Man’s Pride – Tall Buildings


There are a number of very serious crises just around the corner, for which mankind has no real solutions.

Among these crises are:

  1. the global warming problem
  2. the depletion and extinction of many animal species (including the fish that 1/2 to 1 billion people rely on)
  3. the using up of the resources of oil, gas, and coal
  4. the out-of-control debt that most developed countries are in
  5. the growing tension between nations as they fight for the resources
  6. the 1 billion people of the world that are malnourished
  7. the increasing lawlessness, immorality, and selfishness of the people and nations

These are the greatest problems ever faced by mankind. And yet the love of greed, money, and selfish lifestyles have rendered us practically powerless to do anything to stem the growing tide of destruction.

I worked once in a skyscraper in downtown Vancouver. We were in one of the taller buildings on the west end, the one that housed the US Consulate. We were only on the 7th floor, but even at that height you felt like you were on top of the world. But it is an illusion.

When men sit in these big buildings, they think of themselves like kings, just as Nebuchadnezzar when he stated, “Is this not great Babylon which I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30) And with the next breath he lost his mind and lived like an animal for seven years.

It is a psychological delusion, a trick of the mind, which makes a man think he is like a god, and cannot fail, just because he exploits some of the power in the resources that God made. Even today, there is still a confidence in most of the people that “man will find an answer,” or maybe “science will find a solution.” Thus instead of turning back to God, man looks for an answer in himself, or in more exploitation of nature.

Man is actually proud of his ability to break God’s law and get away with it. Man looks at his prosperity and power and says in his heart, “See, we don’t need God. He’s just a fairy-tale made up by uneducated cavemen. We don’t need to obey His laws…we are more prosperous if we set them aside. We know better, and here, in our marvelous works, is the proof.”

But they don’t point to the misery, poverty, and slavery that they put others through in order to attain their dreams. In the same way, when the devil showed Christ all the world and offered it to Him, he did not show Christ the devastation and poverty…but only the beautiful fields, lush valleys, noble mountains, and fair houses.

Ellen White had an interesting vision regarding the tall buildings in New York city:

Life Sketches, p. 413 (Feb. 15, 1904)

When I was last in New York, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These buildings were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify the owners. Higher and still higher these buildings rose, and in them the most costly material was used.

As these lofty buildings went up, the owners rejoiced with ambitious pride that they had money to use in glorifying self…Much of the money that they thus invested had been obtained through exaction, through grinding the faces of the poor. In the books of heaven, an account of every business transaction is kept. There every unjust deal, every fraudulent act, is recorded. The time is coming when in their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah.

The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings, and said, “They are perfectly safe.” But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.

Certainly the fall of the World Trade Center was a partial fulfillment of this vision, but we can expect more disasters like it in the cities of our land, since they have become streams of wickedness by which the whole world is polluted. It is a terrible time we are heading into, and if it were not for faith, and the knowledge that God is still there with His still, small voice, we could not bear to contemplate the future.