Should Christians Be Preppers?
The important difference between smart planning and doomsday prepping
In the early weeks of the Coronavirus pandemic, I remember reading an article about a group of people who had been planning for the end of the world. One man had even used an apocalypse scenario to launch a business idea. A former military intelligence officer, he established a heavily armed, $8 million compound in the mountains of southern Colorado. Across 50 acres, he built “prison-like guard towers” surrounding underground, concrete-reinforced bunkers.
The bunkers were stocked with emergency rations, genetically modified seeds, toilet paper, and more. For $1,000 a year, survivalists could become members of this compound, giving them access to bunk-bed accommodations on the property when society collapsed.
The owner said the pandemic led to “a huge surge in interest” in membership.
I’m not surprised. In a world filled with anxiety and fear about the future, it’s natural to want to prepare your family for uncertainty, or protect them against a doomsday scenario.
But what about Christians? Should Christians actually be doomsday preppers?
Consider your motivations
A prepper, at least in this context, refers to anyone who gathers materials and makes plans in preparation for surviving a major cataclysm—like a worldwide economic collapse, a raging pandemic, or a nuclear war.
When people ask me if Christians should be preppers, I always ask them a question in return: What’s your motivation?
Why do you want to prepare for these potential outcomes?
If your desire to prepare is based out of fear, then that fear is not something that comes from the Lord. As believers, everything we do should be motivated by faith—not fear.
With this in mind, I believe there are two distinct kinds of preppers:
Secular preppers who are getting ready for war or natural disasters.
Christian preppers who believe we are going to go through the Tribulation.
If a secular person wants to prepare for the worst, well, that’s their choice. However, a close reading of Revelation makes it clear that, by the end of the Tribulation, this will be the reality on our planet: more than half of humanity is dead, all sea life is dead, all fresh water is either poisoned (by an asteroid called Wormwood) or turned to blood, one-third of all trees and vegetation are burned up and the earth is basically a smoldering ruin.
Planning ahead is a good idea, though I doubt any bunker or collection of canned food will be able to withstand God’s Judgment.
Christians won’t endure the Tribulation
But I feel sorry for Christians who worry that they will have to go through the Tribulation. As I’ve written in the past, there are many reasons Bible prophecy indicates Christians will be raptured before the Tribulation.
Several of those reasons come from statements made by Jesus Himself, like this one:
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”—Luke 17:26-30
Jesus specifically states that, when He returns to rapture His Church, it will be business as usual on the earth, just like it was before judgment fell in the days of Noah and Lot. This scripture would make no sense if the Rapture took place during the Tribulation or at the end of the Tribulation.
Half of all trees burned? All sea life dead? Fresh water poisoned? Nothing about that seems to indicate people going about their lives eating, buying and selling, planting and building. Those aren’t things people do when they are experiencing the worst time in human history.
That’s why I get so frustrated when I see pastors and preachers selling survival gear or encouraging doomsday preppers. Either they haven’t studied biblical prophecy enough to understand it, or they are being dishonest in order to make some money.
Smart preparing versus doomsday prepping
Let me say it emphatically: I do not believe we will go through the Tribulation. For that reason, I am not a “prepper.” At least, not in the “preparing for the Tribulation” sense. I do believe that it is wise to plan ahead for potential problems—the run on toilet paper early in the pandemic would be one of those scenarios—but don’t do it out of fear.
Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (NIV).
Plan ahead because it is smart to prepare yourself and your family for dangerous or significantly disruptive situations.
So I don’t have any problem with people making preparations in case of natural disasters, power outages, economic downturns, terrorism, or even impending war. It’s smart to consider some things that have occurred, from time to time, in our world—and wonder how we would handle it if it happened here.
Do you have food, water and basic emergency supplies?
For instance, Amazon sells this 30-day, one-person emergency food supply. Maybe that’s smart to keep around. You can also buy an emergency kit with 72 hours of disaster preparedness supplies for four people. For some people, these could come in handy during wildfire evacuations, or while fleeing a hurricane or flood, or for families—like those in Texas this winter—who might lose power for an extended time.
A LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a good thing to keep around if your local water supply fails. Or maybe you want to keep a portable generator around, just in case of power failure. I taught my kids to always have a quality first aid kit on hand, along with a flashlight and radio.
Keeping these things around is, perhaps, a light form of “prepping,” only because it is common sense to prepare for events that might be unexpected, but legitimately do happen from time to time.
But I don’t think you need an underground bunker, a vast acreage with guard towers, or enough military-grade weapons to supply a militia. I don’t think you need a monthly survivalist membership so you can flee to Colorado when the time comes.
The best preparation: Faith
My wife, Karen, and I keep essentials on supply in case an emergency occurs. These were helpful to have available during the first weeks of the pandemic. They also proved very helpful during the severe winter weather in Texas earlier this year—especially when members of my family lost power and had to come stay at our house!
In the world we live in, it makes me feel good to know we are prepared for potential disruptions or other problems. But preparing for the Tribulation is something I absolutely never think about.
It’s because I’ve already prepared for that. The way I prepared is by giving my heart to Jesus! And He has promised that we will be raptured before that severe time begins.