From what I read in various blogs that discuss Church of God matters, it seems that some in the Church of God feel that the great tribulation may start any time, maybe within a few months or a year or two. Some may feel that the Church needs to be ready to flee to a place of safety soon.
Should you flee to a place of safety now or very soon?
If you want to be counted worthy to escape the great tribulation and be in God's kingdom, NO! NO. NO.
However, if you want to be punished in the tribulation, or lose your eternal life in the lake of fire, yes, by all means, flee to a place of safety as soon as possible.
The Church of God is commissioned, commanded by God, to deliver the Ezekiel warning to all Israel. That is our job! We are the Ezekiel watchman. No one in the Church of God, minister or lay member, is exempt from that responsibility. We can contribute with tithes and offerings. Those without income can spend extra time praying for God's work of preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the public (Luke 2:37, Acts 6:4) and by encouraging others in the Church to support God's work by speaking of God's work in conversation (Proverbs 27:17, Malachi 3:16-17). Pastors can contribute by teaching their congregation the importance of supporting the preaching of the gospel and Ezekiel warning to the public.
Where in the Bible is that command, that commission, that makes all of us in the Church of God collectively the Ezekiel watchman for Israel?
Put these scriptures together: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). "Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, 'Surely we did not know this,' does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds" (Proverbs 24:11-12). "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:17-18).
Now, combine the above scriptures with the fact that we know what is coming and why. We know the great tribulation is coming upon "Jacob" (Jeremiah 30:7). We know who "Jacob" is (Genesis 48:1-16). We know we are near the end of 6,000 years of the age of man, so the tribulation will come soon (2 Peter 3:8, Exodus 20:9-10, Daniel 12:4). And we know from many scriptures and from watching what is happening around us what Israel's sins are for which they will be punished and what they need to repent of.
Therefore, we know everything that we need to know in order to know that Israel needs a warning and what that warning should say.
We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to do unto others as we would want them to do to us. Would you want to be warned if you were headed for disaster and didn't know it? If you are normal, yes you would. If there was a hazard in the road ahead that you couldn't see at night, you would appreciate it if some one put out a flare. If the building you were in was on fire and you didn't know, you would want someone to warn you.
Are our nations stumbling to the slaughter? Yes they are, and we know it. Therefore God commands us to try to hold them back, and the only way we can do that is to warn them.
It is the combination of the scriptures from God commanding us to give a warning to those who need a warning, motivated by love, with the knowledge we have about what is coming, that together constitute a command by God to warn. It is the Church of God and its members who have that knowledge.
But what if God is angry with the Church? Does that mean we should not try to do a powerful work of warning? Does that disqualify us? Are we exempt from that duty and job if God is angry with us for our sins?
"If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses" (Ecclesiastes 10:4). In such a case, we are NOT to "leave our post" - we cannot walk away from our responsibility just because we have faults. That would only make things worse.
If we don't warn? God makes it clear, if we do not warn, the blood of the people will be on our heads. That applies to each of us individually. If I do all I can to support the warning, but you don't, I will not be guilty but you will be guilty of the blood of the people.
How many should we warn before we quit? Two percent of the population? Ten percent? 50%? 90%?
Every soul is precious to God. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). God wants all to come to repentance, and giving every person a warning before the punishment comes is a first step to bring them to repentance because it will help them accept responsibility when they know they were warned but ignored the warning. As long as we are able to do a work, we are never to quit the effort to warn the people of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand till everyone in those countries has heard a strong warning, or at least may have heard it as far as we know. If we only warn some of the people, then quit and say, "that's enough, I did my part, I won't do anymore", the blood of those we did not warn will be on our heads.
How many have we warned? Probably not even two percent have heard our warning. There is a tremendous work left to do. We have an enormous responsibility on our shoulders.
Jonah tried to run from his responsibility, but God corrected him. God was merciful not only to Nineveh but to Jonah by giving him strong correction, for if God had allowed Jonah to run away from his job and not do it, the blood of 120,000 Ninevites would have been on his head.
We cannot deliver a warning from the place of safety.
Those who want to go to a place of safety very soon, before we have warned about 400 million people, apparently have little love for their neighbors, or they think God has little love for Israel. They will bear their guilt.
Now, perhaps by some means God will intervene and empower us and give us an open door to finish preaching the warning to the hundreds of millions in our nations who have not heard it yet, even in a very short span of time, a few weeks or a few months. If God miraculously intervenes to give us that open door, and we go through it and really finish the work (not just say it is finished), then fine, it may be time to flee. Or, perhaps we will not flee yet. I do not know how we will know it is time to flee after we warn everyone. But we should not be thinking about fleeing while the majority in this country and other nations of Israel have not yet heard the warning.
Learn a lesson from the book of Jeremiah. Urijah warned the king and people of Judah, giving the same message Jeremiah spoke, but when he was threatened with death, he was afraid and fled to Egypt. But the king of Judah sent men and brought him back from Egypt and killed him. But Jeremiah did not flee, and God protected him (Jeremiah 26:20-24).
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it" (Mark 8:35).
Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:
CHAPTER 3 - THE EZEKIEL WARNING
CHAPTER 4 - WHY PREACH THE GOSPEL?