to be guided moment-to-moment by the Spirit’s leading:
“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it,” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16).
Of course, the greatest danger of the age is not simply death, but deception. Before the Lord returns, there will be a great falling away from true faith in Christ [which we see even now in much of the traditional, American church system]: for many churches are filled with false teachings, and their members lack godly fear [a respect for God and His wisdom]. Instead of warning the people, these churches preach the very message of peace and safety that Christ warned we would hear:
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief,” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).
It is the wisdom of God to prepare–and the best means of doing this is as a fully functioning, spiritually healthy fellowship of like-minded believers–for the local assembly is how the Lord encourages us in both peaceful and difficult times:
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting [encouraging] one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day [of our Lord’s return] approaching,” (Hebrews 10:24-25). [Bracketed words mine]
Notice, we were not created for isolated independence, but rather, a Spirit-led interdependence in which each member of an assembly plays a specified, pivotal role, according to their divine calling and function. This cannot happen when we do not share our daily lives with one another, according to the apostolic pattern. In the book of Acts (2:42-48), we read that believers in the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, meeting both publicly and breaking bread from house to house.
Simply, Christ’s doctrine is made known, not only by our teachings, but also our manner of living. This is why Paul states [when writing to Timothy, his son in the faith]: “Thou hast fully known my doctrine and manner of life …” (2 Timothy 3:10). When we depart from the apostolic pattern [which is for like-minded believers to develop close, spiritual friendships in their daily tasks and lives], we misrepresent what Christ died to achieve and raise up a false image of God in the earth. Pointedly, church is not a holy place, but a holy people–and a means of relating to one another according to the commandments of God.
This is why, while preparing for the rigors of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ prayed for His present and future disciples with these words: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me,” (John 17:20-21).
It is in our unity and love for one another that the greatest testimony of our faith is made known. Cooperating to achieve practical goals requires a humility beyond that which is typically associated with the traditional church experience–for it is not always easy to keep collective commitments–or to share communal responsibilities.
In the days ahead, our need to function as an extended family will only grow. Just as the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through sufferings, so also will the church [the bride of Christ] be made without spot or blemish by her many persecutions (Ephesians 5:27; Hebrews 2:10). The entire New Testament is written as a warning for us to prepare for the testing that will come at the end of the age. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended [against God]. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever skillet you will think that he doeth God service,” (John 16:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Hebrews 2:10). [Words in brackets mine]
We are forewarned because we are not to live in fear, worrying about [real or imagined] evil things:
“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.
–Isaiah 8:12-13 [NKJV]
We are to fear God, not man.
Consider Paul’s words to those in the church at Thessalonians:
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
–2 Thessalonians 2:1-2
The believers in this locality were wholly distracted, their minds shaken and hearts continually troubled by deceitful men claiming apostolic revelation [“nor by letter as from us”] in order to build personal acclaim. Overcome by lies, the people were now in bondage [to fear]–believing that the time of great tribulation was upon them–and that they had missed the catching away [rapture] (2 Peter 2:19).
Any distraction from our godly responsibilities is a dangerous thing: and in the latter days, these deceptions will increase by a multitude and variety of means:
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [of our Lord’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who oppose and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God,” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). [words in brackets mine]
Notice, the apostle warns that men will try to deceive believers into thinking that they can avoid the prophesied time of great trouble [for which cause, they will not be prepared]. In an age of apostasy, there are many deceptions to distract believers from focusing upon essential things.
Paul specifies two conditions that must be satisfied before Christ returns and the time of great trouble ends:
- A Falling Away: the rise of the false bride of Christ, the apostate church, full of corruptions and every evil work. As John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming of the Lord, so too will this growing deception and false form of Christianity groom people to believe the anti-christ’s lies and manipulations (Revelation 17:3-6; 18).
- The Rise of the Man of Sin [anti-christ]: when Jerusalem is surrounded by foreign invaders and the anti-christ stands in the holy place, pronouncing himself as god. Notice, Matthew and Luke’s words: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh (Luke 21:20); when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place …” (Matthew 24:15). If death has not taken us, we will physically see the revealing of the man of sin.
Once we have accepted the fact that we have a pressing need to prepare, the enormity of the challenges facing us can sometimes lead to feeling overwhelmed, especially for those just entering the prepping lifestyle. Through much prayer, God has given me 3 extraordinarily simple rules to follow that bring order to my efforts and peace to my mind:
- Doing something is better than doing nothing
- Simple beats complex [do what works for you]
- Do first things first [what the Spirit first reveals]; and the rest of preparations will fall into place
Throughout the book of Isaiah, we find the same pattern: entire chapters detailing the tremendous calamity and wide-spread ruin that will come upon those who have turned from the true worship of God: and interspersed throughout, here and there, God’s repeated promise to deliver the faithful.
If you are not appointed to martyrdom (Revelation 6:9-11), and have been prepared before hand by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will prevail: for “a prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished,” (Proverbs 22:3). It is deception to lose our focus upon Christ and His warnings, wasting our time on non-essential things: Jesus Christ is the true Ark–He alone has the power to grant men eternal life–and prepare them for the day of battle.
As the following parable attests, all of our preparations [stored riches] will count as nothing if our faith and dependence is not foremost in and upon God:
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. – Luke 12:16-21