What Languages Will We Speak in Heaven?

Revelation 7:10 says, “They cried out in a loud voice.” This singular “voice” implies a shared language. This could be a trade language, Heaven’s equivalent to Swahili or English, second languages that many know in addition to their native languages, allowing them to communicate. Or the common language could be our primary one. It may be a universal language God grants us without our having to learn it. If he wishes, God could allow us to understand all languages even if we can’t speak them.

Genesis 11:1, 4-7 tells us:

At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. . . . Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”

The Babel account offers clues to the importance of shared language in an ideal society. God confused the language of the people and dispersed them, so their great city went unfinished. Notice that all people originally shared one language, which empowered them to cooperate together in great achievements. But because they were united in self-glorification rather than God-glorification, they embraced a false unity that would’ve empowered further rebellion and self-destruction. Because the people weren’t united around their God-designed purpose to rule the earth for his glory, God removed a source of their destructive unity and power—their shared language. Once mankind is made righteous and entrusted with stewarding the New Earth, God will likely restore a common language.

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Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries