A Review of the Power of God and the Ancient Kingdom of Babylon
The Samaritan Research Group
For the doubting Thomases, the Biblical story of King Nebuchadnezzar and the ancient Kingdom of Babylon and its Hanging Gardens which met the raft of God might be a recommended read. According to www.ancienthistory.about.com, King Nebuchadnezzar was the son of Nabopolassar, the Chaldean restorer of Babylonian independence and the most important king of the Second Babylonian or Neo-Babylonian Empire. But the attempt by the likes of him to build a magnificent tower that would have reached the dwelling place of the Most High that continues to plunge mankind and his environment into adventurism and mystery, worth investigating. Yes, crystalinks.com points out that their purpose was to provide a common religious rallying point, lest they scattered. However, Genesis 9:1 states that their actions were seen as an open defiance of God’s Words. We may have our differences about God- therefore; permit justiceghana.com to employ historical facts about Nebuchadnezzar to fill up some of these Biblical mysteries.
Long before the birth of King Nebuchadnezzar of Persia and the evolutionary science, were those who doubted the divine works of God. The argument had been that whereas scientific creationism attempts to provide scientific support for the creation narrative in Genesis and disprove generally, accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology and biological evolution thinks otherwise. For example, the ruling in McLean v. Arkansas (1982) found that creationism fails to meet the essential characteristics of science and that its chief intent is to advance a particular religious view. Accordingly, the teaching of creation science in public schools in the United States of America effectively, ended in 1987 following the US Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard. Here, the court affirmed that a statute requiring the teaching of creation science alongside evolution when evolution is taught in Louisiana public schools was unconstitutional because its sole true purpose was to advance a particular religious belief. Our question then is whether the Garden of Eden ever existed.
Adam and The Garden of Eden
According to Genesis Chapters 2 and 3, God created the Garden of Eden specifically for the first man- Adam, whom He had formed. Genesis 2:8-9 reads: “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed out of the ground. The LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food… and all the host of them were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and made… “For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground.” (Genesis 2:1-5)
The Bible has it in Gen. 3 that God told them that they can eat the fruits from any tree in the garden except from the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life and the tree of knowledge is located at the centre of the garden. One day, the serpent who is crafty and cunning than any other animals said to Eve, “Did God tell you not to eat the fruit from the tree in the garden,” Eve replied, “God said we can eat any fruit from any tree in the garden except the fruit of the tree which is located in the centre of the garden lest we die.” Serpent misled Eve into disobeying God’s Will: “You shall not die from eating the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden but you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” At that point, they strove to triumph on their wisdom.
Becoming conscious of their nakedness presumably Adam and Eve, thought that they are like God and therefore, sought to question His authority over them. Genesis 6:6 has it that God was concerned about the level of wickedness, violence, and other evil behaviour among humans. According to religioustolerance.org, God apparently assumed that when he created Adam and Eve the human race would turn out to be acceptable in His sight. “God apparently was unable to foretell the future and realise that humans would turn out to behave so badly. He repented that He had created Adam and Eve so He decided to destroy man and other land animals, in the largest and most thorough act of genocide in history. All of the men, women, youth, children, infants/newborns, as well as birds and land-dwelling animals, were to be drowned in a great, world-wide flood.”
The Noah’s Ark and the Promises of God
In apparent show of frustration on the side of God in creating mankind due to violence and wickedness, He sought to destroy the world and all its creatures. But God had compassion for mankind and made justice to His own promises- Man should inherit all the creatures on earth. God had favour in the sight of Noah and his offspring whom He saved and used as symbol of His love and testimony for those who hearken to His Words. In the midst of human race, Noah appeared decent, incorruptible and humble God-fearing man. So he alone, and his three sons- Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their four wives were to be spared from the raft of God. Indeed Noah, might have been a righteous man and in the sight of the Jehovah for him and the entire family to have escaped the destruction by entering into the ark that God had instructed him to build.
According to Genesis 6:14-16, the ark, measuring 300 cubits (138 meters, 453 ft.) long, 50 (23 meters, 75.4 ft.) wide and 30 (14 meters, 45.9 ft) deep. As religioustolerance.org explains, it was made with planks of gopher wood sealed with a material called ‘chemar’ in Hebrew and has thus variously, been translated as bitumen, slime and tar. The inside of the ark was divided into three floors to house the 8 people and the animals. The measurement is said to be based on the standard 46 cm. long regular cubit, which is an ancient unit of distance and was the typical distance from an adult’s elbow to the tip of their longest finger. It had one door, built into its side, and a window. Scientifically, we may argue that if the Noahs were best “natural selection” why then the current confusion? Probably when the eight survived the flood and came out of the ark, they had their own experiences and thoughts about God hence the building of the Tower of Babel?
The Tower of Babel
In Genesis 9:18-19 and indeed the entire tenth chapter of Moses’ Book, contains the Table of the ancient nations. This seems to suggest that all of the people alive at the time of Babel- black or white were descended solely from the three sons of Noah. Thus, Shem, Ham and Japheth are the fathers of our modern civilization. Hayes is said to have remarked that Genesis 10 is specifically written to demonstrate that all humanity descended from these three men. As Noah was a virtuous man in the eyes of God (Gen. 6:8-9), it is not a mystery to presume that the commandments of God were passed on to his sons. Thus, biologically, it is probably, unreasonable to have people who still doubt the spiritual hands of omnipresent God, being behind the creation of heavens and earth?
Willmington is quoted as saying that the coastal outlines of our continents suggest prior unification of the various land masses that can now be viewed as a once-unified puzzle separated into its various fragments. “Despite the bleak future of Babel, God had promised never to destroy the Earth with a flood again due to the disobedience of mankind (Gen. 8:20-22). Genesis 9:8-17 affirms that the rainbow serves as a personal reminder His covenant… God separated the people to different lands and languages to frustrate their self-destructive plans… this was God’s only merciful alternative in response to the tower… it was a light affliction administered… reproof was quite mild compared to the prior worldwide flood (Gen. 7:21-23) The rebuke of God at Babel hardly parallels the subsequent fiery obliteration of Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Gen. 19:24-30)
The Biblical history of the Tower Babel as illustrated in Genesis 11:1-9 is probably a clear manifestation of the people who once lived on the earth sharing one language and started saying to each other,”Let us make a city with a tall tower that will reach up to the heaven so that we will have name lest we are scattered over the face of the earth.” God knew their plan and came down to see the city and the tower the people are building. He was very unpleased about this and said, “The people are in unity and share the same language. If this is what they are beginning to do, nothing that these people want to do can be stopped.” So God confused the language of the people on earth and the people couldn’t understand each other language. As in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, God was unhappy about their pride and arrogance in planning to build such a tower because they are not building the tower to give glory to God but rather to themselves.
King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BC)
King Nebuchadnezzar II of the Chaldean (known as the Neo-Babylonian) Empire whose vast military astuteness, conquests and the role in Bible History and Prophecy, are unquestionably, directly recorded in The Bible (see, Daniel 4:4-18). Born somewhere in 630 BC and died around 562 BC at age 68, Nebuchadnezzar, is described by modern day Persians and historians as one of the most powerful monarch of his dynasty. He is best known for the magnificence of his capital, Babylon city’s Ishtar Gate. “Nebuchadnezzar restored old religious monuments and improved canals, as other Babylonian kings had done, but Nebuchadnezzar is best known for his legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Nebuchadnezzar’s building projects included surrounding his capital city with a double wall 10-mile long with an elaborate entry.”
King Nebuchadnezzar also built a port on the Persian Gulf.” In 597, he captured Jerusalem, deposed King Jehoiakim, and put Zedekiah on the throne, instead. Zedekiah (597-586 BC)- meaning righteousness of Jehovah, was originally called Mattaniah- meaning gift from Jehovah, was the third son of King Josiah of Judah; his mother was Hamutal, so he was a brother of King Jehoahaz and the last king of Judah (2 Kings 23:31, 24:17-18). History has it that many leading Hebrew families were exiled at this time.
Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Cimmerians and Scythians and then turned west, again, conquering Western Syria and destroying Jerusalem in 586. Nebuchadnezzar put down a rebellion under Zedekiah, whom he had installed, and exiled more Jews. The king took the inhabitants of Jerusalem prisoners of war and brought them to Babylon, for which reason this period in Biblical history is referred to as the Babylonian captivity.
“And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it; and they built siegeworks against it round about. So the city was besieged till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah… Then a breach was made in the city; the king with all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden…. And they went in the direction of the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. Then they captured the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence upon him. They slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and took him to Babylon.” (2 Kings 25:1-7). Christians and Moslems find faith in these narratives.
This might serve a symbol of light to those who doubt the works of God. Daniel Chapter 2 v 31-49 talks about the interpretation of the end-time of the king. Our favourite verses are cited from Chapter 2 that states: “43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45. Forasmuchas thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure….”
Wayne Blank writes that Nebuchadnezzar is best known to students of the Bible for his defeat of the southern kingdom of Judah (the northern kingdom of Israel was by then long gone, having been conquered and deported over a century earlier by the Assyrians). “By 586 B.C., the Babylonian forces conquered the land, devastated Jerusalem, looted and burned the original Temple that had been built by Solomon and took the people away into what became known as the “Babylonian Exile.” (2 Kings 25:1-17).” Thus as powerful as Nebuchadnezzar was, Blank contends that he did not conquer the Judah of himself. “God didn’t just allow it to happen, He actually brought it about.” (2 Chronicles 36:15-20) (further illustration see, www.keyway.ca/htm2002/nebuch.htm)
As in the people of Babel, the people of Judah became extremely corrupt and idolatrous. “They ignored all of the Prophets that God had sent to warn them (2 Chronicles 36:15-16), and they refused to repent. They trusted in themselves, in the city of Jerusalem, even in the physical Temple, rather than in The Lord Himself. So, God, through Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed it all in order to make them realize, in no uncertain terms, that they had turned their backs on Him.” keyway.ca/htm2002/nebuch.htm) In Daniel we learn that troubled King Nebuchadnezzar whose scientists and soothsayers, were on the point of execution due to their inabilities to remember him of his forgotten dream let alone its interpretation, was pleased with the dream interpretation that Daniel gave him, gave him lots of gifts and promoted Daniel to become the governor of Babylon Province.
The King also promoted Daniel’s friends- Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego to high officials in the province of Babylon because he requested this to him. This is consistent to the Biblical story of Joseph and the interpretation of King Pharaoh’s dream: “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.” (Gen 41: 38-41). In the case of King Nebuchadnezzar his relationship with the men of God was short-lived.
He relied on his human knowledge, forcing his captives, including Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego to worship the golden image that he has set up. His vengeance on his victims was swift so the kingdom fell. “All this came upon the King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house the by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee (Dan 5:28-31).
In these narratives, the Samaritan Research Group has sought to discover the reality of God through life history of individuals and nations. As the Book of Daniel illustrates, the rise and fall of empires and great men reveal that the promises of God are true and had withstand scientific inventions and political ideologies. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the emerging religious tolerance in China, are living truths. The 7-day 24-hr creative puzzle of God must therefore, not be subjected to strict definition of human invention of time clock and calendar that parallels only our geographical contours and hemispheres.
Researched and Compiled By Asante Fordjour for The Samaritan Research Group