7. So, they decided that they could build an entire city like this… and EVEN a very tall tower that would reach up high into the sky.
Gen 11:4 - 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.
God had commanded them to go out and replenish the whole earth… that is, to spread themselves abroad. So, here, we find them doing the very opposite by gathering themselves together into one city.
5. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6. And the LORD said, Behold, the people are 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.
7. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
And, we know that God did that. He confused their language and thus, not being able to communicate with one another, they could not work together on these building projects, and eventually, they scattered geographically into their individual language groups (so GOD scattered them).
8. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
WHY was God so displeased with them that He felt He had to scatter them? What exactly was it that God found so offensive about their actions?
Well, most scholars agree that the TOWER was not JUST a tower where people could go up high and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area. Most believe that it was actually an IDOLATROUS TEMPLE where the people thought that the very top would be in the clouds where their gods resided… a sacred place where they could perhaps perform animal and human sacrifices and conduct licentious worship services, etc. to their false gods.
So, THAT would certainly be very offensive to God.
But I have to ask, “IS THAT WHY GOD SCATTERED THEM”? Was it because of their idolatry?
I don’t think so. Because when God does something to correct a bad situation… when He affects a SOLUTION to a PROBLEM, His solutions always work!
Do you think that when the people left Babylon that they were no longer idolatrous? No. Undoubtedly, wherever they moved to, they took their false religion with them. So, if it was their idolatry that God was trying to rid them of, HE FAILED. (But God never fails!)
Some might say that it wasn’t just their idolatry, but their overall sinfulness… that God was judging them because of their sin.
Then, why did God KILL all the sinful people of Noah’s day with a flood and only SCATTER the Babylonians? Or, when the people of Sodom and Gomorrah became so sinful, God destroyed them with fire from the sky. Why didn’t He just scatter them? So, the scattering was NOT a judgment against their sin.
But some would say that He scattered them because He did not want them to be together… unified… and this was His way of FORCING them to scatter (which is what He had commanded them to do in the first place).
If that’s the case, then their building of the tower really wasn’t the problem because they could live together and be unified WITHOUT the tower. But that doesn’t really seem to fit with the story. Whatever it was that they did that caused God to scatter them was definitely something to do with the construction of the tower. Let’s go back to verse 6.
6. “And the LORD said, Behold, the people are one…”
Unified, working together, in harmony. Do you think that God is opposed to people being unified and in harmony? I don’t think so.
“and they have all one language; and this they begin to do:”
In other words, “They’re unified with one language and just LOOK at what they’re beginning to do.” God wasn’t upset with them because they worked together and got along with one another and were unified with a common goal. But, it was their UNITY that allowed them to do SOMETHING that God didn’t want them to do. The last part of this verse gives us the answer.
“and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”
God was saying that they were so unified and accomplished in what they were doing that nothing would stop them from doing WHATEVER they imagined to do.
With their technological advancements (FOR THEIR TIME IN HISTORY), God recognized that they would soon be doing things that He did not want men to do AT THAT TIME IN HISTORY.
God is not opposed to technology or the advancement of technology… AS LONG AS IT IS USED FOR GOOD AND ADVANCES ACCORDING TO HIS TIME SCHEDULE!
SO… God had to do something… NOT to destroy them… but to slow them down and prevent them from advancing too fast. He disrupted their unity by hindering their ability to communicate with one another and thereby, caused them to separate into their own individual linguistic, cultural groups.
It is EVIDENT that God saw something developing in those people that He felt He had to stop (or, at least slow down). And, it WASN’T their idolatry, because their idolatry continued.
“now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” I would paraphrase that this way: “NOW nothing will be able to stop them from doing whatever they imagine.”
Of course, God scattered them to stop them from building the tower. But also, God saw a need to slow their technological progress!
Much of the sinfulness of today is accomplished ONLY because we have the technology to do it. An example is the technology of the internet. Today, sinful material can be sent around the world in just seconds via the internet. But, I am NOT saying that all technology is bad. Even the internet can be used for good… like sharing the Gospel with people around the world.
So, the point of all of this is: God has a plan for mankind. And for it to work out on HIS schedule, at times, He may have to change the rate of man’s technological advancement.
After God gave Daniel some amazing prophecies about the future, He told him, “…Go thy way Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:9b) The fulfillment was in the future and it wouldn’t be understood by the people of Daniel’s day. There would be a coming “time of the end” when people would understand it. And He gave that information to Daniel to record for the people of THAT DAY. That day is today.
So, God gives out knowledge WHEN and TO WHOM He wants. And He also does this with technology!
I have presented all of this to simply say that TODAY, we are at the technology level that God intended for 2021. We are not ahead or behind in our technology for this time in history.
So, what is the point of realizing this? Well, it tells us something about where we are on God's time schedule of events.
Today, we live in the Church Age. This age will end when Jesus comes for His people in the Rapture. Soon AFTER the Rapture of the Church, the world will be thrust into that unprecedented time called the Seven-Year Tribulation. Unlike the generations before us, today we can recognize the technology of the Tribulation as it is described for us in The Revelation:
Rev. 11:9 - Satelite communications that will allow people all over the world to see the dead bodies of the Two Great Witnesses lying in the streets of Jerusalem.
Rev. 13:16-17 - Subdermal data chip that will allow GPS tracking and an international banking infrastructure for registering every sales transaction on the planet.
Rev. 18:8,10,15,18 - Perhaps a nuclear blast that will destroy Babylon in an instant and her “merchants” will stand far away watching the mushroom cloud for fear of being too close and exposing themselves to radioactive fallout.
The point is… the technology of the Tribulation is the technology of TODAY! And, since technology always continues to advance, God will not allow us to go beyond that level of technology before He comes for His Church! In other words, the Rapture, which will precede the Tribulation, is imminent!!! Our technology is “Tribulation-level technology”… just as God planned for 2021.