Few people would appreciate the magnitude of the Aswam Dam which holds back the waters of the mighty Nile River at Egypt’s southern border.
First, we must have some knowledge of the River that is intersected by this amazing feat of engineering. The Nile River is the longest River in the world (6,650 km) and passes through 11 countries. It has a catchment area of 10% of the African continent and stretches from the Mediterranean Sea halfway to Cape Town.
The main sources of the River Nile are the Blue Nile and the White Nile. The Blue Nile begins in the high snow-clad mountainous regions of Ethiopia and supplies 80% of the water volume.
Before the Flood of Noah’s day the Nile was called Gihon and was one of four rivers that flowed out of the Garden of Eden. Moses wrote:
The same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia (Genesis 2:13).
Ethiopia in Moses’ day was everything south of the southern border of Egypt.
The River Nile a God
The River Nile was considered a god in ancient Egypt. Egypt is a desert country with virtually no rain. Each year as the snows in Ethiopia melted the Nile overflowed its banks and the Pharaoh’s took the credit for sending the water down the river to flood and fertilize the soil for the superstitious Egyptians. Ezekiel prophecied against the Pharaoh of his day saying,
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself (Ezekiel 29:3).
When Ezekiel prophesied in 587BC he told them that God would restrain the annual flow and at the same time send Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the nation leaving it desolate and waste for 40 years. The irrigation channels (rivers) were not filled and the land was not flooded. History records that Nebuchadnezzar fulfilled this prophecy in 570 BC.
Pharaoh had defied God and the Lord showed that He owned the river and could remove Pharaoh Hophrah. God could control the Nile whenever He wished.
We see a similar situation with Global warming. Men claim that they control the weather but in December 2009 when the UN had a Global Warming Conference in Copenhagen God sent a blast of freezing weather and President Obama had to travel by road to the White House on his return; his helicopter was grounded! Airports all over Europe were shut down and trains stopped in the tunnel under the English channel.
In 2012 and 2013 Antarctica has had its coldest winters and in January 2014, in mid-summer, ships sailing to Antarctica have been trapped in sea ice; passengers had to be rescued by helicopter. In 2012 sea ice increased by 35% to 19.44 million sq.kms. When puny man defies Almighty God, God laughs!
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision (Psalm 2:4).
Construction of the Aswam Dam
In 1960 Egypt began to build a dam across the Nile at Aswam in order to control the flow of water in the Nile and to use its mighty discharge to generate power. The Dam is 3,830 metres (12,570 ft) long, and 111 metres (364 ft) tall. The Dam was finished in 1970 with Russian help and has changed the whole ecology of the region.
Lake Nasser, which has been created by the Dam, is 550 km long and 35 km wide at its widest point. Its capacity is equal to 250 Sydney Harbours! Plans were made in 2011 to extend the Dam.
Hydro power generated at the Aswam Dam meets about half of Egypt’s demand. At maximum, 11,000 cubic metres per second (390,000 cu ft/s) of water can pass through the dam.
No longer does the Nile annually flood and fertilize the land and the Sardine catch off the Egyptian coast declined from 18,000 tons in 1962 to a mere 460 tons in 1968, but then gradually recovered to 8,590 tons in 1992. However, A new fishing industry has been created around Lake Nasser, though it is struggling due to its distance from any significant markets. The annual production was about 35,000 tons in the mid-1990s.
Civil War in Egypt
About 700 BC Isaiah prophesied of a future time when the land of Egypt would suffer dreadful civil war and come under the rule of a “fierce king” (Isaiah 19:4). God said:
And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom (Isaiah19:2).
It is not difficult to believe that Egypt will have a civil war when we daily watch the unrest, mass demonstrations and violence, on the TV screen.
It is quite evident that this prophecy has never been fulfilled in the past since the outcome will be the conversion of the Egyptians:
And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them (Isaiah 19:21-22).
The Nile to Run Dry
At this time the River Nile will dry up bringing economic ruin to the country for we read:
Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do (Isaiah 19:15).
Egypt is totally dependant on the Nile for its very existence but the Scripture states that
the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. And they shall turn the rivers far away (Isaiah19:5-6).
It seems that the Nile will dry up because it will be diverted “far away”. In chapter 11 of Isaiah’s prophecy we read that in the last days men won’t even have to take their shoes off to walk across the Nile River:
The LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod [lit. with shoes] (Isaiah11:15).
Ethiopia Dams the Blue Nile
The Blue Nile which is the source of 80% of the water flowing into the Nile, is being dammed by Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s Millennium Dam, also called the Grand Ethiopian Dam, Renaissance scheduled began construction in April 2011 and is for completion in 2017. It straddles the Blue Nile about 40 km from the border of Sudan and will have the largest hydro-plant in Africa. The project has been designed by American engineers and the initial contract for construction was US$4.8 billion.
This dam will have the ability to limit the flow of water into the Nile so when the Bible says, “they shall turn the rivers far away” we can see how feasible it is since 80% of the water flowing into the Nile will flow through the Millennium Dam.
We know that during the Tribulation there will be awful drought conditions as God withholds the rain so if there is not enough water for Ethiopia’s needs it would be unlikely to release water to evaporate as it flows through the Nubian Desert to the Aswam Dam. It may well be diverted to serve Ethiopia’s needs and the Nile will dry up.
Conversion of Egyptians
Today 90% of Egyptians are Muslims. Not all Egyptians are fundamentalists and recent demonstrations indicate a large percentage are nominal Muslims opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, however, after the Rapture we read that 144,000 Jewish men will be sealed by God to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom “in all the world” (Matthew 24:14). It is therefore clear that these servants of God will bear testimony in Egypt and through their testimony many Egyptians will seek the Lord so that Isaiah states:
The LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it
The fact that the Egyptians will sacrifice to the Lord indicates that the conversion of the Egyptians could not be before the Rapture and must be when Israel is testifying because the Church does not offer sacrifices. However, Revelation chapter 11 indicates that the Jewish Tribulation Temple will be built and sacrifices will be offered until Antichrist causes the “sacrifice and oblation to cease” halfway through the 7-year Tribulation. The coming of the Lord must be near!