In the story of the Tower of Babel, we encounter a couple of interesting Hebrew words.
First, in Genesis 11:4 when it says they were building a tower so “they could make a name for themselves”, the original Hebrew says, they were building a tower so that “they could make a shem for themselves”.
“Shem” is the Hebrew word for name and unlike in our culture, a person’s name wasn’t just a means of identification.
A person’s name referred to their reputation.
It was what they stood for.
This building up of the tower was a form of idol worship.
It was to stand as a testament to the people’s supreme fleshly confidence in their feats of technology.
Incidentally, the fear the people had of being scattered is understandable.
History has shown that when any given group of people has been dispersed from their homeland, within two or three generations, that group of people has literally become extinct.
So the building of that tower was a fleshly attempt to maintain their legacy and preserve their posterity for generations apart from God.
Now in the original Hebrew, the reason given as to why God was displeased is because the “people were echad”.
“Echad” is the Hebrew word for “one” and it is the same word used in the verse, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one“.
So while one would normally consider oneness to be a positive quality, in this case, God was against it.
The answer is very simple.
It was not God-approved oneness.
Peace without God is no peace at all.
Do you remember when I talked about the Principle of Opposites?
This is a scientific principle woven into the fabric of our universe and in simple terms it means that basically everything in our universe has to have its perfect opposite.
If there is an up there has to be a down.
If there is male, there has to be female etcetera.
So here’s an interesting question
If everything in our universe has its perfect opposite, what would be the perfect opposite to what occurred at the Tower of Babel?
The answer would be the Day of Pentecost.
Do you see the contrast with the Tower of Babel?
At the Tower of Babel, the “human spirit” was the driving force behind the construction of the Tower.
However, on the day of Pentecost, it was the “Holy Spirit” that was the driving force.
One spirit resulted in disarray.
The other spirit resulted in unity.
Interestingly, in both cases, God used language to achieve his purposes.
In the first instance, he used different languages to foil the plans of men.
In the second instance, he used different languages to bring men together.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“The festival of Pentecost had arrived, and the believers all gathered together in one place. Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire, which separated and came to rest on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.”-ACTS 2:1-4