The topic of tongues in the body of Christ is widely debated. The word "tongue" in Hebrew simply means "language". And the topic of language is most commonly overlooked in scripture, yet language is how the Word is communicated.
In today's bible study we'll be addressing the topic of language and answering the following questions:
What language did Adam & Eve speak in the garden?
What really happened when God confounded mankind's tongue during the tower of Babylon?
What made this pre-flood language so special?
And as we answer these questions, you'll discover the power of language and how to can take your prayer life to the next level.
When did our language get confounded?
The Great Misconception
A common misconception is that mankind's language was confounded by God during the tower of Babylon.
Gen. 11:4-8 "And they said, Go to, 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. 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city."
People often misinterpret what language God confounded. If you look at what happened before the tower of Babylon in context, we get a different story.
The Generations After Noah
In Genesis 10, we read how Noah's 3 sons began to multiply and inhabit different lands, with each nation comprised of a specific family and tongue:
Gen 10:5 "By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations."
Gen 10:20 "These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations."
Gen 10:31 "These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations."
So we can clearly see here that all of mankind had their own language that was specific after their families. Mankind was speaking their own regional-specific language before the tower of Babylon, it's important to note what this scripture is saying. Mankind started speaking their own languages after the flood, not before. So what language was spoken before the flood? It's easily concluded that it must have been the same language as Adam and Eve until Noah, because no other place in scripture reveals there was a change in language.
Before the tower of Babylon was formed, there was a unified language that enabled them to do it. Gen. 11:1 says the earth was of one language, and with this language they came together in unity to try to build a tower to reach up to heaven. This one language was in addition to the other pre-existing regional specific languages noted in the previous chapter. God's word even summarises all of chapter 10, ending in reclarifying the fact that everyone had their own languages after the flood, Gen. 10:32 " These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood." Lets look at the timeline of events regarding the one unified language:
Gen 10:32, restates, "by these were the nations divided in the earth" all of mankind was divided in their inhabited nations, and languages.
Gen 11:1, now all of a sudden mankind left their native language and was speaking one language before the tower of Babylon is built
Gen 11:2, then all mankind comes together after they suddenly speak this one language
Gen 11:3, all of mankind becomes of one mind to accomplish a single goal in unity
So what happened? Mankind on their own starts out divided, then after they receive this one language they suddenly become equally unified in one mind to accomplish a task. Why would mankind come together to try to reach heaven, a spiritual thing? 1 Cor. 2:14 "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." The natural man doesn't understand spiritual things. There is a character in scripture who will use all mankind for a unified purpose, Revelation 17 talks about the great whore. It says she will make all the kings of earth have one mind to give their power to the beast, the Devil. Revelation 17:13 "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
Look at what was said in Gen. 11:4
Gen. 11:4 "let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven" Why would mankind want to obtain something they've never known? Who said in their heart they wanted to ascend to heaven? Satan says this in Isaiah 14:12-14, Satan was kicked out and 1/3rd of his angels were taken with him. Satan's desires never changed, and Satan's desire has always been to get back what he lost in heaven. And we know it's demonic tongue because of What would inspire mankind to make a prophetic statement and even plan for it? Gen. 11:4 "let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." Only the Devil could know God would come down and scatter them for this evil.
The one unified language was angelic tongue, and more specifically fallen-angelic tongue, what you and I would know as demonic tongue. For two individuals to communicate, they need to speak the same language:
We see the Devil clearly communicating with Eve in the garden in Gen. 3
We see mankind having children with fallen angels in Gen. 6
Mankind, after being taught this angelic tongue work together to build the tower of babylon.
The world was an abomination and God flooded it, but a spirit doesn't die when the flesh dies. The spirits of this evil angelic offspring make up the majority of the kingdom of darkness, we know as demonic spirits.
The generations after Noah left to their own lands and spoke their own languages. It was these demonic spirits that taught mankind this demonic tongue which gave way to demonic inspiration to do the will of Satan in an effort to get back to his lost place in heaven.
But what is so special about angelic tongue?
To understand the importance of angelic tongue, we have to understand tongues. There is a lot of confusion regarding speaking in tongue in the body of Christ, and it's no surprise. It takes faith to receive, and sounds like foolishness to foolish ears.
There are two types of tongues that can be spoken, earthly tongue which is seen in Acts 2:6 "Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language." Making it clear the apostles were at this time speaking different languages on earth.
The second type of tongue is heavenly, 1 Cor. 14:2 "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." This verse clarifies there is a tongue that isn't known to man, stating "no man understandeth him". This verse also makes it clear why the gift of interpretation is needed to understand it, because no man can understand it. If it was a language on earth, they'd just get someone that knew the language to interpret it no different than what we'd do today.
Another note to add is that praying in the spirit is the same as speaking in tongues, 1 Cor. 14:13-16 "13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?"
The word of God interchangeably uses praying in the spirit and praying in tongue to describe the same thing, which is, speaking in a language that is unknown to mankind and must be interpreted by the Holy Spirit. The phrase, "gift of tongues" is literally translated to "gift of languages". Quick recap, there are two types of tongues, one that is earthly, where the Holy Spirit enables you to speak any language of earth. Then there is another type of tongue that is not of this earth and only the Holy Spirit can interpret it.
So what is the language no man on earth knows? Paul states in 1 Cor. 14:18 "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all" and in 1 Cor. 13:1 "I speak with the tongues of men and of angels..." Reaffirming the two types of tongues, tongues of men, and tongues of angels.
So what does this language of heaven do? 1 Cor. 14:1-5 says the gift of prophecy is the greatest gift, unless there is interpretation of the tongue. Romans 8:26 makes it clear, speaking in tongue is praying in the perfect will of God, and that it heals our sicknesses. Jude 1:20 says praying in the Holy Spirit builds you up, and 1 Cor. 14:4 says anyone speaking in tongues edifies himself.
The power of the tongue of angels is seen in the limitations of our earthly language. The languages on earth are founded in confusion, how often do we misinterpret the bible, general literature, and even each other. Earthly languages are a burrier to further understanding, this is even seen in the Hebrew language itself. Many languages simply don't have the words to express the same feelings, thoughts, or ideas as other languages. Jesus even points this out in John 3:12 "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" This is why Jesus spoke in so many parables, that was the closet way of translating these heavenly messages of truth. A quick skim through the prophets of the Old Testament and you can see the limiting factor to them describing what they saw, was earthly language. This even ties in with the gift of revelation, you can read a verse all day long but until the Holy Spirit reveals it's meaning, you're stuck in confusion, proving that even the native languages we speak can't give full understanding through words alone, only the Holy Spirit can through a spiritual impartation.
This isn't to say the languages of earth are ineffective to move heaven. Matthew 16:19 "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." God has given the church the ability to affect heaven by addressing earth. The visible world we see is what we target, and we use the language of earth to effect the earth, and the result of this is heaven is changed. Mark 11:23 "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith." Faith is what activates the language of earth to give it the same power as the language of heaven.
The angelic tongue does this, but flips it on it's head. The language of earth effects earth, then heaven. The language of heaven effects heaven, then earth. This is why the gift of tongue was the first gift given to the church first in Acts 2. As the church spoke in tongue, they loosed the rest of the gifts in heaven to be loosed on earth. As they spoke in tongue, they bounded it in heaven, and evil was bound on earth. Let me expand on this with a couple examples.
In Daniel 10, we read Daniel fasting and praying, then receives a vision from God. An angel speaks to Daniel telling him that since the first day he was praying, the angel was sent to give him prophecy, but this angel faced resistance from the enemy and was delayed for 21 days. A few things to note:
This was before the Holy Spirit descended, and Daniel was praying in the Hebrew tongue
His prayers were effecting the demonic oppression in the 2nd heaven, but there was oppression
We see how in faith, the language of earth is effective but takes time to bring change. We see a whole different story in Ezekiel.
In Ezekiel 37, God takes Ezekiel up into the spirit, into the valley full of dry bones. God tells Ezekiel to speak life into the dry bones, and afterwards has him breath life into them. God uses this as a prophetic event to symbolize what God is going to do in the future with the Isralites, Ezekiel 37:11-14 "11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord"
Things have to happen in the spirit before it can happen in the natural. Ezekiel was taken into the spirit and through the Holy Spirit sealed the promise of deliverance for it to later manifest in the flesh. When we speak the tongue of angels through the Holy Spirit, we bind and loose things in the future, for it to manifest in the present. The things in heaven get locked down and loosed then sent down on earth, oppression that is in the second heaven is casted down more quickly, and things like anointing and provision live in heaven, as well. This is why we can't come against principalities and higher powers directly in the second heaven, it's because our earthly language doesn't carry the power or authorization to impart change.
But how is all this the case? How is it that so much happens when you speak in angelic tongue?
The power is in the language, not the faith
What if God honored everything you said regardless of your level of faith? When was the last time you said something negative about yourself, what would happen if God honored it? What if God honored the last joke you said about someone, and made it come to pass... You can see how your mouth would be a problem then.
We have a few examples of this exact scenario happening pre-flood.
Gen 4, Cain gets cursed with the vagabond curse and then curses himself saying, "And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me."
God responded by placing a mark and curse on Cain saying "whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold"
God responded in this way because Cain, speaking angelic tongue had power in the language that established his words and made made them come to pass!
Later in Gen 4, Lamech kills two men and curses himself saying, "If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold."
In Gen 9. Noah, discovers what Ham did do him while he was unconscious drunk, and curses his son Canaan saying, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren."
When God confounded the one language, God removed mankind's ability to interpret angelic tongue. The reason God removed our ability to interpret and not to speak, was so he could reinstate this gift to the body of Christ, thousands of years later.
The easiest way to explain this is, imagine you're dropped in the middle of China and you have no ability to learn their language. For you to have any ability to communicate, the natives would have to learn your language. This is one why demons sounds so nasty when they do speak, because they had to learn mankind's language to communicate with us. The other reason is because they speak the equivalent of "angelic-cussing", when people cuss it just feels nasty, because it's wicked, and demonic tongue is the same way. You can tell the age of a demon by it's ability to fluently speak an earthly tongue. If you ever hear demonic tongue, your response has to be speaking in tongue.
But how does knowing all this help us in our walk?
There is a nugget of information locked away in all this that we can apply today. Gen. 11:6 "the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."
With this angelic tongue, whatever they focused their minds on would be possible. This facet to angelic tongue still applies today. Our job in Christ is to pray for it to be done on earth as it is in heaven. When we are speaking in tongue, we have to focus on the will of God the father, and if done correctly it will come to pass. There is a real danger in doing this incorrectly though, if you're focusing on something that is oppposite to God's will, this becomes an abomination and makes you a prime target for demonic spirits to enter and teach you demonic tongue.
One of the things I often do is, as God puts something on my heart, I focus on his love and will and speak in tongue and it often brings a very clear word from the Holy Spirit.
There have been times God has told me he wanted certain people healed, and after praying nothing happens so I speak in tongue and focus on God's healing love and then the healing breaks through
This is happened in deliverance where a demon is being stubborn, and I focus on Jesus setting the person free as I speak in tongue and then deliverance breaks through.
Looking to supercharge your prayer life? Click here