“And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.
And they said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for 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 the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth,” Genesis 11:3-9.
In the Garden, two seeds were prophesied to come from man. One was the seed of the serpent whose nature was implanted in man when they listened to his voice and obeyed him. The other was the seed that was prophesied to come from the woman that would crush the serpent’s head, which was Christ. With the first two sons born, we see the beginning of the nature of each of these seeds. The Bible is the history of the development of these two seeds in men, and God’s dealings with them. One brings forth Christ, and the other, when it is fully matured, brings forth the antichrist. This story of the Tower of Babel is a profound revelation of the seed that will bring forth the antichrist. This is the root of that which becomes “Mystery Babylon” in the Book of Revelation.
We tend to think of the serpent only in its most blatantly evil nature. However, the tree whose fruit brings death is the knowledge of both good and evil. The good side of the Tree of Knowledge is just as deadly as the evil side, and far more deceptive. Satan’s most deceptive guise is when he comes as “an angel of light” (see 2 Corinthians 11:14), or what could have been translated, “a messenger of truth.” Satan has always been able to do more damage to the truth when he works through religious men, which is why the most religious men of the time were the greatest opposers of Christ. However, the true nature of such religious men can usually be discerned as those who tried to build the Tower of Babel.
The goal of these men seems to be a noble one, to build a tower to heaven. However, their nature is revealed by two basic issues. The first is their reason for building the tower. It was not to get closer to God, but to make a name for themselves, and to have a project that men could gather around. The second way that their nature is revealed is their means for building it, which is their own wisdom and strength. This is the continuing presumption that men can gain the heavenly nature by their own wisdom and strength. But as the Lord said in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.”
What the men of Babel vainly sought was what the Lord wants to give to man. He wants us to dwell with Him in the heavenly places, and He wants to gather us together. However, we cannot do it with selfish motives, or our own strength. This may seem like a foolish thing for men to try to do, but it seems that men have not quit trying to build just such a tower.
Christians have been just as prone to do it as anyone else. How many of the huge projects that Christians have built, from cathedrals to even some evangelistic outreaches, have been just an attempt by some to make a name for themselves, or to have a project that will gather and motivate men? Many even do these things in an attempt to reach God, or to be acceptable to Him. However, a true ministry does not come in order to reach God, but from a place of having been reached by God through the cross. A true ministry does not come as an attempt to be accepted by Him, but from a position of being accepted by Him through the cross.
The Lord’s response to the Tower was to scatter men’s languages so that they could not go on building. The result of the project was the opposite of what they were seeking. What are the results of many of the spiritual projects we have tried to devise as Christians? Are they not the same? Now the church is divided into more than 10,000 different denominations and movements, or “languages.” It does not matter how much we attach God’s name to something, if the motives are rooted in selfish ambition, or an attempt to gather around anything but the Lord Jesus Himself, the ultimate end will only be further division. The only way into heaven, or to gather men, is to be gathered to Christ Jesus Himself. He sits in the heavenly places above all rule and authority and power. If we abide in Him, that is where we, too, will dwell.
“After the story of the Tower of Babel we come to Abraham, who was God’s antitheses to the folly of Babel. Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” Genesis 12:1-3.
By faith, Abraham gained the very things that the men of Babel had vainly sought to accomplish by their own strength and wisdom—a name that would be esteemed by every generation, and a place in the city of God that would one day gather all men together again. In the following text from Hebrews 11:8-10, we see how he did this:
“By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
Abraham may not have known where he was going, but he knew what he was looking for. Abraham’s faith was demonstrated by the fact that when he was called, he obeyed. In contrast to the men of Babel, Abraham did not build anything. He became very wealthy and could have easily built a city, but he lived in tents all the days of his life. He was not seeking an earthly city, but a heavenly one. He knew that his earthly dwelling was temporary, so he was not overly concerned about living in a tent.
There is a saying that “you can be so heavenly minded that you are not any earthly good.” This sounds cute, but the reverse is actually true. If we are too earthly minded, we will not be any good for heaven or the earth. Abraham was an alien and stranger on the earth. The goal of his life was to have a place in what God was building, not men. Because his focus was on God instead of men, he became a blessing to every family on the face of the earth. Those who will likewise give themselves to the eternal purposes of God will accomplish far more for those who are on the earth as well.
In John 8:39 there is an interesting dispute between the Pharisees and Jesus: “They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.’“ Paul the Apostle, also elaborates on this in Galatians 3:6-7, “Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” We are not the heirs of faith because we know that we must live by faith, but we become the heirs of faith by actually having faith, by doing the same deeds that Abraham did. We must devote ourselves to finding what the Lord is building and sacrifice whatever is required to be a part of it.
Abraham was apparently from a noble family in what was then the greatest culture on the earth. They had science and technology that surpassed any other culture of the time. The Chaldeans were the custodians of the great wonders of the world, but something burned in Abraham’s heart to be a part of something much greater than anything men could build. He believed God by being willing to leave everything that he had known, the greatest life available at that time, to seek the Lord’s will in unknown places. Faith sees far beyond what others can see. Faith sees with the eyes of the heart, and walks more by what is seen by the heart than what is seen by physical eyes.
Why is faith so important to God? Why doesn’t He just reveal Himself and make it clear what He expects of us? Because He is seeking sons and daughters who will be joint heirs with His Son. It was doubting God that brought about the Fall of man, and it will be by believing Him that we are restored. True faith rises from the heart, not just the head.
Satan dwelt in the very throne room of God, saw all of His glory, and still fell. Just seeing the Lord will not keep us from falling. As His joint heirs, He is going to trust us with more power than Satan ever had. We are now proving by our faith and obedience that we love the truth, and we love Him, more than we love even our own lives.
Even though we can fall even when beholding the glory of the Lord, as Satan proved, it is hard not to worship the Lord while we are beholding His glory. For all of eternity the whole creation will know that His sons and daughters worshiped Him, and stood for His truth, against the opposition of the whole world that now lies in the power of the evil one. After the Fall, Satan could boast that even in a perfect world, man chose to rebel against God. By this he has justified his own rebellion. Now even his own principalities and powers have beheld the witness of those who lived in a most imperfect world, and even when all hell raged against them, they loved the Lord and obeyed Him at even the cost of their lives. These are the ones who all of creation will testify that they are worthy.
Therefore, walk in a manner worthy of your calling. Believe God. Obey Him. Do all things for the sake of His gospel, and let the love of Christ control you. He is worthy of our obedience and faith.
“To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it,” Romans 8:18-25.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|