As the present global agenda for ‘oneness’ and ‘unity’ seems manic with a fever to Build Back [Babel] Better, I found this ‘visit’ with a friend timely, informative, and a helpful aid in re-framing my literal self-in-relation-to-the-world view as a Christian. It is with the hope that something here may prove insightful or helpful to you that I share the thoughts, research, and perspectives of a friend regarding towers, nations, and our world’s history…
And thanks for letting me share this, Chester!
God bless –
Guest Post by Chester Truett
I want to visit with you about a small obscure story from Genesis that is rarely discussed or understood, but has most likely a very significant influence on the fact that you and I are here, living in the United States of America today.
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.
2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.
6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.
7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.
9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.Genesis 11:1-9 [ESV]
Let’s address some reasons for the Tower of Babel. Some have supposed it was a tower of safety in case of another flood. I disagree. The covenant of the rainbow that the Lord gave Noah says, ‘Never again another flood’. It doesn’t make good sense that they were building on the plain of Shinar, the first place to be flooded. If it were for protection, then it should have been built on Mount Ararat where the Ark came to rest. And besides, no man-made ground structure could survive a global flood.
In my opinion, it was in defiance to the command of God, which was given in Genesis 9:1, to Noah, which reads, “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.'” It was the ‘filling of the earth’ that did not set well with them. The tower builders stated they wanted ‘to make a name for themselves’. National pride. Take note of those words. “Look at what we have accomplished!” Life in the city was much easier than living in a completely barren land, where you had to be a farmer, like Noah, or a herdsman, to survive.
So when was the Tower of Babel built? Reading in Genesis 10:21 & 25, we find that it occurred four generations down from Noah, after the flood. A grandson of Shem was Peleg. It says in verse 25 that two sons were born to Eber (son of Shem) and one of them was Peleg, for in his days, the earth was divided. In this verse, the word ‘divided’ refers to the scattering of people.
The time factor has been estimated to be 106 years after the flood, by chronologist James Ussher. For God to reach a defiant people seems to be a hopeless cause. Just 100 years earlier the whole earth and every living creature was destroyed by God’s judgment upon evil, and now we find again, disobedience to God’s command to disperse. They wanted to build a city with a tower, high to the sky, so that they could have self-induced pride, saying ‘look what we can do’. It was not just a tower or monument, but by all evidence, as we will find out, a temple in which to worship and/or sacrifice. The question you and I need to ask is ‘worship whom or what?’
The word Babel comes from two words — “gate” (bab) and “God” (El). So we have the word ‘gate of heaven’ or ‘gate of God’. The word Babel came to mean confusion or babble because of what Genesis says happened there.
The Hebrew word ‘tower’, used in this scripture is ‘migdal’ which is a tower or, figuratively, a pyramid shape. This pyramid shape gives support to the idea that the Tower of Babel may have been a pyramid or a ziggurat. Another aspect of the word ‘migdal’ stems from the word ‘gadal’. Likewise, this word ‘gadal’ not only speaks of magnitude, enlargement, and greatness, but also of arrogance, boasting, and pride. A formula we could use is arrogance + boasting + national pride = large towers.
…the Tower of Babel may have been a pyramid or a ziggurat.
So, in theory, when these people were scattered from the Tower of Babel, four generations after the flood, they likely took this building concept with them to places all over the world. They took varying ideas of the tower to their new lands and began building projects of their own. Ziggurats, pyramids, and mounds, and so forth, have been found in many parts of the world, such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, South America, China; and in North America we have the ancient Mississippian Mounds.
Where was the original tower built? Scripture says, the plain of Shinar, which is between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the current country of Iraq. This plain also includes the city of Babel, which in the Bible is always called Babylon. It is believed that Babel dated from Nimrod’s kingdom and most likely was the seat of his power, as found in Genesis 10:10.
Nimrod is believed to be a first monarch, since it uses the word ‘kingdom’. This is significant since we now move from a patriarchal system to a monarchy, which tends to put people in bondage under a king.
So, Nimrod was a city builder, just as Cain was a city builder. The Lord put a curse upon Cain after he killed his brother Abel, and he went out and built a city. I want you to underscore the words ‘city builder’ and please note the type of character these fellows were who built the first cities.
So, Nimrod was a city builder, just as Cain was a city builder.
Nothing remains of the Tower of Babel. But as I mentioned, the idea of erecting towers was popular among early Mesopotamians. Practically every city of importance in that area had at least one tower. These towers were called ziggurats. But they were much smaller in scale than the tower of Babel. These ziggurats have a shrine at the top dedicated to the principle ‘god’ of the city or of the land.
Excavators may have found what they believe to be the foundation of the Tower of Babel. There is an ancient cuneiform tablet describing this Tower of Babel. Also the Greek historian Herodotus writes of the tower. We know that it was about 300 feet square and more than 300 feet high. It was built in seven stages, having on its top, the 7th stage, a shrine dedicated to the god Marduk.
My curiosity was aroused as to what this god looked like. One of the exhibits at the Ark Encounter describing the Tower of Babel, shows a creature sitting on a throne at the top of the ziggurat with a snake head. I did a little research online and found a website on Marduk. During the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Marduk was pictured as a striding snake dragon. It had the scaly body of a dragon, the head of a snake, hind feet with claws like a bird of prey, and front paws of a lion, with the tail of a deadly scorpion.
The website asks the question, ‘Could Marduk, the principle deity of Babylon, have been the serpent, in form, in the scriptures which appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and appears again in Revelation 20 as the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who is bound for a thousand years?’ With this information, it may be easier to understand why the Lord exercised His resentment against the building of a city and a tower, which would be a symbol of arrogance and pride and defiance to Him. So the Lord intervenes and confuses the language of these people, a people who say, ‘See what we can do by building a city and a tower that will give us greatness.’
Who were they worshiping?
There are over 6,900 languages in the world today. Yet the number of languages emerging from Babel at the time of dispersion, researchers say, would likely have been less than 100, based on family genealogy and dispersion. Family groups could have shared the same language, since the dispersion away from Babel went with family names, such as the regions being named after the sons of Japheth, Ham, and Shem… for example, Gomar, Canaan, Asshur.
The dispersement went far and wide. For instance, early Irish genealogy traces from Noah through Japheth and Japheth’s son Magog, forming the descendants of the Irish. The same would be true of other European nations, tracing from Noah, through Japheth and his sons. This was also interesting… the Chinese records describe ancestors as ‘Nuah’ with three sons, Lo Han, Lo Shen, and Jah Phu.
We may ask how, if there were fewer than 100 original family languages, could we now have 6,900? Well, for one thing, 4000 years have passed, and families and people groups have multiplied and intermingled. Just in the U.S., look at the different people groups coming into our country, where English is the foundational language. This intermingling gives us dialects and accents, which even for us, can be hard to understand, even though it is spoken in English. Mild forms being the Brooklyn accent, the southern drawl, or Cajun accents.
A comparison was made from AnswersinGenesis.org under the Tower of Babel, on the change in just the English language over the last thousand years. Look at the scripture verse in Matthew 6:9, which is the Lord’s Prayer, as we date backwards in time:
Modern English: Our Father who is in heaven…
Late modern English (1700-2000): Our Father Who art in heaven…
Early Modern English (1500-1700): Our Father which art in heaven…
Middle English (1100-1500): Our Fader that art in Heuenis…
Old English (AD 1000): Faeder ure bu be eart on Heofonum…
From Proud to Defiant
I have given you a lot of information so I better summarize and maybe draw some conclusions.
It is very disappointing to find that within four generations the Lord again had to intervene to discipline a very defiant people. So how do a people become hardened, not respecting the God of the universe who gives and sustains life, and has the ability to destroy life?
Let’s do a multiple choice that considers how these people became so defiant.
A. Could it be they never heard of a Creator God, who had judged evil by destroying the earth?
I say, no. You would have to believe the story of Noah and the ark was passed down to sons and grandsons and great-grandsons, and, if so desired, there could be visits made to the ark on Mount Ararat for the doubters.
B. Could it be they feared for their safety if they should leave the city or settlement? If so, fear of what?… beasts or violent people?
There were probably not a lot of people living outside the settlement. As far as the beasts, God told Noah when they left the ark (Genesis 9:2), “…and the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth.” The beasts were hunted for clothing and food.
C. Were the people taking advantage of the rainbow covenant, or were they presuming upon God’s mercy and not afraid of any consequences from their self-serving behavior?
That is a possibility or a reason for defiance.
D. Could it be that life was much less stressful and easier living in a settlement or city? One could be lazy and depend upon someone else to make more easily accessible such things as food, water, shelter, and clothing. The night-life was more exciting, such as wine, women, and song, than living out on the prairies out under the stars, or on Mount Ararat.
Yes, I believe this could be another reason for defiance.
The thought of having to provide your own food, get your own water, and provide your own shelter can be a hardship. In the city, someone else did your thinking for you. You could worship as dictated by the leadership, all needs were met in the city, strong leadership would eliminate the need to think and make decisions. This removed many of the stresses of life. Protection and security would seem to exist there. 911 would be just a scream away. I feel this might be one reason why the post-flood people did not want to spread out into the earth.
E. Did the Devil make them do it?
Yes. We have already witnessed how the devil or serpent deceives and lures the people to disobey the Lord.
Let’s set parallel the following passage with our subject. In this passage the Lord is speaking of Lucifer through Isaiah:
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the Dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of seemly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the most High.’Isaiah 14:12-14
Does this sound a little bit like Genesis 11:4, when the people said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city and a tower, whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name“?
Do I dare say ‘Devil-designed thinking’?
Back to Building…
I want to go back to city building and review a little about the first builders. Pre-flood Cain, who was a murderer, decided that the Lord’s judgment upon him was too harsh. The ground was cursed. He was to be a vagrant and a wanderer on earth. So as he had offspring, he built a city — I would assume, to have his needs provided, security from hardship, and protection from being killed.
My guess is that society could deteriorate quite rapidly when a person like Cain is the mayor of a city. Remember, this is pre-flood.
Then there is Nimrod, a grandson of Ham. Most Bible translators are kind to him, but let’s read Genesis 10:8-11:
Now Cush became the father of Nimrod, he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.’ At the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erich and Accad and Calney, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah… (and other cities)…
We remember from the Book of Jonah that Nineveh, built by Nimrod, was a wicked city.
One commentary I read, says that the phrase ‘a mighty one on the earth’ can also refer to a tyrant. The phrase ‘before the Lord’ as translated in the Greek translation of the Bible reads ‘against the Lord’. It becomes apparent from Bible history that this man did not serve the Lord. He evidently moved the existing society from a patriarchal society to becoming a monarchy in which he was evidently king, starting with Babel.
Another Bible commentary that I was reading went so far as to say the Tower of Babel was designed as a monument to apostasy, a citadel of rebellion against God. This was but the first step in an evil master plan to control the world.
Ok, But What About Today?
Here we are, 4000 years later, and Satan is still working on that design to control the world. If it weren’t for the restraining power of God and His intervention from time to time in the course of earth’s history, evil men under the direction of Satan would take total control of society and place people in total bondage. Maybe we aren’t far from the scale’s tipping point today…
It is my personal feeling that from what I see and hear in our society today, I can draw the conclusion that it is not the Lord’s will that people congregate in cities. Notice, I did not say villages or towns. I believe the qualifier is “Let us build this city and tower so as to make a name for ourselves” — where self is exalted above God.
Perhaps, I have a bias against big cities. I grew up on a farm and farmed for 30 years. I have lived in cities 12 years of my life and, of course, visited enough large cities to know that most, if not all, like to take pride in how they look and what they can offer their residents and visitors. It appears to me that the bigger city leaders seem to believe that it is wonderful that they can grow larger and larger. Power, prestige, and revenue.
Nashville has been growing at the rate of approximately 100 people per day (likely more this past year!). Take 100 times 365 days in a year and that equals 36,500 people per year. That would be equivalent to adding a city the size of Sumter, South Carolina to Nashville every year. Or like adding 30 towns the size of Banner Elk, North Carolina, every year. The country western culture, the history of Nashville, is gone, I believe. Downtown Nashville has several towers, which is a sign of prosperity, right?
What kinds of problems are presented with this kind of growth? Infrastructure cannot keep up with the demands or needs. Schools and hospitals are overcrowded, crime is on the rise, law enforcement cannot keep up, housing is short, traffic is congested, taxes and housing prices go through the roof.
The Other Tower
On September 11, 2001, we were attacked in New York City by an enemy called Al- Qaeda, a radical Islamic terrorist group. Two of our nation’s tallest towers burned and collapsed. In fact, the Word Trade Center building was the tallest in the world until September 11, 2001. If the World Trade Center was a symbol of America’s economic and financial preeminence, then what would it’s collapse symbolize?
Could it be that the twin towers of the World Trade Center were two edifices symbolizing a god that our nation worshiped?
This tower concept of building bigger and better and higher may seem a little foolish by those of us living out here on the prairie, where we think it is wonderful if we can just keep a roof on a building.
Many know by now that our nation constructed an elaborate memorial to the Twin Towers and the lives that were lost there. But some may not be aware that a new tower has been built. The new tower was first called the Freedom Tower, but now it is called the One World Trade Center. It was completed after 13 years of planning and building, at the cost of $3.9 billion, which was twice over projected budget. It stands 1776 feet high, to coincide with the year of America’s independence. It is 104 stories, making it the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere. It was planned from the beginning to be the tallest building on earth, but, before it was completed, other towers ascended to greater heights.
An Old Testament scripture from Isaiah 9:10 seems to be a hinge point for Israel and the United States regarding the corporate attitude of national pride. Jonathan Cahn spends a great deal of time discussing three parallels of tower building and national pride connected to God’s Jubilee calendar in his book The Mystery of the Shemitah. If what I have said today interests you, I suggest that you get a copy.
Isaiah 9:8-10 was quoted by Senator Tom Daschel of South Dakota right after 9/11:
The Lord has sent a message against Jacob. It will fall on Israel. All the people will know it. Ephriam and the inhabitants of Samaria who say with pride and arrogance of heart, ‘the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stone. The sycamores have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.’
It is very interesting that the translation of the Hebrew to Greek, called the Septuagint Bible, records Isaiah 9:10 as follows:
The bricks are fallen down, but come, and let us build for ourselves a tower.
Let’s read again Genesis 11:4:
Come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that we make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.
I can’t believe the news that comes out of our cities, such as the setting up of sanctuary cities to protect lawbreakers and the implementing of gay and transgender rights. Cities are breeding grounds for crime, immorality, and corruption. The news is full of these things happening continually… the murders, political corruption, theft, and immorality all legislated. Protests and riots and the tearing down of statues that represent our nation’s history. We also see the devastation in concentrated areas when floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes happen.
When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?Amos 3:6
Remember when Abraham and Lot came to the parting of ways due to the size of their herds? Lot chose the valley of Jordan where Sodom and Gomorrah were located. He settled in Sodom. You know the rest of the story — that these cities were so wicked the Lord destroyed them. Lot and his family had to be led out by angels. Mrs. Lot did not fare so well when she looked back.
People have flocked to cities where there are good paying jobs; they live the good life, have good schools, and culture. Some may ask, wasn’t Jerusalem a city, where the temple of God existed? Yes, and because of rebellion and rejection of Christ, the city was finally destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Jesus expressed his sorrow over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:7. He said, “Your house will be left unto you desolate.”
But you may ask, “Don’t we have all those churches in the city so we can win people to Christ?” That may be a fair question, but then so is this old question: If you place the righteous and the wicked in close confinement, who is going to influence who?
Which one wins people over to their side?
I find it alarming that most mainline city churches are closing the Bible and opening their doors to all kinds of secular means in order to gain members. We all have family and friends who live in big cities. All we can do is pray that the Lord will lead them out by circumstance and conviction.
The name Babylon has been equated to confusion of languages, but it is also equated to spiritual confusion. Have our churches fallen into spiritual confusion, such as the watering down of the Gospel, because of the worldly influence coming from our cities, which dictate influence by power in numbers, gaining voice through social media? The cities, being high population centers, set agendas for the states in which they are located. They determine whether the state is ‘red’ or ‘blue’, conservative or liberal.
As an example, through the last oil boom, North Dakota received a windfall of revenue through the oil extraction taxes. The western counties, where the oil was in production, had enormous needs due to the traffic and people coming here to work. Roads needed repair. Communities faced sewer, water, and housing deficiencies. Law enforcement was overwhelmed. But guess who received the largest portion of this revenue? Large cities like Fargo and Bismarck.
Cities, because of the large population, have greater representation in the legislature. Cities control our society, whether we like it. They popularize or spearhead fashion ideas, entertainment, value trends, morality; they are travel hubs, hoard supplies and materials, house governmental centers, and, of course, religious denominational headquarters, which set the spiritual level for the churches. These centers are the vocal voting majority.
The scripture from Matthew 4:8 tells us about when Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness, and He was tempted by the Devil.
Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’Matthew 4:8
The devil claims ownership of the kingdoms, which includes the cities and all their splendor.
Revelation 21:1-8 describes a time in the future when a new Jerusalem will come down to earth from heaven, the city in which God will dwell with His people.
Let us pray for our nation and our leaders, let us pray for our families and ourselves, that Jesus Christ will help us remove the towers of arrogance and pride from our hearts.
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.Psalm 127:1