"So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." (Matthew 24:44)
Matthew Chapter 24 is the great discourse of Jesus concerning world calamities, tribulations and His Second Coming. The book of Revelation provides even more details. The Apostles all believed Jesus would return during their lifetime, but He did not. Since then, the world has been waiting for Jesus to come again. In the past 50 years, there have been a number of dire predictions that the end of the world was just around the corner. Israel’s ‘coming of age’ on their 30th anniversary of being country, the year 2000, certain presidents being elected, certain economic events and pandemics have all inspired people to walk around carrying banners that read “The end is near”.
But this article is not about predicting the end of the world as we know it, nor analyzing the signs of the times. Jesus said "of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Matthew 24:36) If the angels and even Jesus Himself have no clue when the end is coming, who would dare to claim they have figured out the mind of the Father? Instead, this article is about the one thing Jesus does make clear about the end times…“be prepared”.
Jesus did not give His disciples a "Survival Guide" for the end times. Scripture does not give Christians clear instructions on what to do, even in the book of Revelation. “Be prepared” is vague and open-ended. Thus, many people have interpreted the meaning of "be prepared" and have published their recommended “must do” instructions for survival in those times.
This article is not another survival guide. Instead, it looks at common survival recommendations to see if they can be supported by Scripture or if they fail as Christian solutions to the end times.
Here are the most common recommendations from survival preachers for surviving the tribulations and end times described in the book of Revelation; and what Scripture tells us about these recommendations.
Store food, water and supplies
The first and most common recommendation is to store food and water, lots of food and water. This, of course, makes perfect sense. The medical profession generally agrees that humans can live no more than four days without water and no more than fourteen days without food. This recommendation also includes the storing of medical supplies and staples such as toilet paper. Generators and supplies of gas, or solar generators, are also a must. But Scripture and especially Jesus give us different food for thought.
Jesus told the crowds a parable of the “Rich Fool” in Luke 12:16-21. Having a bountiful harvest, the rich man tore down his barns and built bigger barns. The rich man became quite pleased with himself, that he was well-prepared for many years. The parable continues, "But God said to him 'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?'." Thus, the first flaw of the survivalist’s plan to store supplies is they may never get to use them. Nobody knows the hour of their death and nobody knows the exact time frame of the end times. But this is not necessarily a deterrent to storing food, as many might be willing to store everything for the comfort of loved ones who would inherit it.
Continuing in Luke 12:21-29, Jesus taught His disciples about dependence on God. Jesus pointed out the ravens and flowers. They do not sow or reap and have no barns, yet God provides for them. “How much more important are you than birds!”. Jesus advises, “Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore.” (Luke 12:29) The Apostle Paul assures us, “God will fully supply whatever you need." (Philippians 4:19) So, the bigger problem with storing supplies is basically it says to God “I do not trust you. Therefore, I will take matters into my own hands.”
In the Old Testament, Exodus Chapter 16, we have a great example of faith in God and what happens when we do not trust in God. God said to Moses “I am going to rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.” Those who lacked faith and gathered more than their daily bread found all the excess to be wormy and inedible the next day. Not inferring this would happen, but there is a possibility that regardless of the “use by” date God could make the stored food wormy and inedible before it was eaten. If God has a point to make, it will be made. If God has a will, it will be done.
Jesus says "I am the bread of life, he who comes to me shall not hunger." (John 6:35) Catholics and Protestants who do not follow the lives of Saints can miss the inspiration of documented Eucharistic miracles. Saint Catherine of Sienna lived solely on the Eucharist for twenty-five years. Servant of God Floripes de Jesús, better known as Lola, lived on the Eucharist alone for 60 years. Alexandrina Maria da Costa, who suffered the passion of Jesus, lived on the Eucharist alone for thirteen years. If God wills a person to live without any source of food other than His body and blood, they will live. Then their life will become a great inspiration to others about the might and mercy of God, that others may be saved.
There is no evidence that Scripture supports the storing of food and supplies. God is displeased when people lack faith in Him and take matters into their own hands. How can one in good conscience pray “Give us this day our daily bread” and then set up storehouses of food, water and supplies?
Store guns and ammunition
Just for a moment, assume the storing of food and supplies would actually be approved by Jesus. Having a great stash of anything would do no good if the baddies could come and steal it. It’s a good thing the United States Constitution permits the right to own and bear arms. Those semi-automatics will come in handy when one is outnumbered by baddies coming after what is not rightfully theirs. But Scripture and especially Jesus shoot this one down.
The most obvious Scripture concerning guns is "Thou shalt not kill." (Exodus 20:17) Killing another person is a mortal sin because that person’s ability to "repent and believe" (Mark 1:15) is taken away. If the person killed is not in a state of grace with God, their soul would go to eternal punishment. The shooter, who took away their chance to repent, is now responsible for that lost soul and is liable for eternal punishment themself. God's commandment is not written as "Thou shalt not kill, unless...". God does not condone killing simply for the sake of bread.
One might say "I would not kill them, only disable them.” However, just wounding someone does not work either. Jesus tells us, "I say to you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) If killing is wrong and wounding is wrong, that does not leave many options…except to share.
Consider the parable of the goats and the sheep in Matthew 25:31-46. The parable begins with Jesus saying "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him". This verse appears to reference the Second Coming of Jesus. When Jesus comes, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep inherit eternal life because "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me." The goats, who did not share, are condemned to eternal punishment.
There is no evidence that Scripture supports the owning and use of guns to protect worldly belongings. Christians are called to be "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14), to share and bring Christ to others. Answering the door with a loaded gun and pointing it at a stranger does not bring the light of Christ to others. How ironic it would be, if the one pointing the gun was also wearing a cross around their neck.
Invest in worthy assets
Survival blogs often remind us that hyperinflation will cause the price of all goods to increase dramatically, and a loaf of bread will cost a whole day’s wage. Many also advocate that guns, ammo, food, water, medical supplies and other survival necessities will become the currency of the future. Survivalists advise everyone to invest mainly in precious metals; but to also have plenty of cash on hand. But, money can’t buy me love.
"Wealth is useless on the day of wrath." (Proverbs 11:4) The end times are not going to simply be some random natural event that disrupts life as we know it. The great chastisement and great tribulation will be punishments from the Father’s wrath because of sin. Once His wrath opens up on our sinful world, nobody will be able to save themself through their own efforts and wealth.
Even without turning to Scripture, something is terribly wrong with this concept. First of all, it is highly unlikely that anyone would part with a single morsel of food for any amount of money. One with food and supplies will in no way risk their own survival by selling what they need to live on. It is not likely there would even be bread to buy at a day’s wage. Supplies to make bread would be scarce and it is doubtful there would be working factories with employees to make the bread. Stores, if there are any, will have nothing in them from all the looting. Maybe the whole point of wealth at that time is just hoping to live long enough to come out ahead of the game.
Have an exit plan
Some survivalists recommend the only hope for survival is to escape the cities and head for the mountains, as mountains can provide clean water, food and refuge. Survivalists believe that the mountains would give one the ability to potentially survive forever. Running to the mountains is a great plan, as long as one is willing to tell Jesus “Take a hike!”
Jesus commands His followers to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15) and "your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:16) The Apostle Paul writes "God wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) One cannot run away and hide, yet preach the gospel to the world.
God's plan of salvation cannot be accomplished if all Christians high-tail it to the mountains and seclude themselves. The tribulation and days of darkness are intended to bring the world to repentance. Therefore, it would be wrong for Christians to sit in a cave and be content with their own salvation and let the rest of the world just go to …
Calculating the Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ
All the survivalists’ plans would be completely inconsequential if we knew the end times were not in our lifetime. There would be no reason to change anything we do if the world was simply going to carry on as is for another hundred years. Thus, survivalist preachers need some reason, some authority, to make people believe these things will happen soon or are already upon us. Let’s look at two of the survivalist's greatest cases.
Nostradamus was a French astrologer, apothecary and physician who is best known for his book Les Prophéties published in 1555. The book is a collection of 942 poetic verses, known as quatrains, which allegedly predict future events. Nostradamus is by far the most quoted prophet concerning the end times. Followers believe he predicted the great fire of London, the coming of Hitler, the atomic bombing of Japan, 911 and more. Given the uncanny correlation between some of his quatrains and historical events, one has to consider the possibility he really could see into the future. This has led some to speculate on the meaning of other quatrains and what may be coming next.
Most followers of Nostradamus sell themselves short because they have never read the actual quatrains. They have simply heard that Nostradamus predicted things and then accept that as good enough for them. When one reads the actual quatrains, one finds them to be cryptic and vague. Different forms of logic need to be applied to individual quatrains to make them fit the associated event. Different forms of logic include changing a name, rearranging letters and slightly fudging a number. Consider the following:
- Hister is considered to be a reference to Hitler, because the quatrain also references Germany.
- Rearranging the letters in three Paris towns listed in one quatrain can spell Napaulon Roy, considered to be a reference to Napoleon; since Roy closely resembles Roi which is the French word for king.
- “The heavenly dart which brings a proud nation low by the stone in a tree” is considered a reference to Japan and the atomic bomb, since the mushroom cloud of the bomb looks like a tree.
- “The sky will burn at forty-five degrees as fire approaches the new city” is believed to be a reference to the events of 911 in New York City. The forty-five degrees is considered a reference to the latitude of New York City, which is actually at latitude forty.
In all fairness, the quatrains very well might reference the associated events and Nostradamus might be the greatest prophet ever. The problem, however, is the event must actually happen before it can be associated to a quatrain. Quatrains do not indicate the year, decade or even century of an event. Therefore, there is no certainty that any event associated to a quatrain is the actual event that Nostradamus was referring to. And multiple events may apply. For example, if in twenty years a new leader who is named Hister appears in Germany, then the proposed correlation to Hitler must have been all wrong.
Since an event must happen first and then quatrains analyzed to see if a quatrain applies, it is completely invalid to first read quatrains and then attempt to predict future events. The analyst may apply the wrong logic (see above examples) and certainly would only be guessing as to any time frame.
Bible codes, also known as Torah codes
The Bible code, or Torah code, is a purported set of encoded words within a Hebrew text of the Torah that, according to proponents, has predicted significant historical events. These became popular in 1994 when Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg published a paper titled "Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis". The paper suggested there is statistical evidence that biographical information concerning famous rabbis was encoded in the text of the Book of Genesis centuries before those rabbis lived. For more information concerning Torah Codes, including examples of how the codes work, check out Wikipedia.
Studies of Torah codes have brought about many criticisms. The first criticism is the source of the text. Codes are applied to translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls and not the original text. Thus, the predictions cannot be considered as being intended by the original authors. Various starting and stopping points are used, as well as varying letter translations, causing some to believe the results are cooked. Critics also consider Torah codes to be fatally flawed because people and events are chosen first, and then different codes are applied until a match is found. This is similar to the problem of trying to predict events from Nostradamus. Since everything works backwards, there is no way to apply a Torah code to accurately predict a future event.
The Holy Mother’s view of our times
One of the most compelling arguments against all survivalist propaganda is that none of them considers, for even one second, the documented and approved historical prophecies of Our Lady. The following is a summary of a few important apparitions. Notice that Mary, unlike Nostradamus and the Torah codes, gives specific events and times. Additional information about all of these, and more, Marian apparitions is available on the Internet.
Quito, Ecuador in 1563
“Thus, I make it known to you that from the end of the 19th century and from shortly after the middle of the 20th century…passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs, for Satan will reign almost completely by means of the Masonic Sects. They will focus principally on the children in order to sustain this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times!” (Note: Freemasonry was not even founded until 1717. Consider, even for a moment, the state of schools today and what is being taught.)
“As for the Sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and deeply profaned.” (We know by what and how!)
“The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised.”
“The spirit of impurity that will saturate the atmosphere in those times. Like a filthy ocean, it will inundate the streets, squares and public places with an astonishing liberty. There will be almost no virgin souls in the world.”
Fatima, Portugal in 1917
“The war [WWI] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI.” (Note: Events leading to WWII began about six months before Pius XI died.)
“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” (Note: Russia was in turmoil and not considered a dominant power in 1917. It was soon after this that Lenin came into power and created the first socialist state, forming the Communist Party.)
Akita, Japan in 1973
“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed.”
"If men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son.“
“In order to free men from bondage to these heresies, those whom the merciful love of My Most Holy Son will destine for that restoration will need great strength of will, constancy, valor and confidence in God. To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions in which everything will seem to be lost and paralyzed.”
When one considers the accuracy of Mary's predictions 100 and 400 years ago, one must seriously consider the possibility that her predictions at Akita are likely to come true. Those who believe they are safely prepared for what is to come are fooling themselves. Their food and guns will be useless against the wrath of the Father. And those who actually survive will wish they had not.
Survivalists say the end times are clear and cast in stone. Our Holy Mother says “Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father's anger.” It is the responsibility of Christians (especially Catholics, who are the only ones to offer devotion to Mary) to spare the world from the calamities to come. Even without a devotion to Mary, all Christians must do their duty to God by praying, repenting of all sin and staying away from sin.
Survivalism is a money-making scam
It is estimated that 3.7 million people spend between $500 and $1,000 a year engaging in plans to save themself from what is to come. That amounts to survivalism being a $3 billion industry per year. The sale of food, supplies, books, survival kits, seminars, etc. are clearly making some people rich.
Jesus warned “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15) By hiding behind a church or claiming to be Christian, survivalists apply a logical fallacy known as “Transfer”. Transfer is a device by which the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something respected and associates it to something he would have us accept. Thus, because Scripture and God are referenced, survivalist propaganda is accepted when otherwise it would be rejected.
Survivalist preachers use tactics similar to those of "prosperity gospel" preachers. They quote verses of Scripture out of context and ignore all the verses which oppose their preaching. They claim to be Christian yet deny the words of Jesus in the Gospels. They apply personal interpretation to Scripture to twist the message to suit themselves. And like prosperity gospel preachers, are less concerned about the well-being of their followers than building their own bank accounts.
By the time the survivalist preacher is done, the sheep are brainwashed into thinking there is truth in survivalism and there is no other way. But those who believe they can deny God His justice or avoid chastisement by personal actions are just fooling themselves and throwing away money that should be given to the poor.
The Kingdom of Heaven
The Apostle Paul writes "If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth." (Colossians 3:1-2) Jesus tells us "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) A Christian’s heart needs to be in Heaven, not on earth. The following story from Matthew 19:16-23 is a good example of what happens when one’s treasure is on earth.
A rich young man approached Jesus and asked how to attain eternal life. Jesus responded "If you desire to be perfect go and sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; and come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus concluded, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” The man could have had great treasure for eternity in Heaven, but gave it up for a temporary earthly treasure that ends at death.
There is a spiritual challenge here for the one who has already begun their survivalist preparations. Great treasures in Heaven are waiting for those who give their stored food to the poor and sell their guns and ammunition to give the money to the poor. But for all those whose hearts lie in the treasures of earth instead of Heaven, they are going to simply walk away sadly from Jesus and the fullness of life He has to offer.
Salvation is much more than the simple “believe and confess” theory held by most Protestants. They forget, or ignore, the words of Jesus “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) In the example above, the man called Jesus Lord, but then walked away from eternal life because He was not willing to do God’s will. Imagine the shock of greeting Jesus after death with “Hi Lord, here I am!” only to be turned away.
Survivalism is a big business that takes in billions of dollars a year. Survivalist preachers give powerful sermons and cite only Scripture that is relevant to their cause. Authoritative sources such as the Bible, Nostradamus and Torah Codes are employed only to give credibility to their arguments. Their predictions are merely personal speculations and interpretations of vague prophecies, as they attempt to outguess the Father and gain knowledge that is not even given to angels. And yet, millions of people are led astray by the false teaching of survivalism. Christians should not fall into the desperation, despair and sin cast upon them by these wolves.
Survivalist preparations such as storing food, supplies and guns are not supported by Scripture and are actually contrary to the teachings of Jesus. These preparations indicate a lack of faith in God and a selfishness that casts aside Christian charity to the poor of today. The very thought of pointing a gun at another human being indicates a heart full of malice and hatred that is contrary to the command of Jesus to love one another and pray for those who persecute us. Many early Christians gave their backs to those who beat them and died for the sake of Jesus. That faith is nearly gone in Christians of today.
Maybe being prepared is not a vague concept or as difficult as one might believe. According to Mary, our Holy Mother, we just need to prepare our soul to meet Her Holy Son. We prepare by praying, fasting and doing penance in hopes of appeasing the Father’s wrath and hoping to save many souls in the world. Christians also prepare by heeding her message of repenting from sin and living a holy life. We examine our conscience, look at every action we take and stop doing things that offend the Father. If Christians do not stop offending God by their careless attitude about sin, they will be the cause of the Father's wrath inflicting punishment on the world.
We should seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than seeking to survive. Christians must keep in mind "the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Romans 14:17) Treasures stored on earth are treasures lost in Heaven. Every minute spent watching or listening to survivalist preachers and learning when the end of the world will come is a minute not spent seeking spiritual content that could draw one closer to God, help overcome sin and prepare one's soul to meet Jesus at death.
Stop listening to the survivalists…
“Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)