The subject of the Tower of Babel is very important to us in our understanding of Creation. The events at Babel give us an explanation for the various languages in the world today. It also reveals the reason why there are so many religions, and the reason why God and His word are still rejected by man.
“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” (Genesis 11:1-2).
Over the coming years, since the days of the Flood, many people migrated towards Mesopotamia (Babylon, or modern day Iraq), here they built a city in a fertile area called Shinar. No doubt they had in mind a restoration of Eden, since this is were it may have originally been situated. The language everyone spoke was Semitic (maybe even Hebrew), this means that they fully understood what they were doing when they chose to disobey God’s word and rebel against Him. The words “one language, and of one speech” literally means “of one lip and one set of words.” What started out as utopia quickly became the first godless, communistic state.
“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” (Genesis 11:3).
Nimrod probably became the head of state by this time. We read in Genesis 10:8-10, “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. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Cush was the eldest son of Ham, from him descended Nimrod, the great rebel. Nimrod means “Let us rebel.” His hunting was not just for animals, but for the souls of men. He sought to turn people away from God. The Jerusalem Targum has Nimrod saying, “Depart from the judgement of God, and follow the judgement of Nimrod.” Notice that Genesis 10:10 informs us that he was building his own kingdom, therefore there is no doubt he was the dictator of his age. He was establishing a centralised society in much the same way as the leaders E.U. are today. His government would control resources and the workforce. A self-sufficient society, under one leader, with no need for God. Archaeology has proven that this region had an immense industry in kiln-fired brick and asphalt. Nimrod’s kingdom was to be a satanic counterfeit of the coming Messianic Kingdom, for he had established himself as mankind’s saviour. We cannot fail to see, in Nimrod, Satan’s first attempt to raise up a human universal ruler of men. There have been many subsequent attempts, such as Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Napoleon, and others. He will finally succeed in the person of the Antichrist.
Reach for the sky
“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 be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).
They obviously became so experienced in building that they laid plans to create the world’s first skyscraper. This tower was to be the focal point and emblem of Nimrod’s kingdom. It would serve as the political and religious centre of his utopian state. This tower, once completed, would make the builders famous as the first men to go into outer space, or so they thought. God wanted them to populate the whole earth, but they were determined to disobey and follow their own plans. It is likely that the tower was built to worship and observe the stars (and the fallen angels associated with them) rather than to try to dethrone God, though Satan no doubt planted this idea in their minds too. This is believed to be the source of the worship of Allah, the moon god. Many archaeologists and historians believe that the Marduk Ziggurat in ancient Babylon was known as the Tower of Babel. The ruins of this ziggurat still exist in Iraq near the banks of the Euphrates. It is possible that the tower was also built because they did not believe God’s promise not to flood the earth again. The Tower of Babel (Babylon) was to be the beginning of Satan’s kingdom on earth. The alternative spirituality was paganism based upon astrology (occult and demonic.)
The Lord came down
“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” (Genesis 11:5-6).
The plans of these people must have been so rebellious that God had no alternative but to visit them with judgement. If they succeeded in building the tower they would quickly advance and bring total destruction to the earth. All they imagined (through demonic inspiration) was in violation of God’s command. Nimrod’s society may have come to where we are today if God had not intervened.
“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:7).
Here we read of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit speaking about what needed to be done to prevent the imaginations and plans of Nimrod. God would confound their language so as to make co-operation impossible. Every one of us, despite our lingual background, thinks the same thoughts, but it difficult to express them if the hearer speaks a different language to you. Not only this, but there were no translators at that point! All communication had broken down so that the builders could not continue with the project.
“So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:8-9).
They were scattered despite their plans to avoid it. As this judgement took place, it would seem to them that the whole world had gone mad. Every one was talking gibberish and nonsense (Babel = confusion / babble). They had to find those who spoke the same language as themselves and so banded together. Each language group migrated away from that region until we arrive at where we are today. Those who remained in Shinar upgraded the name of the city to Bab-el “the gate of the gods” in further rebellion against God. Just slight changes in language can make all the difference. “I say potato but you say ….” As each family group moved away from Babel, they would have retained awareness of the true God. This was already corrupted by Nimrod, but would have continued to degrade thus forming the various religions of the world.
There is much more historical background to Nimrod and Babel than we can enter into in this study, but there are a number of books that would assist you if you want to investigate this further. Every political and religious notion (excepting Biblical Judaism and Christianity) can be traced back to Babel. Is not politics confusing? Does not the fact that there are so many religions cause confusion? Don’t we quickly become confused when visiting a foreign land? It is all because of Babel. One day, when He brings in the New Heaven and New Earth, the Lord will restore a single language for all people.