The Location Of Eden
The hope of the Kingdom
should be the blinding light of our lives; it is surprising what great
insight into that time can be gained from tracing through the allusions
to it which are constantly made through the teaching of figures
and types. One such means of visualizing the details of the Kingdom is
through a study of the Garden of Eden. We are going to suggest that the
Garden was originally located in the area around Jerusalem, centred on
the temple mount, and that God's throne was originally located there,
with a river going from it and every desirable thing located in the area.
In the Millenium- the " restoration of all things" - this scenario
will be repeated.
The location of Eden
A number of passages
clearly associate Eden with Jerusalem and Israel:
1) Ezekiel 28:13,14:
" Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone
was thy covering, the sardius,topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx,and
the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the
workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the
day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth;and
I have set thee so:thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast
walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." This prophecy
concerns Tyre, and comments on her important place in the temple worship;it
may well refer only to Hiram, described as " ever a lover of David"
and presumably a proselyte. Being in " Eden the garden of God"
(v.13) is associated with being " upon the holy mountain of God"
(v.14)-so Mount Zion, the temple mount, was part of Eden.
2) There are many points
of contact between Christ as the seed of the woman in the garden of Gethsemane
(near the temple mount) and Eve in the garden of Eden- e.g. " The
woman whom Thou gavest Me" (John 17:11) recalls Adam's " the
woman which Thou gavest Me" (caused me to be sinful in Your sight-
as we did to Jesus on the cross in the same garden). Not least there is
the contrast between the struggles against temptation which took place
in the same garden.
3) Isaiah 51:3:"
For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places;
and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden
of the Lord;joy and gladness shall be found therein,and the voice of melody."
Here we see an association
between the land of Israel and Eden. The verse seems to allude to Gen.13:10:
" And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan,that
it was well watered everywhere.. even as the garden of the Lord"
. Cannot " her wilderness.. and her desert" be the area around
Sodom, which will be greatly changed by the healing of the Dead Sea? Thus
Sodom and Gomorrah were located in " the plain of Jordan" just
to the north of the Dead Sea. This area is directly East of Jerusalem,
and this explains why Isaiah 51 says it will be a place of especial singing
and melody, as presumably it will be here that the worshippers gather
before ascending the temple mount to enter the temple, whose entrance
gate will be on the East- Ez. 46:1. Thus the " garden of the Lord"
is connected with the area around the temple mount. Ezekiel 36:35 becomes
relevant here: " And they shall say, This land that was desolate
is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined
cities are become fenced, and are inhabited" . The cities mentioned
are Sodom and Gomorrha- most other major cities have already been rebuilt
in the land, and Ezekiel 36 must have its main fulfilment after Christ's
return. Not now is the fertility of the land as proverbial as these prophecies
say it will be. Thus the " desolate land" - whether Israel
or the area of Sodom East of Jerusalem which we are suggesting- is described
as " the garden of Eden" . Alternatively, the area being described
is the temple or Jerusalem,seeing that the word " ruined (Pulled,
thrown down)" in Ez. 36:35 is often used about the destruction of
these places by the invasions. " Cities" would then be seen
as an intensive Hebrew plural for the great city- Jerusalem. Jeremiah
12 and other prophecies strengthen this by using the figure of a wilderness
to describe the desolation of the temple and Jerusalem-" I have forsaken
My house (temple).. they have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness"
. Also Is. 64:10 " Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation"
4) Lamentations 2:6:
" He hath violently taken away His tabernacle (A.V.margin- 'hedge'),
as if it were of a garden:He hath destroyed the places of His assembly"
(in Jerusalem). The context of this verse is Jeremiah lamenting the fact
that the temple had not been protected by God, even if the rest of the
land had been overrun. He describes the withdrawal of God's protection
from the temple as if a hedge had been taken away from around a garden.
Thus the temple area is associated with God's garden- Eden.
5) Joel 2:1,3: "
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My Holy Mountain: let
all the inhabitants of the land tremble.. the land is as the garden of
Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness" . Again,
Eden is associated with the land of Israel and Jerusalem. Of possible
interest here is the Septuagint of v.3 " the land before them
is as a paradise of delight (Eden), and behind them a desolate plain"
, perhaps alluding to Sodom and Gomorrha, " cities of the plain"
, thus associating them with Eden again.
6) Isaiah 66:17 "
They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in the gardens behind
one tree in the midst.." . This clearly alludes to the tree of knowledge
in Eden, and primarily describes the abominations of the priests in the
temple, thus connecting Eden with the temple.
7) A more complicated
argument comes from a study of the terminology of Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28
and 31. We have listed below the more obvious similarities between the
passages. It can be shown that the terms 'Assyria' and 'Babylon' are often
used interchangeably. This is shown especially in Isaiah 14 ,which in
the context of Isaiah's time was more relevant to Sennacherib of Assyria
than to Babylon, which was not a significant power at the time Isaiah
prophesied. The prophecy speaks in v.25 of the Assyrian being broken in
the land, as if continuing the prophecy about the downfall of the king
aiming to capture Jerusalem. Thus Ezekiel 31 concerning Assyria is commenting
on Isaiah 14, both of which have great parallels with the history of Tyre
as outlined in Ezekiel 28. The basis for this parallel is that both the
kings of Assyria and Tyre aspired to change the system of temple worship
in Jerusalem. Sennacherib wanted to set his throne on the temple mount
(compare Is. 14:13 and Ps. 48:2 and notice the many allusions in Ps.48
to the raising of Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem); whilst Hiram,
ceasing to be content with contributing the physical materials for the
worship of Yahweh (see Ezek.28:13- the tabrets made by Tyre were instruments
of the true worship in David's time -e.g. 1 Sam.10:5; Ps. 150:4; the tabrets
were made of " fir wood" - 2 Sam. 6:5- which came from Hiram,
1 Kings 5:8), aspired to be the High Priest, Ezekiel 28; v.13,14 describe
Hiram's freedom of movement in the temple area (v.13 " Eden the garden
of God" ), and the LXX of v.13 describes all the stones of the breast-plate
as covering Hiram, as if he made himself a breast-plate; he also made
" pipes" , which is a unique word which means 'a bezel for precious
stones'- all indicating he constructed his own priestly equipment. Ezekiel
28 describes these actions as Hiram being " in Eden" , and there
are other allusions in Ezek. 28 to Eden- e.g. v.14 " the anointed
cherub" , v.15 " perfect (very good) from the day that thou
wast created" , and the abundance of precious stones in v.13, similar
to the description of Eden in Genesis 2 as a place abounding in precious
Is. 14 and Ezek. 31
describe Sennacherib's aspirations as wanting to be king on Mount Zion,
thrusting himself above the firs and cedars in the garden of Eden. Is.37:24
reports Sennacherib's desire to " come up to the height of the mountain
(cp.Is. 14:13 " the mount" ), to the sides of Lebanon (Is.14:13
" the sides of the North" -i.e. Jerusalem, Ps.48:2), and I will
cut down the tall cedars thereof and the choice fir trees thereof"
. " Lebanon" is here used to describe the area around Jerusalem,
as it is in Josh.1:4, where " this Lebanon" where Joshua was
standing was the territory around the lower part of the Jordan- which
earlier we suggested was the location of Eden. Ez. 31:3 describes Sennacherib's
pride as a " cedar in Lebanon" . The parallels with Is. 14
show this refers to his proud boasting as his armies camped outside Jerusalem.
The cedars and fir trees of Ez. 31:8,9 who stand in awe of Sennacherib
in the garden of Eden refer to the fearful rulers of Jerusalem. Firs and
cedars are figures used elsewhere for Israel's leaders- e.g. Hosea 14:8;
Is. 2:13; Nahum 2:2,3 (again in the context of the Assyrian invasion)
and Zech. 11:1,2,4. Thus Eden and the garden of God in which these figurative
trees grew was the area around Jerusalem. This desire of Sennacherib to
exalt himself over the Jewish leaders- the firs and cedars of Ezek.31-
is described in Is.14:13 as wanting to be exalted above the stars of God-
i.e. the leaders of the political heavens of Israel (see Dan.12:3 and
its Jewish context). Indeed, Ez. 31:16 parallels Eden and Lebanon.
It may be argued that
Gen.2 clearly defines the location of Eden in relation to the four rivers.
However, it seems impossible that the course of those rivers remained
the same after the flood. There is considerable evidence that the whole
of Arabia was drastically changed by the Genesis flood. Gen.2:10 calls
the four streams " headstreams" (N.I.V.)- as if they were short
streams, not major rivers like the present Euphrates. It is suggested
that the descriptions of Gen.2:11-14 are Moses' contemporary comments
on what the 4 streams became after the flood. With this in mind it is
important to note the tenses in Gen.2: " a river went (past tense)
out of Eden..the name of the first is.. " (present tense). Similar
examples of contemporary details of location being added to the record
are common in the Pentateuch e.g. Genesis 14:2 " Bela (which is Zoar)...vale
of Siddim (which is the salt sea)" and see also v.7,15,17.
Most references to Eden
in later Scripture require reference to Israel or the Jerusalem area;
none of the allusions to it seem to go back to the traditional location
of it. The reference to " the children of Eden" which Assyria
conquered near Babylon need not undermine the theory advanced; in the
same way as this is where we have placed Eden today, so due to their reading
of Genesis the ancients would have called people living in the Euphrates
area " children of Eden" . As all students of Ezekiel 38 have
found, the name of an area can be most deceptive, and is no indication
that the area's identity is correctly reflected by the name. It is hard
to understand why Eden should have been located on the site of Babylon,
with all its associations with sin and the children of men. The many connections
between Eden and the descriptions of the world's state during the Millenium
become more meaningful if it was geographically located around Jerusalem,
seeing that many descriptions of the Millenium apply mainly to the land
of Israel and Jerusalem. The following passages are a selection of those
which imply the conditions of the Kingdom will be far more in evidence
in Israel/ Jerusalem than elsewhere in the world:
1) Rev.21:27-only the
saints will be allowed in the new city.
2) Rev.22:3 " no
more curse" in the city- this cannot apply to the whole earth.
3) Is.11:7-9 describes
the animals living at peace and states " they shall not hurt nor
destroy in all My holy mountain" ; yet the animals will hurt and
destroy each other, albeit less than they do now, elsewhere in the earth
during the Millenium- see Ez.44:31.
4) Is.65:20 " there
shall be no more thence (i.e. in Jerusalem) an infant of days.."
. This whole prophecy of the Millennial conditions is in the context of
v.17: " I create new heavens and a new earth" . " Heaven
and earth" is often a figure of the state of Israel. " I create
new heavens and...earth" is paralleled by " I create Jerusalem
a rejoicing" . Indeed, all Isaiah's Kingdom prophecies are what he
saw " concerning Judah and Jerusalem" in the future (Is.1:1),
rather than the whole world.
5) Psalm 72 and other
passages describing the fruitfulness of the earth apply mainly to the
land of Israel- there will be deserts elsewhere ,see Joel 3:19.
6) The passages about
living under our own vine and fig tree and not labouring for others must
apply only to the land, because Is.61:5 describes some labouring for others
in the Kingdom; and Jer.32:43 implies there will still be money used in
7) The promises to Abraham
comprising " the Gospel of the Kingdom" are primarily concerning
the land of Israel. " I will bless them that bless thee...and in
thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen.12:2,3) will
only be totally fulfilled in the Kingdom. The blessing of the earth will
therefore be based around that of natural Israel. The " Holy Mountain"
, a phrase often used to describe the coming Kingdom, is a separate area
from the rest of the world; this agrees with Daniel 2 describing the little
stone returning to the land (A.V. " earth" )- i.e. the mount
of Olives (Acts 1:11) and becoming a great mountain, filling the land
of Israel and then the world. If we take the " earth" to be
the land of Israel- it is the same word used, the metals of the image
refer to the powers which governed Israel, rather than world empires,
thus avoiding the problem of other contemporary world empires existing
at the times of the Babylonians and Persians. Therefore the nations say
" Let us go up to the Mountain (a common figure for a Kingdom) of
the Lord" ; they do not live in the " mountain" , which
is only in Israel.
8) " The plowman
shall overtake the reaper...and the mountains shall drop sweet wine"
in Israel because " I will bring again the captivity of my
people of Israel...and I will plant them" (Am.9:13,14).
9) That Eden had a mountain
in it is shown by the four streams being " headstreams" (N.I.V.),
necessitating the existence of a mountain. It is fitting that this mountain
should be so prominent in the new Eden, and that from this mount should
flow streams of living waters as they did originally. We need to be ever
mindful that the Millenium will be a " restitution of all things"
. It is interesting to note in passing the significance of this mountain
as the place where Abraham offered Isaac (Moriah='The Lord will
provide', Jerusalem='The Lord will see (provide) peace'), the Jebus of
David's time, and other important events. The four rivers mentioned in
Genesis are each types of the future river of life:
Pison ='freely flowing'-
cp. Rev.21:6; 22:17 " take the fountain of the water of life freely"
Gihon = 'stream'- this
river is presumably the same as the Gihon headstream which is mentioned
as starting from Mount Zion in 2 Chron.32:30, thus again associating Eden
Hiddekel ='living water'
It would seem that four
streams will from out of the new river of life which Joel, Ezekiel Zechariah
and Revelation describe as appearing in the future, hence the references
to 'springs' (plural) in the Jerusalem area in the future- e.g. Ps.87:7;
Is.49:10 (cp. 'heat nor sun' with Rev.22:5, thus making this apply to
the saints in the new Jerusalem); Rev.7:7 (the Lamb's throne will be in
Jerusalem). It may be that the " waters" of Ez.47:11 imply several
streams originating from the temple mount. In the same way as the streams
watered Eden, they will water the special area of blessing around Jerusalem
in the Kingdom. " There is a river (singular) the streams whereof
(the four streams into which it splits, as in Eden) make glad the city
of God " (Eden)- Ps.46:4. In Joel 3:18 we see a new stream flowing
East of Jerusalem to water the Shittim valley which is directly East of
the new Jerusalem, again implying that the main effect of the river of
life will be felt primarily in this area East of Jerusalem where the original
Eden was located.
There seems to be a
theme running through Scripture of all good things being concentrated
in Eden, thus making it a good type of the Kingdom. Genesis 2 describes
precious stones and gold being found in the Eden area. The word 'Eden'
is translated " delights" in 2 Sam.1:24, in the context of describing
the scarlet, gold and rich clothing Saul gave to the daughters of Israel-
a picture of abundance. As we have seen, Ezekiel 28:13,14 also associates
Eden with an abundance of precious stones and riches. With this understanding
it now becomes clear that Psalm 36 is a commentary on Adam's fall in Eden,
contrasting those deceived by sin and the serpent who are cast out of
Eden, and those who will abide in it forever:
v.1 " his eyes..his
own eyes" - lust of the eyes in Adam
v.2 " he flattereth
himself.. that his iniquity shall not be found out" (A.V. margin)-
as Adam trying to hide his sin with fig leaves. LXX:" he has dealt
craftily before God" - the serpent
v.3 " he hath left
off to be wise" - the serpent most wise of all the animals; "
the words of his mouth are deceit"
v.4 " he does not
reject what is wrong" (N.I.V.)- Adam
v.12 " there are
the workers of iniquity fallen; they are cast down, and shall not be able
to rise" - the serpent cast onto its belly in Eden.
Then there is the contrast
with those who will inherit Eden:
v.5 " Thy mercy,
O Lord, is in the Heavens" - despite Adam's sin
v.6 " the mountains
of God" - two mountains in Eden?
v.7 " the shadow
of Thy wings" - the cherubim guarding the way to the tree of life
v.8 " saturated
with the abundance of God's house" - God's house to be built
again in Eden and to include a super-abundance of good things as it did
before. " Thou shalt make them (cp.Lk.12:37) drink of the river of
Thy Eden" (same word 'pleasures').
v.9 Because " with
Thee is the fountain of life" - the fountain of the water of life
in the new Eden.
The only other
place where 'Eden' describes abundance is in Jer.51:34. Here God says
that Babylon has devoured and crushed Him through taking Israel captive;
one of His lamentations is that Babylon " hath filled his belly with
My delicates" (same word 'eden'), thus associating Eden with the
people of the land of Israel. However, 'eden' is normally translated 'sockets',
with reference to the tabernacle. This connects with the idea that the
future temple will be built on the area of Eden. The reference in
Deut.11:12 to the eyes of the Lord (i.e. the Angels) continually being
upon the land of Israel, despite the people being rejected and removed
from the land, can be better understood if this is a result of the cherubim
Angels placed around the tree of life still being there, although invisible,
constantly watching Eden and the old location of the tree of life, in
readiness for the day when the garden and the tree will again be brought
into visible existence.
The descriptions of
the new city of Jerusalem in the prophets and Revelation can be better
understood once it is appreciated that Eden will literally be restored
in that area. Zech.14:8-11 lays the basis for the descriptions of the
city in Revelation, and includes the main elements of Eden- "
living waters" ('Hiddekel') going out from a " Lifted
up" mountain in Jerusalem, with " no more curse" there,
v.11 (the phrase " no more utter destruction" is translated
like this when it is quoted in Rev.22:3).
Rev.21 and 22 seem to
describe a " wood of trees of life" (22:2- A.V. 'tree' must
be wrong because the 'tree' is on either side of the river), watered by
the river of life proceeding from the mountain of " the throne of
God and of the Lamb" . We have seen that there was a mountain in
Eden, and it seems fitting to suggest that God's throne was on this same
mountain before the fall. Ezek. 47:12 also implies that the new 'garden'
will consist solely of trees of life, " whose leaf shall not fade"
- a contrast with the bright, glossy fig leaves Adam and Eve used to cover
their sin which would have faded so quickly. Another allusion is
the description of the trees of life as " trees for meat" ,
implying that instead of all the trees except those of life and
knowledge being " for meat" (Gen.1:29;2:9), the tree of life
alone will be for meat. Similarly, Rev.22:17, in the context of describing
the new Eden, speaks of drinking " the water of life freely"
, reminding us that " of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely
eat" - except for the tree of life. The garden is now composed of
that tree and its associated water, which can be freely consumed. The
new rivers and mountains described have both a physical and spiritual
fulfilment- e.g. there will literally be a high mountain in Jerusalem
to symbolize that God's ways are exalted above the nations, and
the river of life physically healing the land represents the spiritual
healing of the barren nations. For this reason it seems we can interpret
the description of many of the rewards of the faithful literally; we will
literally eat the fruit of the trees of life in the midst of the
new Eden- i.e. at the throne of the Lamb where judgement (or the ceremony
of glorification) will take place; we will literally pluck leaves
from those trees with which to heal the nations' sicknesses (Ezek.47:12),
symbolizing spiritually the fact that the nations are healed by God's
provision through the medium of the saints.
Rev.22:2 states that
there is a " street" running through the city, on either side
of which is the wood of life, thus implying that the new Jerusalem and
the new Eden are synonymous. The city's foundations ('edens') are of precious
stones- the abundance of which, as we have seen, was associated with the
literal Eden. Rev.22:14 again parallels the city and Eden by equating
having " right to the tree of life" with entering " in
through the gates into the city" . Rev.22:3 tells us that the throne
of God will be in " it" - i.e. the wood of life (not the river-
see context), as in Eden God's throne was in the garden, which garden
was presumably a wood of trees and little else (" of every tree of
the garden.." -other plants are not mentioned), in the same way as
the new Eden is composed solely of trees of life. The invitation "
of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat" is mirrored in
" take the water (lit.:take from the stream) of life freely"
- the stream being that of Eden. Rev.21:27 stresses that no
serpent -" whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie" -
will enter the new Eden as it did before. The midst of the new Garden
will be the throne of Christ, who in every way will then be the tree of
life and knowledge.
This association between
the city and the paradise of God raises an interesting question, in that
the descriptions of the city in Rev.21 and 22 seem to contradict those
given in Ezekiel 40-48:
Only those in the book of life can enter
the city is for natural Israel (Zech.8:5- children play in the
streets). 44:11;46:9 ordinary
mortals enter it.
City gates never shut
Gates shut at times
Glory of God is the light,eclipsing sun and moon
Moon shines in the city
those who enter the city eat the tree of life
priests inside the city
no temple in the city
temple in the city
true temple has already been sprinkled by Christ's blood.
This temple needs regular cleansing (" so shall ye
reconcile the house" ) by sprinkling of
These are just some
of the many disparities, yet both cities are said to be built on a great
mountain. No satisfactory explanation seems to account for this, except
to assume that the " great mountain" of Zion, God's throne in
Eden, will split into two " great mountains" as foretold in
Zech.14:4, the temple of Ezekiel being built on one and the Saints' city
of Revelation on the other. Zech.14 mentions the rivers from one
of the mountains as flowing twice a year, whilst the river of Rev.22 flows
constantly with the result that the trees of life blossom every month,
another indication that although the two cities have certain similarities
they are also clearly separate. Thus the temple and city of Ezekiel seems
to be a lesser replica of those of Rev.22, as if to show the mortal worshippers
what they can aspire to. This is perhaps based on the distinction
in the prophets between 'Zion', the temple mount (to be equated with the
future throne of God and the saints dwelling around it) , and the 'daughter
of Zion' being the inhabited city, which in the future will be the city
where children play in the streets, inhabited by mortals and visiting
gentiles, with the temple for the Jews in it. A similar distinction is
found in Is.24:23 :" When (in the Kingdom) the Lord of Hosts
shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, (as if separate places),
and before His ancients (saints in the city) gloriously" . A further
possible basis for this arrangement is the clear difference between the
" two houses, the house of the Lord and the king's house" (1
Kings 9:10) during the time of Solomon, a clear type of Christ's Kingdom.
The personal dwelling of the King would then connect with the saints'
city, and the Lord's house- the temple- would be the temple of Ezekiel,
whose dimensions are exactly the same as those of Solomon's temple.
1) Links between Isaiah
14, Ezekiel 28 and 31
Ezekiel 28 Ezekiel
31 Isaiah 14
2) I summarize here
evidence that has been presented elsewhere, showing that 'Assyria' and
'Babylon' are often used interchangeably:
Is.13:8, part of a "
burden of Babylon" is alluded to in Ps.48:5,6 concerning Sennacherib's
Assyrian army; Is.13:21,22 echo Assyrian inscriptions; the prophecies
about Babylon in Is.47 are repeated about Assyria in Nahum 3:4,5,16 and
Zeph.2:13,15. Micah says to Zion in 4:10 " now..thou shalt go to
Babylon" , as if it was to be fulfilled straight away- but he prophesied
at the time of the Assyrian invasion. 2 Chron.33:11 says the King of Assyria
took Manasseh to Babylon- i.e. back to Assyria. Ezra 6:1 describes Darius
as king of Babylon; v.22 calls him king of Assyria.
This confusion between
Assyria and Babylon is understandable seeing the two nations initially
spoke the same language, shared the same culture, and Sargon of Assyria
called himself the 'vicar of the gods of Babylon'.