The recent Deep Water Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana shores produced catastrophic results. The consequences have been measured primarily in economic terms, i.e. loss of income for those who made their living from the fishing industry and the loss of tourism dollars because of tainted beaches. The incident can be attributed to human activity driven by the need/desire to obtain energy sources. And while this incident is devastating, the percent of sea water affected is relatively small compared with the volume of sea water around the globe.
Polluted water has not, however, always been attributed to human activity. Consider the historical Red Tides around Florida. Red Tides are a natural phenomenon caused by toxins released by certain microscopic plankton organisms. Red Tides also have a negative economic affect similar to that caused by the BP incident.
So water pollution has been caused both by human activity and natural phenomenon. In addition the Bible tells of water pollution caused by the direct intervention of God in the affairs of men to get their attention and show that He is God.
Recall the ten plagues that God brought on Egypt because Pharaoh would not release the Hebrews from their bondage of slavery. The very first of the ten plagues was polluting the waters of the River Nile.
“So the LORD said to Moses: ‘Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.’” Exodus 7:14
“So Moses…lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh…And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river.” Exodus 7:20-21
“…So all the Egyptians dug all around the river for water to drink, because they could not drink the water of the river…” Exodus 7:24
This incident was localized, i.e. confined to the waters of the Nile River. Pharaoh didn’t heed God’s warnings; therefore, the plague was ordered. However, in the future God will cause water pollution on a much larger scale. And the reason for the future plagues is the same as the former, i.e. man will not heed God’s warnings. The Bible states there will be two instances of major water pollution during the approaching seven year tribulation period, one occurrence during the early part of the tribulation and another during the latter part of the period.
“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
This verse describes the result of the second trumpet plague. Notice that an apparent asteroid is hurled into the sea and turns one third of the world’s seas into blood which destroys one third of the sea life along with one third of the world’s ships. This incident is far from a localized catastrophic event.
But that’s not all, right after that the fresh waters of the earth are affected.
“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.” Revelation 8:10-11
One would think that such events would cause all men to acknowledge and honor God, but such will not be the case.
“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver…which can neither see nor hear nor walk.” Revelation 9:20
Things will get progressively worse as the end of the seven year tribulation period approaches. Once again the seas and fresh waters are polluted. This time all the waters of the earth will be affected
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.” Revelation 15:1
“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.” Revelation 16:3
“Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: ‘You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.’” Revelation 16:4-6
Indeed, water pollution can be a terrible thing. According to the Bible the present crisis in the Gulf of Mexico is really just a ‘drop in the bucket’ compared to the future.