BABEL RISING Page 2
From the Main Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
Jesus REALLY is coming soon!
There are reasons to believe this that go beyond what is ordinarily considered Second Coming Prophecy, though they are not totally unrelated.
The reasons are related via the famous prophecy in Daniel 12:4, "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase". This passage, by its context, is a sign of the imminence of the Second Coming. It is being fulfilled before our eyes. But that is just one aspect of the reasons why Jesus must come soon.
Before we can discuss these reasons, we must first ask a question that, again, may not seem to have anything to do with Second Coming Prophecy:
Why Did God Confuse The Languages
At The Tower of Babel?
In answering this, we must first read the entire relevant passage, Genesis 11:1-9, and notice one thing that most previous interpretations overlook: The Bible gives more emphasis to the City of Babel than to the Tower. The Tower is mentioned twice; the city three times. See especially verse 8: "...they ceased building the city". It is human tradition that emphasizes the Tower. The Bible does not. Therefore, any answer that emphasizes the Tower is automatically wrong. This writer has rarely seen anyone else notice the reason that the Bible plainly shows. (C. S. Lewis had at least an inkling of it.)
Many people erroneously believe that it was because the people of Babel were trying to reach Heaven and take over from God, or some other equivalent nonsense. It is this writer's understanding that this idea originated before the time of Christ. If it did, it was because the person or people who originated the idea did not have the awareness to comprehend the true reason. As we should understand now, if that had been what the people of Babel were trying to do, it would have been an exercise in futility. God would not have needed to do anything about that. Sooner or later, they would have given up. We must seek and find a deeper and more genuinely Scriptural answer.
It has also, much more recently, been theorized that the Tower of Babel was really a spaceship. All you have to do is read and understand the story to realize that it was basically just a big pile of bricks held together with asphalt (what the Hebrew word often translated "slime" really means; see Genesis 11:3, NKJV). Saying it was a spaceship is reading something into the Bible that isn't there, which happens to be one of the most common origins of doctrinal error.
The ideas that they were trying to reach Heaven, or that the Tower was a spaceship, are derived from the phrase, "whose top is in the heavens". But that is just a figure of speech that means that the Tower was meant to be very high. It is very much like our calling tall buildings "skyscrapers". The same figure of speech can be found in Deuteronomy 1:28, and 9:1, KJV, where it refers to the height of the walls of Canaanite cities. Those walls were in all probability rather less than 100 feet high. Therefore, there is nothing in the phrase to truly suggest either an actual attempt to reach Heaven, or that the Tower was a spaceship.
The only possible basis in fact for the former erroneous idea is that ancient peoples of the Mesopotamian region often built their temples on high platforms, because they believed that by doing so they were building them closer to God, or the gods. The Mayan and Aztec Indians of Central America appear to have had the same idea. The Tower was, as far as we know, one of the ancient pyramid-like Mesopotamian structures called ziggurats, and they were elevated temple platforms. This was also true of Mayan and Aztec pyramids. There were also pyramids built in ancient China for the same purpose.
Before we can fully answer the question above, we must first ask and give a Scriptural answer to a second one:
Why was the Tower built?
As stated, in the Scripture more emphasis is given to the City. The real reason for the construction of the City and the Tower is actually stated by the people of Babel themselves, in Genesis 11:4:
"And they said, 'Come, let us build a city,
and a tower whose top is in the heavens,
let us make a name for ourselves,
lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.'"
Examining the Scripture reference above, we find that the purpose of the Tower and the City was to keep them together. The City and Tower would have been the common effort, achievement and place of residence that would have given them an identity and thus preserved their unity. It was God's will that they should spread out, implied in Genesis 9:1.* They wanted to stay together. If God hadn't confused the languages they would have all stayed in one place. The confusion of the languages scattered them.
But why was God so insistent that they spread out?
God states the real reason for this in Genesis 11:6:
"And the Lord said,
'Indeed, the people are one and they all have one language,
and this is what they begin to do;
now nothing they propose to do will be withheld from them.' "
This happens to be one of the most awesome things that God says about mankind in the entire Bible, and it is amazing that its implications have been so widely overlooked. This verse is right up there in significance with Genesis 1:27 and Romans 3:23 (which see). God was saying that, given unity and unlimited communication, plus one more item, enough time (implied with the words "they begin", though not pronounced in His statement), there is absolutely no limit on human creativity. God's statement above is very much like a modern proverb that comes from the New Age Movement:
"What Mind Can Conceive, Man Can Achieve"
Given the conditions above, this proverb is absolutely true. The Tower itself was not the problem - notice that God did not destroy it or the City. The problem was the human potential that the Tower and the City represented. So He moved against the human potential by confusing the languages.
*This idea is affirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius in his "The Antiquities of the Jews", Book 1, chapter 4.
We are creative!
As the Bible says, (Genesis 1:27) we are created in God's image. We can communicate the way we do because we are created in His image. As has long since been recognized by others, God is the Creator, therefore, we are creative. Furthermore, God did not originally put any limitations on our creative potential. In fact, it is in our creativity and our ability to communicate that we most differ from ordinary animals and most resemble God.
We live in a society in which we are so immersed in the fruits of our ability to communicate and our creativity that we seldom consider how awesome these things are, compared to what even the smartest animals can do. As I write this, I am taking my ideas - complex ideas - and turning them into a string of tiny symbols. You are seeing these symbols and turning them back into my ideas. No animal can do anything that even approaches this. Gorillas have been taught to communicate in simple sentences in sign language, but we taught them. They still can't communicate in anything like the way we do, and they aren't creative at all. No animal has real speech. No animal writes or does math. No animal draws real pictures. No animal builds machines. There is only one word that accurately describes the difference between us and animals in creativity and the ability to communicate. That word is...
You are probably reading this on a computer screen. You or someone else close to you accessed it via the Internet. Computers are the products of our creativity. The Internet is the latest major advancement in our ability to communicate. With these things, we are accelerating our advancement, making ourselves increasingly different from animals.
There happens to be a major spiritual problem with that.
Our creativity is corrupted by sin, as surely as "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". God Himself states this in Genesis 6:5 and 8:21;
"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually".
Understand this: the Hebrew word translated "every intent" in this verse is a blanket term for everything that man thinks of, and by extension, everything man creates. The reason for this statement being repeated in Genesis 8:21 is presumably to make it clear that the Flood didn't change the situation. Everything we create is tainted with sin! That is why we have problems like nuclear and biological weapons, and environmental pollution. But these things are just the tip of the iceberg. Our corrupt creativity can be a real problem to God, especially when we act in unity.
There is Biblical reason to believe that we are created in God's image collectively as well as individually. This is manifested in the way our creativity multiplies when we act in unity. For example, one person, starting without tools and parts provided by others, probably could not build a bicycle. People acting in unity for the purpose build Boeing 747s. One person, by himself, might put a crude bridge of stones and logs across a small stream. People acting in unity for the purpose build huge steel suspension bridges like the Golden Gate. Again, one person acting alone without tools and materials provided by others would have difficulty building a crude log cabin. People acting in unity for the purpose build skyscrapers - just as the people of Babel were building the Tower and the City. It is when we act in unity that our creativity becomes impressive - and dangerous!
Furthermore, the unity doesn't have to be conscious, intentional unity to be effective. It doesn't require the people involved in a specific project to all to be believing and saying the same things. All it takes is enough people doing things by which, knowingly or not, they are contributing to the common project. And big things happen.
So the answer to the initial question is:
God confused the languages at Babel to disrupt human unity and thus limit human creativity.
To understand why He considered it necessary to do this, we must ask and answer yet another question:
What would have become of the Babel culture if God had not confused the languages?
This can be answered only with an educated guess, but there are things we know about human behavior from sociology, anthropology and history that give us the basis for a highly probable answer.
First, consider that although they were technically primitive, they were civilized and they did have the beginnings of technical civilization. They started right in to build a city and tower with kiln-dried (what the phrase "bake them thoroughly" [Genesis 11:3] really means) bricks. This is skilled labor.
Second, consider that they were ethnically and linguistically homogeneous. They all spoke exactly the same language, with no differences of jargon, accent or dialect. There were no differences of class and culture. All labor would have been equally shared. History has shown that cultures like that tend to develop technically very quickly.
Third, relevant to this, they did not have slavery. Slavery does not appear in the Bible until the time of Abraham, several centuries later. Traditionally, slaves are taken from lower classes, and/or different ethnic groups, and/or captives from wars. There were no other classes or ethnic groups. There would have been no wars; there was no one to fight with. It was the confusion of the languages that precipitated wars and slavery.
The problem is that slavery holds back progress. For example, the Romans did little to technically improve their sailing ships because they had plenty of cheap slave labor to row them. Similarly, they knew how to build watermills to cut lumber and grind grain, but again they seldom did because they had cheap slave labor to do it. Again, in the United States during the early 19th Century, the northern, slave - free states became heavily industrialized quickly, while the slavery-dominated southern states did not. That's why the North won the Civil War. The absence of slavery would have accelerated progress at Babel.
Fourth, they would have had no wars. Again, there would have been no one to fight with. Now we know that in our times, wars accelerate scientific and technical progress through weapons research and development. But it wasn't always so. The organized application of scientific and technological research and development to warfare began during the Renaissance. Although there were exceptions, it didn't usually happen the way it does now in ancient times.
On the contrary, in ancient times it was a common practice to wipe out entire conquered cultures through direct annihilation and/or enslavement. It's in the Bible. That's what happened to the Canaanite cities conquered by Joshua. It also happened to the Lost Ten Tribes. When a culture died, any scientific and technical knowledge (including medicine) unique to that culture died with it. For example, it was discovered some years ago that the ancient Babylonians knew how to make electricity from batteries and do electroplating. When Babylon fell, that knowledge was lost for 2000 years.
Finally, the people of Babel probably didn't have any of the erroneous beliefs and cultural taboos that can hold back progress. For example, Galileo narrowly escaped being burned at the stake for saying that the earth and the planets orbit the Sun. The Church leaders had chosen to accept the erroneous ideas of Aristotle and Ptolemy as gospel, so they were violently opposed to Galileo's ideas. But when Galileo's discoveries were finally accepted, they gave birth to higher mathematics, modern physics, astronomy, and now, space travel. Without erroneous beliefs, the progress of the Babel culture would have been that much faster.
Assume also that they would have had the thirst for knowledge and power that are common to most human civilizations, and we see a situation that was pure dynamite. They had a potential for scientific and technological advancement that has not been equaled since in history - until our time!
So what would have become of them?
We have said that God wanted them to spread out. They would have spread out, alright, but not the way God wanted. The Tower wasn't a spaceship, but they would have been building spaceships within a few centuries. They would have had colonies on other planets by the time of Moses. There would have been colonies on planets orbiting other stars by the time of Christ, if not sooner. If God had not confused the languages, we would in all probability be living in an interstellar civilization by now.
Also, in the centuries that followed the Flood, the human life span dropped dramatically. The people of Babel would have noticed this, and set out to do something about it. We would be living much longer life spans, and we might have long since achieved biological eternal life.
God has a plan for the salvation of the human race. It calls for all mankind to stay on earth. This is not directly stated in the Bible, but it is implied in such passages as Acts 17:26 and Revelation 1:7. In the Bible as a whole, all the prophesied events related to the Second Coming are shown to happen specifically on the earth. There is no place in the Prophecies, if correctly understood, for humans to be anywhere else but on earth before the Second Coming.
There is also Scriptural reason why God will not allow us to seriously extend our present life spans, let alone give ourselves biological eternal life. This too could threaten His plan of salvation.
But there are things happening now in the world such that we will soon do things that will interfere with God's plan of salvation if something doesn't happen to stop us. They are related to the fulfillment of the Prophecy of Daniel 12:4. In this Web site, we refer to them as violations of...
...The Three Prohibitions
From the Scriptures, we can discern three major prohibitions that God has placed on the human race. These are things that God will not allow the human race to do - at least not for long - before the Second Coming of Christ, regardless of how sinful we are otherwise.
1. God will not allow us to live in a state of unity with unlimited communication apart from His Lordship. We are in a state of increasing violation of this prohibition right now. We are in the process of completely overcoming what He did at Babel - and then some!
2. God will not allow us to significantly extend our life spans, let alone give ourselves biological eternal life. We are trying! Given enough time, we will, and possibly sooner than most people expect.
3. God will not allow us to spread human civilization to space stations and other worlds prior to the Second Coming. Again, we are trying! Again, Given enough time, we will.
We are, again, already increasingly violating the first prohibition. We are working toward the violation of the other two with increasing unity and ease of communication. God cannot allow this to continue much longer. The only thing prophesied that can stop us is the Second Coming of Christ.
The New Tower
In short, a new Tower of Babel is rising.
Unlike the first one, that was built with bricks and asphalt, this one is being built with science, medicine, and high technology.
Unlike the first one, that was simply meant to be very high,
This one is literally reaching for the stars!
Again, if something doesn't happen to seriously disrupt human progress within the next fifty years or so, it appears very likely that we will start spreading human civilization to other worlds, and we will at least seriously extend our life spans. Whatever stops us can't be just a local event - the whole world is involved in this. The only thing prophesied that will do what needs to be done, from God's standpoint, is the Second Coming of Christ, or from the standpoint of the world, the Great Tribulation.
In the following pages, we will discuss the Biblical basis of these prohibitions, how we are violating them, and how this will interfere with God's plan, in depth in the following pages, and then look at a deeper spiritual problem that underlies the whole "BABEL RISING! situation. First, however, to give the reader a deeper understanding of what is happening, we will present a brief history of the "BABEL RISING!" problem in the next page;
The Learning Curve
Contact Author, William D. Brehm; firstname.lastname@example.org