Pre-Tribulationists and even some post-Tribulationists seem to have two main objections to preparing for the Tribulation. One, it’s a lack of faith and two, it’s fear based.
So before we get into any discussions about how to prepare for the Tribulation let’s address these two issues.
The first thing we’ll look at is a story from the Bible that we all know quite well; the story of Noah’s ark.
Not the one in Genesis but the one that’s given to us in Hebrews 11:7.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
This scripture gives us the answer to our question: act of faith or act of fear?
The answer is: “both.” Noah, acted by faith, moved with fear.
The fear of God is a subject that you don’t hear much about today. Most people don’t understand it.
Satan has done a good job of portraying the fear of God as being like the fear of a child with an alcoholic father. They never know what kind of a mood he’ll be in and they never know what will set him off. Something that’s OK today may get them a beating tomorrow. They walk around in a constant state of terror and they dread the sight of their father.
When you try to talk to people about the fear of God today, this is the image they conjure up in their minds. They think that you believe God is like an alcoholic father and that’s why you fear him.
Of course, the opposite is what’s really true. We don’t fear God because He’s inconsistent and moody. We fear Him because He’s consistent. His word is true, and He won’t change it for anyone. With God, there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).
Jesus explained it like this: “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” (Matt. 10:28).
Putting that into the context of the times we live in might read something like this, “If someone orders you to take the Mark of the Beast under penalty of death, don’t be afraid of him because the worst he can do is kill you; after that God will take you to heaven. Instead, be afraid of God, because if you do take the Mark, God may not kill you right away, but when you do die, He will send your soul to hell forever.”
The fear of God could also be described as being afraid to doubt God. If you doubt His Word and take the Mark you will be damned. He won’t let you off the hook.
Noah was given a daunting task; to build what was probably the biggest boat ever made up to that time. I’m sure he had his detractors and those who said it couldn’t be done; he may have even felt that way himself. But Noah was afraid to doubt God. He knew that if God gave him the task then he would be able to do it. He also knew if he doubted God and didn’t prepare, then he and his family would be wiped out. So he put his faith in God’s warning and got busy. That’s how faith is moved by fear.
We don’t know how long it took to build the ark or how long it had been completed before the flood came. We do know that there was no visible sign of impending disaster when God told him to start building and that it must have taken considerable time and resources to build it.
But, most importantly, we know that God was very pleased with Noah’s demonstration of faith; so pleased, that He gave Noah the mantle of: “heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
Out of all the billions of people who have lived and died during the thousands of years between Adam’s sin and the birth of Jesus Christ, only one man in each generation received this title. It meant that God had chosen his bloodline as the Messianic bloodline. It was the greatest honor any person on earth could receive and it could only be bestowed by God. In his generation Noah was the man.
Those who condemn preparing for the Tribulation, as an act of fear, or as a lack of faith, would do well to meditate on Noah’s story for a while.
How does the flood compare to our present situation?
First of all, we’ve been given advance warning just as Noah was.
Second, just like Noah, we’ve been given specific instructions on what to prepare for.
Third, unlike Noah we’ve actually been given signs to tell us when it’s approaching.
Fourth, in addition to the advance warning, we’ve also been given a very stern admonition not to wait until the last minute to prepare. “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:31 & 32). In other words, don’t wait for the rain to come before you start building your Ark, it’ll be too late.
Fifth, Just as Noah was told what to do to survive; we’ve been told where to go to survive, or at least those living in Judea have. “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:16). Of course, most of us are not in Judea, but I think the message is clear, find a similar place of seclusion to flee to or move to the mountains of Israel when you see the time approaching.
Of course, there may be some who will say, that was different, because God specifically told Noah to build the Ark. Even though Jesus said to flee to the mountains, He didn’t say specifically say to prepare a place there ahead of time.
Now, seeing as how it will be fatal to pack when the time comes, and seeing as how Jesus told them where to flee to; don’t you think maybe He’s hinting at preparing a place in the mountains and stocking up some provisions ahead of time? If He was planning on delivering them Himself, why did He tell them to flee?
Now, let’s look again at the case of the famine in Egypt. Pharaoh was warned about the famine seven years before it came. Even though God didn’t specifically tell Pharaoh to store up anything for the famine, Joseph, the man of God, had learned from the lesson of Noah and quickly grasped that the purpose of the warning was to ensure that Egypt would be ready. He also understood that the purpose of the seven years of plenty was to ensure that they would be able to prepare. That’s why his advice was to start storing up for the famine immediately.
At the time, even Joseph didn’t know the full significance of his actions. But, he had the common sense to realize that God didn’t provide the dreams for Pharaoh’s entertainment. God doesn’t issue warnings for no reason. So for seven years Egypt stored up 20% of all their crops.
When the famine hit, Egypt was ready; but what about the rest of the land? They must have heard that Pharaoh was storing up food. They must have heard of the prophecies about the famine. A nation the size of Egypt could not store up 20% of all their harvests in secret.
But, apparently no one else was prepared for the famine, because the Bible says, “all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands” (Gen. 41:57). This is how Joseph was reunited with his family and this is how God chose to preserve Israel during the famine.
So, not only did Egypt and the countries that were all around benefit from preparing for the famine, but when you think about it, you and I benefitted as well, along with everyone who has ever lived and ever will live; since it was Joseph’s prudence that preserved the Messianic line, which brought salvation to the world through Jesus Christ.
Where would we be if the Messianic bloodline had perished in the famine?
Of course, it didn’t, because God provided a supernatural deliverance. God did His part by providing a heads up and seven years of record crops. Joseph did his part by building huge warehouses and storing up those crops. It wasn’t as supernatural as the manna, but it was God’s deliverance none the less.
It would have been too late for Israel and Egypt if Joseph had waited until the famine started before he stored up any food. There wouldn’t have been anything to store.
Once the anti-Christ takes over the food supply, and the Mark of the Beast comes out, Christians who fell for the pre-Tribulation deception will suddenly find themselves scrambling for food. They’ll be flocking to those who prepared, hoping they’ve got a little extra, just as all the nations flocked to Egypt.
Unfortunately, what they will get in many cases is the same answer given to the five unwise virgins, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:” (Matt. 25:9).