Monday, January 31, 2011

Genesis 11:3-9 Tower of Babel

“And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 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. 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. 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.”

Most people, even some Christians, when confronted with the story of Babel, just smile and say it's just a fable. However, as a literalist, I firmly believe that the account is true. I also believe that before it's over, G-d will have the last word.

Also, there many external accounts of the tower of Babel such as the Jewish Historian Josephus, Alexander the Great and the Greek historian Herodotus. Most critics will say that the Herodotus and Alexander accounts are of a “square tower not the biblical round tower”.

This is a great example of where their bias' lay. Take another look at the actual biblical account above. There is no reference to the actual shape or size of the Tower of Babel. Therefore, our sunday school vision of a round tower is most likely incorrect. However, only time will tell.

As for the story of the Tower of Babel, it began with the first dictator, Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, who excited mankind to confront and show contempt of God. Josephus tells us that Nimrod was a tyrant bent on “turning men from the fear of God” and getting them under his rule. Josephus also tells us that “...the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God”.

The Mishnah tells us that the Nimrod and those under his sphere of influence was jealous of G-d and his position in the “upper world”.

"God has no right to choose the upper world for Himself, and to leave the lower world to us; therefore we will build us a tower, with an idol on the top holding a sword, so that it may appear as if it intended to war with God" (Gen. R. xxxviii. 7; Tan., ed. Buber, Noah, xxvii. et seq.).

When God saw what they were doing he remembered his promise not to destroy by water. From a new testament perspective, we now know that G-d also was reserving fire for the final punishment. Therefore, he confused their language. That is why it is called the Tower of Babel.

As a side note, here are some interesting facts about the Tower of Babel.

1.Josephus said that the tower was wider than it was high, more like a mountain than a tower.

2.Professor J.E. Gordon, in his book, “Structures or why things don't fall down”, wrote, 'brick and stone weigh about 120 lb per cubic foot (2,000 kg per cubic metre) and the crushing strength of these materials is generally rather better than 6,000 lbf per square inch or 40 megapascals. Elementary arithmetic shows that a tower with parallel walls could have been built to a height of 2.1 km (1.3 mi) before the bricks at the bottom were crushed. However by making the walls taper towards the top they ... could well have been built to a height where the men of Shinnar would run short of oxygen and had difficulty in breathing before the brick walls crushed beneath their own dead weight."

3.The Book of Jubilees mentions the tower's height as being 5,433 cubits and 2 palms, or 2,484 m (8,149.606 ft).

Finally, with all things considered, the Tower of Babel, was most likely in the shape of a pyramid, similar to other large structures at that time, making it more than feasible. It should be noted that this is Babylon which has been the center of demonic and Satanic activity since day one. It will also be the center of Satan's short term earthly rule during the Great Tribulation. Once again and Praise G-d, G-d will have the final word on the subject.