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Being Ready
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Being Ready

Being ready for the End of Days depends on which side of The Great Taking (as described in The Next Big Thing) you find yourself.
  • Preparing for The Great Taking, so that you are included among those taken, and thereby avoid the ordeal of the End of Days.
  • If you find yourself in the End of Days period, getting through it until the return of Jesus to rule the nations of Earth.
Thus, this guide is divided into two general plans for two distinct groups of people - a guide to preparing for The Great Taking, and a manual for survival during the End of Days.

Two Takings

New Testament prophecy foretells two events where saints are gathered to be with Jesus.

The first taking, commonly called The Rapture, occurs before the Day of Wrath, when believers who are prepared are taken into heaven, securing them from the drastic events to follow.
See, I reveal to you a mystery - we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trump - for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [1Co 15:51-52]
For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and were unaware until the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall be the coming of the Son of Man. [Mt 24:38-39]
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. Therefore, watch; for you don’t know what hour your Lord comes. But know this, that if the head of household had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken up. Similarly, be ready; for the Son of Man comes at an hour you don’t expect. [Mt 24:40-44]
Note that this gathering of saints occurs unexpectedly, and when people are conducting business as normal.

The second gathering is upon the return of Christ to rule the earth, where the elect are gathered to him. In contrast, this coming occurs after great catastrophe has occurred on earth, and during great terror.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken - and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. [Mt 24:29-31]
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, and men's hearts failing them for fear in expectation of those things about to come upon the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh. [Lk 21:25-28]

Waiting For the Bridegroom

As in explained in The Next Big Thing, preparation for the Great Taking is for those who are aware of the warnings in the New Testament, heed them, and act accordingly. This preparation consists of -
  • Setting your affection on things above, not the things on earth.
  • Seeing that you do not get caught in worldliness or preoccupied with the cares of this life.
  • Not attacking fellow believers.
  • Being at peace with God.
  • Avoiding false teaching and deception that intensifies at the approach of the End of Days.
  • Watching for his coming.
  • Abiding in him.
Setting your affection on things above…
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then you shall appear with him also, in glory. [Co 3:2-4]
Seeing that you do not get caught in worldliness or preoccupied with the cares of this life…
And pay attention to yourselves, in case that at any time, your hearts be overloaded with overeating, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so unaware, that day comes upon you. For like a trap, it shall come on all those who live on the planet. [Lk 21:34-35]
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a distinctly different people, zealous for good works. [Ti 2:11-14]
Not attacking fellow believers…
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, “My lord delays his coming”, and shall begin to attack his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he is not looking for him, and in an unexpected hour, and shall cut him to pieces, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites - there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [Mt 24:48-51]
Being at peace with God…
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. [2P 3:10]
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without flaw in character, and blameless. [2P 3:14]
Avoiding false teaching and deception…
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [2Ti 4:3-4]
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come… But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue in the things which you have learned, and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; and that from childhood, you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [1Ti 3:1,13-15]
Watching for his coming…
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and yourselves like men who wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open unto him immediately. [Lu 12:35-36].
Watch 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. [Lu 21:36]
But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You 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. For they that sleep, sleep in the night, and they who are drunk are drunk in the night.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do. [1Th 5:4-11]
Abiding in him…
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. [1Jn 2:28]
Therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [2P 3:17-18]
The last point is most important of all, in that if you consistently abide in him, you will also do the other observances.

The Help of the Holy Spirit

We are not alone in preparing for the end of days. The Holy Spirit will help us. Recall that the GodFAQ enumerated the workings of the Holy Spirit in believers. These works aid in the some of the points of preparation listed above.
  • Seeing that you do not get caught in worldliness or the cares of this life.
  • Not attacking fellow believers.
For all the law is fulfilled in one text, this -  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another. I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. [Gal 5:14-16]
  • Being at peace with God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. [Gal 5:22-23]
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. [Rom 15:13]
  • Avoiding false teaching and deception that intensifies at the approach of the End of Days.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…[Jn 16:13]
  • Watching for his coming.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. [Gal 5:5]
  • Abiding in him.
And hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. [1Jn 3:24]
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. [1Jn 4:13]

Preparation Is Essential

Coming Jesus spoke another parable pertaining to his coming. This is the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which was mentioned before in The Great Taking and is revisited here.
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, “Look, the bridegroom comes. Go out to meet him”. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are gone out”. But the wise answered, saying, “Not so, in case there is not enough for both us and you, but instead, go 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, the other virgins came, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us”. But he answered and said, “Truly I say unto you, I know you not”. [Mt 25:1-12]
This parable tells us not just what to expect or what to avoid, but distinguishes the kind of people who are adequately prepared for The Great Taking versus those who are not.
  • First, this parable is about ten virgins, not five virgins and five prostitutes. This means that the five who were ready and the five who were not, all were believers in Jesus, and none of them unbelievers.
  • Second, per the custom of the Galilean wedding, the virgins were friends of the bride and bridegroom, and all of them were set apart for their role. So the distinction between them is not a matter of consecration. All desired his appearing, because all of them waited and none of them wandered off.
  • Third, all of them fell asleep, so the distinction is not a matter of knowing exactly when he would come, because none of them did. In this context, sleep is not a metaphor for deceased, because the dead would have no chance to “go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves”.

The only meaningful distinction between them, was whether they had oil for their lamps. This was something that required preparation, and could not be instantly remedied. The implication is critically important – being ready for the Great Taking requires preparation of some sort, as represented by equipping the oil. Even if one senses that the event is imminent, there will be not enough time to satisfy this requirement at the last moment. This suggests that repenting, which is instantaneous, will not be enough, and that others will not be able to cover for you – the preparation must be done in advance.

In the context of the Galilean wedding, the wedding procession that followed was from the bride’s place to the bridegroom's place, more specifically, his father’s house. The path between was dark, and no one was allowed to join the procession without a lamp. This context compounds the tragedy of the five foolish virgins who were left behind, in that they thought they had prepared by taking a lamp, but in truth they were not adequately prepared, as the lamp itself required something more. They did not fail to prepare, but they failed to prepare fully.