There has been a resurgence in recent years of dystopian fiction.
A number of books, movies and television series have explored the concepts revolving around the total collapse of society. Sometimes it includes viruses, zombies, nuclear warfare, rogue governments. It doesn’t seem to matter what sparks the beginning of the end, the result is the same—the end of civilization, and the necessity for the remnant to survive on whatever they can obtain.
This resurgence of dystopian fiction, and a general sense of uncertainty and anxiety relating to society, has also led to a resurgence in what are known as “preppers.”
Preppers are individuals who are concerned about the things that they see societally, economically and politically, and these individuals have chosen to prepare for the “EOTWAWKI“—the end of the world as we know it. They stockpile food, weapons and ammunition, and other barterable items, such as cigarettes, whiskey and toilet paper, in the event that society and the economy collapses.
Sometimes, they reinforce their homes to make them more defendable, build large concrete shelters or cabins out in the woods, and fill them with caches of supplies so they have a place to retreat when society implodes.
This physical preparation for the unknown helps to settle the uncertainty and anxiety of the unknown by helping preppers feel that they are at least prepared for what is coming, and that they can trust in their preparations and in their skills.
Is it enough?
When you examine the Olivet Prophecy (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21), and sections of the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ reveals the conditions at the time of the end and what will lead to His return.
These passages describe a coming time of deception and betrayal. A time of war, when nation will rise against nation. It is a time of great natural disasters and famine.
Jesus continues the Olivet Prophecy by describing a time of coming persecution for believers, a time when people will be hated and killed for their belief in Jesus Christ. He describes the “abomination of desolation” in the Holy Place as spoken of by Daniel, and tells those gathered that when that happens, believers should flee their homes. He said they should flee to the wilderness, not even return home to get supplies, but to get out. The tribulation that is to follow is great and terrible, a time like the world has never seen before, or would ever see again.
Christ goes on to say that unless God shortens these days, which He will do for the sake of His elect, no flesh would be saved (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×).
Without God’s intervention and protection, mankind would go extinct.
While this event was partially fulfilled during the time of the apostles with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., much of what was described did not occur. Most notably, Christ did not return at that time, which indicates a future event at a time which is yet to come.
When you consider the scope of these events, of what has commonly become known as the apocalypse, you must ask yourself: will stockpiling weapons and food, or building a concrete bunker, help someone survive this coming time? Will any amount of physical preparation, or trusting in our own physical preparations make a difference in this coming time of tribulation? Are you willing to defend your bunker and supplies against that hungry family down the road? Willing to fight off the groups of vigilantes that are going house to house looking for supplies? Defend your home against government officials or foreign forces?
We must trust in God for His protection.
Revelation 12:14-17 Revelation 12:14-17  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×discusses a place in the wilderness, of protection for God’s people, where they might be nourished and cared for during this time of tribulation. This gift of protection is granted by God. Revelation 3:10-11 Revelation 3:10-11  Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.  Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×discusses a promise that God gave to those in the Philadelphia church. Because they persevered, He declares they would be kept from the hour of trial that was to come upon the Earth. Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version×instructs us to watch and pray that we are counted worthy to escape these things.
Surviving the coming time of tribulation will be a result of God’s providence, and our spiritual preparation and perseverance, not stockpiling physical supplies to somehow outlast the tribulation. Developing and maintaining our relationship with God is what’s important.
In Matthew 25, the passage immediately following the Olivet prophecy, Christ provides His disciples with a parable that discusses the importance of that spiritual preparation. It is not coincidence that this lesson followed on the tails of the Olivet Prophecy; they are connected.
He talks of five virgins who were wise, and five virgins who were unwise. He talked about how the unwise virgins didn’t prepare themselves, and didn’t take oil for their lamps. (Oil is commonly used in Scripture as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.) Evening came and they all slumbered and slept, the wise and the unwise. When the bridegroom came, the wise virgins arose, trimmed their lamps and went out to meet him, while the unwise virgins panicked and tried to prepare at the last minute.
This isn’t a description of physical preparation, it is a description of spiritual preparation and the importance of building our relationship with God while we still can. Those who did were invited into the marriage supper. Those who did not were shut out. He concludes the parable with the admonition to watch—grégoreó in Greek, which means to be awake, watchful, and vigilant.
Our spiritual preparation must take priority in our lives. It’s not unwise to prepare physically, it’s just important to be balanced in the process.
In fact, Scripture discusses the importance of being prepared and industrious. Proverbs 6:6-11 Proverbs 6:6-11  Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
 Provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.
 How long will you sleep, O sluggard? when will you arise out of your sleep?
 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
 So shall your poverty come as one that travels, and your want as an armed man.
American King James Version×examines the ant and its industriousness. While it has no commander or overseer, it stores up its provisions in summer for the long winter to come.
Emergencies happen, sometimes from financial difficulties or job loss, and it is wise to have an emergency fund, and perhaps some food and supplies stored up for emergencies so you can take care of your household. The ready.gov website suggests 72 hours’ worth of supplies, and in the case of bigger natural disasters, like earthquakes or hurricanes, two or three times that is advisable based on response times.
But can we truly prepare for a time that is like nothing that has ever come before, or ever will come again after? Is there anything that we can do as humans in the face of tribulation on that kind of scale?
Be vigilant and pray that we be counted worthy to escape this time of tribulation.