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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 23, 2014

Speaking the same thing

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Because of its past as the capital of the British Empire it comes as no surprise that more languages are spoken today in London than in any other city of the world – more than 250 of them! When reading a statistic like this, who realizes that this variety of languages is not a human invention but rather the result of God's intervention?

We know the story. After the flood Noahs children were to „fill the earth„ (Genesis 9:1). Instead, they did not want to be „scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth„ (Genesis 11:4). A great tower was to be their rallying point to achieve their purpose. Then God intervened and confused their language, and in so doing „the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth„ (verses 7-8). That was God's desire after flood anyway.

So today's diversity of languages is actually a result of man's unwillingness to fulfill the will of God.

In the world tomorrow the vast majority of people will want to do God's will. If God was able to confuse the speech of people at the tower of Babel, couldn't He also reverse the process if the prevailing condition was the opposite of man's attitude back then? The gift of tongues in the New Testament era would seem to confirm this. Some view a prophecy made by Zephaniah as the promise of a single pure language in the world tomorrow: „“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord„ (Zephaniah 3:9).

There has been speculation over which language that might be. Most likely it would not be any known human language, since they are all „impure„ to one degree or another. Since there are „tongues of angels„ (1 Corinthians 13:1), could there not also be a pure divine language?

It is interesting to speculate on this question, but having a common language does not guarantee unity. We see that today among people who all speak the same language.

Unity is not primarily a question of language, but rather of the heart, the inward man. That's why the apostle Paul ties unity in our words directly to our attitude: „Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment„ (1 Corinthians 1:10).

The foundation for speaking the same thing, regardless of which language we speak, is the mind of Christ, which we are to emulate (Philippians 2:5).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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