“And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel…”
Genesis is the book of beginnings. In it, we are introduced to many things which play a prominent role as the rest of Scripture unfolds. Here, in Chapter 10, we are introduced to the city of Babylon, which becomes a major player in the Biblical narrative. It is mentioned 257 times in the Bible. We learn Babylon was built by a man named Nimrod (whose name means rebellion); he built Babylon in defiance of God. His purpose in building the city is recorded in Genesis 11:4
“Come, 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.”
Babylon is important because of its symbolic representation of man’s false religious systems. The focus of the city of Babylon was a tower to the heavens. It was not an attempt to build a stairway to heaven, but a tower that depicts man making his own way to God.
Today, the word Babel means nonsense, and the ancient Hebrew word, Babel, means confusion. However, the word Nimrod chose means gateway of God. What Nimrod called the way to God, Scripture calls confusion. They were confused because they based their system on works, thinking they were good enough, and if they tried hard enough, they would get to God. – God calls that confusion.
Fortunately, there is a gateway to God. It has been build, not on the achievements of men, but on the sacrificial work of Christ. Jesus said, I am the way (John 14:6) and I am the door (John 10:9), and on the cross He became for us the true gateway to God. Instead of trying to earn our way to heaven, we can simply receive it by placing faith in Christ.