Well over a decade ago, y2k came and went. Though there were minor glitches, the dire predictions of massive chaos were wrong. Even those affected by the 12/2004 tsunami somewhat moved on to lead their version of normal lives. Hurricanes Katrina, Faye, Irene, Sandy, etc. have all come and gone. And in spite of all the hurricanes, tornados, and tropical storms, things have gotten basically back to a new normal for most in the USA.
The restrictions on buying certain grains in some stores in 2008 were lifted long ago. And even the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti seem to have relatively little impact outside their own countries (other than perhaps how Japan's problems may affect the nuclear power industry). 2012 came and went, and as I had written in a book on it back in 2009, 2012 was not the end of the world.
Does this mean that Christians should not be prepared?
Here are some scriptures that might provide some possible answers:
"Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep--So shall poverty come to you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man" (Proverbs 6:6-11).
"Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger" (Proverbs 19:15).
24...they are exceedingly wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; (Proverbs 30:24-25)
But won't God provide?
"The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish" (Proverbs 10:3).
Yes, He will, but look at the next verses,
"He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in the summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son of shame" (Proverbs 10:4-5).
So, the Bible speaks well of those who gather in the seasons when they can.
What else should be done?
"A prudent man forsees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3).
"But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing" (Matthew 24:43-46).
"gather His wheat into the barn" (Matthew 3:12).
Thus, people who believe the Bible will take steps and not ignore what is happening today.
In the parable of the virgins, the wise are prepared and rewarded, but the foolish are unprepared and turned away (Matthew 25:1-13); while is is true that this parable (and the other scriptures quoted) have spiritual meanings, it does suggest that Christians should also be prepared physically.
Some do not think there will be a problem because things seem to be the same. Is that the acceptable biblical criteria?
"For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:38-39).
But what about all the official assurances we will be receiving?
"For when they say, 'Peace and safety!', then sudden destruction comes upon them" (I Thessalonians 5:3).
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow...But now you boast in arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you" (James 4:13,16,17; 5:1).
Are not the peoples in the first world countries rich?
Does the Bible teach that we are to ignore problems?
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that will he reap...Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:7,10).
"The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly" (Proverbs 26:16).
"But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was" (James 1:22-24).
And preparation certainly makes a lot of sense. One website (to which I have no affiliation whatsoever, nor from which have I ever bought anything) that has been suggested to me related to physical preparation is http://beprepared.com/ (but their are many others on the net that have similar information).
These difficult times should get people's attention.
Davy Crockett (and yes, he is a descendant of the famous American with that name), wrote the following:
Long ago, Solomon as well as other wise men in ancient Israel, gave sound advice on this important, but often overlooked subject. For example in Proverbs 22:3 we find, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.”
Whether one’s lack of preparation is from laziness, sloth or just procrastination, the results are the same: Disaster! It is interesting that the writer of these wise sayings refers us to an insect to learn a vital lesson. You find this fascinating analogy in Proverbs 6:6-11: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”
The passage goes on with other details and concludes: “Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy” (v. 15).
What is the lesson? What are we to take from this? If you are industrious, like the lowly ant, you will be prepared for what comes, whether it is the changing of the seasons, or some unexpected disruption in your circumstances.
When ancient Egypt was facing seven years of severe famine in the time of Joseph, son of Jacob, God used Joseph to put together an ambitious plan to store grain for the hard times to come. When the catastrophic famine did come upon the land, Joseph put his inspired plan into action and the people were sustained for seven years. The preparation wasn’t easy, and I’m certain it wasn’t popular, as the farmers and workers strained under the load of growing and storing the grain under Joseph’s watchful eyes for seven years, but what a payoff! Disaster was averted and the people were saved. (Genesis 41-47).
Preparation is a godly principle that is emphasized in many of the Proverbs and in other Scripture as well. While preparation for physical challenges is very important, spiritual preparation is also of utmost importance. To lose everything physically would be a tragic circumstance, but to lose out on the tremendous opportunity to be a part of God’s family for eternity, in His Kingdom on this earth would be a much greater, more profound loss. Read more (Crockett D. Commentary: The High Side, April 2, 2011).
TW News & Prophecy reported:
This winter has been the “driest” in 44 years in Texas–which is America’s second-largest wheat producing state. The drought is also negatively affecting cattle land and thus cattle herds. A March 20 report noted that “More than half the wheat fields and pastures [in Texas] were rated in poor or very poor condition.”
Other wheat producing states in the region–Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas–are experiencing similar crop conditions. Meanwhile North Dakotan and Canadian wheat crops are being threatened yet again this year by too much moisture. Last week the U.S. cattle herd was recorded as being the smallest since 1958 (Bloomberg, March 24, 2011).
God prophesied that at the time of the end, wheat prices would become exceedingly high (Revelation 6:5-6). Ultimately this and other factors will bring “cleanness of teeth…and lack of bread” -food shortages and starvation–among Israelite-descended nations and other nations around the globe (Amos 4:6). These prophesied events will occur because the “children of Abraham” have departed from God and His way of life!
However, the good news is that the return of Jesus Christ will bring better conditions, “I will send you grain and new wine and oil… The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil” (Joel 2:19, 24). God speed that day! (Endangered wheat supplies. TW News & Prophecy, April 1, 2011)
National repentance is what is needed (though this looks unlikely for the UK, USA, and their Anglo-allies like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia). Some suspect that food riots may soon hit the United Kingdom (see Food Riots for the UK?).
Yet, there is good news as ultimately, God’s kingdom will come and food shortages will be gone:
16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore (Revelation 7:16).
But a terrible hour of trial is coming first (Revelation 3:10; Jeremiah 30:7).
In 2008, there were temporary limits placed on buying rice in the United States (see Rice and the Beginning of Sorrows) and some Asian nations limited and even stopped rice exports for a while. Thus, this and more could happen again.
There were various wheat shortages expected for 2010 (see Drought: Less Wheat in Russia, Europe, Australia, China, and Argentina). On August 5, 2010, Russia announced that it would be halting exports of grains.
Those that believe that being part of a Western nation will always keep them fed would do well to notice the following secular news article:
The Geopolitics of Food Scarcity
In some countries social order has already begun to break down in the face of soaring food prices and spreading hunger. Could the worldwide food crisis portend the collapse of global civilization?
Spiegel - Feb 11, 2009
World carryover stocks of grain (the amount remaining from the previous harvest when the new harvest begins) have dropped to only 60 days of consumption, a near record low…
No country is immune to the effects of tightening food supplies, not even the United States.
If China turns to the world market for massive quantities of grain, as it recently has done for soybeans, it will undoubtedly look to the United States, which dominates world grain exports. For US consumers, the prospect of competing for the US grain harvest with 1.3 billion Chinese consumers with fast-rising incomes is a nightmare scenario. It would be tempting for the United States to restrict exports, but this is not an option with China which now holds well over one trillion US dollars. Like it or not, US consumers will share their grain with Chinese consumers regardless of how high food prices rise.
If the food crisis worsens, national restrictions on grain exports coupled with various bilateral arrangements could tie down much of the exportable supply of grain, making it increasingly difficult if not impossible for weaker, less affluent countries to find grain to import. Many countries heavily dependent on imports could be left out, and the result would be hundreds of millions of desperate people. Desperate people do desperate things: They riot, they fight over food, they overthrow governments, and they mass migrate to more food-secure countries.
The massive amount of debt that Western nations have acquired somehow needs to be dealt with. And while at some point, leaders will restrict certain food exports, that will not guarantee that their people will have food (they may even need to import if their currencies are any good). If indebted nations restrict their food exports that puts them at risk of totally destroying their currencies, and cause other severe civil disruptions. These are dangerous times, even for the Anglo-American nations (see also Anglo - America in Prophecy).
But, of course, famines and related disruptions have long happened, and were even predicted:
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all men for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved…” (Mark 13:3-13).
Events seems to be lining up to fulfill the above and other biblical prophecies. But the end (meaning the great tribulation, which starts afterwards, see Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2012, 2013, or 2014?) is NOT yet:
18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days…
37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:18-20,37).
A period of persecution combined with successfully proclaiming the gospel to the world as a witness precedes the great tribulation (see also Persecutions by Church and State). And then the faithful church FLEES (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra ).
Until then, Jesus says to watch and pray.
Although those who trust in things on the earth will be disappointed, the wise may also wish to study physical preparation scriptures, such as Proverbs 6:6-8, as they are certainly in the Bible for a reason.
The Bible tells of a coming time of death and pestilence (Revelation 6:7-8; Matthew 24:7-8).
In a recent trip to Europe, I noticed that some Asian-appearing individuals (and only Asians, and then mainly women) were wearing masks to presumably reduce their risk of catching airborne diseases in airports and some other places. Washing hands and wearing masks sometimes do have limited benefit, and it is possible that in times of epidemic that some (though not all) may benefit from these actions.
The fourth horseman of the apocalypse will result in death of a quarter of humankind (Revelation 6:8). Just like bodily exercise can benefit for a little while, physical hygiene steps may also benefit some for a little while, yet turning to God and living His ways are what we need to do:
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:8-11)
Godliness is profitable in all things (see also What is the Meaning of Life? and The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil). (For more on pestilences, please see the article Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse.)
Many believe that the Anglo-American nations will inflate their currencies so much, that this will mean that they will have little if any value in the future. And sadly this is correct (see also Anglo - America in Prophecy). This will mean that they will be able to import little, if any food, should they have significant weather, pestilences, or other massive issues with their own food supplies
Many advocate gold, silver, and/or other precious metals as a hedge against this. And while I am NOT a "gold bug", it is true that the Bible shows that gold and silver will have value into at least part of the Great Tribulation. Notice:
40... the king of the North...43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt (Daniel 11:40-43).
If gold and silver were of no value then, then they would not be precious (see also Zechariah 14:13-14) to the King of the North.
However, the Bible specifically teaches that they will not save the rich (or anyone else) from the end-time problems:
3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days (James 5:3)
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4)
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
Shall be able to deliver them
In the day of the Lord's wrath;
But the whole land shall be devoured
By the fire of His jealousy,
For He will make speedy riddance
Of all those who dwell in the land. (Zephaniah 1:18)
However, this does not mean that owning some may not help a little bit, but that a relationship with God counts much more. For more scriptures, as well as technical information about gold, please see the article The Plain Truth About Gold in Prophecy. How Should a Christian View Gold?
As one familiar with statistics, there is a concept known essentially within the framework of "game theory" which in essence states, look at the end result and not always at the probability for occurrence. Regarding a food shortage, let us assume that there is a 99% probability that nothing truly significant will happen this year or next.
Let us assume you do nothing. If nothing happens, you will feel vindicated. If something does happen, you may be impoverished or worse--you will also contribute to the panic that would ensue for those who also did not prepare.
Let us assume that tomorrow you store some water and go and buy a few hundred dollars/Euros/pounds worth of storable food (canned goods, dried foods, sacks of grain). If nothing happens, you will have food you can consume eventually that you bought prematurely. You may also eat more whole grains instead of refined ones, which while a little more difficult to prepare, will be healthier for you than the more processed foods. On the other hand, let us assume there are food shortages. You will not be as likely to panic and contribute to the problem. The fact that you bought early, will mean that you can even help your neighbor as Jesus said,
"It is more blessed to give than receive" (Acts 20:35).
Remember, if you do not prepare early enough, you will hope that others will help you.
What does any of this have to do with game theory?
Simply this, that even if the probability of an occurrence is low, the consequences of each probability needs to be weighed. Or in the vernacular, it is better to be safe than sorry.
I should state that I do not believe we in the Western nations will need to flee this year (though my own views on that are somewhat irrelevant per Matthew 24:43, though I do believe that according to scripture, the Great Tribulation cannot begin before 2017. But we now seem to be in the time that Jesus referred to as "the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:4-8), and preparation during this time appears wise. As I wrote much earlier about y2k, I suspected that the y2k rollover would not be the actual test, but perhaps a pretest to see who would prepare.
I suspect that because y2k (and most, though not all, storms) did not lead to major problems in Western nations, some Christians will not flee when it's time (for a related article, please check out Laodicean Warning for God's People and There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
The Bible seems to make it clear that it is prudent for Christians to take a few essentially no-risk preparations. After all, if as Jesus said, "you are of far more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:31), shouldn't we prepare at least as much as ants?
While gold and silver (nor guns) will not save anyone for very long, they are likely to outlast the value of the US dollar. And while I do not believe that hardly anyone will survive in places like the USA/UK/Canada, etc. because they hope to have a 3 1/2 year supply of food, I do believe that it is prudent for people to have reasonable amounts of stored food and water so that they can survive for several weeks at least (as well as to possibly be able to help neighbors and others survive).
Therefore, I believe that some physical preparations are wise in these end days, but only with the realization that God is our protector and only He can protect from what is coming (and He has made such a provision, please see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
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