“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and it’s water dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.” (Revelation 16:12).
What is it about a prophecy that captivates our interest? The simple answer is to know the unknown. But why? Some want to know what the future holds for selfish reasons, hoping to obtain some information they can use for personal gain. Maybe, it’s the desire to be forewarned about situations they want to be prepared for or outright avoid.
Other times it’s just a lust for knowledge. We just have to know. The craving for knowing has exploded with the advent of social media and 24-hour news. In reality, most of what we seek to know, we don’t need to know; it’s just another type of lust that requires continual feeding. The quest for knowledge of good and evil is never satisfied, no matter the value of the information.
But, just for the sake of argument, Let me suggest one other reason for the desire for knowledge about the future—a sense of guilt. Guilt is an awareness that there is something in our lives that we would like to keep hidden or rid ourselves of before our Lord’s return. And we consciously or subconsciously want to find some assurance there will be time to make things right, as it were.
The accuracy of Biblical prophecy is without equal. And History is witness to its accuracy. It records numerous scriptural prophetic events that have come to pass, just as foretold years, decades, or centuries before. Because of the Bible’s predictive exactness, it is difficult to deny that those prophecies yet to be fulfilled will be fulfilled.
But this certainty also leaves us with a question, what can we do about it, if anything? If you ask most Christians, ‘what can you do about prophetic predictions,’ the response is likely, ‘nothing except be ready.’ But this begs another question: if there’s nothing we can do about it, why would God reveal it to us?
I intend to focus on the event described in our opening quote in this article. And the selection of this particular event comes about as the result of a message I received regarding the Euphrates river during Bible study;
‘When the water in the region dries up – people will over-run Israel – the last water in the region.’
I noted the date; it was July 23, 2021. And I quickly recalled this verse from the book of Revelation. Again, the same question comes to mind; why would God reveal this information if there is nothing that we can do about it?
There are two types of prophecy recorded in scripture. One serves more of a warning, meaning the revealed outcome is not inevitable; it’s a possible outcome if there are no changes in behavior. If you don’t do this, then this will happen. But if you do this, then this will be the result.
We find this type of prophetic warning in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God makes His intentions known to the faithful in the person of Abraham. Abraham’s response was to intervene through prayer, and the cities of the plain gained another chance. Because of Abraham’s intervention, God spared Lot, and his two daughters.
The second type is also a warning, but its warning is; that this is what’s coming, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Prophecy of this type will be our focus. But it doesn’t provide a totally satisfying answer to why. It does provide part of the answer because, to Christians, it is an assurance of our Lord’s return, as He promised. And the restoration of righteousness. But there is more.
“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and it’s water dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.” (Revelation 16:12)
The message I received describes one in a sequence of events that are part of the result of the drying up of the Euphrates river in Revelation sixteen. Suppose we consider Revelation 16:12 solely a future event, expecting it to happen the instant the angel pours out his bowl of wrath. In that case, we will completely overlook the fact the river Euphrates is drying up now.
The Euphrates river currently drying up is incredibly relevant. The river is not drying up all at once. It is drying up at a pace that may catch us off-guard. The river is drying up, not as a natural event, but because of the greed of nations. In essence, man assists in fulfilling the prophecy recorded in Revelation 16:12.
Seeing this event take place in real-time gives us another answer to the question of why God reveals prophecy to us. What I received was a precursor to an assault on Israel. If you choose not to take what I received seriously, then take what is happening to the Euphrates river seriously. Put the pieces of the current events together, and tell me what you see taking place. I am not claiming to be a prophet, just simply sharing what was given.
We seem to always relate future prophetic battles as modern armies with sophisticated weapons of war, yet never consider the possibility of hordes of desperate people being an army, overrunning a country that has water after their country’s water is gone.
How will an army of refugees affect Israel in general? And how will a mass influx of hungry and thirsty people affect Israel’s national defenses? There are numerous historical examples of hoards of ‘expendable’ people being sent as human shields ahead of invading armies in ground assaults.
Since the beginning of creation, the Euphrates river has been a part of humanity’s story. From Genesis and the Garden of Eden until today. Great empires have risen and fallen on the bank of the Euphrates, and the evil armies mentioned in Revelation will meet their final demise. One of these final-assault places will be when they cross the dried-up riverbed. But we cannot ignore what happens between then and now as being of no consequence.
It was once a formidable river creating a boundary between cultures. From the Babylonian Empire until recently, the river has been the choice to transport goods and people in ships and barges. Now it is barely navigable in many places.
The Euphrates river’s primary sources (or heads) are in present-day Turkey. Currently, Turkey has constructed (or is building) 22 dams that control 90% of the Euphrates river water flow and 44% of its sister river, the Tigris.
By their actions, the Turkish government demonstrates they will control the water flow of these two great rivers without regard to those peoples and countries downstream, namely Syria, Iraq, and part of Iran. This disregard for other nations should surprise no one since this same Turkish government is engaged in the wholesale persecutions of Christians who dare to live within their borders.
Downstream in Syria, the water flow is so diminished the Syrian government is considering closing one of its dams, the Tishrin Dam. Since the Tishrin is a hydroelectric dam, its closure would reduce the available electricity supply to its citizens. The Syrian, Iraqis and a portion of the Iranian people will be left to fend for themselves for water. And they will go where there is water -to Israel.
The effects of Turkeys damming projects are being felt in Southwest Iran, sparking protests by the local population. Instead of addressing this situation with the Turkish government, they’ve chosen to quell the protests by force and cover up the water shortage by restricting the internet and other forms of mass communication. To say trouble is brewing is a gross understatement.
We err if we interpret the book of Revelation as only describing a distant future. Using this as our only lens of interpretation blinds us to the fact the groundwork for that future is already here. We must also get past the singular belief that catastrophic events described in Revelation come upon us suddenly, disregarding the everyday progress of fulfillment.
While we focus all of our attention on the outpouring of the sixth bowl of wrath, we stand on the banks of the Euphrates river, watching the water dry up without a second thought.
The deterioration of the Euphrates river is not new this week, this year, or even this decade, but its demise is accelerating. I am not bringing any new revelation. But, I am saying prophecy can come to pass right before our eyes for years. Maybe what is happening to the Euphrates river is not the ‘breaking news‘ because of its lack of suddenness.
Do not let the suddenness of events be your only judge of when, where, and how God’s prophecy reaches its conclusion. Always be in the now. Now is the time; today is the day for action. We cannot allow evil governments to destroy innocent lives and go on as if it’s not our responsibility to intervene. A misguided interpretation of the book of Revelation relating to future events is not justification for doing nothing. It’s an excuse!
To bring clarity to the need to be in the now when seeking to understand prophecy, let’s look at another biblical account -the story of Noah. “Then God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13).
If the fulfillment of some prophecy takes place over a period of years, make it any less valid? No. It took decades to complete the prophecy of the flood. We cannot be exact about the length of time it took Noah to construct the ark, but most biblical scholars estimate it to be between 50-80 years. And during the entire time of the ark’s construction, we do not see anyone seeking a relationship with God.
“And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building;”(Luke 17:25-27).
Allow me to paraphrase this historical account; they were eating and drinking and buying and selling until the day the Euphrates river was completely dried up, then the end came.
We are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy concerning the Euphrates river right now. Our war, as Christians, is against powers and principalities—namely, the Prince of Persia, who Daniel mentions. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia” (Daniel 10:13). The area of Persia is still the seat of evil power in the region.
We cannot stop the prophecy described in Revelation. Still, I believe our calling is to respond to its inevitability. We must double our outreach to the needs of those caught up in this tragedy, thereby giving more people the chance to hear the Gospel and come to salvation through Christ. We must not assist in destroying the Euphrates through cowardliness or uncaring.
It’s not the purpose of this article to instruct you on what action to take on a political or economic level. That is for you to decide and those called to do those things. However, are we not our brothers’ keepers? Have we, as Christians, not been given the mission to preach the Gospel to everyone who would listen and help those in need?
The realization of the fact that prophecy is being fulfilled right before us should awaken us. We must not hide behind “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Mathew 24:36), forsaking our mission as followers of Christ.
We may not know the day or the hour, but Jesus also said, “You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?” (Luke 12:56).
There is no need to predict the day or the hour, for it is happening right before our eyes. And we are to be about our father’s business until the day and hour arrive. Prophecy is given to us to provoke a response.
So, as you watch the Euphrates river dry up and witness the fulfillment of prophecy, what will your response be? Will you seek to save your life as a doomsday prepper? Or will you keep your soul by accepting salvation through the Lord Jesus?
You may think, ‘I have time, the rivers not dried up yet.’ I’m sure that’s what people in Noah’s time thought every day during the 50 to 80 years that passed while watching the ark’s construction daily. Once God shut the door, it was too late. And bear in mind, even if Noah wanted to help those facing destruction, he couldn’t. For “the Lord shut him in.” (Genesis 7:16).