Making Sense of the Rainbow Across NYC After Superstorm Sandy

An image came across my computer screen on Tuesday morning that reminded me of the love expressed by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26) and that Apostle Peter speaks of in 2 Peter 3:9. It was a picture of New York City on the morning after the devastating floods of Hurricane Sandy. As the sun rose, God placed a rainbow above the skyline of the city. As soon as I saw it, I was reminded of what the rainbow symbolizes:

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Genesis 9:12-16 NIV

So on Tuesday morning, God reminded Himself of His promise never to flood the entire earth again. He reminded Himself that His love and mercy must prevail; that He longs to give humanity another chance.

That image of the rainbow above New York City was contrasted in my mind with other images from the night before of the World Trade Center site being overwhelmed as the waters from Sandy surged over the island of Manhattan. I couldn't help but think about the warnings of men like Pastor David Wilkerson who just days after that horrific morning of September 11, 2001 called our nation to repentance and return to God. The title of Pastor Wilkerson's message was "The Towers Have Fallen but We Missed the Message."

His sermon was centered on Isaiah 9:10:

The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
The fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.

Isaiah 9:10 NIV

Wilkerson's message on that Sunday morning following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon warned that God had allowed this tragedy to take place as a warning to America. God was calling us to repent of decades of sin and pride and to return to Him. Wilkerson feared that America had already demonstrated that it was missing the point of the warning. Like ancient Israel after it had been attacked and defeated by the Assyrians, America was standing firm in its defiance, vowing to rebuild and replant in our own strength rather than repenting and returning to God.

This defiance had already manifested itself on September 12, when then Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle, sought to bring hope to our nation in quoting this very verse on the floor of the US Senate. Yet, he failed to understand that this verse was not one of hope, but a sign of a nation's refusal to heed God's warning.

If you've read Jonathan Cahn's bestselling book, The Harbinger, or seen the companion video "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment," you already know that time and time again over the past 11 years, America has failed to understand God's warning, and in fact has repeatedly reiterated this vow of defiance.

So again, as I was watching the video of the floodwaters pouring into the Ground Zero site, I was fearful and saddened by our continuous refusal to understand that these events are continuing to happen as a result of God's love and mercy and desire to see us repent, so that a greater tragedy and judgment is averted.

Could that Tuesday morning rainbow be a reminder to us that God's love is never failing and His mercy endures? Could God have sent this natural disaster to Ground Zero to once again plead with us to give up our vows to restore and rebuild in defiance of Him, and to instead repent and return?

Will we heed God's warning this time?

David S. Jesse – a.k.a. "The Bow Tie Bible Guy" - is on a mission to provoke the "people in the pews" to reengage with the Scriptures. Through his teaching and writing, he's helping Christians around the world become excited about reading the Bible for themselves. For more information, go to or find him on Twitter @davidsjesse

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