Spiritual Meanings Embedded in the Four Rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel and Euphrates
God governs the history of mankind. Among His many works, the Book of Genesis records God created the four big rivers on the Earth after He made the heavens and the earth. The locations of the four big rivers are mysterious; the four rivers flow around the land of Israel. While many other big rivers were naturally formed with the passing of time according to the law of nature, the four big rivers were located by God Himself by the providence for Israel.
As countless years passed by, the topography of the land changed, and thus the location of the rivers also changed. But the unfailing providence of God still lasts.
The four civilizations were ancient China, Babylon, ancient India and ancient Egypt
The four big rivers God created are closely related to the cradles of human civilization: the first river the Pishon is related to Indus Valley Civilization; the second river the Gihon, Egypt Civilization; and the third and fourth rivers the Hiddekel and the Euphrates, Mesopotamia Civilization.
The Big Four Rivers Were Divided from a River Flowed from Eden
“Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.” (Genesis 2:10)
With the expanse in the middle, waters were divided into two; the waters above the expanse and the waters below the expanse. The waters below the expanse became the seas of the earth on the 3rd day of the Creation. And the waters above the expanse were moved to the 2nd heaven. At this time, the waters which were moved to the 2nd heaven became the source of the river of Eden.
The river which flowed out of Eden flows throughout the Garden of Eden, and the waters that had been moved into the 2nd heaven poured down onto the four places on the Earth and formed the four big rivers. Generally speaking, many small brooks gather and form a stream and many streams form a river. But the four big rivers as the cradles of the first four civilizations were not formed in that same way.
When God opened the gates to 2nd heaven and poured down onto the Earth the waters of the river that flowed from Eden, the four big rivers were formed. The same thing is found recorded in the Bible. In Noah’s time, the gates to heaven opened and the waters of the 2nd heaven came down to the Earth. It rained down onto the whole earth through the open gates to heaven for 40 days. At last the highest area of the Earth was also dipped into waters.
It was after He formed the first man and took him into the Garden of Eden that God formed the four big rivers. Adam fathered many children in the Garden of Eden for a long time and the four big rivers have existed as the cradles of civilization.
The Pishon and the Indus Valley Civilization
“The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.” (Genesis 2:11-12)
‘Pishon’ means ‘to flow abundantly’ and ‘to link one continent to another continent.’ Havilah is located around the land of India today. India was originated from the Indus River and is centered between Asia and Europe. The Silk Road gets its name from this connection of trade routes into an extensive trans-continental network. ‘The land of Havilah, where there is gold’ means the land produced pure gold, jewels, and costly spices, and also foreshadows idol-worshiping would be rampant in this area.
Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism originated in India and worshippers make idols with gold and silver and worship before them. www.angelfire.com speaks of 330 million deities in India. The Pishon flows around the vast areas, so it can be guessed that idol-worshipping has been rampant in the same vast areas.
Even if God beforehand knew idol-worshiping would be rampant around the Pishon, He formed the big river to accomplish the providence of human cultivation in accordance with complete righteousness. He really wished men might search for and worship the true and only Deity among those many deities.
The Gihon and Egypt
“The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush.” (Genesis 2:13)
The name ‘Gihon’ (Hebrew Gi©¤ôn) may be interpreted as ‘Bursting Forth, Gushing.’ It spiritually means ‘to be pompous’ or ‘to match.’ God beforehand knew the civilization around the Gihon would be pompously excellent and nothing else would match it. ‘Cush’ directly refers to Ethiopia but the ‘land of Cush’ here to the vast area from the Nile to the Red Sea.
The Nile is running through this area and we can infer that the Nile came from the river that had issued out of the land of Cush. The river that issued out of the land of Cush indicates the second river the Gihon that flowed out of Eden. For a long period of time, the Nile has formed Nile Delta in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. This Nile Delta has been such a rich agricultural region that people have lived in the Nile Delta region for thousands of years, and it has been intensively farmed for at least five thousand years and various animals and plants inhabit there.
It is one of the world’s largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east and it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline. The Delta begins slightly down-river from Cairo. The Egypt civilization is one of the cradles of the most ancient civilizations. The remains of the Egypt civilization include pyramids and sphinx.
The Hiddekel, the Euphrates and the Mesopotamian Civilization
“The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.” (Genesis 2:14 NKJV)
Hiddekel is Hebrew name for the Tigris, one of the two large rivers of Mesopotamia which, according to Genesis (2:14); flowed from the Garden of Eden. The original Sumerian name was Idigna or Idigina, meaning ‘running water,’ which can be interpreted as ‘the swift river.’ It spiritually means ‘to be barren’ or ‘to hinder’ because of the hostility between Israel and its neighboring countries. The Tigris River flows from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq. The Tigris unites with the Euphrates near Basra, and from this junction to the Persian Gulf the mass of moving water is known as the Shatt-al-Arab.
The latter part says, “it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria.” Assyria was a kingdom centered on the Upper Tigris river, in Mesopotamia (Iraq), that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur. Throughout the history, the kingdoms that conquered the Tigris area also had control over the land of Israel, and as a result, the land of Israel became barren and devastated. The Tigris has recently been territorialized by Iraq that has enmity against Israel.
The Euphrates is the historically longest one of the most important rivers of Southwest Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia. The river – originating in eastern Turkey – flows through Syria and Iraq to join the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab, which empties into the Persian Gulf. Euphrates is Perath in Hebrew; Purat in Assyrian; Ufratush in Persian cuneiform, whence Greek Euphrates, meaning ‘sweet water.’ The Assyrian name means ‘the stream,’ or ‘the great stream.’ It spiritually means ‘abundance.’ The Tigris and Euphrates formed the Fertile Crescent in Western Asia. It includes the comparatively fertile regions of Mesopotamia and the Levant, delimited by the dry climate of the Syrian Desert to the south and the Anatolian highlands to the north.
Today this region is estimated to have the most crude oil deposits. Crusade oil began to be recognized as the most important natural resource in the 19th century, but since before long God beforehand knew what would become of oil in the end of the ages. The Revelation of John 9:14-15 prophesies a great war will break out in the Euphrates region during the Seven-year Great Tribulation, saying “one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’ And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.”
God has blessed this region with the Fertile Crescent and abundant crude oil. But this blessing turned into woes to people because of their wickedness. Many races and nations have waged wars against one another to take control over this land.