Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Revival of the Hebrew Language: Part 1 of 8

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

What is the key prophecy concerning the revival of the Hebrew language?

For many years I have been taking pilgrimage groups to the Holy Land. One of the places we always visit is the Dead Sea Scrolls Museum in Jerusalem. The centerpiece of the museum is the Isaiah scroll that is displayed in a circular glass case.

I usually gather my group around the scroll, explain its importance and then turn the group loose to explore the rest of the museum. One year, after releasing the group, as I was walking away from the Isaiah scroll, I heard someone behind me suddenly start speaking loudly in Hebrew. When I turned around to see who it was, I discovered a young boy about 13 years old with his parents. The boy was reading the scroll, using a pointer. I supposed he was practicing for his Bar Mitzvah, for reading a section from the Scriptures is always a part of that ceremony.

Isaiah Scroll

As I listened to the young man, I realized I was witnessing a miracle. It occurred to me that a Greek boy of his age could not read the Greek writings of Homer (ca 8th Century BC) nor could an American or British boy read the English of Chaucer (14th Century AD). Yet this boy could read Hebrew written 2,000 years ago.

How was that possible? Because biblical Hebrew has been revived from the dead and is spoken as the national language of Israel today.

The Death of the Hebrew Language

But I am getting ahead of my story. Let's return for a moment to the days of the Bible.

The worldwide dispersion of the Jewish people began in 70 AD when the Romans ruthlessly ended their revolt against Roman rule by destroying the city of Jerusalem, including their marvelous Temple. This dispersion from their homeland was accelerated after their second revolt was put down in 136 AD.

As the Jews were scattered, they gradually stopped speaking their native language during the centuries that followed. Those in Europe took German and mixed it with Hebrew, producing a hybrid tongue called Yiddish. The Jews who settled in the Mediterranean basin mixed Hebrew with Spanish and developed a language called Ladino.

Hebrew became confined to the synagogues where it was used for Torah readings. By the beginning of the 20th Century, most Jews could not understand the Torah readings. For them, it was like a Gentile experiencing a Catholic mass conducted in Latin.

But all this was to change miraculously, and in the process, the fulfillment of a very important end time Bible prophecy began.

The Key Prophecy

The prophecy I have in mind is one about the revival of the Hebrew language. It is found in Zephaniah 3:9 —

For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord. (NASB)

The New International Version states that the Lord will "purify the lips of the people." The New Living Translation says God will "purify the speech." The English Standard Version puts it this way: "I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech." The Living Bible paraphrases the verse to read: "At that time I will change the speech of my returning people to pure Hebrew so that all can worship the Lord together."

The more literal translations of this verse leave the clear implication that the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy will occur when all the peoples of the world are once again unified in their language, likely speaking biblical Hebrew. Whether this will occur during the Millennium or the Eternal State is not made precisely clear in the Scriptures.

For example, Isaiah 19:18 says that during the Lord's millennial reign, there will be cities in Egypt where people will be speaking Hebrew. And our key verse, Zephaniah 3:9, is set in the context of being fulfilled after God has poured out His "indignation" on the nations (Zephaniah 3:8). That's speaking of the Tribulation, so the implication is that the establishment of a universal language will occur at the beginning of the Millennium.

On the other hand, Zechariah 8:23 tells us that during the Millennium, "ten people from all languages and nations will take hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you'" (NIV). So, it sounds like national languages will continue during the Millennium, and thus the unity of language will not occur until we reach the Eternal State.

But, as you will see, the revival of biblical Hebrew as the spoken language of the Jewish people today must be considered a miracle of God and at least a partial fulfillment of Zephaniah 3:9. In that regard, it should be noted that there is no other example in world history of an ancient language being revived as the spoken language of a modern nation. The restoration of biblical Hebrew to a modern day spoken language is a unique historical phenomenon.

In the second segment on the amazing prophetic fulfilment of the return of the Hebrew language, we'll look at the person who was key to reviving the long dead language.


William Verdell said...

Since april of 2013 I have had a 10,000.00 dollar challenge concerning the rapture views pre, mid, and post views, with the post view having to prove Jesus returns within six months from the end of the seven year tribulation period to establish his kingdom on earth. u fail to understand the wrath of God and the Lamb will not happen during the seven year period but after this seven year period is over. Your other problem is u r not taking me serious as others have not for 18 years, but if im so wrong about the church going through the seven year tribulation why do I still have my 10,000.00 dollars. Its so simple to prove a pretrib rapture wrong all I do is say show me the scriptures that support that view then we actually READ THEM then I say does the scripture say what u thought it said, and for the first time they understand what they r saying isnt what the scriptures actually say. C u have ur program and ur followers so what im saying means nothing to u but u will c in time.u think im wrong call me and challenge me its so easy to prove this view wrong, dont think so? Call me and try 334-379-0964 pastor Bill Verdell Winds Of Change ministries ozark al

Billy said...


Dr. Reagan said in the previous post "We are not here to proclaim a particular end time viewpoint or to spend time debating and defending a viewpoint." and "Our purpose is to proclaim that the Signs of the Times are clearly signaling the Lord's imminent return for His Church. We are calling the unsaved to repent and embrace Jesus as their Lord and Savior before it is too late. And we are calling believers to commit their lives to holiness and evangelism."

Isn't the Lamb & Lion message and purpose, to call the unsaved to Jesus, much more important than your insignificant debate over the timing of the Rapture?

You have $10,000 to risk and gamble away? Why let those funds sit unused? Why not donate them to Lamb and Lion Ministries, or a ministry of your choice, and put the money to good use, such as say...bringing the unsaved to Jesus? Wouldn't that bring so much more joy and purpose to your life than to say "I told you so".

Billy said...

And thank God Lamb and Lion is also calling on Christians to holiness and evangelism.

Nathan Jones said...

Amen, Billy! Debate is pointless as it never changes anyone's minds.

I just point people to our information on the Pre-Trib Rapture and they can decide for themselves. For information on why I believe the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is the best argument for the timing of the Rapture, please check out these articles on our website here and here and our "Christ in Prophecy" shows posted at here.