In this chapter of Genesis, we are going to study one of the more interesting chapters in the Bible, because of how pivotal this event is for the history of men on earth. This account reveals why there are so many different languages among the nations of the world, and what would have occurred if this separation of men had not taken place. The Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages upon the earth is truly an amazing account found here in Scripture. The Bible records, “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.’ 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).
What was this tower?
Most Bible scholars believe that this tower was an ancient ziggurat, or a place for the worship of the stars and the Zodiac, and other false gods. The word Babel literally means Bab-El, which means gate-of god. You can still find today the ruins of these ziggurats throughout the Middle East. Archeologist have found the ruins of at least 30 ziggurats in the Middle-East. It is also interesting that there are similar places of worship in the Americas, built by the Aztec and Mayan civilizations.
In the 5th century BCE, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote in Book I of his Histories (para. 181), one of the more famous descriptions of a ziggurat. He wrote, “In the middle of the precinct there was a tower of solid masonry, a furlong (220 yards) in length and breadth, upon which was raised a second tower, and on that a third, and so on up to eight. The ascent to the top is on the outside, by a path which winds round all the towers. When one is about half-way up, one finds a resting-place and seats, where persons are wont to sit some time on their way to the summit. On the topmost tower there is a spacious temple, and inside the temple stands a couch of unusual size, richly adorned, with a golden table by its side. There is no statue of any kind set up in the place, nor is the chamber occupied during the night by any single native woman, who, as the Chaldeans, the priests of this god, affirm, is chosen for himself by the deity out of all the women of the land.”
One of the largest and best-preserved ziggurats of Mesopotamia is called the great Ziggurat at Ur. In the 1920s Sir Leonard Woolley, excavated here. See below an original picture of this excavation.
Woolley Photo taken in the 1920s of the Ziggurat of Ur with workers, c. 2100 B.C.E., Tell el-Mukayyar, Iraq
Woolley found a massive rectangular pyramidal structure, oriented to true North that measured 210 by 150 feet. It had been constructed with three levels of terraces, which originally stood from between 70 and 100 feet high. Three staircases led up to a gate at the first terrace level. A single staircase rose to a second terrace, and then a final staircase to the highest terrace. This ziggurat was made of mud brick laid with bitumen, a naturally occurring tar found in the area. Each of the bricks weighed about 33 pounds. The first terrace, would have used some 720,000 baked bricks. The Ziggurat at Ur and the temple at its top terrace were built around 2100 B.C.E. by King Ur-Nammu for the moon god Nanna. Below is the restored exterior of this same ziggurat done by Saddam Hussein.
Ziggurat at Ali Air Base Iraq, 2005, Ziggurat of Ur, partly restored, Tell el-Mukayyar, Iraq
Why did the building of this tower bring God’s judgment?
There are several reasons why God considered this tower to be evil. It is essential to bring all of these factors together to understand the enormity of the wickedness of men at this moment in history. What are these reasons for God’s judgment after men built this tower?
1. First, you must connect the rebellion of Nimrod with the city of Babel. This was the first city he built to begin his kingdom (Gen. 10:10). Nimrod was a man who rejected the God of Shem (Yahweh), and chose rather to worship the zodiac and other false gods.
2. The worship of the zodiac that Nimrod established was the clearest sign of his rebellion against God. Astrology and sorcery both found their beginning in Babel, and continued on into the kingdom of Babylon. God warned the Babylonian people that He would judge them and all their astrologers would not be able to save them. The Lord declared these truths in Isaiah 47:12-14 when He said, “Stand now with your enchantments and the multitude of your sorceries, in which you have labored from your youth-- perhaps you will be able to profit, perhaps you will prevail. You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble, the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before” (Is. 47:12-14)! God declared that the fire of His judgment would leave nothing left when He was finished with them. Judgment is the legacy of every false god of man.
3. This tower and city were a total rebellion to God’s command to disperse and to fill the earth (Gen. 1:27-28; Gen. 9:1). God wanted the people to disperse and fill the entire earth, but they refused to do so. Nimrod states specifically that he built this city and tower, “Lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4).
4. This judgment was also against the pride and independence of Nimrod and all who followed him who said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves” (Gen. 11:4). This statement was basically a form of humanism, which declares the glory and greatness of man, instead of something done for the glory of God. Nimrod was declaring how great he was, and his works. However, when Abram chose to worship and follow the God of heaven, the Lord declared that He would make Abram great. God said, “I will make you a great nation and your name great” (Gen. 12:2). This was the exact opposite of Nimrod’s declaration. Which would you rather have, for God to make your name great, or you trying to make a name for yourself? I would take the former!
These are some of the most important reasons why God saw this city as an offense to Him, and all He desired for mankind. These are powerful lessons that we must all learn. If we do not, the results can be catastrophic.
What was the point of God confusing man’s languages?
Note that our text declared that the people were all of one language. The words one language literally means, “one lip.” Language comes from your lips. Any language is a systematic means of communicating with sounds that you understand. Therefore, everyone spoke and communicated with the same language and sounds. If all of a sudden, their languages were confused, what would be the result? They could not have functioned together as one people anymore. This would have stopped all commerce between them, caused them to disperse into groups that could understand one another, and would have stopped the building of the city and the tower. This was the point! Then the people groups that could understand each other would have migrated to different places around the globe.
It is interesting to consider the fact that man’s unity and oneness is sometimes not a good thing. God clearly didn’t think that the unity and oneness of men was good in this case. Why? Because God knew the propensity of man’s sinful nature to unify for the purpose of evil. The Scripture is very clear about God’s knowledge of men’s hearts. He declared in Jeremiah 17:9 concerning the sinful nature of men when He said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Do you realize this fact about your own heart? Just consider some of the thoughts that go through your mind at times. These thoughts should convince and assure you of your own wickedness, and cause you to cry out to God for His power and grace to keep you following Him. Jesus also said, “Out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). Notice that last word that Jesus used, blasphemies. This is what God could see in the hearts of those living in the city of Babel, who were intently building this tower. God knew the people’s ability to do evil, if they stayed united.
What would have happened if this separation of men had not taken place?
God tells us exactly what would have happened. He 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” (Gen. 11:6). With the propensity of the hearts of men to do evil, what could they have done if God had not stopped them? God states that if, “This is what they begin to do,” at this stage of the reformed world, what will they do next? God declared, now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” All we know for sure is this, today the more men on this earth become unified in their language skills and purpose, the greater the evil that we see occurring in our world. Ultimately, the world is headed to a one world government, and a one world ruler who will bring the greatest evil to this world that it has ever witnessed.
Is there still a separation between men because of language?
Today, with our technology, computer programs, and especially the ability of artificial intelligence, you can speak into a computer program or your phone, and it will automatically translate your speech into another language. Today men have the ability to reduce all languages back again into one language, or one lip. The very thing that God purposed to stop men from having the ability to do, through technology man has reversed this judgment of God. This is why most Bible scholars believe that we are in the last days, because the idea of a one world government is not far behind this technology. We hear weekly in the media about the global marketplace, and our ability to buy things directly from any country at any time we want.
The ultimate godless global control of the earth and it’s marketplace.
The most important thing to remember about the city of Babel is that the rebellion that began here against God will ultimately culminate in what the Bible calls, Mystery Babylon the Great. That is why Genesis 11 is so pivotal for your understanding of the prophetic Scriptures. When you read Revelation 13 and 17-18, you see a one world political, religious, and monetary system. In Revelation 13 it declares that the beast who is the anti-Christ and world ruler, will demand that everyone take a mark on their hand or forehead, so that no one might buy or sell anything without it. John explained this truth when he wrote, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666” (Rev. 13:16-18). This global monetary system will be managed by this one world ruler. But this world ruler will also be connected to a one world religious figure called the false prophet. John said of him, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev. 13:11-15). This false prophet is a spiritual leader because he leads the world into worship of this first beast. In addition, John gives this whole system a name. Notice what he writes, “So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:3-5). This name “Mystery Babylon the Great” takes us all the way back to Genesis 11 and the city of Babel where it all began. Note that the woman who rides the beast is full of names of blasphemy. This blasphemy began in Babel, and here it will receive the final judgment of God.
When you study the religions of the world, all the gods of Babylon (2,300-539 BCE) are simply moved to the Medo-Persian empire (539-330 BCE), and then moved again to Greece when their empire begins (330-146 BCE), and finally on to the Roman empire (264-476 BCE). How do we know this to be a fact? See the graph below and note that the same gods are worshipped, but just with different names.
Babylonian gods Greek gods Roman gods
Marduk = sun god Helios & later Apollo = sun god Sol Invictus = sun god
Nergal = god of war 2 kings 17:30 Ares = god of war Mars = god of war
Ishtar = goddess of love Aphrodite = goddess of love Venus = goddess of love
Noting these name changes is what causes you to come to the conclusion that all false religions clearly originated in Babel.
Now, knowing this truth, do you realize that in Roman Catholicism the virgin Mary is also called the queen of heaven? If you doubt this, please read what the Catholics teach on their own website. See https://www.catholic.com/qa/why-is-mary-called-queen-of-heaven. This is why many believe that the Catholic Church is the mother of harlots, and the religious system that the false prophet controls found in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 17:3-4). I personally believe that this religious system is much bigger than the Catholic Church alone. I believe that this harlot will be an adulterous religious system that will include not only the Catholic church, but also a conglomeration of apostate protestant churches, eastern religions, and also Islam. In fact, I believe that Islam will most likely be the one that is in control of the entire system. Why do I say that? Because of the form of persecution that comes upon those who believe in Jesus who come to faith in Him during the Tribulation period. That form of persecution will be the beheading of all those who will not bow to the Antichrist (Rev. 20:4). Beheading is specific to Islam today, and is perpetrated on those who refuse to submit to the edicts of this religion. For those of you who might think, Islam could never unite with the Catholic church, let me ask you this. Have you ever seen the pictures of the last Pope bowing and kissing the Koran, with the Islamic Grand Mufti standing in front of him? The Pope also called all Muslims our brothers in the faith. In addition, the Pope sees no difference between Catholics and other Eastern religions. Even the emergent Protestant church wants to seek unity with the Catholic Church, so there can be one universal church. The apostate church, and all religions, are headed into the mother of all harlots very soon.
Jesus understood the evil that would come into the church.
What I have just stated above is a sad commentary on the state of the church today, but Jesus knew this was to happen. He is not surprised by what we see today. Why do I say this? Because He taught His disciples that this was coming to the church at large. Jesus taught a parable in Matthew 13:33, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” What does Jesus mean by this parable? He describes the kingdom of heaven is like a woman. This woman that mixes leaven with three measures of meal, which was the fellowship offering in the Jewish Temple. This offering was first introduced in Genesis 18:6 when Abraham mixed three measures of meal to make cakes for his fellowship with the Lord who had visited him. Later under the Mosaic Law the meal offering was made as a memorial unto the Lord (Lev. 2:1-3). Leaven is always used as a picture of sin in the Old and New Testament (Luke 12:1; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; Ex. 34:12; Deut. 16:4; Lev. 6:17). Remember at Passover, the woman of the house was to go throughout her home and remove all the leaven before they could partake in the feast. But Jesus declared that the kingdom would be leavened, which means that sin would corrupt the church in the future. The same truths are taught in the parable of the mustard seed that grows into a tree and the birds of the air come to nest in it, and in the parable of the tares. Birds are always used as a symbol of evil, and tares Jesus said were the sons of the wicked one (Jer. 5:26-27; Gen. 40:16-19; Matt. 13:38).
These parables clearly teach that evil and false believers will grow up together with us within the church until the end of time. The Lord will be able to separate these people from true believers at the end of time, because He can see their hearts. Paul also warned us about those in the last days who would have, “A form of godliness,” but who would deny God’s power (2 Tim. 3:5). So, I encourage you who read these words to yield your lives fully to Him, and walk in the power of God until the Lord returns. May the Lord reveal Himself in power to all who believe!
What did the confusion of languages produce?
God’s Word declared what happened. “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. 11:8-9). The people ceased building the city, and the people were scattered over the face of all the earth. This caused a separation of people into groups that understood one another. It also caused a separation of the gene pool which created the different visible characteristics such as skin color, facial features, and height.
Did this separation create different races?
The answer to this question is no! There really are not different races on the earth, just different ethnicities and cultures. The American Psychological Association defines an ethnicity this way. “Ethnicity is a social categorization based on an individual’s membership in, or identification with, a particular cultural or ethnic group.” The words nation and Gentile are translated from the word ethnos in the New Testament. An ethnos is a large group of people that have similar cultural or geographical ties to one another.
Why do I draw this distinction between a race and ethnicity? Because all the people of the world are literally one race; we are the human race. The National Geographic Society wrote an entire article on this topic, where they detail that scientists have found no genetic difference between the so-called races anywhere on the entire earth. This finding establishes this fact that we are all truly one race. The Bible teaches the same truth. The Apostle Paul declared that God, “Has made from one blood every nation (ethnos) of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:26). We are all of one blood, but with different cultures and practices. This is the biblical worldview that each of us needs to have today. We are all of one blood, because we are all one race!
Why then do people look so different that are from different nations?
The answer to this question is simpler than you think. Consider this equation: When the people were divided into different language groups, they then separated into different people groups that migrated away from one another, which then separated these gene pools from the other language groups. The dominant genes within those language groups naturally accentuated certain characteristics of skin color, height, facial features, and body types to give slight differences in the way they looked.
Let me give you some examples of what I mean. As I have already stated, I don’t believe in different races, because of what the Bible teaches in Acts 17:26. I believe what you see today are different people groups with different dominant characteristics that make that group look slightly different. There are some people groups in Central America or South America where most of the people are very short. But you can go to Africa where the Watusi people group are very tall. Why is this? These characteristics are just the dominant characteristics in their gene pool. Facial features are slightly different in Asia and Western Europe, because of the same separation of their gene pool. Skin color results from the same separation. Geneticists explain that when you separate people groups, who only reproduce within their own gene pool, the dominant characteristics in that gene pool will always rise to the surface.
There are also anomalies to what we think should happen within a gene pool of people that reproduce. Below are two examples of what I mean from the United Kingdom.
In 2020 a black couple has a white child after previously having two black children.
In 1997 a white father with a biracial mother had twins that turned out completely different.
These examples prove that there are many results you can get, depending on which genes in your gene pool are the dominate ones. These examples also prove that we truly are all of one blood and one race. Why? Because we all have come from one father and mother in the Garden of Eden.
The genealogy of Shem. Vs. 10-26
We have previously covered Shem’s genealogy in Genesis 10, so I am not going to go through this list again, except to make some brief comments. This section of Scripture is to show us how the family descends from Shem to Abram, and the birth of the nation Israel. God’s dealings with the nation Israel and His people are the subject of the rest of the Old Testament.
One other interesting topic you should note in this section of Scripture is the fact that the lifespans of people have been slowing declining since the flood. Noah lived 950 years, Arphaxad lived 438 years (vs. 10-12), and Nahor lived 148 years (vs. 22-25). From this point going forward most people will live from seventy to a hundred twenty-five years old. You may ask, Why does the longevity of life slowly decline? We have already covered this topic in a previous chapter, so I won’t go into much detail on this subject. Most scientists believe that this decline in the longevity of life was the result of the removal of the water canopy that surrounded the earth which existed before the flood (Gen. 1:7). When the “windows of heaven” were opened this water canopy was removed, which was protecting the earth from the UVA, UVB, and the UVC rays (Gen. 7:11). Scientists speculate that this is the reason why men’s lifespans steadily decreased, because these rays damage the DNA molecules within our bodies. The only thing that gives any protection today is the ozone layer that is surrounding the earth now. However, before the flood, there was this extra water canopy that surrounded the earth which gave a much greater protection.
If you would like to study this topic further, I would suggest searching for the work of Dr. John Sanford. He was a Cornell University professor who conducted genetic research for 37 years. This research resulted in more than 100 scientific publications, and several dozen patents. He learned that with every cell division in your body, there are three mutations that take place. He declares we are all more mutants today than we were yesterday, and that is why we age. He found that exposure to UV radiation actually suppresses your immune system, and slowly breaks down your body. This is why NASA is quite worried about how we can travel to other planets, because our astronauts will be bombarded with these rays while they are outside of the protection of our ozone layer.
The genealogy of Terah. Vs. 26-32
“Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. This is the genealogy of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran begot Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Then Abram and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran” (Gen. 11:26-32).
This genealogy and the short narrative within these verses, now setup the extensive story of Abram and his children beginning in chapter 12. The story of Abram and Sarai continues on until the death of Abraham in Genesis 25. This extensive story line of Abraham is necessary, because he is the father of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. These next chapters reveal so much about this man of faith, and the struggles he had in trusting God. Then the lives of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are cataloged for us in the remaining chapters of Genesis. This history is so important because ultimately the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, will come forth from this family lineage.
One interesting point in these verses is the revelation that Abram and Sarai left the land of Ur of the Chaldeans with Terah and moved to the city of Haran. Why is this interesting? Because it appears from the position in the storyline that this move took place before Abram’s call of God in Genesis 12:1-3. But Stephen gives us a little more information on this subject in Acts 7:2-4. Stephen reveals that move to the city of Haran took place after the call of God in chapter 12. Stephen declared, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.” This added information reveals that Abram’s obedience to God was only a partial obedience, because as we will see in the next chapter God told Abram to leave his homeland, and all his relatives. But Abram did not do that. He took with him his father and nephew Lot. This revealed that Abram was not some perfect man of faith, who obeyed every command of God meticulously. He was just a frail human being that needed God’s grace and mercy just like you and me.