Tribulation Survival Guide
Or, Confessions of a Pre-Tribulationist
"But when they persecute you
in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have
gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come"
by Tom Stewart
believe in a Pre-Tribulational Rapture that delivers the Wise Virgins (Matthew 25)-- those that walk without known sin-- from "all these things that shall come to pass [the Tribulation Week], and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36); however, I do not take issue with any honest-hearted Christian who does not see what I see. "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (Romans 14:5). And, I am sure that the same sentiment would be reciprocated to me. "And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you" (1Corinthians 12:21).
If the LORD were to sovereignly make known to me that the Tribulation had already started and that no one was Pre-Tribulationally Raptured, I would hope that I would bow as a Saint to the revealed will of God and go on in faith. "And hope maketh not ashamed" (Romans 5:5). On the other hand, those honest-hearted Christians who God would Pre-Tribulationally Rapture in spite of no expectation on their part of that Event, I am sure, would be more than happy to answer the call. "For whether we live, we live unto the LORD; and whether we die, we die unto the LORD: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the LORD's" (14:8).
The following directions are Scriptural principles for survival. The Holy Spirit will adapt the principles to your circumstances and understanding to give you the wisest means of survival. "I being in the way, the LORD led me" (Genesis 24:27).
Operate In Faith: Trust In The LORD
am persuaded that the single most important human factor that affects our survivability until the LORD would take us out of this world, is our faith in God. "5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). The LORD Jesus said the same thing in His Sermon on the Mount. "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). The Apostle Paul also reminded us of the necessity of an active faith. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
What is not understood about the nature of true faith, will be taught by the LORD to His people in the School of Necessity. For those who have lived in a previously backslidden state, faith will be preceded by repentance. "34 When He slew them, then they sought Him: and they returned and enquired early after God. 35 And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the High God their Redeemer" (Psalm 78:34-35). For those who have only newly discovered that they never had genuine faith and have subsequently replaced it with true faith, they will be plunged into a new world of walking by faith. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2Corinthians 5:7). But, the knowledge that man shall live "by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4) will be obvious to all who will walk by faith.
Believe The LORD For Survival: That Ye May Live
t is a right thing for God's people to desire and seek to survive. "Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of Hosts, shall be with you" (Amos 5:14). Though mere existence for the sake of existence is not the goal of the Saints, the fact that God maintains His people on this planet during the troublesome times of the Tribulation Week (Daniel 9:24-27) is a glory to God and a vexation to the Antichrist. "But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal" (Romans 11:4).
Unless God gives special revelation to His Tribulation Saints to the contrary, deliverance should be sought and expected. "I will say of the LORD, He is my Refuge and my Fortress: my God; in Him will I trust" (Psalm 91:2). The testimony of the delivered Tribulation Saints will be a witness to the faithfulness of God. "And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews" (Acts 12:11).
Survival is not just the extraordinary, but also the mundane and simple. "Teach me Thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies" (Psalm 27:11). Survival reminds us that we have opposition to our continued well being, while we continue in this world. "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Survival includes all aspects of living, not just the physical. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 5:23).
Expect God To Direct You: This Is The Way
uickly, the people of God will need to attune themselves to walking in faith. "And thine ears shall hear a Word [the Word of God, which is the voice of the Holy Spirit] behind thee, saying, This is The Way, walk ye in It, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:21). Because the sin in the world will be so great, the amount of grace (or, help) from the Father will need to be that much greater. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20). Jehovah will certainly relish the opportunity of His people actually, finally relying upon Him for their absolute sustenance. "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him" (2Chronicles 16:9).
Just as the Apostle Paul received the Macedonian Call to redirect his evangelization efforts, God's people must rely upon the certainty that God will give definite directions that can be acted upon. "9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the LORD had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them" (Acts 16:9-10). Remember, if you expect directions, you will receive directions. "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).
Prepare For Unconventional Directions: Dream Dreams And See Visions
reams while sleeping and visions while awake will give God's people the needed specifics to know exactly what to do. "28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit" (Joel 2:28-29). Comparing all to the Word of God will ensure that a lying spirit will not misdirect you into a trap of the devil. "To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). Do not be afraid to embrace dreams and visions that are consistent with Scripture.
Since deception will be the mandate of the day to explain away all of the wonderful works of God, heed only that which is consistent to the Word of God. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a Standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19). Falling into the Great Sin of the Tribulation-- worshipping the Man of Sin as God-- as repulsive as it now seems, will then be more seductively easy than ever. But, the LORD will give His people faith to escape this delusion. "9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy Commandments" (Psalm 119:9-10).
Pray For And Expect Help From God: In Time Of Need
o matter who we are, we can avail ourselves of God's endless capacity to hear prayer. "O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come" (Psalm 65:2). With hearts free from any known sin, we can be sure that He will hear us. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me" (66:18). God's people can always be sure that it is right to pray for and expect God's help. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne Of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace [literally, help] to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
Strangely, the complete hopelessness (humanly speaking) of the plight of the Tribulation Saints is an argument for Divine Intervention. "I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass" (Isaiah 51:12). Perhaps, this is the LORD's opportunity to prove that He is and always has been a "present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). Likewise, the Promise of help from the LORD Jesus still stands good. "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18). This Promise is good for the Tribulation Week, as well as for Christ's Second Coming following the Week, i.e., "immediately after the Tribulation" (Matthew 24:29).
All of the Promises that the Saints were supposed to have been claiming prior to the Tribulation will still be in effect. "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). The Father glories in supplying His peoples' needs because it secures their sanctification, i.e., when the Saints pray in faith for definite needs. "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great And Precious Promises: that by These ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:4).
Prepare For Miraculous Assistance: The LORD Hath Sent His Angel
hen the LORD delivered the Apostle Peter out of prison, He used His Angel. "Are they [Angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14). Even Peter did not expect this particular form of deliverance. "5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7 And, behold, the angel of the LORD came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist [knew] not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews" (Acts 12:5-11).
No one can honestly dispute that the time of the Tribulation Week will be unusual times. "For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21). The Saints should expect the assistance of the LORD's angels. "For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways" (Psalm 91:11). The prophet Elisha understood well the ministry of the angels. "15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (2Kings 6:15-17).
Flee If Necessary And Possible: Flee Into Another City
leeing for your life is honorable and probably warranted by your future circumstances. "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come" (Matthew 10:23). The young, aged, and infirm-- who cannot flee-- do not have the necessity to flee. "For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). All of God's Commands are given in love. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous [burdensome or impossible]" (1John 5:3). If fleeing is impossible, then deliverance will come another way-- but, always from God. "Great deliverance giveth He to His king; and sheweth mercy to His anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore" (Psalm 18:50).
Fleeing to another city-- as opposed to a wilderness location-- depends upon what expectation you have been given. The Two Spies at Rahab's Jericho residence (Joshua 2:18), David fleeing from Saul (1Samuel 19:12) to the town of Ramah (19:18), and the Apostle Paul fleeing from Damascus (Acts 9:25) to Jerusalem (9:26), all escaped from elevated places by rope or basket. Israel will flee into the wilderness for survival at the Abomination of Desolation (Mark 13:14). "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that They should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (Revelation 12:6).
Depend Upon Divine Interference: He Will Hurt Only Those Without The Seal Of God
t should be noticed that the LORD will keep His enemies busy with their own problems, allowing some relief for the Godly. "And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads" (Revelation 9:4). However, this Divine Interference may be more noticeable during the Trumpet Judgments of the second half of the Tribulation Week (Revelation 8-11). [See our Tribulation Chart for approximate timings.]
God's Two Witnesses will essentially minister during the second half of the Tribulation Week. "3 And I will give power unto my Two Witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed" (Revelation 11:3-5). Their judgments against the ungodly, will draw attention away from the remaining Godly.
The Seven Thunders appear to be the LORD's secret weapon during the latter part of the Tribulation Week. "And when the Seven Thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a Voice from Heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the Seven Thunders uttered, and write them not" (Revelation 10:4). This element of surprise and unpredictability will not only give further judgment to the ungodly, but further assistance for the Godly. "There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, Who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellency on the sky" (Deuteronomy 33:26).
Believe The LORD For Deliverance Unless Directed Otherwise: They Shall Deliver You Up
cripture clearly reveals that many-- but not all-- will be martyred during the Tribulation Week. "But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost" (Mark 13:11). Those who are martyred will witness with their dying the same as the other Saints will witness with their living-- that Jesus Christ, Who is the Judge of the Quick and the Dead (1Peter 4:5), is real and is about to judge all those who have not repented and believed the Gospel. "He hath appointed a day, in the which He [the Father] will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained [Jesus Christ]; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He [the Father] hath raised Him [the Son] from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
Expect and accept that the LORD will choose out whom He will to die a martyr's death. "59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, LORD Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, LORD, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:59-60). Just as the Father understands the feelings of One Who has sacrificed His Son for us, He knows the Love that is required for one to lay down his life for his friends. "Greater Love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Expect The LORD To Supernaturally Deliver You: Because He Loves You
ever underestimate the Love of God. "17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in Love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:17-19). That Love is the very reason He will supernaturally deliver many more than who expect it. "Because he hath set his Love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My Name" (Psalm 91:14).
God will teach His people by His Spirit, through His Word, and through His prophets how He will deliver His people. "There is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few" (1Samuel 14:6). Ours is not to debate with the LORD about His form, fashion, or timing of His deliverance, but to gratefully accept it. "Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper" (2Chronicles 20:20).
he very incomprehensible nature of the judgments of God makes preparation for the Tribulation Week impossible. "Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at Thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils" (Psalm 18:15). The people of God can only be delivered, if they put their confidence in God. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the Name of the LORD our God" (20:7). The Tribulation Week can be only be properly responded to through faith. "In the fear of the LORD is Strong Confidence: and His children shall have A Place Of Refuge" (Proverbs 14:26). When all is said and done, it will be seen just how much the LORD loves and has looked out for His people. "But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel" (Exodus 11:7).
"Have faith in God" (Mark 11:22).
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