So the first federation, going all the way back to the beginning, this first United Nations, so to speak, was a society built to bring the human race together to exalt man, deify creation and exclude God. In its very first attempt, not long after the flood where the power of God was so clearly seen, a great-grandson of Noah says, let's defy God.
So they attempted to do that in deifying creation, dethroning God, or at least, they would try. You probably know the story in Genesis about the Tower of Babel. Most people have heard the story, but not many people understand its full significance. It's not just a story about early humans building a tall structure. When properly understood, the Tower of Babel is the story of the kingdom of man attempting to usurp the kingdom of God. Throughout the Bible, Babylon then becomes the center of human rebellion. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey is in Revelation 17.
He's continuing through his series called Armageddon and the Fall of Babylon, with this message entitled, A Tale of Two Cities. There are two cities mentioned more times than any other cities in the Bible. Jerusalem is mentioned most at more than 800 times.
The first time it appears in Scripture, it's Genesis 14, and the last time it shows up is in Revelation chapter 21. Throughout Scripture, Jerusalem is pictured as a special city, a special place in the plan and purpose of God. In fact, you could say it is the city of God.
The root word for the name of the city, shalom, you could pronounce shalom. It makes up the latter part of the name Jerusalem. Rather woodenly translated, Jerusalem means foundation of peace. It would be correct to imply that this city, Jerusalem, is the place of God's peace. It's certainly the place where our peace with God was established, wasn't it? Paul would write to the Colossians, for it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness of God to dwell in him, that is Christ, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross. They're just outside the city of Jerusalem.
Our Lord hung the cross to establish for us peace with God. So, for the believer, Jerusalem represents the foundation of our peace. Now, the city of Jerusalem is experiencing anything but peace, right?
You would never refer to or even think of Jerusalem today as a city of peace, would you? That's because the king is not yet ruling in that city as he will one day, according to Revelation 19. In the meantime, you have the growth and the development and the expansion of another city, a city named Babylon that appears more than 300 times in scripture. In fact, Babylon is mentioned in the Bible more than any other city except Jerusalem. It first appears in Genesis chapter 10, and then throughout scripture it appears over and over again before it, in Revelation 19, is destroyed. Just as there is a city which represents the plan and purposes of God, there is a city that represents the plan and purposes of man. Just as there is a city which is the capital of God's coming kingdom, there is a city that represents the kingdom of this world, Babylon. Now, in order to understand the significance of Babylon's rise and fall in the last book of the Bible, we need to go back to its origin in the first book of the Bible. And that's what we're going to do today.
We're going to spend most of our time doing just that. Take your Bibles and turn to Genesis. Some of you have never heard me say that. Genesis chapter 9, verse 1. The founder of Babylon was a man by the name of Nimrod.
He was a mighty hunter. We know he was actually a hunter of men, not of animals, but of men as he made a coalition of those who would defy God. This man would defy the command of God to Noah and his family following the flood. You see in verse 1 of chapter 9 where God is speaking, he blesses Noah and his sons and says to them, be fruitful and multiply and then fill the earth.
That is, scatter, go out and fill, subjugate earth, pull it under my direction, enjoy everything I've created and left here for you. And by the way, in the same context, Noah is given a promise of God concerning what we talked about in our last session, the forces of nature that would literally rewrite, so to speak, the topography of the earth at the flood and then later at the bowls of wrath as the topography is I believe returned to pre-flood conditions. But he promises Noah in a verse that we must not overlook, especially in our generation, that water would never flood the entire earth again, but he also promised that the systems of weather and the resources of the planet would sustain life in general. In fact, if you go up just one verse in chapter 8, verse 22, God promises this, while the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not what? Shall not cease. In other words, for the remainder of earth's duration until God judges it and creates a new heaven and new earth, Revelation chapter 21, earth has been given the promise as it were that it will experience normal seasons of seed time and harvest, which is gonna need rain, the patterns of weather, winter and summer, and the 24-hour cycle of night and day, which means the sun's gonna survive and last.
You can consider this sort of an addendum to our former discussion in Revelation 16 as we cover the subjects of global warming and global cooling. And I think for every parent, by the way, here who has a child in school, especially in public school, you ought to show them verse 22 of Genesis chapter 8, that God has delivered a promise. We're not gonna run out.
We're not gonna panic. God is in control of the resources of earth. And in this promise to Noah, God promises an ongoing basic balance of natural resources and weather patterns and even the cycles of seasons. And we here in North Carolina get to enjoy all four of them, right? Those of you moving here from the north have discovered there are more than two. And you can go back to this verse and say, well, it says there were only two here, but you know what I mean. Those of you who've moved here understand and enjoy these four seasons and the long season of allergy.
Allergy season. Well, along comes the great grandson of Noah, the world's first tyrant, the first man, so to speak, to collectively with an empire shake their fist at God. He's going to build this one world federation of nations, so to speak.
But it's more than just political muscle. It was deeply, deeply religious. He would be the founder along with his wife, Semiramis, specially involved, she was, in creating a blasphemous, idolatrous one world religion. Now all of Nimrod's political defiance will be expressed in the building of this city called Babylon. And all of his religious defiance will be expressed in the building of a tower. We know it's the tower of what?
The Tower of Babel or the Tower of Babel. Turn over to Genesis 11 and look at that statement of defiance led by Nimrod, verse 4. The Bible reads or records, they said, come, let us build for ourselves a city and a tower whose top will reach into heaven and let us make for ourselves a name. Otherwise, we will be scattered abroad the face of the whole earth.
In other words, let's defy God's command to multiply over the face of the earth and instead let's stay together, let's build an empire and let's together defy God. Now, political unity isn't really going to be able to pull that off for very long. Political unity is fickle, isn't it? Republicans can cross the aisle in our own culture and become Democrats. Democrats can cross the aisle and become Republicans. Republicans or Democrats can become Independents. Sometimes they vote together. Oftentimes they do and sometimes they vote differently. Not many people that I know, in fact I've never met anybody that would be willing to risk their life to be a Republican or a Democrat.
There are no suicide bombers trying to rid the world of Republicans, at least not yet. But religion now is far different. Religion is far more powerful a unifier. When people unify around a religious cause, they are willing to give their lives to that cause and for that bond of unity with others who believe as they do. And when a political cause is married to a religious cause, you've got the makings of a nation.
You have the makings of a union that's extremely strong. People will be willing to die for that and that is observed in history, especially with Hitler and the Nazi Germany system that baptized Nazism into the churches of Germany. What happens here with Nimrod is he's able to do that. He marries a political system with a religious system and creates deep unity. In fact, Nimrod will be later deified.
He will be considered a god, in fact he will become Babylon's chief god, Marduk. It's interesting in my research this week Herodotus the historian traveled through Babylon and saw one statue of Marduk weighing 22 tons and made of solid gold. Now when I read that, I tried my best to figure that out and I couldn't so I finally called your director of finance and I said, can you give me what this would be worth on the street today with gold prices in our culture in this day and he finally fired back after just a little bit of figuring.
He said this one statue would be worth more than 600 million dollars. That's commitment. That's zeal.
That's sacrifice. Now in the Hebrew text at chapter 11 verse 4 of Genesis, you read these interesting words, let's make, let's build a tower whose top will reach into heaven and in my translation will reach, those words are italicized which means they're added by the translators to make sense of this particular Hebrew preposition and I think it actually clouds it some. They weren't trying to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven.
They knew you couldn't do that. No, what this is saying is they were building a tower that would represent heaven. You could woodenly translate the preposition, let us build a tower whose top is with heaven. It's an alliance with heaven, the heavens, not the God of heaven but the universe. In other words, they were building a tower dedicated to the worship of the universe. The first system of worship is worshiping the creation and not the creator. More and more in our own culture thanks to best selling books like The Secret which we've talked about and media personalities who promote it like Oprah Winfrey and others, you have in our generation a growing population of people who are committed to this proposition that the universe exists as a being of power that can give to them whatever they desire in life.
So the universe has become effectively a god. Sun, moon and stars are little gods. They somehow give life and they certainly determine the course of life and destiny and millions of people today without knowing the origin of it all are dedicated Babylonians.
They believe their sign and the movements of the stars have something to do with their purpose and destiny on earth, don't they? This was the first worship system of Babylon. In fact, the Tower of Babel originated the Zodiac. You turn to any book on astrology written by a believer or unbeliever that traces its history and it will return you to the original source which were the Chaldeans, another name for the citizens of Babylon. They divided the heavens into sections, gave meanings to each section based on the stars and constellations they observed and a person's destiny in life was said to be determined by whatever section or sign he was born under. Well at the top of this tower, this ziggurat, and there would be many that would be built over generations, some have been discovered and excavated. It's interesting at the very top, the top room would be their holy place where they would worship and in that upper room the signs of the Zodiac they've discovered were emblazoned on the ornate ceilings and the walls at the top of the tower which represented for them their holiest place where they carried out their sacrifices of religious worship. Now from Babylon, astrology and these systems passed over to the Egyptians where animism and polytheism were added. The pyramids were even constructed with certain mathematical relationships to the stars.
These elaborate tombs of the pharaohs were designed to fit into their worship of the sun god and the moon god and the star gods. So the first federation, going all the way back to the beginning, this first United Nations so to speak, was a society built to bring the human race together to exalt man, deify creation and exclude God. In its very first attempt, not long after the flood where the power of God was so clearly seen, a great grandson of Noah says let's defy God and so they attempted to do that in deifying creation, dethroning God or at least they would try. A Nimrod becomes a prototype of antichrist who claims himself to be God, deifies himself also in statues, these guys are all in the statues, they will place for him a statue in the holy place of Jerusalem's temple as he declares that he is the living God. One author by the way said that the gods of Egypt and Rome and Greece and every other world empire are essentially the gods that grew out of the religious systems of the Babylonian empire just renamed and a little bit different packaging. Now there is more to the political and religious mystery of Babylon. In Genesis chapter 11, unbelieving humanity is now prepared for anti-God legends and the deifying of mankind and they fall hook, line and sinker over the generations into the mystery religions of Babylon that are developing at chapter 11's stage of time.
John Wohlford provides this interesting summary and I quote Nimrod had a wife, her name was Semiramis, she created secret religious rites of what would become the Babylonian mysteries according to extra biblical records. These legends grew that Semiramis had a son conceived miraculously by a sunbeam, he was the promised deliverer of earth and his name was Tammuz. Now Tammuz was in effect a false fulfillment of the promise made to Eve from or through the seed of woman. Women do not have seed, semen, you read in the bible of the seed of man but in this promise in Genesis 3.15 it's referring to the seed of a woman implying in that proto-evangelium, that first gospel that there would be a virgin born son from a woman. Well Satan early in human history knew exactly what that meant and so in the very first religious and political rebellion he sows the seeds of lies by wrapping them around kernels of truth.
He's still doing it today. According to the Babylonian legends originating with Semiramis, Tammuz who was further developed was killed by a wild boar after 40 days of his mother's weeping, he was raised from the dead. And by the way Satan obviously understood the implication of God's promise to Eve that the savior would be virgin born and he obviously listened to the prophets over the course of human history developing even more of these religions so they counterfeit the truth of God, even truth yet to be seen is already counterfeited by Satan giving the world the impression that the world's counterfeits came first and not Christianity and its gospel. Isn't it striking that the first perverted religious system would center around both deifying the universe along with the idea that God beings would exist and one particular God man would be born of a virgin. So mother Semiramis and her God conceived son Tammuz become the first version the original version of religion wrapped around the queen of heaven and her equally divine son. Now their names are changed in different places but if you study the history of religions in our world the basic story remains the same. In Phoenicia her name is Astarte and the virgin born son of her is named Baal.
Sound familiar? Well the Israelites had trouble with Baal didn't they? In fact they would believe the kernel of the promise of God through Eve of a virgin born son but they would be led into the counterfeit version following after the sins of this particular religion. In Egypt she would be called Isis or Issus and her son would be named Osiris. In Greece she was Aphrodite and her son was Eros. In Assyria the son's name remained Tammuz but the mother's name was changed to Ishtar and the religion spread. Both mother and son were considered equally divine in Babylon and it spread throughout the world and the liturgy of worship was defined. The mother was soon referred to and appears in scripture in the prophets many times as the queen of heaven. Her 40 days of weeping become memorialized in the 40 days of Lent followed by the celebration of his resurrection the celebration of Ishtar the mother the queen of heaven and eggs symbolizing new life are exchanged as presents. Of course the word Easter is a transliteration of the word Ishtar. In these and other rituals the Babylonian religion then counterfeits the promise of God that a virgin born son would come as a deliverer die and rise from the grave. Now while I'm on that I'm sure questions are raised which we're not going to get into but let me at least say this much there isn't anything wrong with celebrating Easter as long as you're celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ right. That would be a key point in your celebration but he didn't rise from the dead because of his mother's tears and she isn't co-equal with him. He died and rose again because of the plan of God for the redemption of mankind who would believe in his sacrifice and I'll go even further in saying this I'm out on a limb but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with Easter eggs as long as you don't revere them as the givers of life. There's nothing wrong with eating candy eggs as long as they're chocolate.
Otherwise you're wasting your calories and that can't be right. You say but Ishtar is the name of a pagan god. Well so are the Nike golf shoes you wear. They're named after a pagan goddess and she has not helped your golf game one bit has she?
Nike is simply the name of a goddess which means victory. And so long as your faith is bound up in the Savior and not focused on the symbol. I love Martin Luther I use him as an example. He took the paganism surrounding Christmas and a lot of the icons that had developed by then one of which was the Christmas tree the evergreen and he hung from the limbs glowed candles. He took the icon and he said I will give it in my celebration redemptive meaning and he did that to signify Jesus Christ the light of the world. We can do that as believers a thousand times over. By the way let me add this none of the pagan counterfeits of mother and son as the virgin born dying for the sins of the world and providing forgiveness for sins.
The pagan systems of our world merely have another God who is capricious in his actions and proud who cares a little of humans. They merely create an anti-creator message and allow man ultimately to pursue his sin and be justified in it. In fact it would be the development of Semiramis the wife of Nimrod who began the practice of religious prostitution marrying sexual sin with religious practice. They called sin now sanctified and they even founded an order of virgins married to their God who were anything but chaste. In fact these virgins only in name served as temple prostitutes for those who came to the temple to worship so-called worship. As you read the history of Israel you find them time and time again buying into the religion of Babylon the cult practices of astrology religious prostitution.
Why? Because it was a religion that took some of the kernels of truth but then allowed them to sin and that is always an attractive religion. In fact Ezekiel will record God's words of judgment against Israel as they are Ezekiel says in chapter 8 verse 14 weeping for Tammuz. They're longing for that God. Jeremiah condemns the people for burning sacrifices to and I quote Jeremiah 44 17 to the queen of heaven and pouring out their sacrifices to her. You recall the Israelites infatuation with Baal just another version of a virgin born God man and and you remember first Kings 18 where Elijah called all of them to a contest and we'll see who the real God is. Now God comes to judge in Genesis 11 at the tower of Babel and he comes to judge this federation this one world religion so to speak and he confuses their language which effectively forces them to fulfill his mandate and scatter. They gather by language groups around the far corners of the earth. The Hebrew meaning of the word Babel is confusion confusion. The Sumerian language translates Babylon the gate of God.
By the time the people had scattered they had experienced this taste of religion the religion of Babylon the worship of creation the synthesizing of sin and sacrifice had burrowed its way into their rebellious hearts and they from that day until this day are still looking for a gateway to God the God of their choice. Friends we need to stop right here for today. This message is too long to fit into one broadcast. When we come back next time we'll do just a little bit of review and then bring you the conclusion to this message called, A Tale of Two Cities. This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. If you have a comment a question or would like more information about our ministry we'd love to hear from you. You can send us an email if you address it to info at wisdom online dot org. We'd really enjoy hearing from you and learning how God is using this ministry to build you up in the faith. Our mailing address is Wisdom for the Heart PO Box 37297 Raleigh North Carolina 27627. I'll give you that one more time in case you're trying to write it down. It's Wisdom for the Heart PO Box 37297 Raleigh North Carolina 27627. We're glad you were with us today. Thanks again for joining us and I hope you'll be with us for our next lesson tomorrow right here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-18 20:41:00 / 2023-08-18 20:50:18 / 9