The Bible says that when the Euphrates River dries up, huge events appear on the horizon, perhaps even a prediction of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 16:12 says, “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 prophecy not only identifies the judgment but also gives the reason for it: so a great army from the East can cross the Euphrates unimpeded. Next, the kings of the earth gather “to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16).
At that point, Jesus returns, and the battle fought at Armageddon will result in all God’s enemies being destroyed (Revelation 16:17–20; 19:11–21). A key event leading up to Armageddon is the drying up of the Euphrates. Are we witnessing the setup for the fulfillment of a major end-times prophecy?
Together with the Tigris, the Euphrates passes through the territory of modern Syria and Iraq before flowing into the Persian Gulf. For millennia, the twin rivers have allowed farming communities and major cities to flourish in Mesopotamia, considered the birthplace of some of the world’s earliest civilizations .
However, over the course of several decades, it has become increasingly clear that the Tigris-Euphrates river system is drying up. A 2021 government report warned that rivers could dry up by 2040 due to lower water levels and droughts caused by climate change .
NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites collected images of the area in 2013 and scientists found that the Tigris and Euphrates river basins have lost 144 cubic kilometers of fresh water since 2003.
“GRACE data show an alarming rate of decline in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates basins, which currently has the second-highest rate of groundwater loss on Earth after India,” said Principal Investigator Hydrologist Jay Famiglietti of the University of California, Irvine.
“The pace of growth was particularly striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, the demand for fresh water continues to grow and the region is not coordinating water management due to different interpretations of international laws,” Famiglietti explained.
Tension is already beginning to show, but the complete destruction of the river system will lead to disaster for the region. Millions of people across Turkey, Syria and Iraq rely on water from the Tigris and Euphrates. As rivers begin to experience difficulties, international disputes over access to water are already heating up.
These water-stressed countries may also face a looming public health crisis. A recent report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) examined how many health emergencies are mounting in Iraq as people struggle to get clean water.
“Diarrhea, chickenpox, measles, typhoid and cholera are currently spreading throughout Iraq due to the water crisis and the government is no longer providing vaccines to its citizens,” Nasir Bakar, climate change activist and field coordinator, told BMJ Tigris River Defenders Association in Iraq.
While the Bible’s predictions about the fate of the Euphrates should be taken with a grain of salt, perhaps its prediction of monumental change was not entirely wrong.