With the drying up of the Euphrates River, many are wondering if this is linked to biblical prophecy.
Recently, a hot topic has been the matter of the Euphrates River drying up. The most common reason why the Euphrates River is drying up is because of low rainfall, drought, and climate change. With the drying up of the Euphrates River, many are wondering if this is linked to biblical prophecy. It is important to understand biblical prophecy contained within the Old Testament before we come to conclusions concerning the Euphrates River.
There are many biblical prophecies linked with the Euphrates River drying up. One of these is Isaiah 11:15, “The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals.” As Isaiah says in this passage, the Lord will supernaturally dry up the Euphrates River. Since the present drying up of the Euphrates River is related to low rainfall, drought, and climate change, and not by God’s doing, this passage is not being fulfilled in the modern day.
This passage is actually referring to the beginning of the Millenial Kingdom. Jesus is the One who sweeps His hand over the Euphrates River for everyone to be able to cross over. Since this is referring to the Millenial Kingdom, this cannot be fulfilled in the present day. It is a future prophecy specifically referring to the Thousand-year Reign of Christ on earth.
A second biblical prophecy of the Euphrates River drying up is found in Jeremiah 50:38, “A drought on her waters! They will dry up. For it is a land of idols, idols that will go mad with terror.” When Jeremiah refers to “her waters,” he is referring to the Euphrates River drying up. Scholars are in debate as to if this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, has already been fulfilled, or if it is a double-fulfillment prophecy. If it is a double fulfillment prophecy, it means the prophecy has been fulfilled in the past, yet it will also have double fulfillment in the future.
It could be Jeremiah 50:38 refers to the present time of the Euphrates River drying up, but we cannot be dogmatic. As in Jeremiah 50:38, the drought was inflicted on the Euphrates River; however, in the present day, we cannot know for certain if this drought was inflicted by God. The drought that has affected the Euphrates River is due to natural causes, as mentioned. One cannot say with certainty that God is pouring out his wrath on Western Asia.
A third biblical prophecy referring to the Euphrates River is Revelation 16:12, “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.” This passage of Scripture refers to the event of the sixth bowl judgment, which will occur during the tribulation. We can know for certain that this prophecy is not being fulfilled in the present day. We are not currently going through the Tribulation; therefore, there is no possible way this prophecy could be referring to the present reality of the Euphrates River drying up.
The sixth bowl judgment happens toward the end of the Tribulation, which is the worst part of the Tribulation. It will be a terrible judgment when the waters of the Euphrates River will be completely dried up because the people will no longer have water. This drying up of the Euphrates River will be supernaturally done by God as judgment to the people. The people will curse God and continue in their sins despite God’s efforts to bring His children back to Him throughout the course of the Tribulation.
Despite the fact that the Euphrates River is drying up, it doesn’t mean biblical prophecy is being fulfilled. It is always best to run everything against Scripture and to have an understanding of biblical prophecy before believing everything is related to a form of biblical prophecy being fulfilled. Most likely, the present drying up of the Euphrates River is due to natural causes. Since we live in a sinful, fallen world, we have climate change, environmental problems, drought, and receding water levels.
While the Euphrates River drying up most likely isn’t referring to biblical prophecy, it doesn’t make the situation any less serious. There are still people in Western Asia who are going to be affected by this drought. They will have a water shortage as well as a food shortage due to the drought. It can be easy to turn a deaf ear to individuals halfway across the world, but God wants us to help these individuals. We can help provide water and food to those who are being affected by the drought.
The Euphrates River is a major source of freshwater as Iraq relies on its water to survive. In addition to human beings needing the water, there is wildlife that also will be impacted by the Euphrates River drying up. This drought will also affect the environment and cause damage to the area in the future. It is best for us to try to help those struggling through this drought by prayer and seeking out ways to help provide fresh water and food to those being affected.
Understanding Biblical Prophecy
When it comes to biblical prophecy, it is best not to try to link everything that happens in the modern day as being something related to the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy. Once it is discovered the event wasn’t a fulfillment of a biblical prophecy, it can leave individuals feeling disappointed. With all of the prophecies we have in the Bible, we need to be careful not to incorrectly link them with events in the present day. God will fulfill the prophecies in His perfect timing.
Most of the biblical prophecies will be fulfilled in the future eschatological events of the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Millenial Kingdom, and the New Heaven and New Earth. Since none of these events have yet occurred, we need to be careful to say whether any biblical prophecies are being fulfilled in the present day. We need to be watching for biblical prophecies; however, we should not become obsessed with them or have an unhealthy obsession with biblical prophecies. A healthy interest will help us learn about biblical prophecy without being consumed.
Therefore, the Euphrates River drying up is most likely due to natural causes, such as low rainfall, drought, and climate change. God is not supernaturally causing the water to dry up as He does throughout biblical prophecy. Rather, the drying up of the Euphrates River is due to natural causes. We need to do all we can to help those who are struggling through this drought and provide fresh water and food to them. Even though this isn’t a biblical prophecy being fulfilled, it is still important, and those struggling through the drought need our help.
In addition to taking tangible steps and understanding biblical prophecy, we also need to pray for those who are being impacted by the drought and the lack of water. God will hear your prayers, and He will answer in accordance to His will. It could be this drought will last a few years, or it might last longer. It is best for us to keep Western Asia in our prayers and pray for the Euphrates River to once again be a haven of freshwater and life.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Kasey McCoy
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.