What do I need to know about surviving the end times?

When people consider surviving the end times, they often find themselves fearful of the future. However, the apostle Paul wrote to believers about the rapture, saying, "Encourage one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18). For the believer, the end times are something to anticipate, not to fear.

To survive the end times, the key is to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). We can know for certain we will have eternal life with Christ (1 John 5:13). When the rapture occurs, an event that can take place at any moment, we will be with Him and other believers safe from the end-time judgments of the tribulation.

We must urgently share the gospel with others who have yet to believe. This includes friends and family, those in our community, as well as those around the world who have yet to hear about Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples of "all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

Another way to prepare for the end times is to faithfully live for God each moment of each day. Second Peter 3:11-12 teaches, "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!"

Yet another aspect of preparing for Christ's return is to serve others. In addition to sharing the gospel, we are called to perform good deeds that help those in need. Second Corinthians 5:10 notes, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." There will be a judgment as well as rewards for those in the next life. We are to make it our goal to live in ways that honor God and help others.

We also prepare by remaining steadfast in the truth of God. Jesus warned believers not to be led astray: "See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray" (Matthew 24:4-5). Through growing in our faith through God's Word, we can be prepared to spot false teachers who claim to be the Christ.

We can expect times of suffering and persecution. Even before the rapture, as well as among Christians in the New Testament, there were times when believers faced trials for their faith. We should both anticipate suffering and endure it faithfully, knowing our reward in heaven will far exceed the troubles of this life (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12; James 1:2-4).

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