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Bible: What Do Genesis 11 and Revelation 18 Teach Us About Ancient Babylon and the United Nations?

Updated on December 30, 2016

The Tower of Babel


One Lip?

Do you believe everyone once spoke the same language?

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Location and Possible Identity of the Tower

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The Tower of Babel and Shem's Genealogy

Building a Tower

The whole post-Diluvian world speaks one language, unmixed with any dialect (“lip”), until a momentous day in Shinar—part of Nimrod’s kingdom—when some enterprising fellows decide to seek fame and fortune by building a city and a “tower whose top is in the heavens” (vv. 1-4a) in disobedience to God’s express command to disperse world-wide (v. 4b; cf. 9:1).

Comment: The builders link the phrases “making a name for ourselves” and “lest we be scattered,” as though they thought that by achieving this great objective, they might put out a shingle and make a shekel in Babylon.

The LORD's Plans for Babel

However, the LORD has devised different plans for them; He knows that one world united by one language intent on worshiping the heavens spells spiritual disaster (vv. 5-6).

Comment: Some archaeologists point out that the architects used the tower, a ziggurat, for astrological purposes.

Therefore, God “descends” to “Babel” [literally, confusion; Babylon] to confuse their language.

Consequently, humankind necessarily must spread throughout the earth because the various peoples cannot understand each other’s speech (vv. 7-9).

[The “Us” reference supplies more possible evidence for the plurality, if not triunity, of the LORD (cf. 1:26)].

Abram and Family


The Genealogy of Shem

The author now resumes the genealogy of Shem, Noah’s son, and brings the narrative to the time of Abram. This is the fourth toledoth.

The fifth toledoth focuses on Terah, who had three sons; one son, Haran, begets Lot, but Haran dies in Ur (vv. 27-28). Abram marries Sarai, a barren woman with no children, while Nahor takes his niece, Haran’s daughter, as his wife (vv. 29-30). Without mentioning Nahor’s fate, the author relates that Terah, Lot, Abram, and Sarai leave Ur, travel to Canaan, and settle in Haran where Terah dies (vv. 31-32; cf. 22:20-24 for more information about Nahor’s life).

[Terah names the town where he settles and where he would die after the name of his son who died early in life].

Parallels in History

Might a connection exist between the Tower of Babel in Babylon, Iraq, and the current-day Babel in the United Nations? Consider the following parallels.

United Nations: World Government?

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Genesis 11 and Revelation 18: Babylon's Political Demise

Genesis 11-- Babylon Then and Now

God's purpose involves a plurality of nations, not a central world government; nationalism (cf. Deuternomy 32:8), not globalism, is His idea. After the Flood, God commanded Noah and his sons to fill the Earth (9:1).

But instead, disobedient Babel became the centerpiece of world humanism (11:4); its tower served as the symbol of world secular unification.God, therefore, confused the world tongue (language) (11:1), and His plan, nations (chap. 10), came into existence.


Babylon Destroyed

Revelation 18- the destruction of the political capital of the world empire- transpires shortly before Christ returns.

Q. What is this scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns?

The seven heads are seven mountains; mountains represent governments which the harlot controls/has controlled. The seven heads are also seven kings: the imperial heads of those empires.

Verse ten tells us that these kingdoms are seven historical forms of Gentile government. Five have fallen: Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greece. One is Rome (during the apostle's lifetime). The other has not yet come--Revived Roman Empire.

The Roman prince is the eighth, though part of this last form; he is revived from death (v. 11; cf. 13:3).He is the beast out of the sea (see Rev. 13:1).

The ten horns are a ten-nation/sectional confederacy which, under God's control (v. 17), gives world authority to the Roman prince (vv. 12-13). This confederacy assembles its forces against the returning Christ during the campaign of Armageddon and is defeated (v. 14; cf. 19:19). It also destroys the harlot, the religious system, to make way for the worship of the beast during the great tribulation (v. 16).

© 2012 glynch1


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