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The city and tower in Genesis 11

January 31, 2012

In the tables below, the heavenly Jerusalem and mount Zion are contrasted with the city and the tower men began to build at Babel, and with the harlot Babylon in Revelation.

human society kingdom of God, heavenly Jerusalem
a city

Genesis 11:4
let us build us a city
Hebrews 11:16
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
a tower

Genesis 11:4
and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven
Jerusalem is raised up to the tops of the mountains

Isaiah 2:2
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills

Zechariah 14:10
All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up,
a name

Genesis 11:4
and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
Genesis 12:1-2
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
world government

Genesis 11:5-6
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
And the Lord 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.
all nations will flow to mount Zion, Isaiah 2:2

Isaiah 2:4
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Daniel 2:35
and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
man’s language confounded

Genesis 11:7-9
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Zephaniah 3:9
For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.

Joel 2:32
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

In the table below, the great Babylon of Revelation, symbolic of human society, contrasts with the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21 and 22. [Adapted from Richard Bauckham. The theology of the book of Revelation. Cambridge University Press, 1993.  pp. 126-129.]

Babylon New Jerusalem
the harlot with whom the kings of the earth fornicate (Revelation 17:2) The chaste bride, the wife of the Lamb (Revelation 21:2,9)
Babylon’s splendour from exploiting her empire (Revelation 17:4; 18:12-13, 16) Her splendour is the glory of God (Revelation 21:11-21)
Babylon’s corruption and deception of the nations (Revelation 17:2; 18:3, 23; 19:2) The nations walk by her light, which is the glory of God (Revelation 21:24)
Babylon’s luxurious wealth extorted from all the world (Revelation 18:12-17) The kings of the earth bring their glory into her (i.e. their worship and submission to God: Revelation 21:24)
Babylon’s abominations, impurities, deceptions (Revelation 17:4, 5; 18:23) Uncleanness, abomination and falsehood are excluded (Revelation 21:27)
Babylon’s wine which makes the nations drunk (Revelation 14:8; 17:2; 18:3) The water of life and the tree of life for the healing of the nations (Revelation 21:6; 22:1-2)
the blood and slaughter (Revelation 17:6; 18:24) Life and healing (Revelation 22:1-2)
God’s people are called to come out of Babylon (18:4) God’s people are called to enter the New Jerusalem (22:14)

 

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