Whether you believe that the Bible prophesies of the end of times or not, one thing is clear: the Euphrates river is drying up. As a result, there is a great deal of concern over the implications for global food and water supplies.
It’s not just climate change that’s drying up the Euphrates, though. A combination of factors including a severe drought, dams built by Turkey and Syria, and wasteful water policies by Iraqi farmers have slashed the flow of the legendary river, reports the New York Times. This has made it hard for rice, wheat, and barley farmers to irrigate their crops; Mesopotamian date trees are withering; and the once-rich marshes that teem with bird life are now devoid of wildlife.
This is a real concern for the 7 million families in Iraq that depend on this river. It’s also a huge problem for the other countries that the river flows through such as Syria. Temperatures in northeastern Syria have risen by one degree Celsius over the past 100 years, and average rainfall has dropped by 18 millimeters per month per century.
But there’s another reason why the drying up of the Euphrates is a big problem, at least for those who believe in end-times prophecies. John 16:12 says that the sixth bowl judgment (the penultimate one) is when “the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” If the Euphrates is dry, armies from the north and east will be able to travel to the place known as Armageddon without any natural barriers to slow them down.