Bible Prophecy: The Aswan High Dam


There are many prophecies in the Bible about Egypt, which is a near neighbour of Israel.

Some of these relate to the present time. The prophecies concerning Egypt recorded in the books of EZEKIEL and ISAIAH, have turned out to be amazingly accurate. As we will see, some are being fulfilled through the efforts of the Egyptians themselves to modernise their nation.

The accuracy of their description of the unhappy course of events that has overtaken that country is indeed a proof of God's inspiration of Scripture.

One such example refers to the River Nile, and has been brought about by the mighty Aswan High Dam project.


The building of the Aswan High Dam, was a project promoted by Colonel Nasser, the soldier turned politician, who helped to oust King Farouk in a military coup in 1952. He became Prime Minister of Egypt in 1954. Because he accepted military support from Communist Bloc nations, in 1956 the USA and Great Britain withdrew offers made the previous year to build the dam.

Nasser then nationalised the Suez Canal and blocked Israeli ships from using it. Israel invaded Egypt, and Great Britain and France sent in troops to "protect the Canal Zone." But pressure from the UN and USA forced them to withdraw leaving Nasser triumphant and in charge of the Canal.


Because of the tensions the World Bank refused to fund the dam and the USSR provided the money and know-how for the dam, which Nasser claimed would revolutionise and enrich Egyptian society. To repay the loan from the USSR, Egypt was required to turn over all revenues from the Suez Canal to the USSR. The High Dam is up-river from another smaller dam, the Aswan Dam, completed in 1902. The High Dam is a massive earth and rockfill structure, 3 miles long and 350 feet high. Lake Nasser, formed by the dam, is 300 miles long and 6 miles wide. The Temples of Abu Simbel, built by Pharoah Ramses II in the 1200's BC near the river bank, had to be moved to higher ground during the construction.


A special feature entitled "Dam Dream Turns Sour" was published in the Melbourne "Herald" a number of years ago. It included the following statement:

"The Egyptians have at last acknowledged that something is very wrong with the Aswan High Dam. The gigantic project which brought the world to the brink of atomic war in the 1950's is now the subject of a million-dollar survey into its environmental effects on the Nile. The dam has created grave problems."

Ironically, among the thousands engaged on the Nile survey are many American biologists and chemists.


What went wrong? The flooding of the Nile used to bring millions of tonnes of silt on to the arable land along the banks of the Nile and into the Nile Delta area where the river discharged in to the Mediterranean Sea. Today most if this is trapped in the dam at Aswan, while the Mediterranean which used to be kept at bay by the full force of the river, and the fresh silt deposits every year, is eating up the coastline around the delta.

The loss of a nutrient supply from the river has killed the sardine industry in the South East Mediterranean Sea. The stagnant waters in the Nile Delta area at the entrance to the Sea have encouraged a plague of disease-bearing snails called "bilharzia" here and in the irrigation canals. The dam has halted the yearly supply of silt that farmers relied upon to fertilise their crops and brick-builders used to make their bricks. It has hastened the flow of peasants from the countryside to the towns, where their sprawling shanty towns compete with valuable agricultural land. The sardine industry, cotton industry and agriculture of the Nile valley have all been damaged by the damming of the water, and there have been no great advantages to offset these losses.


The prophet Ezekiel, writing about 2,600 years ago, made the following predictions:

Egypt, from Migdol in the north to Syene (Aswan) in the south would become "desolate and waste" (EZEKIEL 29:10). Wealthy Egyptians like the Fayed family that owns Harrods in London have fled the country. (EZEKIEL 29:12)

God said: "I will make the rivers (of Egypt) dry... and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers" (EZEKIEL 30:12-13).

"I will also destroy the idols, (Abu Simbel?... the entire "god-worship" of idols) and I will cause their images to cease out of the land of Noph... and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt" (EZEKIEL 30:13).

Isaiah wrote as follows: "And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river (of Egypt) shall be wasted and dried up... the reeds and flags shall wither...

The fishers also shall mourn... they that work in fine flax... they that weave networks shall be confounded... Neither shall there be any work for Egypt... In that day shall Egypt... be afraid and fear because of the shaking by the hand of the Lord of hosts" (ISAIAH 19:5-16).

For centuries the Nile has been the lifeline of the once powerful Egyptian civilisation. With the failure of its productive potential Egypt certainly had much to fear!


Although this project has become a tragedy for Egypt, it is a source of encouragement and even excitement for believers in the Bible.

Here is another prophecy which has been fulfilled. As the Bible says, against all odds, one of the world's great rivers has ceased to flow as before, bringing devastation to many people.

This is one less prophecy to be completed before Jesus returns! Perhaps His Coming is closer than we imagine.

Even so, Come Lord Jesus!

source: Auckland Christian Assembly - New Zealand.

Taken from HQL-9822, p. 7-9