What language will we speak in heaven?

1 04 2011

Our dear long-time friend, Darlene, asked a great couple of questions in a recent email.

Tell me. What language will we sing and praise the Lord when we see Jesus? I’ve always thought how beautiful all the different languages will be. But, the curse of the Tower of Babel will not be in effect . Will it be all one new language?

Let me share my answer with you:

Hi Darlene,

You have some good questions there. Rev. 5:9 and 7:9 suggest that our cultures will not be removed once we enter the Lord’s presence. That is, unless you argue that the worshippers there used to be of various cultures but are not any more in heaven. But it seems to me that God is going to be delighted with the multi-cultural and multi-lingual worship of all the nations. After all, Jesus clearly died to reach people from every tribe and tongue. It would seem important to him to hear worship in all their languages.

To me, one of the miracles of the Church is that the divisions created by languages at the Tower of Babel have been bridged by the power of the Holy Spirit. This was a key emphasis on the day of Pentecost when the Church officially began in a big way (Acts 2). The big deal there was that all different cultures of the Jews (and proselytes) present heard the good news in their own mother-tongues. The Spirit was making the point that the Church was going to be for all the nations. So heaven, I think, will be that same miracle only in a bigger, bolder scale than we can imagine. Can you fathom all the warring peoples who have fought each other over the centuries suddenly loving each other in the presence of Christ as His equally loved children?! Wow, that is going to be something.

And that is why many of us are laboring to bring in a foretaste of heaven right now, by encouraging churches to take intentional steps in the direction of including all nationalities in their church life, leadership, and worship.

So in answer to your question about what language will we speak… I think we will all speak the language we are most comfortable with, and miraculously, we will all be able to understand each other, and be understood. The other option (or is it a part of the same miracle?) is the instant proficiency of a language suitable for heaven; something like Paul mentions in 2 Cor. 12:4 “how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

Lyn’s Aunt recently went to be with the Lord. She was a very godly woman. Before dying, she had a vision of Jesus, Being an artist, she was enthralled by the vivid colors emanating from her vision of Christ. She said they were colors she had never seen before. Perhaps the language experience of heaven will be like that. Heaven will be so brilliant and miraculous in every way that it is impossible to compare it with the way things are in this earthly world where the colors are dulled by the Fall, where language is divisive due to pride, and where relationships are fractured by sin. Heaven will not have any of those limitations, but creation itself will be set free from the corruption it now suffers (Rom. 8). Wow, I’m getting excited now!


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