THE two towers

 

Genesis chapter 11 records how that following the Flood, men sought to unite in an enterprise that was against the principles of God:

“they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly.  And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.  And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:3-4).

From this, we learn that there were two main objectives in building this city and tower: 1) to make a Name for themselves, and 2) to be a rallying point, let they be scattered.  At the time when there was a common language, the people sought unity based on self-exaltation: the erection of a great tower and it’s associated city.

The Divine response to this enterprise was to confound the languages, so that there could be no unity in building:

“… and Yahweh said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language that they may not understand on another’s speech.  So Yahweh scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city” (Gen. 11:6-8).

Not being able to communicate with each other, the work had to cease.  That which they feared came upon them: they were taken from their own country and scattered throughout the entire earth.  This was the beginning of the city of Babel, which later became known as Babylon.  Evidently, the work of building the  city was recommenced by Nimrod (see Gen. 10:10), and we are told that the city became the beginning of his kingdom.  In these latter days before the return of our Master, Babylon is used as a symbol for a latter day system of things (Rev. 17).  Answering to the Catholic system, this latter-day Babylon seeks to reverse Babel by joining men and women together by the Ecumenical movement.  Uniting worshippers who were previously scattered into a single religious system, this movement seeks to diminish those things that divide worshippers, and unite them under the authority of the Papal system.

By contrast, the Name of Yahweh is also likened to a tower being erected:

“The Name of Yahweh is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Prov. 18:10).

Like the Tower of Babel, this second “strong tower” is a rallying point for men.  But the purpose of this Name-tower is not for the glorification of man, but for the God of Israel.  It is His Name that is exalted, and it through the Name of His Son (which incorporates the exalted Name of Yahweh) that men must be saved (Acts 4:12).  Being a central point of contact, it is through the Name of Yahweh that men and women can be united, being saved from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10).

It is through this “strong tower” of the Name that men might be saved.  Interestingly, the record of Acts 2 demonstrates the reverse principles to that of Babel.  Whereas at Babel, men gathered themselves together, we read: “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all of one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). But whereas the tower of Babel could not be built through the confounding of languages, this language barrier was overcome by the imparting of the gift of tongues: “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance … now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:4, 6).

At Pentecost then, we see a reversal of Babel.  Men and women were able to come together under the rallying point of the Name, irrespective of their natural tongues, to receive the word of the Gospel, and be saved from their sins.  Accordingly, whereas we read in Proverbs 18 that the Name of Yahweh is a place of safety, it is written in Acts 2, that “it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).  We enter into that Name by being baptised into the “name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Mat. 28:19). And we find safety and refuge in all that this Name represents, the purpose of God upon the earth, and His Covenants of promise that are able to save us, to be a part of that purpose.

Where does that leave us?  The true Gospel is able to unite men and women throughout the entire world in a single common hope.  Not like Babel, to the glorification of man, but by being baptised into the same Name, and all that it represents.  Whereas men might seek to exalt themselves and their Name, their work will indeed be confounded when the day of judgment comes, and the High Towers shall fall (Isa. 30:25).

On page 11 of this magazine, we examined the belief that worshippers should be united as one as part of the ecumenical movement, despite differences in doctrine and belief.  But that movement is no better than Babel of old—indeed as we said earlier, that same system is described as “Babylon the great” elsewhere in the New Testament (Rev. 17).  Concerning this system, it is written that “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). It is a very serious matter therefore, to make sure that we are not part of that system or that of her harlot-daughters.

But in the Name of Yahweh, there is a uniting of people of a common hope and faith.  Hence Messiah spake to His Father: “… Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  Whilst I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy Name …” (Jno. 17:11-12).  The intention of the Gospel is not to save the world, but to call out a people for the Name of Yahweh: “that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my Name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things” (Acts 15:17).   Let us therefore be united with those of like precious faith, and rejoice in the common salvation that we share.

Christopher Maddocks