Please read: Genesis 11:1-9
A minister from Scotland sometimes challenges and encourages believers to “think outside the box.” That is what I am seeking to do in these articles, and I hope it will encourage others to do likewise. Not to stray from Scripture, but to broaden, and hopefully aid us in our attempt to understand better what is in the Scriptures and how it relates to us today.
We saw in Part 1 how the people wandered about after the Flood, until eventually they happened upon a valley-plain in the land of Shinar. It was there that they decided to settle and to build. It is somewhat reminiscent of Cain, the firstborn of Adam and Eve. Cain wandered the earth (Genesis 4:12), and he was the first to build a city (Genesis 4:17). He was also nameless (not named) in Genesis 5 where we have the account of Adam’s line. We also understand that Cain had fear. He feared being killed (Genesis 4:14). Fear, as we shall see, was a driving force in the people of Babylon; and fear is a key force at play, driving mankind into one common purpose and direction today, forming eventually, an uncommon unity among peoples. One world, one world government, one world religion, one world leader is the approaching beast and destiny for unregenerate man. The world has witnessed mass migration with some of the people fearing for their lives and the lives of their children, while others in the great throng no doubt, migrate for various different reasons. Their final destination will not be the countries they have managed to flee to, but, whether they realise it or not, the final destination will be, along with the rest of the world, the Babylon of Revelation. A Babylon that will have overall power and influence in all the world. An interesting aspect of the movement of peoples in today’s world is that while millions flee from their homelands into the nations, God is calling His people, the Jews, from the nations back to their homeland, Israel. This is the fulfilment of Scripture.
The Tower of Babel
In the first instance it would appear that the people were reaching up into the heavens. Perhaps their intention was to wrest control from God. Perhaps they wanted to make sure He could not again send a flood to destroy all life. They may have thought they could hold the heavens up in place, that the tower would be like a large pillar supporting heaven so that the floods could not come down. To make a name for themselves meant dislodging God and gaining control over their lives and nature. It is quite possible that another purpose for the tower of Babel being built was surveillance. Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, known by the acronym, Netziv suggests:
“It is undoubtedly illogical to assume that there would be but one city in the entire world. Rather, they thought that all cities would be connected and subsidiary to that one city in which the tower was to be built. And the [purpose of] the tower was to look out upon the distance over all their dwellings [to ensure] that none would split off into another land.”
The tower of Babel in effect would then have been a watchtower to stop foreign ideas from coming in, and to prevent people from fleeing out of the city. The goal was that all people be contained in that one place, with the same language and with the same vocabulary.
We have our own surveillance systems today in business and public. Cameras are everywhere, and methods of storing data. I feel sure that surveillance systems will develop further, becoming a major tool of control in the last days. Perhaps a future, rebuilt Babylon of bricks and mortar, should that happen, would contain the surveillance centre of the world. Babylon, whatever form it does actually take in the last days, will set the standard for all economic, social, and religious matters, and will become the persecutor of God’s people, and all those that oppose Antichrist.
Loftiness can occur even in the Church, when people have those moments where they are ‘holier-than-thou,’ and from their lofty heights they look down on others. Remember it is the Lord our God that is the ‘One who sits enthroned on high’ (Psalm 113:5); and the one you put down, God might lift up. “God looks down on all mankind…” (Psalm 53:2). However high they built the tower – “… the Lord came down to see the city and the tower” (Genesis 11:5). “The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God” (Psalm 14:2. See Psalm 33:13-14; 102:19).
Fear appears to have been the bond that created and held this unusual unity together. The unity achieved was given a mission and a purpose –
- “Come! Let’s make bricks and bake them until they’re hard.”
- “Come! Let’s build ourselves a city, with a tower whose top reaches into heaven.”
- “let’s make a name for ourselves”
This describes a rebellious unity. The Hebrew word havah (Come let us) “Let us”; “Let’s build”; “Let’s make a name…for ourselves,” leaves God out of the equation. It appears as though the people harnessed their unity to rebel against God, to defy God in order to deify man. Humanity in many ways was seeking to break the barriers between the human and divine. Man has lofty ideas about humanity and is in the process of elevating man above God, as they sought to do in Babylon. Man becoming god is foundational in secular humanism and in many human ideologies including religious ideologies. God is redundant. Man can forge his own future and destiny. “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Havah is a public call to action. It comes from a root word meaning “give!” In the Babel account no one acts alone. The people are unnamed, undifferentiated and called to cooperative action. It is spelled out to them – We had better unite, lest the dreaded dispersal occur. The name of the game today is unity; unite against world pollution, unite against global warming/Climate Change, unite to be rid of archaic Judaeo/Christian laws, religion and the God of the Bible etc.
The people settle in one place instead of following God’s command to fill the earth. They seemed to consider that the geographic consolidation guaranteed their unity. It is the horizontal rather than the vertical construction that is later repudiated by God. Interestingly, despite the attention we put on the tower, Scripture mentions the word ‘city,’ (ir) more often than the word ‘tower’ (migdal). Also interesting is that God takes measures to obstruct the building of the city without making any reference to the tower (Genesis 11:8).
The Fear Factor
“Or else we will be scattered over the face of the whole land.”
They had a great fear of being separated and scattered over the earth. Interesting that many of the migrants in recent years have come out from the sea; many of them were rescued from boats that had capsized. The sea is emphasised again by the environmentalists who go on about pollution. Our attention and collective conscious is captured as we unite in fear to fight the battle against pollution, political, environmental and religious. Revelation 13:1 speaks of the beast that comes out of the sea. Reminiscent of the signs in Exodus, Revelation 16:3 speaks of the sea being turned to blood, and everything in the sea dying. Similar is found in Revelation 8:8. Note, the action is coming from the heavens; an angel is doing the pouring out onto the sea in 16:3; an angel sounded a trumpet in 8:8, and a huge mountain all ablaze was throne into the sea.
There is fear of nuclear war; fear of leaving the EU; fear of not leaving the EU; fear of a world economic collapse. Fear is the opposite of faith, and humankind has embraced fear having already ditched God who can deliver them from all their fears and woes. The fear of killing the planet earth drives the earth dwellers and unites them in various kinds of seemingly ‘good works’ and ‘good causes.’ This is simply the highway to Babylon.
To further help us in our understanding of the present day, and the direction the world has taken, we turn again to the 19th century exegete, Netziv. In his commentary Ha-amek Davar. He states:
“We must understand why they [the builders of Babel] feared some people leaving for another land. This was certainly related to the devarim ahadim, the “one speech” among them. They feared that since not all human thoughts are identical, if some would leave they might adopt different thoughts. And so they saw to it that no-one left their enclave.” Netziv suggested that: “Anyone who deviated from the devarim ahadim, the “one speech” that was among them would be sentenced to burning…” and that, “What emerges [from this text] is … they decided to kill anyone who did not think as they did.”
Netziv understood devarim ahadim (“one speech”) to refer to ideological consensus. This understanding is consistent with the passages guiding words.
Messianic believer and author, Steve Maltz suggests that Cultural Marxism is the modern times culprit for herding the people of this nation/world into thinking collectively. In his new book, “Into the Lion’s Den”[i], he states that, “We are moving towards a Marxist nightmare of a ‘collective’ where we are all encouraged or compelled to think the same way…”
Commenting on the Ashers Baking Co. case, The Christian Institute states: “…the case is really about making people say things they don’t believe. It’s about compelled speech.”[ii]
Both Egypt in the book of Exodus, and Babel in Genesis, involved building cities while erasing individuality. The erosion of the individual’s soul took place as the people were reduced to slavery in mind, body, and spirit. Satan, through the world’s “isms” and PC is taking captive every thought of every human mind, creating a mass slave-mentality. As believers: “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). If we fail to do that, we shall be taken captive ourselves by the great deception that is already in place even in our time. We will become modern-day builders of Babylon and Babel.
While campaigners to stop Brexit prepared a six-week advertising blitz[iii] with impunity, those academics that want to make a stand for Brexit live in fear. Commenting in The Times Melanie Phillips said, “Intellectuals who champion life outside the EU are the latest victims of the thought police.” She continued: “Nearly 40 prominent economists, lawyers, philosophers, historians, scientists and policy experts have formed a “Brains for Brexit” campaign to counter claims that Leave voters are idiots and challenge the intellectual distortions in the argument. Yet some academics say they are too frightened of career-ending repercussions to join the group. Similar anxieties have been expressed by Artists 4 Brexit, a group of creatives and performers who think the arts will thrive outside the EU. They fear that if they “come out” they’ll be dropped from commissions or galleries.”[iv] My daughter spoke about people that have had chip implants in their hands for security purposes at work and to pay for items.[v] Young employees have no thought of God, and do not understand the implications, and consequences of where this is leading. They think it is very clever and put their hands to work building Babylon. There are reports about chip implants in the Daily Mail[vi] as well as in USA Today.[vii] See the “mark of the beast” in Revelation 13:16; 19:20. Our world is deceived into preparing the way for the revealing of the Deceiver, the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3). It is written, therefore we cannot prevent it happening. We must pray for understanding and how we can cooperate with the Lord to work with Him, and not against Him.
“With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:10-11).
Blessings and shalom,
See: Hashkama: 6th April 2016: Babylon that Great City is… Rising?