The tower of Babel


There are a lot of blanks that can be filled in about this babel story. First, the story is real. There is an archaeological site where this tower was constructed. Second, since it was a real building, there was a real person in charge of constructing it. To start with the building, it was an Assyrian “Mountaintop”, also known as a ziggurant. Ziggurats were man-made structures with temples at their tops. They were built to worship the host of heaven that is the sun, moon, and stars.

According to the Book of Genesis, Nimrod was the son of Cush and great-grandson of Noah and the king of Shinar. He was known as a man of power, and a mighty hunter. The cultural empire started by Cush was the Summerians. The Summerians developed a religious-political state which was extremely binding on all who lived in it, yet these laws did not apply to the rulers themselves.

Explaining Nimrod can begin with his name. Translated from Hebrew, Nimrod is “The Rebel”, and Nimrods rebellion was against the creator God, YHWH: YHWH is the God of the Hebrews. It was Nimrod who tried to get the people to turn away from YHWH. Nimrod wanted to incite contempt for God; he wanted the people to view their happiness as their own success. Their own success was entirely their own, with no glory to their God YHWH. Nimrods rebellion was truly against YHWH. He changed the government into tyranny. Tyranny was his means of turning men from the fear of God to a constant dependence upon his own power. Nimrod is the tyrannical opponent of YHWH.

Nimrods system of rule took hold throughout the Biblical world. Mountain worshipers and Tyrants would challenge Gods people for centuries. The Hebrews remained separated, in the story by language, but truly by faith. One group followed the tyrants who thought they were better that God, the other remained faithful to God. Rather than follow a Nimrod, they chose to follow YHWH.

If you think about this story a little, you might begin to see again how YHWH saves his chosen people. In the first instance, Noah is saved when YHWH tells him to build an ark before the great flood. After the flood YHWH confuses speech, again saving his people from the false speech of a tyrant and his followers. While the confusion of speech might first be interpreted as punishment for an obstinate people, it is more correctly salvation for the faithful.

In the story of the Pentecost, the disciples regain the ability to interpret the various languages; they gain the gift of tongues. This gift is delivered by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of YHWH as proof that they, through Jesus Christ, have overcome this obstacle of Babel. The opening message of Jesus’s gospel is that the kingdom of God is at hand,and this is the kingdom that is restored through Christ.What the apostles had a vague understanding of at the start of their discipleship, the Holy Spirit reveals clearly. The kingdom of God is at hand. Not the kingdom of Nimrod, or Caesar, or Herod, or the Zealots,or temple priests, Romans, Greeks, or Assyrians; but the Kingdom of God.With a restored kingdom, and a the true King rightfully enthroned all can again speak a common language, and all can again strive towards a common understanding.

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