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Part 2 – Babylon: When God Restored the Use of a Single Language

Published: Wednesday, 06 August 2014 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

And God’s Word says,

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Acts 2:4-12

“What does this mean?” This is one of the most astounding questions asked in the Bible. Man will not thwart God’s plan for eternity. If you will recall from Part 1, God took a one-language world, and He made it a multiple-language world. He did this as a way of judging man’s attempt to do things their way with no need for God.

 

The episode above comes from the book of Acts. It has been 50 days since Christ died on the cross, was buried and resurrected. Jesus had told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift from His father, God. I highly recommend you read Chapters 1 and 2 of the book of Acts to get the complete picture. My purpose is to relate this episode to the Tower of Babel incident that occurred in Genesis Chapter 11.

The disciples waited as they were told, and, on the day of Pentecost, they were visited and filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the gift that Jesus had told them that God would give to them. Jewish men were expected to travel from their own nation to the temple in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. These Jews were from throughout the known world. When Babylon had wiped out the Jewish population in 582BC, many Jews fled to other countries. This is referred to as the “Diaspora” or dispersion of the Jews. Six centuries have past and the descendants of those who were dispersed no longer know the Hebrew or Aramaic language. They have adapted to the language of the nation where they live. They could not even read their Bible (the Old Testament). The verses above identify many of those nations. This is what it sounded like after God’s judgment in Genesis 11. No one could understand another person due to the differences in language.

Now, this is where it gets really exciting. As you can read in the verses above that when the disciples started to speak, the men from the other countries with different languages heard their own language and could understand! The disciples did not take a crash course on how to speak other languages. There were no interpreters with headsets (like at the United Nations) that were interpreting what the disciples were saying. To me, this is one of the most remarkable evidences in the Bible that there is a God, He has a plan, and He will execute that plan regardless of the sin of man. God enabled everyone to hear what was being said. The word “tongues” in these verses clearly refers to foreign languages and not the unintelligible sounds that my charismatic brothers and sisters speak when they say they are speaking in tongues.

“What does this mean?” Remember this question that the Jews asked? It means that God had reached a point in His love for man that He now wanted to make sure that everyone heard about His Son, Jesus Christ. The disciples were describing the life and ministry of Jesus. They were also telling the Gospel. God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for all of man’s sins. God raised Jesus from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit so that man might have a new life eternally with God.

God reversed the multiple language judgment so that we could hear about His love for us. I don’t know about you, but this gives me goose bumps. It tells me that God is in control. It tells me that some how or other, God has told every single living human being about Jesus Christ in a way that that person would understand God’s love.

This is the second part of a three part series on Babylon. Babylon forced the dispersion of the Jews throughout the world. God allowed them to hear the Gospel in their own language. Guess what they did next? They went back to their home nation and told others what the disciples had said. If you ever wanted to know God’s social media plan for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, now you know. This is God’s method for spreading the name, cross, and resurrection of Jesus Christ throughout the world. This is how Christianity spread like wildfire so quickly. I am amazed!

Next week, I’ll continue to discuss the role of Babylon in the Bible. Similar to the Tower of Babel, modern man has erected their own “Tower of Babel.” Next week, we will find that God will pronounce judgment on this new “Tower of Babel”, but this judgment occurs as a major part of End Times. You will be spiritually blessed by reading this three part series. Don’t miss them!

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