By Pastor Hal Mayer
Thank you for joining me today in this edition of Keep the Faith Ministry’s monthly spiritual encouragement for you to get ready for the coming of Jesus. Everywhere you turn there are signs that Jesus is coming soon. The prophecies are being fulfilled in every way. And Jesus wants you to be prepared. We do not watch the signs of the times because we are afraid. We are not motivated by fear to get our lives right with God. But it is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy that confirms our faith in Christ, and helps us focus on the greatest event ever in earthly and heavenly history, the second coming of Christ in the clouds of glory.
As we start this New Year, this is a very good time to rededicate your life to Christ. New Years’ resolutions often aren’t worth the breath they take to say them, but there is one resolution that is vital to your salvation and that is the resolution to live with and for Jesus every day, one day at a time, one moment at a time. Your soul will refresh with every prayer for God’s Holy Spirit and protection. Your heart will strengthen with each victory gained. It is a resolution that you can make, but you have to keep making it, moment by moment.
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Today, we are going to have a closer look at the disaster that struck New York City and New Jersey at the end of October. Hurricane Sandy was the largest superstorm on record. And it did more damage and destruction than previous monster storms. “It looked like a bomb had gone off,” said one shell-shocked observer when looking at some of the devastation. The wreckage was strewn everywhere in the affected regions of superstorm Sandy.
But before we examine this significant weather event from a prophetic point of view, let us bow our heads and ask for the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Our Father in heaven, today we need Your Holy Spirit like never before to overcome our sins so that Jesus can end this dark night and bring in everlasting righteousness. What a wonderful place heaven will be! But Your people aren’t ready. And this is the problem. All earthly problems continue while so many of Your people still refuse to make a full surrender to Jesus Christ. You don’t want any to perish, but all to come to eternal life. You are so long-suffering. Help us to see our need of Jesus and to surrender ourselves to You so that we may be under the full protection of God. Oh, Father, please give us Your presence today as we study. Help us understand our times. Reveal to us the cause and the consequences of the powerful superstorm that ripped up the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Friends, turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Revelation, chapter 16:17-21. Here is a summery description of what the apostle and Prophet John saw in vision concerning the future. Listen carefully. “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
Can you imagine the destruction and loss of life that is coming to this planet just after the close of probation? It is a consequence of the rebellion that man has raised up against heaven. But God gives Satan permission to wreak havoc on the earth in consequence of the disobedience and rebellion of man even before the close of probation. Imagine the great cities of this earth leveled like some of those communities in Queens. The powerful superstorm in New Jersey and New York and other east coast states of the U.S. recently was but a tiny glimpse of what is yet to come upon the whole planet.
Here is a statement from the book Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, and page 408. “The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession.”
Notice that it is the restraining hand of God that holds back the hurricanes, storms, fire and flood. The forces of evil are waiting to be released. But they are held in check while the people of God are sealed in their foreheads. Are you being sealed in your forehead? Are you settling into the truth so that you cannot be moved?
God permits Satan to play with nature, and to use nature to mastermind destruction of a powerful magnitude. I’ll read on?
“Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds…”
You see, the angels of heaven restrain Satan so that he can bring disasters that are limited in size, at least for now. But men of science, meteorologists, weather forecasters, oceanographers, scientists and others limit their explanations of these hard-hitting weather events to merely natural phenomena. They think that the elements of nature are all that there is to the disasters that befall the human race. They do not acknowledge the supernatural hand of God that guides the weather patterns and other natural elements themselves. They have no interest to understand if there is something behind the patterns that we can see and quantify in nature. And they quantify, all right. And they look for blame in all the wrong places. They think that bigger storms are the result of global warming, and that man is to blame for his lack of stewardship of the earth’s natural resources. Man is to blame all right, but not entirely in that way.
It is sin and rebellion that accumulates in the record books of heaven that God must check by a warning, by a disaster, to take man’s attention away from himself so that he can see and understand a power that is much greater than himself. As men watch the destructive power of huge monster storms, it is easier for him, if he is willing; to understand that there is a greater power behind it all. God is shrouded in the storm. As the wind whistles and moans He is speaking to the human race. As trees are uprooted, God is calling out to the wicked. As expensive houses are smashed and luxury boats are battered and beached, God is reaching His hand of mercy to the lost. God works in the shadows. His ways are not always obvious to the unrepentant heart. They are often mysterious, and can easily be attributed to other things. We must pay attention if we are going to recognize God’s voice in the violence of the storm.
God gives His holy angels permission to let loose of the restraining hand and allow Satan to bring on very heavy weather and other natural phenomena like earthquakes and tsunamis, as a warning to the people against their sins. After the destruction that took place, the people in Atlantic City who were partying at the casinos, night clubs and other sin hotels, they manifested their determination to keep at their sinful life… “Las Vegas, here we come,” said one person. When their gaming world had closed, they just move to another city and keep on sinning.
I’ll continue reading. “Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds, that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.”
So, once God’s servants are sealed, we are going to see a lot more chaos and destruction and loss of life than we have seen until now. Is the sealing going on now? Are you seeking for the Divine seal on your life? You know what that means don’t you? That means that you are living 100% of the time in harmony with heaven. The seal of God will not come upon anyone who is in rebellion. It will not be placed upon anyone who is living for themselves and not for others. Hurricane Sandy was just a glimpse of the power that is in nature. It was a small token of God’s displeasure at a sinful world.
Oh friends, our planet is in for trouble. Sandy was a massive storm. The storm system included every item on the list in the statement I just read to you at the beginning. There was a hurricane, tropical storm, tempest, fires, flooding with disasters on both land and sea, and they were all in really quick succession. But before Sandy hurled the Atlantic Ocean at New Jersey and New York, it had torn up Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
Sandy started in the western Caribbean Ocean as a tropical depression on none other than October 22. As it moved northward, it quickly became an organized storm, developing an eye and the typical counterclockwise circular motion. The storm structure formed as it took strength from the warm surface water of the Caribbean Sea and quickly grew into a hurricane. Sandy first blasted through Kingston, Jamaica, taking its first human casualty. This was the first direct hit on Jamaica since hurricane Gilbert 24 years ago.
Then a few hours after leaving Jamaica, the storm gained more strength and became a category 2 hurricane before hammering Haiti, where, because of poor housing, it killed at least 54 people. Haiti is still trying to recover from the earthquake that struck there in early 2010, which destroyed the city of Port-au-Prince leaving 316,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, many of them still living in sprawling refugee camps. Streets, homes and rivers flooded amid an ongoing cholera outbreak from previous sanitation problems. Sandy also destroyed desperately needed crops in Haiti and caused food shortages. It also left more than 200,000 people homeless.
For Haiti this was the second hurricane in 2012. Hurricane Isaac struck the island in August, leaving a path of death and destruction. Now another one slammed into the hapless island with all its voodoo, witchcraft, white magic and crime.
Sandy then raked through the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, killing 3 more people and causing billions of dollars in damage.
Then Sandy went on to Cuba, destroying 15,000 homes and taking the lives of 11 more people, the most since 2005 when 16 were killed during Hurricane Dennis.
After emerging from Cuba the super storm dropped back to a category 1 hurricane and moved into the Bahamas, killing two more and doing a good bit more damage.
Then the tempest dropped down to a tropical storm briefly as it began tracking up the U.S. coast, then regained its hurricane strength in the unusually warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. To the west running up along the coast, was a trough of high pressure in a swooping jet stream, which often comes down from Canada into the southern part of the United States and then back up the East Coast. This trough was positioned in such a way that it prevented Sandy from making landfall in the southern regions of the United States, and sent it further north. Eventually, the storm was blocked by another weather system, a huge high-pressure area hanging over Greenland and spreading out over the Atlantic Ocean. This blocking action prevented the powerful, slow moving storm from going any further north and it had no choice but to make a sharp left turn and head into the very populated areas of New Jersey and New York City. As it turned west, it accelerated some and moved ashore around Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Do you think that the interplay of those weather systems was merely by chance, or was there something else behind it? Listen to this from Great Controversy, page 589. “Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows.”
So Satan is given control of the elements, at least to a certain extent. This includes weather elements. He is capable of mixing the elements to cause deadly weather, and take the lives of his human subjects. No scientist has access to the laboratory that Satan uses. They can observe the elements of nature, but they cannot manipulate them like he does. Man may even succeed at manipulating the elements of nature to a certain extent, but man is very weak compared to Satan. Only God really understands Satan’s power. Satan has been playing with global weather patterns for a long, long time, even for centuries. He understands, not only the flow of the air, but he understands the flow of the ocean currents and the effect they have. He understands the magnetic field, and the effect of gravity, and the power of the sun, and the ozone layer, and so many other principles of nature. They don’t acknowledge God. They cannot understand the true power that is behind these disasters.
Here is an interesting statement from the book Counsels to Parents Teachers and Students, page 440. “When in difficulty, philosophers and men of science try to satisfy their minds without appealing to God. They ventilate their philosophy in regard to the heavens and the earth, accounting for plagues, pestilences, epidemics, earthquakes, and famines by their supposed science. Questions relating to creation and providence they attempt to solve by saying, ‘this is a law of nature.’”
Wherever Sandy went, a wide swath of death, darkness and destruction followed in her wake. The counter-clockwise spin of the hurricane affected more than 24 U.S. states and several provinces in Canada.
The monster storm not only destroyed sections of the coast line in Atlantic City, but the strong counterclockwise spin attacked New York City and heaved the waters of the Atlantic to the north, right up the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, swamping Lower Manhattan with a record-breaking storm surge.
Over 5.2 million people use the New York subway system every day. The storm caused the suspension of the entire 108-year-old system. Sandy utterly deluged seven subway tunnels that travel under the East River with corrosive salt water, which, unlike rainwater eats away at the switches. Over a period of time, a lot of work will have to be done to prevent problems with the switches in the subway system. In addition the Metro-North line and the Long Island railroads were shut down.
In fact, the whole transit system of New York City, including its busses and taxis were shut down for several days. This was the most debilitating event ever to hit the New York mass transit system. Every main subway line was flooded. Sandy ripped out power to stations, and inundated rail yards and bus and taxi depots. Imagine having to replace or repair all that equipment, such as ticket gates, turnstiles, signage, track switches, signals, swamped taxis and busses, etc.
Every last bridge into and out of the city was closed due to high winds. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel was flooded from end to end only hours after the State Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered it closed to traffic. The Holland Tunnel was also closed, though the Lincoln Tunnel farther north up the Hudson River remained open. The crippled transit system took many days to gradually restore as the flooded tunnels, roads and buildings were pumped dry, cleaned up and reopened.
I might add that city transit systems from Philadelphia to Boston were also suspended, as well as the trains, planes and parts of roads between them.
Airlines cancelled more than 20,000 flights to more than 35 affected airports, a record for a weather event. Passengers were stranded world-wide as airlines in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as some from Asia cancelled their flights to New York, Washington and the other cities of the East Coast.
Hospitals cancelled all surgeries and medical procedures, except for emergencies. At least one hospital in New York lost its back-up generators and had to evacuate hundreds of patients to other hospitals including those in the various intensive care units.
New York City officials ordered mandatory evacuations in all the coastal areas of the city and Long Island including Lower Manhattan, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and the Red Hook areas of Brooklyn, the entire Rockaways peninsula, most of Staten Island and the City Island/Throg’s Neck areas of the Bronx. Tens of thousands of people were displaced and now a good number of them are homeless.
More than 8 million people were left without power throughout a 17 state region, some for nearly two weeks; another record. It was “the largest storm-related outage in history,” said Con Edison spokeswoman Sara Banda. Record power outages were also recorded for New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Imagine the New York City skyline of tall skyscraper buildings. But instead of all the lights that make a city quite attractive-looking at night, now it was all pitch black. The “city that never sleeps” was forced to stop and take a break.
What were people thinking about while they were sitting in their apartment flats and homes waiting for the lights to come back on? They couldn’t go to work because there is no way to get there. Most of their employers didn’t have electricity either. Millions of them have to take mass transit to get to their daily jobs. What would they think about when they could not do the things they normally did and had to just hunker down and sit and wait out the powerful hurricane?
What would they think about in the darkness, when they can’t watch TV shows and football, or other entertainment? Everything must have been eerily quiet. There were no cars in the streets below, no busses, no honking, no airplane engines overhead, nothing but perhaps an occasional siren off in the distance, none of the usual din of traffic noise down on the streets. The only noise was the wind of the tempest howling outside, for a while at least. Then just silence. That must have been extremely unsettling for some who thrive on the noise; the hustle and bustle.
What would those people think about when they had nothing to distract them and occupy their attention? Do you think they thought about God, and that perhaps in the silence God was trying to speak to them in the still small voice? I doubt it. Remember God is not in the wind and the tempest. He is not in the fire, and the storm. He is in the still small voice, in the quiet. But the people in big cities live with background noise all the time, so it is hard for them to hear the still small voice, isn’t it.
While there may have been some that thought about God, most of them probably were frustrated by not being able to pursue their usual habitual forms of sin. No bars, no theaters, no Broadway shows, no shopping, no going out with friends, no restaurants. It must have been quite an experience. I wonder what went through their minds. They just had to stop and sit still for a good long while.
And all this was happening in a city with its huge blocks of apartment flats stacked up on top of each other in skyscrapers 50-100 floors high. With no power, there were no lights, no heat, no refrigeration, no TV, no music, no elevators, no escalators; everything stopped. There wasn’t even electricity to pump fresh water up into those high level apartment flats. They couldn’t take a shower. They couldn’t flush the toilet. They had no water to cook food unless they had some bottles of it stashed in a pantry somewhere. They had no water to drink. For a city that never sleeps this was significant. Imagine the peril that thousands of people would have been in, had the disaster carried on for more than a few days.
If elevators don’t work in those old buildings, it confines thousands of elderly people and many others to their high-rise homes until electricity returns. Pharmacists were closed mostly, so if prescriptions were needed, they couldn’t get them easily at all. No one would bring them anything, at least for a while. And if they did, they would have to climb the stairs rather than take the elevators. These people would have nowhere to go, and no way to get there if they did. FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) shipped a million meals and bottled water supplies to help the stranded survive after the storm. But getting them to the upper floors of those tall buildings would have been a challenge.
“There are no precedents for Sandy,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, cryptically, “We have a 100-year flood every two years now.”
Sandy was a very big girl. She was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record and outdid all previous storms. Her churning gale diameter spanned an impressive 1000 miles, roughly the size of Europe.
But let me remind you that though it was the largest hurricane ever recorded (yet another record), it was barely a category 1 hurricane. It is not a very powerful hurricane at all compared to the ones that God says are coming. Do you remember what we read earlier? There will be scenes of destruction due to natural disasters that “no pen can picture.” So, the news articles on Sandy, pale into insignificance compared to what God says is coming.
Listen to this statement from the wonderful little compilation called Country Living, page 7. “The time is near when the large cities will be visited by the judgments of God. In a little while, these cities will be terribly shaken. No matter how large or how strong their buildings, no matter how many safeguards against fire may have been provided, let God touch these buildings, and in a few minutes or a few hours they are in ruins.”
Imagine what can happen to the strong buildings in Manhattan if a much, much larger hurricane attacked the city. It would not take long for there to be catastrophic and complete destruction of the whole city, if God permits it.
Here is another statement from Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, and page 82-83. “The ungodly cities of our world are to be swept away by the besom of destruction. In the calamities that are now befalling immense buildings and large portions of cities, God is showing us what will come upon the whole earth.”
A besom, by the way, is an old word for a broom. So there is a broom of destruction that will sweep away the big cities. That’s God’s broom, my friends. That is a way of saying that the big cities of this earth are but dust to the Almighty. They are but dust to Satan too. He can be given permission to sweep them away, just as God can instruct His angels to sweep them away with His besom, His broom.
Do you think the people of New York were thinking about that during their divinely appointed and climatically enforced holiday? Even among God’s people who live in these cities, I dare say that most of them didn’t think about that either, even as they listened to the howling wind outside their windows.
You know, people get emboldened. When they pass through storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters and they survive them, they think they can ride out the next one and the next one. They get bolder in sin. They get bolder in their lifestyles. They get bolder in their immorality. All because they think that they can ride out the next disaster. Or they think that the government will look after them adequately. They also have insurance, so most of the damage to their homes will be covered by their insurance money. They feel safe. They think they are secure. But a time is coming when they will not be safe at all. Their homes will be in ruins. Their boats and cars will be twisted mangled steel and broken fiberglass. Their families will be dead, their lives destroyed. What will they do then?
Just remember what happened during the earthquake and tsunami in Japan not long ago. Thousands upon thousands of people living along the coast and for several miles inland, in some cases, were killed by the waves that came rushing into their communities and swept them all away.
Oh friends, we can never rely on the government. We can never rely on human resources. We can only rely on the God of heaven. We must live humbly before God and man, or a disaster will happen to us too.
Sandy was also the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Sandy had record low barometric pressure, which helps turbo charge the power of the wind. Hurricane Gladys in 1977 had just slightly lower pressure, but she never made landfall. Sandy’s unprecedented due west direction as it fell upon New Jersey and New York City gave them a very powerful punch.
Sandy caused record-high storm surge of ocean water to fill up basements, tunnels and streets of Manhattan. The storm surge from Sandy was expected to be around 8-10 feet (2.5-3m), but when it happened; Battery Park got a whopping 13.88 feet high (4m). It broke a record set in 1821. In addition, the East River overflowed her banks and flooded parts of East Village in Manhattan while the Hudson River on the west spilled into the streets of lower Manhattan.
The reason for this was the storm’s unusual angle of attack. The northerly churn of the wind on the right side of the hurricane pushed the water strongly toward New York City as the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey. Sandy also kicked up the largest wave on record in New York Harbor measuring 32.5 feet high (almost 10m). Hurricane Irene held the previous record in 2011. That wave was recorded at 25 feet (7.5m). Instruments embedded in buoys anchored in the harbor measure wave heights.
Sandy also caused the largest number of power outages ever, leaving a staggering 8 million people without electricity. Hurricane Ike was the closest blacking out 7.5 million people. Sandy also caused twice the number of power outages than Hurricane Irene last year. As for New York, it was the largest storm-related power outage in its history.
Raw sewage from a treatment plant in Howard County, Maryland spewed into the Little Patuxent River at a rate of 2 million gallons per hour due to power outages. It is not clear how much sewage poured into the river. Perhaps that too set a new a record. Sandy was dumping 6-7 inches of rain in many place throughout the region, so, sewer systems like this were overwhelmed.
By the way, Sandy wasn’t alone in her work of destruction. She had collaboration from other weather systems. Sandy was confronted by a cold front coming from the northwest, which caused a blizzard in some places of higher elevation as the two weather systems collided. The blizzard dropped nearly three feet (1m) of snow in some parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and eastern Ohio as the cold front slammed into Sandy after she came ashore, dumping a huge amount of snow along the leading edge of the front. The cold front began pushing Sandy’s course toward the north. The snowstorm, which would have been one of those famous “Nor’easters” had it not collided with the hurricane, left traffic in chaos along highways, with cars sliding into ditches and accidental crashes including a pileup of trucks that blocked the westbound lanes of Highway 68.
Because of the wind, waves on southern Lake Michigan rose to a record-tying 20.3 feet (6m). And the New York stock exchange was closed for two days, the first two-day closure due to weather since 1888.
Overall, 185 people were killed by hurricane Sandy, 113 of them in the United States, fifty four of them in Haiti, eleven in Cuba, and the rest were scattered between the Bahamas, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
The devastation however, is not limited to flooding and wind damage. The Bounty, a 180-foot (55m) sailing ship, sank 90 miles (145 km) off the coast of North Carolina. Its crew had tried to get around the storm, but had to abandon ship as it was overwhelmed by the wind and swell. Two of the crew died. Significantly, the storm scuttled the Bounty, which had been used in a number of Hollywood movies. Perhaps that is a warning message to those who are willing to listen.
The storm also damaged fuel distribution capabilities. Long lines at petrol or gas stations stretched up to 20 blocks as people tried to get what little fuel they could. Access to diesel was sometimes even more difficult to get. And gasoline was rationed in New Jersey and New York. People needed the gasoline for their generators in order to keep themselves warm. Remember, there was a polar jet stream that also came into the area and eventually combined with Sandy bringing bone-chilling Arctic cold as well as snow. So the people were left with no electricity to heat their homes. The fuel shortage lasted for many days. While many of the gas stations didn’t have electricity to pump fuel, there was also difficulty getting fuel trucked to stations that did have electricity. There was plenty of fuel in storage tanks waiting to be shipped. And there were tankers waiting to unload their cargo. “It’s like a stopped up drain,” said an analyst. Damage to the distribution system caused the shortages at the services stations to last for weeks.
But some of the greatest tragedies were in places like Breezy Point, a coastal town in the Rockaway district of Queens. This was the same community that was hit by an extremely rare tornado in September, the previous month. Homes there were flooded, blown off their foundations and smashed together, while 111 tightly packed homes in one section of the town were burned to the ground during the storm. During the tempest, a record tidal surge had set off a spectacular explosion at a power station, which sparked a devastating fire that destroyed the homes in Breezy Point. During the storm and fire, residents had to be rescued by boat due to chest-high street flooding which prevented the firemen from getting their equipment to the burning homes. Many believe that the destruction at Breezy Point is far worse than what Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans’s 9th ward.
The residents of many coastal communities remained under siege for many days, even weeks. And the carnage will take months and months to repair and rebuild. “Recovery is a mammoth job,” said New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He said that Sandy is one of the “worst natural disasters to hit the nation’s most populous city.” The official cost is now in the range of $50 billion in just the United States alone.
New Jersey was the state with the most widespread destruction. One of the hardest hit cities with flooding was Hoboken. Nearly 20,000 people were stranded in their homes. High-wheeled military trucks were brought in to reach the stricken houses and apartment blocks. Recreational boats, which the wealthy people in this area own, were thrown up in the streets during the storm and had to be cleared as the waters subsided so that vehicles could move around. Some 1.8 million people were without electricity in New Jersey alone, and after the storm fuel shortages were critical, with lines of cars stretching more than a mile, and blocks long queues of people with 5-gallon gas cans at the rare open service stations in the state that had electricity and could be re-supplied. Most didn’t have electricity to pump the fuel they had in their tanks.
The Jersey shore was devastated along the Atlantic coastline. The FunTown Pier amusement park at the water’s edge is now in ruins, its roller coaster lying twisted and mangled in the waves, its platform having been ripped out from underneath it. Buildings in the area are so badly damaged that they are likely to be torn down. Historic pubs and taverns were flooded without much hope of repair unless they are completely rebuilt. Atlantic City, the famous East Coast gambling town, with its huge casinos took a lot of damage, but the casinos are still intact. Roads were torn up, billboards destroyed, the boardwalks shredded, debris and litter strewn everywhere.
In a crisis, people can do things that are rather dangerous. For instance, dozens of people were admitted to hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning because they used their barbecues to cook inside their houses or garages, or they used their generators indoors to power heaters, refrigerators and other appliances.
Now let us think about the spiritual and prophetic aspects of the terrible storm that attacked New York City and New Jersey. There is a statement I’d like to read from the book Country Living, page 7. Listen carefully. “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…”
Do you think that is what happened in New York and New Jersey? So now, why did the monster storm assault these places? It is because of their wickedness. Is New York City wicked? Of course it is. It is the most populated city in the United States. And it is concentrated wickedness. Think of all those high rises and skyscrapers. The wickedness is just piled up on top of each other. What wickedness doesn’t happen on the first floor happens on the 2nd floor. What wickedness doesn’t happen on the 2nd floor happens on the 3rd, or 4th, or 50th floor. And so it goes. And if it doesn’t happen in private homes, it happens in the bars and night clubs, theaters on Broadway and in the back alleys every night.
In big cities like New York and Newark, New Jersey there is organized crime, gangs, drug lords, prostitution rings, seedy red light districts, gay bars… and the list goes on and on. Then there are the robberies, murders, gang wars, drive-by shootings, gang rapes, and other violence. The cities are extreme in their wickedness, aren’t they? They are dangerous to live in. Everybody has to bar their doors and windows, and lock them with double locks and install security systems, and put up fences with barbed wire. The jails are overcrowded with criminals. The courts are clogged up trying to deal with them, while underneath it all; there is a festering anger and bitterness that seethes under the surface. There is no safe place. No place of peace and tranquility. Even the city parks are loaded with crime and violence in the big cities. You can’t find peace anywhere. You always have to look over your shoulder to make sure you aren’t vulnerable.
Do you think that the people living in the big cities think that they are wicked? I don’t think so. Do you remember Sodom? The citizens of Sodom didn’t think they were wicked. They were quite upset with Lot because he accused them of being wicked. They were going to kill him for suggesting that they were evil.
Do you think New York and New Jersey are as wicked as Sodom? I do. Do you think they deserve the wrath of God? Of course they do, but do you know how merciful God is? Think about His kindness to them. When they really deserved a category 5 hurricane, He only permitted a low-level category 1 hurricane to come upon them. And look what it did to them.
What do you think a category 5 hurricane would have done to these cities and towns? Do you think their homes, shops and skyscrapers could have withstood such a powerful storm? What would millions of people have done if their cities and towns were blown to bits by a category 5 superstorm? How would millions of people get out of New York if they had no place left to live? Where would they go? They would be trapped. Cities, my friends, are death traps.
Listen to what one person said after the storm. “Signs of the good life that had defined wealthy Jersey shorefront enclaves like Bayhead and Mantoloking lay scattered and broken.” Nearly all the homes were seriously damaged as well as pools, hot-tubs and $3000 barbecues.
What is meant by the “good life?” That is talking about how wealthy people live. Wealthy people like to live on the oceanfront or along rivers in nice mansions with swimming pools, hot tubs, fancy cars, fishing and speed boats, and many other toys. But when the windows of heaven open up and they are deluged with flood, fire and storm, they think they have lost their “good life.” They are terribly disappointed. They have lost those things that they have spent a lifetime accumulating. But God means it to wake them up and help them see that they are living artificial lives. Most of all, He wants them to see that they are turning their backs on God.
And all this happened just before Halloween, one of Satan’s holidays. Perhaps Satan delighted in manifesting his power (with God’s permission, of course) in the lead up to the wicked and evil night.
It is important to note, that like Hurricane Katrina that struck New Orleans with powerful devastation, Sandy struck at another party town with its casinos, boardwalks and amusement parks. Seeing that roller coaster lying in the ocean makes a rather poignant spiritual point, doesn’t it? Perhaps the angels, who hold back the winds of strife and restrain the storm, could tell us a thing or two about God’s displeasure at such places.
And, by the way, the mangled roller coaster is a fitting depiction of the destiny that awaits their roller coaster lives.
Do you think that God is displeased with these places? Do you think that the storm is a judgment of God on these wicked places of amusement? Friends, the monster storm was a warning.
Listen to this statement from Country Living, page 7 and 8. “Calamities will come—calamities most awful, most unexpected; and these destructions will follow one after another. If there will be a heeding of the warnings that God has given, and if churches will repent, returning to their allegiance, then other cities may be spared for a time. But if men who have been deceived continue in the same way in which they have been walking, disregarding the law of God, and presenting falsehoods before the people, God allows them to suffer calamity, that their senses may be awakened.”
Think about Sandy for a minute. There was a lot happening in rapid succession both during the storm and afterwards. The storm collided with another storm, which increased the effect. Shortly after the storm there was a small earthquake in the region. Then another winter storm hit about a week later with freezing temperatures and snow on the very people who were still trying to stay warm and recover from Sandy’s carnage.
Here is another statement from the book Country Living, page 8. “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.”
Do you think there are some souls who are open to the call of God in the big cities of the world? I do. There are plenty of them. But they look for answers in all the wrong places. Even when they go to church, they don’t get the real message. They get pablum. They get spiritual baby food. They are put to sleep by their pastors. You see, most pastors are in collusion with the scientists. The scientists want you to think that Sandy was just a natural coincidence and has no further supernatural or spiritual implications. When a disaster strikes, if people think about God, they are quieted by scientific reports that do not mention God or take God into consideration. They call it “mother nature,” not God’s warning. The news broadcasts bombard them with information, but no one really analyzes the supernatural side of the disaster. They have enough scientific information to make them feel that the storm did not come from God.
But most pastors don’t want you to think about the supernatural either. They want you to think that everything is just normal and that you shouldn’t worry that this type of disaster was a warning of God’s judgments to come upon them. If someone suggests that God is punishing New York and New Jersey for its wickedness, they think they are fanatics, deluded and unbalanced in mind. They say that God is so loving that he would not destroy sinners. Only the most wicked will have to burn in hell, they teach. So, they argue that a natural disaster is not from God, or that God is not letting go the winds of strife and has permitted Satan to bring such a catastrophe. That would undermine the “sin and live” concept that they have invested so much in teaching. You can live as you please. You don’t need to reform. Your life is just fine, they say.
The scientists give the physical reasons to calm the nerves of the masses, and the pastors give the spiritual reasons to anesthetize them and put them back into spiritual slumber. The pastors may not think they are working together with the scientists, but they are.
And, if they don’t attend church, they are distracted and calmed by their friends and family, co-workers, and others who provide a suitable substitute to their pastors. You see, my friends, people will believe what they want to believe, even if it is an outright lie. Very few want to think about their sins. Very few want to understand God’s purpose in permitting such a storm.
But friends, do you think there are more monster storms coming? Of course there are! And the coming monster storms will be bigger and more powerful than what happened during Sandy.
Think about when there is a crippling disaster in a big city. First is lockdown. In a catastrophic disaster there is no escape. Cities can easily be locked down, and governments and police do not care whether you want to leave the city or not. You are trapped.
If the disaster causes infrastructure problems that can’t be fixed easily or quickly, this causes people to run out of supplies and basic necessities. People who have learned to depend on the government for roads and transportation to bring in supplies like food and fuel, utilities for heating and cooking, or other services, they can panic when they are cut off. This can lead to violence and crime if the situation becomes desperate enough. For more detail about that, go back and listen to our sermon on the destruction of Jerusalem. Governments can put off the desperation by airlifting supplies by helicopters. But if the damage is serious enough, that can also have a lot of complications. Hurricane Sandy was a small disaster, comparatively speaking, so it was relatively easy to work through it.
There are other infrastructure issues that can make life very difficult in big cities when there is a serious disaster. If electrical power goes out as it did with Hurricane Sandy, city dwellers may not get it back for days or weeks. Without electricity, gas stations cannot pump gas. Without fuel, people can’t even recharge their mobile phones using a generator. Cell towers don’t work, communication gets cut off, people often cannot stay warm, and the list goes on and on.
Most people living in large apartment blocks don’t have a generator anyway, so they cannot have supplemental power in a major blackout. Besides, how do you run a generator in a high-rise apartment block?
Suppose there is a terrorist attack in a large city. Terrorists like to attack infrastructure and they like to target cities because cities are where large populations are. It is also relatively easy to disrupt normal life by attacking key systems that people depend on such as water sources, electricity grids, bridges, tunnels and other places of vulnerability.
Here is another problem. When there is flooding, water damage leaves mold throughout buildings. And it’s not just on the surface where you can clean it off and sanitize it. The mold gets inside the walls and ventilation systems. It can get in places where it is virtually impossible to remove without tearing the building down and rebuilding it.
Here is yet another problem; during major disasters, hospitals go into emergency mode. They are not able to offer the usual services that many people depend on. If the disaster is the type that causes a lot of injuries, this can quickly overwhelm local medical systems and people die because they cannot get medical aid.
Because of the large masses of people, it is difficult during a disaster for all the people to get help. Just the sheer numbers are overwhelming to the emergency systems put in place by government authorities. When the disaster is relatively small, it is easier to manage. But if it is a substantial crisis, it is possible that government agencies can become overwhelmed too, leaving many people stranded.
Friends, is it any wonder that God has urged us to live in the country. It isn’t just to save us from the difficulties of the coming disasters. God wants us to live in country areas where we can be out of range of the terrible things that are going to happen to the cities. I don’t know about you, but as we near the end of time, and as the cities become ever more wicked, we need to be getting out of them, changing our lifestyle and making sure that we are living in harmony with God’s will.
But, it is more than avoidance of a natural disaster, however. God tells us that there are spiritual issues involved. We don’t need to place our children and our families in cities where they are polluted with all the concentrated wickedness that resides there.
Here is a statement from the book Ministry of Healing, page 363-365. “The world over, cities are becoming hotbeds of vice. On every hand are the sights and sounds of evil. Everywhere are enticements to sensuality and dissipation. The tide of corruption and crime is continually swelling. Every day brings the record of violence, —robberies, murders, suicides, and crimes unnamable.
“Life in the cities is false and artificial. The intense passion for money getting, the whirl of excitement and pleasure seeking, the thirst for display, the luxury and extravagance, all are forces that, with the great masses of mankind, are turning the mind from life’s true purpose. They are opening the door to a thousand evils. Upon the youth they have almost irresistible power.
“It was not God’s purpose that people should be crowded into cities, huddled together in terraces and tenements. In the beginning He placed our first parents amidst the beautiful sights and sounds He desires us to rejoice in today. The more nearly we come into harmony with God’s original plan, the more favorable will be our position to secure health of body, and mind, and soul.”
So, you see, my friends, God’s plan for you and for me is to get into the natural places as much as possible. The more we surround ourselves with the beauties of nature, the less we shall glorify man, and the more ready we will be to receive Jesus into our hearts and glorify Him. City life can make you calloused to the things of God. City life can keep you from overcoming your sins because you don’t see the dreadfulness of sin as easily.
Friends, I want Christ in my heart. I need Him every day. I want to follow His counsel and live where He can the most easily impress me with His character and love. I pray that you will know God’s will and that you will follow it every single day of your life. May God bless you.
Let us pray. Our righteous Father in heaven, we need Your sweet spirit in our lives to overcome the evil one. We don’t want the city to influence us against heaven’s principles. We want to live righteously in this present world, but we don’t want to be tainted by it. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will come into our lives so that we may learn to hear and follow His voice. This is very important to us. If we are living in the city, please help us find a way to live in the country. And if we have brought the city out into the country through television or radio, or the internet we pray that You will give us Your grace so that we will be able to let go of it and live for Jesus. We pray that we will heed the lessons we learned today from Hurricane Sandy. Show us, we pray, how to be overcomers through Jesus blood, which was shed for us. In His precious name I pray, Amen.