With the Jewish Passover scheduled to be celebrated on April 22-30, 2016, NASA released an unusual satellite photo earlier this month of the Nile River pictured completely red just as it happened during Israel’s exodus.
The water wasn’t really red, but this was how it showed up in a photo taken by NASA’s Sentinel 3-A, launched February 16th, as part of its Earth observation system. The satellite used a Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer which measures the energy radiating from the earth’s surface. It can take photos in multiple bands including infrared.
The red is actually the vegetation along the Nile’s banks.
Turning the Nile water into blood (Exodus 7:20) was the first of ten plagues that God would bring upon Egypt.
This curse was particularly significant as the Nile River was one of the three main gods of the Egyptian religion. The other two being the Pharaoh and the sun.
In 2000, archaeologists discovered three massive pink granite statues in the submerged port of Heracleion where the Nile river once poured in the Mediterranean. Measuring 5.7 meters high, they were representations of an unknown pharaoh and his wife and the Nile god, Hapi, with its animal head and human body.
From a spiritual perspective the first plague showed that Jehovah was capable of dispatching or killing Hapi. Considering this was one of Egypt’s three main gods, it was a telling blow.
But there were also other factors at work here — there were demonic forces behind these gods (Deuteronomy 32:16-17).
We see an indication of this in Ezekiel 29 as the prophet brings a word against Egypt. The first line starts off innocently enough condemning the Egyptian pharaoh, but it takes a ominous turn and begins to rail against a monster in the Nile River:
“Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,
The great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers,
That has said, ‘My Nile is mine, and I myself have made it.’
4 “I will put hooks in your jaws
And make the fish of your rivers cling to your scales.
And I will bring you up out of the midst of your [e]rivers,
And all the fish of your rivers will cling to your scales …
6 “Then all the inhabitants of Egypt will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 29:3, 4, 6a NASV)
The word monster is the Hebrew word “tannim” and refers a great serpent or dragon and by implication some type of sea monster. The same word is used in Jeremiah 51:34 to describe a monster capable of consuming humans.
It was something the Egyptians feared. But I believe at this point, God was describing the demonic force behind the Nile god. God was going to drag it out and and slaughter it.
Not only was turning the Nile River red a sign to the Egyptians that Jehovah had dealt with Hapi, but it also delivered a much more significant message, unseen by most, that God had bound the demonic strong man controlling Egypt (Mark 3:20-27).
According to Psalms 78:43-49, just before Israel’s exodus, God sent a band of destroying angels into Egypt who battled and defeated the satanic forces controlling that country and influencing the pharaoh.