Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]

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MR No. 547—The Dwellers of Babel

As Noah's descendants increased in number, apostasy soon led to division. Those who desired to forget their Creator, and to cast off the restraint of His law, decided to separate from the worshipers of God. Accordingly they journeyed to the plain of Shinar, on the banks of the river Euphrates. Here they decided to build a city, and in it a tower reaching unto heaven,—so high that no flood could rise to the top, so massive that nothing could sweep it away. Thus they hoped to make themselves independent of God. 8MR 42.1

But among the men of Babel there were living some God-fearing men who had been deceived by the pretensions of the ungodly and drawn into their schemes. These men would not join this confederacy to thwart the purposes of God. They refused to be deceived by the wonderful representations and the grand outlook. For the sake of these faithful ones, the Lord delayed His judgments, and gave the people time to reveal their true character. They heeded not the counsel of the Lord, but carried out their own purposes. The great majority were fully united in their heaven-daring undertaking. Had they been permitted to go on unchecked, they would have demoralized the world by their wonderful plans. 8MR 42.2

This confederacy was born of rebellion against God. The dwellers on the plain of Shinar established their kingdom for self-exaltation, and not for the glory of God. Had they succeeded, a mighty power would have borne sway, banishing righteousness, and inaugurating a new religion. The mixture of certain religious ideas with a mass of erroneous theories would have resulted in closing the door to peace, happiness, and security. These suppositions, erroneous theories, carried out and perfected, would have banished a knowledge of the law of Jehovah from the minds of men, who would not think it necessary to obey the divine statutes. These statutes, which are holy, just, and good, would have been ignored. Determined men, inspired by the first great rebel, would have been urged on by him, and would have permitted nothing to interfere with their plans or to stop them in their evil course. In the place of the divine precepts they would have substituted laws framed in accordance with the desires of their selfish hearts, in order that they might carry out their purposes. 8MR 42.3

But God never leaves the world without witnesses for Him. Those who loved and feared Him at the time of the first great apostasy after the flood, humbled themselves, and cried unto Him. “O God,” they pleaded, “interpose Thyself between Thy cause and the plans and methods of men.” “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower [the great idol-building], which the children of men builded.” (Genesis 11.) He defeated the purpose of the towerbuilders, and overthrew the memorial of their rebellion. God bears long with the perversity of men, giving them ample opportunity for repentance; but He marks all their devices to resist the authority of His just and holy law. As an evidence of His displeasure over the building of this tower, He confounded the language of the builders, so that none could understand the words of his fellow-worker.—Manuscript 94, 1903, 1, 2. (“Lessons From the Past,” typed August 27, 1903.) 8MR 43.1

Released May 20, 1977.