Revelational Foundations Series Lesson
Genesis 9–11 –The Rise and Fall of the Second Civilization
13 March 2022
© 2022, Charles A. Clough
We have a thing in the bulletin that I’ll be referring to in a little bit. We wanted to deal since the theme this year is Jesus is Our Foundation, and I wanted to again make the point that He is the foundation not just of our private, spiritual life, but He is the foundation of all knowledge, all truth.
So, we have these verses in the Scripture that clearly show that the Lord Jesus Christ is … When we say He’s the foundation, we mean that He is the foundation of everything. Colossians 1:16– 20 is one of those passages in the New Testament that goes into the wide-ranging nature of the Lord Jesus Christ as God and man. Remember the Lord Jesus created the world. That’s what John says.
“In the beginning, was the Word of God and all things came through the Word of God.”
He was the One that assigned to humanity the task of subduing the Creation. He was the One there who cursed Satan and cursed the ground as a result of the Fall. And He was the One who outlined to Adam and Eve, and then to all of us because we all come from them, the hard work in history to execute dominion. We can’t fully finish that without Him coming. But in this passage, you’ll notice what it says.
“By Him, all things were created.”
That is a universal statement. So, we see Jesus, because He’s a person we can see, a human being, but He had a divine nature that flashed forth from time to time. So:
“By Him all things were created in heaven that are on earth, visible and invisible.”
That means the human race. That means nature. But it also means the sons of God, and the host of heaven that are invisible.
“… whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him.”
There’s a double emphasis here. It starts out:
“By Him all things were created,”
And this last thing says:
“All things were created through Him. He is before all things in Him all things consist.”
So not only did He create, but He’s constantly holding the universe together. We still to this day don’t know how gravity works. So, something’s holding things together.
“And He is the Head of the Body, the Church … the firstborn of the dead ...”
Here He’s the leader in the resurrection.
“That in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all fulness should dwell.”
We’ve gone through a little bit of church history. We covered how in the late 1700s and early 1800s, you have a widespread defection from the authority of Scripture. That led to 130 years of what I call the church to sing, “Backward Christian Soldiers”—compromising for the Scriptures always starting with science, always starting with literature, before we get into the Scriptures.
It wasn’t until after the modernist fundamentalist controversy in our country that finally we had a group of Christian scholars who are saying, “No, we are going to start with the authority of Scripture, and then we’re going to use that to envelop every other subject.”
The Scriptures are the library of 40 authors, and 66 different pieces of literature. That encompasses everything.
So today in our time, thankfully we have, a growing number of Christian scholars who have devoted their lives to doing this in various areas. We have a small group of biblically centered philosophers. We have a group of legal attorneys who are regularly—I think we have some 3,000 to 4,000 attorneys who are Christians who are busily involved in all kinds of cases. I think last year there were over 10,000 different legal cases where Christians are counter-suing the state for violations of the First Amendment.
It’s into colleges. Christian students are standing up to the campus—so you can’t teach religion. Well, wait a minute. You’re teaching religions. It is called humanism. It’s as much of a religious position as any Bible group. So, there’s a lot of that going on and we can be very thankful for them.
We introduced in previous sessions the growing number of creationist scientists. These are Christians, born-again Christians, who are starting with the Scriptures and evaluating science and mathematics from the standpoint of Scripture.
So that’s the kind of riches that exist in this great library we call the Bible. One of the things that I guess you can think about is if you go to Acts 17, which is a major confrontation between the Apostle Paul and the philosophers of his time. If you notice how he approaches those people, he goes in and he engages their assumptions point after point after point. In fact, that’s the one passage in the New Testament that makes very clear there are no such things as races. R-a-c-e is a singular noun, not a plural. He makes that very point to the Greeks who had the idea that there are two kinds of people. There are the Greeks and then there are the barbarians over here. Paul said, “No, they are all made in God’s image.”
So, we have kind of a storehouse. It’s sort of like a super supermarket. We don’t have to go to little grocery stores. Everything there is in the supermarket of ideas and that’s called the Scriptures.
When in previous sessions we dealt with the Creation and the Fall, these great events. We’re going to get into some more of those Sunday, But remember that we showed this chart or one like it. What this is an attempt on my part to do is to build each event on top of the previous event.
The reason I try to do that in a graphic way is because we have to think that God in His sequential historic revelation is not just chronological events, one after another; it’s pedagogically designed events. So, the first event gives truth that the next event depends on. So that’s why you have to read one event on the basis of what happened before that event. And then that previous event, we look at that in light of the event that was previous to that one.
So, the first event of course was Creation. I’ve got those arrows going out canceling contradictory ideas. If we really believe the Scriptures, then we have to say nature is not all there is. There is no such thing as justified unbelief. The creatures don’t determine reality. Deism can scientifically describe—no, it can’t! So, Eden is reversible by man and so forth.
That’s the Fall. So, the Fall comes after Creation and that sets up the whole framework in which we live. The frustrations: dying, mortality, suffering, the Fall subsequent to Creation. When Creation was finished, God said, “All things are very good.” So, if there’s mortality, there’s death, there are all kinds of destruction going on—that had to have come after Creation was finished. That event was a literal event, the Fall. If you were there with the video camera, you could have recorded it.
Then we get to the first civilization. We’ve already covered the first civilization. That was the one that began in Eden and that went on for thousands or so years until God finally judged it. And God finally had to judge it because there was some sort of stuff—the Bible doesn’t get into the details of this.
In fact, very little information is given about that first civilization, but there were demonic influences that were happening. There were strange things going on between the principalities and powers and the human race. It resulted in anarchy and the sad thing about that ending is that you have a literal civilization probably well over a million, 2 million people—only eight believers out of 1 to 2 million people. That is a sobering statistic. So that when God judged that civilization, when He had to erase it from the face of the Earth, there were only eight people that He rescued. It’s sobering, but that’s what happened.
Now in the insert in the bulletin, I’ve hastily gone through … I’m not going to go into all the details but just so you remember the implications—Genesis 1 set of implications, from Genesis 2 the set of implications. For example, in Genesis 1 we have the fact that only in the Bible do you have actually observed history back to the creation.
Everything else, whether in the scientific historical science areas … That’s conjecture because we have no measurements. Remember I had the kite string spread across here and out of all that time you have that much measurements. That’s not science. That’s conjectural science. It’s useful to think about things that way. But the point is that the Bible gives us that observed history.
Most importantly about Creation is something that sets up all thinking and that is there is a Creator/creature distinction. There are two kinds of existence, not one kind of existence. It’s not nature and all the rest of it. It’s nature, us. We are creatures and above that, we have the Creator who exists from eternity to eternity.
If we’re going to think clearly and carefully, we always have to think in terms of the Creator/creature distinction. Because Christianity relies upon thinking and reading the Scriptures.
Jeff Weinel, in his class the last few times in Genesis, one of the events Jeff was telling us about is he was instructing new personnel. He works for a major defense contractor. These were young people coming into the workforce. He was having a discussion with them and one of them or several of them I guess said, “Well I feel things ought to go this way here. I feel things ought to go this way.” Jeff’s counter to that is classic. “At this place, you are not paid to feel. Here we are paid to think.” That’s interesting because that’s what’s required if we’re going to be people of faith that know what we’re believing.
In Genesis 2, we have the first geography, strange geography. The Earth configuration that was true of the first civilization but was subsequently destroyed. So all we have are some pieces inside of Genesis 2. But what is all so powerful about Genesis 2 is that God creates a Garden, a local garden. It’s not over all the Earth. It’s just in one place. Then He creates Adam and He puts Adam into that Garden. Well, that’s an illustration. It’s part of a literary structure. You have Genesis 1 up to the first part of Genesis 2 describing all the seven days.
Then in Genesis 2, you go back to the sixth day for an expansion. We’ll see that happening again in another passage of Scripture today where you have a pericope, they call it, which is a section of added revelation. So, God wants to get us the big picture. Then there are so much important things in that sixth day that God says, “I’m going to expand that.” So, He creates this chapter 2.
Genesis 2 is an expansion of that sixth day. In that expansion since God said in Genesis 1 to Adam and Eve, “I want you to have dominion over My Earth. That’s your assignment. That’s the meaning of your life. That’s your purpose in living.” But then what does that mean to subdue nature? It doesn’t mean to destroy it. It means to bring it into productivity.
What would be a great illustration of dominion? Well, God did it. He created a Garden. So, what’s the difference between a garden, a local garden, and a wilderness, a pristine wilderness? Well, the local garden has to be cared for. A lot of work goes into that. What is the result? Fruit, food. You bring the potential in nature to something that’s useful, something that builds civilization. So, the garden there is a powerful illustration between the garden in the wilderness and how to manage in what we call now ecology and environmentalism.
Then we have the creation of the woman. That was all done in the sixth day, but in Genesis 2 God wants a reason why there are only two sexes, not 32. That is because He wants to create marriage and family.
Now we have an argument going on about homosexuality and other things and going on for years and decades. They always want to go in, “Well, it’s not really condemned in the Bible. It’s not really said to be wrong.” Look, the definition of bisexuality is given in Genesis 2 and Genesis 2 sets the tone for everything else that follows. It’s not saying that people are worse that believe that way than people who don’t. It’s just saying that there’s a structure built into humanity and every time you violate that structure you cause problems. You cause consequences. Negative things happen.
It gets back to the same thing. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have bad consequences. So, we have today the problem of family. We have a problem of mothers and dads and have children in school, but the school is saying, “We want to do this to your kid. And by the way, don’t tell the parent.” That’s a total violation of the family.
So again, in our day, we have this problem of violating basic structures. It’s like if we had a destructive person to out our lungs or do something else. That’s a bad consequence.
Then in Genesis 3, the next chapter, we have the introduction of evil. The evil apparently started in the spiritual unseen realm, but it propagated down into the Garden. And immediately God says to Adam, “I want you to keep the Garden.” The Hebrew there means more than just keep. It’s more guard it, protect it.
In other words, there’s competition built into creation over the issue of who dominates the Earth. So, Satan tempted Adam and Eve and we have the Fall. In that situation we have the start of a cosmic battle, that can be observed throughout all history. We’ll see a little bit more of that today. So, we have this thing going on with the cosmic battle between unseen principalities and powers. The New Testament is full of this.
Our struggle is not against flesh. It’s against principalities and powers.
What is it talking about? It’s talking about evil powers that can intrude, affect how we think, twist and distort, give delusions to people. All the history courses that we get in school—don’t because they don’t go to the Scriptures–they try to think of history in terms of economic forces, geography, this leadership, lack of leadership—all that analytical structure in history to understand what history is doing.
The problem with that is it’s a castrated version of history. It doesn’t produce real fruit or real meaning or real understanding. You don’t get the analysis of history until you take into account the interference of principalities and powers.
Secular historians don’t do that. And so, our view of history is shaped, if we believe the Bible, is shaped by the fact that the Bible is warning us, there’s an unseen dimension to all what’s going on here and you better listen to Me, He says, if you want to understand that.
Then in Genesis 4–8, we have a quick summary of that first civilization. A cosmic war continues. We have the fact that in that and also in Genesis 3, the one good piece of news is what is called the protoevangelium, the first gospel. It’s given to Eve. Eve is going to be the mother of all living. In fact, that’s why she’s named Eve. The Hebrew word for woman is ishah. Ishah becomes Eve. She becomes Eve because Adam now trusts the Lord. He is saved now, and his wife is saved.
What God says—there is going to be a cosmic struggle for history. But I’ll tell you something, dominion will come from man. It won’t come from the principalities and powers. It will be fulfilled. Problem is, Adam and Eve in their lineage, the human lineage, isn’t sufficient to finish off history. What is going to happen, God says, is Eve’s Seed will defeat Satan. That’s the promise.
It’s carried on in Jewish tradition. In the Jewish family, the Orthodox Jewish family, when they have Passover, no man can eat until the woman of the house lights the candle. She is the one who brings light into the world.
So, we have a powerful illustration of the role of the woman. In fact, in Proverbs 8 the woman is considered to be wisdom, lady wisdom. It doesn’t say man wisdom. It says lady wisdom. That’s the idea of the influence that women have starting with the crib.
So, the whole point there of Genesis 4 to 8 is that the human race has a union in Adam. Theologians have a term for this. It’s called the federal headship of Adam. That’s a complicated term, but it’s trying to come to grips with an idea. The idea is that we are all genetically derived from Adam and when Adam fell, it was as though we are all in him in some way. We’re considered part of Adam when he fell. That’s why we receive imputation.
There are three kinds of imputations in the Scriptures. What is imputation? It’s an accounting term for having something credited to your account. So, Adam’s sin is credited to our account. People say, “Ooo. That’s unfair. That’s unfair. If I was there, I wouldn’t have done it.” No, we probably would’ve done it. But the point is that Adam falls and because we are part and parcel of him, his sin is imputed to us.
But that’s good news, because God has given structure to the human race He did not give to the principalities and powers. You’ll never read about angels being saved. You can read about the unseen principalities and powers falling, such as Satan did. They fall, but once they fall, they can’t be saved. There is no redemption for angels.
This is probably the one reason why the angels who have fallen hate people. They hate us because they are jealous. They are jealous of the fact that they made a choice and there is no consequence for grace for them. “But these people down here. Look at that. God is going to redeem those people.”
There is a structural difference. So yes, we are credited with Adam’s sin. That’s the first imputation, but there are two other imputations.
Another imputation is that when Jesus Christ goes to the Cross, our sins can be imputed to Him. They are credited when we trust in Him. So, when we trust in Christ, our sins are put on that Cross.
The third imputation is that His righteousness, His perfect righteousness, is imputed to us. We call that justification. That’s the legal translation. It doesn’t mean we are sinless day by day. But what it says is that legally on our account before God, Jesus Christ’s righteousness has been credited to us.
So, there are three imputations: the imputation of sin to us from Adam, the imputation of our sin to Christ as the Savior, and the imputation of His righteousness to us. All of that because of this federal headship thing.
What we want to do today is we want to go on now to another thing, and that’s the next great event. The next great event is after the Flood. After the destruction of that first civilization, we have a second civilization. But what we have to understand is that something was changed at the Fall and the contamination of that first civilization.
That is that we now have this situation. One of our men, Gary, years ago, he was in Honduras I think. He showed this diagram to the young little children.
They were poor children and they had hardships. Gary said, “I looked out as I showed this diagram and I watched the face of one of these little girls. It was like she smiled because she saw the point.” The point is that you have a good-evil mix.
Now up here is another example. With any problem you’ve got to think in terms of what is the whole Bible saying about this problem. I don’t go outside of the Bible. I go inside the Bible to get insights to understand. Here at the top what do we have? We go to the Bible and what do we find in the Bible? There is the Creator and there is a creature. Oh, okay. That’s Genesis 1, Creator and creature.
Now how does the Creator/creature distinction help me think through the problem of evil and suffering? Well, here’s how. The Creator is good from eternity to eternity. He has never been anything but good. When He created us between the time of Creation and the time of the Fall—we don’t know how long that is but it’s between Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 3. The creation was very good. When God finished this work, He called that work very good.
So that proves that nature and creation (physical creation) are not inherently evil. It’s not inherently corrupt. It’s not inherently suffering. Something happened that transformed that creation and that was the Fall.
The Fall goes on until the end of time. I summarize with different kinds of judgment here. But to make it simple, I’ve summarized it as judgment. At judgment, what does God do? People react to this. They get all bent out of shape when we talk about Hell and Heaven or the Lake of Fire and the New Heavens and New Earth.
But look! Look why that’s good news. Because that means that good and evil are eternally quarantined from each other. There will never be another Fall. That allows God to create the New Heavens and New Earth where there’s prosperity. There’s no suffering. There’s no death. He says, “I wipe away all the tears from their face.” You can’t have that if you don’t have the separation of good and evil. If you don’t like Heaven and Hell and talking about those two things, I challenge you to find other solutions to evil. You got another one? This is the good news.
Now looking down at outside of the Bible, remember we look inside of the Bible to look and see what the Bible says about certain things, and then we look outside of the Bible. I was an unbeliever until I went to college.
Down below I’ve used the yin-yang symbol. See that round circle with the black and the white? That’s a symbol that is used particularly in Asia. What that symbol says is good and evil coexist.
In the pagan mentality, there’s no creation. So, that means that good and evil have always existed. Corollary, good and evil will continue to exist. In other words, good and evil is a normal part of everyday existence.
That’s what you get to if you eliminate Genesis 1, 2, and 3. But on the Christian view, we view the present situation with good and evil together as abnormal.
So, when we face death, when we face sickness, when we face adversity, remember—this is an abnormal existence. This is not the existence that we were created to live in. So, there is good news here. We have a solution to evil. The world doesn’t. This is a profound solution, and it gives hope.
So, that’s why we want to look now at the second civilization. Is it going to be good and evil? Yes, because dominion hasn’t finished. But after the Flood God restarts things.
We come over here to the next slide, Genesis 8. Now we have Scripture where God is saying, “I’m going to start a new relationship.” There are two things that we want to glean from this event.
The first thing we want to glean is that man and nature have a new relationship. It’s important when we think in terms of environmentalism and other things. There is a relationship between people and the environment. It means that we take care of the environment because who owns the environment? God does. It’s His environment.
We take care of it, but we don’t worship it. And we don’t leave it pristine in the sense of we have to ban people from certain areas. We can’t let them walk around. Why can’t we walk around? God said to have dominion. We don’t have time to get into this, but I’m just pointing out to you that here are verses now in Scripture that have profound implications on how to think about the environment.
So, let’s look at the text.
“I will never again …”
He says—this is God speaking now.
“I will never again curse the ground.”
Remember at the Fall God cursed two things. He cursed Satan and He cursed the ground. What happened to the ground when He cursed it? It resists us. He says it will bring forth thorns and thistles. Your daily labor, and it was phrased in terms of a rural agricultural context. Your daily labor trying to get this ground to produce—it’s going to fight you.
Of course, everybody knows that. Anybody who’s had a garden knows what it takes to keep that garden going. It spontaneously degenerates. Right, if you leave it alone?
“I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination …”
Look at the quality of what God is saying here.
“I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
How’s that for an evaluation of the human race? He’s saying, “I am dealing with the fallen creatures here. But in spite of that, I am not going to curse the ground for man’s sake again, nor will I again destroy every living creature as I have done.” Remember, right after the Fall, those things are on the mind of Noah and his family.
“So, God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them …”
Now there’s one thing to notice here. One thing is in it; one thing isn’t in it. He says:
“ ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’ ”
But lacking here is that word “dominion” that we saw in Genesis 1. It doesn’t mean that dominion is completely dead, but it does mean that we are not going to be able to finish the job in history without the Lord Jesus Christ coming in to finish the dominion.
He can rightfully claim that “I fulfill the dominion mandate for the entire human race.” Why is that? Because He is a man. That’s why Jesus went around inevitably in His title, “I am not only the Son of God, I am the Son of man.” He identified with human beings. Jesus is going to fulfill that dominion mandate. So, I think this is one reason why you don’t see it in this particular verse.
One other thing that we can’t avoid when we talk about being fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth, and that is throughout the last three or four centuries we’ve had books written, campaigns from time to time—fear of overpopulation. This was largely done by Thomas Malthus who lived between 1766 and 1834. He was the guy that argued this way. He said that human population grows geometrically, but food is available only arithmetically. So, he said, “It’s inherent that we’re going to be overpopulated.”
In the 20th century, Paul Ehrlich wrote the famous book in 1968, The Population Bomb. We still from time to time have this.
But, wait a minute. What does the command say? Is it talking about overpopulation? Apparently not. So, let’s think about the problem, the real problem. Is there overpopulation in areas? Yes, there is. Overpopulation: let’s take a segment of Earth. This area of the Earth is overpopulated if there’s not sufficient economic production inside that area. In other words, proper dominion.
You can have overpopulation, as you did for example in Texas for a while, with the Indian tribes. In order to kill buffalo, they ran them off the canyon in North Texas and killed the flock. Now you have starvation because no animals are around. Were they overpopulated with respect to meat sources? Yes, they were. Why was that? Because they foolishly didn’t manage properly.
So, overpopulation has to be thought about in terms of economic and agricultural productivity in the same area that we talk about overpopulation.
Of course, the Bible will argue that people, “Well, a million years from now the Earth will be overpopulated.” You’ll have to trust the Lord to end history before that occurs, and we think it will. It hasn’t been around for millions of years and is not going to continue for millions of years.
So, let’s look further at the section of Genesis. (I’ve skipped a section. I’ll come back to the section in a few minutes.) But Genesis 9 down in verses 11 to 16, God introduces for the first time in the history of revelation, He says this: “I establish My covenant with you.”
Now the word covenant has been used for centuries and we’ve kind of put a religious meaning on it. If you look though at the original wording in the Hebrew, the word for covenant is the word for a business contract. Abraham makes it a contact. Abraham had a bunch of sheep and he needed water for his flock. He made a deal with the owner of the water supply and that was called a covenant, a berith. But it wasn’t a religious thing. It was an economic thing where two businesspeople got together and they made a contract.
Well, let’s think about business contracts for a minute. How do you interpret contracts, allegorically or literally? Wouldn’t you love it if the bank allowed you to incorporate your mortgage agreement with the bank allegorically? But they don’t. They hold you to the text of that contract.
Now what’s stunning about this is that no other religion in history ever commits God to a written contract. Think about that. That becomes an article of faith. We have the right to invoke the contract of God, the promises of God, when we pray.
“God, You put this down here in this contract. Please fulfill this contract.” So, it’s a powerful thing about hermeneutics—how we interpret texts in the Bible.
“I establish My contract with you. Never again …”
Here’s the fine print in the contract and there is no super-fine print. You know you look at something from the bank or some other agreement done in a 10 or 12 point font, and then you get down and find a 1-point font. You have to have a magnifying glass to read it all because an attorney’s figured out how to put all his qualifications in. There is no 1-point font here.
“I establish My covenant with you. Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood.”
Specific geophysical promise.
“Never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And then He signs the contract.
“This is the sign of the contract which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you.”
You notice there are two parties to the contract inside creation—mankind and every living thing (animal life).
“This is the sign with you ... I set My rainbow in the cloud. … It shall be when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud and I will remember My contract which is between Me and you and every living creature.”
If you look up the word “bow”—interestingly in Ezekiel, do you know what that refers to? When Ezekiel is given a vision of God’s throne, he sees the bow around that throne. And so that bow is a literal glory of God, and He makes the raindrops—how they spectrally diffuse light—He makes the little, tiny raindrops write His signature in the sky. It’s an amazing kind of thing.
To see a rainbow, you always have to have the sun at your back. You have to look at wherever the precipitation is coming from the clouds. You have to have light going to it. Do we see rainbows in Africa? Yes. Do we see rainbows in Siberia? Yes, everywhere on Earth God has His sign.
I had to laugh when some LGBTQ people were fussing about the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Ken Ham because they had the big ark there, a full-size ark. He decided he wanted to light it up so he put rainbow colors on the ark. These guys drive by and said, “Oh, look! He took our colors.” No, these are the original colors.
So, we have man and every animal kind formally locked into a contract.
Now I’m going to go back before verse 11 and show the text there because it’s an important thing there. There’s a strange thing that develops here. We don’t see this in Genesis 1. For the first time, we see it in Genesis 9.
“The fear … and dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, … and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you … as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed.”
The first part of this thing is obviously the relationships between the human race and animal life have changed. We don’t know why this happened other than the speculation that in the first civilization as the demonic powers affected the human race, they apparently affected animals, because animals were not killing after creation. In the Millennial Kingdom they’re not going to kill either. So, we have this zoological reversal at two points.
But something happened so that now the diet of men, the diet of the human race, includes meat. It did not occur before, with all due respects to PETA. But the idea here is that yes, animals are food, but notice here.
Notice there is concern for the animals. There’s something about killing an animal that is in the text here. It says you can kill the animal, but you do not eat the flesh with its blood. This is why kosher butcheries—the animals are bled to death, which is actually a humane way of killing them because they go to sleep anesthetically.
So, the point is that the blood has a sacredness to it. It’s a vehicle of life. By taking an animal that’s been killed and getting rid of the blood, what you’re really saying by that act is, “I respect that this animal has died for me.”
I really became conscious of this when I was at a conference one time with a converted Muslim terrorist. He had a reputation for killing people and he had become a Christian and doesn’t do that anymore. But he was saying after he became a Christian, I had trouble trying to understand how Jesus’ death on the Cross was really effective—why it was so necessary. I believe that it happened, but I couldn’t figure out why. Why did it? What was the reasoning behind it—until I ate one lunch at McDonald’s.
“What theological insights did you get from eating at McDonald’s?”
He said, “I was just eating the hamburger and then I realized an animal had died so that I could live.”
Instantly, he realized that’s substitutionary atonement. So, the act of eating meat, and we take it for granted, but it’s a simple picture of sacrifice, an animal died that we may eat, and we may live.
But then in the same passage, there is a more sobering answer. And it’s this sobering instance that creates the fifth divine institution. We’ve gone through the fourth divine institution. We’ve gone through three divine institutions: individual responsibility before God; number two, marriage; number three, family. Now those are the only social structures that were revealed in the first civilization. Now we’re going to have another one. Here at the end, it says:
“I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood will be shed.”
This is the start of civil government. Civil government was started not to bring in the Millennial Kingdom. Civil government was started in order to restrain evil and in particular, restrain murder. It’s ironic that today with all the rules and regulations, we have a big debate about capital punishment. Capital punishment was the biblical source of civil power and civil government.
The civil government lesson out of this is very conservative, very limited in the Bible. It’s a lethal power. It carries the sword. That’s a symbol of civil government throughout the Bible from one end to the next. Every time the sword is mentioned, that’s civil government.
So why is the symbol of civil government the sword? Because it has lethal power to deal with murder. Here’s how He looks at it. We know this from various passages of Scripture. He says, “When I looked down and I see murder that blood cries to Me from your street.”
Now think of what’s going on in some of our inner cities. Do you suppose God is hearing blood cry from the streets? This irritates God. This is angry. Why is He particularly angry about killing people? Now we kill animals, but we’re careful to respect the fact that we’re taking life. But there’s no punishment for that.
But now there is punishment. God says in the last part, look at the last sentence.
“Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood will be (or must be) shed, for in the image of God He made man.”
That means we are not some evolved chimpanzee. We are made in God’s image, chimpanzees are not. My dog and my cat are not made in God’s image. But the point is that man is made.
That introduces civil government. So, several things to remember about this. The most crucial thing to remember in our day, in our situation, civil government was never intended to redeem the human race. Civil government was intended to preserve society so that redemption can occur through God’s actions. But the government was never intended to bring in utopias. We’ll see how that comes out.
So, we now want to go to the next great event in the Scriptures, and that is the fall of the second civilization. Sadly, the first civilization ended in Genesis 3, as far as spiritual conditions. Now we have the start of the new civilization, and we don’t get two chapters before we have another fall and that is the Tower of Babel.
Let’s go into some background of the Tower of Babel. I’m going to turn here to Genesis 11 and I want to make a comment here as we do that. Remember I said, Genesis 1, six days. God wanted to zero in on that sixth day, so He made a pericope of Genesis 2. That’s an expansion to explain a detail that occurred on the sixth day.
Now God does the same thing here. In Genesis 10 we have the most elegant historical document. It’s absolutely unique to the Bible. It’s called the Table of Nations. No other historical record unifies the human race back to the three sons of Noah. The human race with all the nations, with all the different physical characteristics of humanity, roots out of the Noahic family.
Research by creation scientists has recently shown that there’s a segment of DNA in every woman’s maternal DNA that when traced over the whole world’s population, every area, it turns out that the DNA converges to three women. Of course. Duh, three women. Who were the three women? Yes. Noah’s daughters-in-law, the three women on the ark. Now of course, it just happened to be that the modern research found that. But the point is, again, if you look, we’ll see things like this.
So here we now have a pericope. Genesis 11 for the first few verses, not the whole chapter, is a pericope that expands on why in Genesis 10 the nations dispersed. What led to the origin of nations? Well, Genesis 11 comes back and explains it. This is the story. The whole earth had one language and speech. It was probably a small population at this time, but they all had one level of speech.
Christian linguists have believed that the one language was somehow a proto-Semitic language. So anyway, the whole earth was one language and speech. They said one to another, “Come.” Now here’s a quote. We want to watch the significance of this. Notice, the motives involved.
“Come,” he said, “let us make bricks.”
Why do you want to make bricks? Because you’re building something.
“Let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens, let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
What had God just told them? Go, fill the Earth. Remember? We were worried about overpopulation. So that was the command. So duh. What’s the first thing that humanity does? We’re going to make a city. We feel insecure. We could argue on their behalf, it was scary. You had residual earthquakes, probably from the Earth settling down after the Flood. You had an unprecedented climate change with the Ice Age and so on.
So, what should have happened, in a lesson to us personally, if God told him to do something, am I going to trust Him to empower me to do it, to help me? Or, am I going to be fearful? And say, “I don’t really trust You. I know You told me that, but I don’t really trust You. So now I’m going to have my solution.” We’ll see what “my solution” does.
Josephus was a Jewish historian and he gives wonderful tallies of the Jewish traditions that some never got into the Bible, but they were true for the first centuries. This is what Josephus says. He ties it to Nimrod. Nimrod is a character in Genesis 10, the first king.
“Nimrod persuaded them …”
Look at the insights here.
“Nimrod persuaded them to attribute their prosperity not to God but to their own valor, and little by little …”
Look at this insight. This is modern.
“… little by little transformed the state of affairs into a tyranny, holding …”
And look at the dynamic.
“… holding that the only way to detach men from the fear of God was by making them continuously dependent upon his power.”
Right there you have one of the spiritual deceptions going on in civil government. Civil government can become tyrannical because it makes all of us controlled. It violates freedom.
“… continuously dependent upon his power.”
He explicitly …
“He threatened to have his revenge on God if he wished to inundate the earth again, for he would build a tower higher than the water that could reach and avenge the destruction of their forefathers.”
I will save you from God’s judgment.
What about the ziggurat, the tower that he built in the city? Well, thankfully we have archaeological evidence of that. My friend Dr. [Randall] Price down at Liberty [University], biblical archaeologist, has written this,
“The Ziggurat …”
Remember, the Egyptians had pyramids and the early pyramids had steps. Why have they got steps going up to the top of the pyramid? Well, here’s why. In Babylon they had towers, but the tower had a stairway going up. What was the stairway doing? Here’s what he said.
“[Ziggurats] consist of states of towers stacked upon one another and decreasing in size as it progressed upward (similar to the early form of the step pyramid) … The ziggurat was dedicated to the city’s patron deity … topped by the figure of a god or goddess ... The temple of the ziggurat had both a cultic function and a cosmic function ‘linking heaven and earth’.”
See, mediatorship. What’s Christ? Isn’t He the Mediator? See what’s happening here? We have an architectural display of a fake mediator.
“The text also associates the sanctuary and its ziggurat with a cosmic mountain, which is typically identified in this mythology with a divine abode. That stairway … supported by the structure of the ziggurat was the access point for the gods to travel between heaven and earth.”
More from Price.
“The biblical text states that the purpose of the [Babel] structure was to prevent people from being scattered abroad (in contrast to the original divine mandate) ... In other words, this verse describes an urbanization project to keep the population together around a single administrative complex with the temple at its center. … This urbanization process contributed to the deification of human rulers who maintain control over the temple-state … but the purpose of the city and its cultic center that defied humans and degraded the nature of God. Once this concept took hold, mankind would alter its entire relationship with the Creator, a thought reflected in the words of Genesis.”
So, what was God’s judgment? That’s the motive. That’s the spiritual insight into this tendency. So now we have God’s judgment.
“Let Us go down.”
This is sarcastic in the text. In other words, “They built a tower up into heaven! I have to come down to see it.” So, this is a little sarcasm embedded in the text here.
“ ‘Come, let Us go down and confuse their language …’ ”
The [Hebrew] word confuse is balal.
“ ‘... that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So, the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore, its name is called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”
Now the creationist scientists—this is a speculation—but what went on here and I’ll just quickly summarize his work. He’s arguing that it’s been identified in neurological research that if you have high amounts of the low frequency of electromagnetic radiation, it changes speech. You lose the ability to hook words to sounds. So, you get blah, blah, blah. Babble. His argument is apparently this was one mechanism God could have used to create literally a babble.
Because whatever it was, it ended construction. Remember, they had one speech. So, the problem of getting the speeches established could have happened as the tribes (different people) spread across the Earth. They had to, now.
Well, when they spread, all the comforts of an urban civilization were gone. So that’s how really the human race had to restart at a primitive survival into getting something that was working. The long and the short of this whole thing is, God wants nationalism, not internationalism. God’s plan is to separate the human race.
Why is He doing that? Doesn’t it create war? Yes, it does. But what it saves the human race from is when you have apostasy take over a group of people, you’ve got other people over here that are free. We see it every day now. Today, do you want to be in Ukraine? Do you want to be in the United States? Be thankful there’s separation.
So, the dispersion happened and now finally as we kind of wind up the idea here, Babel has reoccurred for 4,000 years. Let me trace it. Early right near where the original site was, we have the rise of the Babylonian kingdom. The Babylonian kingdom is expounded in Daniel.
Remember some of the characteristics of the Babylonian political philosophy. What did King Nebuchadnezzar do right in Daniel 1 to the youth (the royal youth) that he had kidnapped, Daniel and his friends? What did he do with them? Didn’t he have a reeducation? Why do you suppose he put them in a reeducation camp? Because he wanted their minds in allegiance to the state. They could have their little Jewishness off at the supper table, but as far as society and the public square, you don’t bring your Jewishness out. You just stay back with what I told you to believe. “Our educational system, I have created,” Nebuchadnezzar says. “And you will conform to it.”
And when one of those three boys—remember after Daniel gave the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, what did he do? He walked out in the next chapter and built a 90-foot statue to himself and had all people worship the statue. Those three boys didn’t. Nebuchadnezzar in that text becomes furious. You can just hear him say, “I paid for your education. I told you that your loyalty is to be to the state, not to your little Jewish God.”
And their reply. “I’m sorry, but we will not compromise. You can throw us in the furnace and our God is able to deliver us. But if He doesn’t, we’ll still defy you.” The text in Daniel 3. So, there’s a model for resisting the state.
We have the subsequent Alexander the Great. He wasn’t content with just Greece. He wanted to control the world. And there’s a code word. And catch this one. There’s an expression in the Bible called “king of kings”. Do you know where that first occurs? Nebuchadnezzar.
Now let’s think about king of kings. If you’re a king of kings, doesn’t that imply that you’re global? You have a global perspective? “I am not content with just being a king. I want to be king over the kings.” That’s an implicit claim for internationalism and globalism. So that starts it.
We have the Roman Empire do the same thing. The Roman Catholic Empire of Europe and modern Marx and Lenin—they wanted to deal with the economic results of the Industrial Revolution. So, their solution was to propose a global revolution of the proletariat against the capitalist. Well, they pulled it off in Russia in 1917. Problem—it didn’t spread. It just stayed in Russia.
So, then you have the cultural Marxist. Hitler took advantage of Germany’s post-World War I economic trouble to promote his messianic Third Reich. Why did he have The Third Reich? The third kingdom? You see, people like Lenin, Marx, and Hitler have a messianic affliction. It’s not just that they want civil power. It’s that they want to use civil power to bring in their idea of utopia. It’s a misuse of civil power.
So, we have remnants of the memory of Babel built into the architecture of the EU. This is a painting in 1563 of the Tower of Babel.
That painting was used to build this building. This is the Parliament of the European Union. Isn’t it striking that the architect deliberately designed the building to mimic the Tower of Babel? Of course, this building is close to another one, which is the translation center for all the European languages. But it’s the fact that we can’t make this disappear. This idea is rooted into civilization itself that somehow, it’s abnormal. Remember abnormal existence.
“We’ve got to do something about it. We will be the mediators. We will solve the dominion mandate. We will end suffering in the world. Just trust us to do it.” That’s a messianic vision.
Here we talked about the martyrs of Daniel, the three boys when they were threatened. Here’s a story from Sabina Wurmbrand. Wurmbrand was a martyr in Rhodesia. He was a member of the Christian church. He [Richard] and his wife [Sabina] stood almost alone against the power of the communist government. Here is Sabina’s incident in her life—part of the movie. She’s sick. She’s gotten very sick in prison. She thinks she’s going to die. So, one morning she says:
“A few days later I became deathly sick. Since I was near death, I was thrown into a police van and taken to another prison which they called the hospital where many women were very, very sick. The cemetery was just outside. Usually in four days the women would be buried in that cemetery. One evening the prison director and 10 officers entered our cell and delivered a speech.”
Now listen to the speech. These are modern-day communists.
They said, “Now you see, we communists have prevailed. We, the communists, have all the power. We have doctors. We have a hospital. We have medicine. We are stronger than your God, and we don’t need Him.”
Now that’s an overt declaration of tyrannical unbelief.
“Not one of the dying women had the strength or courage to answer. Seconds of silence passed. And then the Great Heavenly Helper gave me strength and the right words. ‘Mr. Officer,’ I said, ‘as long as sickness and death are on earth, and you see how near death we all are here, we absolutely need God. We need Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only giver of life.’ The officer flew into a rage and we no longer knew what to say. He left with his officers and slammed the door.”
So, this is a spiritual fight. It’s not just political. This is a spiritual fight.
I want to conclude by referring to the latest issue of Imprimis. If you don’t get that it’s a free publication from Hillsdale College. They have outstanding scholars that from time to time will come speak. Thankfully they have a meeting house in Washington, DC. Very quietly, Hillsdale College is sending their professors down to Washington, DC to train staff (congressional staff) in American history.
But here’s what Dr. Rectenwald says in the December  issue of Imprimis. He’s commenting on the Great Reset. This is the contemporary buzzword now among corporations.
“The Great Reset is real. … It is the latest in a series of Great Resets—including the Long Depression of the 1870s and the Great Depression of the 1930s when paradigm-shifting systemic innovations occurred. … In addition to being promoted as a response to COVID, the Great Reset is promoted as a response to climate change. … I have called it ‘corporate socialism’. … To comply with it …”
Watch this sentence.
“… To comply with it, governments, banks, and asset managers use the Environmental, Social, and Governance Index to squeeze non-woke corporations and businesses out of the market. Because the goals of the Great Reset depend …”
I don’t know how informed he is biblically, but he’s hit on something. Remember we kept saying divine institutions—individual responsibility, marriage, family, and civil government—these are structures that God has built into our nature. You can’t violate the structures without consequences. But he comes close to what I just said.
“… because the goals of the Great Reset depend on the obliteration not only of free markets, but of individual liberty and free will, it is, perhaps ironically, unsustainable. Like earlier attempts at totalitarianism, the Great Reset is doomed to ultimate failure.”
If you think about what the Nazis did, you think about what the Communists have done; they always fail.
“That doesn’t mean, however, that it won’t, again like those earlier attempts, leave a lot of destruction in its wake—which is all the more reason to oppose it now and with all our might.”
Now he doesn’t get into that, but our response is that quietly but firmly we will defend in the public square the validity of all the divine institutions and we will draw attention to the fact that you guys have failed every time in history. You’re not going to bring in the utopia. Our Lord Jesus Christ alone will do that. Thank you.
Now lessons from Babel. Concluding lessons here. One—it is not just a human thought. Babel is an inspiration that has spiritual dimensions to it, deep spiritual dimensions. It is an attempt by Satan to get man, to get us, to try to fulfill that dominion mandate. We all know there is something wrong with the world.
There is a cry in our hearts for a solution. So, what Satan does, he takes that drive. He knows, “You can do it. Eat of the tree and you will become like God. You can solve the problem. You can bring in the utopia.”
The second lesson, in order to do that we have to transform civil power from its preservative modest design into a mediatorial redemptive function. So, we’re not content with letting government just do the basics. We want the force of the sword to compel “Operation Mediatorial Kingdom.”
Third. To do that—going back to Babel, remember two dimensions in Babel, the civil authorities that built the city, and the ziggurat, the state religion. It was a state religion. And so, the implicit state religion is what defines social justice. It means that implicit in our society, there is first, a violation of the first commandment.
People have said, “We can’t have Christianity in the public square.” Yeah, but you got another religion, don’t you? It’s humanism. Every area humanism has been, but people don’t see it as a religion. But it’s there.
And finally, another lesson from Babel. It always ends in failure. Failure to restrain lawlessness at all levels. Why? Why does it always fail? It fails because they’re not dealing with depravity. The problem isn’t social institutions. It’s depravity.
Look at some of the cities where there’s crime all over the place. It’s a collapse of marriage. It’s a collapse of family. It’s a collapse of individual responsibility. How many billion dollars have we poured down the bucket to solve that problem, and have we? No. It’s a failure. It’s a failure to provide efficient management in government by unaccountable bureaucracies.
The Bible says in 1 Samuel 8, God warned Israel, “If you want a monarchy, let Me warn you. You’re going to have an unaccountable bureaucracy.” The pronouns in that passage are powerful. “He will take your land for his work. He will take your sons for his work.” Pronouns shift, ownership, control.
Finally, it’s a failure to provide education that fits the world as God designed it. That’s what Rectenwald just said in his article in Imprimis.
So, to end, remember this. There’s no redemption in an evil world apart from the intervention of Jesus in two ways. Intervening each one of us personally who trust in Him. Several chaplains of Oliver Cromwell said, “A good society only comes about with good people.” The idea is good people we would say are “gospely transformed” people.
So, we have this. We have our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Creator and Sustainer and the One who brings in the utopia. We pray for individuals who we know are unbelievers. They’re wasting their life trying to deny their sense of deity with fig leaves and what are they facing in eternity? The Lake of Fire.
So, we pity those who may be yelling at us, may be persecuting us, may be calling us all kinds of names on the media. But, what did they do to Jesus? Didn’t they persecute Jesus? They crucified Jesus ultimately. So, let’s not when we hear the words “Take up your cross and follow Me …” That’s quite literal. That’s saying your life is not secure if you’re going to be a fully functional Christian. In many societies, we have our brothers and sisters dying that way.
I want to conclude as I did several Sundays before by going to a simple promise we all know. It gets back to the basic structures of history and our nature.
“Be clothed with humility …”
He’s quoting Proverbs here.
“Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, and He gives grace to the humble.”
Remember the incident with Sabina dying? Turned out the Lord saved her life there in that incident. But what did she say? Remember the 10 braggart soldiers come in and say, “We are in control. We have no need for your God.” And her response in an evil universe, “You do because you can’t do anything about the evil universe.”
“Therefore, humble yourselves …”
“Therefore” is a logical implication in light of the fact that our relationship with God has to be one of humility and submission to Him.
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.”
Notice, that’s omnipotence. God is not weak. Humble yourselves knowing that His arm, His powerful arm is above you.
“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.”
It might not be immediate. There may be a delay and that’s the struggle for faith to endure during that delay. But in due time He will by
“casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you.”
“Father, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You that You have not left us without conversing with us. You have not left us without doing something for us, which is sending Your Son as God-man to the Cross, where alone in all the areas of history we don’t see love and justice perfectly matched as we do in the Cross.
“Thank You, Lord, for delivering us, of giving us that wonderful news of the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can trust in Him with a simple act of faith, trust in Him because through believing in Him we can gain eternal life. In His name, Amen.”