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Is "Survival Training" in the Bible?

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

Many of those with saving faith often begin to struggle a bit with the worry or fear that their passion for learning survival skills or prepping somehow betrays their spiritual faith in the Bible and, to be more pointed, their faith in Christ's return for the church. I have heard pastors and ministers from many denominations reiterate similar statements such as "Why prepare when we'll be raptured before trouble starts!" or "My survival plan is the blood of Jesus!" - I get it, these are cute quips to throw out, and I'm not going to delve into the theological components of these statements. Instead, I'll just show you that Survival and Preparedness Training is absolutely found in the Bible and in fact, God's instructions were for us to train regularly, individually, and in families, and in groups, and on an annual cycle!

Upon their banishment from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve found themselves at odds with the surrounding world that had fallen into a cursed state. Thorns, briers, and pestilence had fallen upon the face of the planet- things that Adam and Eve had not been prepared for during their time in the Garden. They would now have to exert constant effort to live from the land and they, now having the knowledge that they were nude, first needed clothing beyond the leaves they used to cover themselves. So, God himself taught them how to make clothing from animal skins (Gen. 3). The word for 'make' in that sentence may seem simple enough to comprehend- but in the Hebrew language it is the word "asah" which adds more depth to the meaning as it fully translates as to toil with and transmit an idea. See, when God made for 'them' clothing, the idea was fully transmitted to them, no doubt by way of example, as we know they left the Garden in clothing made of skins and they were not able to return.

Jason tanning a deer hide

Thus, the processes of animal identification, harvest, butchery, cooking, hide tanning, sewing, stone and bone tool-making were all fully transmitted as these things were all necessary to make clothing and use the entirety of the animal. So we gather that the first thing God did after the expulsion of man from paradise, was teach them how to SURVIVE apart from his presence. The themes of survival play throughout the bible, trapping, hunting, water filters, debris shelters, and warfare tactics are all taught in the Bible. In fact, there are three holidays that were required of all those that followed the faith to practice annually- Passover, Pentecost, and Sukkot.

There are three primary festivals in the Bible which were obligatory. These festivals are also called the Feasts of the Lord; the word festival/feast in this context is the Hebrew word "Moed" which means rehearse or practice- which we could just as easily call training. These three annual times of training are times of great importance spiritually and prophetically in the annual Biblical calendar. Passover is a Spring festival that was revealed at the time of Moses as a dramatic, week-long Bug-Out. After enduring weeks of harsh judgment from God, Pharaoh finally conceded and in the middle of the night, after the final plague of death killed all the firstborn in Egypt that did not have the blood of a lamb on their door jambs, demanded that Moses take all of his people, the Hebrew slaves and leave Egypt. So, beginning just after midnight, Moses gathered together all his people, their belongings, including their unleavened bread loaves and all their livestock and made their way out of Egypt.

Cooking the Passover Goat

There were about 600,000 men on foot along with their families and livestock and an unnumbered amount of foreigners among them. Their first stop was Sukkoth (which means temporary camp) [Ex. 12:37] and was quite a distance away from Goshen (the land ruled by Pharaoh) at about 25 miles. This was a huge undertaking by so many people and speaks of the urgency of the event. It took them seven days of travel to reach the Red Sea where they would cross into Arabia. The journey they took was south of the Port of Suez as they had more people to pick up for the journey at the copper & turquoise mines. This was longer than the necessary journey but important in collecting the other slaves who had yet been unaware of their recent freedom. Meanwhile, Pharaoh, having a change of heart after realizing his slaves would never return, rallied his armies and took the wilderness road across the desert catching up to the Hebrew people. Their lives were again in danger and this is when God parted the sea to allow the people to make an escape while at the same time destroying Pharaoh and his army within the sea as the walls of the water tunnel thundered down atop them. They then traveled 6 more weeks to the foot of Mt. Sinai for a total of 50 days, learning to depend upon God's direction for their survival.

Skills remembered within this festival revolve around the need to be prepared for danger and to flee at a moment's notice, to always be watchful, to carry our belongings with family and animals in tow. Other skills include items to always have at the ready, how to cook over a fire and leave a minimal trace and to rely upon those called to lead us out of immediate danger. This remains an annual festival for all believers that has largely been lost to the modern church and has been replaced with European religious tradition. These skills are timely when applied to a modern context as a spring festival in that they prepare us for the unknowns that lie within the storm season, Spring flooding and tornadoes account for over 55% of insured losses according to the Insurance Information Institute. Power outages and late-season cold snaps and ice are also potential issues to contend with making the need to evacuate our home or primary area of operation a grim reality. This is also the time we begin sowing our garden crops in preparation for the months ahead. By practicing the emergency survival skills conveyed through the Passover story, we'll be better prepared to endure these events, especially with our families and pets.

Highlighted Passover Skills

  • Get meat for the family, maybe friends: Ex. 12:3-6

  • Apply the blood of Lamb (Jesus): Ex. 12-7

  • Start a Fire: Ex. 12:8

  • Cook over a fire: Ex. 12:8

  • Cook bannock over a fire: Ex. 12:8

  • Leave no trace of meal: Ex. 12:10

  • Eat quick, EDC in hand: Ex. 12:11

  • Prepare for Calamity: Ex. 12:12

  • If you know God, you're safe: Ex. 12:13

A Cold group baptism in a local watering hole after skills training

In the New Testament, the spiritual elements of this rehearsal have been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross as the Lamb of God for the sin of the world (John 1:29). Prophetically, however, Jesus himself warned in Matthew 24 that the sign of his return would look much like it was during the time of Noah and that we should flee to the wilderness into our places of refuge for protection. Noah had the Ark, ancient Israel had the desert, we shall have the wilderness.

You can learn more about this topic and learn the skills that go with it in our Modern Survival Course Series and accompanying Field Books. Field Book 1 is dedicated to laying the Biblical foundation for our survival training- you can order the field books online here in print or digital format:

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