Between the Trees By Pete Garcia and Randy Nettles "There’s a tree on the first…
Living in the Last Days: A Practical Guide
By Pete Garcia
The Bible clearly teaches that the blood-bought, born-again church will not be here to endure even one second of the seven-year Tribulation, which is properly known as the 70th Week of Daniel. While all of it is bad, the second half (or 1,260 days) of this seven-year period is even worse and is specifically designated as the time of Jacob’s Trouble, which God will use to both discipline the nation of Israel, and destroy all the nations of the world (Jer. 30:7-11).
Now while the church will not be here to endure any portion of the Tribulation, there are mixed opinions on how bad things will get prior to that time. Granted, things have been tough for Christians around the world for the last two-thousand years, so in these regards, we are speaking specifically to Western Civilization.
None of us would have thought we would have to endure a global lockdown last year, but then it happened. None of us would have thought we would be prohibited from attending church, school, work, or face mandatory government-enforced vaccinations of experimental mRNA drugs to keep our livelihoods or freedoms. Adding to that, we have an increasing and intensifying assortment of threats from both the natural world (hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, locusts, etc.) and the man-caused world (i.e., financial collapses, terrorist attacks, school shootings, looting, and rioting, etc.). Although we have come to accept these things as normal life on a fallen planet, the intensity and increase has even non-Christians asking, are we in the last days?
The Bible says we have been in the last days since Christ walked the earth (Hebrews 1:1), so it should be expected that we see the intensification of birth pangs given our proximity to the end. How much time will we (the Church) spend in the shadow of the Tribulation, is really, anyone’s guess? However, I think as a matter of practical citizenry, a modest level of preparation goes a long way. Personal preparedness is not a luxury, but a necessity these days. Nevertheless, personal preparedness should never be mistaken for the fear-based, survivalist-mentality that is recklessly promoted by the folks in the Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib camps.
As a matter of fact, we don’t know how bad life will get this side of the Rapture. Neither do we know what life is going to throw at us on a daily basis. Although I don’t personally subscribe to the belief that things will go Mad-Max before the day of Christ, it does not hurt to apply some practical things to our lives that you could do if you’re not already doing them. You might look at this as a form of comfort, good stewardship, or usefulness should circumstances require it.
Recently, someone close to me suggested I give some practical advice on surviving in these turbulent days, especially since our government is bent on nosediving our economy. She asked can you do some more practical stuff for how to survive UNTIL the Rapture happens? Although we prepare as a family for emergencies, I tend to be the anti-prepper, just because I know how quickly that survivalist mindset can spiral downwards.
However, for her sake and for many of you who might be having the same questions as the United States is taking a turn for the worse, here are my common-sense thoughts on surviving in these last days. Also know that this is not an exhaustive list, as some of you may have extenuating circumstances that exceed the scope of this brief. I would encourage anyone with further ideas to leave them in the comments below, so we can add to the common knowledge of the group.
1. First and foremost, pray up, read your Bibles faithfully, and trust that God has your best interest at heart. (Gen. 50:20, Isaiah 46:9-10, Matt. 10:28-31, Rom. 8:28)
a. Trust God. God knows the end from the beginning, so NOTHING that happens is a surprise to Him. While things can and often do spiral out of control in our lives (for whatever reasons), never forget to trust that God has seen your life play out, and He will never leave you nor forsake you
b. Study your bible, and embrace discernment. The more you know how this all ends, the less frightening it will become. In fact, as Jan Markell is fond of saying, things are not falling apart, they are falling into place. When we know our bibles, and we see the headlines, we should be excited that our Lord’s coming is sooner than when we first believed.
c. Share the Gospel- the highest form of investment we can make (James 5:20)
2. Be Wise as Serpents, harmless as doves. (Matt. 10:16-17, Luke 22:35-38, Rev. 2:10)
a. Arm yourself. A nation in freefall is a dangerous place to live. While we are not to become vigilantes out seeking violence and retribution, the principles of self-defense for both ourselves and our family, are biblical and practical. IOW, the intent here is strength through deterrence. We do not seek out violence, but we also do not make ourselves easy targets. Remember, even Jesus sent out His disciples out with two swords
b. Arm your mind and prepare your heart. Know that the battle over this world is not just in the physical realm, but in the spiritual. Your physical adversary is often times, being controlled by a malevolent spirit (i.e., demon) who is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. We must be armed with prayer and the full armor of God to avoid the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11)
c. Protect those who cannot protect themselves. If you can do the first two things, then help safeguard the vulnerable in our communities
3. Die with dignity. Christian martyrdom is common across the world, especially in places like Pakistan, India, Africa, and the Middle East. If the time does come to the West, and martyrdom arrives for you and me, it will be in a situation well beyond our control, but not beyond God’s. IF that is the case, then we are to die with dignity, knowing our last act of dying well, will be a last testimony to all who witness it. We know where we are going when we die, and we are not to fear death. Remember, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8)
4. Keep your personal and professional affairs in order.
Heaven forbid you are to pass on before the Rapture, or some unforeseen event sidelines your life, we are to ensure that our deaths or incapacitations are not the cause of increased familial and/or professional maelstroms to those we leave behind (Isaiah 38:1, Proverbs 24:27, Titus 1:5)
a. Have a clear and unambiguous Last Will and Testament. Make sure your spouse (and if applicable, business partners) knows where this is and has access to it
b. Make sure your spouse has access to your accounts (banks, bills, medical, taxes, etc.)
c. Ensure you have “life after” plans for your children, young or grown. Who they will live with, custody rights, inheritances, etc.
d. Have a plan for your pets, livestock, and other non-human living things that were dependent upon you for survival (good stewardship)
5. Keep 120 hours’ worth of essential items
This is sort of a no-brainer, but you never know when the stores are going to run out of things these days. From toilet paper to medicines, make sure you stock up to last at least a week should things take a turn for the worse such as a hurricane, winter storm, or economic collapse
6. Diversify your income streams and “nest eggs”
First of all, do not put all of your faith and trust in material wealth (Christians are not to do this anyway). However, if you have wealth, please ensure that it’s not all tied up into “one thing”
a. Diversifying wealth may not be feasible for everyone, as some of you are on fixed incomes. However, if possible, make sure all of your money does not come from the same source
b. If you have put all of your investment eggs in a stock portfolio, just remember that the economy tanks or a civil war erupts and martial law is implemented, you may not have access to your funds. What is that old saying, possession is 9/10ths of the law. This does not mean socking away your money or gold into your mattress, but if you can, keep it someplace that is secure, and that you have access to it whenever you need it
7. Invest in things that are tradeable, mobile, and invaluable
Clearly, the highest form of investment is by sharing the Gospel. That has the highest and longest-lasting yield we could ever possibly hope in. Always look for opportunities to create wealth by investing in your community. Volunteering at your church, local food bank, retirement homes, and helping out your neighbors will pay off when the time comes
a. Why gold might be a great investment, can you really go buy gas or groceries with it? Probably not. However, if the dollar collapses, or is intentionally buckled, those holding gold and silver will be able to buy back into whatever new system comes out of it. That is what makes these two (gold and silver) practical investments. Even junk silver (pre-1965 US coinage) and other older coinage would be worth trading at a low level, so keep those old coin collections
b. Assuming a total economic collapse occurs, the traditional fallback for any society is the barter system. Have something worth bartering, whether that something is tangible good (ex. eggs, milk, vegetables, etc.) or a skill (barber, cooking, wood or metal work, or repairman)
c. Consider “non-traditional” barter items. A very devout Christian friend of mine stocked up on whiskey, which I thought was odd given the fact he doesn’t drink. I asked him about the cases of whiskey and wine he had in storage, and he made a good point; whiskey will always keep its value, and it doesn’t spoil. Granted, it doesn’t have to be “whiskey,” just take that as an example of an unconventional form of a long term investment
Practical Emergency Ideas
8. Buy a generator and keep extra fuel on hand
9. Stock up on canned goods (manual openers), non-perishable dry goods, and vitamins
10. Make arrangements with neighbors ahead of time to barter for goods and services
11. Stock up on drinking water and firewood
a. Extra drinkable water sources include:
– Hot water tank
– Toilet tanks (not the bowl) have drinkable water.
– Rainwater collection tanks
b. Chances are, if you don’t have water, you may not have electricity. So if you don’t have access to natural gas (propane), and you want to boil your water, you need fire
– Buy a fire pit if you don’t have a large fireplace
– Stock up on firewood, keep it stacked off the ground to prevent termites and ground moisture from ruining it
– Do not burn treated (or painted) wood if at all possible
12. MUST HAVE ITEMS (for homes emergencies)
a. Extra shoes and boots (often overlooked)
b. Duct tape (multiple uses)
c. 550 Cord (can use for clotheslines, tie-downs, tents, shoelaces, etc.)
d. Extra flashlights and batteries
e. Aluminum foil (multiple uses)
f. Buckets (rain and water collection)
g. Emergency Radio
h. Fire and kindling:
– Wood matches and lighters
– Candles (even a can of Crisco and a piece of string works)
– Wood bark (kindling)
– Corn chips (kindling)
– Ramen noodles (soaked in alcohol)
i. Emergency kits:
– Antiseptic sprays and liquids (ex. rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide)
– Superglue sutures, tampons, band-aids, gauze, etc.
– Pain relief (Motrin, aspirin, etc.)
– Allergy and other specific medicines (depending on your situation and needs)
– Insect Repellant and treatment (toothpaste also works for insect bites)
In closing, I hope these serve to spur to action some mental and spiritual preparation for those of you who are concerned about the days ahead. Being prepared is not just good practical advice for living in the last days, but for any day, and whatever life throws your way.
For those of you (pre-wrathers and post-toasties) who think you can hide out in your bunkers for seven years surviving on canned beans and recycled water, think again. The cost of following Christ within those seven years is guaranteed martyrdom (Rev. 6:9-11, 7:9-15, 13:7-8). It will not be like the movies. You cannot prepare for hell on earth, because there will be nowhere to hide, nowhere to run and no one to run to. The whole world will be against you, and with the technology already available to the coming Beast Kingdom, there is no chance of surviving. The only ones who are guaranteed protection, are the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:1-8) and the 1/3 of the Jews who eventually flee to Petra (Zech. 13:8). Other than that, the only hope you have now is to go up in the Rapture before the Tribulation begins, or die a martyr’s death after it.
“It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” – Revelation 13:7-8 (Emphasis mine)
As far as the church having to endure some extended preview of this dystopian existence before the Rapture, I am not convinced of that either. There are two reasons why I believe that there will remain a sense of normalcy here in the West until the Lord’s return. The first is found in Luke 17:25-36 (i.e., the days of Noah and Lot), which can only be speaking of the time immediately before the Tribulation occurs; not during, nor after.
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so, will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” – Luke 17:25-36
My second reason is based on the chronological stages of the Church (as found in Revelation 2-3). The condition of the last church, the Laodicean church (as it turns out, the “western” church), is that it is in a final state of being lukewarm. I would argue that it is impossible (or highly unlikely) to be lukewarm when suffering under the banner of persecution or hardship. Normalcy almost always results in complacency and complacency promotes the sense that things will continue on as they always have. And for the past two hundred years, things have continued on somewhat normally here in the west.
But even here in the west these last forty years, the moral and societal conditions have deteriorated to the point that we are now entering a time where things are becoming uncomfortable for the true followers of Christ. The ratcheting up of tensions between the world and true followers has resulted not in the Great Reset, but the Great Fence-Shaking, where the wheat and chaff are being separated; one for deliverance, the other for destruction.
Perhaps this is a poor analogy, but we are like those frogs in the proverbial pot of water that is being brought to boil. For the world, the water being heated is life and comfort. But the true believers know what the water and the pot represent; it represents the boil and death.
The fact that the water is heating up to the point of being noticeable is making many true Christians increasingly uncomfortable with this prospect. I guess you could say we are more sensitive to it because of our knowledge of it (i.e., Bible prophecy). Nevertheless, we know where things are headed, and this knowledge is escalating the anxiety inside of some. However, Scripture tells us “to be anxious for nothing, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make our requests known to God” (Phil. 4:6).
So friends, be anxious for nothing. We will be delivered before the boil. This is why it’s called the “blessed hope.” God is neither double-mind nor sadistic in regards to our deliverance as some would have you believe. We are His bride, and we were purchased with the precious blood of His Son. We need no further refinement, nor judgment in order to be made worthy. We are made worthy by His Son’s shed blood on Calvary.
We cannot be promised to be taken where He is, before the wrath, only to have to endure any part of it. Noah didn’t have to swim his way to the ark and then climb aboard as some forgotten castaway. Lot wasn’t running and ducking fiery projectiles as he scrambled out of Sodom. No, they were both delivered before those judgments began. Likewise, we will be delivered before the hour of testing (God’s wrath) comes upon the whole world (1 Thess. 1:10, 5:9, Rev. 3:10). Therefore, the most important bit of preparation we can do in this life is to turn our cares and fears over to God and rest in His peace.
Again, nothing wrong with making some practical preparations for living life on a fallen planet; but we are not to obsess over it. We are to watch and pray that we are worthy to escape all these things (Luke 21:36). Glory be to God our worthiness is not in our own strength but in Christ’s. Thus, the Creator of the universe says this regarding our fate-
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” – John 10:28-30