|Exploring Ancient History - The First 2500 Years
PART 2 — THE FOUR LOST CENTURIES
Babel: The Beginning of Man's Civilization It has been necessary in previous chapters to make use of the fact that, the date of Babel is 2256-2254. But at the outset of this chapter, detailed proof should be given that this key and pivotal date is correctly established.
It is important to emphasize the importance of this date because it marks the beginning of this world's civilization.
The chronology of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, the whole Near East, and that of peoples in far-flung areas of the world, all begin at this point. It is the basic beginning date of Dr. Hoeh's restoration of ancient chronology as contained in the Compendium of World History.
Proving the Date of Babel Volume one of the Compendium, pages 45-46, reveals the amazing fact that the correct date of Babel was preserved down to Roman times. Velleius Paterculus quotes this from the Roman History (Book I, section vi) of Aemilius Sura: "Between this time (when Rome conquered Philip, king of Macedonia and the beginning of the reign of Ninus (Nimrod) king of the Assyrians, who was the first to hold world power).lies an interval of 1995 years."
How do we know that Ninus refers to Nimrod? This term is actually not a name but a kind of title. "Ninus" is composed of the Hebrew root "nin" and the Latin "-us" ending ("-os" in the Greek). "Nin" means "the son". And Nimrod was indeed the famous son of Cush and Semiramis! He was the special son of Semiramis through whom came the chosen line of descent, the ruling line of this world's early civilization. He was the main spring of the rebellion in the human family and came to be regarded as even far greater than his father, Cush. The Epic of Creation, when speaking of Nimrod, contains the words, "Verily, most exalted is THE SON ..." Thus Nimrod certainly qualifies as the Ninus of this quote.
Now there was a later Ninus who was also a son of Semiramis. His career will be covered in a later chapter. But the chronology of this statement from Roman history conclusively proves the individual to be "The Great Rebel" not someone else. Here are the facts: Philip and Macedonia were conquered by the Romans in 197 B.C.. Going back in time 1995 years from this date brings us to 2192. The ancient historian, Julius Africanus, preserved the fact that Nimrod began his sole reign in 2192 following a joint reign with his father, Cush, of 62 years. Adding these 62 years on to the figure 2192 takes us back to 2254, a key date in the history of the Babel project. Recall from the Epic of Creation that by 2254 the followers of Cush and Nimrod had already been at work on the city and tower for two years, 2256-2254. Why, then, is 2254 such an important date? What specific event occurred in that year to make it a pivotal juncture in human history? This will be answered shortly.
But there is yet more proof that 2254 is the correct date for Babel. Actually the most spectacular confirmation of this date comes not from the western world but from the East — from the history of China! It is gratifying to discover that the Chinese have preserved their history back to the Tower of Babel. Amazing but true, the Chinese begin their history 2254 years before the present era.
The Testimony of Chinese History Everyone owes a great deal of respect to the Chinese nation for being the only people whose chronological records have been preserved without the need of restoration from the time of Babel till now. The history of the Chinese is found in the "Shoo King" — literally, the "Canon of History." Unlike the histories of ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, and others, Chinese history has not been tampered with and distorted. Unlike Manetho of Egypt and Berossus of Babylonia who were in competition with each other in trivia to prove the historical superiority of their respective nations (Compendium volume one, chapter two) The Chinese were not in competition with anyone. They did not have to make themselves appear older as a nation than they really were! If all nations had been as honest in preserving their history as the Chinese, history would never have been confused, the Bible would not have been branded as legendary, and the Compendium of World History would not have been needed to unravel ancient chronology. In other words if through all the centuries, people had been able or willing to read and believe the Chinese record, they could have known when this world's civilization began. Only China's unusual reverence for tradition could have preserved the framework of history for more than 4,200 years! Compendium, Volume one, pp. 46 and 346.)
An analysis of the Chinese record gives solid proof that it is authentic. China's first king was black! He was called "Shun." This name is an enigma. Scholars do not know what it means — there is no book available which interprets it. In other words, the Chinese themselves do not know the meaning of this name since it is not Chinese. Thus it is derived from some other language. The Chinese admit it is a foreign name.
The second major source for ancient Chinese history next to the "Shoo King," the "Bamboo Annals" (done by the Chinese literary critics and therefore not the standard historical work — the "Shoo King" is the standard and fits perfectly with the Biblical record), has some valuable comments on the true racial background of their first ruler. These comments plainly state that Shun was not a Chinaman but a barbarian. Now the early Chinese records maintain that, anciently, all southeast China was inhabited by barbarians. These "barbarians" were not Orientals but black Ethiopians! And the comments in the Bamboo Annals plainly record that Shun was a man of the same race as these barbarians of the southeast!
Shun was an Ethiopian! At this point we could easily guess the identity of Shun. But there are even more concrete clues. His mother was a famous woman whose name may be variously translated as "Queen of the West land," "the mother of the king of the west," or "queen mother of the west." His father was Kusou or Chusou. (Compendium, volume one, pp. 47, 349.)
There is no doubt about who these individuals are. Kusou is Cush, the western queen is Semiramis and Shun is Nimrod! Here is remarkable confirmation of the historicity of the Bible!
A final, but important, point: Though the Bible doer not give the exact date for the Tower of Babel, it does confirm the general period in a scripture already quoted, Genesis 10:25: "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided ..." You will recall that this passage was cited in chapter nine in relation to the beginning of world colonization under Noah. However, it should be realized that this verse, as is true of many other portions of the Bible, has a dual application. The phrase "in his days was the earth divided can also be a reference to the confusion of languages! (Gen. 11:8) Thus there were two phases to the post-Flood colonization of the world — one voluntary, the other by force! Both occurred in the lifetime of Peleg.
What Happened in 2254? The accuracy of the date 2254 has now been established. But what specifically was it that took place in that fateful year?
Let's take another look at the ancient Creation Epic already quoted from. Another portion of it shows what was taking place at Babel after the rebels had been working on the Tower for two years. At this point the document is fragmentary, but a father and son are clearly spoken of:
He set up a throne ... Another in ... 'Verily, most exalted is the son .... His sovereignty is surpassing .... May he shepherd the human race' Notice carefully that the epic at this point can be speaking of only one thing — the establishment of Human Government! There we see two people, a son and a father, being set up on a throne. The Bible reveals these individuals to be Cush and Nimrod.
The obvious implication of this account is that the initial building phases of the Tower preceded the establishment of a government of human beings. The Babel project reached the point where the people were willing to officially make Nimrod and Cush the rulers of this new kingdom which was being built — just as Nimrod had been planning all along.
Although they were leading the people from the start, the picture seems to be that Cush and Nimrod were clever enough not to set themselves up as kings prematurely. But little by little their influence was increasing. And once an appreciable amount of building had been accomplished, and the people began to see what might lie ahead, they got the idea (so they thought) to put these two men in power. It was simply a matter of clever political manipulation — the people were merely fulfilling what Cush and Nimrod had secretly planned years before. But it was made to look as if THE PEOPLE HAD DECIDED! We see these same tactics in the modern world, and the United States is no exception.
From the story outlined on the previous pages, it is possible to lay out a step-by-step progression through which Cush and Nimrod led the people who strayed from the leadership of Noah:
1) Nimrod originally established a reputation by emancipating the small human population from the fear of wild animals through his famous organized hunting expeditions and exploits.
2) As his reputation grew, Nimrod used the opportunity to influence the small but growing population to gradually reject the leadership of Noah. Cush and Nimrod undermined Noah's authority!
3) Hand in hand with the rejection of Noah was that Nimrod "emancipated" the people from the fear of God. He gradually led them to the point where they were no longer afraid to disobey. Though he was leading them into bondage, they thought they were being liberated into greater freedom! To carnal people God's regulations always seem restrictive.
4) After the people had been taken far enough away from the guidance of the Eternal and Noah, the next step was to pursued them to join together and migrate to the region of Shinar.
5) Along with this, Nimrod and Cush had to convince them that the city and tower of Babel were worthwhile projects. They had to make the people believe in their plan, that it was a worthwhile goal. In this they were also successful.
6) The next step was the principle event of 2254 under discussion here — the official crowning of Cush and Nimrod as co-rulers of the people after the Babel project had been under way for two years.
7) But Cush and Nimrod did not stop even with this. All people want a religion, desire something to worship. So the ultimate step was for Nimrod, Cush, and Semiramis to lead the people to believe that they were actually more than human — that they, their leaders, were really gods. This was not new. It had occurred before the Flood. It has occurred in our day in Germany, Russia, and Red China — and it will happen again! After the death of Nimrod, Semiramis brought this device to a highly sophisticated form when she developed the Mystery System. (to be discussed in a later chapter).
From the foregoing it is easily seen that by the time the year 2254 had been reached, Nimrod and Cush had attained an advanced stage in their over-all program. This was the year in which these two leading rebels, in a special coronation ceremony, were formally declared the rulers over the portion of the human family — that had departed from God to build a separate world culture and civilization.
With this famous event and date, the history of civilization begins. Here is where the history of our world commences — a world cut off from God and going its own way. Historians like to think that the movement of man-made civilization has been onward and upward — but the climax of man's rule on earth will show it to have been consistently backward.
Looking back, we can see that several significant events took place in the period 2256-2254. Recall that the Creation Epic shows the people molding bricks for a full year before they started to build. Thus, in 2256 they began the project. In 2255 they probably had their "ground-breaking ceremony," and in 2254 the coronation of the leaders took place. This is the way we may plausibly lay out the pattern of events at the site of Babel in Shinar.
Population at Babel There are other specific factors that need to be analyzed when trying to understand the situation at Babel. We have constantly referred to the people that went to Shinar — but how many people were there? And how many people were not there?
Obviously, population was a key factor at this early time. Nimrod needed as many people as possible to carry out his "Grand Design."
On the basis of the sons listed in Genesis ten, and adding an equal number of daughters, it is possible to develop a chart showing the probable population at the time of Babel, that is, just prior to 2250 B.C. On the basis of this, Dr. Hoeh has estimated that the population of the world at this juncture would have been approaching TEN THOUSAND! But bear in mind that this figure includes men, women, and children. This means that there were very likely actually only about 3000 adults! Thus, at the beginning, there was a comparatively small labor force for the work at Babel. On the other hand, the population was rapidly increasing so more hands were becoming available. Five years would make a big difference in the available man power.
But this question must be raised: How many of this total were at Babel and how many were not? In other words, how many had gone to the areas assigned by God through Noah. Today we live in a divided world — but the world after the Flood was in the same condition. Already a little over a century after the Flood, the people were going basically in two different directions. How many had gone Noah's way? It might be nice to think that the split had been fifty-fifty, that only half the people had rebelled and gone to Babel. But, knowing human nature, it is much more likely that the MAJORITY went to Shinar and that only a minority were willing to colonize according to Noah's directions.
Another interesting and significant question is, what was the racial composition of the people at Babel? Mr. Armstrong (had discussed this matter in the article "The Real Cause of the Race Crisis!" which was first published in the Oct., 1963, Plain Truth. Here is a review of that material: Recall that before the Flood Japheth and Ham had married interracially. Japheth had married a yellow woman, Ham a black. Through these wives the strains of the yellow and black races were carried on over into the post-Flood world. Shem, however, had a white wife.
As we know all peoples on earth have come from the three sons of Noah. From this we might conclude that, at Babel, the three races might have been about equally represented. But, actually, biological factors would have resulted in a situation where half of Ham's descendants would have been black, and half white or brunette, or swarthy white. And half of Japheth's would have been yellow, the other half white. And, of course, all of Shem's children would have been white. Consequently, at that early time, two-thirds of the earth's population was white, and only one-third colored (non white). By contrast, today two-thirds are colored (non white) and only one-third white!
Bear in mind, however, that although the majority at Babel were white, their leaders, Cush and Nimrod, were colored (non white). Thus, at its beginning, the world's civilization was dominated by the influence of Hamitic people.
Invisible Powers Behind Babel Project Possibly the most intriguing question about the rebels at Babel is: What was their mental and spiritual condition? Think of what these people had done. Originally they had been under the guidance and protection of God. In the earliest years after the Flood, God was very concerned about the safe-keeping of the tiny human family. But later they rebelled! When the majority of the human family decided to follow Nimrod they voluntarily rejected God's will for their lives. They made the gravely serious mistake of actually cutting themselves off from God. As a result, they no longer enjoyed God's blessing and protection. They inevitably became the complete slaves of their own carnal nature, the dictatorial rule of Nimrod — and the influence of evil spirits! Yes, in rejecting God, these misguided humans unknowingly yielded themselves to the will of Satan who was invisibly guiding this entire project! "Satan is "the god of this world." He is the founder of this world's civilization which originated at Babel. Babel was Satan's master project in getting the human race going in the wrong direction in the years immediately this side of the Flood.
The Bible reveals plainly that "this present evil world" is in subjection to fallen angels (Heb. 2:5). The Bible further reveals that there are millions of angels (Rev. 5:11). Now, when Satan rebelled (before the creation of man), one-third of the angels had followed him (Rev. 12:4, 9). From that time on, then, there existed a great number of fallen spirit beings. The Bible shows by many examples that those fallen spirits, or demons, like to enter the minds and bodies of susceptible human beings. It should be realized that during the Flood these disembodied spirits had been terribly frustrated because the whole human race had drowned — and God did not let them get near the eight persons on the Ark, whom He carefully protected. But! — as soon as people in the post-Flood world began to rebel, and take themselves outside the circle of God's powerful protection, the inevitable occurred. These frustrated and perverted spirits saw their chance — they became frantically active! They did everything in their power to inhabit human minds and bodies. And at this early stage of history, humans were particularly susceptible to this spiritual onslaught because there were many more demons than people.
We have a specific historical example of this — Nimrod himself! Again it is the Chinese record which provides remarkable insight into earliest history. "The Chinese Classics" by James Legge, volume III, part one, page 115, describe China's first king — a black man proven to be Nimrod as discussed earlier as having eyes that shone with "double brightness!" In other words, here is a unique description of the facial appearance of a demon possessed person! (See vol. one of the Compendium, p. 47.) Based on the knowledge contained in the Bible, it could have been safely deduced that Nimrod was in this very spiritual condition, but here is an actual historical record providing concrete proof!
This matter is further substantiated by the fact that the Egyptian name for Nimrod was Osiris, meaning "many eyed" or "overseer." Nimrod set himself up as overseer of people and nations — he was the world's first dictator. This term or title "Osiris" implies one having unusual powers of perception. The traditional sense of this word is that it refers to a person who has many eyes to see that things are done right!
An example from more recent history is that of Alexander the Great, the most brilliant military strategist of this time. Descriptions of his military battles and victories give the implication that Alexander was somehow able to "see" what was behind hills, trees, and other obstructions, when this was humanly impossible to do! The analogy is that, apparently, Nimrod and Alexander had similar spiritual powers!
The Example of Hitler and the German People A clearer picture of what was taking place in Nimrod's case may be fained by considering a dictator of more recent times, Adolf Hitler. The German leader was subject to the same spiritual influence as Nimrod — and the personal experiences of the Fuehrer have been described in detail.
Many who knew Hitler personally said that the man had in him two contrasting personalities — and a transitional stage. One, the normal, congenial Hitler, with pleasant voice, was a charming host. Then there was the transitional personality with glassy eyes and blank mind, who seemingly had no mind in control of the body and the facial expression. Finally, there was the other personality — the Hitler with blazing eyes, shrill voice — the Hitler who sent the German people into mass hysteria, promising them they could rule the world! The German nation never questioned whether this personality was really Hitler — or Satan himself in possession of the body and mind of this man. (See page 16 of the June 1963, "Plain Truth".)
The case of Nimrod must have been parallel to that of Hitler. The human individuals were different, but the evil spiritual influence and domination was the same! Satan and the demons do not die. They continue on throughout all periods of history seeking individuals to use as their instruments in misguiding the unsuspecting masses. The times, circumstances, and individuals may vary — but the approach and tactics remain the same! As was the case, then, with Hitler in modern Germany, Nimrod must have been "normal" at times, influenced at other times, and at other periods he was undoubtedly completely possessed by the devil. He must have yielded his mind when he wanted to at crucial times — the way Hitler apparently did, as when he was on his way to make an important speech before a large audience. (And it should also be added that Cush and Semiramis must have been in a similar mental-spiritual state.)
Obviously, not all the German people were demon possessed. Only Hitler and high ranking officials working closely with him were subject to this condition. Instead, the masses of people became the victims of mass hysteria, a form of group insanity induced by the overpowering spiritual influence of their leaders. A similar situation must have prevailed at Babel. To understand what this was like, we may turn to reports from Germany in the days of Hitler.
In September of 1934 William L. Shirer was in Nuremberg, Germany. In his book Berlin Diary, he reported what he saw. At this time Hitler was only forty-five and was just beginning to roll toward complete domination of Europe. Shirer's careful description of his observations provides some remarkable insight into what was really taking place — into who and what it was that was really swaying the people.
Like a Roman emperor Hitler rode into this mediaeval town (Nuremberg) at sundown today past solid phalanxes of wildly cheering Nazis who packed the narrow streets ... I got my first glimpse of Hitler as he drove by our hotel ... He fumbled his cap with his left hand as he stood in his car acknowledging the delirious welcome with somewhat feeble Nazi salutes from his right arm ... His face had no particular expression at all — I expected it to be stronger — and for the life of me I could not quite comprehend what hidden springs he undoubtedly unloosed in the hysterical mob which was greeting him so wildly. He does not stand before the crowd with that theatrical imperviousness which I have seen Mussolini use. I was glad to see that he did not poke out his chin and throw his head back as does the Duce nor make his eyes glassy — though there is something glassy in his eyes, the strongest thing in his face .... About ten o'clock tonight I got caught in a mob of ten thousand hysterics who jammed the moat in front of Hitler's hotel. Shouting: "We want our Fuehrer." I was a little shocked at the faces, especially those of the women, when Hitler finally appeared on the balcony for a moment. They reminded me of the crazed expressions I saw once in the back country of Louisiana on the faces of some Holy Rollers who were about to hit the trail. They looked up at him as if he were a Messiah, their faces transformed into something positively inhuman. If he had remained in sight for more than a few moments, I think many of the women would have swooned from excitement ... (emphasis ours.)
This should give us a much clearer idea of how and why Nimrod was able to mislead the human family into undertaking the erection of Babel. The people were completely under the sway of an evil, spiritual influence but were completely unaware of the forces at work upon them! In relation to the above quote, the observation should be made that the power behind false religion and dictatorial politics is the same — demonism! This is the interesting connection indicated in Shirer's article. And, as the succeeding account will show, Cush, Nimrod, and Semiramis did blend politics and religion so as to make them inseparable. These demon-inspired arch-rebels did not just want to lead the people. They wanted to actually be WORSHIPPED by them — as was Hitler.
The Beginning of His Kingdom Was Babel! With these factors in mind, we may once again turn to the Bible to see what light it throws on the events of the early history of civilization. An analysis of several significant verses will bring some fascinating surprises!
Consider again that significant portion of Genesis 10 which tells about Nimrod — verses 8-12. The first two verses of this section have already been discussed. Here is where God presents Nimrod in his true colors — as the world's first tyrant or dictator! Now, at this juncture in the story, it is time to consider the subsequent verses: "And the beginning of his (Nimrod's ) KINGDOM WAS BABEL, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." (It should be noted here that the name 'Shinar' refers to the same area as that of Sumer or Sumeria, terms used by historians in recent historical works.) Next: "He went out into Assyria (margin), and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah" (verses 10-11).
Realize, first of all, that these verses reveal that Nimrod was building more than a city and a tower. He was establishing a kingdom — a domain, a realm, yes, he wanted to rule an empire! Nimrod was a man of ability. He was intelligent, clever, ambitious, persevering. True, he was evil — but he had courage and imagination. He was a LEADER. That is why Satan could effectively use him as a human agent! Nimrod lusted for power — and when he saw his authority growing, his ambition rose by leaps and bounds!
Notice again what the Bible records: We are told that the region of Shinar was "the beginning of his kingdom" — and then the city of Babel is listed first. This seems to definitely imply that Babel, where human government was first organized, was indeed the center of Nimrod's realm to start with — and from this center or headquarters there was a gradual expansion to other parts of Mesopotamia. The general picture to be derived from this is that migrations to other parts of the area were being undertaken — other towns being built — while the work on the city and tower of Babel was continuing. As the population grew, it became possible to carry out simultaneous projects. Nimrod had a strong desire to build his empire as rapidly as possible.
An important question is this: When did the expansion of Nimrod's domain occur in relation to the confusion of languages? In other words, What is the chronological relationship between this section in chapter 10 and Genesis 11:5-9? The logical answer seems to be that the dispersal from Babel occurred AFTER the political and geographical growth under discussion. If the confusion of languages had happened near the start of the Babel project, it seems obvious that the plans of Nimrod and his followers would have resulted in SUCH chaos that very little expansion would have been possible. The dispersal, then, must have come some years after 2254.
Therefore these basic questions must be answered: Just how long did God allow Cush and Nimrod to rule over the people before He came down and put a stop to what they were doing? In short, how long after the establishment of human government did the dispersal occur? And what was happening in Nimrod's kingdom which made it absolutely necessary for God to intervene?
These topics will be discussed momentarily. First, however, we must examine Genesis 10:10-11 more closely. Further analysis of this vital portion of scripture will reveal some surprising information — will, in fact, add a new dimension to our concept of the rebellious Babel enterprise.
Introducing Asshur Look at Genesis 10:11 again. The King James reads: "Out of that land" ... (Shinar) .... "went forth ASSHUR ...." This is the correct translation according to the vowel pointing of the Hebrew text. But the consonants, without the pointing, (may be translated "he" — that is, Nimrod (as the margin shows) — "went forth, being strong, and builded Nineveh" as well as other cities.
This is no contradiction. The Bible is simply telling us BOTH! Nimrod and Asshur went to Assyria from Shinar. Micah 5:6. The land of Assyria or Asshur is also the land of Nimrod. The simple conclusion is that Nimrod and Asshur worked together both in Shinar and Assyria.
Ancient historical source support this fact. Notice in verse 10 that Nimrod's second city in Shinar, after Babel, was Erech. The names of the original rulers connected with this ancient town have been preserved. Their history is found in the surprising annals of the First Dynasty of Erech (or, as archaeologists prefer, Uruk). An interesting side-light is that the modern country of Iraq takes its name from Erech! Few people are aware that this ancient city built by Nimrod has given its name to the entire country! The first king list for Erech has been analyzed by Dr. Hoeh in volume one of the Compendium beginning on page 243. A notation in this ancient king list after the Babylonian name of Asshur (En mer-kar — to be explained shortly) states that "Under him Erech was built." Yet, in the Bible the Builder is Nimrod. Again, this simply means that Nimrod did not build it alone! He and Asshur were working together. The original enterprise was a joint affair. The attempt to build this original empire was a co-operative effort.
Just who was this Asshur? The Bible has relatively little to say about him. However, we are told that he was one of the five sons of Shem (Gen. 10:22). Obviously then, from what we have seen earlier in this tenth chapter of Genesis, Asshur could not have been following in the footsteps of his father or grandfather if he was the right-hand partner of Nimrod, the God-defying rebel! Thus, if we read the Bible carefully, we quickly come to realize that Asshur too, early in life, developed ambitions and plans contrary to the way of God.
Ancient historical sources provide interesting insights into the background of Asshur. In Northwestern Europe, in ancient German tradition, the name for Asshur, the ancestor of the German (Assyrian) people, was Tuisto (see Compendium vol. II, chapters 1 and 2). And it is said that Tuisto was conceived in the Ark. Asshur, in other words, was begotten before the Flood ended and was born immediately after the Flood.
With this in mind, notice the genealogy in Gen. 10. The first three of the five sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur, and Arphaxad (verse 22). The Bible further records that Arphaxad was begotten two years after the Flood. (Gen. 11:10).There is something unusual here — Arphaxad begotten a mere two years after the Flood and already the third in order! There could not have been two other separate births between the end of the Flood and the begettal of Arphaxad. Elan, Asshur, and Arphaxad could not have been born in normal one-two-three sequence considering this limitation in time. There is only one explanation — Elam and Asshur must have been twins!
The Bible clearly records that eight people entered the ark and that the same eight people, and no more, emerged from it when the Flood was over, but the Bible nowhere says that children were not begotten during the Flood. And so, on the basis of the foregoing information about Asshur, we see that the population began to increase immediately after the Flood! Apparently it was a matter of weeks, not months.
The definite possibility that Asshur was a twin is supported by the meaning of the term "Tuisto". This word may have reference to the twin in the form of the German words zwei and zwilling — "two" and "twin". The root for these words certainly has some connection with Tuisto in the minds of many philologists.
As already noted, Asshur's name in Sumeria, as given in the king list for the First Dynasty of Erech, was En-mer-kar. En-mer-kar is the source of the name Mercury. In ancient Germanic myth, Asshur was worshipped as Mercury in Central Europe! There is further proof that Asshur, En-mer-kar and Tuisto are one and the same individual. This time the evidence comes in the form of chronology. In the first Dynasty of Erech, En-mer-kar is assigned a reign of 420 years. In the list of Kings of ancient Germany given in volume two of the Compendium (Page 19), the last date for Tuisto is 1949 B.C. Going back 420 years from this date brings us to 2369 — the year marking the end of the Flood. The 420 years of En-mer-kar are thus revealed to be the full life span of Asshur, the son of Shem and twin brother of Elam (Compendium, volume I, page 249.)
Asshur and Nimrod Thus, when the material about Asshur from the Bible and other sources is brought together, a fascinating and enlightening picture results! Asshur, a disobedient son of Shem, the twin brother of Elan, was born immediately after the Flood, was an important figure at Babel as a chief assistant of Nimrod, and died in 1949 at 420 years of age. But there is yet more to learn about this famous man. Turn to the list in Genesis 11 — "the generations of Shem." In verse 11 we find Arphaxad listed next in patriarchal succession after Shem. Yet Arphaxad was the third son after Elam and Asshur (Gen. 10:22) By comparing these two seemingly uninteresting passages, we discover that the Bible is indirectly telling us something very interesting about the first two sons of Shem: They were rejected as the heirs of Shem's inheritance. God chose Arphaxad instead. The reason, undoubtedly, was that Elam and Asshur both married women of different races — which plainly shows that neither of them were interested in obeying God or helping Noah in his great responsibilities!
Originally the two prominent personalities at Babel were Cush and Nimrod. But Nimrod gained more and more power while that of his father faded. Meanwhile, the importance of Asshur was apparently on the rise. The picture seems to be that Nimrod appointed Asshur to a top position in his organization, that he made him what could be called "The General of the General Staff."
The strong indication is that Asshur's main talents, then, were in the military field. He was responsible for the development of an expanding army as the realm of Nimrod branched out. Nimrod was the great architect of the whole system while Asshur and the Assyrians formed the army and co-operated in the over all program.
The point is that Cush, Nimrod, and Asshur were working hand-in-hand attempting to build a great empire. And they began their "Grand Design" at the most opportune time possible — when the earth's population was still small and more easily gathered, controlled, and guided! If they could captivate the population early, they could keep control of it later when it was large! Little more can be said about the relationship of Asshur to Nimrod and the Babel project. However, the most intriguing adventures in Asshur's life took place long after this abortive venture. After Babel, Asshur was to have a great impact on both the history of the Near East and that of Europe. But these events must wait till a later chapter.
When Did God Intervene at Babel? Now it is time to take up the basic questions raised earlier: How long after the establishment of human government (2954) did the dispersal from Babel and the confusion of languages — occur? How long did God allow Cush and Nimrod to go on unrestrained in the expansion of their kingdom before He came down and put a stop to it?
We might assume that the dispersal took place in the same year that human government was officially established — 2254. But this was a mere two years after the Building of Babel was begun. This would not allow enough time for the building of even part of a kingdom or empire, nor would it give the rebels time to make much progress in the erection of the tower.
The fact that Nimrod and his followers were actually at work on building an empire is reflected in Moffatt's translation of Genesis 10:10-12 which should be included here. Notice: "His — (Nimrod's) EMPIRE at first was Babylon. Uruk, Akkad, and Kalneh, in the land of Shinar; from which he pushed out into Assyria, building the great city of Nineveh and its suburbs, also Kalah, and Resen which lies between Nineveh and Kalah."
Again, the question is, "how far along did God allow Nimrod to get with his empire?" In the space of two short years, with the population still quite sparse, Cush, Nimrod, ad Asshur could not have built much of an empire, and these same two key factors — time and man power — also apply when considering the erection of the great Tower. Everyone is familiar with the saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Neither was Babel. It was to be the capital city of a world empire. No doubt it was intended to ultimately gain the reputation of being "the Eternal City." And the center of attraction in it was to be this great Tower, the epitomization of man's ambitions and civilization.
As indicated in the Creation Epic already quoted, the portion of the Tower called "The Sanctuary" was completed quite early, even before the official coronation of Cush and Nimrod. So this portion of it was soon available for whatever services or religious observances they wanted to put into effect. But this great structure was not being constructed like the Empire State Building. It did not have to be completed all at once.
This was the type of building that could be added on to or built higher over a long period of time. This tower was of such a nature that, as they expanded the foundation, they could increase its height Archaeology shows this to be the architecture of the ancient structures in the Near East. So the rebels devised a structure which could be made to look more and more impressive over the years.
Consider the Great pyramid of Egypt as an example. This great work took twenty years to build and was accomplished only through the prodigious effort of multitudes of people — thousands more than were available for the building of the Tower of Babel. At Babel there were only a very few thousand people, and perhaps no more than a few hundred who worked on the Tower steadily. It was, indeed, a long-term project.
Then, in the bible, we have the example of Solomon who built both the Temple at Jerusalem and a magnificent palace for himself. The Temple of God took seven years to build. The kings residence required thirteen! Finally, consider the great Catholic cathedrals of Europe erected in the Middle Ages. These massive and costly religious edifices required from one to four hundred years to work — and some of them have never yet been completed!
So Babel did require some years of work before anything really impressive could have been erected. The question is, how many years?
The material preserved from Berossus, which tells of the deeds of Noah, Cush, Nimrod, Semiramis, and others after the Flood, may help us answer this question. In three different instances this ancient historian mentions a date 131 years after the Flood as being significant in history. The Flood ended in 2369. One hundred thirty-one years later brings us to the date of 2238 B.C. Further simple arithmetic reveals that this year was eighteen years after the Babel project was begun — 2256 minus 2238.
Was this the year of the confusion of languages? Berossus' history is silent on this. He nowhere speaks of the dispersal from Babel. He merely speaks of this year as being important in the reign of Nimrod whom he presents as the first great Babylonian ruler. We must realize that Berossus was a pagan Babylonian historian who was trying to make his nation appear the oldest and most important in history. You can read more about him and his motivation for writing in the first chapter of Part four of this book. In Berossus' account, Noah, Nimrod, and Semiramis were all good people! Therefore he would not mention the debacle at Babel because this would put Nimrod in an unfavorable light and this would not do for the one who founded man's civilization and was the first great Babylonian ruler! We can be thankful that God has made sure His history in the Bible places early rulers and events in their true light! Men always want to laud other men rather than presenting them as they really are — but God deals in truth!
So the date 2238 could very well be the year when Nimrod's plans were altered by Divine intervention! This would mean that God allowed the rebels just under two decades to go ahead with their plans before He brought them to a screeching halt.
Why God Had to Intervene Now to answer The most significant question of this entire situation: Why did God have to intervene and stop the entire Babel venture? God does everything with a definite purpose. His action at Babel was no exception.
In leading up to the answer, the following factors should be included in the picture. A period of eighteen years may seem like a short time in which to build a massive tower and surrounding city, begin other towns, and lay the foundations of an empire. But it must be realized that though the total population was small when the project was begun — some 10,000 in 2254 — it did not stay that way. The main resource of Cush and Nimrod was man power, and the supply was increasing rapidly! By the time of the Dispersal, the population must have been around 25,000. Over the years Nimrod saw the increasing numbers as an opportunity to expand. That is why, after a certain period of time, he was able to "push out into Assyria!" He had the man power to accomplish the feat.
Now, all during this time, Cush and Nimrod were regarded as co-rulers of the people. But what were their individual functions? The arrangement seems to have been this: apparently Cush spent the majority of his time at Babel directing the building of the city and the Tower while Nimrod, the younger of the two, was "out in the field" expanding the frontiers of the kingdom (most likely with the increasing assistance of Asshur). In other words, Nimrod must have spent much time traveling around while Cush remained more permanently situated. After all, Nimrod was the one with the reputation as the great hunter, the one noted for daring exploits, no doubt these continued after Babel was under construction. He not only continued his hunting expeditions but led the migrations into Assyria later when the population was sufficient for such a move.
But also think of this. Noah had established colonies in many places. What was to prevent Nimrod from journeying to these settlements with the intent of luring the people to join in on the building of Babel and his empire? He must have attempted this because his original idea was to thwart God's plan. He did not want the people spread out, the human family divided. He wanted to keep the people under his control. Once he had trained them his way, they could be counted on to remain a functioning part of his growing realm.
Nimrod was a continuing threat to the work of God being carried out through Noah!
As the years passed, Nimrod's control over, and subjugation of, the people increased. As with any dictator, his mode of operation must have become more and more oppressive. From time to time during the Babel project, certain people must have come to their senses. Some must have had the realization dawn in their minds as to what Cush and Nimrod were really planning — the merciless, dictatorial domination of the entire human race! When those people dared to think things through to a logical conclusion — tried to tell others, they must have suddenly disappeared! Others may have tried to actually escape, and failed! Still others may have managed to gain their freedom. Yes, a few fugitives from Babel may have sought out Noah's settlements as places of refuge. We do not have to conclude that the movement of all the people was always in the direction of Babel. It could very well have worked both ways. At Babel, then, we can well envision that all the elements of a totalitarian state were developing. Nimrod undoubtedly must have devised a spy system to keep dissident elements in check. This is the kind of freedomless regime he was building!
Now the picture is becoming clear! At the time of God's intervention, Nimrod's entire program had reached threatening proportions! The entire situation was becoming extremely serious. The whole problem boiled down to this: What was going to become of the small minority of people in other parts of the world who were still loyal to Noah?
Yes, the kingdom of Cush and Nimrod had reached the point where it threatened to take over the entire population of the earth! A WORLD DICTATORSHIP would have stamped out every vestige of the truth and God's way.
The truth cannot survive under a dictatorship!! Noah and Shem would have been EXECUTED!!!
This is why GOD HAD TO INTERVENE! He had to divide the power of the rebels' kingdom before it was too late!
The Debacle at Babel The Bible tells how it was done. Let's notice it in Genesis 11:5: "And the Eternal came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded." (Verse 5).
The words "came down" indicate that the Eternal, the one who became Christ, was above the earth. He was not down on the earth appearing in human form as He had done in other instances. Thus the account here definitely implies that the second member of the God kingdom was using this portable throne which is transported by the four cherubim as in the first and tenth chapters of Ezekiel!
From this fast-moving vantage point it was certainly possible for Him not only to observe the city and the tower, but also the empire which Nimrod and his growing organization were devising. The Eternal had not abandoned the human family. He had a clear and precise picture of what was occurring on the earth!
Notice the first part of verse 6: "And the Eternal said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language." This was the goal of Cush and Nimrod — they wanted to form ONE WORLD! They wanted to blend the races ruled by one government and dominated by one religion. Their dream was to build a unified social order under their complete and dictatorial domination. And the fact that there was just one world language made this scheme more readily attainable because no communication barriers existed!
Now observe carefully what He next said to his accompanying angels: "And this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do!" Here is a definite statement that everything Nimrod and the rest were trying to achieve was within their power to attain! Their plans, if allowed to continue, would have succeeded! They could have ruled the world!!
Here then, as Mr. Armstrong has emphasized, is the Biblical revelation of the actual potential God has placed in human intelligence. Than has mental powers that can approach even God's! Man's collective human mind can bring into reality what at first it only imagines — "which they have imagined to do."
Man now wants to reach beyond the solar system — he wants to reach outer space. If God allowed it, he would achieve even this goal. But God will not permit physical man to carry out his wishes. He did not allow the full fruition of man's dreams at Babel. Rather, He placed limitations on man's creative powers. He is doing the same today. (See the booklet "Who will Rule Space?" and the June 1967, "Plain Truth", pages 9-13, "How Close is the Moon Now?")
In the next two verses, the Bible records what took place at this momentous juncture in human history The Eternal continued speaking to angelic assistants: "Come, let us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Eternal scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city." (Gen. 11:7-8).
Through a collection of evidence from the Bible (Gen. 10) and various other sources, the conclusion has been presented that Nimrod and Cush were building an empire and that their numerous followers were at work on various projects in the region of Mesopotamia. In other words, at the time of God's intervention, they were not all concentrating on the city and tower which was the intended capital of the empire. This was undoubtedly the main project, but not the only one. Yet the Bible account is clear in showing that the Eternal focused His attention and intervention at the very city of Babel itself: "And the Eternal came down to see the city and the tower," and then He "scattered them abroad from thence."
A logical conclusion is that the majority of the people were gathered at Babel for some particular occasion. A special celebration must have been taking place. Possibly it was the anniversary of the founding of human government and kingship. The Bible gives many examples of the fact that God often performs acts of intervention in a climactic and dramatic way. Babel was no exception. If God had intervened on an ordinary day when the people were carrying out their routine activities, the impact would not have been nearly as great. But imagine all these people at a large festive gathering. They were all rejoicing in the growth of man-made civilization, toasting the successes in the growth of the empire. Cush and Nimrod had made, or were making key-note addresses. Everybody was looking forward to several days of revelry before returning to their assigned tasks. To them, not even the sky was the limit — or so they thought!
Then — the UNEXPECTED HAPPENED! Suddenly the carnival atmosphere evaporated like mist and utter confusion took over! Nobody could understand the person to whom he or she was speaking. People became frustrated, angry — they couldn't understand each other or what was going on!
Here was an absolutely unique occurrence in human experience. There had never been a problem with language before! Can you imagine the utter consternation of Cush, Nimrod, and the other rebel leaders? It probably took two or three days, but they finally must five accepted the bitter conclusion that their whole "Grand Design" was absolutely RUINED! And just when everything was goings so smoothly too. Talk about weeping and gnashing of teeth — here was the time for plenty of it.
The Origin of Languages Realize this important fact: The miraculous intervention by God at Babel is the origin of differing or foreign languages. Before this time and all the way back through pre-Flood times — no variant languages existed. There was one universal language! But, on that momentous day in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, God made history — and He changed history. He did it by introducing the phenomenon of variant languages.
Philologists and scholars in related fields, have never been able to adequately explain the existence of all the languages spoken in the world. It is a mystery to them because they regard Genesis 11 as a myth.
Explanations for the origin of languages have been offered which go something like this: At first, primitive man could only grunt or bark. After a while he decided that one grunt could mean one things two grunts something else, while a howl would have a third meaning! Little by little, from this crude beginning he refined his means of communication until finally he had developed a vocabulary. Such are the reasonings of vanity filled intellectuals who reject the Bible as a true and accurate source of knowledge and historical truth and are left with nothing more than sheer imagination! But even if such theory were true as to the origin of spoken language, it still would not account for the many languages on he world scene!
There is no historical record outside of the Bible which serves to explain where, when, and how different languages began. Foreign LANGUAGES ARE the result of a DIRECT MIRACLE BY GOD! They originated at Babel!
Common sense would tell us that God did not give every single individual at Babel a different language. How many languages He did use to confuse and divide the rebels is not recorded directly. However, Jewish tradition has always maintained that God gave a different language for each of the 72 basic names listed in Genesis 10. This would mean that small segments of the human family retained a common language and that when all those speaking the same tongue found each other and got together, they moved off as a group to find a new location in which to live. The indication seems clear, for example, from subsequent history, that Cush and Nimrod had a common language and remained in the area of Shinar until later activities separated them. Today, of course, there are many more than 72 languages in the world. The simple explanation is that more languages developed out of the original variations God gave.
Time, circumstances, and the expansion of the earth's population have resulted in an increase in the number of languages.
The minority of the population, those who remained loyal to Noah and were not at Babel, obviously did not have any change in language. It is commonly believed that the original language of mankind was Hebrew (see under Gen. 11:1 in Adam Clarke's book). If that be true, then this is the language the colonists retained in their various places of settlement. And in subsequent centuries it is believed that Hebrew was retained in the family and descendants of Heber (Gen. 11:16-26.)
The Dispersal of the People Read Genesis 11:8 again: "So the Eternal scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth. These rebellious people had not wanted to spread out over the earth. But now they had no choice! Through Noah, God had tried to help mankind spread out over the earth the easy way — through obedience to Him in following His directions. They would have been the recipients of every blessing along the way if they had obeyed. But contrary-minded man always thinks there is a better way. At Babel, then, God, in effect, said, "Well, if you won't do it the easy way, I have a little more dramatic and shocking method which will also work to the same end — but you shall spread out, like it or not!"
Josephus has an interesting statement in this connection: "after this they were dispersed abroad, on account of their languages, and went by colonies everywhere, and each colony took possession of that land which they light upon, and unto which GOD LED THEM." (Antiquities I, V, 1,) In other words. Josephus tells us that by one means or another, through various circumstances, God caused the great majority of people to end up in the areas of the world where He had originally intended them to settle. Thus, in spite of themselves, the different families of mankind ended up doing God's will in the matter of political geography, not their own! The "scattering" from Babel, then, was not haphazard as one at first might suppose, but by various means over the years was guided by God according to His purpose! The people ended up living exactly in that part of the world where God wanted them.
But notice the mercy and wisdom of God in this situation. These rebellious people, under the leadership of Cush and Nimrod, were committing every physical and spiritual sin imaginable in rejecting God and building their own world. They were repeating the pattern of pre-Flood man all over again, but even more quickly! They deserved annihilation. God could have used fire and brimstone — but He didn't! He did absolutely nothing to harm them physically. Instead, He did what no human would ever have thought to do. He brought on to the world scene the unique phenomenon of various languages.
In summary, notice that there were three key purposes in the dispersal from Babel:
1) The people were divided so they would go to those geographical areas of the world sphere God wanted them for the carrying out of His purpose.
2) God separated the various segments of the human family to prevent further interracial marriage. By His act of intervention, God segregated the races!
3) The debacle at Babel divided Nimrod's kingdom. This burgeoning realm was threatening to dominate all people, but God Split it to pieces! However Nimrod, as we shall see, tried to pick up as many pieces as possible and start over again.
Ultimate Fate of the Tower of Babel So the Bible tells us that the human family was scattered over the earth and all work on the city stopped. Verse 9 continues, "Therefore, is the name of it called Babel (confusion, margin) because the Eternal did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Eternal scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." This famous city, then, received its true name after the miraculous intervention by God. Cush and Nimrod never called it Babel in prior years. For them, this was to be "the Eternal City" or some title akin to that. But God, as in the case of Nimrod himself, supplied the real name! "'Confusion!"
But what of the great Tower itself, that massive symbol of rebellion against the Creator? Remember that this treat edifice was to be the focal point of man's civilization. It was undoubtedly intended to be the seat of government of Nimrod's empire. It was also to be used as a great religious shrine, and it was to serve as protection against another possible Deluge (which Nimrod knew would never come!). Would God allow this great symbol of rebellion and blasphemous idolatry to remain?
In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus provides an answer to this intriguing question. He quotes this statement from an ancient Greek source: "When all men were of one language, some of them built a high tower, as if they would thereby ascend up to heaven, but the gods sent storms of wind and overthrew the tower and gave everyone his peculiar language; and for this reason it was that the city was Babylon" (Antiquities I, IV, 3). Further ancient tradition provides more information about this destructive wind, reporting that in it there was a storm with fire (probably meaning lightning) which BURNT THE TOWER!
Recall that Nimrod had seen to it that special pains were taken to make the great Tower waterproof as protection against any possible future Flood. And so its bricks were cemented together with bitumen (pitch, asphalt or tar) — which burns easily! Lightening would quickly ignite the bitumen and set the whole Tower ablaze!!
When that gigantic tower blazed lake an immense torch it must have been visible for miles and miles over the flat and fertile Mesopotamian plane! Yes, Cush and Nimrod had made this great idolatrous temple waterproof, but they had failed to make it FIREPROOF!
Disobedience — sin — brings destruction from God in the area in which the sin occurred! For example, later in the story of human experience, God obliterated the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah "because their sin was very grevious" Gen. 18:29. Since His judgments are consistent, He must have done the same at Babel! However, God apparently has left enough remains of this rebellious project to serve as a witness to us even today. Right on the outskirts of ancient Babylon, on a very high place, there is a huge mound. This very area is known as the "Birs Nimrod" — the Tower of Nimrod! On top of this massive mound is a small-tower which is probably a later addition. But it also is constructed of brick and bitumen. Observers have noted something special about this immense mound: the remains there have not only crumbled down — they have also been burnt!
So much for the personalities and events surrounding Babel. The whole project had come to an ignominious end! Even Cush and Nimrod, hardened as they were, must have seen the hand of God in what had taken place. But that did not stop them. The story of their activities after Babel forms the contents of the pages that follow.
FOLLOWING, CHAPTERS 12-15 NOT WRITTEN
CHAPTER 12: After Babel
CHAPTER 13: The Activities and Death of Nimrod or The Deaths of Cush and Nimrod!
CHAPTER 14: Semiramis' Activities After Nimrod's Death or Semiramis, Asshur, Ninus II
CHAPTER 15: The Activities of Horus or The Carrer of Horus