Genesis 11 – Babel

The typical Christian thinking is that sin is the only problem in the world that Jesus came to overcome.  In fact, the ancient Jewish concept of what’s wrong provides a much bigger picture, and it actually paves the way for all that Jesus has done and will do prophetically so as to redeem the earth.

If we study and understand Scripture in this way, we see that there were three rebellions, not just one.  The rebellion we’re all familiar with, i.e. Rebellion #1, is the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Eve was tempted by the serpent, believed its lie rather than God’s truth, and thus effectively rebelled against God in her disobedience.  This brought sin into the world.  But, if we truly look all around us, we see there is much more going on than can simply be attributed to sin.

The book of Genesis is so significant because it provides much of the foundation for the rest of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.  Where does sin lead?  If left unchecked, what can result?  The answer is depravity.  Depravity is sin on steroids.  It is moral corruption and wickedness.  Was there an event that introduced depravity into the world?  Absolutely.

An event took place in Genesis 6:1-5, which is the basis for what God will often refer to as an abomination.  Some number of the sons of God left their heavenly abode in rebellion against God and procreated with human women.  This was direct disobedience to God’s command to them and resulted in Rebellion #2.  This “intermarrying” between spiritual beings and human beings brought such depravity among mankind, plus such wholesale corruption of the human bloodline, that God had no choice but to bring the flood and destroy everything on the earth.  Had He not done this, it would have been impossible for Him to fulfill His prophetic Word that the Seed of the woman (Eve) would come (fully human) to destroy the serpent and its seed, i.e. anyone who chose to rebel against God.

The account of the Tower of Babel incident in Genesis 11 provides us with the understanding of Rebellion #3.  God had told Noah after the flood – just as He had originally told Adam and Eve – to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28 and 9:7).  Instead, what did mankind do?  Led by Nimrod, who had migrated to Babel on the plains of Shinar (in what is today Iraq), men built a “tower with its top in the heavens” (Genesis 11:4) so that they could make a name for themselves rather than be “dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”  This tower is what we call a ziggurat.  It was meant to make a way to bring God down to man, in order to effectively control Him.

In God’s eyes, this was complete disobedience and rebellion against His Word.  Of course, it didn’t take Him by surprise, but He made an intriguing statement in v7: “Nothing that they [men] propose to do will now be impossible for them.”  To counter this problem, we see in v8-9 that God dispersed men throughout the earth and confused the single language, that had been present since the beginning, into multiple tongues.

Not to make this post too lengthy, but one other factor came into play in this rebellion.  In Deuteronomy 32:8 (and you must read the ESV – English Standard Version – translation to see this properly), God set His divine sons over the nations into which He had placed mankind:

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,

    when he divided mankind,

he fixed the borders of the peoples

    according to the number of the sons of God.

These sons of God were obedient at the time God put them over the nations to rule.  Their job was to point men back to God while He raised up the nation of Israel to be His special inheritance (Deuteronomy 32:9).  Instead, these sons of God rebelled similarly to the fall of their brothers in Genesis 6.  In this case, however, they chose to copy Satan’s desire to be as God.  Rather than direct the peoples of the nations to Yahweh as the One true God, they became the gods over all the nations.  It is from this that we subsequently see gods such as Baal, Milcom, Molech, Chemosh, and many others throughout Scripture.  These gods remain in place to this very day.  They become the third reason that Jesus came, i.e. to redeem the nations back to Himself.

In summary, the three rebellions and the way that God is dealing with them through Jesus Christ are as follows:

* Rebellion #1 – sin.  Jesus takes away the sin of the world when someone believes in Him and is born again.

* Rebellion #2 – depravity.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as our Helper to council and guide us in the way of God’s righteousness.

* Rebellion #3 – nations following other gods.  When Jesus returns in His 2nd coming at the end of the 7-year Tribulation, He will destroy all those who hate God.  This will usher in the Millennial Kingdom, when Jesus rules and reigns over the nations of the earth from His throne in Jerusalem.  The rebellious sons of God – the gods of the nations – will join Satan in the lowest pit of hell while peace encompasses the earth for 1,000 years.

Isn’t God’s Word amazing?  There is so much more going on than what we might see upon a single reading.  God’s Word requires a lifetime and more of study for us to understand the bigger picture of His purposes.  He wants us to pursue this so that we will know Him more fully.

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