The Lebanon Star newspaper is reporting that the Beirut River ran blood red today. I'll post the excerpt from the article, then speak to a negative and a positive.
"BEIRUT: The Beirut River mysteriously turned blood red Wednesday after a stream of unidentified red liquid began pouring from the southern bank of the river in Furn al-Shubbak. The source of the liquid had yet to be determined Wednesday evening, as the river continued to empty the red-colored water into the Mediterranean Sea. Government and local officials rushed to the scene at the Chevrolet crossing of Furn al-Shubbak Wednesday morning in an attempt to locate the sewage canal that was dumping the red-colored water but they were unable to locate the source."
|Authorities have yet to determine the source of the substance causing the red color.|
"Several business owners around the Chevrolet crossing said that colored water pours into the river roughly every two months but no one pays attention to it. It was the quantity and brightness of the red liquid that grabbed the attention of many passersby and commuters on different bridges in the city Wednesday."
OK, so granted, it is strange to see the river turn blood red with that depth of color. In all the other times, perhaps, it maybe ran green or yellow but never red.
"First we thought it was blood, but it seems like it is a kind of coloring dumped by a factory,” said Sabbagh, who also said that the test to determine the type of the chemical would take a week."
Now that initial testing has taken place, The Star reported in a subsequent article that it is NOT blood. "BEIRUT: Laboratory tests of samples from Beirut River that mysteriously turned red Wednesday have discounted blood as the source of the coloration of the major waterway."
It is obviously some industrial or organic runoff. The source will be found soon, I'm sure.
But I want to talk for a moment about the reaction to the first story as it unfolded online. This is the negative. People thought it was prophecy coming true. They believed that it was a direct fulfillment of Revelation 16:4, the Bowl Judgment where "The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood."
The incident at the Beirut River cannot be a a fulfillment of Revelation 16 because all that is prophesied to happen before Rev. 16 is fulfilled has not occurred yet. God is orderly, and He said that His wrath in judgment would unfold after the church is taken up to heaven (1 Thess 5:9, Is 26:20). He said that the Third Bowl judgment would happen after the First and the Second Bowl judgments, and they haven't occurred yet. He said that the Bowl Judgments would take place after the Trumpet Judgments (Rev 8-9) which take place after the Seal Judgments (Rev 6). None of this has taken place. Read Revelation 6-16 to see the order of what I just described.
A little biblical learning is a dangerous thing. Prophecy is meant to be God's word to us foretelling the future, so that we may act accordingly, and so that we may believe. Only God knows the future, so when we see it coming true, we know He is sovereign and omniscient- knowing all things. We know He is omnipotent, because only He can cause the things to come true in the manner in which He has said. Thoughtlessly flinging around prophetic verses and casually and incorrectly saying they are fulfilled, is dangerous at worst and stupid at best.
This article in the Florida Baptist Witness is about Joel C. Rosenberg, a Christian and an expert on both geo-politics at the top levels and also is familiar with prophecy. In the article, Joel said war in the Middle East is coming soon. He also said of prophecy in general,
“Prophecy is an intercept from the mind of an all-knowing and all-seeing and all powerful God,” he said. It is meant to inspire, motivate and encourage. It will lead to repentance, holiness, and prayer and fasting, Rosenberg said, adding that prophecy is about the “preaching of the Gospel, making of disciples, planting churches, reaching young people with the Gospel, [and] reaching all people with the Gospel.”"
Pastors today resist preaching prophecy. Rosenberg said, "For some it’s because prophecy has been “sensationalized” in the past and they resist the “cheapening of God’s Word,” he said. Others might feel unprepared. Some have simply forgotten its power."
Amen to all the above. Prophecy, as is all of God's word, is the truth of GOD delivered at great cost to the messenger and carried on the backs of martyrs who died for the faith. I feel particularly aggrieved when people cheapen prophecy by studying it casually and applying it liberally, and incorrectly. Don't do that.
On the positive side, I was glad to see that when people saw the river turn red the first thing they thought of was God. For many, biblical prophecy in the end times was the first thing that came to mind, not an industrial accident or an organic event. That is good.
But now the question comes, what are you going to do about it? Because God's word is sure. When it turns out to have been an industrial runoff, people will shake off their prophetic thought and think themselves a silly person. Not so. That premonition, that inkling, is real. Revelation 16 will come, and the rivers will turn to blood, for real. And then what will you drink? I hope by then you will be drinking the Living Water. (John 4:1-26). Jesus is the answer.