“Rock’s Cover Us. . .Hide Us from the Wrath to Come”
End Time Preppers
By Rev. Bob Liichow
Men’s hearts will fail them for fear and for looking upon those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21:26
The engine that moves the cosmos (κόσμος ) is fear and the engineer is Satan himself, the fallen defeated god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). Fear comes from uncertainty about the future and many people today are very afraid. They are afraid of a great many things including the future of the world’s economy (Cyprus and Greece spring to mind), our corrupt political system, the influx of illegal immigrants, the threat of homosexuals being given the ‘civil right’ of marriage, global ecological problems, and the fear of pandemic disease. I could go into the dangers facing our food supply in America due to the drought last year, rising gasoline prices which affects the cost of virtually everything, potential gun ownership restrictions, our national debt and currency issues, our weakened military, rising nuclear enemies, terrorists who are unlimited in the means of terror they use (for example an “EMP,” biological weapons, dirty nuclear suitcase bomb, poison the water supply) and the list goes on.
One thing is certain; there is no shortage of things to be very afraid of. Everything I have cited are in fact genuine problems, some more severe than others but many of them could potentially destroy our lives and country as we know them.
Where There Is Fear There Is Profit
For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA — aka Obamacare) becomes the law of the land. No one understands the full impact of this law, few people understand it at all and yet it will impact every American citizen. Due to the unknown, the misinformation and now what is truly being revealed about the ACA, people are very afraid. The solution? Write and sell a book for $19.95 on how to understand and overcome the ACA! The author is making a fortune on his book. The event that help crystalize this in my thinking was seeing Jim Bakker a few months ago on his television program shamelessly pandering to the somewhat legitimate concerns of people regarding the possibility of food and power shortages in the near future. We covered some of his latest fundraising gimmicks a few months back in a prior issue (December, 2012).
The “end of days” is a huge business in America and across the globe. There is an unspoken generalized societal feeling that everything could potentially come crashing down on our heads for a wide variety of reasons. One I did not mention in the listing of reasons to fear is the belief in an apocalyptic ending of this world as a cosmic judgment upon humanity. We experienced an inkling of what some people feared with the advent of “2013” and the Mayan calendar. People actually sold everything, quit their jobs, moved onto high mountains above the projected flood plain and waited for the end to come (they are still waiting, but now on their newly acquired mountain top property).
On television we have a couple of programs dedicated specifically to End Time Prepper tactics. One is aptly called End Time Preppers and it examines the various beliefs people have about the end of the world and what steps they are specifically taking to plan for the end. The methods of preparedness will vary depending upon the catastrophe envisioned. Prepping for a pandemic is somewhat different than prepping for an EMP or zombie apocalypse. What was concerning to me were the amount of people interviewed who stated they were Christians and that God’s Word has led them to prepare in this manner. Another program is entitled Doomsday Preppers which is devoted to building bunkers underground or semi-buried for folks to gather their family and make a stand against whoever else is left wandering alive on their own outside the compound. There is now something called “Prepper.tv” online and “Prepper radio” also online to help educate people on how to “bug out, hide and survive” the coming horrors!
For around $100,000 you can have companies dig a big hole in your property and place a steel storage container (maybe 2 or 3 connected) in it and cover it up for you! The interiors can be as lavish or as basic as your budget provides. Naturally they will provide actual booby-traps, gun turrets, flame throwing devices, surveillance cameras (securely stored in a “Faraday cage” to protect it from a possible EMP).
Naturally, in the minds of these fearful Preppers their biggest concern after the apocalypse is other people. They have prepared for the inevitable catastrophe physically, but what of the moral questions involved? How to handle those outside one’s protected enclosure is something Preppers acknowledge as a genuine concern. Brother Prepper looks outside via his periscope and sees a woman and little child banging on their door for food and water. What is the policy? Let them in? Toss them some vitals and tell them to scram? Ignore them, treat them as hostile and kill them? What if they are just “bait” and a large group of armed people lays in hiding waiting for you to open the blast doors? After all, you scrimped saved and planned —– those outside did not, they deserve what they get. . . If you are a Christian I think you see the deep theological issues at hand which I do not believe have been properly considered by our prepping brethren.
For whoever desires to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
It might be possible to survive some huge catastrophe temporarily only to end up eternally in hell. Are a few more years on this fallen sinful ball of stone worth an eternity separated from God?
Much of the Prepper worldview seems really to focus on saving “me and mine” which is nothing less than a quintessential display of the flesh. Our flesh always wants to preserve itself, to avoid pain and sacrifice. It demands to be fed what it wants and when it wants it and our flesh eschews out of repulsion and fear of death (see Romans 8:7) the light of God’s Word (see John 3:20).
Important Rabbit trail: Please understand that our flesh cannot be reformed, renewed, kept submissive. It is either fed by us or it is starved. Never underestimate its hatred for God and its aversion to His Word. The only solution for the problem of our flesh is to reckon it dead (Romans 6:12) and remind ourselves that the old man was drowned in the waters of holy baptism (Romans 6:3) each morning as we walk by faith, taking up our cross and following our Lord.
A More Biblical Response
In the KJV the phrase “fear not” occurs 653 times and it is the common response of our Lord Jesus to His disciples (see Matthew 17:7; Mark 5:36; Luke 5:10, etc.). Since the fall of Adam fear has reigned over fallen humanity. Adam’s first response after sin to his Father was “I heard Thy voice in the garden and I was afraid” (Gen 3:10). Even the Word of Faith heretics Copeland, Crouch, Dollar, Meyer, and Hinn all rightly say that “fear is the opposite of faith.” The majority of the Preppers are motivated by fear and the preservation of self. The Bible clearly states that whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:25-30
People do not build bunkers, invest in guns and gold with faith in Jesus Christ. Ultimately these Preppers confidence is in their preparations, their dehydrated food supply and ammunition. Their actions prove that they are very worried about the unknown future. They have put their anxiety into action and yet God’s Word counsels us saying —
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
There is only ONE WAY possible to remain anxious for nothing, and that is by fixing our eyes firmly on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Peter, in obedience to our Lord’s command began to walk on water until he looked at his circumstances, taking his eyes off of Jesus and then he began to sink (Matthew 14:30). We know that Peter cried out to Jesus for mercy and the Lord saved him.
Okay, Fear Rightly
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
If we must “fear” then let us fear the Living God in Whose hands is the power to grant eternal life or allow us to suffer the just consequences of our sins. The same Greek word “φοβέομαι” (phobeomai) is used and it means both to be terrified as well as to deeply reverence. We are counseled by our Lord to NOT be terrified of, nor reverence out of slavish concern those who can at most kill the physical body, which is destined to decay and die (see 2 Cor. 4 :16 ) due to our sin at some point. We are to reserve our fear for God alone. Godly fear ——
. . .comes from the believer’s apprehension of the living God. According to Luther, the natural man cannot fear God perfectly; according to Rudolf Otto, he is ‘quite unable even to shudder grauen) or feel horror in the real sense of the word’. Holy fear, on the other hand, is God-given, enabling men to reverence God’s authority, obey his commandments and hate and shun all form of evil (Je. 32:40; n. 22:12; Heb. 5:7). It is, moreover, the beginning (or principle) of wisdom (Ps. 111:10); the secret of uprightness (Pr. 8:13); a feature of the people in whom God delights (Ps. 147:11); and the whole duty of man (Ec. 12:13). It is also one of the divine qualifications of the Messiah (Is. 11:2–3).
If we must fear, then let us fear the One who is actually in control of the universe and all our tomorrows. Let us fear Him who knows the “end from the beginning” (see Isaiah 46:10). If we would seek to secure our “goods” then let us attend to our Master’s words when He says —
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
I would ask the Preppers where they are storing their treasure. Is it buried in a bunker somewhere or are they living by the principle of “freely received, thus freely given” (see Matthew 10:8)?
How Should We Respond?
Subtract the threat of hungry zombies and marauding Muslims attacking our shores and ask yourself this simple question. If you lost all your utilities in a storm and you could not drive out for a week, would you survive? No heat, no light, no gas, no running water and no ability to drive anywhere, what will you do? This is a serious question that ought to be addressed by us all.
man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: But the simple pass on, and are punished. Proverbs 22:3
Wisdom would dictate being prepared for the possibility of having to meet just such a scenario as I have described. Contrary to the Jim Bakker’s expensive offers it really is not that expensive to set aside enough food and water for your family and a few others within the space of a small closet in an apartment. Areas are hit by natural disasters with unfailing regularity and I have discovered that most of God’s people (my own family included) are not prepared to help ourselves, let alone our neighbors. If not wisdom, then godly love for others should impel us as God’s dear children to be able to help those in need around us.
Not only do I pose this question to us as individuals, I also ask it of our congregations. Our congregation currently supports a local Christian run soup kitchen which is laudable. However, currently we have not yet given consideration (at least not since I have been a member, which is not too long) to the possibility of setting aside non-perishables as a congregation for our surrounding community in the event of an emergency. Regardless of the size of any of our congregations, each one could set aside something on a weekly basis. Folks, it really is a relatively “painless” endeavor for any congregation to undertake and the food will at some point always prove to be a blessing to someone in need.
In Christ you and I have died, buried with Him in the waters of baptism (see Col. 2:12) and raised up in Him to newness of life. The inescapable
fact is this —- we no longer belong to ourselves Acts 20:28 says He purchased the Church with His blood as does 1 Cor. 6:20. Since we belong to Jesus, He is our acknowledged LORD and if words mean anything then this means we are not “LORD.” The Christian is freed of needing to care for themselves because we follow our Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and with childlike faith (we know in whom we have believed 2 Tim. 1:12) we trust Jesus to meet our needs.
In Him being freed from ourselves (experienced now to the degree that we will trust Him) we can now focus on the needs of those all around us, our neighbors. This concern for others is what I find missing from the ethos of the Preppers.
Christ Jesus came and gave His life away for the sins of the world (John 3:16-18) out of love and now as His disciples we are called to follow His example, as He has said “the servant is not above His Master” (Matthew 10:24). Our Lord’s brother James could not state things more clearly regarding what comprises true religion —
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows
in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet (Amos 7:14) and I cannot tell anyone what is going to happen tomorrow. However, as I have written, I believe that godly wisdom and prudence dictate that as ambassadors for the kingdom of God (2 Cor. 5:20) each of our households should be provisioned in case of an emergency.
Remember Joseph. . .Prepper With A Heart For Others
And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. Genesis 41:35-36
One does not have to have a dream from God, know how to discern the prophetic portents or subscribe to conspiracy theories to remember —-
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest.