I PLACE MY FULL UNWAVERING FAITH IN THE WORD OF GOD—even among its grandest of geocentric narratives. I believe Moses when he recounts for us the first and only recorded one-world government, aside now from our prophesied own; specifically the incomplete Tower of Babel which resulted from it (Genesis 11:1-9). That the Chaldeans of Ur set their political ambitions on a marvel of engineering which might ruffle the angelic feathers of physical heaven is a worldview only capable of being manifested in a flat stationary realm. Moses did not suppose their superstition necessary for correction, as he had already laid out the Earth’s blueprints some eleven chapters earlier, nor did the Lord when He put a thorough end to their wicked schemes.
Let us not forget, Noah was still alive for the duration of this fool’s errand. As the sole inheritor of all future generations, he had already instructed his offspring in the ways of the Lord. The Chaldeans were made well aware of the Creation week, of the forbidden tree of knowledge and Adam’s disciplinary dismissal from the garden, of the sons of God taking on human wives and the resulting flood to follow, which Noah alone survived by way of godly virtue. This was made well known to them, and they hated God for it.
“6 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. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” Genesis 11:6-7
The globular historian dismisses our Creators eye-witness account regarding Babel and its dispersion of tongues. To such an academic, the Tower is beyond childish, not even worthy of a nursery-rhyme, and yet the furthest corners of ancient anthropology fundamentally disagree with him. Just ask the Bambala tribe of the Congo or the Sangu of Mkulwe and the Kachcha Nagas hill people scattered across Manipur and Nagaland. Ask the Anal Kuki people populating Manipur, India and in Myanmar. Visit the Quiches of Guatemala and the Ashanti tribe of central Ghana or the Mikirs, a Tibetan-Burmese people. Inquire of the Admiralty Islanders of Papua New Guinea, the aborigines of Australia, the people of the great pyramid of Cholula in Mexico, or the Tlingit indigenous peoples of Alaska and the Maidu Indians of California. By their own separate oral histories they mutually agree. Mankind once conspired against the Lord. They sought to murder Him. They even attempted to build a monument devoted to their ambition. It is for this wickedness that God confused their language and scattered them across the breadth of the Earth. Don’t believe me? Go find the Lozi people of the upper Zambezi. Ask them.
In his book, “Folk-Lore in the Old Testament,” (1918) Sir James George Frazer writes: “Stories which bear a certain resemblance to the legend of the Tower of Babel are reported among several African tribes. Thus, some of the natives of the Zambesi, apparently in the neighborhood of the Victoria Falls, “have a tradition which may refer to the building of the Tower of Babel, but it ends in the bold builders getting their crowns cracked by the fall of the scaffolding.” The story thus briefly referred to by Dr. Livingstone has been more fully recorded by a Swiss missionary. The A-Louyi, a tribe of the Upper Zambesi, say that formerly their god Nyambe, whom they identify with the sun, used to dwell on dearth, but that he afterwards ascended up to heaven on a spider’s web. From his post up aloft he said to men, “Worship me.’ But me said, ‘Come, let us kill Nyambe.’ Alarmed at this impious threat, the deity fled to the sky, from which it would seem that he had temporarily descended. So men said, ‘Come, let us make masts to reach up to heaven.’ They set up masts and added more masts, joining them one to the other, and they clambered up them. But when they had climbed far up, the masts fell down, and all the men on the masts were killed by the fall. That was the end of them.”
There are variations of course. The Mikirs tell of giants having a part in the towers construction. The Gaikhos even trace their genealogy to Adam, and claim the architecture, which reached halfway to heaven, resembled a pagoda. Certainly, worldwide interviews among the most ancient of anthropological people-groups will produce a handful of modifications to the legend, but the end result is often if not always the same. The mind of every man was cast into confusion. For example, Sir Frazier writes: “The Wa-Sania of British East Africa say that of old all the tribes of the earth knew only one language, but that during a severe famine the people went mad and wandered in all directions, jabbering strange words, and so the different languages arose.”
By the end of his life Noah must have felt like the greatest failure that ever was. Essentially, he lived two of them—lives, that is. As a young man, Moses assures us, he “walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)” And yet the world did not. As an old man he continued his walk with God. His descendants, except for the sparse few in his own household, did not. As it was before the Great Deluge, so it remained. Man was darkened by his own humanist thinking. Specifically to the ancient Book of Jasher, Noah lived to see his great-grandson Nimrod reign “in the earth over all the sons of Noah (Jasher 7:45).” Furthermore, “all the earth was under his control (Jasher 9:20).”
But Nimrod did not go in the ways of the Lord. Jasher records, “And he was more wicked than all the men that were before him, from the days of the flood until those days. And he made gods of wood and stone, and bowed down to them, and he rebelled against the Lord, and taught all his subjects and the people of the earth his wicked ways (7:46-47).” That the inhabitants of Nimrod’s kingdom, just as it is with the learned citizens of any ruling empire today—including our own, did not perceive themselves as wicked is evident in their desire to “reign upon the whole world,” or rather, subdue them, in order that “the evil of (their) enemies may cease (9:21),” rather than their own.
The resulting tower was to extend to such great heights that they required a plot of land which could support a wide enough base. Again, according to Jasher, families numbering 600,000 men, not including women and children, sought the whole Earth and found none like “one valley at the east of the land of Shinar (9:23).” As it turned out, the tower became so large that “mortar and bricks did not reach the builders in their accent to it, until those who went up had completed a full year (9:27).” Its circumference was a three days walk (9:38). A man can walk across Manhattan in less than one. And while it is difficult getting a straight answer out of anyone, the true intent of their engineering marvel is made known when “they imagined in their hearts to war against the Lord God of heaven and ascend into heaven (9:25).” Noah’s descendants even began to shoot arrows towards the firmament. When each arrow returned, tips dipped with blood, they convinced themselves that God’s defeat was assured (Jasher 9:29).
A careful commentator on the grievous conditions of mankind in every age will likely conclude that we needn’t build a tower today to transgress or sin wickedly against the Lord. Though admittedly, while Nimrod built one tower, we have entire metropolises of them. Jasher once more records that a third of its builders imagined in their hearts to “ascend to heaven and fight against Him.” Another third imagined in their hearts to “smite him with bows and spears,” once arriving, and still another third imagined in their hearts “the placement of their own gods” (Jasher 9:26). Is it not so terribly uncommon that a man seeks to murder God in his heart? The Psalmist reminds us, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ (Psalm 14:1)” Even today tales of heaven, as told by the whimsical inventions of the humanist mind, is filled with the sort of self-enlightenment fitting for a disciple of Rene Descartes rather than Yeshua Hamashiach, each proclaiming, “I think, therefore I am!” rather than identifying his own being by first proclaiming “In the beginning, God….” So too, according to the humanist, is heaven dominated with visions of familiar faces and an ambiance of “love” filling in the centerfold rather than the throne of our living God.
We read throughout Holy Scripture that God’s favorite tactic in defeating man is by throwing him into confusion. This is most easily done. A mind turned away from God, firmly pressed upon his own philosophical insight, is always darkened and delusional. Even man’s self-declared renaissance of natural science and reason can not possibly rise above his self-enlightened deception. Indeed, the act of throwing a people into confusion, be it one soul or a gathering of many, is most easily accomplished. Only in God’s light can we see true light (Psalm 36.9). Among the inhabitants of Babel, those who had imagined in their hearts to worship their own gods in heaven became like “apes and elephants” in their cognitive thinking. Those who shot arrows, being morally depraved individuals at best, murdered each other off. Jasher records of this confusion, “When the builder took from the hands of his neighbor lime or stone which he did not order, the builder would cast it away and throw it upon his neighbor, that he would die (Jasher 9:33).” And finally, those who sought to “fight against God,” survived the collapse of the Tower, though the tower itself was destroyed among a human casualty beyond number (9:38-39), only to be scattered across the breadth of the Earth.
Oral history affirms this.
Reader, be warned. Anyone who attempts to enter into heaven by his own works, be it a magnificent structure such as Babel or by a simple kind word, he is at odds with God.
Maranatha from Ottawa!