Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Anti-Babel

Revelation 21:1-2  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 22:1-2  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

I am writing this in my hotel room with the window open enjoying the myriad of sounds from this fantastic city called Jerusalem. I am listening to the street noise, people talking in different languages, and the Mullahs calling Muslims to the evening prayers.  It is a cacophony you will hear nowhere else. This is my last night in the city, tomorrow we fly home and should arrive around 6:00AM. We will visit a few more place before we head to Tel Aviv and our 11 hour flight back to Atlanta.

We visited the Mount of Olives, Wailing Wall, archeological digs around the southern and western walls of the temple, went to where John the Baptist was born and the Biblical Museum. What a day. The whole 8 days has been overwhelming with emotional highs and way too much information to remember. We all have had an “excellent adventure.” But, many of us are ready to go home. A number have caught colds or some kind of word. The bus is filled with coughs and hacks. My sinus infection has returned! Drat!
There will be no post tomorrow because we will be traveling. So I want to give you a final observation of my experience here. Bear with me, stick around till the end because the beginning may seem random. But, I hope when you reach the conclusion it will be worth it.

The Tower of Babel, if you remember the story from Genesis 11 is after the flood when only one language existed. God confused the languages out of fear that humankind would become. It is at that time that people spread out and other cultures were formed. Life on this planet existed this way for thousands of year until the “anti-Babel.” That is, the day God brought us back together through Jesus Christ. You remember what that is don’t you? Pentecost. That was the day, here in Jerusalem, when Peter preached and everyone understood in their own language. What God scattered at Babel he brought together in Jerusalem through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:7-8   7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?”

What I have experienced in Jerusalem is the in breaking of the Kingdom of God. If you look above at the texts from Revelation you will see that John, the writer of Revelation saw the arrival of God’s Kingdom as a New Jerusalem. Christ’s resurrection was the first of that Kingdom; the resurrection of the dead. Paul calls his resurrection the “first fruits.” (1 Corinthians 15:20  20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.) The kingdom is here but not yet. Yet, through my experiences here in Jerusalem, I can better envision its coming.

I can see it through my anti-Babel experience. That which was scattered has been brought together again. Yesterday at St Ann’s church by the pool of Bethesda pilgrims of all different cultures and languages were singing the great hymns of the faith, in different languages yet we “heard” them in our own language. French, English, German, Eastern European languages, Scandinavian languages, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Hebrew, Arabic, and some I had no idea, they are all here in this city. We all know we need healing and we have come here, because it is here in Jerusalem the anti Babel. It was here on the day of Pentecost and it still is here. Jesus Christ is the “anti-Babel.” When will we learn that he is not just in Jerusalem?

I anxiously await God’s Kingdom. Come quickly Lord Jesus, heal the nations.

Jerusalem seen from the Mount of Olives

2000 year old Olive Tree in the Garden of Gethsemane

The Western Wall

The Birthplace of John the Baptist


  1. Rob, Your blog amazing, your words truly touching and profound. I feel as though I were there with you and wishing I were.

    Need to come and visit you and hear the entire story.

    Thank you, thank you for sharing.


  2. As Carol said, a "truly touching and profound" account for your trip. I wish we could all experience these sites and sounds, but alas, not many of us would have the same insights as you! Hope you had a good trip home.