Bricks for Stones
Part 3: Up, up and away
by Brad Scott
The bricks of the Pharaoh's taskmasters continued to paint the picture of mixing the ways of God with the ways of man. Bricks are not only manmade and formed by mixing clay, straw and water, but bricks also begin to crumble through time. When they begin to deteriorate, masons will use the most modern methods to patch them back up. A foundation of stone, however, will stand firm and solid throughout time and when the bricks finally crumble away, that firm foundation, laid down from the beginning, will still be there. For if the foundation be destroyed what can the rightous do? Our Father has preserved and maintained that foundation to this day. Man can keep putting patches on his doctrines until one day soon the whole structure is going to tumble to the ground.
Bere'shiyt (Genesis) 11:4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name [shem], lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
It is my contention that all models of good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, God's kingdom and man's kingdoms are established in the beginning. The eleventh chapter begins with the people turning their hearts away from their Creator first, then they start changing their minds and begin to discuss building a tower. No sooner than they depart from the east they want to make them a name. This was part of the demise of those who perished in the flood.
Bere'shiyt 6:4There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown [shem].
The word "renown" is from the Hebrew word for name. Shem (שׁם) in Hebrew means source of authority. Men before the flood desired to do things their way, and after the flood men did not learn very much. Those who desired to build a tower into the heavens of brick wanted to express their ways, their thoughts, their intentions. The nature of bricks combined with the narrative of this chapter speaks clearly that they wanted to establish their own authority. They wanted to meet with God their way rather than His way. This is the nature of religion, always wanting to conform everyone else to themselves. From the Judaism of the 1st century to the majestic mega churches of today, the doctrines of men have always managed to win out over the stark reality of God's words. Man has always been in the business of scratching where other men itch, by mixing this verse with that verse, weaving two disparate thought processes and mingling different contexts to create a doctrine that appeals to his base nature.
One of the more well known interpretations of the tower of Babel was that these people were concerned that another flood would come and destroy the earth as they knew it. So they built this tower in order to rise above the death and destruction in spite of the fact that the Scriptures said that God would not destroy the earth again with a flood. But what the Scriptures taught did not matter. We are going to escape! We are going to build a scenario in which we are caught away from all this. Brad, are you saying that this was a group of people who were certain that chaos and tribulation were coming to earth and that they believed they would rise above it all? Yes, yes! They had departed from the east (God's ways) and were self deceived into thinking that they could establish their own ways and yet be taken up and away from the ramifications of rebellion when they came. Just like in the garden they are wrong, once again, about who goes where. Hasatan had been convincing enough to Chavah (Eve) that perhaps if she were to disobey the commandments of YHVH she would be indwelled with godly power to go up. Following the disobedience of two people in the garden, YHVH comes down to deal with Adam and Chavah. And so the pattern continues at Babel. In the midst of their own kingdom building plans, YHVH comes down.
Bere'shiyt 11:5-6And YHVH came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And YHVH said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
The Scriptures are clear, we are living stones, and stones are what our Creator has commanded that we use for building the altar and building a temple. There are little stones, big stones, fat stones, skinny stones, round stones, square stones, light stones and dark stones. But they are all still stones from the Great Cornerstone. Chips off the ole block, you might say. We are not designed to conform to one stone but rather The Stone. I found it rather provocative a few months ago when I watched a short video of two gentlemen gathering stones for an altar. I found it fascinating to watch them go into the sea, a Dead Sea, and gather out of the sea all kinds and sizes of stones and place them on a sheet placed on the shore to keep them sanctified and clean. One of the most oft used words for a bank or shore is saphah, which is our Hebrew word for language.
Daniyy'el (Daniel) 12:5-6"Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?"
Shalom Alecheim! ◊