“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…”
The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” (Exodus 19:4-6a, 8a NIV)
Many possess land handed down through a line of ancestors. Property that has long been in the family is not uncommon. Ownership took place long ago. A deal was struck. A deed or title followed. All parties, descendants included, became bound to an agreement. So it is with God’s people, the Israelites.
With Moses as the go-between, the Lord met his people at Sinai. A conditional agreement was made. If the people obeyed God fully and kept his covenant, they would be favored above all others on the face of the earth. They would be the Lord’s treasured possession. Though everyone belonged to Him, Jacob’s offspring would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. This is the inheritance of Israel.
With the terms of God’s covenant clearly spelled out, the gathered children of Abraham voiced their agreement. The people responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” (Exodus 19:6a) In what language did Moses communicate God’s terms? In what language did the descendants of the Patriarchs promise their faithfulness to the Lord’s covenant? They spoke in an ancient Hebrew tongue we know today as Paleo-Hebrew.
Did the Lord renege on his commitment? “Is God a man that he should lie or a son of man that he should change his mind?” (Numbers 23:19) The question is rhetorical. Of course, he has not–and never will. The Lord will have a people who keep their covenant of obedience. An outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Pentcost Redux) is all that’s necessary to reveal the chosen or elect of God. This anointing from on high will not fall upon individuals scattered here and there, but, as in Acts 2, on gathered saints (cf. Hebrews 10:25).
In the last days, the people Peter described in 1 Peter 2:9 will gather in fellowship communities by necessity. (Think of the animals that arrived two by two in ordered to be gathered into Noah’s ark.) One tongue, uttered by God’s people, will mark believers and fortify their unity. Because of language difficulties, the wicked from the nations will stumble in confusion, or–and this will be a false sign or wonder–a counterfeit Pentecost from Satan could occur.
Our brother Elijah commented on the “Pentecost Redux, Part 1” post. He pointed out that a major key to understanding tongues in prophecy is Genesis 11:1-9. Realizing that confusing language to scatter people was God’s judgment on covenant-breakers, we can easily see how reuniting the covenant keepers from among the nations will be a common tongue. Revelation 7:9-10 is evidence. Languages may not cease. Nations will be present in the Millennium, but God’s people won’t need translators. In the way Arabic and Mecca unites Muslims around the world, Paleo-Hebrew will be spoken by the saints who look to Zion as God’s Holy Hill.
In conclusion: The Israelites stood at Sinai and made a sacred vow. They spoke as one and promised God their obedience. They failed to keep their word, but their descendants who call on the Lord, will fulfill their covenant. As one people with one tongue, saints will gather around the Temple and our High Priest Jesus. There we will pledge our faithfulness to the God who saves. The difference between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion will be Pentecost Redux.