Summary: God judges man’s pride by confusing language. The gift of tongues in Acts is seen as the beginning of the removal of that curse through Christ.
March 2, 2003
I watched a special recently on the history channel. The special was comparing the civilizations of the ancient world. They particularly focused in upon the fact that pyramid building was a common thread among civilizations that were distinct and distant from each other. They noted that pyramids were built in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. They also were built in places as diverse as ancient China and ancient Central and South America. The conclusion of the people making the show was that there must have been a common source for all these different cultures to end up with the same basic structure. Now up to that point I was right with them. I agreed with their conclusions. But do you know what their answer was? Atlantis. All of these cultures were influenced by an even more ancient culture which existed on the lost continent of Atlantis. It amazes me what man will turn to in order to avoid the truth. Today we have the answer to the question posed by that show in the text before us in the book of Genesis.
Chapter 10 - Where did the nations come from?
From the three sons of Noah
Chapter 11 - How did they get scattered over the earth?
A. The story of man post flood 1-2
B. The pride of man post-flood 3-4
bricks - explanation to the former Egyptian slaves who were accustomed to building with hewn stone
tower reaches to heaven - not that stupid
reaches to is not in original - a tower whose top is in the heavens
ziggurat - "House of the link between heaven and earth
House of the foundation of heaven and earth
Top room would be painted to look like the heavens
A gateway between heaven and earth - idolatry - another way into heaven without God
The purpose for the tower
make a name - famous
not be scattered - direct rebellion against God who told them to go out and replenish the earth.
C. God’s reaction 5-7
There is great irony here - they are building a great tower whose top is in heaven - yet God has to come down from heaven to even see their pathetic little tower
verse six - some have tried to make God fearful in this verse - unless I do something nothing will stop them
rather I prefer to see God’s mercy - there will be no end to the depth of their depravity if they are able to work unhindered
God confuses their language
D. Conclusion 8-9
Babylon - gate of the gods
Babel - confusion
every time you see a pyramid - an act of rebellion against God
NIV Zephaniah 3:9 "Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
Acts 2: 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?
8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome
11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
Eph. 2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)--
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.