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Monday: From Babel to Pentecost — 29 Comments

  1. Thank you for including the last paragraph today - how very special that concept is - a reminder that God has a much bigger work progressing behind the scenes of the Great Controversy and any other present tiffs we might indulge ourselves in. The unity of His children in their mission of spreading the gospel to every part of the globe, is the only unity He begs of every one of us now. He wants us all to come home, together.

  2. Two things strike me from this lesson:
    One - the crowd understood what they were saying
    Two - the tongues of fire fell on all 120 gathered there which included the women (who had traveled with Jesus & his disciples), His mother and his brothers, an inclusive group of people, not only the 12 'chosen' ones.

    Just as an aside the Greek word G1100 glossa is translated by some versions as tongues and others as languages, interestingly though it is the same word used by John when he told of the first angel having a message to give to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, which in context makes it clear that it means languages.

    • All of His disciples (Jn 8:31), from Abel to the last gathered (Jn 11:52) in the end, are the chosen or elect of God(Mk 13:27).

    • Thanks Shirley for that,prior to reading your post I was just asking myself if there's anywhere in the Bible where a unique language/tongue that is understood only by a few people/ Angels is spoken of.

  3. Sometimes we focus on the physical aspects of Pentecost; the rushing wind, the flaming doves, speaking with tongues and so on. But if we step back a little we may see that the real work was the development of the unity of purpose. How do we achieve that? How does the Holy Spirit achieve that in us?

    Can I suggest that when we listen to one another, we will hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us? Unity is not the result of one side shouting louder or more emphatically at the other, but by listening to one another. How else can the Holy Spirit get through to us if we are talking all the time?

  4. Pentecost unites different origin people in one purpose. In a world of great ethnic division, it opened the way for the Good News to be spread. We need to be ready for this to happen again. What scientists are currently saying about nature and heating of the poles does not seem to be taken as serious. Our world is on a fast and free falling pace! Are we praying for the Holy Spirit to come as in the Pentecost day?

    • Amen to that. We need to earnestly pray for true repentance and the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe many believers share the word to those who God has put in our circle of influence. It's up to each individual to accept the message or not.

    • God is in control of nature, as He is our own humane nature if we let Him. He has given us dominion and has instructed us to take care of this planet but ultimately, He is still in control. It is Man thinking that he is in control that leads to the thinking that his efforts can destroy this world.

  5. Question for those who manage this blog. Why do we have to every time we post have to confirm the request to receive notifications regarding the post we have made?

    • The default setting is to receive replies, and the confirmation is to make sure that's what you want. Hopefully that will prevent our emails from being flagged as "spam," thus depriving everyone of these emails.

  6. Hi brother Inge, I hope you are well in Jesus name. This is to inform you that we have started receiving daily lesson postings as usual and we really appreciate. However, the comment section on the posts is not coming through yet. Hopefully this is sorted out. May God grant you wisdom in this regard.
    Thank you.

    • Thank you for letting us know. Our Google Feedburner service stopped working, and there was nothing obvious we could do about it. We were planning to use a different service, but it all takes time.

  7. The author puts foreward a premise in the last paragraph that I’m not sure is entirely correct. I understsnd and agree with the sentiment that one of the Holy Spirit’s mission is the unity of the church in Christ. However, the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost was not to undo the dispersion that occurred at the Tower of Babel. Ethic and linguistic diversity had always been a part of God’s original plan for His people. God’s purpose of unity of the church does not run counter to His purpose of ethic and cultural diversity. The gift of tongues on Pentacost did not discount the linguistic diversity as a part of God’s will, it reinforced it.

    • Thank you for your comment. It seems yu are referring to this paragraph:

      In a unique way, Pentecost helps undo the dispersion of the original human family and the formation of ethnic groups, which began in earnest at the Tower of Babel. The miracle of grace begins the reunifying of the human family. The unity of God’s church on a global scale testifies to the nature of His kingdom as restoring what was lost at Babel.

      It seems to me that the author is echoing the thought that Paul expressed when he wrote that in Christ, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female." (Gal 3:27-29) It seems to me that he did not mean that from then on, there would no longer be Jews and Greeks, men and women, but he meant that there would be no barriers of inequality and misunderstanding between them. Paul echoed this same thought a number of times.. (For example, see Rom 10:12, Col 3:11)

      Part of the division among nations of the world is based on different languages, because that is a barrier to understanding. God gave His church the gift of communicating with different language groups, so He could call all to Himself, to be united in one body.

      You also wrote,

      Ethic and linguistic diversity had always been a part of God’s original plan for His people.

      It seems to me that the experience of Babel runs counter to that thought. God's original plan was instituted in Eden. Communication barriers were put in place to check the spread of evil. However, God removed these barriers for His people to speed the spread of the gospel.

      God can make a beautiful thing of something that would be a stumbling block without Him. Thus cultural and ethnic diversity can be a beautiful thing if we appreciate each other in love.

      • Inge,

        I appreciate your insightful reply on the issue of God’s purpose regarding the diversity of languages and ethnic groups. Yes, I certainly agree with you from the scriptural account that God intervened at the Tower of Babel to disrupt communication and to multiply the languages. However, God’s purpose in doing this was not just to put a check on the evil plottings of man but it was to accelerate the dispersion of humans across the face of the earth per His instructions to Noah and family after the flood, as it was to Adam and Eve after creation.

        In Gen 1:28 God told Adam and Eve ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth’. God gave a mandate for man to populate the earth and subdue it. He repeated this instruction to Noah and company after the flood. In Gen 9:1,7, God commands them “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply: bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.” The process of human dispersion across the face of the earth would of neccesity have brought with it the outgrowth of a diversity of ethnic groups and languages, since you would have a concentration of people with a paticular set of genes in differents pockets and areas of the earth.

        It was to circumvent this population dispersion and language proliferation, that the world community at the Tower of Babel resolved to set up camp in that region and to safeguard their ethnic and linguistic singularity. It was in direct defiance to God’s directive that they undertook this venture. In Gen 11:4 they assert: “let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’.

        God’s act of diversifying the language and scattering the world population was to accelerate what He had instructed His children to do, but had refused.

        I certainly don’t read from the Genesis account that God’s original intent from Eden was for there to be one ethnic group and one language. As such, I certainly don’t subscribe to the notion that ethnic and linguistic diversity was an afterthought on the part of the Creator, and a wonderful accoumodation He developed in the aftermath of sin, nor an instrument whose purpose was solely to stem the tide of evil.

        God who instituted the diversity of languages gave the gift of understanding and speaking those languages to His church at Pentecost for the purpose of the Gospel proclamation.

        The unity of the church in the midst of its rich diversity will be evident in these last days unto the 2nd coming of Christ, and will continue in heaven per Rev 7:9.

      • Hi Inge,
        I'm directing the question to you but anyone can answer. Languages were given at Pentecost and I saw the need, but Missionaries nowadays have to learn the language for the country in which they are sent(most I'd say). Does this means that the Holyspirit is lacking or...I'm just trying to understand the entire concept and I may not be posing the question correctly. God bless

        • Nikki, in the days of the apostles, the resources available at that point in time would have made learning these languages too slow of a process for those who were in Jerusalem at that time. The timing of the apostles witnessing was critical and this special help was needed to accomplish the great work to be done. This gift allowed many to return home with a good understanding of the Gospel of Christ. Today the work is in progress and learning new languages is an ongoing activity. The needs of the early church are not the same needs of the church today, but the same work is being done by all who invest their time and means into doing this work with the abilities/gifts God gives to all who would be filled with His Spirit.

          There are more resources available to the church today. Even then, those who heard in their own language were able to share in that same language to their fellow countrymen, and thus this special manifestation would not be needed. This allowed the gospel to advance quickly, when it might have taken much longer.

          Remember, the early apostles were not that widely educated, but their hearers brought their abilities which expanded the effectiveness of the church greatly.

  8. Had Israel been faithful all those previous generations, Pentecost would have happened long before this. God always intended for Israel to be a light to the gentiles by their faithful obedience to God which allows His divine presences and blessings. They were to be an example to all nations of the Love and blessings of God in all they did, and their prosperity, along with their just laws, was to become a magnet to the nations. For a very brief period, Solomon's wisdom was such a magnet, until he fell away in disobedience. There were occasional flashes of God's blessings which some from other nations received with joy, but for the most part, faithfulness was rare to find in Israel.

    With the faithful remnant established by Jesus, the witness to the nations was now beginning with great power, which had been available all through the history of Israel starting with the great deliverance from Egypt. This same power is available today for all who allow the Lord to deliver them from the bondage of sin, being faithful to "walk in the law of the Lord".

    • Israel is actually a depiction of ourselves. In spirituality, we often lose ourselves and it is us who is unfaithful to God's word.

      The Old Testament is filled with many stories like these, that even the faithful remnants are no better than great fathers like Abraham, Issac and Jacob who constantly make mistakes in their lives.

      And this is applies to everybody who claims to be the faithful remnant if such a title even exist.

    • The ideal and the reality. One does not cancel out the other. Therefore we benefit from being able to acknowledge that both exist.

      I believe God recognises this reality: that whilst we need to aim towards the ideal, we will do so along a journey that unfortunately has times when we are less than ideal. That is why His foremost character trait that He revealed to Moses was compassion (Ex 34:6). Compassion is grounded in an understanding of how things actually are at times.

      And Paul also recognised this reality in his personal 'motto' (Phil 3:12-14).

      Robert has given us a picture of the ideal. Kelvin has given us a picture of the reality along the ongoing journeying towards the ideal. We are encouraged when both are acknowledged.

      • I agree that ideals and reality should both be acknowledged.

        The ideals are important but there are greater lessons to be learnt from an imperfect man who fall and pick himself up again than a superman who can do all things.

        It is more useful to learn from Israel who falls repeatedly and is able to pick himself up, than to compare ourselves with a perfect Israel who never fail.

        That's why the story of "deceitful" Jacob was a great story for mankind. For he was punished for his deceitfulness, lost his favourite son, a daughter that was raped, and had a tremendously difficult life so as to serve as an inspiration to us all, that we might learn the ways of deceit leads to destruction, and how to lean on God to overcome our sinful ways.

        • Hi Kelvin

          Only thing I would add is that I did not intend to imply that we should be comparing ourselves with the ideal. You are spot on to point out that comparison with an ideal is not useful (and is in fact detrimental).

          What I am proposing is keep on moving towards the ideal - without measuring how close or far we are. And when we get off track, get up again, readjust our course and be on our way again. And the next time we get off course, do the same thing. And the next time....

          This is what I see Paul was referring to in Phil 3:12-14. 'Christianity', on the other hand, does way too much unhelpful and unhealthy measuring!

  9. Isn’t it likely that we should be still keeping Pentecost. It doesn’t mean we would have to travel Jerusalem because Jesus said the time is coming and is now here when it doesn’t matter where you worship as long as it is in spirit and in truth! John 4:21-23 Aren’t we still looking for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the latter rain? Is it possible that it would occur again on the day of Pentecost?… Royce

    • Hi Royce, Certainly I believe we should celebrate the fact that the Holy Spirit is given to God's people, however this should be a regular occurrence in our lives not only on one day a year.

    " glossalalia "

    It is the word often used to describe the popular experience found in most charismatic churches.

    It is fabricated non-meaningful speech with disjointed sounds which are not a language. Math 6:7.

    Rev 16:13. John saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming from Satan.

    -frogs main weapon is the tongue.

    -frogs can jump great distances. This people can skip many Bible verse in search of a verse that can satisfy them.

    -frogs can jump anywhere. If you ask them they say it is the language of the angels,others say they are it is a heavenly prayer,others say the Holy Spirit gave two gifts one in acts and another in Corinthians.

    -frogs can croak quite loudly and powerfully. When frog start to croak all the others join. Frogs need a silent environment to start croaking and a noisy one to stop. This people do the same. They sing a cool song to welcome the spirit then one person starts to speak in tongues then all others join loudly finally the pastor makes some noise through the microphone to stop them.

    -frogs are amphibians. This people also spend some time in earth and some time in spiritual world where they speak a strange language that Satan can't understand but the truth is that neither themselves nor our lord and the whole heaven understand this language.

    -frogs are cold-blooded. This people make those surrounding them to fake that they can speak in tongues so that they can fit together.
    - frogs are the most numerous and diverse amphibians, being found in nearly all habitats and all continents except Antarctica. This people are almost found in all denominations except a few.

    The devil has a counterfeit for every truth of God.

  11. In 1 Cor 14, Paul contrasts between speaking in tongues in public and speaking in tongues in private.

    Paul appears to outline that speaking in tongues in public includes (a) speaking in a known language and (b) speaking in an unknown language that needs to then be "translated or explained" (1 Cor 14:5b) by the one who uttered the unknown tongue. Paul emphasises that public tongues need to be understood.

    But he also appears to affirm and promote speaking in tongues in private where the individual's spirit prays but their mind does not understand.

    How do we reconcile that:
    a) Paul spoke in tongues in private (1 Cor 14:18,19)
    b) that this speaking in tongues was not something that even Paul could understand (1 Cor 14:14)
    c) that Paul expressed the desire that his Corinthian readers would also speak in tongues in private.


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