Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Aug 20, 2012

Just How Prepared Are the Preppers?

In America today, a large number of people have taken steps to prepare for what they fear is going to happen to America. These "preppers" believe that a complete collapse of the economy is coming, and they are doing everything they can to get ready. The Great Drought of 2012 has only added to the urgency of being ready for future food shortages.

A prepper is: "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle." (Definition from www.Prepper.org )

This category of people has become so popular it has spawned Doomsday Preppers, a documentary TV show that airs on National Geographic. The preppers featured on the show are seen planning how they expect to survive various doomsday scenarios. After they make their preparations, a panel of experts analyzes and rates their survival skills.

It is hard to tell how many people are part of the preparation movement. Many of these people like to keep their planning a secretso they don't have to fend off their starving neighbors once a famine sets in. One estimate says that around 4 million people would classify themselves as preppers.

The field of Bible prophecy has been profoundly influenced by the prepper movement. I would estimated that 60 percent of the people I know have made some type of preparation for hard times. I know of at least three prophetic ministries that have decided to specialize in promoting end-time survivalism.

I have seen several videos on YouTube of people showing off their silver/gold coins or pantry stocked with canned goods. I am struck by the fact that most of these people lack any meaningful quantity of precious metals or foods.

Clearly, they have not done the math to see how long they can survive a time of economic hardship. If our nation were to suffer an economic meltdown and these people were without work for several months, their supplies would quickly run out, leaving them with only a temporary advantage over people who made no preparations.

In a search of YouTube, I found five videos of people showing off their silver. I didn't see a video showing someone with more than 200 ounces. At today's market price, 200 ounces of silver is only worth around $5,600, which would only last many people about two months. I'm sure these people are dreaming of silver prices that will have soared into the hundred-dollar range. Because inflation will cause the price of goods and services to also increase, silver will only preserve your purchasing power at the current rate.

There is an equal misconception about how long food stocks will last. Over the years, I've met dozens of people who tell me they have purchased extra canned goods for hard times. A case of Uncle Ben's rice is not going to save people from a prolonged famine. Just to meet the daily grain requirements for a family of three people for one year, you would have to store around 300 pounds of rice. This is equal to twelve five-gallon buckets.

Of course, you can't just live on rice. If you wanted to purchase a year's supply of freeze-dried meat, it would cost you around $1,700. An annual supply of canned or freeze-dried vegetables would be another $800. The best option would be to have a garden, but most people don't have enough land to grow their own food.

I have no problem with folks who have decided to make preparations for adversity. If God has blessed you with financial resources, it would be wise to convert some of your wealth into goods that would endure a period of hyperinflation.

I think it's unwise for people to place all their faith in their preparations. I'm sure the people I found posing with their precious metal collections and their pantries stocked with food have total confidence that their little hoard will save them from hard times. Calamity can come by other means. The person with the silver and gold coins may have them stolen by robbers or confiscated by the government. The people who have their house filled with food can easily have it wiped out by a flood or a wildfire.

To be a real prepper, you have to be a believer in Jesus Christ. All the gold, guns, and groceries in the world can't save you from the coming judgment. The only cure for the curse of sin is faith in Son of God. How can you not be an end-time prepper when you have a Lord who has promised to save you from the wrath to come?

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).


Buildup to Sudden Destruction

Rumors of war in the Middle East continue and grow by the day. We have heard of such Armageddon-like conflict that is coming for most of a decade. It’s almost like the little boy who cried “wolf,” but not quite.

Anyone with any sense of the potential for conflagration in that volatile region that could bring worldwide war knows that the breaking point has now about been reached. Iran’s nuclear weapon development project–or the fear that their nuclear program is for developing weapons of mass destruction—is, of course, the primary reason for the tensions involved.

Three observable factors are on the stepped-up agenda of potential war consideration: 1) Israel is in a top-alert configuration, talking more or less openly about its most advanced defensive capabilities; 2) Iran is expressing fear of imminent attack from Israel, and is hustling to protect its nuclear program; 3) The Israeli prime minister and his military have a strong sense that they must depend only on their own resolve, not that of their one-time staunch, superpower ally to defend the Jewish state.

Regarding point 1, the following news report indicates Israel’s concern for its threatened citizenry.

According to an unidentified official, new intelligence obtained by Israel, the United States, and other Western states shows that Iran's development of a nuclear weapon is progressing far beyond the scope reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

…Tehran has made significant progress towards assembling a nuclear warhead for a Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of nearly 1,000 miles, putting the whole of Israel, including the Dimona nuclear reactor in the southern Negev desert, within the Islamic republic's range…

Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, issued a public warning that Tehran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear bomb. "Every threat against the home front is dwarfed by one threat. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon," he told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. (Mark Weiss, "Israel Demands Nuclear Ultimatum for Iran," 8/13/12, Telegraph)

To punctuate the urgency, Israel’s home front command, in a test run of alerting the populace, issued thousands of text messages to alert people when rockets are launched on specific areas of the country. Apparently, the test is ongoing, with the text messages being given in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Russian.

Israel’s increased national defense preparations were further reported:

As testing began, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had chalked up "a significant improvement" in its home front defence capabilities, mentioning its highly-vaunted anti-missile systems such as Iron Dome and Arrow 2.

"There has been a significant improvement in our level of defence capacity on the home front: with Iron Dome, with the Arrow, in terms of protection and shelters, in advanced warning systems and in other areas," he said. ("Israel Tests SMS Missile Alerts as Iran Chatter Grows," 8/12, AFP-Sun)

On point 2, reports grow about Iran’s fears of attack by Israel, thus convincing them to deeply shelter its nuclear program at a quickening pace:

Iran is disturbed by threats emanating from Israel to strike its nuclear sites and takes such threats seriously, a senior Iran expert told The Jerusalem Post. The past few days have been dominated by media headlines on a possible Israeli strike, with several reports claiming that a strike is imminent and could come within weeks. Iran has been busy fortifying its air defenses and moving parts of the uranium enrichment program to underground sites to make them immune to an Israeli strike. (Yaakov Lappin, "Talk of Military Strike ‘Makes Tehran Nervous,'" 8/13/12, Post/Reuters)

Regarding point 3, Israel’s growing distrust for the American presidential administration’s support is surfacing by the day. While Israel’s government and military has presented evidence time after time that its most threatening enemy, Iran, is driving for a nuclear bomb, the U.S. intelligence services, obviously controlled by the Obama administration, say only that they suspect that the Iranian regime–although that regime has declared that it is committed to removing Israel from the earth--is seeking a weapons capability but that no decision has been taken on actually making one.

Such naivete at best and willful disregard for the facts at worst is itself heightening the danger of all-out war in the Middle East, in my opinion. The buildup to such conflict continues apace–and increases by the hour. It is obvious–to this observer, at least—that only the staying hand of God is holding back the inevitable. I am convinced that when the inevitable comes–the massive devastation that will involve the whole world—it will be the sudden destruction that will follow immediately the Rapture of the Church, as indicated by Jesus’ own Words: “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:29-30).