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The Flood of New Orleans

By Pastor Hal Mayer

The Flood of New Orleans [1]

This is Pastor Hal Mayer, bringing you another vital message to help you understand the times in which we live, so you can prepare for the coming of Jesus.

Dear Friends, as you read the story and saw the horrible pictures of the terrible destruction in and around New Orleans and cities to the East, no doubt your heart was torn with sympathy for the people who lost everything and were essentially reduced nearly to animals fending for survival. The graphic scenes and descriptions greatly impressed us all with the enormous difficulties faced by those who weathered Hurricane Katrina’s fury. Even if you don’t live in the United States, you may well have felt the pain of those who struggled with the disaster.

But there is much more to this Hurricane and its aftermath than the news will ever tell you. The secular journalists studiously avoided some of the most obvious lessons and merely focused on the physical and temporal implications. You have to go to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy to understand its prophetic significance. We are living in a serious time in earth’s history and it seems that no sooner does one nation get over the brunt of one disaster and start cleaning up, and then there is another major disaster somewhere else.

But before we begin our study, let us pray. Father in Heaven, we know that you are a good God that loves us all, and all those that go through terrible disasters. You are suffering with suffering humanity. I pray that you will help us see how these things fit into the grand scheme of the ages and the Great Controversy. I pray that you will help us see the warning that is embedded in the disaster that devastated the wicked city of New Orleans. And may we take heed, is my prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Turn with me in your bibles to the book of Isaiah, chapter 28, verse 2. “Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.”

There is hardly a better description of what happened to New Orleans than this Bible verse. The hand of God was outstretched against the cities of the plain along the Gulf of Mexico. It was a destroying storm that came upon those cities. And, as a “flood of mighty waters overflowing” the levies, 80% of New Orleans was flooded, and ALL the inhabitants of that city of half a million people were cast out. The largest part of the city will have to be cast down, leveled and cleared before it can be rebuilt.

New Orleans was built below sea level and is sinking slowly. There is a lake to the North called Lake Pontchartrain which is connected to the Mississippi River through a canal that goes through the city. It was this lake to the north that was the source of most the flooding in the aftermath of the storm.

Now let us read Jeremiah 47:2 “Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.

Some people were without food and water for up to five days after the flood. As people became more and more desperate there was nothing short of crying and howling. The look of agony on their faces was revealing. The voices of stranded people who had been on roof tops and in the stinking sports stadium for days were voices of desperation. “We need water, we need food, we’re desperate.” But food and water was very slow in coming. The government had great difficulty organizing the rescue and relief efforts. Perhaps what people needed most of all was love and someone to care about them. The greatest outrages were over the way in which the government attended to the disaster in what appeared to be a very uncaring way. Even President Bush was criticized for not caring. He didn’t even come to see the disaster under several days after it was in process. But my friends, we cannot depend on the arm of flesh. Depending on the government is never a good idea.

New Orleans was a wicked city where immorality was rife. It is one of the sinful cities of the world with its gambling casinos, brothels, nightlife and its famous Mardi Gras. Next to Las Vegas, it was perhaps the most decadent, much like Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, the very week immediately following the Hurricane, the city was to host the annual six-day homosexual party named “Southern Decadence” which is the third largest annual gay event in the nation, drawing over 120,000 people.

Let me read to you from the website advertising the homosexual event. “Southern Decadence is… a gayer version of Mardi Gras, although Mardi Gras is pretty gay itself… It’s not an event for the whole family. And it’s definitely not for the easily shocked or faint of liver… Southern Decadence may be most famous (or infamous) for the displays of naked flesh which characterize the event… public displays of sexuality are pretty much everywhere you look… You might want to leave your more prudish friends and family at home.”

“Southern Decadence” is a very fitting name for an event that is as decadent perhaps as Sodom. Obviously New Orleans was a homosexual Mecca. It is also fabled for its Mardi Gras celebrations, casinos, nightlife, immorality and its general public celebration of sin. And just in time for this terrible event, Hurricane Katrina swept through the region and literally opened the flood gates from the North so that this event and many others had to be canceled.

My friends, no doubt the wickedness of this city cries out before God while angels watched in horror as men and women degraded themselves in the streets and in plain sight. Now the world watched in horror as its people were degraded by the squalid and putrefying conditions as a result of Katrina and the flood. What a stark symbol of the spiritual condition of the many of the people of that doomed city.

The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that our cities will be destroyed. From Evangelism page 27 I read, “I am bidden to declare the message that cities full of transgression, and sinful in the extreme, will be destroyed by earthquakes, by fire, by flood. All the world will be warned that there is a God who will display His authority as God. His unseen agencies will cause destruction, devastation, and death. All the accumulated riches will be as nothingness. . . .”

It is amazing how that everyone, rich and poor were essentially reduced to the same level – a few measly belongings. In a disaster that is the way it is. It is a great lesson for the rich and poor to learn. We are all of the same flesh and suffer the same end. In fact, we all end up in the same earth that becomes our grave, rotting and decaying like everyone else.

I will continue reading. “The Lord will not suddenly cast off all transgressors or destroy entire nations; but He will punish cities and places where men have given themselves up to the possession of Satanic agencies. Strictly will the cities of the nations be dealt with, and yet they will not be visited in the extreme of God’s indignation, because some souls will yet break away from the delusions of the enemy, and will repent and be converted, while the mass will be treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath.”

So New Orleans was visited in mercy! Imagine that! The city, given up to the possession of satanic agencies was measured judgment in mercy. God was merciful in giving the occupants time to leave the city and most of them did, or there would have been many more deaths. But the devastation and destruction by flood fully emptied the city of its inhabitants, killed quite a number of people and ended one long chain of immoral events after another for a long time to come. Even the rats and other vermin that polluted the city couldn’t stand to live there any more and left. God dealt strictly with New Orleans, but He gave the people enough warning to get out. Oh I pray that there are some souls that will break away from the delusions of the enemy that lived there or that visited there.

It will be years before the city can return to its former condition. Yet man will try to rebuild this great public defiance of the God of heaven. But New Orleans is located in what is known as “Hurricane Alley.” As disasters get worse, expect to see more devastating hurricanes and greater loss of life.

Here is another statement that comes from the book Last Day Events pages 114 and 115. Speaking of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 Ellen White comments, “The judgments that have already come are a warning, but not the finishing, of the punishment that will come on wicked cities. . . .”

New Orleans was devastated by the waters of the flood especially, and there was a lot of other damage from the storm. Biloxi and Gulfport were almost totally wiped from the map. But this is only the beginning. Other cities will also be destroyed according to prophecy. And if New Orleans and these other cities are rebuilt and return to their former decadence, God’s judgments will likely be more severe next time.

But let us think for a few minutes about the what happened in New Orleans. At first the people of New Orleans were relieved that the category four hurricane was not a direct hit on their city. The highest category is five. the category system is based on wind speed as an indicator of the power of the storm. Katrina had been a category five hurricane the day before it hit, but had dropped to a category four. It had traveled a little to the east and had destroyed some smaller cities, but New Orleans, though damaged some was still standing and appeared as though it would recover quickly.

The waters in Lake Pontchartrain were higher than normal because of all the water from the storm and the storm surge. Water eventually began to overflow the levies protecting New Orleans. But that didn’t worry officials too much, because the pumps in place to remove the water were still working. But the overflowing water eroded the levies and eventually four sections of them gave way and water poured into the city suddenly, threatening the lives of thousands who had decided to stay in the city and ride out the storm. Most of them were in the poorest neighborhoods and could not have left the city if they wanted to because they were dependent on public transportation. They could only go to the shelters provided in the Superdome sports complex, the Convention Center and other places on higher ground, on buses provided by the city.

But many did not heed the warnings before the storm to leave the city or seek higher ground. Perhaps they felt they were safe and protected by the levies. But once the levies broke, their lives were in immediate danger and they headed for their roof tops and attics. As water spread all over the city many people lost their lives as they drowned in the rising waters. Bodies began to float around the city in the water. In the chaos, many elderly nursing home patients drowned because they had no place to go and they were abandoned by the nursing home staff. The city had not provided transportation to shelters for them. The death count is somewhere around 800 people.

The electricity to most of the city had been cut off and this meant that hospitals and other critical functions and services would soon run out of fuel for their generators and more lives would be in danger. The main hospital in New Orleans, Charity Hospital had its main floor flooded and the staff and patients moved upstairs. The Emergency room was also moved to the 2nd floor. But soon the generators stopped and critically ill patients, particularly those on ventilators had to be made to breath manually with airbags by hospital staff for several days in order to keep them alive. Some patients died while in this condition or while being evacuated a few days later. Dead bodies were stacked in body bags in the stairwells, reported Time Magazine. The staff also began to run out of supplies and medicines. The situation was becoming desperate. Patients were moved to the parking deck. Two of them died while waiting to be evacuated. Time Magazine said, “Caregivers wept as they begged for help that did not come. ‘They’d been keeping these patients alive for a week with very little in terms of resources…’” Other hospitals had similar problems. USA Today reported that on Sept. 16, 2005 that critically ill or dying patients were left to last for evacuation, making their difficulties even worse.

Conditions throughout the city deteriorated rapidly. Looters began to break into stores and steal everything. It wasn’t just food and water they were after. Snipers and gangs began to roam through the wreckage taking aim a rescue workers and hospital staff. The Bus station, converted to a jail began to fill up with arrested thugs in the crime spree that surfaced in the aftermath. New Orleans was full of crime, and the momentum was so great, that even when all that was left was refugees, the crime continued against those that had come to do the search and rescue. As the water deepened, some paramedics were left stranded in the city by police officers who carjacked their vehicles in their desperation to escape the flood. One man shot and killed his own sister in an argument over a bag of ice. “There’s something really ugly going on here, something wrong at a deeper level,” said a congressional aide that Time quoted.

Time magazine reported that “As the temperature rose, the whole city was poached in a vile stew of melted landfill, chemicals, corpses, gasoline, snakes, canal rats; many could not escape their flooded homes without help. Among those who could, only a final act of desperation would drive them into the streets, where the caramel waters stank of sewage and glittered with the gaudy swirls of oil spills.”

This amazing description reveals the kind of difficulties people will face when their lives are suddenly threatened and endangered as disaster is meted out upon them in mass. For all the proud glitter and glory of New Orleans, the city was reduced to a cesspool of stinking, rotting corpses floating around in raw sewage.

Time continued, “For the first time ever, a major U.S. city was simply taken offline, closed down. Food and water and power and phones were gone; authority was all but absent. Most of the people left to cope were the least equipped… Helicopters airlifted the sick from around the city to the airport, converted into a field hospital where patients were being pushed around on luggage carts and triaged for evacuation.” These statements are amazing. It is like a war zone all along the Gulf coast.

The Louisiana Superdome quickly deteriorated. The large sports complex had been damaged in the storm and thousands of people were sweltering in the 105 degree heat (Fahrenheit). They had no food and limited supplies of water for several days. The toilets overflowed as the New Orleans sewer system was clogged. Some even died there. All the resources of the Federal Emergency Management Authority and the National Guard could not get supplies and medicines to them fast enough. They were busy trying to find survivors and prevent further deaths.

The city of Houston opened its Astrodome (another sports complex) to the refugees. At least Houston had electricity, air conditioning, food, water, working showers and toilets and other necessities. Hundreds of busses loaded up refugees in New Orleans and drove them to Houston.

During the search and rescue conditions became horrible. Raw sewage floated around the city streets in the water causing some to contract disease and even die. The unsanitary conditions were increased by the sweltering heat. The fetid atmosphere was almost unbearable for people clinging to what little they still had of their lives before the storm.

The amazing thing is that the city had plenty of warning. Not only did they know the hurricane was coming, but they had known that something like a flood could happen for many years. Let me read it to you from Time Magazine. “Katrina was in the cards, forewarned, foreseen and yet still dismissed until it was too late.” Do you think this is what is happening to many the people of this world spiritually? What about God’s people? Are they going to wait until it is too late before they get ready?

Imagine the tragedy if you knew that disaster was coming but you failed to prepare for it. Imagine the anguish if you knew that the coming disaster was one from which you could not recover if you failed to escape. The people of New Orleans for the most part escaped and have an opportunity to rebuild their lives, but the disaster that is coming at the close of probation is one from which those who are lost will not be able to recover. The destruction of New Orleans is a powerful warning to God’s people. Don’t you think we should take heed and prepare for the coming crisis and the close of probation?

“All the warnings of Christ regarding the events that will occur near the close of this earth’s history are now being fulfilled in our large cities,” wrote Ellen White in 1907. Should we not take heed? She continued, “God is permitting these things to be brought to light that he who runs may read. The city of San Francisco is a sample of what the whole world is becoming. The wicked bribery, the misappropriation of means, the fraudulent transactions among men who have power to release the guilty and condemn the innocent—all this iniquity is filling other large cities of the earth and is making the world as it was in the days that were before the Flood.—Letter 230, 1907. That is found in Last Day Events, page, 115. It is interesting that New Orleans was well known for its corrupt government.

The flood in New Orleans was often referred to as being of “biblical proportions.” While that is a highly inaccurate statement, the Bible flood certainly has lessons for us. Listen to the words of Christ in Matt. 24:38 and 39. “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.”

The people in the time of Noah had 120 years of warning. But they failed to enter the ark. Could it be that there will be those among God’s people who will have had plenty of warning concerning the end-time close of probation, but fail to prepare? Both government and people had failed to prepare for the disaster. Will you and I fail to prepare for the coming spiritual disaster.

Luke 17:26 and 27 says, “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”

And 2 Peter 2:5 says, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” God brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly in New Orleans, and though mingled in a large dose of mercy, it nevertheless reminds us of the great flood of the Bible.

Listen to this statement from Adventist Home page 522. “Many are eagerly participating in worldly, demoralizing amusements which God’s word forbids. Thus they sever their connection with God and rank themselves with the pleasure lovers of the world. The sins that destroyed the antediluvians and the cities of the plain exist today—not merely in heathen lands, not only among popular professors of Christianity, but with some who profess to be looking for the coming of the Son of man. If God should present these sins before you as they appear in His sight, you would be filled with shame and terror.”

This statement speaks to us – God’s people. We need to take heed to the counsel of God and get our lives right with Him, lest we suffer a similar fate.

Let us review for a few minutes the conditions before the flood in Noah’s day. Here are a few statements from inspiration concerning the antediluvian world. Let us see if indeed we are living in such a time as they were. Perhaps we should also see if New Orleans was living much like they were.

Genesis 6:5 says, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Could that be true of our world for the most part? As in the days of Noah, there are some who truly loved God, but for the most part, even those who are popularly called Christians are not serious about their souls, but are pursuing selfishness, often with abandon.

Genesis 6:11 says, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Is our world full of violence? Even in moments of severe crisis, when the circumstances call for sympathy, self-sacrifice and compassion, there is violence, murder, theft, rape and other violent crimes.

Perhaps the key problem that leads to great wickedness in our world today as well as in the days of Noah is that the “sons of God,” see the “daughters of men,” Genesis 6:2, that they are fair; and they take them wives of all which they choose. Jesus himself mentioned the “marrying and giving in marriage” before the flood as a sign of the wickedness of the last days. Anything that undermines the stability of the family is part of this problem. In this age of rampant divorce, dysfunctional families abound creating less and less regard for morality.

The family is the most basic unit of society and is of great influence. If we are not careful whom we marry, we will be led into sin and rebellion to God. So often, even among God’s people, there isn’t enough concern about the person that is to be our life partner. Perhaps we even look at marriage as a temporary arrangement, that can be entered and exited at will. Satan exalts when he gets young men and women to marry someone that is not godly. He knows that if he can get us to excuse ourselves on this point, he will gain much. The family was designed to protect against immorality, but today, it is little barrier at all.

In the days of Noah, the family was under assault. Likewise today, most people have no idea how much wickedness this world suffers from the result of immorality and it’s resultant dysfunctional families. Sexual impurity and deviation was one of the sins of the antediluvian world. Wouldn’t you say that it is especially one of the main sins of our day? New Orleans was often an open and public display of the sins of sexuality. It was a place known and celebrated for this wickedness. Visiting New Orleans with a flood would not have been much different than what happened to the world of Noah. Perhaps the only major difference is that the door of probation is still open.

Whether God in judgment or Satan in malice brought this flood on New Orleans doesn’t really matter. Satan can do nothing except he has permission from God. God permits him to exercise his destructive power at times. Listen to this statement from the book Great Controversy, page 614. “The same destructive power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be exercised by evil angels when He permits. There are forces now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread desolation everywhere.” So in permitting this amazing desolation of New Orleans, God must have a purpose behind it.

Notice that the people of New Orleans escaped with little else than their lives. They were reduced to a blanket perhaps, some food and water and a few personal effects in their cars. Others only escaped with a shopping cart or a little bundle of things to help them survive. Do you think some of them might begin to think that they need to get their lives right with God? I certainly hope so.

When sin is so concentrated, people encourage one another in open defiance to the God of heaven. As they work around it and see it often, it no longer impresses them with its sinfulness and since there is no judgment meted out to them, they are emboldened in it. And half a million very emboldened sinners can really cause a lot of wickedness. Not all the citizens of New Orleans were very emboldened sinners, but how many of them were making efforts to resist the wickedness? It is very difficult to do when you are used to it and don’t see it for what it really is. The city needed a wake up call. Not to wake up to the poor planning and ineptitude of their government leaders. But to wake up to their spiritual condition.

Now think about this. All the people of New Orleans are scattered all over the nation. Many of them will never return to New Orleans. When wickedness becomes too concentrated, as it no doubt was in New Orleans, God knows how to scatter them so that the collective power of sin and the mutual encouragement of those involved in it is broken up. People would plan conventions and come to New Orleans just so that they could be around all the sin and participate in it. Now they are prevented from having their conventions, their Mardi Gras, and their Southern Decadence. How amazing! God did a similar thing at the tower of Babel. It will take a long time for the city of New Orleans to rebuild its sinfulness. In fact, much of the city must be destroyed first by bulldozers. Apparently, God put the people of New Orleans in a position to have to level much of their own city. Perhaps God will see to it that rebuilding it is not an easy task. It will certainly be expensive, to the tune of billions upon billions of U.S. dollars.

The question in my mind is whether or not the people of New Orleans will hear the message. Perhaps in scattering them, God will lead the open-in-heart to connect with faithful souls who will teach them the truth so that they can be saved in the end. The flood of New Orleans and the destruction of other wicked cities was a loud warning with a lot of symbolic irony. For example, in Gulfport Mississippi, just a few days after Katrina there was to open the brand new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Even the name “Hard Rock” suggests worldliness and rebellion to God. But Katrina prevented opening this palace of sin and destroyed or damaged all the others that were already there. Some casinos were on barges and were thrown up on land. Some were on land and sustained substantial damage. Though the images of the destruction of these cities is impressive, God’s purpose, no doubt is to prevent people from planning conventions there, or other idolatrous events so that no one can come there for a long, long time to “rise up and play” with their idols. But the warning is clear. If it is not heeded, chances are that next time the destruction and loss of life will be even more severe.

Listen to this statement about the time of Noah from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 90 and 91. “God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for themselves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifying their dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They sought only to gratify the desires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness. Not desiring to retain God in their knowledge, they soon came to deny His existence. They adored nature in place of the God of nature. They glorified human genius, worshiped the works of their own hands, and taught their children to bow down to graven images.”

When men rebel against God, they glorify themselves and openly and daringly sin against God. They compete with each other reveling in sin and scenes of pleasure and wickedness. New Orleans was a symbol of this public sin. It was nicknamed the “Big Easy.” And no wonder. It was easy to sin there. It was easy to find those that would sin with you there. It was easy to drink alcohol there. It was easy to carouse there. It was easy to find sex partners there. It was easy to listen to wild music there. It was easy to find witchcraft, voodoo and other forms of devil worship there. It was truly the “Big Easy.”

But New Orleans is not the only place where this happens. I imagine you can think of many places in this world that are just as bad. New Orleans had a reputation for sin because it was concentrated there. But so does Las Vegas. It is even nicknamed “sin city.” But there are many other Sodoms and Gomorrahs around the world today. Wherever sin is concentrated, society is degraded to the lowest level. Poverty and crime are widespread, even in the midst of luxury and opulence. Corruption and abuse are rife. These things cry out to God.

Here is another statement from page 91 of Patriarchs and Prophets. “Men put God out of their knowledge and worshiped the creatures of their own imagination; and as the result, they became more and more debased… It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed. Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower.”

Going to places were sin is concentrated, we will only hurt our spiritual life. No wonder God tells us to raise our children in the country and away from the city. For cities are where sin is concentrated. Cities are were you often go for pleasure such as concerts, theaters, sporting events and other amusements.

Before the flood “men exulted in their deeds of violence. They delighted in destroying the life of animals; and the use of flesh for food rendered them still more cruel and bloodthirsty, until they came to regard human life with astonishing indifference.” That’s Patriarchs and Prophets, page 91. Today, we have the same problem. There is little regard for human life, particularly in large cities. Violence is so prevalent that some will kill over something as small as a bag of ice. What a tragedy! We are reliving the antediluvian world.

Here is another statement from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 91 “In the green fields and under the shadow of the goodly trees they set up the altars of their idols. Extensive groves, that retained their foliage throughout the year, were dedicated to the worship of false gods. With these groves were connected beautiful gardens, their long, winding avenues overhung with fruit-bearing trees of all descriptions, adorned with statuary, and furnished with all that could delight the senses or minister to the voluptuous desires of the people, and thus allure them to participate in the idolatrous worship.”

Are there places set up today that are dedicated to modern forms of idolatry like the groves of false gods? New Orleans was certainly one of them. It happened that New Orleans was one of the centers of voodoo worship in the United States. No doubt there are many other forms of satanic worship as well that go way beyond the entertainment industry.

And now from page 92 of Patriarchs and Prophets we read the following. “Amid the prevailing corruption, Methuselah, Noah, and many others labored to keep alive the knowledge of the true God and to stay the tide of moral evil. A hundred and twenty years before the Flood, the Lord by a holy angel declared to Noah His purpose, and directed him to build an ark. While building the ark he was to preach that God would bring a flood of water upon the earth to destroy the wicked. Those who would believe the message, and would prepare for that event by repentance and reformation, should find pardon and be saved. Enoch had repeated to his children what God had shown him in regard to the Flood, and Methuselah and his sons, who lived to hear the preaching of Noah, assisted in building the ark.”

Again reading from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 95. “God gave Noah the exact dimensions of the ark and explicit directions in regard to its construction in every particular. Human wisdom could not have devised a structure of so great strength and durability. God was the designer, and Noah the master builder.”

Do you think we need to build another ark today? In a spiritual sense we are to build the ark again. We are to show people how to live so that they will be prepared for the crisis that is coming upon the world. God has given us specific directions just like He gave Noah. And He has been very merciful in giving us the Spirit of Prophecy to put His directions to the remnant in modern language and in more detail. If we ignore His counsel, we will lose our safety net. But not only us, there will be many others who will be lost also by our neglect of their spiritual wellbeing. Our homes are to be a modern ark. Our schools and churches are to be a modern ark. Sadly even these are not what they should be and are compromised with worldliness. This frustrates God’s plan to use them as a place of refuge for people seeking the truth.

I will read from Patriarchs and Prophets page 91 again. “If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower. The worshipers of false gods clothed their deities with human attributes and passions, and thus their standard of character was degraded to the likeness of sinful humanity. They were defiled in consequence.” The slowly sinking city of New Orleans is a fitting example of the effect of sin on the mind as it sinks lower and lower in moral worth as it becomes more and more familiar and accustomed to sin.

Do people worship false gods today? Of course they do. The gods of entertainment, merchandise, amusement, sensuality, and addiction control them. We have the privilege to warn them of their danger. Many will not hear us, but some will. Some are tired of their sins, but don’t know how to get out of them. Some are weary of serving Satan the slave driver. They want out of his clutches. Some have so much pain from their sins that they long for freedom. Shouldn’t we provide them an ark of refuge? Jesus offers them forgiveness and a place in His kingdom. This catastrophe in New Orleans is actually a blessing. It gives every one the opportunity to think about the deeper spiritual issues in their lives.

But listen now to another statement concerning where we should live. It is an incredibly prophetic statement. It is from The Review and Herald, July 5, 1906 “Out of the cities; out of the cities!”—this is the message the Lord has been giving me. The earthquakes will come; the floods will come; and we are not to establish ourselves in the wicked cities, where the enemy is served in every way, and where God is so often forgotten. The Lord desires that we shall have clear spiritual eyesight… We must make wise plans to warn the cities, and at the same time live where we can shield our children and ourselves from the contaminating and demoralizing influences so prevalent in these places.”

New Orleans strides the mighty Mississippi River which is a main shipping artery into and out of the Midwest. Katrina destroyed or damaged many of the shipping ports in and around the region. But the “deep south,” as it is often referred to, has a checkered past. Known for its slavery in early America up until the civil war, the deep south has heaped one sin upon another over the years until its cup is nearly full. New Orleans was a center of corruption that sported devil music, sensuality, gambling, and all manner of vices openly and conspicuously.

Hurricane Katrina took out everything in New Orleans; lights, air conditioning, transportation, communications, sanitation, health care and even common decency. Thousands struggled to survive and remain as civilized as possible under the circumstances. But in the absence of both and internal and external restraining authority, violence broke out. Looters stole what was left in stores, rapists took advantage of helpless women, gangs attacked hospitals looking for drugs, Gunmen fired at helicopters and rescue personnel, and the city descended into a cesspool of chaos. Katrina revealed how fragile our vaunted high tech, convenience minded, modern, western society really is. We have seen a glimpse of what will happen in the future as God’s judgments and Satan’s destruction are rained down on the wicked cities of our day. Don’t expect things to be easy. Don’t expect that your way of life will not be disturbed by something that happens in cities far away from where you live. It is certainly in your best interests to not be dependent on technology, energy, comfort and convenience that characterizes our lives.

As you look at the pictures of the empty and naked New Orleans, think about the coming desolation of the whole earth of which this is a warning. Imagine thousands of cities looking like this, perhaps all at the same time. Imagine the death and destruction that will come on those that refuse to come into harmony with God’s ten rules of living. Do you want to be with them or do you want to avoid the catastrophe? I want to avoid it.

But the prevailing opinions today are just like they were in the days of Noah. Peace and safety. Don’t worry. Nothing is going to happen. Here is a statement from Maranatha, page 260. “Like the dwellers in the vale of Siddim, the people are dreaming of prosperity and peace. “Escape for thy life,” is the warning from the angels of God; but other voices are heard saying, “Be not excited; there is no cause for alarm.” The multitudes cry, “Peace and safety,” while Heaven declares that swift destruction is about to come upon the transgressor. On the night prior to their destruction, the cities of the plain rioted in pleasure and derided the fears and warnings of the messenger of God; but those scoffers perished in the flames; that very night the door of mercy was forever closed to the wicked, careless inhabitants of Sodom. God will not always be mocked; He will not long be trifled with. “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9. The great mass of the world will reject God’s mercy, and will be overwhelmed in swift and irretrievable ruin. But those who heed the warning shall dwell “in the secret place of the most High,” and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” His truth shall be their shield and buckler.” {Mar 260.3}

My friends, I am reminded of the animals and birds that came into the Ark two by two and seven by seven. They had more spiritual eyesight than the people they passed on the way in. They were a sign that the end was near and that the door of probation was about to close. The animals are like these events. In a spiritual sense the animals and birds are going into the Ark again. Probation is about to close. Time is almost up. Shouldn’t we enter into the Ark of safety with them?

As you think about New Orleans, think about the love of Christ in warning the people and giving them opportunity to escape. God has given us the warning too, that we may escape the spiritual disaster that is coming upon the world. Should we not heed it and prepare our lives for Jesus. Jesus loves the lost and the wicked. He is pleading with them. He sends warnings and judgments so that they may turn from their wicked ways. But He also loves His church and His remnant people. Shouldn’t we consider the destruction of New Orleans as a warning to us too? Perhaps we are too asleep and complacent in our own sins. Perhaps we ought to take a spiritual bulldozer to the sins in our own hearts. Or perhaps we should ask God to bring a spiritual flood of His righteousness and wash them all away.

Do we need to build another ark today? Do we need to give the warning? Is the destruction of the “Big Easy” a lesson about what will come upon the whole world if it will not repent? So often the people think of natural disasters as if they are just something in the normal course of life. They do not see them in their true bearings. They do not repent. They do not turn their lives to God. But in their blindness and ignorance they rebuild on the very spot that God has destroyed. Again in defiance, they rebuild their city of sin. What a tragedy! They can’t let go of the sin, or their wicked city. It is amazing isn’t it?

My friends, I pray that you will listen to the warnings of God’s Spirit. I pray that you will read more clearly the messages God sends us in the events that are taking this world unawares. I pray that you too will do what is necessary to get yourself in a position to be free of the entanglements of this world so that you can live for Christ in all things.

Let us pray together. Dear Father in Heaven. Thank you for the lessons we can learn from the destruction of New Orleans and from the days of Noah. Please help us to live in such a way that when disaster strikes, we will survive it by your power and grace. Teach us how to live. Teach us how to have characters that will reflect the lovely Jesus and be a strength to others who are weak, and lead them to the kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.


For those of you receiving the CD version of this message, the following is a current events update of interest to those that love the appearing of Jesus Christ and are watching the fulfilling prophecies. This part of the program is only available on CD and on our website. We can see the signs of the times telling us that we are nearing the world’s great crisis. May the Lord find us faithful.

Our first item this month also involves hurricane Katrina and America’s Enemies

Hurricane Katrina affected more than just the city of New Orleans and the United States’ economy. I ran across an article on WorldNetDaily concerning the enemies of the U.S. who would like to do similar damage to American cities. I’m going to read almost the whole of two articles concerning the poorly coordinated U.S. government response and the message it sent to jihadists and other avowed enemies.

The title of the first article is: “Is this readiness?”

“Given that Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh has said more than once in recent years that New Orleans was the No. 1 natural catastrophic planning scenario, the disaster left in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has some national security experts concerned about government’s ability to handle future terrorist attacks on major American cities.

“Some intelligence analysts say the Department of Defense has been slow to respond given [that] weather forecasters gave them 48 hours warning.

“‘The terrorists will not give us a 48-hour warning on a nuclear strike,’ said one such source…

“The disaster in New Orleans reveals the following shortcomings in disaster preparedness for urban areas, according to experts who have examined the issue:

• The U.S. is incapable of evacuating more than 50 percent of even a medium-size city with 48 hours notice. Evacuation plans do not take into consideration those who cannot leave because of lack of transportation, lack of money or other issues. Some are asking why school buses and other public transportation was not used to evacuate the city.

• The “shelters” are nothing more than disasters waiting to happen. Just 12 hours after the power went out at the Superdome, the people inside were on the verge of rioting. Toilets went unflushed for days. The roof had gaping holes in it. There was no air conditioning. People were permitted to go outside for fresh air. But, the experts ask, what would happen if fresh air was not an option? There was no satellite system for public information. There were problems even with the public address system. No chemical or portable toilets were brought in.

• Today the Army Corps of Engineers is trying to figure out how and why the costly levy system was breached – even though FEMA has said New Orleans has been the No. 1 priority for disaster readiness for years.

• Serious vulnerabilities in the transportation system were exposed. Major arteries in and out of New Orleans are down because of problems with bridges and tunnels. The city is largely cutoff from the rest of the country. New Orleans is hardly alone as a major city reliant on bridges and tunnels. Think of New York, Boston and San Francisco. Better use of boats needs to be considered in future rescue efforts.

• Supplies need to be pre-positioned for emergencies – something that was clearly not considered in New Orleans.

“‘Four years after 9/11, we still have serious communications, readiness and planning issues,’ said one military preparedness expert.”

Now, the second article is called “Katrina and U.S. Security. America’s weakness exposed to enemies.”

“America’s enemies are smiling today. They are watching the chaos in New Orleans with assurance that the U.S. is unprepared for even a single disaster in one medium-sized American city.

“The U.S. is not alone in waking up to the real-life nightmare on a large part of its southern coastline and to the military significance of Hurricane Katrina’s “Shock and Awe” assault. U.S. foes and rivals, from jihadi terrorists to China, North Korea, even Venezuela and other enemies and potential enemies are closely watching the New Orleans disaster, assessing every aspect of what seems to be not only the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, but also a security calamity that will have a long-lasting impact on U.S. global-strategic roles.

“A British analyst… warned major intelligence organizations –[that] Chinese, North Koreans, Russians and others — are meticulously collecting every bit of information related to the lack of preparedness, pitiable problem-solving mechanisms and the anarchy and the chaos evolving around the destruction of a U.S. urban center.

“To those closely watching the demise of… New Orleans, it is a clear and loud indication the U.S. would have horrendous difficulties in coping with a strategic strike. A nuclear disaster in a U.S. urban center would have unimaginable consequences, if, in its aftermath, the New Orleans relief model is repeated.

“They say it is incomprehensible how ill-prepared for this situation are the Homeland Security apparatus, the National Guard and other organizations.

“Immediately after 9/11, a disaster confined to a few blocks in an otherwise fully operational city and state, intelligence analysts expressed predictive warnings of future dangers. Earlier this year Washington, D.C., was put on hold with thousands of people running aimlessly in the streets as a single engine private aircraft mistakenly penetrated protected airspace. The alarm sounded by the police revealed how poorly the nation’s capital is protected, basically exposed with no emergency and readiness response teams at hand to instruct the public how to behave in certain situations. What would have been the right reaction on 9/11, namely to run out of the buildings, could have resulted in a catastrophe in D.C., had the aircraft been spraying biological or chemical substances…

“When North Korea brags it will soon have the capability to target the U.S. with long-range ballistic missiles, when the threat of a nuclear terror attack could be just a matter of time, teams of civilian and military planners should immediately gather around a brand new drawing board and come up with a whole new strategy on how to confront, not only a hurricane, but the frightening possibility of a WMD attack on several U.S. urban centers in one blow.

“Hurricane Katrina is not only the cause for a horrendous human tragedy, it is also an alarm bell reverberating from the shores of the Gulf Coast to the bunkers of America’s sworn enemies.”

These articles put an additional element into the problem with Katrina. The problems in New Orleans perhaps encourage the enemies of the U.S. to proceed with plans to wreak havoc on the nation. Stay tuned. Prophecy concerning the destruction of the large wicked cities of this world is about to be fulfilled, in perhaps unimaginable and horrific ways with death and destruction everywhere.

The next item concerns Russia and religious liberty.

The Russian Orthodox church has begun a disinformation campaign to squeeze out other churches. The Orthodox Church is the official religion of Russia and therefore is threatened by any other church that attempts to win converts away from her. In what appears to be a prelude to much greater persecution, the Russian government under the urging of the church, has been airing a year-long series of television documentaries aimed at what it calls “crazed members of heretical sects,” reported World Magazine. The documentaries are far from the truth. I’ll read a little from the report.

“When graduate student Dima Belozyorov took a late-night study break from his Russian literature assignment and turned on the television in his Krasnodar apartment, he was aghast to see a documentary disparaging evangelicals. ‘The program reported [that] the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Krasnodar was printing Satanic Bibles and using human blood for ink,’ he told World. ‘They also alleged that the church commits a dozen ritual murders each year.’”

Imagine that! “Ritual murders.” Human blood for ink? “Satanic Bibles?” Why would the Russian Orthodox church smear Seventh-day Adventists and other churches in such outlandish ways? My friends this is a prelude to persecution. A government can’t really persecute someone or a group of people, unless they are sufficiently villainized. Do you think this kind of thing could happen in “free” western countries like the U.S. or Canada, Australia, or Europe? I’ll read on.

“Designed to sway public opinion against the evangelical community, the television programs are making an impact. Local officials evicted Grace Community Church, with 40 members, from a cultural center building where they had worshiped for years. Church leaders say they have been unable to rent facilities anywhere in Krasnodar for Sunday worship services since the documentaries.’

Several years ago, Russian Orthodox officials began quietly asking government officials to restrict Protestant churches’ activities. In 1997 a new law was enacted subjecting new Protestant churches to surveillance and prohibited new church groups unless they were able to “demonstrate 15 years of affiliation to formal, sanctioned activities. Without government approval a church cannot build, open a bank account, or hire a pastor,” World Magazine reported. The Russian government is gradually making it very difficult for religious gatherings, even in private homes. Many churches face defamation and restrictions.

Adventists in Russia are familiar with this kind of repression because it is similar to what they faced under soviet socialism. So are Eastern Europeans. But this time the government and the orthodox church are working together. This situation creates some unique problems for faithful Seventh-day Adventists. It is easy in this kind of environment, for church leaders to compromise in order to achieve or maintain government approval as has happened over and over again in history. But this leaves those with convictions and strong conscientious principles without support from their church. In the past, church leaders have often disfellowshipped those that would not go along with the regime, leaving them to worship outside the law, which can be very dangerous for their personal safety or freedom. Some lost their lives because of their convictions.

Perhaps there are some that would prefer not to believe that these things happened. But unfortunately they did. Take for example the recent admission and apology for compromise and complicity with the Nazi’s during World War II made by Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders in Europe. Jewish Adventists were disfellowshipped by their church leaders, not because they did anything wrong but because they were the wrong race. The statement admitted that German leaders in World War II mistreated Jews because they were concerned about the consequences of non-cooperation with the Nazis.

I will read from an August 16, 2005 report published on Staonline news network, a German Seventh-day Adventist agency.

“Noting the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, Seventh-day Adventist church leaders in Germany and Austria have released a declaration saying they ‘deeply regret’ any participation in or support of Nazi activities during the war. The church bodies ‘honestly confess’ a failure ‘in following our Lord’ by not protecting Jews, and others, from that era’s genocide, widely known as the Holocaust…

The church says it also regrets “that in some of our publications … there were found articles glorifying Adolf Hitler and agreeing with the ideology of anti-Semitism in a way that is unbelievable from today’s [perspective]. Church leaders also expressed regret that “our peoples became associated with racial fanaticism…”

“A paramount regret, the statement indicated, was that German and Austrian Adventist congregations “excluded, separated and left [church members who were] … of Jewish origin to themselves so that they were delivered to imprisonment, exile or death.”

“Under various racial decrees, some Adventist congregations expelled members of Jewish heritage… ”Asked how a church that considers keeping the Sabbath as one of its core beliefs could forsake Jewish Sabbath-keepers during a time of persecution, [Herbert] Brugger” president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Austria, “suggested that it was political, not theological, considerations that may have led to the strategy. Brugger said concern over a Nazi closure of the main Seventh-day Adventist churches may have weighed on leaders in that era.

“I think during these times the official leaders of our church were afraid of losing the control over the church and losing the church…” he explained. “I think our leaders were afraid to lose the official recognition of our church, so therefore maybe they were not [as faithful] to our beliefs as would have been necessary.”

“The main Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany was also briefly banned under the Nazis. A quick reversal by the regime led to relief among Adventists, but also a level of cooperation with the government that was unhealthy,” the report stated.

“‘We not only kept silent,’ notes [Dr. Rolf] Pöhler [former North German Church President], “but we also published things we never should have published. We published anti-Semitic ideas…’ Pöhler said in a telephone interview… ‘We went out of our way to show our loyalty to the German [Nazi] government.’”

“We had to realize that one wrong statement, one wrong move by a person meant he could end up in a concentration camp,” Pöhler said of that era. “[That was the] reason why we excluded and disfellowshipped Jewish-born Adventists from our midst: If a local church had not done this, [the Nazis] would have closed the church, taken the elder to prison and it would have meant the whole church would be forbidden.”

“We renamed Sabbath School to ‘Bible School’ — [we] didn’t use the [original] term because it meant taking a risk,” Pöhler said. “We were in danger of being confused with the Jews. By refusing to call it Sabbath School, you make a statement; you make a little distance between yourself and the Jews…”

Dr. Daniel Heinz, director of church archives at the Adventist university in Friedensau, Germany, said “The church leaders adapted and even took over some anti-Semitic ideology from the Nazis; in some instances, they did more than was necessary to please the [Nazi] authorities…

Now the pressure is building in Russia again. Under government pressure, it is easy for leaders to compromise in order to maintain the status quo, leaving members with convictions without support. Will God’s people be more faithful this time? I pray so. I hope so.

But honestly my friends, should we depend on human flesh? The arm of flesh will fail you in times of crisis. Prophecy tells us that everyone must stand on His own with Christ during the final crisis. The Russian Seventh-day Adventists and evangelical churches may well get to practice this moral principle before some of the rest of us.

In this age of communication, no doubt we will hear more about the situation in Russia.

Our next item concerns a new law concerning Weather Modification.

On March 3, 2005 the following bill was introduced into the Senate of the United States. The act establishes a board with an executive director and funding for 9 years of more than $10,000,000 per year for a comprehensive and coordinated federal project to study, research and experiment with weather modification. Let me read to you parts of this legislation.

“It is the purpose of this Act to develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated national weather modification policy and a national cooperative Federal and State program of weather modification research and development.

The act authorizes “practical application” of weather modification “for experimental and demonstration purposes, including the experimental production of testing of models, devices, equipment, materials, and processes.”

“’Weather modification’ means changing or controlling, or attempting to change or control, by artificial methods the natural development of atmospheric cloud forms and precipitation forms which occur in the troposphere.”

The Act authorizes the Board to fund research and development for “assessments and evaluations of the efficacy of weather modification, both purposeful (including cloud-seeding operations) and inadvertent (including downwind effects and anthropogenic effects).”

Now, there are some big words there. Note that experiments in weather modification will evaluate “efficacy” (that’s how effective or practical they are) of cloud-seeding, and of course other operations with a specific intended purpose, and any “inadvertent” or unintended consequences of these operations, such as what happens downwind and what happens to people (that’s the meaning of “anthropogenic effects”).

So, the government has created and funded a body within itself to mess with the atmosphere. Can you imagine why? First of course, is the beneficial side of it all. If the government can figure out how to prevent hurricanes or other weather disasters such as drought in places that are prone to these things, it could be a very good thing. If the government could figure out how to prevent disaster, it could theoretically also figure out how to enhance the environment in other places so that the United States could expand its agricultural base, or improve energy resources.

But the more sinister side of all this weather modification experimentation is very serious. If the government figures out how to modify weather, it could create disasters in other parts of the world, such as on the territory of its enemies, or help its friends deal with their enemies.

The new law became effective October 1, 2005.

Church and State in France

The next item concerns the country of France. This year France celebrates its 100-year-old law that separated church and state. But some are suggesting that a change is needed in order to be able to keep track of funds used to build mosques.

Under the existing law, France does not recognize any religion. “In 1905, all expenditures related to religious activity were deleted from the national and local budgets,” reported the World Peace Herald, “putting an end to the Concordat of 1802 adopted by Napoleon Bonaparte.”

“Under the Concordate, four religions — Roman Catholicism, the Lutheran Church, the Reformed Church and Judaism — were officially recognized by the French state and granted funds from public coffers. But as the prevalent religion in France, Catholicism was generally considered the real state religion, particularly influential in education from primary school through the university level.”

But eventually this funding was eliminated all together as France emerged as a modern state. “Those who are fighting our republication institutions are leaders of Catholic organizations: Clericalism is the enemy,” famed politician and statesman Leon Gambetta told the French House of Representatives in 1877.”

But the separation of church and state didn’t happen until December 9, 2005. “’We condemn the bill adopted in France on the separation of church and state as deeply insulting to God. France officially disowns God when it states that the Republic does not recognize any sect.’ Pope Pius X declared in a famous encyclical.”

“But a century after its adoption, the 1905 law is again being challenged by some politicians and intellectuals…,” wrote the World Peace Herald. Because of hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, mostly from North Africa, Islam has become France’s No. 2 faith.

The 1905 law forbids the state to fund the construction of places of worship — which is not a problem for the Catholic Church, most of whose churches in France were built before 1905. “Since Muslims don’t have such buildings, should not we help them acquire or build some?” asked Rene Remond, a historian, in an article about reforming the 1905 law.

“The present situation obliges Muslims to practice their religion under inferior conditions, and, above all, encourages them to seek foreign funding to build their houses of worship, which may favor the development of a fundamentalist form of Islam in France.”

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy raised this issue too. Mr. Sarkozy proposed the idea that the French government “help pay for mosque construction in order to limit the influence of foreign countries, particularly Morocco and Saudi Arabia.”

“‘The Muslim community has not received any patrimonial heritage since it is a new community in this country. Besides, it has fewer financial possibilities than the other ones… Therefore, rich donors are more likely to come from a foreign country than from the national community,’” wrote Mr. Sarkozy.

“’What is dangerous is not minarets, but basements and garages that hide clandestine places of worship. Thus we must choose between mosques, where we know that the rules of the republic are respected, and secret places where extremism has been developing for too long,’” he wrote.

This issue is controversial, and remains a discussion at this time. However, perhaps it is not difficult to see where this may lead. Islamic extremists are very good at using mosques to develop fundamentalism or extremism. Funding mosque construction will not prevent extremism from developing in France. Further, through the funding, there is the risk that “the French government may partly control the functioning of mosques and Islamic organizations. This is probably what France wants to do.

Further, if French law outlaws private gatherings, what will happen to those whose faith or religious practice such as Sabbath keeping is the object of political concern? Did you note that private meeting places in a garage or basement were cast in a very negative light?

Taking government aid for church purposes, or church school purposes is never a good idea in any country or in any place because of the entanglement with the secular government. However, in the future, when God’s people will face great difficulties because of their faith, governments such as France may well use laws developed to deal with Islam or terrorists against them.

That is all we have time for this month. Next month I hope to be able to discuss some of the implications of the changes on the Supreme Court, especially in regard to the Constitution of the United States.