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Monday, November 13, 2006

The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel
(or, prophecies concerning the Church)


How, when, and where did the Church begin? Some would say, and I would be inclined to agree, that Adam and Eve were the first members of the Church, after God had clothed them with animal skins (from the first sacrifice?). Although I do agree, I would say further that this was the beginning of the invisible Church (the Body of the Elect, universal), but I believe that the visible Church (catholic) had it’s beginnings at the tower of Babel (Babylon). That said, it goes without saying that the Church was actually appointed by God, in His infinite predestination, before the worlds were formed. As to the how, I believe that God first dispersed His people (elect) throughout the world, in order to “ gather them from all nations where I have driven them “ (paraphrase of Jer. 29:14) .

I got the idea for this paper while reading chapter 5 of The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, from Anti-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1: to quote; “For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.”

Now you may ask, and I’ll be the first to admit that my thought patterns are a little hard to grasp sometimes; but what does this have to do with the tower of Babel? The thought came to me while reading this passage, that, since it is true, (and I had never thought of it before), Christians have no particular country, but live in whatever country God, in His infinite wisdom, has placed them, that the first dispersion (Gen. 11), although we have no scriptural proof that there were any elect (Rev. 17:8) present at the tower of Babel, but I propose that there were, and that this was the first (visible) step in Gods eternal plan to gather (disciple) His Church.
In the Scriptures, God talks many times of gathering His people, “ from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you”.(Deut.30:3)
Again, “ though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, : (Neh.1:9)
Again, (He calls to the heavens and the earth), “Gather my saints together to Me.............” (Ps. 50:5)
He says in Is. 43:5-6 “ Fear not, for I am with you, I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west: I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!, and to the south, ’Do not keep them back’, Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth “ .
Again He says in Isaiah, “ For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you”. (Is 54:7)
In Isaiah 66 verse 18, He says, “ It shall be, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my Glory “.
In the book of Jeremiah, He tells us, “ I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.” (A couple of interesting side notes; In the latter part of this verse, God is using Genesis language* ; in the few previous verses of this chapter God pronounces judgement against His shepherds for scattering His flock, then in verse three, He says that He has driven them!)
In Jeremiah 29:14, God says,” I will be found by you, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all nations and from all the places where I have driven you........” There are many more to study and to quote, but these will suffice for now.
You’re probably thinking by now that all these verses have to do with God’s covenant people, the Israelites.
You’re right, of course!
Let me quote you a few more verses from the New Testament. He say in John , chapter 10 verse 16, “ and other sheep I have which are not of this fold.”, and in the 9th chapter of Romans, verse 6, “ For they are not all Israel(ites)* who are of Israel “, further on, in chapter 11, Paul says, “ I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite....” He goes on to point out that God’s covenant people are called by grace, not born of the flesh(John 3:1-6, Rom. 9:7-8).All that said, I fear I digress!

The point I’m trying to make here is that, throughout scripture, God builds His Church, like a good father his children, by putting them through the fire, ( Exodus 1: 8-22, Deuteronomy 9-13, Joshua, Judges, Ruth 1, I Samuel 10-12, and etc, ), by chastising, ( Deuteronomy 8:5, II Samuel 7:14, Psalm 94:12, Hebrews 12: 5-11), and by dispersing and then bringing back His special people to dwell in His land*!


by God's grace ( to be continued ),
Charles Shank

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seems like this passage from Paul's Mars Hill sermon might be relevant to your thoughts here.

and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us

Brad

Charles Shank said...

Yes, that would be applicable..............

Anonymous said...

The Tower of Babel is a good starting point for visualization of the issue with being God's people. When we go to solve a problem we should look to the facts and the information we already have.

The people of the tower thought, to get to God, they had to get up there too Him. IMHO They were trying just to get back to Heaven because they did not like it here. Of course, lessons learned shows us that this was before the Word of God showed us how they failed.

Without the Word of God the lost today are still exemplifying the same behavior building rising towers, even the tower of self.

The knowledge gained was that we can't get there by way of climbing a tower no matter how tall it becomes. Today the lost are saying we can't get there so let us build a tower to show we are gods here. They did not eat of the tree of life. Power and Wisdom without God only last for a short time then it collapses. History has proven this to be true.

In God's Divine Nature, (being all knowing), maybe, just maybe, He placed a riddle here for us to solve.

Riddles are usually simply solved but history of humans itself testifies that we don't make things simple. We make things more complicated than they have to be. Maybe, just maybe God made it simple to get back to Him and it is man in his lack of wisdom and knowledge has grown this thing of getting back to God into a mountain. You know the saying, making a mountain out of a molehill. Matthew 7:14 Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. KJV

Maybe, just maybe, we should start all over at the beginning. Maybe that is what Revelation is all about, getting ready to start all over and give it one more shot to figure out how to get back to God.

Well, maybe, just maybe, God said it Himself, "I will come find you". We have a built in GPS (our soul) that sends off a signal to God to say, I am looking for you. In making it as simple as the Old Testament does, one is to walk with God (Genesis, Adam & Eve and Moses are two examples), 2) Talk with God, again, Adam & Eve,Cain, Moses, etc. 3) Obey God. If we obey God's Commandments then there would be no need for sacrifice to Him other than that of PRAISE, which doesn't require blood.

So, ultimately there is no need to build a tower because if we are patient and wait on the Him and stay off the management team, construction crew, administrative group, or laborers, who are all building the towers, maybe, just maybe, we will be on that narrow road where no one else is found. I am just a simple woman. By Reesa Mercer Walsh

Charles Shank said...

The Tower of Babel, to my understanding, is another version of The Fall; it is another representation of man's attempt to gain for Himself what only God can give; ascendancy!

I have heard that the Tower of Babel was built to the height it was and of the materials it was in order to not be overtaken by the waters of The Flood again, should God ever send another to destroy the land.