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Wednesday, April 18 2012
The Word Of God In The Tongues Of Man
Although many humans have pretended to lower God to human level (see Is Your Church A Cult?), or raise humans to God's level (see Is Your Religion Your Religion?), God is not a man (the Hebrew word, pronounced aw-dawm, from which the name "Adam" originated, actually referred to "man" as a species, male and female i.e. "1:27 So God created man [aw-dawm] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" Genesis 1:27 KJV; see also The Garden In Eden). God is infinite in intelligence, in power, in knowledge and in life. As such, God's vocabulary is also infinite. The apostle John may well have been alluding to that, as well, with his "21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25 KJV).
But the LORD (see Appearances Of The LORD God) has been communicating with humans, in human languages, or "tongues," right from the time that He created the first humans. As we will read (in the English tongue), the LORD continued to speak to, and make Himself known to, humans in all languages - all tongues.
While human dialects (i.e. different accents of the same language) may have also developed prior to the Flood, humanity developed dialects after the Flood from the families of the sons of Noah, who grew into nations.
The descendants of Japheth developed "every one after his tongue."
"10:1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood [see also How Did The Flood Happen? and The Voyage To The New World].
The descendants of Ham developed "after their tongues."
"10:6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan [see also The Sin Of Canaan].
So too, the descendants of Shem developed "after their tongues."
"10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.
"The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and His Word was in my tongue"
It was later, in the time of the defiant "tower of Babel" that other human languages, other tongues, were created by the LORD - not so that humans couldn't understand the LORD (people of all languages surely did, as we will read), but so that they couldn't understand each other.
"11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
Moses was born of Israelite parents (see The River Of Moses), but he was raised in the Pharaoh's palace from the time that he was weaned. The language, tongue, where Moses grew up, was educated, and spoke, was Egyptian (the language of the then-masters), not Hebrew (the language of the then-slaves). When the LORD first spoke to Moses in the famous incident of the burning bush, would it have been in the language that Moses spoke and understood, or one that he couldn't understand as well?
"3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian [see Moses Of Midian]: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
It is generally and traditionally thought that Moses had some sort of speech impediment ("I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue"). But was Moses referring to a stutter (which he didn't have later), or to his then poor ability to speak Hebrew? Notice that the command was "3:16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt" (Exodus 3:16 KJV), then "3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God." (Exodus 3:18 KJV).
"4:10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
With the assistance of Aaron (as a slave, Aaron was far more likely to be fluent in his master's language than the palace-raised and resident Moses would have been in the slave language), Moses returned to Egypt to deliver the Word of God to both the Egyptians and the Hebrews. When they appeared before the Pharaoh, would the King of Egypt have reduced himself to speak in the language of his slaves, Hebrew, or would they have been required to speak to him in the official language of the king's court and nation - Egyptian? Did Moses deliver the Word of God to the Pharaoh in Hebrew, or in Egyptian? Either way, the Pharaoh "got the message."
"5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
King David was a Hebrew speaker, but notice how David described how the Word of the LORD was made available to him in his native language, David's native tongue i.e. "His Word was in my tongue."
"23:1 Now these be the last words of David.
Knowing and teaching the Word of God in one's own native tongue included the Messiah Himself. Aramaic is a member of the ancient Semitic family of languages, which includes Hebrew and Arabic (although the names are similar, Aramaic and Arabic are not the same). Originally the language of the Arameans who inhabited northwestern Mesopotamia/Syria, the various dialects of Aramaic were eventually widely used over a vast area, from Greece to India, which included Galilee in northern Israel. While He understood and could read Hebrew, Aramaic was the native and primary tongue of Jesus of Nazareth - The Messiah spoke and taught the Word of God in the Aramaic tongue (the reason that the Messiah and the apostles of Galilee could be identified by their accent when they came down to Jerusalem in Judea). Numerous teachings of the Messiah were spoken in His native Aramaic, not in Hebrew. Some well-known examples:
"1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas [Note: Cephas is an Aramaic name, Peter is a Greek name], which is by interpretation [i.e. from Aramaic], A stone." (John 1:42 KJV)
The Messiah encouraged His people that when persecution came upon them, they would speak in their own normal language, whatever it is (as we will read further), but "it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
"10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
The entire purpose of the famous "speaking in tongues," which means speaking in normal, known languages (i.e. "we do hear them speak in our tongues"), is so that the Word of God may be known in all tongues of man.
"2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come [see Pentecost: Christ's First Harvest], they were all with one accord in one place. 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Jerusalem Pharisee Saul (see The Passed Over Pharisees) was a native Hebrew speaker, so the Word of God (see What Does Word of God Mean To You?) spoke to him in Hebrew (even though, when He was a mortal human, His native language was Aramaic).
"26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
The entire point of taking the Gospel to the world isn't to teach people one language or another, but bring the Truth to all of humanity so that "every tongue shall confess to God."
"14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14:9-12 KJV)
"Speaking in tongues" is not meaningless babbling. "Speaking in tongues" means speaking in other known languages.
"14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
Fact Finder: What is the True Gospel?
This Day In History, April 18
1328: Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV ("Louis the Bavarian") deposed Pope John XXII in Rome in a quarrel over who had superior authority (see Emperors and Popes). Peter of Corbara was appointed anti-pope as Nicholas V (see Antipopes).
1689: British Chief Justice Judge George Jeffreys died in the Tower of London. He presided over the "Bloody Assizes" following the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685.
1834: William Lamb became Prime Minister of England.
1847: U.S. forces under General Winfield Scott attacked Mexican forces under General Santa Anna at the battle of Cerro-Gordo.
1906: A powerful earthquake struck San Francisco (then a relatively small town). It killed more than 1,000 people and left over 200,000 people homeless.
1943: While traveling in a bomber, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the planner of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was killed after the plane was shot down by U.S. P-38 fighters.
1946: The League of Nations was dissolved. It was replaced by the United Nations.
1949: The passing of the Republic of Ireland Act.
1950: The first transatlantic jet flight.
1951: France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed a treaty to establish the European Coal and Steel Community.
1954: Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser became the leader of Egypt.
1955: Albert Einstein, German-born scientist, died at age 76. He formulated the Theory of Relativity and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.
1974: A Washington court issued a subpoena on U.S. President Richard Nixon to produce tape recordings and other "cover-up" evidence demanded by prosecutors for their investigation of the Watergate crimes.
1996: Over 100 civilian refugees were killed by Israeli artillery that bombarded a UN compound in Qana, Lebanon.