by Pete Garcia
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27
The catastrophic flood of Noah’s day, not only wiped all traces of the antediluvian peoples from the face of the earth, but also changed the geographic landscape of the earth’s continents. It was during one of Shem’s descendants, Peleg’s (Gen. 10:25) era, which the earth was divided. There is much speculation and discussion about what this exactly means, but a curious note in the Book of Jasher (2:11) says–It was Peleg who first invented the hedge and the ditch, the wall and bulwark: and who by lot divided the lands among his brethren.
Along with centuries old scholarly discussions on the subject who have debated between some violent and sudden form of continental drift, or the separation by mass migrations of the offspring of Noah, either way, it happened during Peleg’s day, which was around 111 years after the flood. Keep in mind, that Genesis 10, provides an overall summary of Noah’s descendants and their dispersion across the face of the earth and is summarized as such in verse 32. When proceeding on to Genesis 11, take note that mankind is united there on the plains of Shinar near Babel so that Genesis 11:1-9, is an expansion of just one of the grandsons of Noah (as mentioned in chapter 10), prior to their global dispersion from Babel.
Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city). Genesis 10:8-12
The Flood – Babel
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves 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.”
My position on this has changed over the years, going from what was the traditional view for the location for the site of Babel (southern Iraq), to now, more northern Iraq/Syria. A more detailed summation of this is outlined in Answers in Genesis, but the conclusion is one in which I tend to agree with. The below is the summary of that article:
It has been shown in this paper that, based on biblical, historical, geological, and geographical evidences, the Tower of Babel was most likely built in the Khabur River triangle of North Syria, somewhere inside a triangle marked at its points by Tell Brak, Tell Aqab (near Amuda) and Tell Fakhariyah; and could not have been located anywhere in southern Mesopotamia, as has been traditionally believed.
There are a myriad of reasons why northern Iraq/Syria makes more sense, but the top three for this author are:
If you were building a tower, which in part, was to serve as an escape for a future flood, you wouldn’t build it in a floodplain. You’d start in the mountains or on higher terrain.
It is likely, given the proximity to the time of the flood itself, most if not all of southern Iraq, would still be under water. It remained marshlands up until the time of Saddam Hussein, who drained it in an attempt to punish the Shia Muslims native to that area back in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s.
The current borders we have, are largely artificial arrangements from the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916), which resulted in the British and French carving up the Middle East upon the conclusion of World War 1 and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Historically, by the time of the Babylonian kingdom- through the Seleucid Kingdom (312-63BC), Babylon and Syria were largely synonymous.
But the location aside, we now turn to the “why” of the tower.
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 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 that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. Gen. 11:1-9
The Tower at Babel is significant, not in that God fears ziggurats or skyscrapers, but in what man was trying to accomplish by building it. First, man was attempting to create a means of escape, should the flood happen again. After all, the flood, during the time period of Genesis 11:1-9, was still recent history. Interesting to note as well, that where the timeline is given for the descendants of Shem (so and so begat so and so, and lived xxx years), there is none for Ham and Japeth. So it is possible that Peleg was alive during Nimrod’s day, who began the world’s first dictatorship. But the tower was also significantly disturbing for a far deeper reason, in that it would serve as a means to reconnect with the divine order, as it was prior to the flood. Consider the following observations:
It is as innate to man to want to ascend into the heavens, as it is of animals to follow their natural instincts. The reasons man wants to ascend, is that man was created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-28), and man was built with eternity in his heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In other words, man is not just a physical being, but also a spiritual one. And when Adam and Eve fell at the Garden, they forever severed that divine connection they once had.
Man’s actions at Babel were in open rebellion against God’s directions in Genesis 9 to spread out over the face of the earth. It would seem that God’s Rainbow Covenant with mankind in Genesis 9, was either not remembered, or was lost to subsequent, post-flood generations.
The Apostle Paul wrote that Satan’s domain is not in some dark, shadowy cavern of Hell, but in the air. (Eph. 2:2) Satan resides in what we would call, the first and second heavens, or the atmosphere and space surrounding earth. Nothing good would come of building in the ‘high places’ that reached into Satan’s domain.
Some have suggested that they were attempting to build a ‘star-gate’ or inter-dimensional portal to reconnect with the supernatural world as they once had before the flood. Considering that we are doing the exact same thing now with projects like CERN, it’s not unreasonable to assume that man was incapable or unwilling to attempt it.
When Jesus was describing what the conditions on the earth would be like at the end of the age, He didn’t reference back to the time of Joshua, or Moses. He spoke specifically to a time before the earth was divided by nations, when the supernatural, violence and wickedness ruled the day. But He also spoke about a specific incident, which occurred after Babel, which was infamous for its wickedness when He said…
Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:28-30
We get the clearer picture in Genesis 18-19, of what life was like there in Sodom and Gomorrah during Abraham and Lot’s day. Clearly, God didn’t destroy the world with a flood for marrying, eating and drinking. Neither did He wipe Sodom and Gomorrah off the face of the earth for eating and drinking, buying and selling. The pre-flood world was a time of extreme corruption, deviancy, and wickedness. Sodom and Gomorrah was a place of the same making. A microcosm if you will, of what life was like before the flood. (See 2 Peter 2:4-8, Jude 1:6-7) Babel was the way station between the two.
Consider the old Genesis 11 adage; what God has separated, let not man put back together. After all, we started out as one race and one system, and it seems only natural that despite the genetic, cultural, and linguistic differences that God separated man with back at the Tower of Babel- humanistic man would ultimately at the end of the age, try and return back to that
The Tower of Babel incident, forced God’s hand to act in the interest of mankind. Granted, it wasn’t a surprise to God, as He is omnipotent, but He knew He would have to act on account of the disastrous potential there. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that as we (this generation) draw closer to the final moments of human history that we not only see this convergence of prophetic signs but we also see the amalgamation of cultures and beliefs back towards a singular system. This return towards unification as it were, being the largest, yet most overlooked sign, serves as clear, providential evidence of where we are on God’s calendar.
We’ve seen in just this past century, man’s ability to overcome this separation with the endorsement of English as the universal language. This is because for the two centuries prior to American dominance, the British Empire was worldwide, and they of course, spoke English. Just as the geo-political conditions were perfect for Christ’s first coming, (pax romana, universal Koine Greek language, Roman roads), so too is our day primed for another direct divine intervention.
We have the technological means to overcome linguistic differences through artificial translators. We have launched into space. We are attempting again to build inter-dimensional portals. We have made the world small again with the advent of the Internet age. Wickedness and violence are the norms of the day. Homosexuality and other deviant lifestyles are being promoted as the “new normal” by the highest levels of political office around the world. Anyone who dares to stand against this onslaught of lawlessness, unfortunately, often feels the wrath of the full weight of the political, societal, and media powers upon them.
Man’s attempt to reconnect with the divine outside of Jesus Christ and the Bible simply reinforces the reality that man is not just a flesh and blood being, but also spiritual. Man desires something greater than himself, yet apart from God. This was why man turned to the dark arts and secret knowledge in the past in order to gain access to that divine power that he once had access too.
The significance in relation to today’s world is that technology has come to replace the secret arts in unlocking the things man desires most. We are crossing divine ‘red lines’ which once crossed, can’t be undone. As we get closer to that point of no return, God is going to recall those who are His, back to Himself to unleash the full weight of His wrath upon the inhabitants of the earth. So while the days seem dark, and the world is fully engaged and mocking God’s seeming disengagement from the affairs of man, we must remember His words…
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:10-11