April 12, 2011

Jesus Says to Watch for the Signs and Prepare for His Return

"Take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things." - Mark 13:23

"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." - Luke 21:36

The Coming Epiphany, Chapter 13: Be Prepared

Look for the coming of the Lord and watch as a servant should do who expects his master.

By William Frederick, The Coming Epiphany
November 21, 2007

Many years ago, I had the wonderful experience of being a Boy Scout. I learned many important skills and character traits through the Scouts. One of the first things I learned was the Boy Scout motto—“Be Prepared.” There is nothing worse than being faced with an adverse situation and not being prepared. In the Scouts, we were taught to think ahead about situations that we might encounter while camping and to prepare accordingly.

Many difficulties that we face in life, likewise, can be overcome if we think ahead and plan and prepare accordingly. In this chapter, we will think ahead to what difficulties we will face in the 70th Week, and I will suggest ways that we can plan and prepare accordingly. By the time you read this book, even though I am writing it before the 70th Week starts, you may already be in it. Even if that is the case, it is still not too late to prepare.

In endeavoring to prepare for this time, you must first realize that many people will be deceived and will not recognize the signs of the prophetic times in which we live. For as the Apostle Paul said, Christ’s return to the clouds and the rapture will catch many people off guard and will come upon them as a thief in the night:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (1 Thess. 5:1-3).
When the rapture happens, the people of the world will pretty much be going about their daily routines. Even though the 70th Week will have started and the first five seals will bring about much death and destruction, the majority of the people will be so deceived that they will not be able to recognize the prophetic times in which we live.
[Editor's Note: The word 'rapture' does not appear in the Bible; it is a modern-day term used to describe the return of Christ in the clouds of heaven to deliver up His people to the kingdom of heaven.]
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left (Matt. 24:37-42).
So we see that, even though the first five seals will be opened, and tribulations and sorrows will be experienced by the world, the vast majority of people will not recognize that we are in this prophetic time period and will be caught off guard by the Day of the Lord because they will be deceived by the devil and his cohorts.

But that is not to be the case for the believer. The believer, as Jesus says, is to watch:
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh (Matt. 24:42-44).
The Apostle Paul also echoes the same idea and further tells us that the Day will not overtake us as a thief:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (1 Thess. 5:1-6).
Note what it says in reference to the Day of the Lord, that it will not overtake the brethren as a thief. Why? Because any serious student of the Bible will recognize the signs of the times and, more specifically, will probably be able to know that the 70th Week has started and will be able to discern the occurrences of the seals. Thus, after seeing the signs, they will know that the Lord’s return is imminent. Hopefully, you will be walking close enough to the Lord that you can recognize His pending return and prepare many years in advance for the difficulties that lie ahead.

The most important consideration in getting ready for the Lord’s return is to make sure you are prepared spiritually. Jesus told a parable that teaches the importance of being spiritually ready for His return:
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh (Matt. 25:1-13).
Are you ready for the bridegroom?

Spiritual Preparation

The starting point for being spiritually prepared is to make sure that you are a Christian.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves… (2 Cor. 13:5a)
Becoming a Christian is a very simple yet profound process. There are four things one must know in order to become a Christian:

1. We are sinners. As the Bible says;
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
Sin is falling short of God’s perfection. Everyone has sinned many times in life. We have all lied, or stolen, or cheated, or done something wrong at some time in our lives.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10).
2. We deserve Hell. Realize that there is a punishment for being a sinner, and that punishment is death.
For the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
The punishment for sin is not just physical death, but also spiritual death. The place of spiritual death is Hell.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rom. 21:8).
We all have sinned and we all deserve the punishment of Hell for our sin.

3. Jesus died for our sins.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
Jesus willingly went to the cross, shed His blood, and died for our sins. On the cross Jesus paid the price for our sins, He suffered the punishment that we deserve, He suffered Hell for us. Hell is a place of total separation from God. When Jesus was on the cross, God the Father separated Himself from God the Son. That is why Jesus cried out “with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” While Jesus was on the cross He was experiencing separation from God the Father. In other words, He was suffering Hell. He was suffering the Hell that we deserve. While on the cross Jesus paid for all the sins of mankind, past, present, and future.

4. We must receive Christ by faith. In order to receive the forgiveness of our sins and become a Christian it is not enough to know that we are sinners, that we deserve Hell, and that Christ died for our sins, but we must receive Christ by faith.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8,9).
Notice that that verse tells us that we cannot earn our way to heaven. We obtain salvation through faith, not by works. Faith basically boils down to placing your trust in something or someone. If you are sitting down while reading this book, you are placing your faith or trust in the chair that you are sitting upon. Faith requires more than just an intellectual belief; it involves an action of your will. For example, if there were a pond covered with ice, and there were people standing around saying that the ice could hold them up, but they were not willing to walk on the ice, then they would only be demonstrating an intellectual belief and not faith. If they stepped out onto the ice, they would be demonstrating faith.

One can place their faith in Christ by simply calling out to Him in prayer, for the Bible says,
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
I placed my faith in Christ by sincerely praying a prayer like this:
“Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I deserve Hell. Thank you for dying for my sins. Save me. Come into my life. Make me the kind of person that you want me to be. I thank you that you have and that you will take me to heaven when I die. Amen.”
If you sincerely pray that prayer with all your heart, then the Lord Jesus will come into your life and forgive your sins, and save you from an eternity of Hell. If you were to die tomorrow, you would go to heaven. Not because you are good enough to get there, but because you have received the payment of your sins. It is that simple.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (Jn 5:24).
So the first thing that one needs to do in order to get ready spiritually for the Lord’s return is to make sure that you are a Christian. I would encourage you, if you are not sure of your eternal destiny, to take a moment right now and bow your head and sincerely pray the prayer listed above and place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Once you are saved, nothing can separate you from the love of God. For more on the security of your salvation, see the article “Eternal Security” at http://www.thecomingepiphany.com/.

Righteous Living

The next step in being spiritually prepared for the Lord’s return is to make sure that you are living a righteous life — that is, a life without offence toward God and man. There are serious consequences for the believer who is not living in obedience to our Lord’s commands.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
These verses suggest that the disobedient Christian will be subject to problems, sickness, and even death for their disobedience. You certainly do not want to be in a disobedient state when the Lord returns.

How do you live a righteous life? Righteous living is summed up in just two commandments:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40).
Thus, the two most important things for a Christian to do is to love God with all his heart and love his neighbor as himself.

How does a Christian love God? Jesus answered that question succinctly:
If ye love me, keep my commandments (Jn 14:15).

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (Jn 14:21).
Jesus told us the way that we love God is to keep the commandments.

There are some Christians who say to make a list of items that you should obey is legalism. No, to not have a list of things a Christian should obey is licentiousness. Legalism is when you say that one must obey a list of “dos and don’ts” for salvation. To have a list of dos and don’ts from the Bible to show love to God is godly living. Those who say the Christian is free or at liberty to do as they wish are not free. Rather, they are enslaving themselves to sin at the dictates of their misguided imaginations and fleshly desires. If someone is legalistic in saying, in order to love God you must keep the commandments, then Jesus was legalistic when He commanded us to keep them. We know that this was not the case. Therefore it is not legalism to obey God.

Here are some of the many things that the Lord, either directly or by application of principle, commands Christians to do:
  • Pray and read the Bible daily
  • Be baptized
  • Attend church
  • Give tithes and offerings
  • Love our neighbor as our self
  • Share the gospel
  • Obey authorities
  • Forgive others
  • Dress modestly
Here are some of the many things that the Lord, either directly or by application of principle, commands Christians to not do:
  • Lie
  • Steal
  • Cheat
  • Cuss
  • Covet
  • Murder and commit acts of violence
  • Hate
  • Harbor unforgiveness
  • Fornicate
  • Commit adultery
  • Listen to rock and rap music
  • Look at unwholesome things
Unfortunately, many Christians have swallowed—hook, line and sinker—the lie of the devil that a Christian is free to live as they please. This philosophy is contrary to the teaching of scripture. I have worked with Christian young people for 20 years, and I have seen a steady progression of worldliness and unrighteousness in the lives of the children and their parents. And sadly enough, many of these young people have fallen into grievous sins and brought great destruction to their lives. For more information on how to live righteously, see the article entitled “Living Righteous” at http://www.thecomingepiphany.com/.

Remember, we obey God, not for the purpose of earning salvation, but because God has saved us from a terrible hell; and we out of love for the Lord want to glorify Him by abstaining from sin and living a Godly life. Let us not use our liberty in Christ as a license to sin. The Apostle Paul gives us a strong admonition if we continue in sin:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them (Eph. 5:1-7).
Dear Christian, as we see the Day of the Lord approaching, let us sincerely examine ourselves before the Lord with a humble and contrite heart to make sure that we are in the faith and that we are living a life that is pleasing to Him. Let us all strive to hear the words:
Well done, thou good and faithful servant enter into the joy of thy master (Matt. 25:21).
Do not try to claim that you love the Lord if you do not obey Him. Jesus said:
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me (John 14:24).
This may seem difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. The power and ability to live the Christian life comes through the controlling and empowering of the Holy Spirit. In scripture, this is referred to as walking in the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:17,18).

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).
How can a Christian be filled with the Spirit? Colossians 2:6 answers that question:
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.
This verse is basically saying that in the same way that we received Christ, we should also walk in Him. How does a Christian receive Christ? Through faith, thus, we are to walk in Him by faith or be filled with the Spirit through faith. So in order to be filled with the Spirit, we must first desire to be filled. Then we must make sure that we have all sins confessed — for God will not fill a dirty vessel — we must also present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice to be used any way that He may wish, and ask to be filled and believe by faith that we are filled.

Here is a suggested prayer to be filled with the Spirit:
“Dear God I present myself to you to be used any way that you desire. Fill me with your Spirit, direct me, control me and empower me. Live your life through me. I thank you that you will. Amen.”
Mental Preparation

In order to be ready for the return of the Lord, we must not only be spiritually prepared, but we must also be mentally prepared. To do this, we need to have a good working knowledge of prophetic truths. The Lord admonishes believers to not be asleep in regards to prophetic matters:
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is…Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch (Luke 13:32-37).
Here, Jesus warns believers of being asleep at His return. I believe He is specifically referring to being mentally and spiritually asleep, or unaware of the prophetic times that we live in, and the pending sorrows and tribulations that Christians are going to have to endure during the 70th Week. This description would probably classify the vast majority of sincere Christians that, due to a lack of fervency in seeking after the truth in relation to end times prophecy, have blindly adhered to what their well-respected, but erring pre-trib teachers have taught them.

So I say, wake up, Christian, know that we are very close to entering the 70th Week of Daniel, and by the time you read this we may already be in it. Do not remain asleep to the pending trials that are going to come upon the world with the opening of the seals. Christians who remain asleep and do not prepare spiritually, mentally and physically for those trials will be subject to extreme difficulties and hardships. After the Abomination of Desolation, the antichrist will require all to take the mark in order to buy or sell.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Rev. 13:16,17).
What are Christians who have not prepared for those times going to do when they are faced with the choice of not being able to buy or sell unless they take the mark? And yes, it will be a choice, and will not be forced upon anyone as was depicted in the popular, but scripturally inaccurate, Left Behind series. Many misinterpret Rev. 13:16, which says,
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads,” to read “And he forces” instead of “And he causeth.”
The Greek word in question here is poieo. Strong’s Greek and Hebrew dictionary defines it as “to produce, construct, form, fashion, to be the authors of, to make ready, to prepare.” The word in no way means, “to force.”

It will be a choice that all alive at the time will have to make, and I fear some nominal Christians will choose the mark, undoubtedly reasoning it away somehow, especially when they are faced with not being able to buy or sell. Some may even be faced with a choice of taking the mark or being put to death. Unfortunately, the threat of death, along with the many deceptions and persecutions, will be part of the reason there will be a great falling away from the faith. Scripture even indicates that many nominal Christians will fall away to the point where they will even betray family members.
Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved (Mark 13:12,13),
If somebody takes the mark are they really doomed to hell? The answer is found in Rev. 14:9-12:
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
So yes, those who take the mark are doomed to hell. Do not let any fantasy series convince you otherwise. The Left Behind series portrayed an individual who was forced to take the mark and who later was saved. This is in contradiction to the scripture above. Taking the mark will be an eternal choice with clear ramifications.

Physical Preparations

Along with making spiritual and mental preparations for the return of the Lord, one must also make physical preparations. Preparing for the future is a basic life principle.
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest (Prov 6:6-8).

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished (Prov 22:3).
These verses make it clear that a Christian is to prepare for the future. So how can a Christian prepare physically for the 70th Week? We must first consider what we are likely to be faced with. As already discussed, Christians will be faced with living through the first five seals.

Let us re-examine again what the first five seals entail:
  1. First seal (white horse): Establishment of the world religion and government through deception.

  2. Second seal (red horse): War and/or anarchy on the earth.

  3. Third seal (black horse): Famine due to crop failures and/or a worldwide economic collapse.

  4. Fourth seal (pale horse): Death of one-quarter of world’s population by various means, possibly culminating from the first four seals.

  5. Fifth seal: Persecution and martyrdom of Jews and Christians.
The first five seals will span a length of time from at least 3.5 years to a maximum of six years in total duration. See the charts entitled “The Afflictions of the 70th Week” and “The Three Sevens ‘777’” for a pictorial representation of this data.

Things will become more severe upon the opening of the fifth seal, which starts after the 3½ year point. That time period is called the great tribulation and is when Christian and Jews will be persecuted and no one will be able to buy or sell without having the mark of the beast. Even though the first four seals present many difficulties, the fifth seal will be the most difficult to withstand. This is the time that Christians will need to concentrate on preparing for. Realizing the great tribulation, as already discussed, will most likely last from ½ to 2½ years, thus Christians will probably be faced with up to a maximum of 2½ years of time where they will not be able to buy or sell and will have to prepare for.
[Editor's Note: Preventing those without the mark of the beast from buying or selling does not occur until the very end (Revelation chapter 13), when Satan sets up his throne in the holy place, claiming to be God. In Revelation chapter 9, this period of time, when the devil incarnate shall reign over his one-world kingdom, is described as "a little season," which occurs at the fifth trumpet. The Lord tells us, more specifically, that is will be the last "five months" before Christ's return, not 2½ years.]
In considering how to prepare for those times, realize that saving money for that time will most likely be of no help, for with the initiation of the mark the world will be under a cashless monetary system and money will be obsolete and become worthless. Thus, to prepare, one should concentrate on making preparations which will allow you to make it through those times without money.

The first and most important necessity for life is water. Unless you have vast economic resources, and large amounts of storage space, you will not have the ability to store several years’ worth of water. In my opinion the best way to provide for your water needs would be to obtain a good water filter that will remove all harmful materials. With a good filter, you could use rainwater, pond water, and/or stream water and, after filtering it, you could use it for whatever you wanted. I prefer gravity filters, which use silver impregnated ceramic “candles” to filter out the impurities and pathogens. Missionaries have used these for years. You can take muddy pond water and pour it in the top and you will get out clean water. The replaceable filter elements are good for a couple thousand gallons. These units cost about $200 to $300. They are well worth the investment.

The next most important preparation is food. If Christians will not be able to buy or sell for up to 2.5 years then ideally you should try to have that much food stored. Since we do not know when the 70th Week will begin, you want to buy foods that will keep for extended periods of time. Thus, we are talking about dried or canned foods. There are many companies that sell freeze-dried foods and also offer package deals on case lots. Or you could gather the foods yourself from local businesses and package them for long time storage.

At present many foods suitable for long time storage can be obtained quite inexpensively. Rice, pasta, flour, dried beans, oatmeal, dried soups, canned vegetables, nuts, chocolate, raisins, sugar, dried potatoes, dried milk, etc. There are numerous grocery stores and wholesale centers that offer bulk quantities of food at reasonable prices. You want to make sure that you cover all the basic food groups, the greater the variety the better. To fulfill your protein needs, freeze-dried meats are available, but they can be a little costly. Vegetable proteins, such as beans, are also an excellent cost effective source of protein. Also having a supply of seeds and knowing how to grow vegetables would be another good idea. One could grow large amounts of fresh vegetables or obtain them from a farm and can them. There are whole books devoted to emergency preparedness, and it would be a good idea to consult them to become more knowledgeable in this area.

It would also be helpful if one learned how to hunt and fish. Being able to harvest fresh meat would be a good addition to any diet. To be able to hunt or fish would necessitate purchasing hunting and fishing equipment. Rods, reels, lures, line, guns, ammunition, bow and arrows, hunting clothes, and skinning knives are all needed to help gather fresh meat. And do not naively think that just owning those items makes you a hunter or fisherman. It takes practice.

The next concern we should consider is shelter, which includes housing and clothes. Most of us probably have enough clothes to make it through a couple of years. But if you have smaller children that will be growing, you may want to make sure that you have some bigger size clothing pre-bought for them. As for housing, it is unclear exactly what will transpire. From what we have previously discussed about the seals, we know that there will be a severe economic collapse. Whether people will be able to keep their houses without paying their mortgages is unknown. Most likely, they will not. Also those who pay rent will not be able to do so either after the mark comes about. We will consider some possibilities of what one can do about this later in this chapter, but in case all else failed it wouldn’t hurt to have a tent.

Another consideration is electricity. Most likely, at some point we will be without it. This may be a result of natural disasters, wars, and/or not being able to buy or sell. As a matter of fact, Iran has claimed that it has the ability to destroy our power grid and take out all items with computer chips, including modern automobiles, using electromagnetic pulses. Lt. Col Thomas E. Bearden (retd.), who has done extensive research in scalar weaponry, asserts that hostile forces will conduct an asymmetrical war against the U.S. in the future and will eventually take out the power grid and collapse the economy.
Selected portable weapons of such types are to be inserted ¾ probably some have already been inserted ¾ into the U.S. and used internally by the Yakuza in its coming destruction of our centralized electrical power system… the loss of our national electrical power system is intended to evoke the catastrophic collapse of the entire U.S. economy, followed by the fall of other Western nations’ economies like toppling dominoes.
Whether God allows this to occur is yet to be seen but the possibility of being without electricity in the near future is real. Being without electricity presents a problem for most of us because we rely on it for heat, refrigeration, cooking, and much more. So with the possibility of losing electric, we have to make a choice of whether to generate it ourselves or live without it. If you choose to generate it yourself, solar and/or wind power is probably the way to go. Generating power with a fossil-fuel-driven engine would necessitate storing huge amounts of fuel and would be impractical. The downside of solar or wind power is the cost, these setups can be quite expensive. If you have unlimited resources, solar and/or wind would probably be the best way to provide electricity during the 70th Week. And if you could not afford a solar set up to power your whole house you could maybe just get a big enough one to power essential appliances like your refrigerator and/or freezer.

The other choice is to prepare to live without electricity. With no electricity, to meet your heating and cooking needs, all you would need to get is a wood stove. If you have a large house, you may have to get a second one. Wood is a readily available source of fuel that one would be able to collect themselves. Solar ovens are also a good way to cook food.

The next consideration would be for necessities such as but not limited to: Bibles, soaps, toothpaste, toilet paper, medicines (including herbal remedies), diapers, candles, solar charger, disposable lighters, camping equipment, flashlights, batteries, crank-up radio, first aid kit, baking soda, salt, hydrogen peroxide, sun screen, vitamins, tea tree oil, personal hygiene items, and tools.

I believe that it would be wise to purchase and learn how to use a gun for defense purposes and/or hunting. The best type of gun for home defense is a shotgun. They are relatively easy to use and easy to accurately fire. In an attack, you would probably not have to even use the gun. Just showing it will send most criminals running. Some Christians feel that it is wrong to protect themselves and that guns are evil or bad. This is far from the truth. The use of weapons for protection against criminals, or in war, is promoted in scripture. The most famous example was when David slew Goliath. He used a slingshot, a weapon, to defend Israel and fight the Philistine giant, and then he cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword. Thus, weapons for self-defense, guns included, are not bad; only the improper use of them is wrong.

When food and money become scarce, the “have-nots” are going to seek out the “haves,” and some will stop at nothing to get what they want. Thus, Christians should be ready to fight off criminals if necessary to protect their families. Of course deadly force should only be used as a last resort in the face of imminent danger. Another consideration is that you should not let anyone know about any of your preparations, even your relatives. Be very discrete about all that you do. Keep all stores in a safe and secure place; if you can hide them, all the better.

During the 70th Week there will be places in the world that will be more dangerous to live than others, and these places should be avoided. The troubles of the 70th Week, as we know, will include various distresses at various places. The Bible indicates that several places will be hotbeds for destruction, including but not limited to Jerusalem, Damascus, and end-times Babylon. Other areas that will probably be most prone to troubles will be the big cities. Not only are they targets for mass destruction, but also when things get tough, riots could break out, making them very dangerous. Thus rural areas would more likely be less dangerous. Also, the farther a rural area is from a big city, the better. For instance, if a nuclear bomb exploded in a city, or a plague hit, you would want to be far enough away so that you were not directly affected. Also in case of widespread nuclear fallout you should have some potassium iodide on hand.

So if one wanted to move to a less dangerous location during the 70th Week, where should they go? God has a perfect will for all of us. Go to Him and ask Him what it is, and when the time comes, if it is His will for you to move, He will show you what you need to do. Something to keep in mind and pray about is that after the opening of the fifth seal, and the persecution of the antichrist begins, God commands Israel to flee into the wilderness; and He may want you to do the same.

During the beginning of the 70th Week, plagues and diseases will be unleashed upon the land. As already discussed many Bible scholars feel that the fourth seal contains plagues:
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth (Rev. 6:7-8).
What can one do to protect themselves against plagues? Many think that a daily intake of colloidal silver will prevent one from getting certain diseases. Jerry Golden has written an article entitled “Learning to Survive an Attack! Colloidal Silver!” which discusses this possibility. In light of this information a colloidal silver generator would also be another item one would want to purchase. A substance that has been proven to be effective in fighting viruses is Sambucol, which is made from elderberries.

Another great defense against viruses is taking large doses of vitamin C. Bird flu has been in the news in recent years and could be one the viruses that could afflict the population in the future. Vitamin C is very effective against this virus. Let me also mention that many feel that vaccinations will offer little or no protection against future pandemic viruses because the viruses spread and change so rapidly. Some also think that during this time evil forces may use some vaccinations to spread disease.

Financial Preparations

One must also make wise financial investments. As already discussed, the third seal will probably entail an economic collapse. Believe it or not, there are groups out there who would love to see such a collapse happen, including a secret occult group called The Illuminati, which has had plans in the works for years.

I am not a financial advisor, and the suggestions herein are not to be deemed as financial advice, but if the economy does collapse, I believe it’s important to be debt-free. The banks will come collecting their loans. If you are not able to pay, they will foreclose. So make it your goal to get out of debt. If you have a home mortgage, and cannot pay it off before the coming collapse and the mark of the beast is instituted, here is an idea that could possibly work; try to anticipate the timing those events, and if possible, pre-pay — by whatever righteous means you can — a couple years worth of mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and utilities. If you rent, seek to do the same. To do this, you need to concentrate on saving as much money as possible now.

Also realize that a financial collapse would also involve a collapse of the stock market far worse than what happened in 1929. At such a time most stocks would lose their value. Again I am not a financial expert but if such a collapse of the stock market were to occur during the third seal then it would be wise to move investments to “safer” investments before the collapse occurred. Safer investments could possibly include sector funds, and commodities like grains, oil, and precious metals. Though no investment is guaranteed to be safe these are probably less risky and those sectors are likely to rise in value. One sure investment is wheat—after the third seal, a measure of wheat will cost a days wages! (Rev 6:5,6)

But also realize that all money will become worthless after the antichrist takes control and establishes the mark. Thus, any money you have just prior to the 3.5-year point should be used to purchase necessities to make it through the great tribulation. Any other medium of exchange may have some value after the mark comes about, but it would be limited to being used to barter with private individuals.

In regards to when you should make physical preparations; realize that it is possible that the 70th Week may start this year. It is also possible that it may not start for another 30 years or more, though things are looking like it will be sooner than later. You should make this a matter of prayer; but to be on the safe side preparations that may take a longer time to complete, such as saving money, learning to hunt and fish, etc., can be started now. Food storage can also be started now as long as you buy foods that can be stored for a long time without perishing.

It is unclear when things will first start to “get bad.” All kinds of things could happen before and at the beginning of the 70th Week. Some locales may experience troubles before others. For instance, what if God allows the American Hiroshima—the threatened nuking of 10 or more American cities—to occur, which would be catastrophic for the United States. If it occurs, it may occur before the 70th Week or could be part of one of the seals. Also, there could be severe economic downturns in various places leading up to and at the beginning of the 70th Week.

More than one financial expert has predicted that the United States will suffer a severe economic downturn before the end of 2008. If any of these scenarios develop life could become very difficult for many. So to be on the safe side it would be better to make preparations sooner than later.

In God’s Hands

Of course, these are just examples. I have presented a general outline of how I am attempting to prepare and some ideas for how others might prepare, as well. However, these things should be used as a guideline. Your situation may be different and require different preparations. Some will never be able to prepare. What about the senior citizen living from check to check? What about children living in a home where their parents are not saved? Or what about someone who does not get saved until they actually see the mark of the beast come about? People in these situations will not be able to prepare at all.

What can people who cannot prepare properly do (or, for that matter, what can any of us do, for none of us can prepare totally for what lies ahead)? The answer is to do the best you can and trust God for the rest. Believers should attempt to prepare as best they can with the resources that God has given them. Due to financial constraints, I have not even been able to prepare to the full extent that I have recommended, but as the Lord provides, I will seek to do those things. Also, do not let me give the false impression that if you prepare you will be guaranteed to have “smooth sailing.” Even if you prepare to the fullest you may still face great difficulties during the tribulations of the 70th Week.

At the same time, let me encourage those with means to prepare for and take care of their brothers and sisters in the Lord who do not have the means to take care of themselves:
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
Our first responsibility in life is our relationship with God. Then our responsibilities are to others, which starts with providing for our family.
But if any provide not for his own, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (I Tim 5:8).
After we provide for our family, then we are to minister to others and try and meet their needs. You may be the one that God wants to use to meet the needs of that senior citizen in your church living from check to check. We will need to all pull together and help each other make it through that time. It would also probably be advisable to form groups of true believers that can work together to provide for the needs of the group. During the trying times ahead wise pastors would do well to organize their church into such groups.

Prayer will be our most important asset during this time, and Christians should gather together as often as possible to pray about that time and to pray against the plans of the NWO and the antichrist. We can pray even now that the damage, destruction, control, etc. of the antichrist and his NWO forces would be kept to a minimum and that their plans would be frustrated. We should also pray for the salvation of the many that will be deceived during these times. We can also pray now that we would be spared from persecution and that we would be left alone to live a life glorifying the Lord till we are raptured.

Let me also remind you that Christians are to never trust in their preparations or weapons to protect them and/or deliver them from the tribulations that lie ahead:
There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee (Ps 33: 16-22).
At the same time, however, trusting in the Lord does not negate proper preparation. If you knew a hurricane was coming your way, would you be “lacking in faith” by preparing for it, and even evacuating if necessary? Or would you stay in harm’s way and be washed out to sea and claim that you were trusting Jesus? We are all supposed to trust Jesus. However, I do not feel one can say, 'I am not going to prepare because I am trusting in God.' We must do all that we can and trust God for the rest.

Was it wrong for David to get five stones out of the brook to prepare to fight Goliath? Or should he have gone out there with no stones and said I am just going to trust God? No, he would have been just dead by his own fault because he did not prepare. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and told Pharaoh that a seven-year famine was looming in the future. Joseph instructed Pharaoh to prepare, and you know the rest of the story. He did, and many people were saved from the famine. In one of his sermons, Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said,
“God will not do for you what He has given you strength to do for yourself.”
Do all you can trusting in God’s power and guidance to prepare for the 70th Week.

What if you are in no financial position to prepare at this time? Pray to God and ask Him to provide for you. Remember the Word of the Lord;
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14,15).
We know that it is God’s will for us to have food and shelter. Remember the wonderful promises of God. “The Lord is our shepherd and we shall not want.” Do all you can to get ready, but trust in Him to see you through the difficult times that lie ahead.

Prepare yourself spiritually by making sure of your salvation and removing evil practices from your life. Draw close to the Lord through prayer, Bible reading, and fasting. Prepare yourself mentally by studying prophetic truths so you know what to expect and can make educated decisions based on fact and not panic. And, finally, prepare physically by making sure, as much as is possible, that you have enough necessities to make it through the trials and tribulations ahead. And in all, remember to trust in the Lord. My prayer for you is this:
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints (1 Thess. 3:12,13).
Be a good scout; be prepared!

"Take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things." --Mark 13:23

"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
" --Luke 21:36

"Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching."
--Luke 12:37

"If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
--Revelation 3:3

"Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." --Mark 13:33

"What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God." --2 Peter 3:11-12

"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh
." -- Matthew 25:13

"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." --Matthew 24:42

"Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, 'Watch'." --Mark 13:35-37

"And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, 'What, could ye not watch with me one hour'?" --Matthew 26:40

"And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, 'Sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour'?" --Mark 14:37

"And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." --Revelation 17:12

"Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come'." --Revelation 18:10

"For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off." --Revelation 18:17

"And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate'." --Revelation 18:19

And as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples saith unto Him,
Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
And Jesus answering said unto him,
"Seest thou these great buildings?
There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."

And as He sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple,
Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately,
Tell us, when shall these things be?
And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

And Jesus answering them began to say,
"Take heed lest any man deceive you:
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled:
For such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
And there shall be earthquakes in divers places,
And there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

But take heed to yourselves:
For they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten:
And ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up,
Take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate:
But whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye:
For it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son;
And children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake:
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,
Standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,)
Then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house,
Neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:
And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

For in those days shall be affliction,
Such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved:
But for the elect's sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days.

And then if any man shall say to you,
'Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there;' believe him not:
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise,
And shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds,
From the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree;
When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man,
No, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey,
Who left his house, and gave authority to his servants,
And to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore:
For ye know not when the master of the house cometh,
At even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, 'Watch'."
--Mark Chapter 13

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you;
In both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets,
And of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers,
Walking after their own lusts, and saying,
'Where is the promise of His coming?
For since the fathers fell asleep,
All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.'

For this they willingly are ignorant of,
That by the Word of God the heavens were of old,
And the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store,
Reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing,
That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness;
But is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
But that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;
In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise,
And the elements shall melt with fervent heat,
The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,
What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,
Wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
And the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to His promise,
Look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Therefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,
Be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
Even as our beloved brother Paul also,
According to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things;
In which are some things hard to be understood,
Which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,
As they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before,
Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked,
Fall from your own stedfastness.
But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
--2 Peter, Chapter 3

The Parable of the 10 Virgins and the Lamp Oil

The key to the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25 is the link with the previous chapter in which Jesus describes what shall be the signs of His return. The parable in chapter 25 is talking about the end of times -- Jesus' return -- and how we should prepare.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps,
And went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:
But go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country,
Who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one;
To every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying,
Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant:
Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:
Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
He also that had received two talents came and said,
Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant;
Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man,
Reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant,
Thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers,
And then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance:
But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him,
Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations:
And He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats:
And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand,
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat:
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me:
I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying,
Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink?
When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee?
Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat:
I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in:
Naked, and ye clothed me not:
Sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer Him, saying,
Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall He answer them, saying,
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
--Matthew 25

Comparison of Disaster Preparedness Books

By Arthur Bradley, Amazon Review
August 29, 2009

If you're like I was, you're looking through the various disaster preparedness books wondering which one is best. I have worked my way through many of the most popular books and offer a shared review of all of them here. I hope this comparison helps you make a decision. I should also point out that I researched nearly every disaster book out there and recently published the Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family. Onward with the reviews!

Book 1: Crisis Preparedness by Jack A. Spigarelli
Like many of the disaster preparedness books, this one begins by answering the question, "Why bother being prepared?" It also outlines a framework for being prepared that includes accumulating supplies, getting mentally and physically prepared, and having your finances in order. One thing I particularly liked was the emphasis on the importance of knowledge. It wasn't just about what items you need, but also what skills and knowledge you should develop. But this book is mostly about food preparation for a major disaster, with emphasis on having a year's food storage, milling your own grain, growing sprouts, home canning, dehydrating, freeze-drying, etc. There are detailed tables showing the calories of various foods including their protein, fat, and carbs. The final third of the book offers advice on other topics, including weapons, hand tools, clothing, energy, medical, sanitation, transportation, communications, and home preparation. The book concludes with a list of recommended books and a brief listing of companies that sell disaster preparation items. Overall, this is a very good preparedness book. I probably should have given it 5 stars, but I thought it went a bit overboard on the food plan. That said, it is the most comprehensive of the preparedness books.

Book 2: Preparedness Now! By Aton Edwards
This is another thorough disaster preparedness book, one that focuses more on emergency situations (fire, chemical attack, etc.). It is organized into brief chapters (some only a few pages) on a variety of important topics, including: water, food, shelter, sanitation, communication, transportation, and protection. It is also filled with many packing lists detailing what you should get in preparation. It introduces the e-kit (a very lightweight kit to keep with you) and grab-n-go bag with more extensive items. Final chapters of the book discuss various possible disasters, including earthquakes, tsunami, infectious diseases, chemical and bio warfare, crime, fire, and extreme weather. Some of the commentary is a bit questionable, but the technical content is good. Note the deficiency with this book is that it does not offer any detail on food storage.

Book 3: Disaster Preparedness for Dummies
First of all, this isn't a book. It's a DVD video. I wasn't paying attention when I bought it, and was a bit surprised when it arrived. I generally like the Dummies series. They are well researched and serve as a good summary. This DVD offers a lengthy video discussing many disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, etc.), briefly outlining how you might prepare for them. It also has an overview of how you should react in case of a terrorist attack (nuclear, chemical, and biological). But the advice is all very general, and is more like what you'd expect to hear from your local weather station. For example, the video repeatedly advises you to "stay calm" and "evaucate in an orderly fashion." The videos are high quality, but don't expect detailed outdoor survival tips or food storage suggestions. Everything presented is relevant and useful, but it feels more like a FEMA public service announcement.

Book 4: Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton
This book is broken into six main sections. The first section offers decent but very incomplete summaries on preparing for short-term emergencies. The second section discusses how to store and purify water. The third part talks about the logistics of setting up a food-storage program, and has some suggestions on how to store food. The fourth section details what types of foods you should store. The fifth section has blank inventory planning pages. And finally the last section has some recipes. About half of the 285 page book is either blank planning pages or simple recipes. The first half of the book is pretty good stuff, but I found this book to be incomplete. It does however offer some good advice on food storage.

Book 5: Organize for Disaster by Judith Kolberg
This book goes an entirely different direction than the other preparedness books. Emphasis is on understanding the federal resources (i.e. FEMA, Red Cross, etc.) available, creating a personal intelligence network, organizing essential documents, maintaining insurance coverage, listing a home inventory, preparing your house for disaster, basic first aid, and having a good family communication plan. There is also a good list of necessary items to have on hand that would suit many common disaster. I recommend this book for its common-sense look at disaster preparedness. However, it is not the only book you would need, because it doesn't detail food storage, water purification, heating, etc.. That said, it covers some topics that the other books overlook.

Book 6: Making the Best of Basics, Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens
This book is almost completely about in-home food storage and preparation. There is little discussion outside that (except for basic water issues). Many chapters discuss food in significant detail, to include things like grains, recipes, preparing sourdough breads/biscuits, dairy products, honey, sprouting, drying of fruits/vegetables. At the end of this book is a huge compendium of preparedness resources, telling where things can be purchased in every US state.

Book 7: No Such Thing as Doomsday, by Philip L. Hoag, revised in 2001
This book offers well-researched insights into disaster preparedness. Topics include water, food, heating/cooking, light, power, communications, medical, sanitation, and security. Those subjects are well done. However, much of the book reads like a bit of doomsday prediction, with many pages devoted to scaring the heck out of the reader... focusing on missile attacks, chemical dangers, nuclear war, radiation, decontamination, communist threat, etc. For me personally, I would have like to see more pages devoted to likely threats (e.g. hurricanes, floods, earthquake, blackout, fire, etc.). Also note that Amazon may not carry the latest version (updated in 2001), so you may want to buy directly from the author.

Book 8: When All Hell Breaks Loose, by Cody Lundin
This book falls somewhere between doomsday survivalism and practical disaster preparedness. It is a high quality publication, filled with illustrations and a color insert. My prediction is that you will either love this book or hate it. It does cover many of the basic topics (food, shelter, water, sanitation, light, first aid, self-defense, communications, and transportation). But the material is presented in such a way that it is very chaotic and difficult to read. There are distracting quotes and cartoons, as well as advice that is targeted more towards the end of civilization scenario. For example, he discusses how to wipe your bottom with a stick or other foreign object, how to cook up a rat, how to compost your poop, etc. It's all very interesting, but not particularly useful for say preparing for a harsh winter storm.

Overall, if you can only purchase three books, I would recommend Book 5, Book 6, and either Book 1, 2, 7 or 8. With those three, you should have a balanced look at common sense organizing, food storage, and emergency items to have on hand. If you can buy only one book, I recommend Book 1.

Written by Arthur Bradley, author of "Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family" - just coming available on Amazon (July 2010).


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