To face the horrible end-time events, do you plan to flee to Judea or are you resolved stay put? Is it too overwhelming for you to think of trying to save yourself? To many, it seems easier and even nobler to stay home rather than “run away” (as some characterize what I teach). Yet, there is so much in prophecy that this response does not account for. It's time I shared them so you can see why staying put is a very bad idea and hopefully move on to accepting what God has planned for the saints end time escape.
How Do You Respond to the End Time “Bad News?”
While the Good News of the Kingdom is indeed going to return to be published again 1900 years later soon (Mt 24:14), there is also the very “bad news” about end time events like the nuclear World War III, the Wormwood cataclysm, the mark of the Beast and Antichrist totalitarian takeover. Most Christians are frightened by these things and desperately hope there is indeed a pretrib rapture and also that they qualify for it despite all their sins, not praying, not studying or not having a clear conscience in general in regards to how they conduct their lives in a too-often unChristlike fashion.
As regular readers know, God's plan revealed in the Bible to preserve the saints from these end time events is not exactly going to be easy. It's hard to think of something harder to stomach than an international move to one of the world's most hated nations. It is so far removed from the fantastical “pretrib rapture” (which most Christians have been taught to expect), that it's altogether discouraging, depressing and demoralizing for anyone hearing it. In other words, not only is what God is allowing to come unbearable to think of, but God's plan of having us fight through it on earth in a new foreign home country adds insult to injury.
When confronted with unpleasant news like that, we humans often tend towards irrational, emotional responses as our way of coping, at least in the short term. For example, if you're informed by your doctor that you have cancer, you're likely to first go into denial or disbelief along the lines of the famous DABDA acronym: “I don't understand. It can't be. I've eaten so well and exercised all my life.” You assume there must be some mistake and ruminate on that theory before even looking into or considering, say, the prescribed cure-worse-than-the-disease treatment of chemotherapy. It's human nature.
Similarly, when hearing the end time “bad news” above, many people shut down and move quickly to responses such as disbelief or thinking that "surely Tim McHyde is mistaken about no pretrib rapture and going through the Great Tribulation." These are very common and have been addressed in many articles over the years by me.
Yet there is another common response that I have not so far addressed in a full article. Namely this:
“Well, if that's the escape plan, then I won't leave. I'll just stay behind and die here.”
Because this is not only hopeless but literally suicidal thinking which no doubt keeps many of my readers or their loved ones stuck, I'm finally going to address it in this article. My hope is to set at least a few free from this trap of thinking.
Five “I'll Stay Behind” Excuses – Which is Yours?
Ever notice how in everyday life people do what they want to do for emotional reasons yet when asked about it, often give a different, logical-sounding justification? An example of this is how people buy, say, an expensive brand item they really wanted because it makes them feel good about themselves. Yet, when questioned, they may state they bought it because it was on sale. Yes, it's logical to buy something when it's at its cheapest price, but if you really don't need it then you're not saving money but wasting it. If you're honest, you bought it for an emotional reason, to love yourself. This we all do, making emotional decisions masked behind logical justifications.
For the “staying behind” plan, I've noticed several explanations that people give for why they won't be following God's end time escape plan. I'm going to address five of them below. The reason I'm doing this is because I know how our minds work. As long as we have an alternative to doing something we don't want to do, we won't fully consider doing that hard thing. That go-to excuse stashed in our back-pocket soothes us whenever the uncomfortable concept is brought up. Most who hear our excuse won't be wise or bold enough to burst our bubble, so we just hold onto it for dear life (HODL).
Below I'll share five explanations I have heard from people for why they feel staying behind is better—along with my responses to them. Let's look at them now and consider each of these reasons people have for thinking it's wise or best to just stay behind instead of trying to manage the escape plan of God detailed in numerous end time prophecies.
Stay Behind Reason #1: “I don't have the money/permission/health to move overseas.”
As someone who has moved internationally twice (from America to Costa Rica in 1999, and then from Costa Rica to Germany in 2015), I won't deny that it's expensive and time-consuming (in terms of research and preparation on both ends) to move internationally. It's daunting, especially on your own.
However, in God's economy, “there is no commission without provision;” If God tells you to do something hard or costly, he gives you what you need to do it. As I've explained for years, I see no way that an “escape to Judea fund” is not set up by the saints to help those very few who are willing to obey the command to move to war-torn, radioactive Judea. Not to mention supernatural help for permissions and healings for the sick. God must take these excuses away from people otherwise they will be able to accuse him later of providing an escape that only the rich, the healthy or the privileged can take part in. If God could break Peter out of prison twice to enable him to do the preaching he was commanded to do, he can do the same for you with anything restricting your travel to get to Judea in time.
Stay Behind Reason #2: “I won't abandon my spouse/children/animals”
Love and affection for family, friends or even pets are a beautiful gift from God. At the same time, because they are so powerful they can so easily become an idol before God. God needs us to be willing to give up these idols.
The life of Abraham helps to put this in perspective and show these type of sacrifices are not such a strange thing. As Paul taught, the lives of the patriarchs and Israel are an example to teach us (1Co 11:10).
At the beginning of Abraham's story, God commanded him to leave his father's house and travel to where God commanded him (Gen 12:1). He simply obeyed this radical command (Gen 12:4), despite how this meant leaving all his family and friends behind, minus his nephew Lot. That was radical and hard.
God later command that Abraham to sacrifice his firstborn Isaac. Both Abraham (and the fully grown, according to Josephus perhaps 25-year-old) Isaac showed willingness to do. Where would they have ended up if either of them refused to cooperate with God's command? Abraham might not be the patriarch of Israel. Isaac might have been passed by for that legacy blessing for Abraham's offspring for another son God could give.
We will be called upon to make the similar sacrifices in God's end time plan. We will be required to give up our home, our homeland, friends and family. We'll likely be leaving children behind who we fully expect to die without God's protection. This will be clearly communicated to all the saints right before the destruction of America:
Revelation 18:4 — And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.Article continues below...
"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus
Jesus predicted that he will tell many sincere believers to basically "get lost" instead of welcoming them into the Kingdom. So...who are they and what did they miss or do wrong? In this study, get those answers and the one requirement for salvation Jesus taught (that Christianity misses) so that you can make sure you don't hear these dreaded words yourself!
That call applies to “all” in any nation as the parallel prophecy in Joel calls all potential survivors to Judea for safety from Wormwood, a near concurrent event with the nuclear destruction of America (Joel 2:32).
When that time comes, do we really want to stay home surrounded by loved ones in disobedience, or do we want to follow the righteous example of Abraham, the "father of the faithful" and depart as told?
Stay Behind Reason #3: “I can't stand for my kids/parents to think I abandoned them...”
This reason is similar to the previous reason, but different enough to address here. This one springs from one of two things: fear of rejection or fear of someone you love getting hurt by your actions. People commonly have a hard time with rejection, so they try to avoid giving anyone a reason for others rejecting them, such as abandoning them. Similarly, leaving someone behind in obedience to a radical command from God to leave is definite or even people misunderstanding them and thinking evil of them. They also have a hard time with the thought of ever inflicting any emotional suffering on loved ones.
It's certainly hard to live with being misunderstood in a negative light by others. Through much experience I've learned to get used to this and accept that it is really impossible to completely avoid. I do my best to explain myself when given the opportunity, but I know to let it go when I see people have their minds made up. God will defend me if I'm truly misunderstood, misjudged and needing defending.
I also think about how misunderstood God is. He has chosen to run the world in a way that he is nearly 100% of the time maligned by most as evil, not good. He's been going already for 6,000 years being thought of as uncaring, impotent or both. He is OK with this. It's a necessary side effect of his plan to raise up children with unfettered free will that he be considered the “bad guy” at this time.
Now, if God is willing to be so completely misunderstood by nearly all of us in his great love for us, then perhaps we can bear with being misunderstood by a few people we know for a few short years while they are alive? When the resurrection comes (or by chance when they are reunited with us in Judea), they will know the full story and realize their mistaken judgment of us.
But what if we give up and disobey God's command? What will our dear ones think of us in the end when they learn the truth? They may very well ask of us, “How could you disobey God just to please me? That's not what I would have wanted had I known the truth you knew.”
Stay Behind Reason #4: “I'm called to be a martyr”
It may surprise you, but over the years I've heard this many times from Christians. I've also heard from more than a few dozen Christians that they are Elijah. (I just got a comment today from someone claiming this.) Perhaps you already see my point. Christians claim they hear a lot of things from God that turn out not to be true. If a "word" is false, they must not have heard it from God, but from another spirit or just their own human imagination.
I sense that being a martyr is a very hard thing that must be granted to you by God. Some Christians fantasize of having such a noble and pure death. But it's much harder than they think and they are unable to pull it off. It's like people who talk about wanting to fast 40 days yet they have never willingly missed a single meal in their lives. An extended fast of any length is an unrealistic stretch for them. When the world population is starving from Wormwood's devastation and the mark of the beast is offered in exchange for food, I believe there will be many Christians who thought about martyrdom like this who take the mark instead. There's theory, and then there's reality.
If you think you are called to be a martyr, that's fine. That's between you and God and I don't know any different as far as any individual goes. Just be very clear it's a rare thing. You must be accounted worthy to suffer and represent God in that way, as the apostles knew:
Acts 5:40-41— 40 At this, they yielded to Gamaliel. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
In conclusion, I would suggest that if you think you're called to martyrdom instead of obeying the command to flee to Judea, that you discern the spirits carefully (1John 4:1). Consider the possibility that a deceiving spirit is trying to set you up to disobey the coming command of God (Rev 18:4), much like deceiving spirits have convinced thousands of Christians that they are, in fact, the one and only end time Elijah. They can't all be right—but they can all be wrong. I believe it's the same with most who are believing they are called to martyrdom. Consider carefully whether your “call to martyrdom” is not some demon trying to appeal to your ego and get you marked or killed before the mark even comes because you stayed out in the world without God's protection.
Finally, I'll leave you with a passage from the OT that helps us consider whether even self-sacrifice is more desirable to God then obedience (when he's not commanding the self-sacrifice).
1 Samuel 11:22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
Stay Behind Reason #5: “I'm not a coward who runs away—like you!”
I believed in 1999 that America's destruction prophesied in Revelation could be coming in Y2K. So my wife and I left for Costa Rica, “just in case.” We realized within a few months that this move was not necessary as 2000 could not possibly be when that prophecy was fulfilled. Otherwise there would be at least a couple years of a warning about it by a prophet as Revelation 18:4 requires and Jeremiah talks about (Jer 51:46=Rev 18:4). I finally saw that in Scripture after landing in Costa Rica but before 1999 was out. Live and learn. Still glad we moved to Costa Rica for what we learned from the wilderness experience as spoiled Americans living in a Third World country.
As the years went by there in Costa Rica, when some website visitors learned I was an American living overseas, they criticized me. They considered it cowardice or evil to “run away” and not “stay back and fight for America.”
I'm sure others harbor a similar thought that they are nobler and better to stay put and not run away in the end times. Running can indeed have the appearance of cowardice or guilt. Joseph fled from Potiphar's lecherous wife and looked guilty of impropriety in the process. This leads back to reason #3 and how some can't stand the thought of being misunderstood.
However, it's what God thinks that matters. When God issues a command to flee and it's not cowardice to do so. It's obedience. Enough said.
Further, More General Considerations
If the above responses to the public reasons people give for opting to stay behind don't sway you, then let me move on to some more general considerations that you may be overlooking or have forgotten.
These points should help you to see that staying behind makes no logical sense—unless you truly want to die.
1. America Will Burn and Turn Radioactive
Since most of my reading audience is American, forgive me that this first general reason for following the “I'll stay behind” plan applies only to Americans, at least at first. (The rest of the world will greatly suffer from this event, too, but in a less final way, as the next numbered reason below explains.)
According to popular Christian prophecy theory, “America is not in Bible prophecy.” That sounds comforting (“no news is good news”), but there is no nation that better fits the key criteria found in Revelation 17-18 of the mystery of “Babylon the Great” or the parallel prophecy in Jeremiah 50-51 of “Daughter Babylon.” Daniel 7 also refers to America as the eagle's wings plucked from the lion, picturing the US/UK daughter/mother country modern day strong alliance coming to an end with America's destruction.
See these articles if this is all news to you:
Once you do your homework and solve that mystery about who Revelation 18 is talking about, it's time to consider these verses about Babylon burning with fire and the outcome of this:
Revelation 18:8-10 — For this reason her plagues will come in one day--death and grief and famine. She will be burned up with fire, because the Lord God who judges her is mighty. 9 The kings of the earth who have committed sexual immorality and lived luxuriously with her will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off in fear of her torment, saying: Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in a single hour your judgment has come.
Is this possibly just a superficial burning? A light toasting? How bad are the results, really? Let Jeremiah's parallel prophecy settle that matter:
Jeremiah 50:39-40 — 39 So the desert creatures and hyenas will live there and ostriches will dwell there. It will never again be inhabited or settled from generation to generation. 40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah along with their neighboring towns, declares the LORD, no one will reside there; no man will dwell there.
No humans and mostly creatures that can survive in the desert will characterize the remaining inhabitants of America. This is just as Sodom and Gomorrah's fate until this day.
Like I said above, staying behind is likely going to kill you, and quickly at that if your home is America. Isn't it worth the effort to take part in God's escape plan?
2. Economic Collapse Everywhere Else
What if you are not living in America and plan to stay behind? As said above, you won't die in that WW3 nuclear holocaust—at least if you're outside Russia. Because if America manages to get out a retaliatory nuclear strike at Russia, you can die there instantly, too, for staying behind.
But wait, that's not all. Outside the US and Russia, there will be another problem that is our second reason for not staying behind. It's contained in this verse:
Revelation 18:11, 19 — 11 The merchants of the earth will also weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any longer 19 They threw dust on their heads and kept crying out, weeping, and mourning: Woe, woe, the great city, where all those who have ships on the sea became rich from her wealth, for in a single hour she was destroyed.
This passage puzzled me for some time. I could not understand why it said “no one buys their goods” instead of “Babylon no longer buys their goods.” After all, Babylon was the only one burning, not the other 190-something nations in the world. That was until I realized that the US dollar is the key currency of the world. It's the currency that nations hold in reserve or the “reserve currency” for international transactions.
If the nation that backs the reserve currency burns up in one hours, that currency becomes worthless. If the reserve currency that all nations are holding assets and savings is worthless overnight, a global panic will ensue along with a sure, global, economic collapse.
This has never been seen before in history nor would it come any other way, however we did get a very slight idea of it back in 2008-2009 when the Great Recession was triggered by the collapse of the US housing bubble. The ripple effect of economic setbacks spread throughout most of the world as my international readers you all may remember. We even saw it while in Costa Rica. (You may have felt indignant then at how the greed that infected America from Wall Street to Main Street to cause the housing bubble was able to negatively impact your life in a more restrained and careful country.)
My point is, even if you are not in the crosshairs of WW3, if you stay behind you will find life turned upside down and it difficult to get what you need and stay alive. Meanwhile in God's camp, the saints will be protected and fed (Rev 12:14).
3. Wormwood's Destruction Everywhere Else
As I have covered in multiple articles, a dwarf planet named Wormwood is described in Revelation 9, Luke 21 and Joel 2 as bringing global destruction after signs in the heavens and earth including a blood moon and a great, worldwide earthquake. Simply put, it will bring the end of civilization and leave the minority of survivors starving, cold, and vulnerable to gangs of forceful, armed looters raping and pillaging the weak.
We saw something similar years ago for a brief time in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit. Or you can also leverage popular television and see something like this dramatized for you in series like The Walking Dead.
If you stay behind, you'll be effectively choosing to survive trouble like that all over the place without God's help. Yes, some will survive on their own as prophecy confirms or there would be no wicked people left to take the mark of the beast. But do you want to take your chances at home? Your comfortable, familiar home will no longer exist and the surroundings will no longer be so familiar after Wormwood moves every mountain and island out of place (Rev 6:14).
4. Mark of the Beast, Antichrist, Betrayal
If you somehow survive WW3 and Wormwood, Satan will actually be happy. These things are necessary evils, but he wants you alive. He has to take America out to create his global dictatorship. Wormwood is necessary to soften the global population to accept a savior posing as God with new government providing food and security to the starving masses.
But trust me, Satan wants you alive to serve him. The mark of the beast will be forced on all survivors through torture. Not even hiding in secure, underground bunkers will keep Satan and his “locust” soldiers from finding you (Rev 9:1-11=Joel 2:2-11). Then you get tortured until you accept martyrdom or the mark of the beast which requires worship of the Antichrist as God.
The irony here is that if you stayed behind to save and comfort and not abandon your family, they are prophesied to betray you and turn you in to the authorities.
Matthew 24:9-10, 12 — 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. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.
Why? They will be under threat of torture as well as the mind control of the mark, not to mention possibly losing privileges to buy and sell in the mark-based economy. We've seen this scenario play out in many movies where desperate people under extreme conditions will do anything to stay alive, even “selling out their own mother.” They don't remember that you stayed behind to comfort them or if they do, they don't have the sacrificial love for you to do otherwise (Mt 24:12).
Think about it: who among your friends and family today has unconditional, sacrificial love for you to the point that they would suffer and die for you? If you have lived long enough, you may have had the experience of friends abandoning you when you need them most, such as a time of health or financial crisis. They turn out to be "fair-weather friends." They can't help it; it's all they know to do and all they can handle because they are not living by faith with the love of God flowing through them yet. Just imagine what they will do when they can gain some food, safety or privileges for turning you in under the Antichrist government.
You're lucky if you have even one real friend who would not sell you out in such a situation. Yet that's not enough to be safe, is it? It only takes one to turn you in. I know this may sound cynical to some, but this is realistically what to expect from men as Jesus knew:
John 2:23-24 — 23 While He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the signs He was doing and believed in His name. 24 But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men.
In conclusion, before you think of staying behind for your family and friends, consider that they are likely the very ones who will betray you if you are all unlucky enough to survive that long (Mt 24:10). Unless you know them to be as faithful as Christ who died for us, it doesn't make much sense to disobey God and stay behind for them, does it?
In the end, let me remind you again that if you stay behind (without a special personal release from God) you will be in direct disobedience to God's prophet's command for the saints to flee their home countries and come to the place God has called them to survive in (Rev 18:4=Jer 51:50=Joel 2:32).
Again as stated above, your disobedience will please Satan. You will stay in his jurisdiction instead of getting out of it in Judea where God walls off the saints (and later Jordan). He will pick you off sooner or later through death or marking.
If your last state before you died was disobedience out of fear or any reasons above, I fear for your salvation. Salvation is hard enough in normal life so that "few find it" without disobeying a rare command by revelation of a rare prophet of God. You may die and miss the rapture and first resurrection. For sure, if you take the mark of the beast you miss the rapture and the first resurrection with your last decision being to accept and worship a false God for food and security.
I totally get that what God has planned for the saints is disappointing (compared to a pretrib rapture or not). It's become more and more clear to me than ever in 2018 and 2019 how most won't be able to handle it mentally. Even the few who have overcome great adversity in life to get where they are today will be challenged when society is about to go away. This is why Jesus admonished the end time population to “pray for the strength to escape” (Lk 21:36). It will take mental strength to not do anything else but God's difficult command.
It will take strength to not tell yourself one of the many reasonable-sounding justifications for staying behind. Consider that you may be making this decision to stay behind based on emotion to avoid the heart-wrenching ramifications of God's plan to flee home.
I recommend an alternative. Face what end time prophecy says. Get through the denial, grieving and other stages. Start praying daily for strength like Jesus said to. In my household we do this and I emphasize this prayer in my fellowship as well. This is real. God will honor your prayer and begin to show up and help you see your areas of vulnerability or things that can tempt you to compromise the truth, like family connections, wealth, pets, or other cares.
You did know that this was a walk of active thinking, personal reflection and development, right? That's what it takes. But thankfully, you don't have to be smart nor do you have to figure it out all yourself. God will help those who seek him diligently (Heb 11:6) by acting on what he shows them, instead of retreating in fear. If even thinking about all this scares you, admit it to God and start by praying about that. "With man" (only your own strength) "this is impossible but with God" (his help acquired through prayer) "all things are possible" (Mt 19:26).
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Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter above.