The Church is divided on whether we should prepare for the Apocalypse to come. Some are putting away “gold, groceries, and guns” and planning to be Survivalists. Others plan to trust that God will provide in days that are approaching and aren’t preparing at all. So, what does scripture say? Is there a verse in the New Testament in which Jesus clearly teaches that we should put food away for the hard times? Does Jesus want Christians to be “Preppers?”
Shockingly, there is a verse that supports this idea; its Matthew 24:45 and an identical verse in Luke 12:42 :
Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time (Gk: KAIROS, meaning “appointed time”)? (NASB)
As a Church we tend to read past this highly important, yet obscure verse found in Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse (Jesus’s primary teaching on the end times). One day a few years ago, I was “reading past” this verse and ignoring what it meant just as I had a couple dozen times before. It was on that day, however, that it struck me that Jesus was giving us a riddle. He is asking “who is this wise and faithful slave?” We have three clues:
• He is a wise slave
• He is put in charge of his master’s household
• He provides food for that household at the appointed time
Have you guessed it yet? It’s Joseph, the wise and faithful slave that Potiphar put in charge of his household. Joseph obviously provided food for that household, both Hebrews and Egyptians, in the seven-year famine. Once we solve the riddle of this verse, its meaning opens up to us: Jesus wants us to be “Josephs” for his household in the coming “appointed time.”
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Who is His Household?
We need to stop and pause. If you are not familiar with this teaching, I am certain your jaw has just dropped. Jesus wants us to a “Joseph” for his household? Yes, he does. He doesn’t want us to prepare only for our own household, but for His household. There is an incredible difference. Christians who are “preppers” for their own households store up “gold, guns and groceries” for themselves. Many plan to escape the hard times and hide in a mountain retreat or a bunker. I call these persons “survivalists.” Jesus is calling us to provide for his household: the Jewish remnant and the Church. I call the persons who will sacrificially provide for the “least of these” during hard times as “revivalists.” We will discuss these two groups later in the article.
Preparing for the Time to Come
Jesus also indicates that he wants us to provide this food at a specific time and it is critically important to understand what this time is. Joseph stored up food to provide it during the “appointed time” of the 7 year famine that occurred in the Middle East in those days. In so doing, he saved the lives of his brothers and their families in addition to saving numerous Egyptians. Jesus is calling us to provide his household with food during the coming “appointed time.” What might that time be? Just a few verses earlier in Jesus’s Olivet Discourse, he taught the disciples that there would be famines during the “Beginning of the Birth Pangs” period (the first 3 ½ years of the 70th Week of Daniel.) Might this be the “appointed time?” It might.
We also know that the False Prophet will institute the “Mark of the Beast” during the 70th Week.
He causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. (Rev. 13: 16-17)
Is the Mark of the Beast directly tied to the famines? Do the False Prophet and Antichrist take advantage of the food shortage to offer a “solution” in the form of a new economic system that provides food? We know that taking this Mark and participating in this economic system leads to eternal damnation.
If this scenario is accurate, millions or billions of hungry people might readily take the Mark to avoid starvation. What if Christians had food stored up and were able to provide it to some of those in need at this time? Would this stored food be the impetus for those needy to reject the Mark of the Beast and come to faith in Jesus? It is an interesting and intriguing theory. In Jesus’s letter to the Church at Pergamum we read:
But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. (Rev. 2: 14)
First notice Jesus says there are “some” in the Church who hold to false teaching and Jesus holds this against the entire Church. This clearly teaches Jesus holds us responsible for his entire household. Second, part of the false “teaching of Balaam” was to cause Israel to eat “unholy food” that was sacrificed to idols. In a modern analogy, might this be food purchased through the Mark of the Beast? Might prepared Christians be able to help their brothers and sisters resist the Mark if they have food?
Pack Your Lunch
How will we ever be able to provide food for our entire church you might ask? You won’t be, obviously. But you might be able to “pack your lunch.” Jesus’s feeding of the five thousand is instructive. The disciples first came to Jesus and recommended He send the crowds away to find food for themselves. Jesus then asked the disciples to feed them. The puzzled disciples were only able to find a young boy with a lunch of two fish and five loaves. From this simple “lunch,” Jesus was able to feed the huge crowd.
The faith of this boy who “packed his lunch” and willingly gave it to the Master to distribute was what Jesus desired to see. From this simple act , a great miracle was experienced. If we “pack our lunch” and willingly give it to others during the “appointed time,” will Jesus multiply our efforts? I think he will.
This also brings up the point of solely relying on the provision of God without effort on our own. Jesus acted upon the faith of the young boy. The boy packed food because he knew he’d need it. He planned to stay and listen to Jesus as long as he could; AND he planned in advance to do so by packing a lunch. He then willingly surrendered all he had. We know there will be famines; Jesus has told us as much. Isn’t it presuming upon the Lord to believe he will provide for us without any effort on our parts to contribute to that provision?? Yes, Jesus will provide for us, but don’t we share in the responsibility to do what we can, and then to rely on him to do what only He can?
Revivalists and Survivalists
When the “appointed time” comes (it is certainly not here yet), there will be many more important issues than our “survival.” Once the 70th Week of Daniel begins, the great countdown to the return of our King will also begin. We will be entering the “two minute warning” to use a football analogy. Strategies we have employed during the rest of our lives will need to be modified.
Revivalist “prepers” will step out in faith and use the food they have stored up to bolster the faith of those who haven’t prepared. In this way, they likely will participate in a great miracle and possibly the salvation of many souls. The “food” they provide will likely be physical food and “spiritual” food in terms of the Gospel!!
Survivalist “prepers” will horde their food and attempt to “survive” at all costs. With Jesus only a few years away at that point, does that even make sense? Do you want to spend your last years hiding in a bunker eating beans, or do you want to participate in the great spiritual battle against Satan and the Kingdoms of this world that will “prepare the way of the Lord?”
Which “prepper” will you be?
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