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The Tower of Babel in Reverse

July 21, 2018

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. Acts 2:1

“They” is a reference back to Acts 1:15 where we are told about 120 believers—not just the apostles, but the whole congregation.

“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (2:2-4).

God gave these believers the ability to speak spontaneously in languages they had never learned. They didn’t have any language training. The significance of this was that there was a large crowd in Jerusalem of people from every nation under heaven (2:5). When people gathered, they heard the 120 believers all speaking different languages at the same time. It must have sounded quite chaotic. But as each of the people listened carefully, they realized that someone was speaking their own language, and of course, the natural thing was to gather around them.

When Peter and speaks to the crowd, he says, “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams’” (2:16-17).

This is the Tower of Babel in reverse. At Babel, the people were separated by the judgment of God when he confused their language. But here God is drawing people together through the speaking of different languages.

Reflect on how God continues to bring all kinds of people together by his Spirit.

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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