Surviving the Coming Tribulation.

Sub-title: "What" needs to survive the coming tribulation?

The Bible is very clear - there will be a time of great tribulation for the people living on this earth.

Mat 24:21 NET.  For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen.

There are also a number of people (Mike Adams from Natural News dot com is just one) who can see some very difficult times coming for the people living on the earth today. These same people also put forward some suggestions on how to survive during a time of world upheaval. Not all, but some suggest buying guns to protect your home, and stocking up on food and water.

Shooting another human is not an option for a Christian who obeys the commands of God not to take life (the Sixth Commandment), and surely, having an abundant stockpile of food is just a magnet for those who want to come and steal it. It will tough going.

Dan 12:1 NET.  ...
    There will be a time of distress
    unlike any other from the nation's beginning
    up to that time. ...
So - how do we survive the coming great tribulation?

Clearly - the worldly answer is not the Christian answer.

What are the options for Christians?

This article is about looking to the Bible for answers - or more specifically, looking to the words of God (Mat 4:4), His prophets (including Christ) and the Apostles, but not the words of men.

First we need to establish some foundational points.

There are other things that are more important than human life.

This is a fundamental point that will separate the Christians and those taking a worldly approach. When you read the articles written by those who are advocating how to survive a meltdown of society, it is all about holding on to life - as though that is the most precious commodity one can have.

It is not.

Mat 10:28 NET.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Here Jesus points out that our soul - the spiritual component of our life - is something we need to try to  protect more than our physical life.

Luk 12:4-5 NET.  "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do.  (5)  But I will warn you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell [lake of fire - permanent death]. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Christ's statement is pointing out a truth, but there may be people who are not clear about the difference between "body" and "soul".

Let me try to give you a thumbnail sketch of the difference. There are articles on the site that go into more detail about the points I am raising here.

The reason for life.

God is creating a family - not just any family, but a loving, and obedient family.

(Heb 12:23a NLT)  You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. 

The first part involves having physical humans reproducing to create more potential God-family members.

When a human is born, it is animal in nature. It has a physical body that can grow into an adult, and is equipped with certain instincts to help it survive -similar to all animals.

But an event happens at birth that sets humans apart from animals - with the child's first breath, it is given a spirit component. In other words - its "soul". This spirit of man lifts humans above the rest of the animals, and it enables humans to think, plan, reason, love, create, and understand something of the plan of God.

However, a human is not to stop there. They are intended to repent of their temporary nature, and their often transgressions of God's law (the Ten Commandments, and all the principles that underpin them). After submitting to baptism - an outward sign of an inner change - they then receive, via a laying on of hands, a down payment of the Holy Spirit.

Thus a Christian has three basic parts.

A physical body - kept alive by oxygen circulating in the blood.

The spirit of man - which also contains our memory banks, and allows us to operate and think above the level of animals, but still below the God level.

The Spirit of God. With the help of this Spirit, we can begin to keep the spirit of the law rather than just the letter of the law. To put it another way, we can begin to think and act like God. Not perfectly at first, but hopefully always improving.

Death of a human.

When a human dies naturally or is killed, only the physical body is affected. The spirit of man, and the Spirit of God, still exist. Using these two spiritual components, Christ (John 5:25) can either resurrect the body to physical life, or the soul to spiritual life.

Back to Mat 10:28.

In a shorthand way, Christ is pointing out that there is a big difference between a human killing another human (destroying the body), and God the Father destroying the spirit of man (our soul) in the Lake of Fire.

[ In the Bible, there are two "hells" mentioned. You have to draw on the context to know which is which. One "hell" is temporary - the grave, and one "hell" is permanent - the Lake of Fire. Since the word "destroyed" is used, the "hell" of v28 has to be the permanent hell].

What needs to survive the tribulation?

For the people of the world - and that includes "casual" Christians - preserving physical life is the most important thing.

For Christians that keep all the Ten Commandments, and Holy Days of Lev 23, the most important thing is to preserve our place in the Kingdom of God.

Mat 6:33 NET.  But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

To receive eternal life - a place in the Kingdom of God - we have to demonstrate to God that we want it, we will appreciate it, and we will use it to serve Him and Christ. In other words, we show by deeds and actions, that our "soul" (our spiritual component) is more important than our "body" (our physical component). Or, to put it another way, we demonstrate that we want to please God, rather than please the self.

So what needs to survive the tribulation?  

Our character, as recorded by the spirit of man. Our track record of doing the "right thing" (keeping the Ten Commandments) even to our own hurt at times.

Losing our life to keep it.

To most people, this will make no sense at all.

However, to a wholehearted Christian, it makes perfect sense.

There is a mini-theme in the Gospels about this, and I think it is good that we see how many times it is mentioned.

Mat 16:25 NET.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mar 8:35 NET.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it.

Mat 10:39 NET.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.

Luk 9:24-25 NET.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  (25)  For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself?

Luk 17:33 NET.  Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.

Joh 12:25 NET.  The one who loves his life destroys it, and the one who hates his life in this world guards it for eternal life.

Rev 2:10 NET.  Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself.

While Rev 2:10 is a prophecy that has been fulfilled, the principle of remaining faithful still holds for all of us.

The above seven Scriptures point out a major difference between Commandment keeping Christians (including the Friday sunset to Saturday sunset fourth), and people of the world (including casual Christians who keep Sunday, Easter and Christmas).

Definition of a true Christian.

As I see it, a true Christian (one who is trying to follow Christ's example) is a person who understands that preserving our "soul"  (our spirit/character component) is more important than preserving our physical life - as Jesus demonstrated by being willing to die according to his Father's will.

The man Jesus, willingly gave up his life, because his Father wanted it as a sacrifice to cover the sins of all mankind. It was not an easy thing to do (dying at the hands of evil men never is) but doing the Father's will is what a servant does. And Jesus demonstrated that he was a true servant (Mark 10:42-45).

Things we can do.

If you have been observant about your life and your relationship with God, one thing you would have noticed is that usually God does not do for us the things we can - and should - be doing for ourselves.

What I am trying to get at is - we should not just throw our hands in the air, say it is all too hard, and do nothing.

About 10% of the world population will survive the tribulation. Thus there is a one in ten chance we can be one of them.

Though not all that clear in the Bible, there is an indication that two groups of people will be taken to a "place of safety" during the tribulation.

Rev 12:6 NET.  and she [the church] fled into the wilderness where a place had been prepared for her by God, so she could be taken care of for 1,260 days.

Rev 12:14 NET.  But the woman [the church] was given the two wings of a giant eagle so that she could fly out into the wilderness, to the place God prepared for her, where she is taken care of — away from the presence of the serpent — for a time, times, and half a time [1260 days].

Joe 2:32 NLT  But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved, for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape, just as the LORD has said. These will be among the survivors whom the LORD has called.

So the first group have a strong spiritual profile, and are preserved - it would appear - in Jerusalem.

Isa 16:4-5 NLT  Let our refugees stay among you [in Moab], Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past." When oppression and destruction have ended and enemy raiders have disappeared,  (5)  then God will establish one of David's descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth. He will always do what is just and be eager to do what is right.

V5 is talking about Christ setting up government in the Kingdom of God, so v4 is just before this happens.

The second group have a more physical profile, and are preserved in Moab (or todays Jordan).

If we do our best, we may well be able to qualify to be in either one of these two groups (one group in Moab and one in Jerusalem). 

Prepare physically.

When things go wrong in society, people panic. Food stores are stripped of their goods very quickly, or the store contents are just stolen.

Knowing this, we should prepare for short term food shortages. We should also expect that power and water will be cut, so the refrigerator and freezer are not reliable places of storage. This means that we need dry foods and containers of water - if you don't have a rainwater tank or access to a well or river (but boil first).

To get around the toilet not flushing, we need a camping toilet (the contents can be buried).

Deu 23:12-13 NET.  You are to have a place outside the camp to serve as a latrine.  (13)  You must have a spade among your other equipment and when you relieve yourself outside you must dig a hole with the spade and then turn and cover your excrement.

There are plenty of books and sites on the Internet, that go into what foods will keep without refrigeration and how you do it, so I won't take much space here. All dried foods (including milk and fruits) and seeds are good. Even common wheat, peas and beans can be sprouted to provide greens. Remember, you will need a camp stove (and some spare gas cylinders) to cook it on - or a wood fire under a bar-b-cue plate.

Why prepare physically?

If - as Christians - we are to preserve our soul (spiritual component), why am I talking about preparing physically?

As metal ships get older, the metal rusts and they start to leak. Usually just small holes at first. To keep the ship afloat, they have pumps to return the water to the sea. As long as the pumps can pump faster than the leaks, there is no problem. However, when the many small leaks can let in more water than the pumps can handle, the ship will eventually sink.

So too the human body can handle a number of negative situations and survive.

We can go without water for a few days, food for a few weeks. Our bodies can take some cold, and take some heat. However, if many of these negative impacts happen at the same time, then the effect is compounded, and we can die.

If the event that cuts off our food supply is local - say a storm, fire or flood - then it is short-sighted to stress our bodies to death, if supplies will be restored in a few weeks.

If we are in a stressful situation, then having some food and water will help us to make wiser decisions in the short term.  It is not about storing up years of food so we can rebel against God's correction.

Remember, the Tribulation is God's correction on the world (Big Disaster). God has become the world's enemy because they have rejected His laws - and even God Himself.

Prepare mentally.

There are two levels that we can use to prepare mentally.

At the lowest level, we need to see that the tribulation (war, famine, disease, and so on) is God's correction on the people of the world, for breaking His laws. Therefore we should should submit to that correction, and not rebel against it.

For those who do not understand how God goes about intervening in the affairs of the world, for people to not resist an invading army, they would be  labeled as guilty of treason. And that would be true if it was just one nation expanding its empire at the expense of another. However, the "God Factor" changes what is "normal".

How do we know the difference between "normal" war, and war that is part of God's correction?

I can imagine that there will be some who will disagree with the following statement, but I do have reasons for making it.

Any war we might experience from today forward, is God's correction.

Why do I say this?

In Deut 28:1-14, and especially v7, we read that God says He will bless the nation that obeys His laws. He will specifically protect that nation from attack by another nation, and bless it with abundant food and good health for both people and animals.

However, in verses 15 to 68, we can read of the curses that will come on a nation that fails to keep God's laws, and again He specifically says that they will defeated in war.

Thus - in simple terms, if we, or any other nation, experiences war, then we can know that the nation is not keeping God's laws. As we look around the Western World today, we can find evidence of people breaking God's law everywhere, so any war to come to a Western World nation, is in fact, part of God's correction.

At a higher level, we need to prepare our mind to willingly accept death rather than reject God.

Prepare spiritually.

Obviously, in the long term, this is much more important than the physical.

Mat 7:21 NET.  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

In simple terms, if we want to survive through the Tribulation and make it into the Kingdom of Heaven, then we must seek out and do - the Father's will.

This means that we must reject the lies Satan has had men place in the Bible, and get back to believing the words spoken by God and His prophets.

As I understand it (in September 2012), we need to be familiar with all the topics covered by the articles on this site (and there are more in the pipeline), and that means keeping the weekly Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, the yearly Sabbaths of Lev 23, getting in prayer at least once a day (hopefully more than once), and reading something from the Old Testament and the New Testament each day (emergencies excepted).

We need to understand that there was, is, and always will be - just one God, and that Jesus was a man who qualified to become the god Christ (only God the Father is a "God" with a capital "G"), and stands, and works, alongside God the Father.

Why put out this much effort?

There is good reason to put effort into rejecting what the world has to offer, and turning to what God has to offer.

Isa 33:15-16 NET.  The one who lives uprightly
    and speaks honestly;
    the one who refuses to profit from oppressive measures
    and rejects a bribe;
    the one who does not plot violent crimes
    and does not seek to harm others — (16)  This is the person who will live in a secure place;
    he will find safety in the rocky, mountain strongholds;
    he will have food
    and a constant supply of water.

Rev 12:14 NET.  But the woman was given the two wings of a giant eagle so that she could fly out into the wilderness, to the place God prepared for her, where she is taken care of — away from the presence of the serpent — for a time, times, and half a time.

Dan 12:1 NET.  "At that time Michael,
    the great prince who watches over your people,
    will arise.
    There will be a time of distress
    unlike any other from the nation's beginning
    up to that time.
    But at that time your own people,
    all those whose names are found written in the book,
    will escape.

Yes, we may well die during the Tribulation - and we must accept that possibility.

However, if we live in a way that is pleasing to God and Christ, it is also possible that we will be preserved in a special place during the Great Tribulation.

It is not so much about living or dying, but rather making it into the Kingdom, so we can help God and Christ set up the wonderful Word Tomorrow.

Isa 11:6-9 NET.  A wolf will reside with a lamb,
    and a leopard will lie down with a young goat;
    an ox and a young lion will graze together,
    as a small child leads them along.  (7)  A cow and a bear will graze together,
    their young will lie down together.
    A lion, like an ox, will eat straw.  (8)  A baby will play
    over the hole of a snake;
    over the nest of a serpent
    an infant will put his hand.  (9)  They will no longer injure or destroy
    on my entire royal mountain.
    For there will be universal submission to the LORD's sovereignty,
    just as the waters completely cover the sea.

If you love what God has planned for the world more than your own life, then your chances of being there to witness it all, are very high.

To put it another way - this is how to live life.

Mat 22:37-40 NET.  Jesus said to him, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  (38)  This is the first and greatest commandment.  (39)  The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  (40)  All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Bob Orchard Sep 2012

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