How do we prepare for the tribulation and Jesus’ return? While we’re asking questions, how do we prepare for any pre-tribulation tribulation? You know – the kind which often overtakes us in our daily lives.
Over the years I’ve noticed a burgeoning Tribulation Preparation Industry. I’m all for preparedness to a point. However I’ve always been – and still am – somewhat cynical that people can bunker down for seven years, waiting in hiding until the Lord returns. These items can be awfully costly. Most of us can’t afford to prepare that way.
Besides which, don’t our posttrib friends tell us that the church must be here during the tribulation in order to witness to the lost. So, are you going to share your Bibles, bunkers and food supplies (Matt 25:35)? Or just wait it out in hiding?
There are Tribulation Preparation books on the market as well. As an example, I’ve been following a series of blog entries by a writer plugging the preparation angle. He’s not selling preparation products, though. He’s selling an idea via books.
My writer friend began his advice by pointing out that we shouldn’t take the Mark of the Beast, contra John MacArthur. I addressed this in the article (MacArthur’s Mark of the Beast) and wrote:
Predictably, non-pretribbers saw it as confirmation of the dangers of pretribulationism. One individual recently wrote that churches are not preparing their flocks to face the Antichrist. They’re allegedly setting them up to be cast into hell.
If the rapture isn’t pretribulational and someone insists you take his brand on the hand or forehead and worship him on pain of death, he isn’t Jesus (Rev 13:16-16; 14:9-11). There’s nothing confusing about this. Just read your Bible.
How do you prepare for such an event, in case you’re wrong about the rapture? The writer failed to shed any light. We were told about the possible deception of the elect by false Messiahs and prophets. It’s all there in Matthew 24. Again, I suggest that the deterrent to deception is to read your Bible.
Incidentally, my contention is that the elect mentioned in Matt 24:24, 31 refers to Israel. See The Gathering of the Elect.
The solution for preparing for “Tribulation” ended up being an anticlimax for me. The target audience was pretribulationists. Aside from asserting that the church endures the seal judgments, there was no practical advice on tribulation.
Many Christians are already experiencing varying degrees of trials. What specific advice is available to those who are being persecuted and imprisoned for their faith today? What about those presented with a life or death choice regarding their faith? Will a posttrib eschatological system come to their rescue?
This has been a very tough year for our household. I won’t go into details. Moreover, I know people who’ve had it much, much harder. I should be the last person to complain or worry, though I too often do.
One pastor friend had to gather his family up to escape the fires in North California last year. Do you remember the “apocalyptic” videos and pictures? Not only could they have lost all their possessions, there was a real threat to their lives. I often think of him when I worry about my circumstances.
Then there were the poor people who lived through the Texas floods (Harvey). One friend was evacuated out of her apartment and practically lost everything. This sweet lady’s simple faith in Christ saw her through all that. Her faith was unshakable. Now that’s a clue!
There was Nabeel Qureshi, who has since gone to be with the Lord. At one point he produced a video (no longer available) while waiting to be evacuated from home due to rising floods around him. Even then, though he was obviously afraid, his faith in Christ was apparent.
The Christian Post cites him on his cancer:
“I am asking God to heal. I believe with all my heart that God has the power to heal in the blink of an eye. But, my faith in God isn’t shaken by whether or not He will heal me. I will believe in God no matter what. I trust him. He is sovereign and I love him.”
One isn’t prepared for tribulation merely by expecting it. This makes as much sense as thinking you’re prepared for a mathematics exam, just because you know it’s due next week. What have you actually done to prepare?
What sustained men like Robert Bruce, John Knox, William Tyndale, George Wishart and others through persecutions and even martyrdom? It was the love of Christ and the word of God. See also Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
Give me Christ alone! That’s the only sure way to endure tribulation. Nathan Busenitz’s article Only One Life is helpful. Busenitz writes that: “To live well is to live for Christ, and to die well is to die for His glory.” We must arm ourselves with an eternal perspective motivated by a desire to glorify God no matter the cost.
I’m not saying I have this tied up. I don’t. How often do I need to remind myself by reading passages such as Romans 8!
Finally, one is welcome to their posttrib rapture view, if it makes them feel better prepared. I just don’t see how it helps me, or anyone else for that matter. But perhaps an objective self-examination is in order if that’s all someone holds onto as preparation.
Joe Thorn talks about his experiences: