Financial historians have noticed a parallel between the construction of tall buildings (skyscrapers) and economic downturns. Perhaps the earliest examples are the Chrysler Building of New York City, begun in September 1928. The Chrysler Building was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the Empire State Building. The plans for the Empire State Building were begun in 1929, a date famous for economic collapse.
Historians look at these “towers” as an indication of economic euphoria, and there are many other examples. In 1974 the Sears Tower of Chicago surpassed the World Trade Center of New York City (completed 1973) as the tallest building. Shortly after this “euphoria” the OPEC price increases occurred and there was a worldwide economic crisis.
In 1997 the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, became the world’s tallest buildings. This was followed shortly by the Asian currency crisis and economic collapse. Asians were selling their Mercedes-Benz cars on street corners.
The Taipei 101 of Taipei, Taiwan at 1,671 feet became the world’s tallest building in 2004. The construction was begun at the peak of the “Dot-Com” stock bubble.
The Burj Kalifa of Dubai in 2010 easily surpassed the Taipei 101 as tallest building at 2,717 feet. This building was begun during the so-called “Great Recession” which began with United States real estate mortgage packages sold to investors around the world. As we all know, the value of these mortgages decreased sharply and we are still feeling the effects of the economic decline.
Beyond economic euphoria there is another way of looking at these towers. As man becomes more proud of his accomplishments, the Lord sends a correction. In these cases, the correction was economic.
History tells us that at the time of the American Revolution the tallest building in Boston, Massachusetts, was the bell tower of the Church. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, church towers throughout major American cities have been usurped by skyscrapers. Metaphorically, this says that commerce is more important than the Church.
Metaphorically, these skyscrapers are “Towers of Babel.” They are filled with people telephoning, faxing, emailing and texting one another. These communications are about commerce. Only a very small percentage gives Glory to God. There is a literal “Tower of Babel” in New York City. The United Nations Building has translators so that the babble of many languages becomes coherent.
A portion of the European Parliament Building of Strasbourg, France, is purposefully designed to appear as an unfinished Tower of Babel. By this the European Parliament is claiming to fulfill the goal of the Babylonians of so long ago. Mankind is thumbing its nose in the face of God.
This is a repeat of the events of Genesis 11 and it did not end well the last time. This rebellion of mankind fits the exact scenario of the Day when the Lord says, “Enough!” Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!