In Northern Wisconsin we have an additional hunting weekend starting tomorrow, so I will be in the woods in sub-zero degree weather before the crack of dawn with my trusted friend, Henry 308. It got me thinking of a question that I am often asked, “Should I prepare physically and prep for food for the great tribulation?” Or a variant of this is, “Should I hunker down during the great tribulation and live off the land?”
These are legitimate questions since we are not under the false notion that we will be whisked away in beds of ease before the Antichrist takes over.
My answer to this question is only preliminary and does not represent my entire biblical theology on this matter.
There may be something romantic about the idea of hunkering down during the Antichrist’s great tribulation in order to be alive when Jesus returns. I get it. I am also a survivalist at heart.
On the other hand, I don’t have any delusions about this goal, since the reality is the book of Revelation defines overcoming the beast as martyrdom. God is concerned about your faithfulness to him during this time—and not how many squirrels you can field dress, process, and eat. If you fail to be faithful to Christ by giving your allegiance to the Antichrist—you lose.
To be sure, in his Olivet Discourse, Jesus warns believers to flee to the mountains away from the Antichrist for protection against him (Matt 24:15–22). This suggests that Jesus is concerned for the physical well-being of Christians and intends for an elect remnant to be alive at his Parousia.
That said, your top priority is not to physically elude the Antichrist’s detection. In Jesus’s Olivet Discourse, after his command to flee, he focuses the remaining part on spiritual faithfulness against the temptations to apostatize: (1) persecution, (2) false teachings, and (3) slothfulness.
Be afraid of the one who can kill your soul and not the one who can kill your body.
What I do not find is that we are called to actively fight the Antichrist (Matt 13:30), for that will happen when we accompany Jesus into battle (Rev 19:14).
During the great tribulation, there will not be a one-size fits all of God’s will; e.g. “What should I do?” For believers, the Holy Spirit will give each their own prompting and leading. Many will be called to street preach (certain, quick death) and many will be called to edify and encourage believers around them in the faith to stay faithful—this will be more difficult for pretribulation and preterist believers since they will be running around fretting over what his happening (getting your eschatology right matters).
Since Christians will not be able to buy and sell during the great tribulation, they will not be eating at Chick-fil-A. Rather, food will come from these two sources: (1) Manna. I believe the church will witness miracles of food appearing and supernatural protection, whether that is manna from heaven or [fill in the blank because God can do the impossible]. (2) Prepping: wise food storage, (3) but also understand that it may be God’s will for you to starve to death. What matters is you stay faithful and not take the mark by giving your allegiance to the Antichrist.
While American Christians will not like to hear this, I believe that it will be third-world Christians that will likely survive the Antichrist’s great tribulation given that Antichrist’s system may not be able to detect them as easily as first-world countries such as America (“The second beast was empowered to give life to the image of the first beast so that it could speak, and could cause all those who did not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” Rev 13:15). In other words, you will likely be martyred if you are an American Christian. Again, whether we live or die before Christ returns is not the point, but whether you are faithful to him.
There is no eternal reward for playing “Alone” and surviving up to the Parousia.
God’s all-wise purposes for believers will vary. Live holy during this time, edify other believers, and be ready to die for Christ so when the time comes you will not waver and end up giving your allegiance to the Antichrist in order to save your life (that is starting to become a theme).
With that, I need to go and collect more firewood.