Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered October 8, 2005 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Tower Builders

(RealAudio Version available)

Today I wan to speak to you about something that took place many years ago. You know, the first 1500 or 2000 years of the history if this planet earth produced four great mile markers: The Creation, The Fall, The Flood, The Tower of Babel. We're going to talk about the Tower of Babel today. You know that God used the flood to wipe out sin and give everybody a fresh start. But it didn't take long before they fell into sin again. We are so fickle as human beings. After the flood God reiterated His original command in Genesis. You know, God doesn't change. He doesn't say, "We'll go to plan B." He tried to hold to plan A. In Genesis 9:1 He said to Noah, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." But the post-flood inhabitants, only partially obeyed. They did multiply. There was no problem there, but they did not scatter out and fill the earth.

And so, if you come over here to Genesis 11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. Language is good. You know, language sets humans apart from the animal kingdom. Hippopotamus's can't communicate with Poodles. Mice can't talk with Puffins. But everybody spoke the same international Lingua Franca as Noah did. This had terrific advantages and terrific disadvantages depending on your heart.

Genesis 11:2,3 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Stone was scarce in the flat land of Mesopotamia. Cement had not yet been invented so they would have to stick the bricks together with black tar.

Genesis 11:4 gives the record: Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

This first civilization after the flood had many advantages.

Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, They wanted a one world government without God. Napoleon wanted that. Adolf Hitler wanted that. Caesar wanted that. Kaiser Wilhelm wanted that Attila the Hun wanted that. I guess they all wanted a one-world government. And so did these people. Jesus said in Matthew 23:12, For whoever exalts himself will be humbled.

God wanted them to scatter out. Now, they had a leader named Nimrod. Nimrod did not want them to scatter; he wanted them to congregate together and establish a city named Babel or Babylon. (Genesis 10:9-10) It was blatant insurrection or war against God. Like Lot they chose the level plain instead of going up into the mountains. There's something wrong with plain living, living down on the plain. They began construction of a tower. This summer my wife and I were privileged to go to Berlin and we went to the Pergamum Museum. If you've ever been there, they have the Ishtar Gate and they have what archeologists have found of the Tower of Babel. They believe it to be the foundation of the original Tower of Babel. There's only a hole where it stood. But what they have in Berlin is very interesting. It is not round with spiral sidewalk going up the outside. It is, in fact, square. It is shaped like a Ziggurat. Most were built up to 6 to 8 stories high with a square shrine on the top. Most were built with a base that would be three hundred feet square (300 feet on each side) and 75 feet tall. The next base on top of the first base might be 260 feet square and 50 feet high. And so it would go up like stepping stones. Finally the top would be reached which might be 300 feet in height, the same as the width and the length.. It was as wide as it was long as it was tall. Does this remind you of something? The New Jerusalem is also 375 miles in every direction. (See Revelation 12:16). Some people say it is 1500 miles on a side. The same height as it is wide as it is long. So, one is the counterfeit of the other. Just like Satan and Christ. You have two polarizations here.

The total population of the earth was entrenching itself upon the broad plain of Shinar. Now, look at Genesis 11:5. But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. God watches us. He watches what we build, doesn't He. He watches your life. And God watched as brick was stacked on top of brick. God saw that they were actually clearly disobeying His command. He told them to scatter. They were establishing a center for themselves. They were building a monument to their heathen gods. That's what they were doing. It was a tower of pride. It was an attempt to gain security from a possibility of another flood. "We'll just climb up on that tower. God can't get us up here." God needed to stop it. Why didn't God just topple the tower? It would stop it, but not for long because towers are replaceable. God had to go to drastic measures and take away that which made the monstrous tower possible. Rather than unbrick the brick, He twisted their tongues. And God can do that.

Look at Genesis 11:6 If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. You know, if you can get together on something, nothing is impossible. God is bringing out the benefits of unity here, isn''t He. If you can all get together on something, nothing is impossible for you. If a husband and wife can agree on something, and get together on it, and have a common purpose, my, what that home can be. That's why you want to marry somebody that is a good Christian. And you be a good Christian and you can get together on this thing. That is very important. If a church acn agree on something, they can really get together. Nothing they plan will; be impossible if they have that kind of unity. Unity creates strength. Weak things united become strong. Mark 3:25, If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. So, God brought division into the fledgling city.

Genesis 11:7-9. "Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel --because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth. America, Greenland, New Zealand: there they went. They were scattered all over the world.

Their wickedness brought about the curse of multi-languages. Imagine the day this happened. Just think, go back to the very day that happened. The instant God twisted their tongues no one knew about the change, not until the next word came out of someone else's mouth. "I need five gallons of hot tar." The tar tender probably looked at him in absolute amazement, because what he had just heard was Swahili. And the man answered back in Korean. It was horrible. Nobody could communicate. I don't know how it all worked. I wonder if all married folk ended up with the same spoken language or if families were split up. I wonder if God kept the families together speaking a common language with the family. Maybe even today kids don't peak the same language we speak. He confused the language. I wonder how people found each other. How did all of those Tasmanians find each other? They all somehow got together and then they moved off in groups. You know, if you examine all the languages of the world and you realize they were all invented by God, you become amazed at God's fertile mind.

This miracle had a greater impact than the flood. Bigger, more lasting, affecting more people, because this curse was actually far more serious than the flood. The deluge was a one time punishment for gross sin. But the punishment at the Tower of Babel continues to this day. It marks the end of the Primeval era. The garden of Eden had now changed into the stark dusty plain of Babel. Everybody spoke in tongues, if you could put it that way. At Pentecost God reversed that. When we all get to heaven God will reverse that and we will all speak the same language again. They were soon scattered to the ends of the earth. The advantage of a common language was lost because of pride and idolatry. So we come to the end of this exciting story. But we've got fifteen minutes left.


Well, let's go back. Let's put on our research spectacles and get out our fine tooth comb and go to a deeper level of understanding these tower builders.

God's original instruction and intention for man was to live in a rural garden. But they wanted a city. So they lived in early Babel. Now, compare Babylon with Jerusalem. One is the city of sinners and the other the city of saints. One is a prostitute and the other a bride. Both were cubes, resembling each other, but one was a counterfeit. It wanted to reach up to the heavens but instead, Revelation 18:5 says, Babylon's sins reached up to heaven. Their reputation for sin is what actually reach to heaven.

Genesis 11:4, we find that the tower builders wanted two things: They wanted a tower, and they wanted a name. And, they failed on both counts.

Let's think about the Tower. The tower was never finished. It was an unfinished building. They did not become famous but they became infamous. Jeremiah 51:53 "Even if Babylon reaches the sky and fortifies her lofty stronghold, I will send destroyers against her," declares the Lord. The titanic skyscraper that they intended to build was abandoned. Noah's descendants planned to erect a towering structure whose top would be in the heavens. But how ironic that even at its great height it was so short and squatty that The Lord says He came down to see it. When you come down to see a monstrous tower, the tower is pretty short.

I suppose every human is a tower builder. Are you a tower-builder? Whether it is the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, Twin Towers, Eiffel Tower, Trump Tower or whatever tower it is, we all want to show off something. "Look at me! Look at what I did!" We're tower-builders I'm afraid.

Look at the Materials that they built out of: The built out of Brick and Tar. Brick is really just baked clay. We were formed from clay. Their tower was humanistic. When you build a nation on the foundation of humanism, you are not going to have a lasting structure. Nothing lasting can come from clay glued together by oily black pitch.

Basically what you've got here is clay and oil. What you basically have is men and oil. And that's what life is about. Today in the year 2005, is oil. Well, you may say, 'I don't use much oil." Well, every time you go to the pump, you do. Is oil our last-day adhesive? Is oil our adhesive today? You think about that. God doesn't build with brick and oil, God builds with stone. Contrast Babel to the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is built with the most precious stones in existence, not bricks.

We Human beings can never ascend to the heavens on our own power. And that's what they were trying to do. They were trying to build it on their own strength. That tower was an attempt to reach the heavens by human works. Righteousness by tower-building is what they were trying to do. Humans were attempting to overstep the ceiling that God had drawn for them. They were actually building one of the largest idols ever built in the history of the world. But God stopped it. Job said in Job 42:2 "I know that You can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted."

I think today, modern science is into deep things. I think again that we are tower-builders. We are going further than we ought to go. Look at genetic splicing, cloning and amalgamation of plant genes and animal genes being combined in them. Maybe we are again building our tower higher than it ought to be. We don't know when to call a halt our research. Our hankering for more and more knowledge is insatiable. Are we, like the tower builders, storming the heights of heaven? Will God again have to come down and put a stop to it all? I think He will.

By our sinful actions we are dooming humankind to bigger and more deadly storms and diseases and troubles. Look at the potential for the bird flu that is coming. In these last days nation is fighting nation. Whole religions are trying to exterminate other religions in the name of God. Peace and brotherhood have fled. Again we modern Tower Builders have lost Eden and have become Babel. We build monuments to our self. We compete with the Jones's to drive bigger and bigger SUV's, and to live in fancier and bigger houses. Again we are congregating in cities. We are congregating in the same area. We are building a Jerusalem Center. Is this really where God wants you to live? Is it?

Well, they wanted a city, and they wanted a Name. They wanted a Tower and a Name.

They got a their name all right. It was a name of shame: Babel, confusion. They were engaged in a mutiny against Heaven. The way to get a good famous name for yourself is to put God in charge. Put Jesus in charge. God said to Abram in Genesis 12:2, "....I will make your name great... How do you get a great name? If God makes your name great, then truly you have a great name.

When a man turns his back on God, and sets out to make a good name for himself he will fail. Who here knows the name of just one person that worked on the infamous Tower of Babel? Yet the name of Abraham is known around the world and revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians. God made his name great. You see, you need to let God make your name great. There's a vast difference between mankind's "We will make our name great!" and God's "I will make your name great!"

Now, Nimrod was a precursor of the last day World-Ruler. When do we see Nimrod appear in the Bible? Just before God brings Abram into the promised land. So, just before Jesus comes to take the true Israelites to the promised land, one like Nimrod will again appear. The Antichrist.

Well, look at Revelation 13:16-18 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

In the last days a super-man, an anti-Christ will appear to gather the whole world into one cause. Habakkuk 2:5 he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples. Another world ruler, an anti-Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (See vs 4-12)

The world is looking for the arrival of the anti-Christ. Twenty-four hours a day powerful radio telescopes are searching the skies for word from space. The world is tuned it to this. They are looking for the anti-Christ. Nimrod was a forerunner of the Antichrist. He was a Rebel. He organized a revolt of all mankind against God. He was "Mighty". He was a King. He was a world-ruler. His seat of power was Babylon and he wanted to exalt himself above all. He instituted a new and idolatrous worship trying to turn the world away from God's true system of worship. Nimrod led them from the East where the rising Sun shown.

They wanted a city and they wanted a tower. The city symbolized political power and the tower symbolized religious power. So, here you have in Genesis 11 the union of Church and State! Do you see that? The actual idea was to build a tower "Topped by the Heavens." In other words, from that high spot, they could star-gaze and they could practice their occultism they could practice their spiritualism, and they would flourish and Nimrod would establish a world empire base on the three-fold union of church and state and spiritualism. That's hat was going on there in the tower of Babel. History is repeating itself today! See Revelation 16:13 for the prediction.

Once again just before Jesus comes Satan will make a final effort to deceive the entire world. Will that soon coming day find your time consumed with building a bigger and better personal tower? Or is your time consumed with building a stronger, better relationship with Jesus? Spend your hours warning the world and spreading the truth that a remnant might be saved. Scatter out and build a spiritual Tower of your life on Jesus Christ the Rock and true Foundation.

Sources:

Genesis, Volume 1, by John C. L. Gibson, 1981, Westminster Press, Philadelphia.

Genesis, by Victor P. Hamilton, 1990, William Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

Be Basic, by Warren W. Wiersbe, 1998, Chariot Victor Publishing, Cook Communications, Colorado Springs CO.

Gleanings in Genesis, by Arthur W. Pink, 1922 by Moody Press, Chicago, IL.

Exploring Genesis, by John Phillips, 1980, by Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, NJ.


Additional Thoughts:

Eventually God had to scatter them all by Himself. God's original plan was for them to scatter the truth to every corner of the world by moving out to the far corners of the world. Instead, they spread the darkness and IDOLATRY. As a consequence the Indians of America (North & South) did not worship the true God. Most of Africa and India and China and Russia were all left in darkness. Only where Noah stayed did the light continue to shine, ever so feeble. The confusion of tongues shut them out from the continued witness of those who might have given them truth and light. Thus Idolatry become almost universal.

What should we do? Let us be involved in going out into the highways and byways and back roads of our area to spread the truth like the beautiful leaves in the fall time.

Be MY WITNESSES. Hold meetings. Give Bible Studies. Revelation Seminars. Cottage Meetings. Literature distribution. Spread the Truth by witnessing for Christ.

One day I happened upon a bag of Cement laying beside the road. It might have fallen off a truck so not wanting to see anything wasted, I stopped to pick up the lost bag. When I reached down to pick up this heavy bag, to my surprise, I discovered it was not soft and limber, as I had thought, but had solidified into an immovable piece of cement.

Often a church can become like that bag of cement. They take on shapes that were not intended and they become hardened . That bag of cement was meant to become a part of some useful structure, but because it did not reach its place of service, it became a useless rock.

They wished to secure their own safety and salvation. They depended on self. RIGHTEOUSNESS BY TOWER BUILDING! They built their own church and their own salvation ladder to climb to Heaven all by themselves. We will be as Gods, and save ourselves they said.

I am amazed that they did not build a giant ocean going vessel or even a big capacity submarine. But their purpose was clear: We believe in salvation by our own works. We do not need God. All too late they were reminded that we can do nothing without Christ. I think Lightening came and the top section of that tower came tumbling down in a cloud of dust.

TO SUCCEED YOU MUST SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE

God had to confuse the languages to stop the success of those tower builders. I wonder how He thought up so many different ones because there are over 3000 languages and dialects today. God can confuse in an instant and Pentecost demonstrated that God can immediately restore ALL to one language again.

If God's church is to be a successful church then we must speak the same language! When we are all of l accord and speak the same thing we agree on the truth. A church cannot succeed without a united belief based on the truth. There must be no dissent but a drawing together more and more into the good old SDA message. When our hearts are beating together as one, then much can be done for the cause of Jesus Christ. Our church will grow and be successful. May the language of Heaven be spoken in our pulpit, in our church board meetings, in our Sabbath School classes, and in our homes.


 Hymn of Praise: #248,  O, How I Love Jesus
Scripture:  Genesis 11:1-4
Hymn of Response: #348,  The Church Has One Foundation

051008#282



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