From the July/August 2015 issue of Discern Magazine

Water in Bible Prophecy

The Bible describes terrible end-time plagues on the earth’s water systems; but after Jesus Christ’s return, fresh water will bring life even to barren lands.

God promised that obeying His laws would bring great blessings. He also warned that disobedience would lead to punishments, such as lack of fresh water (Deuteronomy 28:23-24; Psalm 107:33-34). The world’s developing water crises are the result of God’s withholding His blessing.

But, at the end of the age, water will play an even more dramatic role in bringing mankind to repentance.

Trumpet plagues affecting water

Bible prophecy describes a time when the cycle of sin will grow worse and worse—to the point that Jesus will need to intervene to save mankind from self-destruction (Matthew 24:21).

In the end times God will punish the sinful nations with a series of plagues, each preceded by the divine blast of a trumpet. Two of these plagues will directly affect our oceans and supplies of fresh water.

  • The second trumpet plague: “Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed” (Revelation 8:8-9).
  • The third trumpet plague: “Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter” (verses 10-11).

With the second trumpet plague, a third of the sea will become blood and a third of sea creatures will die. After the third trumpet, the fresh waters of the earth will become polluted and poisonous, causing many to die. 

Yet after six trumpet plagues, people will still not repent of their destructive sins (Revelation 9:20-21).

Last plagues affecting the seas, rivers and springs

Even after the seventh trumpet, which will signal Jesus’ return, most of the people on earth will continue to resist Him and God will respond with seven catastrophic “bowls of wrath” (Revelation 16:1-6). Two of these will also involve water. 

  • The second bowl of wrath: “Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died” (verse 3).
  • The third bowl of wrath: “Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood” (verse 4).

Every sea creature will die in the areas where those plagues strike when the waters become like the blood of a dead man. The fresh waters (rivers and springs) will also be turned to blood, killing everything in them. (For more about these prophecies, download our free booklet The Book of Revelation: The Storm Before the Calm.)

Between the terrible, vile stench permeating much of the earth and the unimaginable suffering that will stem from a land without water, the stiff-necked remnants of humanity will be one step closer to accepting Christ’s authority.

Jesus will refresh and restore all things—physically and spiritually

It’s difficult to grasp just how battered and chaotic the earth will be when Jesus returns. But in the midst of this devastation, God promises a future restoration linked to fresh, healing waters.It’s difficult to grasp just how battered and chaotic the earth will be when Jesus returns. But in the midst of this devastation, God promises a future restoration linked to fresh, healing waters.

Peter called the time after Jesus’ return the times of “refreshing” and “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:19-21).

Isaiah painted this beautiful word picture: “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. … For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water” (Isaiah 35:1, 6-7). 

Ezekiel prophesied, “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, ‘This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden’” (Ezekiel 36:34-35, New International Version).

The psalmist also praises God, who “turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into watersprings. There He makes the hungry dwell, that they may establish a city for a dwelling place, and sow fields and plant vineyards, that they may yield a fruitful harvest. He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly; and He does not let their cattle decrease” (Psalm 107:35-38).

Also note Isaiah 41:18-20 and 43:19-20.

But the story doesn’t end there. Read more about the coming time of restoration—and what it means for the whole human race—in the article “Times of Refreshing: How Will They Come?

About the Author

Don Henson

Don Henson

Don Henson, along with his wife, Rannie, is currently the pastor of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, congregations in Akron-Canton and Columbus-Cambridge, Ohio. He has been in the pastoral ministry since 1986, previously serving congregations in Oregon, Tennessee, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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