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by Dr. John Thomas
When Moses penned the words "in Eden," he was westward in "the wilderness of the land of Egypt".
From the expression, then, we are to understand that there was a country styled Eden in his day, which lay to the eastward of his position.
Adam and Eve were its aborigines.
It was "the East" of the Egyptians, as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are "the West" to the Atlantic American States.
It was quite an extensive range of country, and in after times became the seat of powerful dominions.
It appears to have been well watered by the branches, or tributaries, of "a river that went," or flowed, "out of it".
These were four principal streams, whose names, as given by Moses, are the Pison, "which compasseth the whole land of Havilah"; the Gihon, "the same is it which compasseth the whole land of Khush," or Khushistan; the third, the Hiddekel, or Tigris, "that is it which goeth eastward to Assyria.
And the fourth river is the Euphrates," frequently styled in the scriptures, "the Great River".
On the map before me, there are four rivers which flow together, and at length form a river which fails into the Persian Gulf.
This indicates the country called Eden, namely, that which is watered by these rivers; so that we may reasonably conclude that in early times it comprehended the land east of the Jordan, Syria, Assyria, part of Persia, Khushistan, and the original settlements of Ishmael.
This country, in after ages, came to be denominated "the Garden of the Lord"; and the kings who reigned in it, "the Trees of Eden".
It was no doubt termed the Lord's garden as a whole, from the fact of His having, in the beginning, planted a garden in it, where He put the man; so that the name of a small part of Eden came to be applied by his family in the time of Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, and Moses, to the whole region; more especially as the future paradise is to occupy a considerable portion of its ancient limits.
The plain of Jordan appears to have been part of Eden from the following texts.
"Lot beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere as the garden of the Lord.
Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east; and dwelled in the cities of the plain"; that is, in the East, or Eden.
There is a prophecy in Ezekiel, predicting the overthrow of the Egyptian Pharaoh by the King of Babylon, "the mighty one of the heathen".
In setting forth the certainty of his overthrow, God recapitulates the power and dominion of the Ninevite dynasty of Assyria; which, however, was not able to withstand the King of Babylon, and therefore there was no hope for Egypt of a successful resistance.
In the recapitulation, the Ninevite Assyrian is styled, "a cedar in Lebanon"; that is, his dominion extended over the land of the ten tribes of Israel, in which are the cedar-crowned mountains of Lebanon.
After describing the greatness of his power by the magnitude of the cedar, the Lord says, "the cedars in the garden of God could not hide him; nor was any tree in the garden of God like unto him in his beauty.
I made him fair by the multitude of his branches; so that all the trees of Eden, in the garden of God, envied him".
These trees are representative of the royalties of Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel, etc., which the king of Assyria had abolished; and which "could not hide him," or prevent him getting the ascendancy over them.
It is clear, then, from the terms of this beautiful allegory, that the countries I have indicated are comprehended in Eden; that as a whole it is styled the garden of the Lord; and that the trees are the royalties of the land.