We are not told explicitly that Hebrew is the heavenly language but is it implied?
We read in Genesis 11 that ‘the whole earth had one language and one speech’. Then they said: ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ This is of course the account of the ‘Tower of Babel’ incident which was a rebellion staged by among others Nimrod. As a strategy to thwart the plan, people received new languages instantly so they could not understand each other.
When Moses was in the desert, Adonai introduced Himself to him as the ‘God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ (Exodus 3: 5) that is, the God of his forefathers. We see that Abraham was a Hebrew (Gen 14:13) and a covenant was established with him. Gen 12:3: ‘And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ How many families? All the families… This is also a prophetic reference of the Messiah who would be born from the tribe of Judah. Thus the Lord’s identity is linked to three Hebrew speaking men.
Later on we see in Exodus 20:22: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.’ Again in Exodus 33:11: ‘So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.’ Moses should have been able to speak at least two languages: Hebrew and Egyptian. It is unlikely that God will introduce Himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then speak to him in Egyptian. We see that Moses had a difficulty as recorded in Exodus 4: 10: ‘…but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ Which tongue was he not fluent in? The Hebrew tongue of course, as he was raised in the royal family of Egypt. Aaron his brother was fluent in Hebrew and brought in to assist Moses.
In Exodus 31:18: ‘And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.’ In what language was this written? Must be Hebrew…
In the year 740 BC Isaiah (6:1-3) the Hebrew prophet saw ‘the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up.’ Above the throne stood seraphim who cried out to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts (Adonai Tzva’ot).’ This is an incredible glimpse of the heavenly temple and difficult to picture. But this is not the point. Isaiah understood what they were saying. His concern was that he was not supposed to be there as he ‘was a man of unclean lips.’ It is more likely that heaven open for Isaiah and he simply observed that was going on. This was not a stage performance quickly orchestrated to impress Isaiah. I repeat: he understood what was being said and he was Hebrew speaking.
Let’s now turn our attention to the New Testament. On two occasions we read about an affirmation of Yeshua from the Father. Luke 3: 21-22: ‘… the heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice (bat kol ) came from heaven which said: ‘ You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.’ This is an English translation of what was said. Which language do you think this was? It is most likely Hebrew. On another occasion Yeshua took Peter, John and James with him to pray. Luke 9: 28-29: ‘As He prayed the appearance of His face was altered and His robe became white and glistening.’ Moses and Elijah popped in to discuss the ‘exodus’ which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. Well, if you’re talking exodus and ascension then those two would have a bit to say about that. Again the same voice came: ‘This is My beloved Son, Hear him!’ With everyone present being Hebrew speaking, why would the affirmation and commandment come in any other language than Hebrew?
When Yeshua appeared to His disciples after His resurrection He greeted them as it written in Luke 24:36:’ Peace to you’; again this is a translation of the original. What was the original language and words? Hebrew and the standard greeting: ‘Shalom Aleikhem!’ and they would in all likelihood have answered: ‘Aleikhem Shalom!’ Clearly the language of communication was Hebrew.
Think about it: why would a Messiah Who was foretold by the Hebrew prophets come, live a Torah observant life, teach on Torah but speak any other language than the language that the Jewish people regard as the holy language. No one ever doubted His Jewish-ness as is recorded in Luke 6:42: ‘Is this not Yeshua ben Yosef, whose father and mother we know?’ If He addressed them in any other language on matters pertaining to Torah, He would lose His credibility. That said it is quite likely that He spoke other languages as well.
Paul said this when recounting His encounter with Yeshua: ‘And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew’ (Acts 26: 14). When Paul said: ‘Who are you Lord?’ He said: ‘I am Yeshua…’
John (Yochanan) son of Zebedee recorded his vision in what is known as ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’. The context and symbols referred to are all Hebrew/Jewish. All the words John heard were in Hebrew. John understood every word that was spoken.
Could there be more than one language is heaven? Maybe. God can speak to anyone in his mother tongue, so no worries there. Or will we be able to speak and understand all languages? If everyone can do this then it is the same as everyone speaking one language. Will we all switch over to Classical Hebrew maybe? But then there is the small matter of getting there first…
Let’s make every effort not to have Afrikaans in heaven as the guys will try and have a ‘braai’ over there in the corner (J )
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