While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, everyone is not entitled to their own set of facts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Tale of the Tower – Part 2

                                                   Lucas van Valckenborch 1568

Genesis 10:10 refers to "Babel" (Babylon-NIV), "Erech," "Akkad," and "the land of Shinar." // Genesis 11:28-31 refer to "Ur." // Genesis 11:31, 32 and 12:4-5 refer to "Haran."This map also shows the location of the Amarah Crater. This two mile in diameter crater provides physical evidence that a cosmic impact took place in the Holy Land during Biblical times. The crater was discovered after Saddam Hussein had the lakes drained in Southern Iraq in retaliation against the Marsh Arabs in the area. The Sumerian text The Curse of Akkad and the Bible’s story of the destruction of the "Tower of Babel" both record the occurrence of this catastrophic event which ties to the sudden abandonment of Akkadian sites, and collapse of the Akkadian Empire.
The Tale of the Tower – Part 2
What Does the Tower of Babel Story Tell Us
About the End Times?
How can a nine verse story that appears in Genesis 11 about people who spoke one language while building a city and a tower cause concern for God and be connected to End Times?  Based on excerpts from Dr. Jeffrey Goodman’s book The Comets of God come an intriguing explanation. 
The traditional interpretation of the Bible’s story of the destruction of the Tower of Babel poses several problems.  The idea that at one time all the people of the whole earth spoke the same language and travelled to a plain in “the land of Shinar” to build a city and a tower does not fit with what we know from other scriptures in the Bible (Genesis 10:10 and Zechariah 5:11) that also talk about the “land of Shinar.”  A second problem is that the traditional interpretation of a universal language at the time of the Tower does not fit archeological and historical records.  While some people considered this Bible story to be a myth, the corrected translation provides an account that is consistent with the writings of the people from the two adjoining nations who spoke different languages in the land of Shinar.  It is these people who were building the new city and tower when God did something that stopped the people’s plans and caused them to scatter.
 Why was God so upset?  The defiant act that kindled divine wrath was not a universal language or the building of a city and tower, but rather the establishment of the ancient Near East’s first empire. Politically an empire has absolute authority over a group of states or nations consisting of people from different ethnic groups and languages who have been united and become one as a result of military domination.  Empires are ruled by a single chief of state called an emperor.  Since an empire represents a level of government higher than any of the nations it is ruling, an empire could let a brutal dictator begin to do anything he imagined to do in the world. Recall the abuses of the ancient Roman Empire during the Classical period.
The ancient Near East’s first powerful empire, known as the Akkadian Empire, was ruled by Sargon, an Akkadian who had carved out a multi-national empire that went from sea to sea, from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.  Just as archeological findings of the historical Akkadian Empire’s city of Akkad have confirmed the Bible’s city of Akkad, it has also shown that the historical Akkadian ruler called Sargon was one in the same as the ruler the Bible refers to as Nimrod.  The Bible says it was Nimrod who founded a kingdom or empire in the land of Shinar, the land of Sumer and Akkad that included the ceremonial center at Babylon and the cities of Erech and Akkad (Genesis 10:8-10 and 11:1-4).   Likewise the historical records show that Sargon founded an empire in the land of Sumer and Akkad that included Babylon and the cities of Erech and Akkad.  
When the Bible (Genesis 10:9) says that Nimrod “was a mighty hunter,” the Bible is clearly identifying him as an Akkadian king, because all the kings of the Akkadian culture were celebrated as “mighty hunters.”  Based on cuneiform inscriptions, archeologists know that the ritual hunting of lions was a traditional past time, a “lordly sport” for Akkadian Kings.[1]  Writing about the person the Bible calls Nimrod, Dr. D. J. Wiseman of the University of London, a leading authority on Assyriology, notes that “many scholars compare him (Nimrod) with Sargon of Akkad c. 2300 BC, who was a great warrior and huntsman and ruler. . . .”  While Dr. Jeffrey Goodman, is not the first archeologist to connect Sargon and Nimrod as the same person, he may be the first to show the Bible’s story of the Tower is about the destruction of the Akkadian Empire, where God in accord with His pattern, used comets as the weapons of His wrath.
The corrected translation of this Bible story tells how the God of the Bible, because of a defiant act on the part of mankind, brought about the destruction of the new empire and scattered the people who were building the new city and the new tower. The dean of Sumeriology, Samuel Noah Kramer, who translated The Curse of Agade (Akkad), wrote, “Its central theme concerns national catastrophe as a direct consequence of divine wrath kindled by a defiant act on the part of man.”    In The Curse of Akkad, cometary activity is described as the writers tell of the destruction of the Akkadian Empire by their heavenly gods who fought from heaven
The Curse of Akkad written in Sumerian provides an independent and much older account of the same basic set of events spoken about in the Bible’s story about the Destruction of the Tower of Babel.  In The Curse of Akkad the cometary goddess Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, who like a warrior hastening to his weapon, went forth against Akkad in battle and combat to attack it.    The Curse of Akkad and related works tell how there were “flashing potsherds raining from the sky,” “many stars falling from the sky,” so that “the raining dust rose sky high.”    The account of cometary impact as told in The Curse of Akkad was apparently written within a few centuries after the catastrophic event.
 Archeologists have found copies of The Curse of Akkad inscribed on clay tablets dating back to 1800 BC.  In the last 20 years tests have been performed on dust deposits excavated from suddenly abandoned Akkadian sites from around 2200 BC that have indicated the presence of trace elements associated with cometary activity.  The discovery in 2001 of the two-mile wide Amarah Crater in Southern Iraq has provided the physical evidence to confirm suspicions that cometary activity destroyed the Tower of Babel.
The Amarah impact, which produced energy equivalent to that of hundreds of Hiroshima sized atomic bombs, took place just 125 miles or so to the south of where ancient Akkad lay.  The historical corroboration with the Akkadian Empire, the direct physical evidence from the Amarah Crater, and the dust deposits now provide a powerful one-two punch in establishing the reality of one of the Bible’s first stories of catastrophe. 
It is the recognition that the Bible story of the Tower of Babel is about the destruction of an empire that links it to the destruction of the Akkadian Empire and thus the Amarah Crater.  Equally important, this Biblical account holds a warning to mankind, a warning about empire and the God of the Bible’s opposition to empire.  An empire is a type of government involving people of different lands under the rule of a single political authority, typically having an emperor as chief of state.  With such absolute authority comes great power.  Having people from different lands under one rule gives an empire the ability to marshal vast resources to accomplish its goals.  This would enable an emperor the power and capability to pursue anything he imagines or wishes.  Having one language does not enable a leader to do anything he imagines he can do (Genesis 11:6), but having absolute power over all people and lands gives him everything he needs.  A single nation no matter how powerful could not stand up to the multi-national forces of an ever growing empire.  (Where would the United States be if we did not enter World War II until after Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich [empire] had conquered all of Europe and Russia?)
The idea that the building of a city and temple tower was in and of itself threatening to the God of the Bible lacks credibility.  It should be noted that the remains of many temple towers have been found in Mesopotamia (approximately 28), and archeologists know that the Tower of Babel was not the first, nor the last, temple tower to be built in the region.  So, the defiant act that kindled divine wrath was not the building of the city and tower, but rather the establishment of the Near East’s first empire, since it is ruling an empire that would let a brutal dictator begin to do anything he imagined to do. 
A related reason the Bible gives for the God of the Bible’s opposition to empire, where one man could rule over all the nations of the earth, is that this position of authority is reserved for the God of the Bible.  The Bible says that God is to come in the person of the Messiah, the Christ, to “establish” an empire or kingdom that will last forever.  Isaiah 9:6-7 tells how “the government shall be upon His shoulder” and He will rule from “the throne of David.”  Daniel 2:44 NIV tells how during the end times “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom (empire) that will never be destroyed nor will it be left to another people…”  Daniel 7:13-14 tells how the Son of Man (the Messiah) will be given “dominion, and glory and a kingdom (empire), that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. . . .”[2]
Not only did the emperors of the Akkadian Empire expand the empire and seek to rule over many nations, they also aspired to be worshipped as living gods.  Even though Sargon was an Akkadian, he made the Sumerian religion the “official” religion of the Akkadian Empire.  By virtue of his holy marriage (hieros- gamos) to the patron goddess of the new empire, the goddess Inanna bestowed all power to rule on earth to him, and Sargon declared himself to be a god-king.  Thus, through marriage to the “woman,” a goddess, the emperors of the Akkadian empire were worshipped as living gods (“ruler-worship).
Are you seeing the forewarning of the Antichrist to come?  Just as the story of the Tower of Babel involved a dictator who led a powerful empire that would defy God, Bible prophecy says that during the end times the antichrist will arise and form a worldwide empire and defy God by seeking to rule over the whole world and be worshipped as God.  Thus, the message of an all powerful ruler who claims himself to be a god in the story of the Tower of Babel relates to the empire the Bible says will be established by the antichrist during the end times. 
The Bible says that the antichrist, a dictator who “will succeed in whatever he does” (Daniel 8:23-24 NIV), will eventually seek to be worshipped as God and exalt himself above God.[3]  II Thessalonians 2:3-4 says this antichrist will even sit in the rebuilt Temple of God in Jerusalem “proclaiming himself to be God.”   Just as The Curse of Akkad and the Bible’s story of the Tower tell how a defiant act on the part of mankind kindled divine wrath, resulting in cosmic catastrophe destroying the empire, the Bible says that cosmic catastrophe will destroy the empire of the antichrist.  The Seven Trumpets and the Seven Vials of the Book of Revelation detail the basic sequence of cosmic impacts that will accomplish this destruction. 
There is another reason the Bible gives for the God of the Bible being opposed to empire.  An empire with its state religion takes away each person’s freedom to choose the god he will serve.  The God of the Bible has given each person free will and the freedom to choose who or what they will serve or believe.  In the empire begun by Sargon, the state religion was primarily the worship of a “woman,” a goddess, and in the empire of the antichrist, the state religion will also involve the worship of a “woman,” a goddess.  Ultimately, the empire of the antichrist will involve worship of the antichrist who will attempt to rule as a living god, just as Sargon did.
The Book of Revelation tells how the final empire will also involve the worship of a woman until the empire disavows her (Revelation 17:16).  Actually this woman, who in Revelation 17:1-7 is called the “The Great Whore,” and described as “Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother of Harlots (Idolatresses) and Abominations of the Earth” is none other than Inanna, the “Queen of Heaven” (Jeremiah 7:18, 44:17-19, and 25).  It is this same Inanna, the “wicked” and “winged” woman for whom a house or tower were built in the land of Shinar at Babylon (Zechariah 5:7-11, Genesis 10:10, and 11:4-9)!  The essence of this idolatrous religious system would be carried forward in time from Nimrod/Sargon’s empire to the end times empire of the antichrist.  The Bible says that God would bring about the destruction of this “woman,” and all who have all invaded Israel, that is, the Neo-Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires (Daniel 2:24-45, and 7:3-27).  The Bible also says that God will bring the destruction of the antichrist’s empire which will represent the third and final expression of Roman Empire (the ancient Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire of the Crusades, and the “revived” Holy Roman Empire in the form of the European Community) after it invades Israel during the end times (Daniel 2:24-45, 7:3-27, 11:36-45, and Revelation 13:1-3).  As this study of the tale of the Tower shows that the God of the Bible used comets to bring the collapse of the pretentious Akkadian Empire, its destruction is consistent with the pattern of God using comets as the weapons of His wrath.  If we acknowledge that there is indeed a pattern of cometary activity chronicled in the Bible, it seems that the same type of religious and political machinations that brought on God’s wrath and resulted in the destruction of the historical Akkadian Empire by comets will again bring on God’s wrath and result in the destruction of the antichrist’s Empire by comets.

[1]           The inscription on the famous hunting relief of Ashurbanipal (669-633 BC) housed in the British Museum says: “I am Ashurbanipal, King of the Universe, King of Assyria . . . endowed with surpassing might.  The lions which I slew: I seized a fierce lion of the plain by his ears . . . I pierced his body with my lance . . . in my lordly sport I seized a lion of the plain by his tail . . . I smashed his skull with the club of my hand . . . in my lordly sport they let a fierce lion of the plain out of his cage and on foot with my spear . . . I stabbed him later with my iron girdle dagger and he died . . . I shattering the might of the lions . . . .” from Daniel D. Luckenbill, Ph.D. Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, Vol. II – Historical Records of Assyria, University of Chicago Press, 1926, pp. 391-392.
[2]           In Daniel 7:14 delineating that the “kingdom” (#4437 malkuw, dominion, empire, kingdom, realm) of the Messiah will include all people, nations and languages,” we have the equivalent of the modern working definition of “empire,” as a political entity of two or more nations.
[3]           This is not unlike the Bible telling how Lucifer, or the devil wanted to raise his throne above God’s throne in heaven, and sit in heaven and ”be like the most high” – Isaiah 14:12-15.