” . . . and ye shall be as gods . . . ,” hissed the serpent. (Genesis 3:5)
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Genesis 9:1
Fallen humanity has a short memory. Just two generations after God’s judgment of a worldwide flood upon mankind for his rebellious apostasy, he once again chose to disregard the command of God for the siren call of humanistic endeavor. The Lord’s command to Noah and his family was plain, “Replenish the earth.” And mankind promptly disobeyed God’s mandate to repopulate the post-flood earth and gathered under the leadership of one who would be king in the plain of Shinar.
“And Cush begat Nimrod
: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” Genesis 10: 8, 9
Nimrod, whose name means, “Let Us Revolt”, was the great grandson of the Patriarch, Noah. We’re told he was “a mighty one”, and “a mighty hunter”, but we’re not told why he was assigned these titles. Was he a hunter of man, or beast? The context is dealing with men, so it is reasonable to suggest his exploits were of a moral and spiritual nature. Regardless, the Scriptures make it clear that he was a celebrity and a conqueror in the world after the flood. He gathered the people to rule over them by establishing the most prominent pagan city in biblical history.
“And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Genesis 10:10
King Nimrod was the founder of Babylonia, or the Babylonian empire located in the Plain of Shinar, or modern day Iraq. It consisted of the four cities listed in Genesis 10: 10, with Babel as its capital. The godless government Nimrod established was despotic and satanic (see Isaiah 14: 12-16). It’s occultic influence is still felt in the contemporary world. Babel, which became the infamous city of Babylon was Satan’s post-flood establishment of false religion, idolatry, and humanism. The cities of the Plain, along with Assyrian cities, such as Nineveh – also founded by Nimrod – were the homes of the people groups that plagued the children of Israel throughout the biblical account.
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we are scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11: 1-4
When man switches focus from the Lord God to himself delusions of humanistic grandeur are sure to follow. Such was the case with the builders of Babel. Notice the man-centered plan. “Let us make brick . . .”,” Let us build us a city and a tower . . .”, “Let us make us a name . . .” God’s word, will , or way was not even considered in this grandiose scheme. They had gone as far as they were going to go for God. After all, the mandate He prescribed was dangerous and difficult. Filling the earth was a big job. The post-flood world was a dangerous place. Predatory beasts now roamed the earth and the extreme weather patterns were often difficult to survive. Not unlike the modern Christian who gives up on God’s work because of difficulties in the ministry, Noah’s descendants threw in the towel, and succumbed to the flesh, and heeded the voices of other spirits, while ignoring the voice of God.
Walking by sight instead of faith in the living God, the people logically concluded that there is strength in numbers, and that mankind is an intelligent, innovative creature, capable of invention and discovery on his own. Unity became the ultimate goal of Nimrod’s subjects. Communication is key to unity, and the single language of the day helped the process tremendously. Consider the fact that Nimrod didn’t have to cross any cultural boundaries to sell his plan. He simply had to persuade the masses, and I suspect he did so by speech, intimidation and by deadly force. There were undoubtedly those who opposed this grand plan of unification of the masses, for God always has His remnant. But, just as in any totalitarian regime today, they were quickly compelled with violence to surrender to the dictator’s cause.
The tower, likely a ziggurat which is a pyramid-like structure found throughout the world, was a monument to false religion. Unlike a pyramid, the ziggurat has recessed steps along the outside to allow access to the place of worship at the top of the structure. Babel was to be the center of worship for Nimrod’s empire. The word, Babel, means “the gate of the gods”. Exactly which “gods” were worshiped is unknown, although it has been speculated that the hosts, or celestial bodies of heaven were worshiped, and the top of the tower served as an observatory. Regardless, the tower was man’s attempt to reach heaven through means other than the path laid out by the One True God.
Aside from its religious significance, the tower was a symbol to human progress and achievement, built to “make a name” for mankind. Not unlike the various “towers” erected in the name of human endeavor found throughout our modern world, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Trump building, the Sears building, etc., this tower was a monument to mankind.
I believe this era of history was the original foreshadowing of the world of a future Antichrist who will rule a world government and establish a world religion, and will compel humanity to ultimately worship him.
“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. ” Genesis 11:5, 6
Communication is the key to relationship, and relationship is the key to society. Words are important. God spoke the universe into existence at creation, He revealed Himself as the “logos”,or the living Word of God, in Christ, and He inspired men to write the Holy Bible, or the canon of Scripture. Among its many lessons, the account of Babel in the book of Genesis shows us clearly that when communication breaks down, human culture and society will splinter.
God’s confounding of the languages at Babel had its desired effect. After God’s intervention, the residents who were still able to understand each other at Babel naturally banded together to form many groups that eventually scattered across the planet. It is interesting that linguists believe that the thousands of languages and dialects spoken in our world today probably originated from about 100 root languages. Perhaps this is a clue as to how many groups dispersed from Babel. Whatever the actual number, the cultures and nations throughout history, all have their origin in Nimrod’s great city.