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  • Writer's pictureW.S. BARNETT

The Great Dispersion

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

The Tower of Babel is a sad but compelling story recorded in Scripture over 2,500 years ago. History books today teach that the story is a myth.

Dutch painter and printmaker Pieter Bruegel the Elder, captures the story in a series of three oil paintings on wood panels. The Great Tower represented here is his most famous, located at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. The Tower was a ziggurat similar to that of Egyptian pyramids. Pieter's interpretation embodies a rounded architectural style. The artist's Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting technique, vibrantly expresses multiple scenes occurring as the power of a rebellious people crumbles.

The "gates to the gods"(Babel and the Tower) were built to reach and interpret the heavens. Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah, was the bold and defiant master-builder who is said to have challenged God by shooting arrows into the sky. "The mighty hunter before the Lord" had a rebellious personality. Nimrod's name comes from the Hebrew word marad, meaning "We will rebel" or "Come, let us rebel."

After the Flood, the people began to repopulate the earth, and during this time, they had one language. The people of Shinar were strengthened by their unity – albeit a unity intent on dishonoring God and exalting themselves.

"Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4)

Knowing the potential for even more defiance and corruption, God confuses their language, and they scatter across the world in lingual groups. Construction immediately stops. I call it "The Great Dispersion," a supernatural befuddlement of speech that forced a global diaspora.

Nebuchadnezzar's (605-561 B.C.) ancient writings reveal an unfinished sixty-foot ziggurat found in the region, which he ultimately completed. The natives of the area hold to a tradition that identifies a ziggurat at Borsippa, near the ruins of Babylon - now modern-day Iraq (Birs Nemrod, the original Tower of Babel). Tourists are warned to stay away from it because they could lose their memories just as the people of Shinar did.

And what about present-day culture? Can you see the similarities? Aversion to a Biblical worldview, the desecration of history, and a fierce intent to control it. Humanity is once again challenging its Creator.

God will have his way no matter what. Even if our efforts to disobey seemingly are making headway, they will inevitably fail.

"That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west,

that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity,

I am the Lord, who does all these things."

Isaiah 45:6-7

Copyright 2023 William S. Barnett All rights reserved

The Great Tower: Wikipedia

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