How do I make sure I survive the end times? - by Tim McHyde

Jesus warned that end-time events would not only threaten your life, but also your faith:
Matthew 24:8,10 (NIV2011) — 8 All these events are the beginning of birth pains. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other...

This mass apostasy happens because the survivors of Wormwood will struggle with the knowledge that God himself sent Wormwood, purging billions of lives. Maintaining belief in God's goodness (Heb 12:6) is challenging when he looks like a villain, yet your faith depends on it.

This is also warning for today when, even in normal times, in the face of personal challenges, Christians lose their faith and walk from serving God every day. This can be lethal if the end comes while you are cut off from God. I honestly believe we will need God's help to make it to safety.

Although I have answered over 50,000 questions since first publishing my Bible research online in 1999, there is one very wise question that is not among the top ten questions I am asked. Frankly, I cannot remember anyone asking a question like this so far. That question would be:
Tim, what do you recommend for someone who wants to make sure they escape the end times?”
Given escaping for sure is the outcome we all desire, this is the best question to ask a Bible prophecy author and expert. Why do so many send me mostly less practical, trivia-like questions instead?
The problem is that most already have certain assumptions about what is important to know or do about the end times. They may also make new assumptions from reading a few of my articles on individual topics (like Wormwood or Elijah) before approaching me for help. This leads to the popular questions I receive such as:
  • “When will the end times start/how do I know when it is near?”
  • “How do I recognize the mark of the beast?”
  • “Who is the Antichrist?”
  • “How do I know who Elijah is?”
  • “When should I flee America?”
  • “How do I make my family listen to me on The Rapture/Leaving America/Elijah/Judea/etc.?”
As you might suspect, having the right answers to even all of these questions will not insure someone's survival in the end times. It's almost as if the assumption behind such questions at the moment they are made is that if they can only get the correct answer, the rest will take care of itself.
But as I'll show you, that's not at all the case.

My Old Answers... (2004-2016)

If you had asked me that model question above even a couple of years ago, in all honesty, I would not have been able to give you the right answer. 🙁
Let me share a few of my past incomplete answers in case some of them match your own current understanding.
Even after writing the first edition of my book Know the Future in 2004, I still had a lot to learn. I would have answered the question by saying it was important to study Bible prophecy yourself to understand its “instructions.” (Ha! Incomplete ones...) That way you would know for yourself that Wormwood is coming and to watch for Elijah to come to lead us to safety from Wormwood in Judea.
Later... I realized that no one needs to be a Bible prophecy expert or even have any knowledge on the subject. Why not? First, Elijah will (and must) be impossible to miss as he would be the one delivering the Good News of the Kingdom “worldwide in all nations” with his warning (Rev 14:6-7=Mt 24:14=Joel 2:32=Mal 4:5-6). Second, his teaching will no doubt require all of us to throw out much of what little end-time understanding we currently have, not just the pretrib-rapturists (who do not know yet that the Bible says we escape the Tribulation on earth, not Heaven). Thus, I then saw the real obstacle to be accepting Elijah as sent by God instead of perceiving him as a dangerous heretic sent by the Devil (as sadly nearly all Christians will).
Later... I came to understand more clearly that belief in Elijah's message is not enough to get the job done because what he will describe as the escape plan (going to Judea) will sound not just Scripturally unfounded, but ludicrous—not anything a sane person would want to do or should need to do—even devout believers. I saw that what was important was to start preparing mentally now (exactly as Jesus had said) by daily staying awake (i.e., righteousness, not backsliding) and “praying for the strength to escape all these things” (Lk 21:36). Just as Lot's wife believed the warning about Sodom and fled but was unable to comply fully with it and turned to salt, so will it be that way with Elijah's instructions even for those who believe him; a very hard ask that results most likely in death (Lk 17:32).
Later... (most recently) I comprehended that while praying for personal strength was important, if we do not also have God's helping hand of divine inspiration and/or even supernatural help to not waver in our strength or resolve, then we may not make it despite our best intentions and preparations. (E.g., think of the saints stuck in prison or the physically, constitutionally impaired or those with strong family ties.) It could be as simple as God using some person to come and declare (with authority) “we have to leave now!” so that it suddenly jolts you out your wavering and procrastinating (Gen 19:14) to finally act on Elijah's radical instructions, thereby saving your life. I mention this because of a powerful testimony that I heard from a supporter about how his devout Catholic parents escaped Saigon on the last chopper out thanks to such a clarion call at just the right time, through someone no doubt sent by God.

My Current Answer

To sum up, escaping the end times is not mainly about what I used to think or what you may currently think: Bible study, end time knowledge, being good at recognizing or believing Elijah, being righteous or even having the strength to obey God's radical commands. The inconvenient truth is that many righteous and strong saints will die because their faith in God fails and they lose God's favor and assistance for what's coming—despite agreeing with Elijah and wanting to follow him.
Why? How can I be so sure?
Because Jesus told us already this would happen and gave us a clue as to why:
Matthew 24:7-13 (HCSB) — 7 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom [WW3/America gone]. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places [Wormwood]. 8 All these events are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.
In this passage, Jesus describes what people do in the aftermath of the "sorrows" (WW3 and Wormwood). Among the minority who survive, he says people will be "offended" and act in hateful, loveless, and betraying manners. It is important to recognize that these people include believers like us. Jesus addresses believers using “you” three times with bad news leading up to verse 13 where he offers some hope for them, “but...the one who endures will be delivered.” Despite all the negative reactions that most people will choose, those (believers) who endure until the end will be delivered.
But “many” (which I contend is best understood as “most”) will become offended and lose their faith.


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