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How can I prepare for the "End Times"?

Preparing for the End Times

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More and more, believers are becoming convinced that we are truly living in what the Bible describes as the "end times." So many indications are unfolding in the news today that it has become almost impossible to ignore - only those with their heads in the proverbial sand seem to be missing what to most Bible-believing Christians is obvious. But with the disturbing headlines and barrages of information pounding us every day, one question I keep hearing is, "So what can I do about it?" Whether you believe that you will escape the Great Tribulation as described in Daniel and in Revelation with a pre-tribulation experience, or you're a mid-tribber, post-tribber, or pre-wrather, Jesus warned us that we will experience an increase intensity of many signs and calamities leading up to the tribulation period that He described as birth pangs.
In Matthew 24 and 25, Jesus answers three important questions that His disciples ask. He had pointed to the Temple and shared with them that the day was coming when not one stone would lay upon another. They then ask when they were in private on the Mount of Olives these three questions: "Tell us, when shall these things be? And what
But as I was reading these two chapters and thinking about the question I have been asked many times (and have asked myself), I noticed several admonitions that Jesus gave His disciples that are, in effect, things we can be doing to keep ourselves ready for the difficult times ahead. This is not a preppers' manual nor even an attempt at one. There are plenty of those out there if you are inclined to seek one. We are in a spiritual battle, and we need to be spiritually ready to face the future events. I, therefore, offer seven admonishments that Jesus gives us in Matthew 24-25 in answer to the disciples' three questions.
Watch and do not be deceived
(Matthew 24:4, 24:42, 25:13): We are to be like
the strongman of the house who is always watching and ready lest the thief comes and spoils his household. We compare events against Scripture, reject worldly wisdom, and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us discernment to know what we ought to do. We "try the spirit" (1 John 4), and hold only to that which passes sound doctrine. A major part of watching and preventing deception is to memorize Scripture. If I know how Jesus is to return, for example, I won't be fooled by another who claims to be Christ, but comes to us in a different manner than what the Bible teaches us. The white horse rider in Revelation 6
who rides a white horse in Revelation 19:11!
(Matthew 24:20): Although He says to pray that your flight be not in winter, the
greater application is for us to pray to keep up out of dangerous and difficult situations (like fleeing in winter). Prayer is our most powerful, personal tool. With it we praise, intercede, confess, seek wisdom, receive succor, and are protected. We are admonished to "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and if you are not now a prayer warrior, become one. We get our marching orders from the King - talk to Him!
(Matthew 24:13): Jesus is, in effect, telling His disciples that the end times
will be very difficult times, and that many will want to quit, or worse, recant their faith. Consider the events in the Middle East where Christians are told convert to Islam or die. We must endure and trust and "hang in there." "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Do His will - Share the gospel
(Matthew 24:14, 31-46): It will be preached to all
the world, and we want to be part of that effort and enjoy being part of the harvest workers! We are given a charge to preach the gospel message and not to fear men, but to fear God. Most believers who do not share the gospel with others do so out of a fear of ridicule or rejection or embarrassment. The end of Matthew 28 tells us to make disciples, teach all nations, baptize (new believers), and to observe the teachings of Christ. To share your witness may not take the form of a preacher in the pulpit - that's OK. One on one sharing is most effective. Also, look at the sheep and goats comparison at the end of Chapter 25. He "never knew those" who did not minister to His "least of these." We are to be ministering peoples serving Him by doing so.
Understand the times
(Matthew 24:32-33: The parables of the fig tree): Jesus
reminds us to understand the signs that are all around us as they unfold. We are to be like the children of Issachar who understood the times and knew what to do about it (1 Chronicles 12:32). We live in perilous times (Gill states that the Greek word implies a time of confusion and danger with no easy solutions (Gill, 2005, 2 Timothy 3:1)). We study the circumstances and events, compare them to Scripture, and implement solutions we find in the Bible. For example, in a debt ridden world where collapse of the economy may be imminent, we seek to become debt free as quickly as possible.
Occupy until He comes
(Matthew 25:13-30: Parables on the talents): The
phrase "wait on the Lord" found in the Psalms has a Hebrew word that means to twist together (Strong's H6960). So waiting on Christ is to blend what we are doing with what He is doing. To merge our lives, families, and careers with His calling. We have a talent(s) - use them or risk losing them. We don't want to get to the Judgement and find that He never knew us! The Master who gave out talents expected to have them used. We are to obey the Master and use them for His gain.
Be always ready
(Matthew 25:1-13): The foolish virgins became slack and fell
asleep, perhaps tired of waiting, perhaps becoming weary of well doing while they waited. They let their lamps run out of oil. They did not provide for a possible delay in the bridegroom's return. We do so many things in this world that shows we do think about the future. We pre-book gas or oil for our furnaces for the winter. We clip coupons for our big shopping days. We rent vacation homes/rooms months in advance. Why do we not stay spiritually prepared as well? Some ways to be "ready":
Study the Book of Revelation and learn what signs to look for as we approach the midnight hour. Study the prophetic verses in other books to see what signs/events are yet to happen before the tribulation period and watch for those.
Set aside any weight and sins that encumber you. Got a bad habit? With God's grace get rid of it. God been prompting you to pray more? Pick a time and place each day and start doing it. The club taking away from your family and church family time? Drop it even if it isn't something "bad." Are sports your "weight"? If they keep you from the assembly of the saints, family, church, or time with the Lord in prayer and the Word - leave sports behind. Get ready!
Take on the mind of Christ. Are you willing to sacrifice your wishes for those of your family, neighbors, or Lord? In the days to come, a humble, quiet man draws less attention than those in the limelight. A humble man sees others as more important than himself, and as we take on the mind of Christ, we learn to listen to the Father; for as Jesus said, he always does the will of the Father.
Get your house in order - get out of debt. Cleanse your home of questionable material. Prioritize your life around your calling in Christ. Pray for those around you. Study the commands of Christ in the Gospels - and then keep them.
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Strong, J.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1746-1763)
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible.
Gill, Dr. J.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
follows is a summary description of the end times signs and events that are expanded in the Book of Revelation with key framing verses in Daniel.
shall be
the sign of thy coming? And of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3). What