Most Christians assume they automatically qualify to escape the Great Tribulation by a "pretrib rapture." But if that’s so, then why did Jesus command us to “pray for the strength to escape...and stand” as if escaping takes, not mere belief, but faith and action? Find out how God’s end times escape plan will indeed require something few Christians have: unwavering mental strength to obey in the face of adversity. Identify which of ten areas you are vulnerable in now so you can start working on them. This is the only way to not give in to pressure and disobey God's difficult escape command in the end times like Lot's wife did.
Jesus: You Need “Strength” (Not Just Faith) To Escape End Time Events
When visiting my website, I wonder how many of you are conscious that its domain name EscapeAllTheseThings.com comes from these words of Jesus:
Luke 21:36 — But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.
What about that verse inspired me? It was early 2004 near the peak of the popularity of the Left Behind book and movie series. I was struck by how clearly Jesus' emphasis on “strength” contradicted the prevailing “pretribulation rapture” doctrine of popular Christian eschatology portrayed by Left Behind. After all, why would we need “strength to escape” end time events if our mere belief in Jesus guarantees our evacuation to Heaven before all the bad events occurred, as pretrib doctrine teaches?
Answer: Scripture indicates that the rapture comes after the tribulation (“posttrib”) and before that the escape for believers is an unappealing place here on earth you will have to choose to travel to, against common sense and public opinion. This action requires strength, not just belief.
Years ago I had regretted my choice of domain name because of its excessive length. (How many sites do you go to regularly that have longer domain names than my 20 characters?) Nevertheless, lately I'm proud of how my choice emphasizes words of Jesus that have only grown in importance to me.
I now understand much better why this “strength” is so important—and also elusive—that Jesus would command believers to be alert and pray “at all times” for it. I only now see how many and great the psychological barriers to escaping the end times events are.
Escape Requirements in Review
To put this need for strength into perspective let's review the other ideas that are out there or lead up to this one. Here are four concepts of what it takes to escape the end:
- Only Salvation? - As mentioned above, according to popular Christian theology, “you only need to accept Jesus” to escape in “the pretrib rapture.” Unfortunately, it's fantasy that there is a pretrib rapture. It's also fantasy that God is so tickled by our mere “acceptance of the need for a Savior” that he spares us from global tribulation after he already promised tribulation on an individual basis (John 16:33). Personal/spiritual salvation does not also automatically qualify you for physical salvation in the end times.
- Only Information? - Based on their questions to me, I know that many readers have the idea that “if only they could get this information to their loved ones" or "if only they could get them to read one of Tim's articles or his book” then their loved ones could be safe. But as I've stressed for years, getting them exposed to the information won't be a problem with Elijah coming. Jesus' “Good News of the Kingdom” will return and go out globally (Mt 24:14) and it includes the “call” to “escape” WW3 and Wormwood (Joel 2:32). What's needed beyond receiving information is the faith needed to make sense of it and want to act on it. That means just being a researcher with all the information does not make you any safer.
- Only Faith? - That's why up until recently, my advice to readers for escaping the end times centered on faith...faith in God's word, his coming prophet, and him being good and also good to you. I talked about preparing mentally for the sacrifices you'll have to make and praying for strength, but I lacked the fuller picture of the ten areas below that directly require that strength. Now I know that faith is not enough...
- Strength! - I finally see now how mental toughness or strength is going to be the real limiting factor. Many saints have faith in God to obey him during normal times and normal requests like today, but in extreme circumstances most will come up short. Why? Because they do not have the mental strength to obey very difficult commands that faith tells them are true. The resistance and pressures are too much. This is why Jesus did not say, “pray for faith.” He told people of faith to pray for strength, too.
Strength vs. Faith: Illustrated by Lot's Wife
What's the practical difference between having faith and having faith with strength? I think we find a good illustration of this in the story of the destruction of Sodom. The angels told Lot to flee with his family, which they did. Although Lot, his wife, and his two daughters delayed and eventually each had to be dragged out by hand (two angels = four hands, enough to save four people), it still took faith to believe their word, consent to leaving and not go back into the city.
However, they were strictly commanded not to look back at the city while they were fleeing. Famously, Lot's wife looked back, causing her to turn into a pillar of salt for her disobedience to a direct command of God. Why did she look back? In short, she lacked the strength needed to obey that command. She probably had strong attachments to the city, her home, her life and/or the people there. She may have been curious to see what would happen to them, or to catch one last glimpse of their home. This overpowered her and she did not have the strength to resist and obey the command of God. She died for that lack of strength. Lot and his daughters were stronger or had less attachment or temptation than she did so they did not look back as instructed.
The same situation is facing us. We're going to be given a command to flee home to an unfamiliar place, but many attachments detailed below will pull on us. We will need strength to overcome them and obey what our faith tells us is true. We need to "remember Lot's wife"...starting now (Luke 17:32)!
Note: The featured image above of the "Lot's Wife" pillar at Mt. Sodom was chosen for exactly this reason.
Why You Haven't Begun to “Pray Daily For Strength to Escape” Yet
If you are not a new reader, you have probably seen in previous articles how I remind the reader about Jesus' words to “pray daily for strength” (Lk 21:36). So far have you been able to get yourself to start obeying that command daily? Probably not. But why not?
It's our human nature to be apathetic about threats that are too vague. They must become specific and therefore real or tangible. Otherwise more pressing needs and desires will take priority and we never prioritize this vague prayer.
In talking with supporters, I have noticed that they, too, mostly have not adopted this prayer and attitude. That's why I wrote this article.
When you read the ten areas of challenge below, I hope it helps you to see why you personally will need strength to escape like Jesus said. It will help get you praying what Jesus told us to pray. After that, I'll share more specifics on how to expand that prayer and make it work for you to increase your chances of keeping it up and having it answered.
Right now give each area below consideration to see if it applies to you. As you go, build your own list of the specific factors in your life that are weaknesses or could work against you. It will help you with the prayer list at the end.
Ten Obstacles For Going to Judea
- Israel will become the world's most despised nation
- Inhospitable conditions in Judea
- Astronomers will denounce Elijah's Wormwood prediction
- Poor health and medical system dependency
- Finances and possessions
- Religious Condemnation
- The “Doomsday Cult” Perception
- Peer Pressure
- Family: Heartbreak, Guilt Trips and Legal Action?
- God's Intervention (or Lack Thereof)
- Lack of Bible Belief?
Obstacle #1 – Israel Will Become the World's Most Despised Nation
Today, the most hated country in the world is the repressive, authoritarian state of North Korea. Kim Jong Un forces North Koreans to obey through public executions, arbitrary detention, and forced labor. The government commits numerous human rights violations including murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion, and other sexual violence. Travel restrictions prevent North Koreans from leaving. Finally, North Korea’s nuclear program and nuclear missile threats round out the profile of villain nation.
Would you move to North Korea if someone said they would pay all your expenses to go and live there? Not a very attractive offer, right? (Even if you were guaranteed that N.Korea's infamous famines would never touch you.)
Now picture a world where Israel takes NKorea's place as the most despised nation. That's what's coming.
"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!
Israel is already in the top three or five hated nations in the world because of antisemitism and the Palestinian Conflict. Just imagine when Israel nukes the oldest city in the world, Damascus, along with other major Arab cities, leading (I think) to the evacuation of Jordan? That's what the burdens of Isaiah describe as explained in my book and article on the coming M.E. nuclear war.
How would you like a paid invitation to move to a post-nuclear-holocaust Israel who eclipses NKorea as the most despised and hated nation? You may love Israel now, but you may find it hard to maintain that adoration when you see Israel execute a nuclear holocaust on other nations.
It's reminds me of how many Christians who love God (or profess they do) feel after finally getting around to reading the Old Testament. When confronted with the accounts of God's killing of armies and entire cities and his commands that Israel wipe out entire nations including the women and children or the commands against women that seem misogynistic today, they have a crisis of faith. Many do lose their faith from the crisis.
Faith in Israel is even easier to lose. (Even if you do not lose it, what do you think people will say and do when they find out you are moving to a country they literally hate? See Obstacle #8 for more on that.)
Obstacle #2 – Inhospitable Conditions in Judea
As my 2014 article covered and as you can deduce from what I wrote above, Israel will not be an attractive destination for another reason: nuclear fallout in the area. There may be other “fallout” as well, the normal consequences of war like food shortages and disease.
Israel will win this fourth war against her neighboring confederate Arab enemies (1948, 1967, 1973, 2022?). But she will not escape devastation. It may even be classified as a Pyrrhic victory. When you review the first verses of Isaiah 17, it does not sound pretty for Israel:
Isaiah 17:3-6 — 3 The fortress disappears from Ephraim [Tel Aviv area], and a kingdom from Damascus. The remnant of Aram will be like the splendor of the Israelites. … 4 On that day the splendor of Jacob will fade [Jacob = Israel], and his healthy body will become emaciated. 6 Only gleanings will be left in Israel, as if an olive tree had been beaten-- two or three berries at the very top of the tree, four or five on its fruitful branches.
When I read that passage I get a picture of severe casualties. Is it just me, or does that part about an “emaciated body” remind you of radiation sickness, too?
If there is fallout there, how likely would you be to move there? Would you have moved to Fukushima in 2011 if a prophet of God invited you to go after the nuclear meltdown? Right...
It may be worse than that. What if there are news reports of people continuing to die after the war in significant numbers due to the post-war conditions? Could you get yourself to move to a place where people are dying regularly from unsafe water or lack of food, water and medication? Remember when AIDS/HIV was the leading cause of death in Africa? Would you have moved to Africa then if a prophet of God says to? That's a tough ask.
Of course, the Judean place of safety is already going to be a step down for most of my readers in Western, First World countries. If you're like me, you don't like camping. Even if you do, I bet you don't like camping for years or even months straight. That alone makes Elijah's commanded move an unappealing sacrifice. Yet to have such a camp be in a war-torn possibly radioactive area? It's not anyone's dream of a good time or even an adventure.
As my previous article explained, it will take great faith to move there; faith that God will keep you safe from any radiation and other post-war issues. (Remember, it took two tries for the Israelites to go up to claim their land inhabited by the giants.)
Side note: have you ever thought about what it might have felt like for the ancient Israelites to walk through the parted Red Sea with gravity-defying walls of water on either side? Yes, at first it was awesome and thrilling to see a way of escape from Pharaoh's army appear in an unexpected place. However, once you start walking in the sea bed with the water towering a few hundred feet above you, I'd imagine you start praying, “Please stay up until I pass through. Please stay up. Please stay up...”
A command to move to a place where you could die because people recently died there and continue to die is just like that I think.
Obstacle #3 – Astronomers Will Denounce Elijah's Wormwood Prediction
I covered this issue already in my previous article on why NASA won't see Wormwood coming and be able to warn people.
I believe Elijah will do well for a few years preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and repentance (Mt 24:14) and leading the initial developing camp in Judea to learn to live and love like Jesus. I believe a group gathered by God with teaching on repentance will again result in great reputation or “favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47).
But once Elijah starts warning people about Wormwood and calling them to Judea, the knives will come out. Like has happened with Planet X and Nibiru theories, astronomers will be overwhelmed with questions from people wanting an expert opinion. Just as they debunked those space doomsday theories, they will soundly debunk a Wormwood doomsday scenario.
They will declare that their surveys prove Wormwood is simply not out there. Elijah is wrong to say a dwarf planet is going to pass by the earth anytime in the next couple decades. To understand this see my article for the full story of how Wormwood must come suddenly from another dimension (Heaven) to sneak up on earth.
Again I ask you, how down are you for moving to a despised, inhospitable place to escape a threat which clear scientific evidence proves does not exist?
In the face of that kind of dissenting scientific opinion, you will need to be strong to maintain belief this threat from space is real. That it is able to break the laws of physics and supernaturally appear to fulfill the end of civilization Elijah predicts which so many have failed to predict so far...
Obstacle #4 – Poor Health and Medical System Dependency
As if there were not already enough reasons that make moving to Judea sound like a bad idea, a person's own health can make it seem outright impossible if you want to live or have quality of life. Poor health can cause difficulty in traveling or even restrict you from air travel. I had one supporter share the following about his immune, autistic and thyroid challenged family members:
My children are on full replacement thyroid medication. Absent divine healing, taking them out of the modern world is literally a death sentence for them. They will need divine healing simply to survive the flight from America. My wife and my child...have immune deficiency (and will get dangerously sick when not treated with monthly immune IVs), but even more critically, they are both on full thyroid replacement pills. Without daily doses of replacement thyroid medicine they can't live.
The situation described above is more common and real than you might think. According to a 2017 Consumer Reports survey, more than half of you reading this from America are on a prescription drug, at an average of a whopping four drugs per person. As someone who avoids medications and gets off them as soon as possible through adopting diet and lifestyle changes to avoid complicating my life with another dependency, that's a shocking statistic.
Dependency on a drug manifests as a real complication the minute you try to live outside your home country for any period of time beyond your supply of prescription drugs. With how regulated and restricted prescription drugs are, it's not a simple matter to get your needed medications in another nation. I saw that firsthand when I moved to Costa Rica. I was never on medication there myself, but I observed how my fellow American retirees struggled with getting their needed medications. Often their drug was simply not available in Costa Rica, so they would resort to mailing it from the US. But import restrictions soon prohibited that. That's the case here in Germany as well and I imagine in nearly every country these days. Moving is an anxiety-inducing scenario for anyone dependent on a prescription.
That's not to say God does not have a solution for this. As I covered earlier, I'm convinced that God must provide divine healing for anyone who wishes to obey the command to flee (Rev 18:4), just as he did for Israelites in the exodus from Egypt. It's just common sense following the law of where there is commission, there is provision. (Just be aware that often the provision does not appear until you start moving in obedience, just like how it went with the exodus from Egypt and the Red Sea parting last minute!) Unfortunately, I can point to no prophetic Scripture making an ironclad promise about this.
And there lies the rub. It will take faith to go and trust God will take care of your health. I personally have had multiple instances of divine healing manifest in my body so I have no trouble believing for healing. Unfortunately I know I’m in the minority of Christians in this regard.
When I prayed for confirmation that healing and more specifically restored youth was going to be available to those who flee to Judea, God gave me a dream that did so. I still have no Scripture, but what he showed me makes sense and is consistent with how God operates. I encourage you to read it and know exactly how and where “advanced healing” will happen if you choose to obey.
Obstacle #5 – Finances and Possessions
Finances presents a challenge similar to that of poor health: it's apparently a major problem which God must help most people with—and will...or would. The real problem is the faith required to take hold of that divine assistance. Like with healing, you probably have to make your decision before you get the help.
As I shared in an earlier article, it's seems unavoidable that if God does not set up an “aliyah program” for the saints to move to Judea like Israel has done for Jews to move to Israel, then few would be able to obey due to a simple lack of money. Most people, even in America, are living paycheck to paycheck. It's expensive to fly overseas, pay for hotels and food along the way. This does not compute without God's help through some kind of advertised program associated with Elijah.
If I'm wrong about that then the other way God may handle it is you will need to sell everything and pray for God to bless you financially with the rest of what you need to move. This means you basically have to be “all in” before God helps you and you must trust that your needs will be taken care of in your new home, the kibbutz—just like how medical needs will be taken care of.
You would think this makes it much easier on rich people. Less risk and less faith required because they have plenty of funds for flying to Judea, checking it out and flying back if they don't like it. However, the rich people have the problem of attachment to many more possessions and a more comfortable lifestyle. The wealthier you are, the more you have acquired. Wealthy people tend to have businesses and properties they have spent decades developing. They have more to liquidate and loose and therefore more attachments to maintaining the status quo. Perhaps it balances out.
You Are The "Rich"
By the way, if you are a middle-class American, Canadian, Brit, Aussie, German, etc., you are rich or wealthy at least compared to the average world citizen. You're in the top 5% of the world in terms of earnings. When, as a middle-class American, I used to read the words of Jesus and James about “woe to the rich,” I would automatically filter them out as not applicable to me, thinking, “I'm not rich; that's Bill Gates or Donald Trump.” Compared to the people of the Bible, all Westerners today are rich. We all suffer from the issues that are brought up about the rich like being spiritually naked, poor and blind (Rev 3:17). It's something to pray about (for how, read Rev 3:18).
Regardless of ones financial status or how we see it, we all will be walking away from almost everything we have. We cannot take it all. We would have to sell most things at a loss compared to what you paid. This leaves two possible outcomes:
- If the world is really going to end, then you're a financial genius to be paid money for things that are going to burn.
- But if the world does not really end, you're a fool who only created their own isolated personal financial disaster.
This again takes great faith and great mental strength to pull the trigger on your life and potentially flush it down the drain for a loss rather than the gain Elijah is promising.
Side note: How many people buying your stuff who suspect or know you are moving to Judea and give you their honest, negative opinion of your plan will you be able to take?
Obstacle #6 – Religious Condemnation
If you have ever tried sharing any of the radical things you learn on this site or in my book Know the Future with co-workers or loved ones, then you've already experienced this obstacle on a small scale. You know that Christians do not react well to Bible interpretations or teaching different from what their trusted denomination or pastors teach.
Frankly, it scares them. Despite Jesus' teachings being focused on Scripture and right actions, Christianity ended up based on traditions, beliefs, and doctrines. Although it is never stated as such, most Christians understand that their salvation is based on right beliefs (orthodoxy). In other words, they think they may not be saved if they end up with the wrong or heretical beliefs in their head. This leads to unloving responses such as condemnation and judgment against those whose beliefs scare them.
I have heard the story hundreds of times of how an excited reader shared too much of what they were learning from me with a loved one. They experienced shaming, disapproval, warning, and rejection. (Because I know this all-too-well I have in my book a warning about curbing your enthusiasm about the book's thrilling insights.)
For an example, try sharing with a typical Christian that you don't believe in the pretrib rapture because Jesus described the rapture as coming “after the tribulation of those days” (Mt 24:29-31). Because this is not the mainstream accepted doctrine, it immediately will set off a typical Christian, conditioned to avoid and fear heresy. Even worse is how the post-tribulation rapture doctrine scares them because they frankly do not want to even think about “going through the Great Tribulation.” Not to mention the trouble they have with rectifying that reality with a good God? It's enough to cause a crisis of faith. Having an acquaintance who believes in such a disturbing doctrine brings these issues to mind every time you see or think of the person. When threatened or agitated, people tend to not be their nice normal selves.
Elijah's Recipe For Rejection
Elijah's teachings will be full of such agitating “heresies.” He will not only be teaching the post-tribulation rapture, but also a “pretrib” Wormwood cataclysm beforehand. (Even a pretrib rapture won't save you from a pretrib “end of the world as we know it.”) It's buzzkill city already, but then throw in that believers must decide to leave home to be gathered at a single place on earth for God's protection and you have the makings of the most crazy heresy Christians have ever heard! (“After all there are two billion Christians and how can they all fit in one place?” “God can protect us all wherever we are” “God would never make it so hard to survive.”)
Just as the astronomers will denounce Elijah's prediction on scientific grounds, the religious leaders will denounce his prediction on theological ones, labeling him a false prophet because what he's predicting will be “disproven” from the Bible (just as they “prove” a pretrib rapture from the Bible also). As such, your pastors and denomination leaders will label Elijah a heretic and his teaching “heresy.” Naturally, you will be a heretic as well, for accepting a heretic's teaching.
Therefore, when Christians find out that you believe what Elijah teaches, they will at first try to save the “poor, deceived soul.” They will plead with you and promise to pray for you (which does not feel as encouraging the way they do it as one might think!). If you don't respond, they will then reject you, partly fearing for their own safety in catching your “cooties.”
This will be especially hard if your family or area has a strong Christian and church-going culture. It won't be easy to hide your beliefs or positive opinion about Elijah. Where you used to fit in, now you are a pariah.
If you are not used to religious folks condemning you constantly, take it from me as someone who gets condemnation all the time because of my website, it can wear on you.
Obstacle #7 – The “Doomsday Cult” Perception
This leads right into how quite likely the developing camp of the saints led by Elijah in Judea will be labeled a “doomsday cult.” Unlike the religious condemnation above, this warning will come most strongly from the secular world. Yes, Christians are known for labeling other denominations they consider heretical as “cults” (such as they do with the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses), however when a group is considered a dangerous doomsday cult, then the condemnation comes from across society.
Certainly the Jonestown cult massacre in 1978 comes to mind in this regard, but there is a closer parallel to what Elijah will be building. Remember that doomsday cult that expected a UFO to accompany Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997? It was in San Diego and called Heaven's Gate. 39 people committed suicide including the leader, Marshall Applewhite.
Now forever after, if ever again people are gathering to one place because of something approaching in space, it will remind everyone of the Heaven's Gate massacre. If you don't remember, they will remind you as the comparisons will be made in the news. Wormwood is pretty much a UFO, an unidentified flying object that astronomers will be unable to see until last minute, so it won't be such a stretch. Wormwood will be just as imaginary to the world as the Heaven's Gate comet UFO was.
Naturally, the public opinion of the camp will be cynical, suspicious and negative as can be. I know that many of my readers are fans of Israel and therefore excited about the idea of God opening things up for us to move there. For many, this has been a long-held dream stopped only by current political conditions. Yet, when the door finally opens to live there, it will not be like any of us imagined if the place God has set up for us will be considered a strange cult. It won't be the dream-come-true we hoped for.
So how strong are you, really? How confident are you in your conclusions to join a group that the world sees as a dangerous and risky group with unhealthy beliefs about the “end of the world?” Are you strong enough to move to and live there?
Yes, this is another unexpected reason to “pray daily that you may have the strength to escape all these things” (Lk 21:36).
Obstacle #8 – Peer Pressure
When you take into account all the scientific, religious and secular arguments above against Elijah, his teachings and his group it's conceivable that every single person you meet in your life will have a negative opinion of it all.
That's staggering when you stop and consider it: This means the minute just about anyone around you finds out you are slightly sympathetic to Elijah or even considering joining his group, you could be in the hot seat. They will be alarmed and make sure you understand all the negative things above. They will ask you if you crazy and suggest you are stupid. Minimally, they will think you're in danger of making a costly error by moving to the outback of a hated country. But with the cult rumors, they may fear for your physical life or, with Christians, fear for your salvation.
When people think someone they know is making a big mistake, they want to save them. They will bring out all the arguments and rhetoric. They may apply other pressure or manipulation, all in your best interests. There could even be persecution.
My point is the peer pressure against anyone planning on going to Judea can be significant. You may do your research and end up steadfastly convinced that God is with Elijah and calling you to go. But when your acquaintances learn of your thinking or decision, you will have your resolve tested mightily. It won't be as easy as you think.
Certainly it's nothing any of us have experienced personally—unless you happen to be a registered sex offender living in a neighborhood with families. Check out this account of what it's like to be the known sex offender in the neighborhood:
My neighbor is one. We immediate people on the street don’t treat her differently because we know and trust her, but around Halloween her house gets pelted with eggs from “good” people. Once in a while some new neighbor will post posters on the phone poles around the neighborhood after they move in and discover that she lives here. “Good” people will throw trash on her yard. Maybe once a year her tires will be slashed from “good” people. No one will hire her so we neighbors, instead of giving money to the church, give it to her. I actually left my church because when the membership discovered that I supported her, they kind of abandoned me so, I’m better off without “Christians” in my life. My kids and hers play together and when “good” people see the kids in her yard playing they call the police, who don’t even come anymore. I’ve been reported to CPS three times for putting the lives of my children in danger by letting them play over there. A lot of cars slowly drive by and turn around, usually in my driveway. Sometimes cars drive by and people scream things. The best was when one idiot screamer drove off the road and hit a fence of the one neighbor who hates her. He almost hit a child on a bike but, he wasn’t a sex offender so the child was safe. We called the police and since he didn’t want to admit to a hate crime, he said he was texting and got fined and a moving violation. We have it all on camera but we are happy with his lie and mark on his licence. … Her four cats have been poisoned by “good” people.
I don't know it will be that bad. Just drawing worst case scenario here. But if it does get that bad for an Elijah-apologist, intent on joining him in Judea, are you ready for it? Are you ready for that kind of rejection, condemnation and persecution? Can you maintain belief that you are right to listen to Elijah in the face of everyone you have known in respected in the Christian world saying you're deceived by a false prophet?
Are you praying daily for strength to escape yet?
Obstacle #9 – Family: Heartbreak, Guilt Trips and Legal Action?
Family can be a blessing, or a curse; they eventually play both roles, given enough time. I have my stories on both accounts and I'm sure you have yours. I have had my share of disappointments at the hand of family members and have had to distance myself from family for my own sanity or safety. I trust that doesn't sound so radical to you. I believe all families are dysfunctional to some degree. (Even the first family when you think about it with Cain slaying Abel.)
During the sixteen years we lived in Costa Rica we observed roughly half of our fellow expatriates who we met end up going back home. Among the top two or three reasons for this was family concerns. They often missed family, had grandchildren to see or had someone in the family who was sick or otherwise needed them back.
That's why I can say I understand the powerful pull family has on people; to the point of moving internationally or deciding against an international move, as the case may be.
You might categorize this deterrent under the previous peer pressure challenge, but I list it separately because it has its own special stronger pulls beyond just the pressure from friends, acquaintances and strangers.
- There is nothing like the heartbreak of having to leave family behind. Family who simply does not understand your decision and can see no good in it. If you are close to your family, this is likely your area of greatest challenge to leaving.
- No one can can put a major guilt trip on you like family can! Since I've been separated from my family since moving out of state in 1995, I had to be reminded of this from a supporter. She related how for her, the hard part of leaving for Judea is not persecution of family like from peers, but rather the accusations of abandonment of aged parents or others dependent on us, such as, “How could you leave me? After all I have done for you! Surely God would not want you to leave your own family high and dry. What kind of a God do you believe in if he would have you do this to your own family?”
- Lastly, emergency psychiatric holds (24 – 72 hrs) are real. Someone we know was having seizures and the state of NY put her in a psych ward that her spouse had to break her out of. Twice. Family has that power. It would not be enough on its own to keep someone from Judea, but it could lead to being committed to a facility. (More on impossible situations like in the next point.)
For those who are not close because you have been deeply hurt or betrayed by family, perhaps this perspective can provide some consolation to you. Lack of strong family ties is an advantage when God's radical command to flee comes.
If you're close to your family, I would begin praying in specific on that. My advice is to practice seeing things from God's perspective who is creating this very situation with Wormwood that forces all to make a choice. He knows it's for best and that those who don't agree with or even understand your choice to leave and die because of this, they will all be resurrected later, when you're already a glorified, ruling king. Then they will understand and congratulate you for having the strength to leave them and obey God for such a reward in the Kingdom. Think on that and keep praying for the strength to escape.
Obstacle #10 – God's Intervention (or Lack Thereof)
This obstacle ties directly into the prayer for strength that Jesus commanded us to pray and how that may materialize not just in new internal strength, but also unexpected external help or outside strength.
“Why did only eight people end up on Noah's Ark?”
I only saw this point after a debate with, of all people, my mother-in-law during our supporters fellowship. The group had wandered onto the topic of “why did nobody else go on Noah's ark besides his family?” I was of the opinion that, as already covered, people had every reason to think Noah was crazy and that his theory about a global flood impossible. It had never rained or flooded before so what Noah was predicting was unprecedented and even “unscientific.” To uproot and damage ones life to leave to live in a boat for an implausible end of the world scenario was not something anyone would be interested in.
My mother-in-law pointed out that there are always odd or radical people with nothing to lose who would find an adventure like that appealing: it's a job, after all, building the ark and being part of the escape on it. After a few minutes of debate it finally started to sink in. She was right. Something more had to be at work for only eight people out of millions alive to board that ark.
What was it? Quite simply, God's sovereign will. Noah “found favor with God” (Gen 6:8) and was found “perfect in his generations” (Gen 6:9). He was approved and his family with him to be on the ark. But it appears from Scripture that God invited no one else to escape the antediluvian world. He didn't want anyone else on the ark but those eight. (That's a radical statement and a new insight for me also.) The facts to support this are that there is no record of Noah being commanded to offer passage on the ark to others or him doing so. There is no record of any other righteous person alive then being invited by God. (While he was a "preacher of righteousness" (2Pt 2:5) that's not the same as a prophet or preacher of warning.) The Book of Jasher records that God actually guided the lives of righteous men like Methuselah to pass away before the flood, to spare them from it. This may sound odd but it is a Biblical principle recorded by Isaiah (Isaiah 57:1).
If someone outside Noah's family had tried to fight their way onto the ark, they probably would have died. I believe, however, there was no such scene or incident. I think God simply kept people away through prejudice, fear or forces. Anyone impressed by what Noah was doing and becoming convinced the world was indeed ending, would quickly have that idea snatched away (Mt 13:4=13:19).
Do You Find God's “Favor” (Gen 6:8)?
My point is this: if God kept people off the ark who did not belong or have the favor to be there, then I believe if you do not belong in the ark for our time—the Judean kibbutz—God may make sure that the myriad forces against you listed above will keep you out as well.
In other words, contrary to what many may think:
- It does not matter how long you have been reading my material about Wormwood and no pretrib rapture...
- It does not matter how long you have known about the coming place of safety or Elijah's coming and call to safety there...
- It won't matter how much you love Israel or would like to be in Judea...
...because if you are not righteous, faithful and fit for Judea then you simply won't make it. (And those who do still have can die there if they have not learned to avoid sins against the Holy Spirit.)
Note that if you are the family of the righteous, that would seem to cover you based on the precedents of Lot's and Noah's families. We are not told that any of them stood out in the righteousness department. But they escaped with a righteous husband or father. Apparently as the spouse or children of a righteous man, you are covered. Paul talks about a similar principle that the unbelieving spouse and the children are sanctified by the believing spouse (1Cor 7:14).
That may be depressing to hear, but the corollary should be encouraging: conversely, if you are seeking to please God, seeking his Kingdom and righteousness (Mt 6:33) and praying for strength like Jesus said (Lk 21:36), then perhaps nothing can keep you away from Judea. Even with everything above against you, things will work out beyond your understanding or natural ability.
For example, you may have been blessed with a loving, supportive family who you are attached to. That's great and healthy under everyday circumstances. In the end time you probably will not have the strength on your own to overcome that healthy attachment to leave your family behind. They will not all be coming with you because they will not see Elijah as someone credible to follow. Nevertheless, because you have been praying consistently for God to help you with end time strength, something unexpected happens: your family betrays you. Perhaps you get wind that they are trying to turn you in or you simply get disowned and cut-off. You realize from their actions or their rejection that it's time to leave. Someone else in your life may suddenly tell you, “I'm going now without my family. Come with me, let's go together...” in a way that jolts you from your wavering and sentimental feelings into action mode. You depart. God saw your heart and efforts for strength and made it work out somehow unexpectedly.
I imagine many who make it to Judea will be telling testimonies of how God clearly orchestrated events to help them escape despite their weakness and impotence to pull themselves out.
Therefore, as you pray for strength to escape, don't lose heart if you don't see progress in all the challenge areas that apply to you above. It may be invisible progress that God is keeping track of. God may make up for your weaknesses later if you are diligent in doing what he says today, now because you did your part and kept praying and struggling in your weak areas by faith.
Obstacle #11 - Not Believing the Bible?
A supporter emailed me after reading this article to suggest another obstacle: "lack of Bible belief." Had I not missed how much harder it is for people who dismiss the Bible, such as atheists, to accept what Elijah predicts? Elijah's references to Matthew and Revelation to support his message will surely be lost on them. Isn't this a disadvantage?
The answer to this question is actually already hinted at in Obstacle #6 above, about religious condemnation of Elijah. In my experience, as that condemnation will demonstrate when it plays out, "Bible belief" is not automatically an advantage for seeing the truth of God. Christians by definition have faith in the Bible, yet most will reject Elijah's prediction after their Bible-thumping leaders decree it as unscriptural and heretical.
As already stated, most believe in an easy "pretrib rapture" so they are prejudiced when they hear a hard post-trib rapture reality being taught. Ultimately, regardless of the rapture position they have, they will find evidence in the Bible against what Elijah is teaching. Yes, their faith in the Bible will help them to deny Elijah's teaching.
My supporter went on to say:
I was speaking with an atheist recently, who was asking good questions as to why the Bible was a trustworthy source. The conversation turned to evidence (atheists always take the no evidence path, and I don't blame them), and I eventually said that while the Bible does not offer any evidence for us now, it will in the future, when unfulfilled prophecies comes to pass. The three points I mentioned were the fall of Damascus, the rebuilding of the temple, and the coming of Elijah. His responses:
1) On Damascus: It will not be impressive if Damascus is destroyed and the Bible predicted it thousands of years ago, for Damascus is a city in a part of the world that never seems to be able to escape war or conflict for a long period of time. Therefore, he says, if something is extremely likely to happen at some point (a city destroyed in a conflict filled country), then any prophecy predicting it is not impressive.
2) On the temple: Same as above, he sees it as very likely that a religious temple would be built in a very religious part of the world, so it will not be impressive when it happens.
3) On Elijah: Anyone can predict the end of the world, many do it already and they are wrong all the time, so it will not be impressive when it happens.
Of course, when all the destruction starts he will regret taking this stance, but by then it will be too late. My point is that unless you have rock solid faith in the Bible as a trustworthy source, you will find reasons that seem quite rational not to put your trust in the word of the Bible, and you won't leave to Judea.
In a past life I might have dismissed the atheist's critical comments about the Bible and chalked it up to his sad lack of faith. But now that I sport a grey beard, I have to say he's not wrong in his responses to why a Christian thinks prophecy proves the Bible is reliable. What Bible prophecy predicts is not unprecedented or wholly unexpected on its own. If it were to somehow include a specific timing attached to each event, that would help matters greatly. Unfortunately, the current numbered year anno domini system did not exist until almost five centuries after even the last prophetic book of Revelation was written.
For perspective, I think it helps to remember that none of the peoples who God's prophets prophesied to in the past had the luxury of being able to confirm what they were saying in a trusted personal copy of the Bible. They had to decide based on any signs the prophet gave and essentially their own intuition whether the prophet's word was from God and reliable or not.
Given all of these considerations, I hope it's clear why I don't consider having firm Bible belief as important as Christians might think it is for recognizing God's Word when it is broadcast by his end time prophet.
By the way, speaking of signs, my wife pointed out a mystery regarding when Lot tried to warn his son-in-laws about Sodom's impending doom that the two angels of God had predicted. Genesis says they thought he was joking. What's curious about their response is had they not heard that the night before the whole town had tried to have sex with the two angels and were miraculously blinded (apparently only temporarily) for it? With that remarkable event fresh in their minds, why did they not believe that these same angels had delivered news of a trustworthy judgment on Sodom for its wickedness that had just been on display? I think it's because even an indirect sign like that (which a demonstration of the angel's power was) are also not specific enough to convince people that God has spoken through his messenger.
I hope everyone who believes in the Bible and trusts that they won't reject someone who comes speaking in conformity with the Bible takes this to heart. It's not enough. Pray for the strength to escape...
“Only 1 in 10,000 Make It? Does God love us or not?!”
With the new understanding above about how much strength it will take to survive the end, comes a depressing realization that you need to hear and, well, feel. For your own good. This may hurt a bit...
I believe that due to all the major obstacles to escaping that probably less than one million people will opt to obey God's call to move to his protection in Judea. Sadly, that comes out to only one in 10,000 people or one person per town given the expected global population of 8 billion in 2026.
When I shared this thought on Facebook, it elicited the following honest expression of, frankly, despair.
Wow Tim. Really? Where’s that number come from? Sure leaves me with no hope. If it’s true I don’t want to know anymore. I want bliss until I don’t make it. I guess ALL Christians are lowly developed. Not sure I like where you are going. Will this prophet convince or not? Will God move in any supernatural way or not? Does HE love us or not?
Yes, I don't fully like “where I'm going” either. Ever since Trump announced Jerusalem would be recognized as Israel's capital by moving the US embassy there, new insights on the end times have been coming to me fast. Some have been exciting but others have helped me to see the disturbing picture shared above. That some of us will be moving to Israel sooner than we thought (2022 vs 2024-2026) is one of the exciting ones. At the same time, that can create anxiety for those who do not feel ready. The other insights above have helped me to come to the unhappy conclusion that the task of getting our loved ones to listen and come with us to safety will be harder than I ever imaged.
“Will this prophet convince or not?” is a great question. I used to say that Elijah would be more convincing than any of us so to not worry about trying to wake up your family now with information they don't want to hear. Another insight this year has been seeing how when great convincing information about the truth is released, then through YouTube and social media a wave of equally convincing information denying the truth and promoting falsehoods is released. The convincing evidence truth gets undermined as if it was never released. (I saw this play out when Nehemia Gordon got much attention for reaching a milestone of 1000 Hebrew manuscripts proving “Yehovah” is the documented pronunciation of YHVH. That attention inspired his detractors to release new videos undermining his latest evidence or attacking him even worse as an “antichrist Jew.”)
So while Elijah will be indeed very convincing for Bereans seeking Scripture-verfiable truth (Acts 17:11), those who have not received a love for the truth will find the backlash of anti-Elijah propaganda equally or more convincing.
That's why in the end I think one million tops will make it to God's safety in Judea before Wormwood comes in 2026. With an expected world population of 8 billion that year, if say, 800,000 make it, that works out to only 1/10,000. That's basically one person out of an average town deciding to do what Elijah says.
Finally, why do I say such a unpopular, depressing thing? Because, let's face it, it's hard to get ourselves to pray daily or even consistently about a decision coming years in the future that we already feel we will do today. Most of us tend to be positively biased towards seeing ourselves as good and succeeding. We have need a sense of urgency for ourselves and loved ones or we won't make it out of the powerful grip of this world.
Don't Be Discouraged – Not a “Salvation Issue”
In case you despair about your chances just like the person above, remember this is not a salvation issue. Yes, it is about salvation in the physical sense or how long you live but not spiritual salvation. If you don't make it to Judea it doesn't mean that you're not saved or do not have faith. It just means you lacked the focus, will, faith or strength to pass a very, very hard test. Just like in school, passing this test is for extra credit. We're all mortal and will die anyway. When the end comes, rather than going up in a ridiculously easy pretrib rapture, we have to pass a ridiculously hard test of leaving all behind and moving to safety by sheer force of will.
You might even say the test is unfair. I've had that thought about it, just as I did when reading in Genesis about Lot's wife. It seemed awfully unrealistic and unfair for God to instruct Lot and his family fleeing Sodom that, as part of their escape plan, they were not allowed to look back. Out of four people one found that command too hard: Lot's unnamed wife. It does not mean she was not righteous or faithful or a good person. It just means in a doomsday situation with an extreme requirement from God to escape it, she did not measure up.
Just like Lot's wife who looked back longingly at home on her way to God's escape, we, too may fall short. We are not necessarily unsaved or bad if this happens. It's up to us if we get offended at God in that day and lose our faith in his goodness in what he allows us to go through (Heb 11:6). Best case it only means we die prematurely and end up in the first resurrection instead of staying alive to go up in the rapture. Worst case we survive until the mark comes and feel compelled to take it. Then we certainly miss the first resurrection, as well.
So again, as already emphasized, pray like Jesus said to so you won't be limited to your own strength at that time. You can count on God's strength in that day in unexpected ways.
How to Pray To Escape
I went to all the trouble of listing every obstacle I could think of above to help you obey Jesus' prayer instruction. It's hard to pray for vague strength. It's easy to pray for strength after being shown areas of weakness or vulnerability you have.
My hope is this helps you to pray daily like Jesus said. He was not kidding around when he said that.
It may help to look at your challenge areas as your “Isaacs.” Just like Abraham, we have to be willing to slay our Issacs. Isaac was family and Abraham was called to slay him. Family may be your Issac, or it may be your wealth and lifestyle you have today at home. Or being considered deceived or a heretic by your believing family. We all have our weak points and sensitivities.
Once you identify them you can ask God to help you give them up or make sure they do not come before God if you do have to give them up. Ask God to help you slay your own Isaac(s) in the time we have left.
A principle I know well from walking with God all my life is that he always makes your sufferings and sacrifices for him worth it (Rom 8:18). That's why I'm more bullish and excited about what awaits us in Judea than ever before. When I see how incredibly hard it will be to make it there and how I have underestimated the difficulty level so far, I also realize that I have underestimated as well the reward level for those very few who make it there. In many ways, it will be like the Millennium has come early for those make it to Judea. Fountain of youth rejuvenation, bodily renewal, dissolution of fillings, pins, plates and other foreign implants in your body are just a taste of what is awaiting us. So while I'm sad for the new realization of how few will make it, I'm excited for what God has in store for those who do.
In conclusion, between the fear of one of the challenge above overpowering your strength and the excitement of what kind of new life God will bless you with in Judea, I hope you can make it a point to pray daily for the strength to escape until we see each other there.
As always, if this article blessed you, consider joining my support team where we focus on these issues and supporting each other towards this very same goal of repentance and drawing close to God. Thank you!
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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.