In God's Eyes Survivalism Is Not Necessarily About Your Survival!
By Kenneth Uptegrove
God delights in us being hard pressed to pursue Him, not self, not survival. If we do not pursue Him with all our being we will not be mentally and spiritually prepared for what is coming down, no matter how physically prepared we may think we are.
I think I can assure you that if our spiritual preparation isn't all it will need to be in these prophetic times, our mental preparation will fail us first, and then our physical preparedness will fail us terribly.
Brethren, the times we are coming into will inundate us in more stress and discomfort than we have ever seen or could imagine. It will be overwhelming to some. What will seem like mental preparation on steroids will be required, but who wants to go through that? Only intense, sold out to spiritual preparation can possibly prepare us adequately.
Paul knew a mental preparation that came out of his spiritual preparation, and that came out of sound doctrine and the courage to condemn false apostles, prophets, and preachers. I urge you to read all of 2 Corinthians 11 to let his testimony impact you as it has me … and many others. What Paul is really saying here is, “Being in the service of Christ, and in all kinds of sufferings for my ministry, was far superior to my being Hebrew or an Israelite or the seed of Abraham.” Here is that quote in context:
22Are they Hebrews? so [am] I. Are they Israelites? so [am] I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so [am] I. .23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. —2 Corinthians 11 [emboldening mine]
34 And when he [Jesus] had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.35For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?37Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?38Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. —Mark 8:35
And we complain about our past sufferings! And we cringe over the prospect of sufferings we surmise may incur when real tribulation may come into our lives before we see Jesus face to face (1 Cor 13: 12)!
Modern Americans don't like to think about it, but Paul's testimony gives us the ideal model for Christian behavior when in tribulation.
Paul had a faith that not only endured tribulation but he relished it. He could hardly wait to recover from his last trauma to press on to his next opportunity to suffer for Christ. God gave Paul the covering to survive to an old age, so he could complete his God ordained mission in life with his greatest accomplishment of all, dieing as a martyr for Christ. Few have accomplished more for Christ than Paul. Brethren, only those who can follow Paul's God ordained example will have the mental and spiritual toughness to make it through all that is coming with your sanity and faith intact.
Keeping Spiritual Preparation In Balance
God puts His born again Christians in a position He can use us in. So whether we live or whether we die, we are to serve the Lord with our life and in our death, enduring until the end. Unless we are ministering Jesus Christ to others we are just serving self, and our survival is just selfishness. . . worthless dung.
But one can get dangerously out of balance with the idea of serving the Lord only and still miss God. One post-trib-rap pastor told me he has never yet found anywhere in the Bible where we, as Christians, are told to prepare in any way other than spiritually.
But I found some Bible passages this dear brother conveniently overlooked. For instance, Noah's Ark building and Joseph's storing enough wheat to feed everyone in Egypt for seven years. They were instructed by God to prepare for life; for what they knew was coming … physically.
Let's take there example a little further. God brought the flood and put Noah in place to prepare for it. God brought the drought and put Joseph in place to prepare for it. God is bringing the Tribulation and is putting people like you and me to prepare for it. If you can get the big picture here, God is preparing some of us to prepare for the needs of others He will send to us to minister to.
God's covering has everything to do with our obedience to His will and direction. Look at Bible precedents like Noah's diligence to spend 120 years building that Ark and taking all that guff from the scoffers. Look at Joseph going through slavery and imprisonment to be placed in the ideal position to grow and store wheat for seven years. The Pharaoh ordered Joseph to move his family into Goshen, an Ark of safety in the greenest, nicest place in Egypt during the 7 year good years and 7 bad years (Genesis 47:5-7). They were living good (comparatively speaking) during that whole 14 year period, and for many years after.
But Noah didn't want a flood, and Joseph sure didn't want a famine, and who among us would want tribulation? Not me! What did not seem good to Joseph and Noah at the time turned out to be exactly what was needed. I think these presidents are in place for us to expect God to prepare an Ark, a Goshen for His people in the coming tribulation. We can experience that kind of covering and provision too … if we are as able to hear God and are as able to obey His directions as Paul, Noah and Joseph were.
These heroes of the faith show us that being in the will of God is required in order to be under His covering. This is a profound truth that gets overlooked.
They learned that the more they cut themselves off from the help of men, the more they opened the way for God to help them help multitudes. We may or may not know what God has called us to do today, but it will be for the sake of many others much more so than just for ourselves.
God Prepared These Men For Their Place In History
Before these men of God could be the man of the hour, they first had to be rejected and humiliated. They each were put through many tests and made into the kind of man God was looking for. Joseph did not have to suffer like he did, but he chose suffering rather than compromising his honor and dignity. This was the kind of man needed to supervise the wealth and prosperity of Egypt in order to save that nation during the crisis ahead. God is calling such men and women as these today. Are you one of those that God is putting in a position He can use you in?
If we acknowledge Him we will acknowledge what He tells us to do and where to go, not using our understanding to procrastinate, or question or disobey Him. Then our paths will have less kinks in them, and we will be in those safe places, our Goshen, our Ark that He has provided for us individually. No Amen's till then.
Like Noah and Joseph, you and I are in the right time and place in prophetic history to be used of God in an unprecedented way. We are living at the very thrush-hold of the Tribulation, the Second Coming, and the Millennium! We are about to be personally involved in one of the greatest episodes in human history! How fortunate and blessed we are!
There is a Goshen, an Ark waiting for you too, but there is a price to pay to gain it, as many heroes of the faith can testify. But many Survivalists won’t pay the price and will end up paying the price—forgive the parody. By now I trust that the name of this article is beginning to make sense. In God's eyes Survivalism is not necessarily about you surviving but about your obedience that comes out of your love for Christ, giving you this kind of endurance.
God's Purpose for the 70 weeks of Daniel
Perhaps many Preppers and Survivalists do not fully understand and appreciate God's purpose for the 70 weeks of Danial … the 7 year tribulation period. Yet, in my estimation, that is the very focus of The Tribulation Network ministry.
A true Christian Survivalist is Christ minded; Kingdom minded; and eternity minded. Is not the purpose of life to be the Bride without spot or wrinkle … to prepare for eternity with Him? Read all of Hebrews 11 again to get the mindset of first century Christianity before reading more of what I hope to say here. We will need this Pauline mindset if we hope to be mentally and spiritually prepared. Here is an exhortation from Paul to hold fast the faith with patience and thanksgiving.
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. — Hebrews 11
Those who are truly Yeshua's and have humbled themselves and have asked for forgiveness for all their false doctrines and personal sins will be led and guided by Yeshua through these terrible times. The name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run into it and are safe (Prov. 18:10). He will lead some to safe places to escape physical harm and others to glorious martyrdom as He did with Steven (Acts 7:59).
Moses set the president for living by miracles alone when his supplies brought from Egypt ran out. Think tons of quail and manna for a moment ... and lest we forget … the land flowing with milk and honey. Canaan land was complete with the buildings, the crops, the warehouses, the roads ... everything they could ask for. Yet they did not deserve it, or buy it, or even ask for it. God just provided!
But as Moses found out, whether we live or we die, we are the Lords.
False Converts, False Doctrines Will All Be Judged
Some of our most renowned preachers, such as David Wilkerson, Leonard Ravenhill and Paul Washer have said that 80 to 90% (or far less?) of those who say they are Christians had a false conversion and are not Christians at all. They think they are Christians, but they are not. The tribulation we see coming will begin to reveal the false Christians and doctrines. Yes, all doctrines, and especially all eschatologies, will be tested. Time tests all things.
In this 7 year period God will bring judgment first to His Church, then to the world.
I [Yahweh] also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose [that] in which I delighted not. — Isaiah 66:4
[Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. — 2 Thessalonians 2:9
Jesus will purge His Church to bring forth a Bride pure and ready for the Bride Groom, and to separate the clean from the unclean. Perhaps some of those goats and tares will get saved, but the rest will viciously turn against God and His wheat, His sheep … the called out ones. They will be compelled to reveal what they really are. It will soon be obvious who took the mark of the beast and who didn't. Paul makes that real clear in Hebrews 11. He lived it, brethren!
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. — Hebrews 11:32-40
This describes the purging and cleansing pretty well, I'd say. And it pretty well dispels the (were out of here, sorry about you) pre-trib-rap mammy-pamby delusion. Boy, what will they say when they step into this unexpected Hebrews 11 arena they are totally unprepared for?!
Hoped For Revival
We hear talk about a hoped-for reformation and revival in the last days, but if and when it comes it will probably look more like a prelude to the separation of the sheep and goats and the wheat and tares we see in the parables Jesus taught in Matthew 13: 24-30 and Matthew 25:32-33. Since 2004 I have noticed that the eyes of many have been opened. Research indicates there are over four million Preppers and Survivalists today. But when the Lord called me to this Prepper ministry in 1974 I could not find a single Christian who understood this calling. And the terms “Prepper” and “Survivalist” were not invented for several more decades. Their awakening is wonderful and welcome, but I predict that any coming revival will be primarily among Christians who were sleeping and needed to be REVIVED, brought back to consciousness and life. The definition of the word “revive, revived, revival” suggests that, does it not?
Rather than expecting a great harvest of souls—quantity, I fully expect to see the next great move of God—quality.
Divine Protection and Provision
Brethren, the Lord still provides divine protection and provision for some of His own, for His true ones.
Here is a modern testimony. A friend in Texas told me that he had a lucrative job in the twin towers in NY city when the Holy Spirit told him to quit his job and go home. He wasn't told why and he didn't have a clue. His colleagues ridiculed him and thought he was a fool … but … two weeks later they (and 3,000 others) were smoldering ashes sifting through a horrendous mountain of rubble. Fortunately he was home in Texas … with his grateful family safe and sound … watching the horror on Fox News and grieving over his colleagues. If we are Holy Spirit led we can hope for such an early warning as this brother did, and be on the road to our bug out refuge, unhurried and stress free. Again, are you that in tune to the Holy Spirits prompting?
Let these Bible passages encourage you!
- Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. —Revelation 3:10-11
- For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. — Psalms 32: 6-8
- He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. — Psalms 91:1-6
- And his name a strong tower, Prov. 18:10. He will be not only a shadow from the heat in the daytime, but a covert from storm and rain.
- O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? — Daniel 6
- And as he [Elijah] lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise [and] eat.And he looked, and, behold, [there was] a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. — 1 King 19:5
- So he [Elijah]went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that [is] before Jordan.And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. 1 King 17. The key word to Elijah's success was obedience. God spoke to him and he did according unto the word of the LORD! Otherwise he may not have fared so well.
- The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. — Proverbs 22:12
- Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? —Ecclesiastes 5:5-7
We Are Entering The Best and Worst of Times
Borrowing from the introduction in Charles Dickens book, A Tale of Two Cities, we need to understand right now that we are quickly entering into the most prophetic time in the history of mankind. Dickens said:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Today we live in such an epic time as this, you and me! Consider that in our lifetime we may well see the culmination of human history. In this dark time we shall see the rise and fall of the Antichrist, and the long awaited, glorious arrival of Jesus Christ, the eternal King of Kings the world has awaited for 6,000 years. We will experience His Millennial rule and His love for us for eternity. It is incredulous, can we believe this is happening?
Can we focus on the good news in the midst of the bad news? Can we endure the temporary testing and hardship we may experience in the next few years, knowing we will also see eternal blessings and rewards not so long from now? If we decide now that we will be prepared for that day, we will complete our mission. But keep in mind that we will need to be training for this lifestyle, this culture, long BEFORE it is needed. Talk about culture shock!
Ask God today to show you your private Goshen, your invincible Ark you are to dwell in. Mine is in the Ozark Mountains! Where is yours?
You and I shall see what the Prophets and Apostles wrote about and longed to see ages ago! How exciting and privileged is that perspective? I look forward to preparing physically, mentally, and spiritually for what the Lord is bringing in my life time! How about you?
This is the survivalism God is calling you to. This is the mental preparation that will see you through into the Millennium... and then eternity! Praise the Lord!
Future Articles Planned
In a future article we need to discuss in more detail what an ideal homestead should be equipped with to meet your needs. I look forward to telling you about my desire to develop my concept of an isolated self sufficient Christian community in the Ozark mountains. A more traditional variant of my community concept is something I call Intentional Neighbors.
The next article, “A “Green Island” Prospectus,” will actually provide a list of things need for this lifestyle and a brief overview of all my articles on prepping so far. It is a handbook on prepping...of sorts.
You can get more information than you might want on my website at http://arkhaven.org/arkhaven_christian_community.htm or you can email me from http://arkhaven.org/contact_arkhaven.htm.
Classical paintings a'la Gustave Dore