What language will be spoken in heaven? Will the people in heaven be divinely endowed with the ability to speak a common heavenly tongue? Sometimes my mind wanders into these kinds of questions trying to visualize our soul’s hope and my place in it.
Turns out that Biblical portraits of heaven point to an answer that I hadn’t seen before.
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14
It is interesting to me that the Scriptures often mention that there will be people in heaven from every tribe or nation and every language or tongue is also included. I wonder why both nations and languages are regularly mentioned? I used to wonder if God would miraculously give all people a new heavenly language, but now I’m beginning to doubt that idea.
Perhaps instead of giving us all a common tongue, God will give everyone the ability to understand, to know, all tongues, the opposite of what he did at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. This could be a beautiful way to experience the richness of culture and language that we did not know we could ever experience. Take the word love as an example. In the Greek language, there are at least four words that are all translated into love in English.
- Storge (pronounced Store-gay) – a parental bond or empathy love
- Philia (pronounced Fee-lee-a) – a friend bond or brotherly love
- Eros (pronounced Air-os) – a sexual bond or romantic love
- Agape (pronounced Ah-ga-pay) – an unconditional bond or God’s love
How cool would it be to be given insight into how other cultures use words to express feelings and life. Will God grant that insight all at once or will it be a process that, while in heaven, once we come across someone new and hear their language, then we will know it, and grow in their culture’s richness, or would we actually have to learn it and practice using it like we do today?
Since the Bible expresses that Heaven will enjoy the worship and service of people with every language, spend some time in prayer and in your imagination with God today wondering what the experience might be like for you? Then, ask God to help you, and our church, in our mission to help people from every nation and language to hear the good news.
Pastor John Riley
Jr. High Ministry