Over the years in my discussions defending the doctrine of the pre-Tribulation Rapture of Christ’s true church, there have inevitably been those who pushed back, saying believers must endure the indignities of the 7-year Tribulation.
The amount of Scripture that contradicts their position, and the logic against it, never seems to deter these people.
I have no doubt that many are good and true Christians, but I also believe they are deceived – something the Bible explicitly warns us about in these last days.
One of my major arguments has to do with the character of God. He went to all this trouble to redeem us by sending His Son to be tortured and killed on our behalf. Jesus took ALL of our sins upon Himself by His grace and mercy. Ephesians 2:8-9 famously tells us it’s solely by God’s grace that He’s done this, and we have no works, nor effectively anything to prove given Christ’s sacrifice. Because of God’s character – His love – He has given His all to us who were held in the grip of sin and could do nothing. There isn’t anything more we can add to our deliverance. Yet, for some reason, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ think we have to join in with unbelievers during the Tribulation to suffer God’s wrath.
Of course, a significant problem with this position is that it refocuses people’s eyes on the world rather than on Jesus. Instead of watching and waiting for Him with breathless anticipation, far too many of God’s people are worried about having prepared enough to make it through these seven years. Christian prepping is probably as big of an industry as secular prepping. Both groups know something big and bad is coming; it’s just that the spiritual aspects of each differ quite a bit – or they should, at any rate.
I’ve asked the question any number of times: Do Christians taking this prepping approach truly understand the horrors to come in the Tribulation? I keep coming back to the conclusion that they seemingly don’t. For the sake of brevity, I won’t insert all of Isaiah 24 into this commentary, but I recommend you read it. However, here are several verses pulled from this passage that give us a sense of how awful those seven years will be:
“Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.”
“Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.”
“Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!”
“The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but this description by Isaiah is one that makes me want to stay as far from this world as possible when all this comes about.
I’m very happy to be an escapist, given what is soon to befall this earth.
This is not “normal” tribulation, as we read about it in the Bible. This is far more than that. It is the wrath and judgment of God for a very specific purpose – namely, to bring punishment upon this Christ-rejecting world. How do you prep for that?
Interestingly, God addresses the Israelites in Isaiah 22:8-11 for their prepping in the past that was to no avail:
“He has taken away the covering of Judah. In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.”
It’s the age-old problem: Man can do all he wants to prepare for what is to come, but if he doesn’t consult God, it’s all for naught.
Jesus teaches us this in the Beatitudes in Matthew 6:19:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…”
He expands this idea in Luke 12:13-21:
“Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
It doesn’t matter what we do to prep for any coming situation in this world, God is in charge. As The Preacher – King Solomon – says in Ecclesiastes, all that we do in this world is vain – it’s folly – unless we turn to God as our source and hope of life.
It’s for this reason that Jesus told the parable in Luke 12:35-40:
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
The only prepping we have to do is to be ready for Christ’s imminent return.
This is our job – our purpose, i.e., to occupy until He comes by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls. The virtuous servants in this parable watched the horizon and kept the fires burning for their master who might return at any time. The dishonorable servants had no clue and apparently didn’t care. Who was faithful?
There’s nothing wrong with prudently preparing for a short-term emergency. In fact, we should, given the instability in the world.
I don’t expect my feeble arguments to change the minds of our prepping friends, but I do hope that they will reconsider who God is and His promises to His church – His Bride – His friends – His children – His Beloved. God will not allow those of us who are called by these names – His Name! – to suffer alongside the unbelieving world in the days soon to come.
How thankful I am for what he has in store for those of us He loves – we who have loved Him in return.
The transcript for this audio commentary is available at my website blog under the post with the same title:
Gary Ritter website: books & blog
Kindle Vella story: Tribulation Rising