Some time ago I bought a book called, The Second Coming Of Babylon, by Mark Hitchcock. I bought it with the hope that he might bring some explanation, but, as with most things, I do my good intentions got set aside for almost a year. Having read the book recently, I found myself wondering why I purchased this book. Oh yeah, people that I trust have referenced Mark Hitchcock’s work as being beneficial.
The premise of the book is a Biblically based treatise on how Babylon is to be physically rebuilt and become a great economic center for the world. I did not know this when I bought the book. I personally, using scripture and logical thought, have concluded that Babylon attains all its greatness through demonic empowerment, powerful, wealthy people, a global banking system, and the foolishness of individuals who think that more government is the answer to everything.
In chapter three, “From the Cradle to the Grave,” the third paragraph states, Man’s history – from the cradle to the grave – is tied to this river valley in general … and to Babylon in particular. (The river valley referred to is, the Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers.)
The fourth paragraph of this same chapter tells us that, “History is coming full circle. The focus of world events is cycling back to where it all began.” He goes on to say, under the heading of, A River Runs Through it, that “the paradise of the Garden was destroyed by the Flood in response to the unabated wickedness of man. But after this event man again returned to the Tigris and Euphrates valley. Man returned to Babel. And he will do it again.”
Now I can’t disagree with the premise that man went back to Babel, but I can disagree with the concept that man even called this area Babel, as that name did not come until after Nimrod, the mighty warrior. Take a minute to look up Strong’s definition of mighty and you get this: ghib-bore’, ghib-bore’ Intensive from the same as H1397; powerful; by implication warrior, tyrant: – champion, chief, X excel, giant. Genesis chapter 10 is where we are introduced to Nimrod. Scripturally our evidence for the beginnings of Babel/Babylon comes from,
Genesis 10:10 KJV And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
Perhaps it is an assumption but logic says there was no Babel prior to Nimrod. What we do have is this, all this was in the land of Shinar. Hold that thought as this land of Shinar will come back to our thinking shortly.
Still, in chapter three, the title of the next section, A City and a Tower, Mark Hitchcock conveys, based upon the definitions we get of the word mighty, that Nimrod was “the first world dictator and his capital city was Babylon. In this sense, Nimrod prefigures the final great world ruler, the Antichrist, who will also locate his world commercial capital at Babylon.”
The book goes on to say, “They settled down in the land of Shinar at Babel with a three part plan:
To build a city,
To build a tower reaching to the heavens,
To make a name for themselves (to glorify man.)”
The scriptural reference given is Genesis 11:1-9 KJV
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2) And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3) And 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. 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. 5) And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 6) 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. 7) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8) So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9) 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.
An analysis of the premise put forward in this section (A City and a Tower,) demonstrates much supposition and fallacy.
“the first world dictator”
Based on the definition of the word mighty it is not difficult to see why Mark Hitchcock would say that Nimrod was the first world dictator. However, this is not what is taught in church. How would most of you know this?
“and his capital city was Babylon”
When you look at the scriptures referenced, which Mark Hitchcock uses to base his claim, you cannot find the name Nimrod in there, but you do find the word “they” used over and over. You should not forget that “they” all spoke one language, and, at this point in time, had one mind set – evil.
One might assume that Nimrod is certainly playing a role in this but it’s not defined in the passages used. Verse 4 tells us that “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.” After being scattered and having their language changed, they left off building the city and called it Babel to symbolize their fate. The process of changing languages and being scattered would have been confusing at best and discouraging. The obvious fact is that plans and dreams go right out the window when you cannot communicate. Even if Nimrod is able to force people to build his so called “capital city”, you would think that there would be a need to gain work force numbers once again. Genesis 11:1-9 does not make the author’s case as he presents it.
“ In this sense, Nimrod prefigures the final great world ruler, the Antichrist,”
Based upon Mr. Hitchcock’s presumption, all we know is that Nimrod is a world dictator. In actuality, the world was still rather small at this point. What happened just a few short years prior? A massive flood that consumed every living thing. Our assumption, based on the potential exponential explosion of human births, is that there are once again an uncountable number of people upon the earth. We have nothing to tell us any differently, so let’s run with that idea. We also must assume that they live in one geographical area, that we call the world.
How then does Nimrod equate to the final “great” world ruler, the Antichrist? Wouldn’t he have to bear some of the known attributes such as: promoting a seven-year treaty among many? Peace it seems, was never a part of Nimrod’s vocabulary.
Many of the details about the Antichrist come from the book of Daniel.
Daniel 9:27 KJV And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The Antichrist based on the pattern of Antiochus Epiphanes will:
“confirm the covenant with many for one week”
Nimrod does nothing like this.
“and in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,”
There is no temple or parallel to it, therefore this argument is null and void.
“and for the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Without a temple, Nimrod cannot make it desolate. Is it possible that this could be a reference to something else? Not likely as the name Nimrod only shows up in three locations in scripture:
Genesis 10:8,9 KJV) And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
1 Chronicles 1:10 KJV) And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty upon the earth.
One of those, however, seems to bear a huge significance as the descendants of Nimrod are laid to waste when they step within the borders of Israel.
Micah 5:6 KJV) And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land, and when he treads within our borders.
Because of this, it is safe to say that if Nimrod comes close to any one in scriptural detail it would be Gog – the one who amasses great armies against Israel and is killed on the mountains of Israel in the last days.
The book tries to define these three points – (1)To build a city and, (2) to build a tower reaching to the heavens, (3)To make a name for themselves (to glorify man.)”
Points (1) and, (2) seem to be closely related, so let’s see if I can get anything out of this if I look strictly at the Scriptures Hitchcock is basing his presumptions on.
Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 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 over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:1-4 NASB)
What can I gather from this?
That everyone, at that time, spoke the same language.
Well, that makes sense as we are only generations from Noah – one of eight souls that survived the flood.
“ It came about as they journeyed east”
Now, I might conjecture that they only traveled east but that is not likely. The story, it seems, is only focused on one group. I can assure you that every group spoke the same language. Another assumption would be to say: That this group was the only group and they happened to go East.
See the problem in these statements, we have no other biblical history build an argument from. One of the things you have to realize is that from Adam to the flood is well over one-thousand years. That is a long time to hold the memory of a particular garden; so to think that these people were doing just that is conjecture.
“ they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.”
Assuming that the size of the group (of kinfolk) is large enough, then there would be conflicts. We know from the life of Abraham that most folks were shepherds of some variety, and what happened to him? His nephew Lot’s flocks and herdsmen conflicted and they had to separate.
Moving to Shinar might have had arable land at that time. What we know of the region today does not give that impression. There is no reason to make a bigger story out of this as ample opportunity will arise.
“They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.”
This merely demonstrates that some, at least, are willing to make a permanent home here.
“They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city and a tower whose top will reach into heaven,”
As I talk about events that we see in Scripture there is a common assumption that the time frame only lasts about five minutes; that is never the case, and, it is not the case the case here. How do I know that? Because after gaining the skills to build homes they are now aware that they have the capabilities to build something larger.
To build a tower can carry multiple implications, for a tower can imply strength. Considering the nature and character of Nimrod – a warrior tyrant, with the strong possibilities that he was a giant of a man, the demonstration of strength and power is exactly what he wanted to convey.
The Word Study Dictionary tells us this about the tower:
mig̱dāl: A masculine noun indicating a tower. It refers to various kinds of towers: the Tower of Babel (Gen_11:4); a watch-tower in a vineyard (Isa_5:2); a tower built into a wall (2Ch_14:7 ); storage structures (1Ch_27:25); central defense towers in the centers of cities (Jdg_9:51-52). In Neh_8:4, the word refers to a structure for someone to stand on in order to address a crowd.
Everything about this description fits what I said about Nimrod’s motives and why.
Look up the word tower and this is what the Word Study Dictionary gives us:
šāmayim: A masculine noun meaning sky, heaven, abode, firmament, air, stars. Although the word is plural or dual in form, it can be translated into English as singular or plural depending on the context. The word describes everything God made besides the earth.
So, although the practical aspects of Nimrod’s reasons may be valid the larger influence – the voices of those who are part of the city seem to win. This tower was a direct and aggressive action against God. And, if you notice, Nimrod’s name is not directly associated with the tower. How do I know this? Because Genesis 11:4 tells us that “they said.” To imply Nimrod played a role in this is (here I go again,) pure conjecture. [Do you know what that word conjecture means? It means speculation, possibility, or guess. Most people use the word to convey an unfounded opinion as truth.] If we do not have direct conclusive evidence, then it is purely circumstantial evidence.
Point three – “to make a name for themselves (to glorify man.)”
“and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Again I turn to the Word Study Dictionary. It gives us: šēm: A masculine noun meaning a name, fame. It is what specifically identifies a person or anything: God’s name, “I am who I am” (Exo_3:15); or the name Yahweh, LORD, which is in small capital letters in English (Psa_5:11 ); a person’s name (Gen_3:20); names of animals (Gen_2:19). To make a name for oneself means to attain a renowned reputation (Gen_11:4; 2Sa_8:13); as when God made Abraham’s name great (Gen_12:2). To become famous is to have one’s name spread through the land (Eze_16:14).
What can I gather from the explanation above?
That this is a direct affront to any god but their own, and apparently they were choosing to be their own god.
That it is a method of attaining a reputation.
The underlying motive is pure selfishness. Isn’t that the common problem for all of us?
Hitchcock states that “The city and the tower represent the two aspects of Babylon that continue today: Political power balanced against religious rebellion and apostasy.
To say “Political power balanced against religious rebellion and apostasy,” doesn’t even make sense to me. What are you trying to convey when you say that power must be balanced against apostasy? Are you attempting to say that power will turn men’s hearts back to God? Based upon the common supposition that power is what the world constantly tries to gain, and, it is in opposition to anything that God desires for us, the statement isn’t logical or right. How can a hypothesis like this be right when we are told that everything in the world is at opposition to God. Who then, is doing the balancing? God?
I give you 1 John where we find one of the strongest arguments against the world’s system.
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NASB)
Religious rebellion and apostasy can almost be the same thing, and political power has nothing to do with God except that Scripture tells us
“ The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1 KJV)
What do I gather from all this? That God is in control, of political power as well as people.
Mark Hitchcock goes to say, “The city they built represents the political unity of the city of Babylon.”
Unity, are you serious. The two things that gave them unity, much like prisoners transported on a slave ship, was the oppressive fear of death exerted by someone like Nimrod, that and the knowledge they all spoke the same language (by the way, they were all related to each other.)
Is it a coincidence that God noticed this unity and changed their language as he dispersed them around the globe. What became of their political unity when that happened?
If they ever regained some form of unity it was put to use building the “the city and the tower.”
Mark Hitchcock introduces us to John Walvoord who gives us a summary of the Babylonian “religious” system.
He tells us that Nimrod had a wife known as Semiramis.
This is never told to us in scripture, therefore we must trust that there is some history of their relationship. I, personally, do not believe that God thought for a second that you would need some deep, religious thinker for you to understand this stuff. Introducing someone like Semiramis may help our understanding, or, it can cloud the issue. If there was a religious system, it was called selfishness. It does not take much thought to see that at work in every sinful action we indulge in.
Apparently, Semiramis had a son, who, because of his miraculous conception (whatever that means) and was therefore named Tammuz.
Tammuz in effect was a false fulfillment of the promise of the seed of the woman given to Eve (Genesis 3:15.)
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” NASB
We are told, “Various religious practices were observed in connection with the false Babylonian religion, including recognition of the mother and child as God and of creating an order of virgins who became religious prostitutes.”
Once again we have nothing from Scripture that tells us this information, we then must rely on someone else to fill in the blanks. The process of reliance tends to subject us to deception and is any thing but comfortable in my opinion. Is it possible that I can attain through logical thought and observance of what the Word of God gives me? Yes, obviously not all these details Walvoord is giving us, but enough to understand that the people involved in the building of Babylon and the tower, did so to promote someone’s selfish desires. I came to that conclusion without all the gory details about Semiramis.
Walvoord ends his summary with the most valuable statement of the entire book.
“Babylon then is the symbol of apostasy and blasphemous substitution of idol-worship for the worship of God in Christ.”
Apostasy – Apostasy is the abandonment or renunciation of what you know is right. Having a knowledge of God and His ways and then setting them aside is apostasy.
Blasphemous – A perverted and intentional misdirect, in this case, away from the truth about God.
I often add, how would I know that? Did you notice a few paragraphs ago, that I mentioned that they were all related? This fact takes them back to one man, Noah. While the information about Noah is somewhat cryptic in the Old Testament (a thorough investigation will demonstrate that Noah lineage was untouched by the influence of fallen angels having sex with humans.) The most telling information about Noah comes from the writer of the letter to the Hebrews – Jews.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Knowing that Noah was a righteous man, one can only assume that the offering of sacrifices and the relationship one can have with the God who says His name is I AM. Sadly, we find that four generations later, no one remembers the God of their fathers. That tells us that the relationship has to be personal; that is the primary method of keeping yourself untwisted by life.
If we focus on what Walvoord tells us we find the most valid statement of what modern day Babylon represents: “Babylon then is the symbol of apostasy and blasphemous substitution of idol-worship for the worship of God in Christ.”
I recently posted an answer to a friends statement/question about whether there are female angels. The example he used was from the prophet Zechariah.
Zechariah 5:9 NASB Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.
The interesting aspect of this is how it all gets tied back to Babylon and the plain of Shinar. In Zechariah 5:8 God explains that the woman in the basket is wickedness. The answer God gives should be a huge clue that we are to be looking for something spiritual, not physical as Mark Hitchcock asserts.
The Life Application Study Bible commentary has a rather large paragraph about this subject, but only one small aspect makes any sense to me and it goes like this, “The woman in a basket was carried away “to the land of Babylonia,” which had become a symbol for the center of world idolatry and wickedness.”
Zechariah 5:6 MSG I said, “What in the world is that?” He said, “This is a bushel basket on a journey. It holds the sin of everyone, everywhere.“
While I can grasp the idea that it contains the sin of everyone; our sins are completely characterized by one person – this woman referred to as “it.” However, it is not, at this moment in Scripture, directed at everyone. It is, however, expressly directed at Israel; And, we know this because it says in Zechariah 5:6, “This is their appearance in all the land.” Can the world be enticed and therefore included? Absolutely. We are all taken in by the abominations of the earth. You know that Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world and their glory. Pursue this in Matthew 4. Jesus responded to Satan with, “It is written,..” Israel, being the focus and center of God’s attention, is God’s focus in the statement, “This is their appearance in all the land.”
What we may be seeing here is the representation of the Harlot, the Mother of Harlots.
Revelation 17:5-6 NASB and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6) And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.
Note how it describes Babylon as the mother of harlots, AND of the abominations of the earth.
Revelation 18:2 NASB And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.
We understand that a harlot entices you to give up your virginity, your dignity, destroy your marriage, and end your relationship with important and vital people in your life, like the wife; God. Now, look at the other descriptives: Babylon, a spiritual entity, is the woman drunk with the blood of saints and witnesses of Jesus. Isn’t it clear that this harlot is a murderer? It is also the dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit.
Mark Hitchcock’s assertion that Babylon must be rebuilt and become the economic capital of the world is nonsense, especially since, according to him it has not been destroyed as yet. In your Bibles, Revelation 18 concludes with Babylon, the great city, being thrown down with violence and not be found any longer. In reality, that throwing down, physically, happened not long after perhaps Darius. Wikipedia tells us: It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world from c. 1770 to 1670 BC, and again between c. 612 and 320 BC. With some solid dates, we can associate the destruction with the Alexandrian empire.
Although I read the majority of the book I honestly could not take any more, and in doing my critique here, I have not made it out of chapter three in quoting examples. I just do not have the time nor the patience.
I believe we are in the last minutes of the Church on this earth, and that directly impacts my ability to reach people. Why is this important? Because, having been raised in church I can tell you that false and misleading teaching is going on constantly and the majority of “Christians” do not read for themselves, do not verify that the information being shoved down their throat is correct, nor do they have any grasp of where to look to validate some teaching.
Is there something misleading with Mark Hitchcock’s treatise, absolutely, for it prompts us to spend our time looking for things that divert from the truth. We have been prodded to focus on time wasting events and energies since Christ rose from the dead. How about we spend our time looking at the Word of God, and using our brains. I do not believe this book of mysteries is a mystery to the spirit filled believer.