COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

"Ishtar Gate" Tagged Sermons

LIVING IN A LAND OF IDOLS

OBSTACLES DO NOT BLOCK THE PATH – THEY ARE THE PATH (old proverb)

Dr. Michael Heiser in Unseen Realm writes:
“The famous story of the building of the Tower of Babel is about much more than an ill-fated construction project and language confusion. The episode is at the heart of the Old Testament worldview. It was at Babylon where people sought to “make a new (shem) for themselves” by building a tower that reached to the heavens, the realm of the gods. The city is once again cast as the source of sinister activity and knowledge.”

Dr. Michael Heiser (page 113 in Unseen Realm)
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 describes how Yahweh’s dispersal of the nations at Babel resulted in his disinheriting the nations as his people. This is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 1:18-19, a familiar passage wherein God “gave humankind over” to their persistent rebellion. The statement in Deuteronomy 32:9 that “the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage” tips us off that a contrast in affection and ownership is intended. Yahweh in effect decided that the people of the world’s nations were no longer going to be in relationship to him. He would begin anew. He would enter into covenant relationship with a new people that did not yet exist: Israel. The implications of this decision and this passage are crucial to understanding much of what’s in the Old Testament.”

According to Dr. John Lennox
“The Ishtar gate was one of eight fortified gates set in an invincible-looking broad wall that surrounded the city. According to Herodotus the walls were 80 feet thick, 320 feet high and 56 miles long. The vast tower in which the gate was set was covered with brilliantly sparkling ceramic tiles of deep blue, adorned with the alternating motif of white and yellow lions, dragons and yellow bulls. It was very striking; built with a view to impressing all who entered with the power, wealth architectural brilliance and permanence of the Babylonian Empire and above all, the glorious majesty of Emperor
Nebuchadnezzar himself.”
Reconstruction of the Ishtar gate in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. The first part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dedicatory Inscription on the Ishtar Gate reads:
“I let the temple of Esiskursiskur (the highest festival house of Marduk, the Lord of the Gods – a place of joy and celebration for the major and minor gods) be built firm like a mountain in the precinct of Babylon of asphalt and fired bricks.”
The Babylonians were brilliant architects and engineers. Dominating the city skyline was a spectacular tower or ziggurat, called Etemenanki. This name in Sumerian means the House of the Foundations of Heaven and Earth, which immediately reminds us of Babel, the original city that stood on the same site.

John Lennox writes:
“Their Hebrew prophets would have told them that the gods of the Babylonians were idolatrous deifications of the basic powers of nature – sex, aggression, greed, power, wealth, and so on.
But if that were so, how could such a high culture (far superior in many ways to the culture Daniel had left behind) have emerged from such inadequate, unsophisticated and, in their opinion, completely false religious and philosophical ideas? Was it really possible for such commerce, culture, and education to be built on a false philosophy? Or was this yet more evidence that their God was a delusion? There was much to be pondered in their first days of Babylon.”

Dr. Erwin Lutzer in his book “The Church in Babylon” writes:
“The rebellion of Babylon has carried on throughout history. The people of those days sacrificed their children to pagan gods; we sacrifice our unborn children on the altar of convenience. We do not bow down before stone idols; we give wholehearted allegiance to the gods of money, power, and sex. Too often our devotion to God is an “add on”, something done in church once a week.”

Daniel and his friends, no matter what circumstances we may face, we ought to heed the call to be a light IN THE DARKNESS. We want to be strong, courageous, and gracious, but also uncompromising as witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ in a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith. Like Israel in Babylon,
our challenge is to impact the culture without being spiritually destroyed by it. We should never forget, whatever men build, men will destroy. Whatever God builds will last forever because the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Remember, what seems impossible with men is possible with God.