Tongues – your experience, thoughts, – fake it, work it up, can it be taught, demon possessed?

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Richard Paquette
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The Question asked to me was about tongues –

 hey i wanted to ask you about speaking in tongues ….i know the bible definition but i was wondering as someone who was in the movement if you could tell me your experiences with it….i believe there are four different ways people speak with “toungs”….i believe that some people fake it because they want people to believe that they are “filled with the spirit”…some people work themselves up to it and its a mixture between psychosomatic hypnosis mixed with deliberate noises and i believe that some are actually taken over and sometimes actually speak other languages that are pretty much unheard of anymore and blaspheme God without realizing it…and others simply are taught how to by other people in the movement….i went to a pentecostal church when i was younger and at one point prayed for the “gift” while watching rod Parsley on tv…i was told to call and someone would help me “receive the gift”…the phone was busy and that was the end of that…just curious about your thoughts on the subject….feel free to post for discussion if you wish…thanks.

  my response:

 just going to highlight the points you made so we can see them openly and understand clearly what you are asking me/for discussion to others that may contribute – very good question by the way and I’ve encountered them all.

 fake it – part of the crowd or think its a sign of maturity and or saved, and or power and/or quite possibly re:Jud 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

 working it up – not sure what you mean by ‘psychosomatic’ hypnosis and mixed with deliberate noises (think by this you mean just the gibberish stuff to try to mimic what they think might be real and the hypnosis is self-induced? (like someone believing they are somewhere else, yet they never left from where they are – ie: deluded?))

 taken over and occult languages spoken – taken over by devils you mean? (you did say unheard of, but you also said blaspheme so my only guess is its occult, because even if it were languages in the past as long as it glorified God it would be ok, however it would not benefit anyone in the assembly obviously)

 not sure what and how you mean by – others are simply taught it by others in the movement (only thing I could see one teaching would be a second language already in existence such as spanish, french, russian, etc…….. however the particular gift to give praises to God in open assembly and to require another with interpretation of tongues that would have to come directly from God Himself; and whatever is being said would also have to line up with the condition of the church, the times, etc, – not some junk – like God is pleased with you, when the church is not even saved and has idols all over the place and the pastor is sleeping around with the worship leader (that is not his wife), etc……and other things like that I knew years later after things were uncovered – those tongues were fake – just a ploy to excite the listeners to listen more intently to the false teacher/fleecer)

 Rod Parsley – he is completely Word of Faith – has his own bible school……..he could care less about anyone……scary videos exposing him as well.

 they couldn’t get you to receive anything from the bible anyway – plus that is not how you receive gifts from God anyway – the Holy Spirit distributes them at will to Christians – same with gift of teacher, pastor, hospitality, etc.

 ok let me know what you are asking me, I know its a tough subject and it includes many elements such as flesh, devil, God, unsaved, emotions, etc.

 Reader wrote:

For the sake of this discussion if i say “speak in tongues” what i am referring to is the modern-day version of tongues,,,not actual languages that someone can learn

 ok …….working it up are the ones who deliberately work themselves into a hypnotic or trance like state like breathing heavy, jumping up and down and then speaking in tongues at which point they cannot even stop speaking in tongues sometimes.. i have seen this on tv and videos,,,yes self induced

 i read a book that described some missionaries that were speaking in tongues and some of the natives recognized it as their own language and the missionaries were blaspheming God without even knowing it or knowing the language,…yes i believe devil possession

 *my comment: let’s be clear – only unsaved people can be devil possessed, and yes the occult has a tongues language – I know this first hand and one can research it to verify it as well*

 (your statement) “even if it were languages in the past as long as it glorified God it would be ok”…do you believe that God does this in our age we live in?

 *my comment – I have yet to see this, but our guide is not to be experience, but the bible as our final authority*

 “others are taught”….my mom had someone try to teach her how to speak in tongues by telling her to start off with “sha-la-la” …and to repeat this until the “spirit” took over…thats what i meant.

 *my comment: sadly I was taught something similar as well – you can do it just try it, I’ll start speaking and your spirit should resonate with mine and speak its own words………..its not working I told the man……..we’ve prayed about, asked God for it and God won’t give you a scorpion so just keep asking Him for it until you receive it, all gifts are available to all believers you just have to ask (this is not true by the way, Holy Spirit gives as HE wills, not as we will)……..a week or so later I was doing the laundry at home and just started speaking in nothing even remotely close to what I heard in church – is it tongues I don’t know (I was in a false church so I’m wary of anything I received while attending there, even if I did receive outside of the church), it feels like it comes from deep within me like from a deep well – also sometimes it was like I felt like I could do anything while speaking this unknown language, sometimes it would even wake me up if I was weary………….many times however I used it as substitute for talking to God in english during prayer times……….I know I’m not devil possessed though and I know I still have it, and I know what is coming out of my mouth is unique to anything I have heard others who supposedly have the gift – I have never understood what i was saying though and to me that is a concern, so I do not speak in tongues anymore – even if it might possibly do something for me – the only thing I saw it doing for me – was lifting me up in pride and it was a distraction, – some also believe to pray in this unknown language while studying the bible is asking God for wisdom and then you either receive the wisdom in the passage or the other thing commonly taught as well is you speak in this language and then you are given the words to speak at the pulpit (if one is the preacher that is) re: prophetic word etc (this of course as you have seen is the prophetic movement heresy and the words they receive are not from God since 100% of it does not line up with God’s Word (KJV)), the pastors I also noticed would work themselves into a frenzy with this tongues just before they were to be prayed over before going out of the prayer room to give the sermon – they would stomp around the room speaking in this language for almost 30 mins – all this they felt was necessary to get their hearts right with God (of course its all a show, however they should have been repenting instead to God for all the fleecing they were doing to the congregation – so its all a show to them to try to fool the goats and try to fool the sheep if any there)*

 Questions…

 do you believe God still gives people the gift of tongues (the kind where you never learned the language..but its a supernatural gift)?

 did you ever speak with tongues (modern day )?

 do you believe any of the modern-day tongues in churches are real languages….kinda same ? as #1

 were you ever slain in the spirit..if so im interested in your description of it…like went along with it….actually were slain …etc?

 *my comment: now your asking something else, but still related to the occult side of things anyway since Satan can contefeit anything – ok slain in the spirit (no where in scripture except for judgment – re: falling backwards) – the very first time – I was told to not fight it, just go along with it, – this of course is hypnosis and persuasion – and since I didn’t want to feel left out – I let the guy push me backwards and was caught by a catcher, other times I would be already hyped up by the music and the message (come get your anointing, healing, etc) and frenzy I just went down……sometimes I would go unconscious for hours (what kept me asleep all that time?), other times nothing, other times even on the floor I would try to act like the others to be part of the crowd, other times while unconscious I had ‘revelations’ (none of which were of God, so its obvious where they came from) – the interesting thing I noticed during my 3 years at this church and others like it during those 3 years – evil FRUIT – NO CHANGED LIVES – all entertainment – very often drunkenness – no temperance – Myself I was mildly influenced, more so to try to fit in and could not figure out why I had to try so hard to be affected as everyone else was (I am thankful God actually had me learning from righteous men such as Spurgeon and Bunyan and the bible (KJV) itself and eventually out of the charismania ) – only 1 or 2 actually even saved out of 10’s of 1000s that were members or attendees of these churches – I’m of course referring to the charismania movement and the Pentecostals*

 if you spoke in tongues… which category did you fit into and what was it like the first and last time you did it?

 * my comment: now I would say as Paul said – I would rather speak 5 words (Paul said in church, but for me I don’t speak it anywhere, even at home, and I don’t feel less saved or less spiritual or less understanding of God’s Word – one only needs to look at my notes and judge it (according to God’s Word (KJV) that is)

1Co 14:19  Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.*

 do you still have thoughts of whether or not it was of God?

*my comment: I don’t believe that God would have given me uncertainty or anyone – so I am not sure what to make of it – so I don’t do it anymore*

 basically im interested in the nitty gritty of the movement and having been close to it myself and not ever running across someone who was in it and came out…it seems like a good opportunity for me to get the inside scoop…..take your time…ive been wondering for along time about this stuff so me waiting longer is no big thing.thanks for your time

 Richard Paquette: the reason I wanted to clarify things first, is because I know when I open this up for discussion I’m going to have to be prepared for all the wackos out there in the charismania and deliverance (bind this, loose that, Christian’s demon possessed etc heresy).

 it is a very good question and has to be handled with much wisdom……….. very sad you see novices post meat questions on their facebook pages and then get eaten up by the wolves of the WOF and prophetic movement, etc. 

 James gave his thoughts:

From my remembrance I was never taught this. In so far it was never repeat after me…baba black sheep. I have heard of some pastors do this. I did not work it up or get into a frenzy. I remembered I was prayed for and I started to speak in tongues. However the whole debate about genuineness was not really an issue then. But it did become one later.

 Taken over? No I could speak or not depending on what was happening. The choice was mine. There was never another voice speaking through me.

 Many of those who did speak a language I would begin to cringe at because they not only sounded silly but people would oooh and aaah at what was spoken. Tongues began to be elevated when in reality tongues was never that important. They also began to be a source of pride and arrogance. Look at me sort of thing. I would rather talk to God in a language I can understand rather than a language for all I know is gibberish. Tongues became a sign of superiority and maturity when in reality when you looked at people lives they did not show either superiority or maturity.

The fact that these same people who lived in this holy Spirit existence so called were the first to get gaught up in false teaching. They jumped ship quicker than the titanic floated. While Bible based Christians who had no interest in tongues but held to what the Bible taught showed far more stability, maturity, knowledge and understanding than the crazies who would rock the church, but followed whatever teaching and false prophet just happened to walk by.

 Yes many do fake it because the pressure to manifest tongues became crazy. People who could not speak in tongues became to be regarded as either second class Christians or not Christians at all. Which was totally foolish. The perception was that unless you could speak in tongues you were or did not have the Holy Spirit. Also foolish. While many of these things were not audible taught. people did come away with these ideas. Because of this Pride became a major error within Pentecostalism/ charismatic movements. Still does to this day.

 ———————

ok feel free to give your experiences on this (no offsite links please – if you post these I will either repost your comment w/o the link or remove the comment, so think before posting) – please note I do have as well as myself, competent ministers and those with sound doctrine (all which use the KJV, not that all who use KJV are sound in doctrine) nearby to help unleaven the discussion and or help those in error, focus on the topic not the person, thanks.

Rich

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Comments
  1. Joseph Malara reciting one of his poems from his last book “God’s Clarity Through Poetry. A bit of poetry but with a bunch of a message.

  2. agt says:
    1. PART 1 – WHAT IS SPEAKING IN TONGUES? 2. What is the Greek Word translated TONGUE? • The Greek word which is used in the New Testament in the expression “speaking in tongues” is glossa. This word has been used in Greek from the time of Homer and it has two meanings, which are clearly brought out in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Coded with Strong’s Concordance Numbers. These meanings are: 1. The TONGUE, a member of the body, the organ of speech; 2. A TONGUE, i.e. the LANGUAGE used by a particular people in distinction from that of other nations. In the Bible this word is clearly used with both of these meanings. • The word glossa is used fifty times in the New Testament, and in most cases it refers to the LITERAL tongue. Some examples that illustrate this usage are: • “And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and TOUCHED HIS TONGUE;” (Mark 7:33) • “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and COOL MY TONGUE; for I am tormented in this flame. ” (Luke 16:24) • “If any man among you seem to be religious, and BRIDLETH NOT HIS TONGUE, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. ” (James 1:26) It is also used with the second meaning, referring to a specific language which is spoken by a particular people. For example: • “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, AND TONGUE, and people, and nation; ” (Revelation 5:9) • “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, AND TONGUES, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” (Revelation 7:9) • “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, AND TONGUES, and kings.” (Revelation 10:11) As a matter of interest, the word glossa is also used with these two meanings in the Greek version of the Old Testament, known as the LXX. This is not to imply that the LXX is inspired. But it shows that the people who translated the Hebrew text into Greek clearly understood the word glossa to have these two meanings. • Some examples where the Greek word glossa is used in the LXX version include Proverbs 15:2 (“. . . TONGUE of the wise”), Proverbs 12:19 (“. . . a lying TONGUE”), Genesis 11:7 (“. . . go to, let us . . . confound their LANGUAGE”), Isaiah 35:6 (“. . . and the TONGUE of the dumb sing”) and Isaiah 66:18 (“. . . I will gather all nations and TONGUES”). These verses show that these two meanings of the word glossa are well recognized. There are no other meanings to this Biblical Greek word Glossa. The word ALWAYS means either: 1. The literal tongue in the body, the organ of speech; or 2. A specific language which is spoken by a specific group of people. The word is also used in descriptive expressions, when other things are compared to a literal tongue, such as Acts chapter 2 where the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit appeared like “divided TONGUES like as of fire” (verse 3). But such uses of the word clearly have literal tongues as their reference point. Translated into modern English the word glossa either means “a literal tongue” or it means “a language”. In 1611 A.D., when the King James Version was being translated, the word “tongue” was the common word for “language”. Keep in mind that the English language has absorbed and taken up many words from many different sources. In this particular case, both the words, “language” and “tongue”, are derived from the same Latin word “LINGUA”. The word “TONGUE” has entered the English language by way of the Old High German “zunga” (modern German “Zunge”) and the Middle English “tunge” (brought to England by the Anglo-Saxons). The word “language” entered English by way of the Old French word “langue”, brought to England by the Normans. The Anglo-Saxon word “tongue” retained its literal meaning as the organ of speech, in addition to meaning a language (e.g. the Anglo-Saxon TONGUE). The Norman (linguistically French) word “language”was used only with the meaning we are familiar with, i.e. the words used and understood by a considerable community of people. When we look at the 1611 A.D. King James Version, we see that the translators definitely favored the Anglo-Saxon word “tongue” over the French-Norman word “language”. For example John 5:2: • “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep [market] a pool, which is called in the HEBREW TONGUE Bethesda, having five porches.” (John 5:2) Here the Greek word Hebraisti is translated as “in the Hebrew TONGUE”. In the New Revised Standard Version this word is simply translated as “in Hebrew”. Notice that in the Greek text there is actually no word for “tongue”. This favoring of the Anglo-Saxon word “tongue” is also seen by how the King James Version translators translated another Greek word in the New Testament. • That is the word dialektos, from which we get our English word “dialect”. The word dialektos is used six times in the New Testament. • All six of those occurrences are in the Book of Acts. • Only once did the translators render this word as “language”(i.e. Acts 2:6); the other five times they translated it as “tongue” (Acts 1:19; 2:8; 21:40; 22:2; 26:14). In the last three of these references this word is used in the expression “Hebrais dialektos”, literally “the Hebrew language or dialect”. Keep in mind that this word dialektos never refers to a literal tongue. It is a word that specifically means “a language”, yet the King James Version translators rendered it as “tongue”. The point we should notice: It should be quite clear that when the King James Version translators used the word “tongue”, to them this word really meant a LANGUAGE, unless they wanted to refer to a literal tongue. 3. Speaking in Tongues Apart from a few brief isolated references, this matter of “speaking in tongues” is only discussed in two different chapters in the New Testament. • Those two chapters are Acts 2 and 1Corinthians 14. • Speaking in tongues is NEVER referred to in any of the epistles (Paul’s epistles as well as the General Epistles) outside of 1 Corinthians. • It simply never featured in instructing any of the New Testament congregations, apart from the Corinthians. • And the only reason why this matter is mentioned in this particular epistle is because the Corinthians had a big problem with speaking in tongues! To understand this subject fully, let’s first examine all of the isolated references to “speaking in tongues” and THEN we can focus on the places where it is discussed in greater detail, such as Acts chapter 2 and 1 Corinthians chapters 12 – 14. 4. General References to Speaking in Tongues Outside of 1 Corinthians and Acts chapter 2 there are only three references to this. Let’s examine all three places. • “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; THEY SHALL SPEAK WITH NEW TONGUES; ” (Mark 16:17) This statement is only recorded in the Gospel of Mark. • In the parallel account in Matthew 28:18- 20 this detail is not mentioned. • What Jesus Christ was saying here is: “. . . they shall speak with new LANGUAGES”. • Christ was speaking about known languages, which were spoken by gentile nations. • This was needed in order to take the gospel “into all the world” and to preach it “to every creature” (verse 15). • Without preaching in “new languages” they would not have been able to reach other nations. The next reference to speaking in tongues is: • “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, ” (Acts 10:46) What happened here was as follows: the Apostle Peter and a number of other Jewish Christians had gone down to Caesarea to the gentile Cornelius and his extended family. Peter and all of the Jews had a racial bias against gentiles. At that point they did not yet understand that God would also call gentiles into His Church. But Cornelius was already repentant and therefore God wanted to make clear beyond any doubt that He would also give His Holy Spirit to gentiles when they came to repentance. Since Peter would have been reluctant, because of his racial bias, to baptize a gentile, God simply gave His Holy Spirit to Cornelius before baptism. This would settle the question once and for all that God was indeed going to call gentiles into His Church. • Giving the Holy Spirit first made it impossible for Peter to refuse baptism, which Peter understood (verse 47). However, the receiving of the Holy Spirit is not something that is normally physically discernible. Therefore, in order to make this quite clear to Peter and to all the other Jews present, God gave these gentiles the ability to “speak with tongues”. What happened here? That should be quite easy to understand. What would have been the most convincing way for God to show these Jews that He was calling these gentile Romans into His Church? • God simply gave Cornelius and the other gentiles involved in this event the supernatural ability to speak fluent Hebrew! • Whatever Peter and the other Jews knew about Cornelius, one thing they knew was that this gentile couldn’t speak Hebrew and certainly not with the correct accent! • Therefore, when all these gentiles suddenly started speaking fluent Hebrew and quoting from the Old Testament Scriptures, this was irrefutable proof that God was in full control here. • There was no “interpreting” of any kind needed here. • ALL of the Jews in Peter’s party heard them magnify God! • All of the Jews present understood every word that these gentiles were saying when they “spoke with tongues”. • It was unmistakable. The only other isolated reference to speaking in tongues is found in Acts 19:6 : • “And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; AND THEY SPAKE WITH TONGUES, AND PROPHESIED. ” (Acts 19:6) Here Paul had come to Ephesus where he met some people who had been baptized by John the Baptist. Racially these people were Jews who had been in Palestine at some time during John the Baptist’s ministry. About 12 men were involved in this incident (verse 7). Upon enquiry Paul found out that these people, although very sincere, didn’t even know that there is such a thing as “the Holy Spirit” (verse 2), and therefore they obviously had not received God’s Spirit. So Paul explained to them the function of John’s baptism that it was only preparatory to the message Jesus Christ brought. • Once they understood this, these people were immediately baptized again, this time on the authority of Jesus Christ (verse 5). Now this event was about 20 years after they had originally been baptized by John. For the past 20 years of their lives these people had been sincerely trying to live as John had taught them. But they had never possessed God’s Spirit. NOW they were baptized again. To encourage these people themselves and to make very clear to them that this was different from what had happened to them 20 years earlier, God gave these people the supernatural ability to speak a different language. Very likely this was also Hebrew. Keep in mind that by the time of the New Testament Hebrew as a spoken language had been replaced by Aramaic. Many Jews no longer spoke Hebrew; they spoke primarily Greek and Aramaic. That would very likely have been the case with these Jews who lived in Ephesus. Whether it was Hebrew or whether it was some other language in which these 12 men started to speak, they started to “prophesy” (verse 6). This does not mean that they started making prophetic predictions. What it means is that they gave something like “inspired sermons,” correctly quoting Scriptures (probably in the original Hebrew language in which they had been written) and soundly putting the Scriptures together, in such a way that Paul and his group were left in no doubt that God was indeed working with these men. Also, these men themselves could understand that this was different from what had happened to them 20 years before. Right, that now leaves us with exactly two sections of Scripture to examine. • Acts chapter 2 gives a clear description of exactly what happened on the Day of Pentecost. This section makes quite clear exactly what is involved in “speaking in tongues”, or “speaking in a language other than the one we normally speak”. • In 1Corinthians the Apostle Paul is addressing MANY problems which existed in that particular congregation. One of those problems was that the Corinthians really desired to speak in tongues. This is something many people there really wanted to do very badly. And therefore in chapter 14 Paul specifically corrects the Corinthians about this subject. So now let’s look at Acts chapter 2. 5. The Day of Pentecost On the annual Holy Days there would be Jews from all over the Roman Empire in Jerusalem. For many it would have been the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to the Temple of God there. • When the Day of Pentecost came around, the 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) who were the result of Christ’s earthly ministry were all gathered together. • It was still only around 9:00 a.m. in the morning, the third hour of the day (Acts 2:15). • Suddenly God gave His Holy Spirit to all 120 people in this group. God drew attention to this event by announcing this giving of the Holy Spirit through a mighty rushing wind (verse 2). • Then God gave a VISIBLE manifestation in the form of a fire-like divided tongue which sat upon the head of every individual who received the Holy Spirit on this occasion. • That was an unmistakable sign to the people involved. Those who received God’s Spirit this way KNEW that they had received God’s Spirit and they also KNEW everyone else who received God’s Spirit at the same time. • How long these fire-like divided tongues remained visible is not mentioned. However, it didn’t last all that long. They didn’t walk around for the rest of the day with this flame sitting on the top of their heads. It is important to understand the VISIBLE manifestation of the giving of the Holy Spirit was intended as a witness to the 120 disciples themselves! They were left in no doubt that Jesus Christ had fulfilled His promise to send the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). But this visible manifestation was NOT intended as a witness for people at large! To them the visible giving of the Holy Spirit had no particular meaning or significance. To those around the disciples seeing these “flames” on the heads of people would have been meaningless. • To the people at large the real witness was the inspired speaking of these men. It is what Peter and the other Apostles SAID that was a witness to them, as well as the way it was said. So the 120 disciples received God’s Spirit and, • “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE. ” (Acts 2:4) This was a fulfillment of Mark 16:17, which we looked at earlier. What happened here is that they began to speak in other KNOWN languages which they had not known before! Suddenly they could speak different foreign languages. Notice this account very carefully. There were Jews from all over the Roman Empire, and even from areas outside of Rome’s influence, in Jerusalem for this particular Holy Day. • “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem JEWS, devout men, OUT OF EVERY NATION UNDER HEAVEN. ” (Acts 2:5) They were ALL Jews! But they lived in many different countries. This means that their FIRST language was the local language of the area in which they lived. In addition to this, many would have also spoken Greek, and possibly even Aramaic. For most of these people the language they were most proficient in and comfortable with was the local language of the area where they lived, the language they spoke every day of their lives. So when these 120 disciples started to all speak in foreign languages, a large crowd gathered very quickly. And because the people in this crowd were fluent in many other languages, they very quickly realized that these men here were speaking in well over a dozen different languages. Notice verse 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.” (Acts 2:6) This statement is further elaborated upon in the next few verses. • But let’s be sure we clearly understand what we are being told here. • Verse 6 tells us that there was a miracle in the HEARING! Here we have the very first example ever in the New Testament of “speaking in tongues.” Everybody present CLEARLY understood every word that was said, because he heard it in his own native language. Earlier I already mentioned that the word translated as “language” in this verse is the Greek word dialektos. • Here were a group of men “speaking in tongues” (Greek glossa) (verse 4) and the people around them heard them speak in “KNOWN languages” (Greek dialektos) (verse 6)! This is the very first explanation in the New Testament regarding what the speaking in tongues is all about. It makes clear that “speaking in tongues” amounts to speaking in dialects, known languages, dialektos! The next few verses elaborate on the statement in verse 6. The people could see that the apostles were all Galileans, whose accent was normally easily recognizable. • “And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak GALILAEANS? ” (Acts 2:7) The next verse again is a clear explanation of what is involved in “speaking in tongues”. Notice: • “And HOW HEAR WE EVERY MAN IN OUR OWN TONGUE, WHEREIN WE WERE BORN?” (Acts 2:8) Here the Greek word translated as “tongue” is again dialektos. This shows us clearly that the King James translators viewed the two words “tongue” and “language” as totally interchangeable. In Acts 2:6 they translated dialektos as “language” and two verses later they translated the same word as “TONGUE”. But the Greek word itself clearly refers to known spoken languages. The next few verses list some of the languages in which people heard the Apostle Peter and the other apostles speaking. • These known languages included (see verses 9-11): • the Parthian language; • the language of the Medes; • the Elamite language; • the language of Mesopotamia; • the language of Judea; • the language of Cappadocia; • the language of Pontus; • the language of the province of Asia; • the language of Phrygia; • the language of Pamphylia; • the Egyptian language; • the language of Libya; • the language of Cyrene; • Latin, the language of Rome; • the language of Crete; • the Arabian language. Verse 11 sums this list up as follows: • “Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. ” (Acts 2:11) Very clearly this was a miracle in the hearing as well as in the speaking. This section also brings out the PURPOSE for this gift of speaking in tongues. • That purpose is to help people understand the truth of God in their own native languages. • The purpose is to facilitate understanding! • There is nothing in this account in Acts 2 that justifies any form of speaking gibberish! Let’s summarize this experience that took place on the Day of Pentecost: 1. The Apostle Peter spoke in a known language. We have his words recorded for us here in Acts 2:14-36. 2. EVERYONE understood every word Peter said. People from different geographic areas (where different languages were spoken) SIMULTANEOUSLY heard Peter speaking in the own native languages! 3. These people, in turn, were able to ask Peter an intelligent question (verse 37), to which Peter then gave an answer (verses 38-39). Again, everyone present would have heard Peter’s reply in their own native language. Why have you now switched over to speaking Greek or Aramaic? For the people to suddenly all have only heard Peter speak in Aramaic (or in Greek) would have been an anti-climax; as if the first part had been nothing more than “a show” to entertain people. 4. It is VERY clear from this section that “speaking in GLOSSA (i.e. tongues)” amounts to “speaking in DIALEKTOS (a known language or dialect)”. That is evident from comparing verse 4, which uses the word glossa with verses 6 and 8, which use the word dialektos. 5. At no stage in Acts chapter 2 is it implied that the speaking in tongues involved uttering sounds that some in the audience could not understand as clearly known words from clearly known languages. Everyone understood and there was no need for any “interpreters”. Right, this summarizes the “Pentecost experience”. • Any experience today which claims to be of the same type as what happened back then must be evaluated by these same criteria. This brings us to 1 Corinthians. 6. What is the Background of 1 Corinthians? In this letter the Apostle Paul corrects the Corinthians for many problems. In fact, the main purpose for this letter was to correct wrong ideas and wrong practices which the people in Corinth held to or practiced. Specifically: • they had divisions over which ministers to follow (chapters 1-4); • they condoned an adulterous relationship (chapter 5); • they were taking one another to court (chapter 6); • they had questions about sex, divorce and remarriage (chapter 7); • the things sacrificed to idols (chapters 8-10); • suitable hair-lengths for men and women (11:1-16); • some kept the Passover incorrectly (11:17-34); • they desired impressive spiritual gifts (chapters 12-13); • some misused the matter of speaking in tongues (chapter 14); • some rejected the idea of the resurrection (chapter 15). So, apart from the closing comments in chapter 16, the entire letter is devoted to correcting and explaining these ten subjects. It is helpful to understand that in chapter 14 the Apostle Paul is addressing a specific problem which existed in Corinth. The way Paul explains this subject reveals to us the problem that existed. Further, we should be able to see that Paul’s discussion of spiritual “gifts” in general in chapters 12-13 was intended by Paul to lay the groundwork for what he was going to explain in chapter 14. 7. The Manifestations of the Spirit • The Spirit of God is invisible. • When someone receives God’s Spirit there is NOTHING we can physically discern which proves that the person has indeed received God’s Spirit. • There is no physical evidence of any kind. • There is really only one way we can know that someone has God’s Spirit. • And that way is that we can look at the effects which God’s Spirit will have in the person’s life. • We can’t see the Holy Spirit itself, but we can see the FRUITS which it will produce. • At times the Holy Spirit will also impart certain POWERS and ABILITIES to those who possess the Holy Spirit. • We know that the Holy Spirit is a spirit of power, of love and of a sound, balanced mind (see 2 Timothy 1:7). • The FRUITS which God’s Spirit will produce are listed in Galatians 5:22-23; the POWERS which God’s Spirit sometimes imparts are listed in 1Corinthians 12:7-11. We would like to have the assurance that we do indeed have the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus Christ plainly said that the way we are to glorify God the Father is by producing MUCH FRUIT (see John 15:8), but from our point of view so often we would like to see the evidence of POWER! “Power” is much more impressive than “fruits”. But obvious “power” is only bestowed on some people some of the time, but godly “fruits” should be present all the time. Since the Corinthians were especially concerned with the impressive manifestation of “speaking in a foreign language”, Paul introduced this subject by listing ALL of the ways in which the presence of God’s Spirit can become obvious. This is found in chapter 12: • “But the MANIFESTATION OF THE SPIRIT is given to every man to profit withal. ” (1Corinthians 12:7) The word here translated as “manifestation” is phanerosis. It is used only twice in the New Testament. It is derived from the verb “phaino”, which literally means “to bring out into the light”. The only other place where the noun “phanerosis” is used is in 2Corinthians 4:2 : • “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but BY MANIFESTATION OF THE TRUTH commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2) • This should make clear that this word “manifestation” means: to bring out into the open, to make known, to bring out into the light where it can be clearly seen, etc.. So in 1Corinthians 12:7 Paul is saying that there are different ways in which the presence of God’s Spirit is clearly brought out into the open for all to see. He then proceeds to list 9 different ways in which the presence of God’s Spirit is brought out into the open. • These nine different ways are enumerated in verses 8-10. They are: 1. spiritual wisdom; 2. spiritual knowledge; 3. godly faith; 4. the gift of healing; 5. the working of miracles; 6. prophecy (including inspired preaching); 7. discerning of spirits; 8. speaking different languages; 9. the interpretation of different languages. It is precisely because the Corinthians were so eager to speak in tongues, that Paul listed the speaking and interpreting of tongues right at the end of this list. This is already Paul’s first step in putting the matter of speaking in foreign languages into its correct perspective. After some discussion Paul then talks about some kind of a structure that God has established. Paul uses the words “first”, “second” and “third”, etc. and again shows that “speaking in tongues” ranks right at the bottom in order of importance before God. This is covered in verses 28-30: • “And God hath set some in the church, FIRST apostles, • SECONDARILY prophets, • THIRDLY teachers, • AFTER THAT miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, • DIVERSITIES of TONGUES. • [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? • Do ALL speak with TONGUES? • Do ALL interpret?” (1 Corinthians 12:28-30) • Unlike the fruits of the Spirit of Galatians chapter 5, which every Christian must produce in his or her life, these positions or functions within the Church (apostles, prophets, teachers) as well as the supernatural gifts (miracles, healings, speaking with foreign languages, etc.) are NOT for all; they are selective as God chooses to bestow these things. And they are not required for salvation, but the fruits of the Spirit ARE required for salvation. Now keep in mind that Paul is talking about “the manifestation of” (i.e. bringing out into the open the evidence of) the Holy Spirit. And so while these nine different things Paul listed in verses 8-10 can indeed reveal the presence of God’s Spirit, Paul now tells us: but there is even a better way to be absolutely sure of the presence of God’s spirit! As he said in verse 31: • ” . . . and yet shew I unto you A MORE EXCELLENT WAY. ” (1 Corinthians 12:31) A more excellent way for what? A more excellent way for discerning the presence of God’s Spirit! And then Paul proceeds to thoroughly explain godly love, the first of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The point Paul is making is this: • The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are a far more convincing evidence for the presence (the manifestation) of the Holy Spirit than any number of spiritual gifts or prestigious positions within the Church. • The presence of real godly love (Greek agape) is the ultimate proof for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Having made this point, Paul then again shows the relatively lesser importance by far of speaking in foreign languages. And so he proceeds to explain that without the foundation of godly love the gift of speaking in foreign languages is without any real value: • ” Though I speak with the TONGUES of MEN and of ANGELS, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. ” (1 Corinthians 13:1) Different languages will only exist for a limited time. There is a time yet future when God will give all people one pure language, and all the other languages will cease to exist. • ” Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; WHETHER [THERE BE] TONGUES, THEY SHALL CEASE; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away. ” (1 Corinthians 13:8) Right, we have now examined every single reference to “speaking in tongues” apart from those in 1Corinthians 14. So now let’s examine this chapter in detail. • 1 Corinthians Chapter 14 • As with the rest of this letter, Paul is here addressing something that some people in Corinth were doing wrong! • This means that they were NOT using the gift of languages for the same purpose for which it was used in Acts chapter 2. • There it had been used to communicate with people in more than 15 different known languages. • Here in Corinth there was some kind of misuse of this gift and that is what Paul addresses, the misuse of speaking in foreign languages. Paul’s purpose statement for this whole chapter is found in verse 26, where he wrote: • “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. • Let all things be done unto edifying.” (1 Corinthians 14:26) • This above verse spells out the problem Paul was addressing here! • There was confusion! • People were motivated by vanity and a desire to appear to be knowledgeable and important. • They were motivated by a desire to exalt the self and to appear very spiritual! So notice: speaking in a foreign language was not the only problem that existed in this congregation. There were other problems. Now ask yourself this question: • Is there any indication here that Paul felt that those who had “a revelation” and those who had a new “doctrine” to explain were necessarily inspired by God? No, that is not implied at all! IF Paul felt that all of the people he addresses in this verse were indeed INSPIRED BY GOD, all at the same time, THEN Paul would most assuredly not have attempted to place any restrictions on these people. Can you understand this? What we see in Paul’s way of handling all these different things people were doing in the name of “godly inspiration” is that Paul felt that AMONGST THEM ALL there may very well have been SOME who were inspired by God, but the rest were probably just doing these things on their own efforts without any kind of inspiration from God. That is why Paul imposes CLEAR RESTRICTIONS on people doing all of these things! • The various statements Paul makes throughout this chapter make quite clear that Paul himself didn’t believe all these things were done through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Now when we look at the gift of speaking in tongues for a moment: there is really no difference between someone who has been given by God the gift to speak a foreign language without first having to have learned that language over a period of a number of years and someone else who grew up speaking that language as his mother tongue. • The difference between those two individuals is not in how they speak; the difference is in how they acquired THE ABILITY to speak that particular language. • The one person learned it in the process of growing up and the other person was given that ability supernaturally without any effort on his own part. • Recall that at the tower of Babel God gave EVERY human alive the ability to “speak in tongues.” At one minute they all spoke the same language, and in the next minute everyone on Earth spoke a different language from the one he had spoken a minute earlier (unless God chose to let one particular group retain the original language, which is certainly a possibility). It seems that at that time about 70 different “tongues” came into existence, from which all of our thousands of different languages and dialects today have sprung • ANYONE who has learned a foreign language, which the people amongst whom he lives do not understand, is in a position to IMITATE the gift of tongues! In Acts chapter 2 we saw there were Jews in Jerusalem who came from at least 15 different linguistic backgrounds. Corinth was a prominent and prosperous harbor city, with a constant stream of foreign visitors such as sailors, pilgrims, merchants, slaves, artisans and so on. No doubt there were as many different languages spoken in the streets of Corinth as in the streets of Jerusalem. Therefore it is highly likely that a number of the people in the Church at Corinth could speak at least ONE other language which many other people were not familiar with. Now supposing that some of the people in the Church there had indeed been given the gift of speaking in a foreign language. For example, what if some of the 12 men in Acts 19:6-7 had by this time moved to Corinth? They would have had that gift. As far as the ability to speak is concerned, such men with the GIFT of tongues would not have differed in any way from those who had learned over a number of years to speak a foreign language. For example, supposing that a Jew who had diligently studied Hebrew for many years came into the Church at Corinth. His ability to speak Hebrew would have been identical to the man who was given the ability to speak Hebrew as a specific gift from God. • And so quite a number of people, in their desire to appear important in the Church, could have claimed that they had the gift of tongues, since they could speak foreign languages which hardly anyone else around them understood. • This could easily create envy in other people, who were just as carnal and who wanted to appear just as important as those who claimed to speak in tongues. Some of these people might have fervently focused on this desire to also receive this gift, to the point of “praying down the spirit” when people do this today they create immense problems of chaos and confusion, clear signs of the influence of Satan. And that is precisely what we see the Apostle Paul addressing in this chapter. • He is addressing conditions of chaos and confusion. So now notice how Paul addressed these problems of people wanting to impress others with their ability to “speak in tongues”. Paul’s Clear Statements in this Chapter 1. The Apostle Paul did NOT use the word “gifts” in this chapter. • Where the word “gifts” appears in the text of the King James Version (i.e. verses 1 and 12) it is in italics, to indicate that there is no word for “gifts” in the Greek text 2. The Apostle Paul also did NOT use the word “unknown” in this chapter. • Where this word “unknown” appears 6 times (verses 2, 4, 13, 14, 19, 27) in the text of the King James Version it is also in italics, since it is not contained in the Greek text. 3. The word Paul DID use quite often in this chapter is the word “language” (Greek is glossa). • The word glossa is used 15 times and the compound word “heteroglossos” (“other languages”) is used one time. In the King James Version this Greek word is translated as “tongue”. 4. Paul does NOT say that the LANGUAGES, in which the people who were causing problems in Corinth were speaking, were necessarily “GIFTS FROM GOD,” though that possibility does exist. • However, I don’t think it is right for us to ASSUME that in this chapter we are necessarily dealing with “the MISUSE of a spiritual gift”. It is highly likely that at least SOME of those who CLAIMED to have the gift of speaking another language had simply learned this other language at some stage in their past, while others again may have “prayed down” some counterfeit “gift of tongues”. • Those who had the ability to speak a rare foreign language simply USED that ability to make themselves look important. 5. Paul said very plainly that he himself could speak in more different languages than any of the people in Corinth. • ” I thank my God, I SPEAK WITH TONGUES MORE THAN YE ALL: ” (1Corinthians 14:18) • In modern English this would be: “I thank my God, I can speak more (different) languages than any of you.” • Now while Paul no doubt had been given a gift of speaking several foreign languages (so he could function as the apostle to the gentiles), he had ALSO learned several different languages in the process of growing up. • The languages he had LEARNED would have included Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew (as a Pharisee). Very likely he had also learned the local language of the area of Tarsus, where he grew up. Since he had inherited a Roman citizenship by birth, perhaps he had even learned some Latin, though that may be debatable?! • The point to notice is in his statement in verse 18 Paul does not in any way differentiate between the languages he himself had actually LEARNED, and those which God enabled him to speak supernaturally, as a spiritual gift. THEY ARE ALL LUMPED TOGETHER! 6. There is no such thing as “an UNKNOWN language”! • Somebody MUST know it or otherwise it cannot be a language! • It is this word “unknown”, which is NOT contained in the Greek text at all, that people have exploited in order TO JUSTIFY what they call “speaking in tongues”; when they utter sounds which are totally UNKNOWN to anyone in the immediate audience though they could very possibly be words from some extinct language from the central Amazon basin or from outer Mongolia or any other of the thousands of languages that have existed in the course of the past nearly 6000 years. • IF we are going to provide an additional clarifying word in these 6 verses (verses 2, 4, 13, 14, 19, 27), THEN what we should say is “in a FOREIGN language”, rather than to say “in an UNKNOWN language”. • The context of this chapter makes quite clear that Paul had “foreign” languages in mind (those spoken in diverse parts of the Roman Empire, etc.), rather than “unknown” languages. 7. Apparently some women in the Corinthian Church were involved in this “speaking in tongues”. • Whatever they were doing, Paul was confident that it was NOT as a result of godly inspiration or a spiritual gift from God, as he very clearly instructed that these women were NOT to speak in tongues at Church! • “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. ” (1 Corinthians 14:34) In the next verse Paul stated it even more strongly when he said: • “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. ” (1 Corinthians 14:35) 8. Whatever the people in Corinth were doing in this matter of speaking in tongues, it created a certain amount of CONFUSION, which was another clear sign that this was not done under inspiration from God. Therefore Paul said very plainly: • “For God is NOT [the author] of CONFUSION, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ” (1 Corinthians 14:33) At the conclusion of this whole section about speaking in foreign languages Paul made this same point again, when he said: • “Let all things be done decently and in order. ” (1 Corinthians 14:40) • This statement implies that this is not the way the Corinthians were handling this at all. • They had chaos and confusion, with every one wanting to appear important (again verse 26). • The word here translated as “decently” is “euschemonos”, an adverb which is used only three times in the whole New Testament. In both of the other places where this word is used (Romans 13:13 and 1Thessalonians 4:12) it is translated as “honestly” in the King James Version . • This word literally means “A GOOD (Greek ‘eu’) EXTERNAL FORM (Greek ‘schema’)”. And that is precisely what “honest” is. It is a good external appearance which is a true and correct reflection of what is inside. • So even here in Paul’s closing comment in verse 40 we have a hint that not everything that was going on in Corinth was really “HONEST”! 9. Apparently some of the people in Corinth who spoke in tongues were not in control of their own minds when they were doing this speaking. • It seems they were “taken over” by some power which controlled them while they were “speaking in tongues”. • Therefore Paul made the clear statement that God’s true servants must always be in control over their own minds. • “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. ” (1 Corinthians 14:32) It seems that Paul was warning against some who were not in control of their own minds. 10. The “tongues” Paul had in mind were all languages that people could “LEARN”. • Those who were not familiar with a particular language that was being spoken are identified as “UNLEARNED”. • ” If therefore THE WHOLE CHURCH be come together into one place, AND ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and THERE COME IN [THOSE THAT ARE] UNLEARNED, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?” (1 Corinthians 14:23) The word here translated as “unlearned” is also used in verse 16, where it appears in the phrase “he that occupies the room of the UNLEARNED”. The word used here is “idiotes” and it is defined in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament as follows: • “the word properly refers to a private person, but the noun has many other meanings also, each one of which is understood from its antithesis, as e.g. A COMMON SOLDIER as opposed to a military officer; A WRITER OF PROSE as opposed to a poet; AN UNLEARNED ILLITERATE MAN as opposed to the learned and educated.” So when this word is used, the key is always to look at its antithesis to understand the meaning that is attached to this word in that particular context. The three times this word is used in this chapter (in verses 16, 23 and 24) show that “unlearned” correctly conveys the meaning Paul had in mind. With these points in mind, let’s go through this whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 14, to make sure we don’t overlook any relevant information. 8. A Verse-by-Verse Examination of 1Corinthians 14 • Verse 1: Make the development of love, the first of the fruits of the Holy Spirit a top priority in your life. After that, desire to be used to give inspired preaching (i.e. to prophesy). COMMENT: It is quite obvious that many of the Corinthians really WANTED to speak in Church. It seems many of them saw their means of achieving this goal by claiming to “speak in a foreign language”. So what the Apostle Paul now does in this chapter is NOT to say: “look, none of you are qualified to speak in Church; therefore be content to just be listeners”. No, instead Paul actually holds out HOPE to these Corinthians that there really was a way in which they could achieve their desire to speak in Church. • That way is “to prophesy” which is to give INSPIRED PREACHING! The reason why Paul chose this approach should be readily apparent. When someone speaks in a foreign language (be it based on a language one could speak as a gift or be it based on having learned that foreign language at one stage or even be it that the speaker was totally faking the whole thing), THEN the center of attraction is the act of speaking “in tongues” itself. Whether what is actually said is of any value or not is almost incidental to the whole “happening”. By contrast, when someone tries to give inspired preaching, THEN what people evaluate is THE CONTENT of what is presented. It is THE MEANING of what is actually said that becomes the focus. And when someone presents way-out, unbalanced ideas which could only be designated as “nonsense”, then this becomes apparent VERY QUICKLY! And the people with sound spiritual judgment will very quickly REJECT such nonsense! Now the chances are that everyone in the Church at Corinth understood Greek, even if Greek was only a second language for some of the people there. Certainly, if there were any people at all in that congregation who could NOT speak and understand Greek, it would only have been a very tiny minority. The chances are that ALL of the members there were able to understand Paul’s letter when it was read out to them. Therefore there really was NO NEED for anyone in Corinth to “speak in tongues”. And therefore it should be quite clear that God was NOT the inspiration behind the large number of people who desired to speak in foreign languages (verse 26 again). So Paul now looks at and compares BOTH forms of speaking in Church: speaking in a foreign language and speaking in the language every one in the congregation understood. • Verse 2: Those who speak in a foreign language are not understood by the audience. So EVEN IF the message was inspired, nobody would benefit from it. • Verse 3: Those who speak in the common language are clearly understood and WHAT THEY SAY can benefit the hearers. • Verse 4: With those who speak in a foreign language the focus is on the self as the center of attraction; but with those who preach in the common language the focus is on the message they present, which can then edify the audience. • Verse 5: Paul is not against the true expression of speaking in a foreign language; it is just that inspired preaching in the common language is SO MUCH MORE VALUABLE! • The only time there is any value to using the gift of speaking a foreign language in a preaching situation is EITHER when that “foreign language” is actually the common language for the audience, OR when there is someone available who can provide a sentence-by-sentence TRANSLATION of what the speaker is saying. In this latter situation IT IS ASSUMED that the speaker himself is not fluent in the “common language” of his audience! Regarding the word interpret which is used here, the Greek word is the verb “diermeneuo”, which is defined in Thayer’s Lexicon as follows: 1. to unfold the meaning of what is said, explain, expound; 2. to translate into one’s native language. This verb is used only six times in the New Testament. The first of these two meanings is exemplified in Luke 24:27 : • “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. ” (Luke 24:27) The second of these two meanings of this verb is exemplified in Acts 9:36 : • “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named TABITHA, which BY INTERPRETATION IS CALLED DORCAS: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” (Acts 9:36) The point is that in Aramaic the name “Tabitha” means “a gazelle”. And in Greek the name “Dorcas” also means “a gazelle”. So here in Acts 9:36 this verb “diermeneuo” is used with the meaning of “to translate”. No “interpretation” in the sense of “expounding and elaborating and elucidating” is needed. It is just a straight translation from one language into another language. Paul uses this verb “diermeneuo” three times in this chapter (i.e. in verses 5, 13 and 27). A careful examination of this whole chapter should make clear that Paul uses this word with the same meaning with which it is used in Acts 9:36. It is a straight translation from one language into another, without any “interpreting” and “elaborating” of unknown factors by the translators. After all, that is exactly what is needed when someone speaks under inspiration in a foreign language. We need to have it faithfully and accurately translated into our own language so that we can think about the meaning of what has been said. • Verse 6: Even if I DO speak in a foreign language, what I say must STILL be sound doctrinally. There must be a real message! Implied here is that this was NOT the case with some of those who “spoke in tongues” in Corinth. In the previous verse Paul has ALREADY shown the need for a translator to be available. Later he will emphasize this again. • Verses 7-8: Every word we say must convey some MEANING! Implied is that this was not the case with some who “spoke in tongues” in Corinth. • Verse 9: Our goal should always be to speak words which are “EASY TO BE UNDERSTOOD”. Obviously this is not what the people in Corinth were doing. • Verse 10: Every word in every language has a meaning. • Verse 11: If we cannot understand another person and that person cannot understand us, then it is useless for us to preach to that person. • Verse 12: Focus on genuine service to other people, so you can edify others. Your focus on speaking in tongues is really just so much vanity! • Verse 13: Therefore NEVER preach in a foreign language if you also speak the common language of the people in your audience. If you really don’t speak their language (this would NOT have been the case with most of the “tongue-speakers” in Corinth!), THEN only speak if there is a translator available, to translate your message sentence-by-sentence. • Verse 14: Without a translator available, speaking in a foreign language is a total waste of time! • Verse 15: Therefore only pray and sing and preach in a language that your audience can understand, either directly or through a translator. • Verse 16: The uneducated, those who have not LEARNED the language in which you would like to speak, will be totally clueless as to what you are saying. You are wasting their time! Comment: This also applies to those religious services which are conducted in a language that no one in the audience speaks; e.g. a Catholic Mass in Latin for people who couldn’t tell you the difference between Latin and Chinese. • Verse 17: Speaking in a foreign language wastes everybody’s time. • Verse 18: Paul spoke more different languages fluently than anyone in Corinth. If anyone could have used this gift of speaking in other languages, Paul was THE prime example. • Verse 19: Paul NEVER spoke in a Church service in a language which his audience did not understand! He NEVER did! Yet he had the gift of tongues more than anyone else in Corinth. THIS SHOULD TELL US SOMETHING! • The ONLY valid reason for speaking in a foreign language is a desire to COMMUNICATE understanding! The very purpose why Paul did have the gift of speaking other languages was precisely so that he always COULD speak in the local language of his audience and NOT so that he could then speak only through a translator. • Verse 20: All of you in Corinth who have misused this matter of “speaking in tongues” in Church services, please UNDERSTAND the very purpose of this gift. It is to facilitate greater communication, not to make the speaker look important. • Verse 21: People were no longer hearing God’s message in Hebrew. Now (i.e. at Paul’s time) it was being preached in GREEK. But it doesn’t really make a difference as to which language God uses to reach people, as they will still (by and large) reject His message. • Verse 22: This verse is vital to understand! • The gift of supernaturally speaking a foreign language is really only a witness and a sign and something that is impressive TO THE WORLD AT LARGE! • It is not, and never was intended to be, a sign for those in the church! But understand something else: when Paul said that speaking in “tongues” was NOT to be a sign for true believers, Paul was in effect telling the Corinthians: Therefore don’t try to speak in tongues in the church of God! That is Paul’s own example. He simply was not going to speak “ten thousand words in a foreign language” to any group of God’s people (verse 19 again). • Verse 23: A description of what apparently was taking place in Corinth. These people who “spoke in tongues” made the services look like a lunatic asylum to any sane outsider. Obviously Paul did not want people to do this type of speaking! • Verse 24: If all the speakers at services (later he explains that there should never be more than two or three speakers during one service) have SOUND MESSAGES, in words that are “easy to be understood”, THEN outsiders will have a hard time trying to find fault with our presentation and our messages. • Verse 25: That is the only way that we can be used to reach those people whom God is calling. The truth of God will convict them in their hearts. • Verse 26: The problem in Corinth was confusion as a result of vanity and a desire to exalt the self. • Verse 27: IF there really are people present who only speak a foreign language, but who DO have a genuine message for the brethren, then AT THE MOST let two or three speak at one meeting; and then only one after the other and also only if a translator is available for each one of these speakers. Implied is that in Corinth several of these “tongues-speakers” would speak simultaneously and they didn’t seem to be concerned about whether anyone in the audience actually UNDERSTOOD what they were saying. They just wanted to show off their ability to “speak in tongues”. • Verse 28: NEVER let someone speak in a foreign language in Church if there is no one available to translate accurately. • Verse 29: Never have more than two or, at the most, three different speakers at one service. The rest of the congregation should listen and, in a positive way, evaluate what is being said. • Verse 30: If it became clear that someone in the audience was suddenly being given special understanding by God during the course of a sermon, then the speaker should just sit down and let this other person continue with the message. We do not have this custom today! The reason for this in Paul’s time was as follows: no one in the congregation had his own personal copy of the Word of God right there in his own hands. People would quote from memory. A speaker did not have the opportunity to prepare his topic with a concordance; he had to rely on what understanding he had gained through his reading and studying. IF he got into a subject where he really didn’t have all the biblical facts, someone else might be better informed and have a better understanding. With a right spirit and attitude this other person might ask to present what he understood about this subject. The previous verse set clear limits on this process. It was not to degenerate into a type of discussion-cum-debate. At the most there could be three different speakers. • Verse 31: If you so desire, you can all have the opportunity to give sermonettes. That is part of the training which is available in the Church. It was assumed that the elders, or ministers, would give the major messages. Paul had already discussed the role of the ministry earlier in this book (see chapter 3). • Verse 32: Those of you who desire to speak in foreign languages please understand something: you NEVER give control over your own mind over to an outside power. WHAT you say and THE WAY you say it must always be something you yourself have control over. NEVER utter sounds, the meaning of which you yourself do not understand. • Verse 33: Be sure that what YOU do does not produce CONFUSION, because that will clearly not be of God! • Verse 34-35: Women are not to speak during Church services. Therefore women are not to speak “in tongues” during services either. • Verse 36: If you don’t agree with these instructions I have given in this chapter, who do you think you are? Has God given you some special revelation which He has not also given to me, Paul? • Verse 37: If anyone claims to understand the truth of God and the will of God, let him acknowledge that the instructions I have given you in this chapter are the commandments of God. • Verse 38: Don’t waste your time arguing with those who disagree with these instructions. • Verse 39: So make the desire to serve and to edify other people a top priority in your life. And if there really IS someone who has the gift of speaking in a foreign language (e.g. a traveling Church member from another part of the empire), then let him speak according to the instructions I have given you here. • Verse 40: But remember, always conduct services in an honest and decent and orderly fashion. THAT is what God would have you do. Well, now we have examined every reference there is in the New Testament to “speaking in tongues”. We are now in a position to see the whole picture of exactly what is meant in the Bible by “speaking in tongues”. So let’s summarize all the facts. 9. Putting the whole picture together • In the New Testament there are only two sections of Scripture which discuss “speaking in tongues”. • In Acts 2 we see that “speaking in tongues” involved speaking in over 15 different languages. • The use of the Greek word dialektos also proves that “speaking in glossa” involves speaking in known languages (or dialects). • The Greek word glossa, translated as “tongues”, very clearly means “KNOWN languages”. • The very purpose of the gift of speaking a foreign language is to eliminate the need for a translator. IF the use of speaking in a foreign language CREATES the need for someone to do the translating, THEN this actually contradicts the very purpose for WHY this gift was given in the first place! • There is nothing in the prime biblical example of “speaking in tongues” (i.e. Acts 2) which in any way justifies the modern practice of speaking gibberish. • In 1 Corinthians 14 we do NOT have an example of “speaking in tongues”. What we have in this chapter is Paul’s dealings with either THE MISUSE of this gift or A COUNTERFEIT of this gift! A careful reading of this whole chapter shows that Paul actually CONDEMNED what many people in Corinth were trying to do. • Yet today people are trying to emulate the very things which Paul condemned amongst the Corinthians. • Many of the things which Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 14 are things we can readily identify in the modern practice of “speaking in tongues”. And so the result today is the same as it was in the days of the Apostle Paul, confusion! • Paul himself very clearly NEVER spoke in a language that was unknown to his audience. He used the gift of “tongues” to speak in the language common to the people of the area where he happened to be. 10. The Modern Practice of Speaking in Tongues If the modern practice of “speaking in tongues” in some churches of this world is not something God has inspired, then what is it? • To understand the answer to this question, we only need to look at the correction Paul laid out in 1Corinthians 14. • It can all be summarized by saying that this practice created a condition of chaos and confusion, which sane people can only describe as “mad” (1Corinthians 14:23), and which involved those who were “speaking in tongues” not being in full control of their own minds (1Corinthians 14:32). • And that is precisely the case today! • Those who “speak in tongues” are not in control of their own minds. • They have no control over the sounds and words they utter. • This means that “an outside power” actually controls their minds when they are “speaking in tongues”. • Since Paul makes quite clear that such an “outside power” is not the Spirit of God, therefore the only other possibility is that such people are under the influence of demons when they “speak in tongues”. • We should recognize that amongst “speakers in tongues” there are those who fake the whole thing. • They want to appear important and so they fake the entire experience based on what they have seen other people do. • But as far as those who are influenced by demons are concerned, the demons take over control of the person’s vocal chords. • The demons get these people to utter words and sounds which the people themselves do not understand. But the demons very clearly understand what these words and sounds mean! • It should be quite clear that when demons influence people to say words the people themselves do not understand, then such speech is going to be nothing more than a stream of bitter and abusive blasphemies in some obscure language (the demons are familiar with every single human language and dialect that has ever existed). • The whole episode (the things that go on while someone is “speaking in tongues” and the confusion that is created) make a mockery of the worship of the true God, and the meanings of the words and statements which are uttered will reinforce this fact. • So beware of the practice of “speaking in tongues”. • What is happening today has no resemblance to what happened in Acts chapter 2. And don’t ever allow any outside force to take control of your mind, not even for a minute. • YOU yourself are responsible before God for your mind and for what you think and say and do. • And always remember Matthew 12:36 : • ” But I say unto you, That EVERY IDLE WORD that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. ” (Matthew 12:36) • NEVER say something which you yourself do not understand!
  3. agt says:

    11. PART2 – A CLOSER LOOK AT SPEAKING IN TONGUES
    • A major segment of Christianity believes that speaking in tongues and other “spiritual gifts” are necessary to validate the gift of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians.
    • What can we learn from a closer look at the scriptures on this subject?
    • Speaking in tongues was one of the spiritual gifts that accompanied the coming of the Holy Spirit, marking the beginning of the New Testament Church on the Day of Pentecost after Christ’s death and resurrection.
    • Surprisingly, the gift of tongues is mentioned in only seven chapters in the New Testament.
    • Examining these passages will help us understand the Bible teaching on the subject and its relevance for God’s Church today.
    12. Mark 16:17
    • Mark 16:17 appears to support the teaching that speaking in tongues is necessary by including “they will speak with new tongues” with several “signs” that “will follow those who believe.”
    • Does this passage mean that everyone who is baptized will always experience all of these spiritual gifts?
    • If so, it would mean that any believer should be able to lay hands on the sick and cast out demons.
    • There are no New Testament examples of anointing and laying on of hands for healing by anyone other than Jesus Christ, the apostles and elders of the Church.
    • Although anyone can use the name of Christ to rebuke evil spirits, casting out demons in others is also primarily a ministerial function.
    • The seven sons of Sceva had to learn this lesson the hard way (Acts 19:12-16).
    • It is important to note that Jesus made this statement in the context of the great commission to preach the gospel.
    • Even on their training tour, the disciples were given the power to anoint and heal the sick and to cast out demons (Mark 6:7-13).
    In Luke’s account of the disciples’ amazement over the results of their ministry (Luke 10:17-20), Jesus had promised them “authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” and said, “Nothing shall by any means hurt you.” The apostle Paul was able to shake off with no harm a poisonous snake that had bitten him during his ministry on the island of Malta (Acts 28:3-6).
    • Mark 16:17 relates primarily to promises for the apostles and elders in the line of duty. But even for them, the promises were not automatic, universal and for all time.
    • The gift of healing is subject to God’s will (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
    • For example, the apostle Paul had a gift of healing (Acts 19:11), yet later in his ministry we read that Paul left fellow laborer Trophimus sick in Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20).
    One assumes that Paul anointed Trophimus and prayed for him, but he was not healed.
    Paul was also stricken with some malady and besought the Lord three times, but he was not healed (2 Corinthians 12:5-8).
    So Mark 16:17 does not prove that speaking in tongues is necessary to validate the presence of the Holy Spirit.
    13. Acts 2:1-21
    • When the Holy Spirit was first given, all present were “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (verse 4).
    • Verses 7-11 clearly explain that these “tongues” (glossa in Greek) refer to known languages.
    • Verse 8 alsorelates a lesser-mentioned fact—that everyone heard them speak in their own dialect (Greek dialektos).
    This passage clarifies the meaning of “new tongues” in Mark 16:17. These languages were not new in the sense of being unknown.
    Rather, they were new to those who spoke them because they had never spoken these languages before. The range of meanings of kainos (translated “new” in Mark 16:17) includes “unused” and pertaining “to being not previously present” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition (BDAG), by Frederick William Danker, et. al., from BibleWorks software, 2000).
    Their ability to speak the language of another nation had nothing to do with human training or learning but was a miracle from God.
    • “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” (Acts 2:4, NRSV).
    Peter quoted the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 to explain this phenomenon as an initial fulfillment of the dramatic signs and wonders that would take place “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Acts 2:14-21).
    In addition to the impact of the miraculous aspect of this event was the practical benefit that everyone present was able to understand each other without interpretation. Some have pointed out that this was the opposite of what took place at the Tower of Babel.
    14. Acts 10:44-48
    The historical context of this passage is the beginning of salvation being made available to Gentiles.
    Luke mentions briefly that Jewish members were impressed by the fact that the Gentiles spoke in tongues, and as a result recommended that they be baptized.
    The miracle of tongues was thus a “sign” of God’s presence and power that proved to them that God had given the gentile believers the Holy Spirit as He had previously done for Jewish believers on Pentecost.
    15. Acts 19:1-7
    This passage describes the baptism of 12 men in Ephesus who “spoke with tongues and prophesied” after “the Holy Spirit came upon them” (verses 5-6).
    These men had not even heard of the Holy Spirit prior to meeting Paul. So when they were baptized, God chose to confirm the existence and presence of the Holy Spirit by means of the gift of tongues and prophecy.
    This event marked the beginning of the congregation in Ephesus, one of the major congregations in the early Church.
    16. Historical summary
    So far, we have seen that Jesus promised spiritual gifts to His disciples to help them fulfill their preaching ministry.
    All three passages in Acts chronicle milestone events in the foundational history of the New Testament Church.
    • In all three cases, it is important to factor in the Jewish mind-set that Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 1:22, “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom” (NIV). Or as the NLT puts it, “The Jews … want a sign from heaven to prove it is true.”
    So God chose to confirm His presence in these key events by means of the miracle of speaking in tongues, as promised by Jesus in Mark 16:17.
    Unlike the other promises Jesus offered the disciples in Mark 16:17, the passages in Acts show that speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy were practiced by new believers, not just by the apostles and elders. However, the accounts indicate only that this was done immediately after receiving the Holy Spirit. There is no indication that these new converts continued to speak in tongues and prophesy on other occasions to prove that they had the Holy Spirit.
    17. Tongues in Corinth
    This brings us to the situation in Corinth. Far more information on the subject of “tongues” appears in 1 Corinthians than all of the previous passages combined.
    Many consider 1 Corinthians 14, which has often been called “the tongues chapter,” as the most definitive source of information on the subject.
    However, the foundational passage for determining the method and meaning of speaking in tongues should be Acts 2 for several reasons:
    1. Pentecost was the first occurrence of this gift.
    2. The text clearly states that the miracle was from God.
    3. The text clearly explains that the gift of tongues (glossa) refers to a supernatural ability to speak in known languages.
    What about Corinth? Have you ever wondered why the Corinthians, with all of their carnality and related problems, would be given the gift of tongues?
    We need to read very carefully what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in order to assess their situation properly.
    18. Background and context of 1 Corinthians 14
    Paul wrote this letter to the Church of God at Corinth to deal with serious problems, including congregational rifts, intellectual vanity and overemphasis on knowledge, serious misconduct relating to Passover observance, involvement and participation in pagan ceremonies, doctrinal heresies and disorder in church services.
    He also wrote to reply to these and other questions posed to him by members of the congregation (7:1).
    Paul begins dealing with this problem by explaining basic points about spiritual gifts (12:1-30) on the heels of a lengthy discussion of idolatry.
    The contextual connection of these two topics suggests that the pagan, idolatrous past of many in the congregation had a direct bearing on their errors of belief and practice regarding spiritual gifts, as well as affecting many of their other problems.
    In chapter 12 Paul seeks to set the record straight about spiritual gifts in response to questions that they had asked in their letter to him.
    In verse 1 he begins the specific topic of spiritual gifts by expressing a desire for the Corinthians to not be “ignorant” (“uninformed”—NRSV) on the subject of spiritual gifts. The implication is that they were uninformed about this at the time of writing.
    In verse 2 he refers to their pagan background, which involved counterfeits of true spiritual gifts.
    Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Gerhard Kittel (Vol. 1, p. 722) documents a number of extrabiblical references in which glossa refers to ecstatic utterances in pagan cults, documenting that this was a common religious practice in New Testament times as well as throughout Greek history.
    The BDAG lexicon offers as one definition of glossa, “an utterance outside the normal patterns of intelligible speech and therefore requiring special interpretation, ecstatic language, ecstatic speech, tongue,” and concludes,“ There is no doubt about the thing referred to, namely the strange speech of persons in religious ecstasy … as found in Hellenistic religion” (BDAG lexicon from BibleWorks software).
    Putting these two verses together suggests that the Corinthian congregation’s lack of understanding regarding spiritual gifts combined with the influence of their pagan past resulted in problems that Paul addresses specifically in chapter 14.
    So Paul had to explain how God works in regard to spiritual gifts to correct the errors in their understanding and practice resulting from their pagan past.
    It would be a mistake to think of the worship service in Corinth as being similar to an orderly, structured service with pre-assigned sermonette and sermon. Rather, it was a disorganized, disruptive, disorderly scene with members clamoring to be heard with either a “teaching” (didache), a “tongue,” a “revelation” or an interpretation (14:26).
    • These unregulated, spontaneous displays resulted in chaos and confusion in their worship services (14:33, 40).
    The fact that Paul concludes the chapter with the admonition, “Let all things be done decently and in order” tells us that decency and order were not present in their services.
    The Corinthians were apparently making a false show of spirituality with their spiritual gifts.
    Their display of false spirituality was causing division in the Church.
    John MacArthur offers an excellent assessment of the charismatic chaos in Corinth, “The desire to ‘look spiritual’ was why the gift of languages was exploited and perverted to such a great degree” (The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective, p. 108).
    So Paul instructs them on the purpose of spiritual gifts. He shows them that one member of the Body of Christ is not superior to another member of the Body of Christ just because he has a gift that another person doesn’t possess. In fact, the purpose of spiritual gifts is to edify the whole Body of Christ.
    • While some were flaunting what they claimed to be their spiritual gifts, especially speaking in tongues, others were not being edified (14:2-19).
    Paul puts this topic in proper perspective by emphasizing that dramatic displays of faith are worthless if not based on love (12:31-13:13), which forms the springboard of his admonitions for restoring decency and order to their worship service (14:1a).
    Love must be the motivating force behind the proper use of spiritual gifts, and edification of the Church is the intended result (14:1-19).
    • How, he asks, can anyone be edified by someone speaking in a tongue (language) that he or she doesn’t understand? He encourages them to desire rather to “prophesy” (“to proclaim an inspired revelation”—BDAG lexicon, from BibleWorks software).
    • Paul explains that the gift of tongues is to be a “sign” to unbelievers, not to fellow Church members (14:22). He emphasizes the priority of “prophesying” within the congregation, because this results in edification of the body, whereas speaking in a different language (especially without interpretation) is, at best, edifying only to the speaker (14:1-5).
    • Although speaking in tongues is to be a “sign” to unbelievers, if a nonmember happened to walk into their service, he would think they were “out of their minds” if everyone were speaking in tongues (14:23). On the other hand, if everyone were prophesying, the combined effect could result in the person worshipping God, with the conviction that God was working through them (14:24-25).
    • But regardless of what spiritual gift one may desire to express, it must be done in an orderly fashion in order to achieve positive results (14:26-33). He concludes this instruction by stating that “God is not the author of confusion” (14:33), implying that God is neither pleased with, nor the source of, the disorderly condition of their alleged spiritual conduct.
    • After making these fundamental points, Paul gives specific instructions for correcting the problems that have resulted in chaos (14:26-40).
    • If anyone speaks in a tongue, there must be someone to interpret, for the sake of being understood by the rest of the congregation (14:6-17). Paul emphasizes this priority by stating that he would rather utter only five words that result in the audience understanding than ten thousand words in a language that the audience would not understand (14:19).
    He emphasizes the motivation of love for exercising spiritual gifts in a manner that would result in edification of the congregation.
    • Instead of several people talking at the same time, he instructs them to take turns speaking and enjoins respectful silence upon the rest of the congregation so that they might learn and be edified (14:27-31).
    In addition to this practical information, Paul subtly and inductively explains how true spiritual gifts are manifested in the hopes that some would realize that these characteristics do not match what was taking place in their congregation.
    • In verse 32 he writes, “The spirits of prophets are subject to [the control of] the prophets,” hoping that some will recognize that members exercising what they claimed as their spiritual gifts were out of control.
    • In verse 33 he writes, “God is not the author of confusion,” leading to the obvious conclusion that God is not the source of this chaos and pandemonium.
    The Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes, “The word akatastasia is a strong one, indicating great disturbance, disorder, or even insurrection or revolution (Luke 21:9).
    Paul is afraid of unregulated worship that might lead to disorderly conduct and belie the God of peace who has called them to be orderly” (Vol. 10, p. 276).
    • When we understand the chaotic, disorderly state of affairs that Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 14, it is apparent that this chapter does not present a model for understanding speaking in tongues or exercising spiritual gifts, but rather how not to.
    19. Influence of Corinthians’ pagan past
    • Is it possible that at least some of the Corinthians’ charismatic practices were satanic, pagan counterfeits?
    • Consider Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore [in view of their ignorance and pagan past] I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (NRSV).
    • Why would Paul make such a statement?
    • Apparently because some, claiming to be prophesying, did say “Let Jesus be cursed.”
    This statement reflects a Gnostic belief that rejects the humanity of Jesus and is certainly not of God, as Paul plainly states. He does not tell us who and how many made these statements.
    These could have been heretical impostors infiltrating the services seeking to undermine the work of God and/or members of the congregation influenced and inspired by the wrong spirit to utter this blasphemous statement.
    Another point to consider is that the “tongues” miracle on Pentecost resulted in people understanding what was said without interpretation as they heard in their own dialect what was being spoken (Acts 2:8).
    • The “tongues” spoken in Corinth did not. So no one was edified because they did not understand what was being said (1 Corinthians 14:6-19).
    • Based on what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, it is obvious that members of the congregation were uninformed on the subject of spiritual gifts. This and the influence of their pagan past resulted in the chaotic, disorderly displays that Paul sought to set straight. So the Corinthians do not provide a model for the proper practice of speaking in tongues.
    20. Conclusion
    • Speaking in tongues is a supernatural gift that God has given at times during the history of the Church to further the growth and development of His work.
    • It is neither a guarantee nor a proof of conversion. It was certainly never intended to be used to try to show spiritual superiority as in the manner of conduct that Paul encountered at Corinth.
    • Nor was it meant to be practiced at all times by all believers as a proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
    The true spiritual gift of speaking in tongues had a strategic purpose in the plan of God in the early history of the Church.
    • As Peter tells us in Acts 2, the Bible prophesies a great time of genuine charismatic revival, accompanied by heavenly signs “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Acts 2:14-21; Joel 2:28-32).
    However, dramatic, speaking in tongues is only a temporary phenomenon with limited value.
    • As Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 13:8 (NRSV), “But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.”
    • As he advised the Corinthians, “Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
    • That way is love, because “love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:8, NRSV).

  4. agt says:

    21. PART 3 – Can Christians Today Have the Gift of Speaking in Tongues?
    • Is speaking in tongues a gift of God or a deception of the Devil?
    • Can someone speak in tongues without it being either?
    • Can Christians today truly have this gift?
    • Or was miraculously speaking in other languages a gift limited to the first century and the early church?
    • Are “tongues” just other human languages, such as Chinese or Arabic, or are they special angelic languages?
    • Must Christians speak in tongues before they can have salvation?
    • Can people correctly speak in tongues during a church service when no one translates those tongues for others present?
    • Are there ways today to scientifically investigate the claims of Pentecostalists that didn’t exist in the past?
    These questions and others are answered below.
    The Pentecostalist and Charismatic movement’s claim that Christians today have the gift of speaking in tongues is shown to be invalid, for the Biblical reasons explained below.
    • Much of the basic issue about the Charismatic movement’s claims concerns whether the “tongues” in question have to be real human languages.
    • Furthermore, most of the Biblical data bearing on this controversy about speaking in tongues is found in three chapters of the Bible: Acts 2 and I Corinthians 12 and 14.
    So this doctrine doesn’t require a huge study to figure out, unlike the case for whether works contribute to the salvation process or not, or whether God is a Trinity or not.
    Furthermore, the last two passages are also about how to conduct church services in general, not merely about how to administer the gift of speaking in tongues during church services.
    And I Cor. 12 is much broader in scope than being just about speaking in tongues: It makes the well-known analogy between the church and Jesus’ body.
    It points out that different parts (church members) have different functions as God allows them to have, as per the gifts they are given.
    22. Are “Tongues” Just Other Human Languages?
    Now, if we use the Bible to interpret the Bible, rather than reading into a given passage possibly preconceived ideas, we’ll find that the gift of tongues was the ability to speak other human languages, such as Japanese, Quechua, or Amharic.
    On the day of Pentecost, one of the annual Holy Days listed in Leviticus 23, the Holy Spirit first came en masse to a large group of (seemingly average) people at once.
    • Acts 2:4 states what happened miraculously in a nutshell: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
    • Now, were these angelic languages or some other special language of the Holy Spirit unknown to other human beings?
    What does the Bible itself say?
    • Verses 5-6: “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. [They were pilgrims in town visiting for this special annual Holy Day–EVS] And when this sound [from the Spirit’s arrival] occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.”
    • In verses 9-11 is a list of all the places/nations these Jews from around the known world had come. Yet, they could understand the 120 disciples of Jesus as they spoke. Interestingly enough, the miracle was as much in the hearing as in the speaking, for these people could understand what was being said.
    • So, in a typical Charismatic service today, do most or any of the people actually understand what those supposedly speaking in tongues are actually saying?
    • Someone may claim to have the gift of interpretation of tongues, but it’s hardly like the whole gathered group can understand what’s being said as it is originally spoken.
    • So that’s a key difference between what happened in Acts 2 and today’s Pentecostalist services.
    • Notice how the miracle in Acts 2 was the opposite of what occurred at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:6-8, in which people were miraculously made to not understand each other.
    23. Did Paul Speak with the Tongues of Angels?
    • In Mark 16:17, we find the gift of speaking in tongues would appear among true Christians: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues.”
    Now, how do we know that this gift wouldn’t be, say, the ability for a native monolingual Spanish speaker to suddenly speak Chinese or Navaho?
    After all, if someone spoke (say) Urdu around me, as a number of my college roommates did who were from Pakistan, I wouldn’t be able to understand them any more than if it was an alleged angelic language.
    Now, it is true, that Paul said hypothetically (using an “if”) that if he spoke with the tongues of men and of angels, but didn’t have love, it would be like making noise on instruments (See I Cor. 13:1).
    • Speaking conditionally, he said, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels . . .”
    But should this be taken as a literal statement of fact?
    • Notice this isn’t a flat statement, but a conditional, a hypothetical.
    • Do we then take literally his other conditions before saying love is of much greater importance also literally, as flat statements?
    • Would we ever have knowledge of all mysteries? Would we ever have all faith, such as to literally move mountains? (Verse 2)
    • Would we ever give up all our possessions to the poor and have our dead bodies burned? (Verse 3)
    • Notice he said if these hypothetical were true, but that he didn’t have love, it would be of no value.
    • Therefore, I Cor. 13:1 shouldn’t be taken as a statement of fact, but rather a what-if hypothetical about if one had a particular gift in an overwhelming measure, but if one still lacked love, it would be of no value.
    After all, could Paul speak all human languages?
    I seriously doubt it, despite he said he spoke more tongues than all the Corinthian Christians together (I Cor. 14:17).
    So why should we believe he spoke angelic ones also?
    • Doctrines that assert believers can have the gift to speak in the tongues of angels should be built upon the flat statements or assertions of Scripture, not hypothetical.
    24. Are Interpreters Required When Someone at Church Publicly Speaks in Tongues?
    • Another major problem with standard Pentecostalist services is that they often aren’t conducted in an orderly fashion in accordance with the directions given in I Cor. 14.
    • For example, if someone speaks in a tongue, but he has no interpreter, he should remain silent.
    The gift has to be regulated administratively within the church even when its manifestations are authentically a gift from God (verses 27-28):
    • “If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.”
    So if a lot of people speak in tongues all at the same time but no one understands or interprets them, it can’t be a true gift from God, but some kind of error or deception is happening.
    • Paul also said to speak in a tongue was a wasted effort when no one could understand what was being said (verses 9, 11, 16-19):
    • “So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken?
    • For you will be speaking into the air. . . . If you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
    • For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
    • I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
    After all, if someone stood up, and spoke Chinese for an hour at services in a sermon, I wouldn’t understand a word of it.
    • Paul in this chapter’s context interpreted tongues as regular human languages (verses 10-11):
    • “There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world [not heaven], and none of them is without significance.
    • Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.”
    • Obviously, these aren’t angelic languages or some special language of the Holy Spirit. Rather, it would be as if I started to speak, and someone heard Arabic or Swahili.
    25. How Can Tape Recordings Be Used to Test the Claims of Pentecostalists?
    Now today the Charismatic movement’s claims can be tested in ways that didn’t exist in the past.
    For example, suppose some Pentecostalists assert that they can interpret tongues.
    Here’s a practical way to test whether anyone can really interpret tongues or not:
    Tape record what is said to be a tongue. Then apply these two approaches:
    1. After an investigator tapes the Pentecostalist service during which this alleged gift manifested itself, he could play back the tape for the purported interpreters separately from each other.
    • Do their interpretations agree? If they don’t, something bogus is taking place in the speaking, the hearing, or both.
    • If God is inspiring the interpreters, they should interpret the tape recording identically.
    2. After making the tape recording, the researcher could check whether or not highly repetitious phrases or sounds occurred, transcribe them phonetically, and then ask (cf. Matthew 6:7), “Would God would miraculously inspire ‘vain repetitions’ in His people?”
    • Does this supposed “tongue” have a “vocabulary” of highly repetitious sounds or “words,” in a way a normal English speech or conversation would never be constructed?
    • Does its sounds resemble a Hindu mantra’s?
    • From our knowledge of actual human languages, could we say such sounds or repetitious noises were actual words being spoken in coherent statements that have meaning?
    • Or are they just noises with less meaning than (say) what whales make to each other in the oceans?
    • Another interesting approach would be to see if there are other (false) religions (Hinduism would be a good place to start) that have prophets making similar sounds to what occur among Charismatics, who should believe that Christianity is the only true faith (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
    • If the same sounds occur, it’s a sure sign of something kind of psychological self-deception or even demonic manifestation is happening.
    26. Can People Speak in Tongues Without Help from God or Satan?
    Historically the pagans in Corinth (and elsewhere in the Roman Empire anciently) worked themselves up into an ecstatic frenzied state of euphoria similar to what many Pentecostalists say they experience today.
    In the context of citing a scholar of the Roman Empire’s mystery religions, John F. MacArthur Jr., in “Charismatic Chaos” (p. 164) describes how the human mind psychologically could work itself up into an emotional/psychological state of ecstasy:
    • “The worshiper would get into a state where his mind would go into neutral and his emotions would take over. The intellect and conscience would give way to passion, sentiment, and emotion. This was ecstacy, an intoxicating condition of euphoria.”
    • Nor is everyone who claims to be speaking in tongues is demon-possessed or demon-influenced.
    • People apparently can work themselves up into these manifestations in ways that don’t have much directly to do with God or Satan.
    • Considered purely on a scientific and rational basis, the human mind and its relationship to the brain even today remains a rather mysterious faculty/organ.
    • We humans can do all sorts of odd things when under the influence of hypnotism, mesmerism, or some other psychologically or emotionally induced state.
    27. Is MacArthur’s “Charismatic Chaos” Always Correct?
    Now John F. MacArthur Jr.’s book, “Charismatic Chaos,” is a useful book to read on this general subject.
    But he goes too far in certain ways in attacking the claims of Charismatics.
    For example, I think this gift is theoretically possible even today among true believers, but I don’t believe presently any authentic manifestations of it occur.
    I don’t see any truly convincing evidence that it exists reliably in the true Church of God today, but that may change shortly before Jesus returns (cf. Acts 2:17).
    After all, the Two Witnesses will prophesy, and they will be human beings who will be killed before being resurrected miraculously and then ascending to heaven (Rev. 11:3-13).
    It’s a poor argument to claim this gift passed with the closing of the canon of Scripture.
    That meaning that has to read into I Cor. 13’s discussion of tongues ceasing and the perfect’s arrival.
    Rather, this text (vs. 8-10, 12) refers to Jesus’ return and/or the Restoration of All Things.
    28. Does the Bible Teach About Two Types of Speaking in Tongues?
    The distinction that has been made about two types of tongues (“prayer language”/”public language”) is an artifice to get around the texts that regulate speaking in tongues so that people can still do whatever they want.
    This distinction has to be artificially read into Scripture (i.e., eisegesis).
    A similar claim is to say everyone has to speak in tongues after being baptized, but that not everyone afterwards has to speak in tongues, which almost makes this gift a condition to salvation.
    Consider this: If this minister is praying in public, then he is bound by the same restrictions as he would be if he were preaching from the pulpit. Suppose he suddenly breaks into some unknown language. So long as the ungifted are around him, and no interpreter is present, he should be silent then when it comes to his (alleged) gift:
    • “Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified” (I Cor. 14:16-17).
    29. Is Speaking in Tongues a Condition for Salvation?
    It’s a Pentecostalist overkill to assert that Christians need to speak in tongues (i.e., 17th century King James Version English for “languages”) in order to worship God correctly.
    • It’s not a requirement to speak in tongues to be a Christian, as Paul shows in I Cor. 12:30:
    • “All do not speak with tongues, do they?”
    • See also I Cor. 14:16, 23-24.
    It should never be deemed a condition to salvation that someone has to speak in tongues first, for that’s merely one more version of salvation by works.
    • As noted already above, most of the discussion about tongues comes from about three chapters of the Bible (Acts 2, I Cor. 12, 14).
    • Why does this subject consume so much of modern Christianity’s time and energy despite it doesn’t take up much space in Scripture?
    The famous “love chapter” of I Cor. 13 remains very relevant to Christians today when discussing the claims of Pentecostalists.
    As I Cor. 13’s emphasis on love shows in this very context, our priorities may not be right then, if Charismatics claim others aren’t Christian (or fully good Christians) if they haven’t spoken in tongues.
    This very passage is, in part, a response to people who over-emphasized the importance of spiritual gifts compared to love.
    • Love is more important than faith and hope, or any spiritual gift such as speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, or prophesying.
    30. Can Christians Have Spiritual Gifts While Deliberately and Systematically Disobeying God’s Law?
    Now can someone really have long-term true spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues, while systematically disobeying as a matter of public teaching and deliberate personal practice major commandments of God?
    This isn’t about temporary weakness or occasional sins, but constant, intentional disobedience to God’s law.
    • What did Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount? “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    • On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many might works in your name?’
    • And then will I declare to them, ‘I never new you; depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Matt. 5:21-23).
    True, one could argue about whether this text describes gifts that came from God, or counterfeit gifts that came from Satan.
    • After all, Satan certain does have the power to do miracles also (Rev. 13:13; II Thess. 2:9; Ex. 7:11-12, 22).
    • It’s a very dangerous teaching to believe all miracles must be from God.
    • As Scripture warns us (I John 4:1): “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
    • One way to “test the spirits” is to consider whether their alleged spokesmen are actually obeying God’s law.
    • As the man born blind that Jesus miraculously healed told the questioning Jews (John 9:31): “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”
    If a Pentecostalist claims to have special spiritual gifts from God, but isn’t obeying God as a matter of systematic conduct, could he really retain those gifts long term?
    That is, if someone really has the gift to heal, prophesy, speak in tongues, etc., he or she will be drawn to know all of God’s truth required for salvation eventually.
    The Bible teaches that Christians shouldn’t work on the seventh-day of the week, from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday (Exodus 20:8-11).
    Instead of mentioning Easter or Christmas, the Bible tells us to observe the seven Biblical Holy Days listed in Leviticus 23, such as Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day.
    The Bible also commands Christians to love their enemies (Matt. 5:38-48), which therefore logically includes their not killing their enemies on the battlefield.
    So if someone says they speak in tongues, but systematically disobeys the seventh-day Sabbath, totally ignores the seven Holy Days, and believes it’s fine for Christians to wage war, how likely is their gift really from God?
    31. When Did the Apostles First Fully Receive the Holy Spirit?
    Evidence that the disciples/apostles didn’t receive the Holy Spirit until Pentecost comes from what could be called the “gentile Pentecost” at Cornelius’ household.
    Here God had a miraculous, publicly noticed receipt of the Holy Spirit by the gentiles in order to show He didn’t play favorites spiritually (at least permanently, in His plan for humanity).
    • Notice Acts 10:44-47, especially the last verse: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
    • And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also.
    • For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.
    • Then Peter answered, ‘Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?’”
    If the gentiles received the Holy Spirit just as the apostles did, then they received it on Pentecost, when similar publicly noticed miraculous events took place. It’s true the disciples made use of the Spirit before being converted at Pentecost, such as when they cast out demons. But it’s necessary to make a distinction between having the Spirit with you and having the Spirit in you.
    • Notice John 14:17: “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”
    • The Spirit was with them, but not in them to give them salvation.
    32. Will All Tongues Always Be from the Devil in the Future?
    • As explained in detail above, true Christians should examine the present-day purported manifestations of the gift of speaking in tongues very skeptically.
    • As a matter of religious epistemology (“how do we know that we know”), belief in the Bible’s text should override belief in any personal experiences that would seem to contradict its teachings.
    • But this gift should not be always in the future automatically be rejected as the result of demonic influence.
    • There’s nothing in Scripture that explicitly says this gift passed away permanently after the writing of the Bible was completed around 100 A.D.
    • The miraculous gifts of prophesying and speaking in other human languages could well return to the true Church of God shortly before Jesus returns.
    • After all, aren’t we in the latter days, not long before Jesus returns? Wouldn’t this text (Joel 2:28-29), quoted by Peter (Acts 2:17-18) on the Day of Pentecost in 31 A.D., apply then even more forcibly in the years to come?
    • “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”

  5. agt says:

    33. PART4 – TRUTH about” Speaking in Tongues”!
    What is the meaning of the so-called “Charismatic Renewal” sweeping the churches today?
    Here is the shocking TRUTH about a fast-growing movement fooling thousands!

    “SOMETHING like a series of bolts of lightning went down my spine,” confessed a Protestant minister. He was telling what happened when he took part in a religious service seeking “Charismatic” manifestations or “tongues-speaking.”
    A recent article in “The Saturday Evening Post” disclosed that this type of religious activity is sweeping through many major Protestant denominations. It is a SHOCKING new religious trend. Few ministers understand its significance!
    Formerly confined to what are known as “Pentecostal” churches, “tongues-speaking” has now broken the barriers. Interestingly, it first leaped past the middle-class Protestant churches and made a startling appearance in the staid Episcopal Church — whose membership comes largely from the better economic, social and educational level.
    34. Strange Manifestations
    Most unusual sensations and manifestations accompany the “tongues movement.” After describing the “series of bolts of lightning,” the above-mentioned Protestant minister — quoted in the Post article — described other manifestations which occurred later.
    “The next morning,” he recalled, “I woke up just soaked with perspiration. I did not know then that it was the heat of the Holy Spirit … but then I had a vision of ticker tape and I saw ‘Sa-da-ma-li’ printed. As I spoke this, a few more syllables came vocally.”
    • Soon this minister was using many other strange words and phrases — utterances NOT PART OF ANY KNOWN HUMAN LANGUAGE.
    • “A while later,” he said, “I put my hands up and began to praise the Lord in these words He’d given me — and my tongue took wings. I just worshipped Jesus.”
    • But was it true worship?
    35. A New “Pentecostal” Movement
    Several years ago — mainly as a matter of curiosity — your author attended some of these so-called “Pentecostal” meetings. They were conducted by some of the well-known Pentecostal evangelists — a few of whom still command a following.
    Let me tell you my PERSONAL observation.
    • I found — and this was true in EVERY meeting of this type I attended — that the appeal was almost one hundred percent to HUMAN EMOTION; The “Pentecostal” ministers were obviously quite proficient at mass psychology — especially when directed, in this case, toward the backward or uneducated types of people.
    • In one such meeting where everyone was exhorted to “seek the spirit,” I happened to be sitting just in front of a woman who was suddenly SEIZED with strange convulsions. She began to throw her body forward and backward, her head shaking and her neck almost snapping with the ferocity of these convulsions. She was LITERALLY foaming at the mouth, gnashing her teeth, groaning with strange, guttural, mournful-sounding moans, and her eyes were rolled back in her head and had a strange, glazed appearance.
    • I have been in hospital wards and seen people dying and near death. But I have never seen a more REVOLTING sight in my life than the type of convulsive “fit” which suddenly seized this poor woman!
    • I have seen couples in these meetings “dancing in the spirit.” This takes place while the “Pentecostal” song leader is leading the emotionally aroused crowd in a jazzy, bouncy-type of religious hymn. The couples or persons involved hold hands facing each other and — in a disjointed sort of way — shuffle and “dance” about with a fixed and rather weird or silly-looking smile on their faces — gazing upward in a type of ecstatic leer as they bounce around to the jazzy hymn music. Some individuals — dancing alone by themselves — seem to be just shuffling around as though lost in a trance. They might easily be mistaken for being drunk if they were doing the same thing out on a street corner.
    • In every one of these “Pentecostal” meetings, there was no sermon or discussion of how to love and serve God or your fellow man. There was no appeal to STUDY and UNDERSTAND the Bible. NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER was devoted to explaining how to master the weaknesses and temptations of human nature so as to become more like Christ.
    • Rather, the ENTIRE EFFORT in these meetings was devoted to WHIPPING UP HUMAN EMOTION!
    • The people were exhorted to try to “receive” feelings, manifestations, and strange-sounding utterances which the Pentecostal leaders labeled “tongues.”
    • Constantly — over and over again — the ministers, song leaders and congregation repeat certain key phrases such as: “Glory!” or “Jesus!” or “Hallelujah!”
    • With the jazzy-type of hymn-singing, the rythmic, emotion-filled chant of these repeated utterances, the congregation is gradually whipped up into an emotional frenzy.
    • Casting aside all caution and mental control, the people — through emotional frenzy — desperately try to “get” or “receive” what they believe is the Holy Spirit — or “the baptism of the Holy Ghost” — or “speaking in tongues.”
    • Yes, they are trying only to “receive” or GET!
    • They are NOT trying to GIVE their lives as a living sacrifice in service to God and their fellow man (Rom. 12:1).
    • They are NOT trying to really STUDY and show themselves approved to God by UNDERSTANDING and LIVING BY His revealed Word in the Bible (II Tim. 2:15; Mat. 4:4).
    • In these “Pentecostal” meetings, people are not taught to live God’s WAY OF LIFE and to follow the EXAMPLE of Jesus Christ.
    • The emphasis is rather upon human emotions and sensations which are systematically “worked up” by those who are experts at mass psychology.
    36. What About the Day of Pentecost?
    “But,” many will ask, “what about the Day of Pentecost when the original disciples of Christ spoke with tongues?”
    “All right,” I answer, “WHAT ABOUT IT?”
    • Have YOU really STUDIED this chapter?
    • Have you read ALL of it in context — and sincerely and objectively compared it with the OTHER examples of God’s blessing and power from the lives of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul?
    Let’s NOTICE CAREFULLY what the description of the Day of Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts really DOES say!
    • “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1).
    As any interlinear or Greek text will show, the original Greek is better translated: “And when the Day of Pentecost was being fulfilled” — or “being accomplished.”
    • The point is that Pentecost is NOT an EXPERIENCE, but a DAY!
    Any real Biblical scholar understands that this day was given to ancient Israel as the “Feast of Weeks” or “Firstfruits.” Since its observance involves COUNTING FIFTY from a certain point — the New Testament designation became the “Day of Pentecost.”
    • This is because, in Greek, “pente” means FIFTY and “cost” means COUNT. In other words — the very name of this Day means “Count fifty” or was referring to the “fiftieth day.”
    • This day came around EVERY YEAR in the late spring and celebrated the completion of the smaller spring harvest of “firstfruits.”
    • Notice that this day was observed several years AFTER the one mentioned in Acts 2 by the Apostle Paul, in Acts 20:16.
    • Also, on yet another occasion it was observed by Paul in the city of Ephesus as described in I Corinthians 16:8.
    • Strangely, and SIGNIFICANTLY, the very people who call themselves “Pentecostal” do NOT even observe the Biblically commanded Day of Pentecost!
    But now, let’s continue with the account in Acts 2 to see what DID happen on this PARTICULAR Day of Pentecost which came just after Christ’s resurrection.
    • “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (verse 2).
    Notice that the sound did not come from a smirking, “jazzy” Pentecostal song leader gradually and systematically whipping up the congregation with emotional songs and sayings. Rather, it came “from heaven.” It sounded NOT like the moans and squeals emanating from the mouths of excited human beings, but rather like a powerful wind rushing through the temple.
    • “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (verse 3).
    Observe that literal TONGUES OF FLAME quite evidently came down from above and hovered over each of Christ’s disciples on this occasion. Absolutely NOTHING like this ever occurs in the “Pentecostal” meetings.
    • “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (verse 4).
    • There is no mention whatsoever of them being GRADUALLY worked up to an emotional pitch by special songs, shouts and other methods of crowd psychology, but rather that they were filled with God’s Holy Spirit — “whom God hath given to them that OBEY Him” (Acts 5:32).
    • Now notice verses 5-8. Here the Bible reveals that the “tongues” or LANGUAGES spoken by these apostles were literal, living LANGUAGES of that day which were clearly understood by the Jews who were meeting there in the temple also observing the Day of Pentecost and had come from MANY NATIONS all over the world in order to do so. It says that,
    • “Every man heard them speak in his OWN LANGUAGE” (verse 6).
    • The Jews asked one another, “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (verse 8).
    • Yes, completely CONTRARY to the ideas of the “Pentecostal” people, the languages spoken by Christ’s disciples were definitely NOT some “spiritual language” or “language of the angels,” but literal HUMAN DIALECTS in use in THAT DAY.
    • They were clearly UNDERSTOOD by the people from other countries who were listening.
    • That, of course, was their PURPOSE!
    37. Then What About the “Unknown Tongues” of I Corinthians 14?
    Being clearly repudiated in their WRONG INTERPRETATION and MISapplication of Acts 2, many “Pentecostal” believers will quickly turn to I Corinthians 14.
    • For here is a chapter that speaks about “unknown tongues.”
    Or DOES IT?
    • The simple and obvious answer is that the word ‘unknown’ is ALWAYS in finer or ITALIC print in the King James Version of your Bible — designated in this way to show you that this word was NOT in the original inspired Greek but has rather been inserted by men!
    Of course, then, there IS NO SUCH THING as an “unknown” tongue!
    Rather, if prayerfully and intelligently read, this chapter is definitely speaking — as Acts 2 — about the supernaturally imparted ability to speak in a FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
    • But the Apostle Paul — warning of the MISUSE of this gift — spends most of his argument in warning the Corinthians NOT to speak in such a language UNLESS THERE ARE PEOPLE PRESENT WHO CAN UNDERSTAND.
    • He shows that if a man speaks in a “tongue” so that no one around him understands, he is only speaking to God (verse 2). He shows (verse 4) that this man would then only edify HIMSELF — whereas one who preaches would edify the church.
    • In verse 12, he exhorts the Corinthians to speak to EDIFY THE CHURCH — not to speak in tongues or foreign languages unless they are translated into the language of the majority of the congregation.
    • In verse 14, Paul says that if he prays in a foreign language his “spirit” or MIND prays — but the UNDERSTANDING or SIGNIFICANCE of what he is saying is “unfruitful” so far as others are concerned. He then goes on to show that a man who has this gift may “bless” or return thanks in a supernaturally imparted foreign tongue, but an uneducated person would not benefit from his prayer and would be unable to say “Amen” at his thanksgiving.
    • Thus, this type of praying or giving of thanks is UNFRUITFUL — UNPROFITABLE!
    • The Apostle Paul concludes this inspired section of his instruction by stating: “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might TEACH OTHERS ALSO, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (verse 19).
    38. “Tongues” a Sign to UNBELIEVERS
    Then, in verse 21, he proceeds to quote directly from Isaiah 28:11. Here God warned ancient Israel that He was going to have to PUNISH them through FOREIGN-TONGUED INVADERS!
    Clearly, this also shows that “tongues” are HUMAN LANGUAGES understood by the people of the nationalities involved!
    • Paul then concludes in verse 22: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, NOT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE, but to them that BELIEVE NOT: but prophesying (INSPIRED PREACHING, see verse 3) serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.”
    • Therefore, although the modern “Pentecostal’ people ALWAYS want to show off” their tongues even among their own church brethren, Paul was inspired by God to state that tongues are ONLY a sign for the UNBELIEVERS! And, in EVERY instance where the gift of tongues was granted, the lookers-on or unbelievers included FOREIGNERS who spoke in a DIFFERENT LANGUAGE and could therefore UNDERSTAND what was being spoken!
    To make it plain, there was NEVER an example of the gift of “tongues” being employed IN PALESTINE among converted Palestinian Jews who all spoke the same language anyway!
    The inspired record of the gift of “tongues” in the New Testament includes ONLY the following accounts:
    • First, the account in Acts 2 at the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem when foreign-born Jews from ALL nations were present.
    • Secondly, the account of Cornelius’ baptism in Acts 10. This took place at the seaport of Caesarea — and clearly included not only Cornelius, but his Italian family and other “Gentiles” (verse 45) who would have understood the foreign languages spoken on that occasion.
    • Thirdly, the account in Acts 19:1-6 took place at EPHESUS — a great Gentile commercial center wherein were constantly MANY different types of people speaking the DIFFERENT DIALECTS of Asia Minor.
    • Finally, the account we have just discussed in I Corinthians 14 again involves a MAJOR seaport of the ancient Roman world. Here again, the constant usage of foreign languages and dialects of the various seamen and merchantmen was a common thing.
    In this and ALL these occurrences, the gift of FOREIGN LANGUAGES would have a definite PURPOSE.
    The unbelievers attending the church meeting wherein they were manifested would be able to UNDERSTAND what was spoken, and — knowing the background of the speakers — come to realize the POWER of the true God.
    39. “Tongues” Normally NOT Employed
    It is significant to note that although TREMENDOUS miracles were worked throughout the Old Testament through Moses, Elijah, Elisha and others, the gift of “tongues” was NEVER imparted.
    The REASON?
    • It is OBVIOUS for one who understands. The Old Testament Israelites were NEVER commanded to preach to or proselyte the Gentiles — people of FOREIGN LANGUAGES! Therefore, they simply had NO REASON WHATSOEVER to “witness” to these people in this way.
    • The same is true of the ministry of John the Baptist. John preached ONLY to the children of Israel in Palestine who ALL SPOKE THE SAME LANGUAGE. Therefore, he NEVER spoke in tongues, although Jesus Christ said of him: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Mat. 11:11).
    • Most important of all, Christ Himself NEVER spoke in tongues! For — just as John — Jesus preached only in Palestine where the Jews ALL SPOKE THE SAME LANGUAGE. There was NO NEED for Him to speak a foreign language.
    • Who, then, will accuse CHRIST of “lacking” in spiritual gifts? Who will try to refute the inspired statement of John: “God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34).
    Who has the audacity to say that Jesus Christ did not set us a PERFECT EXAMPLE in this aspect of Christianity as well as in every other?
    Yet Jesus Christ is NEVER recorded to have spoken with “tongues”!
    40. Do You Receive the Holy Spirit Through “Speaking in Tongues”?
    Christ NEVER SPOKE WITH TONGUES — yet the Holy Spirit was given to Him “without measure”!
    John the Baptist never spoke with tongues! Nowhere in the Bible do you find — by example or command — that all Christians are to “speak in tongues”!
    Rather, on the very Day of Pentecost when the TRUE gift of supernaturally speaking in foreign languages was imparted, the Apostle Peter was inspired by God to reveal How we can receive the Holy Spirit.
    • What is the BIBLE way to receive the Holy Spirit?
    • Under inspiration, Peter stated: “REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!” (Acts 2:38).
    Peter said that you were to be baptized for the REMISSION OF SINS. Then it is SIN that you REPENT OF!
    And what is the BIBLE definition of sin?
    • “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.” (I John 3:4).
    Yes, sin is BREAKING God’s law — the Ten Commandments as they are magnified in the New Testament!
    • James was inspired to state: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in ONE POINT, he is guilty of all. For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law” (Jas. 2:10-11).
    Bible-believing Christians must obey EVERY point of God’s law — and two of those points include the commands against adultery and murder. Obviously and honestly, therefore, the law spoken of is the Ten Commandments.
    • To receive God’s Spirit, then, you must REPENT of breaking God’s law as contained in the Ten Commandments. You must “BE BAPTIZED” as the symbol of your willingness to BURY the old self and rise up to walk in newness of life in an OBEDIENT life {see Romans 6:1-4}.
    41. You Must OBEY Your Maker
    • As we have seen, God gives the Holy Spirit “to them that OBEY Him” (Acts 5:32).
    • This is one thing most “Pentecostal” people simply WON’T do!
    • They and their leaders are interested in seeking physical and sensual thrills and sensations. These human emotions and tinglings of the spine give them a snippy, proud, SELF-RIGHTEOUS attitude.
    • Through these emotional manifestations, they feel they have — as they would put it — the “baptism of the Holy Ghost.” Through these strange manifestations and electric shocks up and down their spines in “Pentecostal” meetings, they feel they are “born again.” They are proud. They are self-righteous. They RESENT the teaching that they must OBEY their Maker before they will ever be allowed to enter His Kingdom or receive the REAL Spirit of God.
    • When such a person is told he must obey God’s commandments, he sets his jaw like a rebellious child and shouts: I WON’T!
    • Yet when a young man came to Christ and asked the way to eternal life, Jesus said: “KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS” (Mat. 19:16-17).
    • John, the disciple “Jesus loved,” wrote: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him {God’s Spirit or His blessings}, BECAUSE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, AND DO THOSE THINGS THAT ARE PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT” (I John 3:22).
    • Does the “Pentecostal” person claim to have the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts? (Rom. 5:5). Of course he does!
    • Then why doesn’t he BELIEVE John’s inspired statement: “For this IS THE LOVE OF GOD, that we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).
    42. God’s Divine Warning
    Their lives filled with emptiness and wretchedness, multiplied THOUSANDS of people are beginning to “seek” for spiritual manifestations, for revelations, for some sort of escape or outlet for their pent-up frustrations. Many people are turning to SORCERY in their search for something to satisfy, something to fill the EMPTINESS of their wretched lives.
    Although the modern “Charismatic Renewal” and “tongues-speaking” movement now sweeping many of the respectable churches may not as yet have reached the point of the old line “Pentecostal” movement, it is nevertheless very definitely HEADED IN THAT DIRECTION!
    • Ministers admit that their modern churches and rituals are EMPTY and DEAD. In their desperation to find something that has “life,” they are seizing upon the manifestations accompanying the “tongues” movement and the orgies of “seeking after the Spirit” which accompany it.
    Very frankly, they are jumping from the frying pan into the FIRE!
    • Your Bible warns: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY THE SPIRITS whether they are of God: because many FALSE PROPHETS are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1).
    43. But HOW do you try the spirits?
    Compare them with the basic COMMANDS and EXAMPLES in the inspired Word of God! See if, for example, their ministers and adherents understand and obey THIS scripture: “He that saith, I know him, and KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2 4).
    • Do they really KEEP God’s Ten Commandments?
    • Do they advocate and practice the WAY OF LIFE advocated by Jesus Christ and His apostles in the New Testament? Are they STUDYING and UNDERSTANDING the Bible and constantly GROWING to become more like Jesus Christ in their PERSONALITIES, their MENTAL DEVELOPMENT, and their character? (Eph. 4:11-13).
    • God’s Word warns: “And when they shall say unto you, seek ye unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the LAW and to the TESTIMONY {the teaching and example of the Bible}: IF THEY SPEAK NOT ACCORDING TO THIS WORD, IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM” (Isa. 8:19.20).
    • The modern “seeking” after weird, guttural sounds and gibberish {incorrectly referred to as “tongues” by deceived men} certainly fits this description.
    • Your Bible reveals that the Holy Spirit imparts WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE and FAITH (I Cor. 12:8-9). It reveals that God’s spirit of a SOUND MIND (II Tim. 1:7).
    • But the blatant display of UNCONTROLLED EMOTIONS, the raucous, guttural gibberish palmed off as “tongues,” the shouting, screaming, sobbing, moaning and foaming at the mouth so commonly seen in “Pentecostal” meetings — these are the exact OPPOSITE to the fruits of the true Spirit of God!
    • In plain fact, many of these manifestations are directly from Satan the DEVIL! These literal “seizures” which cause human beings to LOSE CONTROL of their minds and bodies are the seizures of DEMON SPIRITS — grasping for control over human beings made in the image of God!
    • I know! Many “Pentecostal” people won’t like to hear this!
    • But for the sake of your ETERNAL LIFE God help you to open your minds and UNDERSTAND!
    • Be willing to WAKE UP and face the TRUTH!
    44. UNDERSTAND What God Requires
    Do YOU believe in God — in “tongues” — in VISIONS — in sensations running up and down your spine?
    So does SATAN THE DEVIL!
    In fact, he KNOWS that these things are real!
    • Satan KNOWS that God exists and created all things! (Jas. 2:19). But his faith is DEVOID OF WORKS (verse 20).
    Satan WON’T OBEY!
    God can never again entrust him with great authority and power in His Kingdom. For he REFUSES TO SUBMIT to his Maker and to God’s commandments!
    One prominent Protestant minister said he was interested in the tongues movement because he was trying to find “the life of the New Testament.” He said: “We’ve got to find this, because if we don’t, we’re going out of business.”
    SO WHERE does he look for the life of the New Testament”?
    At HUMAN EMOTIONS and the actions of literal DEMONS on the spines and bodies of human beings!
    • When this minister — as others — looked into the New Testament, did he ever find that Jesus participated in emotion-filled meetings with screaming and shouting, sobbing and throbbing human beings worked up to an emotional pitch of excitement through repetitive songs, phrases and chants?
    • Did he ever find that Peter did this, or Paul?
    • OF COURSE NOT!
    • But since mankind has — for nearly six thousand years now — been UNWILLING to accept the plain, clear instruction of God to OBEY His commands, it has had to seek out every weird and devious idea, doctrine and practice conceivable in its vain and desperate search for “something that satisfies”!
    • WHEN WILL WE WAKE UP?
    • Jesus came preaching the “Kingdom” or Government of God (Mark 1:14). He clearly revealed that the Message of that Kingdom involved OBEDIENCE to the LAWS contained in the Ten Commandments (Luke 16:16-17).
    • As we noted, He said to the seeker after eternal life: KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS! (Mat. 19:17).
    • Even AFTER His death and resurrection, Christ taught His disciples the Message of the Kingdom or GOVERNMENT of God (Acts 1:3).
    Philip later preached this Message to the Samaritans (Acts 8:12). Paul preached this Message to the GENTILES at Ephesus (Acts 20:25). And he — the Apostle to the Gentiles — completed his ministry by preaching the “Kingdom of God” to the GENTILES at Rome (Acts 28:31).
    God’s Kingdom has LAWS — and keeping these laws becomes a WAY OF LIFE.

    45. God’s WAY in Action
    • In the soon-coming rule of Jesus Christ over this earth: “The LAW shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:2). Then people EVERYWHERE — ALL peoples and nations — will learn the WAY of peace, happiness and prosperity through OBEDIENCE to the commandments and laws of their Maker!
    They will find it is not so weird and difficult, after all, to refrain from killing, stealing, Lying, committing adultery and going after various false gods of DEMONISM.
    • They will learn that God does, indeed, impart POWER. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND” (II Tim. 1:7).
    Most of all, they will utilize the POWER of God’s Holy Spirit to overcome human lusts and emotions so that — through HIS divine nature placed within them (II Pet. 1:4) — they WILL be able to keep the laws of God and live by His ways. They will have the divine LOVE given by God’s Spirit (Rom. 5:5) to help them LOVE and WORSHIP God, and to LOVE and SERVE their fellow man according to God’s commandments (I John 5:3).
    Because man is forbidden to kill, they will have PEACE — FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY!
    Because man is forbidden to commit adultery or even to lust after another woman — and because man and wife are commanded to “cleave” together and obey God’s instructions for a happy home — they will have HAPPY MARRIAGES brimful and running over with JOY!
    Because man is forbidden to steal and lie, there will be no trickery and thievery!
    This is the WAY OF LIFE which will be produced by the TRUE Spirit of God placed in man after Christ’s return (Ezek. 36:26-28).
    46. Strive for a SOUND MIND
    This is the “life of the New Testament” if you really want it! THIS is the “fruit” or RESULT of God’s Holy Spirit inspiring and leading the converted human being!
    • Oh, yes! The TRUE gift of DIVINE HEALING — without a lot of hooplah, fanfare and emotion — is DEFINITELY one of the gifts of God’s Spirit. And, of course, the true gift of “tongues” itself has — at various times in the Christian era — been manifested as a “sign” to the UNBELIEVERS (I Cor. 14:22) who themselves speak a FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
    • But this gift — as others — was NEVER accompanied by unbridled human emotion or by selfish, carnal human beings desperately trying to shout and scream and whine and “pray down” God’s Spirit in this manner!
    • MAKE NO MISTAKE! The inspired EXAMPLES of your Bible make the above statements abundantly clear to anyone with an open mind and heart!
    • Meanwhile, let’s understand the TRUTH about bolts of lightning running up and down people’s spines, about strange, unknown utterances called “tongues,” about shimmering, dancing lights in dark rooms, scratchings on the walls or voices in the night. If you value your prospect of ETERNAL LIFE or even your very SANITY of mind, then learn to heed the Biblical injunction: “Try the spirits whether they are of God ….”
    • If you are sincerely looking for the “life of the New Testament,” then by all means STUDY the New Testament itself — not some book of men written about the New Testament! Read carefully the EXAMPLE and PRACTICE of Jesus Christ and His apostles — and FOLLOW IT!
    • Realize that TRUE Christianity is the religion of CHRIST — and that the Holy Spirit is indeed the Spirit of a SOUND MIND, and of a truly SURRENDERED and OBEDIENT mind.

  6. agt says:

    47. Part 5 – Must You”Speak With Other TONGUES…” To Be SAVED?
    • Some say you must “speak with other tongues” or YOU CANNOT BE SAVED!
    • Believers are encouraged to “be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE!”
    • Some are told to just “let their minds go-to allow ‘their word’ to come to them”-and then to utter the special word” God will give them.
    • What about YOU?
    • Must you “speak with other tongues” to be saved?
    • Is “speaking with other tongues” the ONLY SURE PROOF you have “been baptized with the Holy Ghost?”
    • “Oooooom Oooooom Oooooom” she muttered, eyes tightly closed, fists clenched and raised to the ceiling. Others nearby were shouting “Praise you Jesus!” and “Hallelujah!” and “Praise the Lord! ”
    • Someone else was saying, “Fleegle! “And another, “Dzan jak!” and another, “Mammana ja rungwa thawkiealasendia! ”
    • It was another typical “charismatic” meeting-wherein newly “converted” seekers had finally “found their word,” and were allegedly “speaking in other tongues.”
    • The preacher was ecstatic, as were regular members of his church.
    • Surely, they thought, what they were witnessing was a direct manifestation from God!
    • And make no mistake! These people were sincere!
    48. Sincerity: The Test of Truth?
    • Too often, we human beings adopt a hostile attitude toward those with different opinions.
    • Our empirical selves are threatened by contrary ideological, philosophical, political, cultural and spiritual concepts.
    • And what is it, after all, that so completely divides the human race?
    • Is it not prejudice, and that along tribal, sociological, cultural and political lines?
    • “You don’t look like I do; don’t dress the way I do, do not speak the same language, salute the same flag, or believe in the same god, and therefore I hate you” might be the way it could be voiced.
    • Do you believe that “speaking with other tongues” is the only proof of having been “baptized with the Holy Ghost”? Tens of thousands most sincerely do! Notice, I said “most sincerely”!
    • But, no matter what you believe on the tongues question, you will agree with me, I’m sure, that “the majority is not always right.”
    • After all, there are far more Chinese (every fourth human being is Chinese!) than there are English-speaking “Caucasians.”
    • You may believe in the “Christian” concept of God, while approximately ONE BILLION Chinese believe in various concepts of Buddha, Confucius, or assorted forms of ancestor worship.
    • They are in the majority. But are they right?
    • No, probably you, together with millions of others in the English-speaking world, fervently believe they are wrong!
    • But are they sincere?
    • Do you give them the “right” to their convictions and beliefs?
    • Of course you do. And of course, they are sincere.
    • Apply the same concept to yourself or to others around you of differing religious and philosophical convictions.
    • Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8, 9).
    • Jesus plainly said it is possible to sincerely worship Him, and yet do so in vain, so long as we are believing in the doctrines and commandments of men.
    • When Jesus was asked by His disciples why He clouded the meaning of His teachings by speaking in parables, He said “…because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given … and in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which sayeth, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them!” (Matthew 13:10-15).
    • The Bible plainly shows that Satan the devil has deceived all nations! (Revelation. 12:9; Ephesians 2:2).
    • Millions are deceived, just like all of those hundreds of millions of Chinese!
    • But are they “sincere”? Of course they are!
    • You see, sincerity is simply NOT the test of truth!
    • It does not matter one whit how honest, heartfelt, dedicated or faithful we may be; it matters not one whit how flawless of character, we are still capable of being DECEIVED when it comes to the teaching of God’s Word! Jesus Christ plainly said so!
    • Through Paul, Christ warns “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Corinthians 11:13-15).
    • Here, the Holy Word of God plainly tells us there ARE “false apostles.”
    • It is not for us to engage in name-calling and blame-placing.
    • God has not called His true Church to attack others, or go about placing “labels” on various cults, church organizations, or religious television programs.
    • There is an altogether unhealthy amount of bitter criticism, persecution and “labeling” being done by those of many religious organizations who seem to feel it is their righteous responsibility to defame and discredit others.
    • Nevertheless, your Bible DOES warn about false prophets and false doctrine!
    • You read plainly that Satan DOES have “his ministers.”
    • Since you know he does-then who are they?
    • That is a question YOU must decide!
    • Christ warned……. take heed that no man deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many!” (Matthew 24:4, 5).
    Here, in the famous “Olivet prophecy” Christ said one of the very first signs of the imminence of the beginning of the Great Tribulation, and His eventual return to this earth would be the eruption of many false prophets and false religions!
    • He said, “And MANY false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive MANY” (Matthew 24:11). Again, notice the word “deceive.”
    • A deceived person can be the best neighbor you ever had; a good, honest and trustworthy friend!
    • A deceived person can be completely sincere!
    • A deceived person is utterly unaware that he or she is deceived!
    • After all, what we don’t know-we simply don’t know that we don’t know!
    • Do you see? A deceived person’s beliefs are totally bereft of evil motive!
    • Therefore, when you calmly study an issue of doctrine, you should do so objectively, not “subjectively,” or emotionally, feeling that a contrary approach is, somehow, an attack against your character, or your empirical self.
    • Is it remotely possible you have been deceived about speaking in “tongues”?
    49. The Day of Pentecost
    One of the greatest events of all history was on the day of Pentecost (called “the feast of weeks,” or the feast of “firstfruits” in the Old Testament) when the apostles received God’s Holy Spirit, and about three thousand individuals were converted!
    Jesus had said, repeatedly, that He would send the Holy Spirit after He was assumed into heaven, following His resurrection (John 14:16, 17; 15:26, 27).
    As the disciples stood, watching Jesus being taken into the heavens out of their sight, a miracle occurred. Jesus had said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.
    • “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
    • “And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
    • “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
    • “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:7-11).
    One quick explanation, as an aside. You will notice I continually refer to the word “ghost” in the Old King James translation as “spirit.”
    The word for “spirit” in the Greek is pneuma which means “a current of air; breath, breeze, or by analogy or figuratively a spirit. ”
    Unfortunately, back in 1611, at the time of the translation of the King James Version of the English Bible from the Reims-Douay version, the translators believed in ghosts.
    They substituted the word “ghost” for “spirit.” This is a very unfortunate substitution, and is not followed by any of the more modern translations. It is definitely not the meaning of the Greek word!
    The word “ghost” conjures up a vision of a wraith-like creature of some sort, like the “hooded spectre” of death!
    “Ghosts” are supposedly evil spirits which haunt houses and scare little children!
    Certainly, the very mind, life-giving power and Spirit of God should not be translated into the English language as “ghost”!
    Now, back to our text. Notice that the angels told the disciples they would be imbued with POWER!
    Precisely what did that mean? Is “power” mere human emotion? Is “power” merely the ability to become overwhelmed emotionally, speaking a series of meaningless, unintelligible sounds, as if in ecstatic joy, having a “religious experience”?
    We shall see. Actually, the word “power” could be translated “authority,” or even “ability”!
    They were to receive power-power to do what?
    Power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
    Specifically, they were to be given power to be witnesses of His resurrection!
    Now, turn to and read the all-important passage in the first half of the second chapter of Acts!
    • “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
    • “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
    • “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, [see margin] and it sat upon each of them.
    • “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
    • “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
    • “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
    • “And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
    • “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
    • “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
    • “Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya and about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
    • “Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
    • “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
    • “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
    • “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
    • “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
    • “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
    • “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
    • “And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
    • “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
    • “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:1-21).
    I have included here the entire passage concerning the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit so that you may refer back to it from time to time.
    • First, notice they were not “tarrying” as if in a prayer meeting, attempting to “pray down the spirit”!
    The disciples (apostles) had been completely mystified by the pronouncement of the angels! They did not know what ‘to expect!
    • However, this was one of God’s annual holy days which continued to be observed by the New Testament Church! (I Corinthians 5:7, 8; 16:8; Acts 27:9).
    • The meaning of the word “Pentecost” is “fiftieth.”
    • Read Leviticus 23, verses 9 through 21, for a fuller understanding of the way the feast of “weeks” or “Pentecost” had previously been celebrated.
    It was called “the feast of weeks” because they were to count beginning with the morrow after the Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread until they came to the morrow after the seventh Sabbath, which would, obviously, be a Sunday, and on that day, the FIFTIETH day following the weekly Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread, they were to celebrate the “firstfruits.”
    Anciently, the priest went in to the grain field, using a hand sickle, and cut out a swath of the early grain, holding it aloft, waving it as if before God, in thanksgiving, to be accepted of Him.
    • This “wavesheaf” offering typified the very FIRST of the “firstfruits” of the harvest from the earth, which was Jesus Christ!
    • What better day for Almighty God to choose for the birthday of His New Testament Church than the feast of Pentecost?
    • Now, the risen Christ, typified by the wavesheaf, had already ascended to heaven!
    • Now, Almighty God would beget, by the power of His Holy Spirit, His twelve apostles (Matthias having been substituted for the deceased Judas Iscariot) and, on that day, His New Testament Church (group of “called-out ones,” or “assembly”) would be constituted!
    Notice that the sound which was audibly heard did not come from the throats of the apostles!
    It did not come “gradually,” as one here or there discovered “their word” or began chanting their “mantra.”
    No, this sound was a supernatural sound! It was not a sound manufactured by human voices!
    It did not come from within the room, but came, “FROM HEAVEN”!
    And what did it sound like?
    • It came with a ROAR, like a rumbling, thunderous sound of many freight trains-like that of a “rushing mighty wind”! A rushing, mighty wind is the sound of a hurricane, or a tornado!
    • The sound was almost overwhelming, and it “FILLED all the house where they were sitting”!
    • Notice, too, that they were sitting, not standing up, swaying about, holding their arms or their fists in the air, but perhaps quietly chatting among themselves, puzzling over events of the past few months, speaking of the phenomenal miracle of the appearances of Christ and what the angels had said.
    Then, there appeared unto them “tongues of fire” equally distributed among them!
    Notice the margin of the King James Version, and, if you have a Ferrar Fenton, James Moffatt, Goodspeed, Ivan Panin Greek Numerics, Diaglott, or any other biblical translations or Bible helps, you should avail yourself of them, and prove to yourself what you are about to read!
    The correct translation of that verse should read: “And there appeared unto them tongues of fire equally distributed among them, and it sat upon each of them!”
    You see, we often speak of flames of fire as “tongues of fire.” This is merely a metaphorical statement in the English language, and is of common usage.
    What actually appeared before the startled eyes of the apostles themselves and hundreds of onlookers (perhaps the entire 120, including Philip, Stephen and others were present) was that flickering flames, like leaping “tongues” of fire appeared like radiant, flickering, brilliantly illuminated crowns on the head of each of the apostles!
    Now, let’s understand what happened!
    • “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance! ” (Acts 2:4).
    • Read, again, what all of the Parthians, Cappadocians, Egyptians, Romans and Arabians said!
    • Here were represented more than sixteen separate languages and dialects!
    • Yet, each of these people were able to say “We do hear them speak in our languages the wonderful works of God!”
    50. The Meaning of the Word “Tongue”
    The word “tongue in the English language is used as a synonym for the word “language.”
    It is the same in many other languages. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance explains that the Greek word glossa means, “the tongue; by implication a language-tongue. ” The transliterated Greek word is found in our English language in several forms, among them “glossary” which means a list of difficult, technical, or foreign terms with various definitions or translations.
    Actually, both the Greek and the English words are completely interchangeable; that is, they may refer either to the organ of speech in our mouths, or the language that is spoken.
    • Notice carefully both verse 6 and verse 8! In verse 6, we read that they were confounded because “…every man heard them speak in his own language,” and in verse 8 we read, “And how hear we every man in our own tongue …?”
    • Yet, in both of these verses, a completely different Greek word was used! It is dialektos from which we take the English word “dialect” or “language.”
    • Notice how the translators felt perfectly free to interchange the two Greek words.
    • Glossa or “tongue,” can be rendered either way-“language” or “tongue.”
    • The same with dialektos – it may be translated either way.
    • Here, glossa is rendered “language,” and dialektos is rendered “tongue,” yet each rendering obviously refers to a known, intelligible, spoken language.
    • It is plainly obvious to any eighth-grade child that these startled visitors to Jerusalem, representing perhaps sixteen different dialects and languages, plainly heard shocking and completely intelligible statements made by the apostles!
    • What statements? The Bible says they heard “the wonderful works of God!”
    • Read the rest of the chapter, and you will see, as if a summary of the messages spoken by all of the apostles, the famous sermon by Peter on the day of Pentecost!
    • And what did he preach? He preached about the resurrection of Christ; that Jesus, by being born of God by a resurrection from the dead was now very Christ, and that his audience should “repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 2:38).
    • What was the greatest event in all history up to this time?
    • It was the FACT of Christ’s resurrection!
    Christ had commanded His disciples to be “witnesses unto me” i.e., of His life, His gospel and His examples, and His death, burial and resurrection!
    Later, the apostle Paul, summarizing the gospel he had preached to the Gentiles, wrote
    • “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    • “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.
    • “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    • “And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures;
    • “And that He was seen of Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve:
    • “After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    • “After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
    • “And last of all He was seen of me also, as one born [Greek gennao meaning “begotten”] out of due time” (I Corinthians-15:1-8).
    The main thrust of their message was the FACT of Christ’s resurrection!
    This was an astounding announcement to these startled Gentiles, Jews and proselytes from nations all over the Mediterranean region!
    They had never heard of such a thing!
    • As a result, not of the manner of the apostles, but as a direct result of WHAT THEY SAID, some of them mocked,” and accused the apostles of being drunk!
    • Just as someone would disparagingly discard or reject a statement you might make, saying “You must be off your rocker”; “You must be drunk,” or “You’ve got to be crazy, ” using modern vernacular, so these startled listeners to the pronouncements of the apostles said, “These men must be drunk!”
    • Read the context!
    • It is important for you to note that these listeners and viewers did not assume the apostles were drunk because of the manner in which they ACTED – but because of what they said!
    • Peter’s retort is plain. He went on to explain that, since it was only about 9 o’clock in the morning, and the wine shops were closed; that it was contrary to Jewish law for anyone to drink at this time of the day, that these men were not “drunken, ” but that this was the fulfillment (as a previous type) of a prophecy uttered by Joel, which Peter proceeded to expound.
    • Now, an important point: did all the apostles speak at once?
    • Remember, the Bible interprets the Bible!
    • The Bible is a completely harmonious, interdependent, perfect book, representing the divine word of Almighty God! It does not contradict itself!
    • The apostle Paul plainly said, “If any man speak in a language, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that BY COURSE [meaning, one after the other!] and let one interpret”!
    • He went on to say, “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. “If anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace! [Only ONE was to talk at one time.]
    • “For ye [all of you ministers or prophets] may all prophesy [including inspired preaching] ONE BY ONE, that all may learn and all may be comforted … for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints!” (I Corinthians 14:27-33).
    It is obvious, since God is not the author of confusion, and since each of these visitors to Jerusalem clearly understood the points the apostles were making, that each of the apostles spoke one by one-one at a time!
    We have no knowledge of who began speaking first; or who followed, or even whether or not, in fact, Peter’s sermon was the final message of that day!
    • We DO know that a great miracle occurred; we know that the miracle was BOTH in the speaking AND the hearing!
    • How do we know this?
    • Simply because those representing approximately 16 languages and dialects plainly said they, ALL of them, heard EACH of the apostles speaking in “their,” (meaning ALL of their) languages!
    In other words, even though one man was speaking at a time, say, James, the brother of Jesus Christ, giving witness to Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, each one of these individuals, numbering into the thousands and representing perhaps 16 dialects and languages clearly understood everything James was saying! Yet, James was perhaps unaware that he was doing anything other than speaking in his own language! Almighty God inspired his speech; and, by a miracle in both the speaking and the hearing, allowed each of these individuals to understand!
    • Notice there was reason involved. There was order. Each man spoke one by one, and as a result of this orderly progression and development of ideas; as a direct result of the great witness given by these men who had SEEN Jesus killed, and had then seen Him alive, thousands were converted!
    • There is not one statement in the book of Acts that ANY of these very first converts to the New Testament Church “spoke in tongues”!
    • The Bible merely tells us, “Then they that gladly received His Word [intelligently given, and intelligently received] were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Greek psuche meaning beings, or individuals).
    Later, we see these throngs of visitors who had come to Jerusalem for the “feast of firstfruits” remained for quite a number of days, until they had to sell properties or possessions, giving them into a common pool, so that they might continue “daily in the temple” and “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved! ” (Acts 2:41-47).
    51. The Gift of Speaking in Foreign Languages a Tool of Evangelism!
    Jesus Christ said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).
    The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia, which should better be rendered “assembly,” for it connotes the “body of believers” or the group of specially selected individuals who would repent, be baptized, and receive God’s Holy Spirit for the purpose of conducting the work of that assembly, or group of converted individuals.
    With the passing centuries, the word “church” has become corrupted.
    To many, it means the “building” in which the assembly of people meets.
    Commonly, people say, “I was married in the church,” or, “the church is on the corner of Fifth and Main Streets.”
    But the Greek word used by Jesus Christ had nothing to do with the building.
    • It meant a group of called and chosen individuals who, collectively, form a spiritual organism called the ekklesia, or church.
    Jesus Christ commissioned His group of specially called and trained disciples (which means “students” or “learners”)-gave them a mission to perform. He said,
    • “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
    • “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:
    • “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am
    • with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
    Luke’s account of the same event is also revealing:
    • “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
    HOW are they to “baptize them that believe” among all nations of the world without first reaching their minds?
    • What are the major barriers between you and, say, the Russian people, or the Vietnamese, Japanese, the Chinese, or the members of any other race who speak a different language from yours?
    • Notwithstanding the economic, geographical, political and cultural difficulties, the one main barrier is that of language.
    Naturally, as time went on, God’s true church, or the assembly” of called-out individuals would grow to include members of many races, many languages.
    It is obvious WHY Almighty God caused the powerful demonstration of His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost when you think about it deeply!
    • There were present thousands representing perhaps SIXTEEN separate languages and dialects!
    While most of them were Jews, they included “proselytes.”
    A proselyte was a Gentile who had become circumcised, embraced the religion of Moses; Jewish customs and traditions. Yet, such an individual would have retained his native tongue.
    Thus, by causing above three thousand to be converted on the day of Pentecost, God saw to it that the miraculous events of that day and the powerful sermons of the apostles would be repeated, by these converts, over and over again through the ensuing years in every one of the nations and provinces from which these visitors came!
    No doubt, many of them went on to become members of the ministry. What better way to begin the fulfillment of the great commission, which charged the apostles with GOING into “all nations” to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God as a witness and a warning?
    Within a few weeks, thousands of elated, excited, wondering Jews and proselytes would be returning to Crete, Rome, Arabia, Cappadocia and Bithynia, and many points in between!
    They would carry with them all that they had seen, heard and learned in weeks of some of the most exciting, profoundly shaking and sobering experiences of their lives!
    • “And He said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned [judged, or condemned].
    • “And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name they shall cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues [languages]; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:15-18).
    • Much is made, by many leaders in the “charismatic” branches of professing Christianity that these signs “shall follow them that believe. ”
    Deeply desirous of healing for cripples, elderly and infirm; seeking to display the “gift of speaking in other languages,” many have allowed themselves to become completely deceived over the true meaning, purpose, and present-day application of these spiritual gifts.
    • Unfortunately, many a church organization has drifted into a collective guilt complex over the absence of sensational miracles, signs, hearings, or tongues-speaking, and so try to manufacture these signs by various emotion-charged, “revivals” and powerful condemnations of their followers for being “unspiritual.”
    • Earlier, Jesus had said to His disciples, “And as ye go, preach, saying, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons; freely ye have received, freely give!” (Matthew 10:7, 8).
    • In this chapter, as He called His twelve disciples He “…gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”
    • Being practical with the scriptures, let’s ask how many dead were raised in the entire New Testament experience of God’s true church?
    • Jesus Christ miraculously raised Lazarus from the dead! (God the Father accomplished the miracle, though Jesus Christ issued the command, following prayer.)
    • Peter raised Dorcas, and when the apostle Paul prayed for a young lad who fell out of an upper balcony during a long sermon, though he was pronounced dead, he miraculously became alive.
    The Bible says many of the saints who had died in preceding years were resurrected at the time of Christ’s death, though it does not tell us how many.
    These individuals, including Lazarus, Dorcas, and the unnamed young lad whom Paul was used to raise up were resurrected to human, physical life spans and, eventually, died a natural death.
    • There is no record that James, Bartholomew, Simon, Andrew, Matthias, or others of the apostles, save Peter and Paul, were used as an instrument of God to raise anyone from the dead.
    • Yet, we read how Peter, under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, gave a command, and a crippled man was instantly healed at the gate called “Beautiful” leading into the temple (Acts 3:7, 8).
    • So great was the fervent belief and faith on the part of those in Jerusalem who witnessed the many miracles being accomplished that it was said even Peter’s shadow passing over them, caused them to be healed of sicknesses and disease (Acts 5:15).
    The apostle Paul, shipwrecked enroute to incarceration in Rome, was cast ashore on the Island of Malta. You read of this in Acts 28.
    “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
    • “And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.
    • “And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
    • “Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
    • “In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us [wrote Luke], and lodged us three days courteously.
    • “And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
    • “So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed…” (Acts 28:2-9).
    Notice that this is the only case in the recorded history of the New Testament church where an apostle was bitten by a serpent!
    It was a total accident. Paul had no knowledge whosoever that, as he picked up an armload of branches and sticks to place on a fire, a snake had coiled itself among them!
    Here, Almighty God performed a miracle, sparing Paul’s life!
    Those who seek to pervert and twist this experience of Paul’s into justifying “snake handling,” as if such an abominable custom is honored by God, do so at their own peril!
    It is sheer ignorance to claim God was commanding His true servants to “handle snakes,” as some cults have been known to do (and frequent snakebite, and even death, has been the result in some cases).
    Was He also “commanding them” to drink poison?
    Strangely, there are no “poison-drinking” cults around.
    Jim Jones’ followers drank their poison-and it killed them all!
    Those who justify the bizarre and demonic custom of “snake-handling” and call it “Christian” can hardly claim to be resurrecting the dead, and they studiously avoid swallowing poison, The point is, God was promising protection for His apostles, so long as their lives were still useful to Him; so long as their personal destinies were yet to be fulfilled!
    On this occasion, Paul’s life was spared. God wanted him to testify in Rome, before the court of Nero himself.
    Later, however, Paul was allowed to be martyred for his faith. He may have died in the coliseum in Rome, though there is no proof of either the place or the manner of his death.
    God continually spared the lives of His true servants when they anointed and prayed for the sick, laying hands on them. When coming into such close physical proximity with those possessed of extremely virulent, contagious diseases, God gave them immunity.
    There is no record of the death of God’s servants following prayer for a victim of a contagious disease.
    52. What is the “Baptism With Fire”?
    Our English word “fire” is utilized in many forms of metaphor.
    A country-western song of recent date says, “My Heart’s on Fire for Elvira! ”
    People are said to have a “fiery temper,” and a basketball or football team is said to be “fired up.” Terminations of an employee is called “firing.”
    But what is the “baptism with fire”?
    • Those who believe in the “charismatic” or “Pentecostal” manifestations of the professing Christian religion borrow a phrase from a statement made by John the Baptist, nearly two thousand years ago, and urge their followers to receive the “baptism with FIRE! ”
    Apparently, what is meant by all this is that, upon receiving the “baptism with the Holy Ghost” a person feels especially “fired up!”
    The person feels heightened emotion, which is illustrated by garbled gibberish, “ecstatic” utterances, unintelligible sounds, accompanied by, perhaps, frantic jerks, twitches, gyrations, contortions and violent movements of the body.
    • But is this what John the Baptist meant?
    • Is it what the Bible says’.?
    Let’s see:
    • “But when he [John the Baptist] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
    • “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
    • “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
    • ” And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    • “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
    • “Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat
    • into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7-12).
    Now, let’s understand what this passage plainly does say, and what it does NOT say!
    First, notice that, when John saw the leaders of the two major, opposing religions of his time, Pharisees and Sadducees, he was moved to indignation!
    He referred to them exactly as did Jesus (Matthew 23) as a “generation of vipers!”
    Literally translated, he was not merely calling them “snakes ” but ” venomous snakes! ”
    He then ordered them to bring forth fruit which would prove that they were really repenting!
    He told them not to argue along racial, tribal and historical lines, claiming “We have Abraham for our father,” and said that God was able of the stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
    Then, John the Baptist used the analogy of a forester hewing down trees!
    • It is obvious that when John said “…the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire… ” John was referring to the destruction of unfruitful trees!
    He speaks of the same thing in a different analogy (verse 12).
    • Notice! “Whose fan [winnowing shovel] is in His hand, and He will thoroughly PURGE His floor [threshing floor] and gather His wheat into the garner, but He will BURN UP the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12).
    Both analogies; the one wherein the forester hews down unfruitful trees, and the other where the thresher gathers up chaff to burn it, are immediately obvious to any humble individual sincerely thirsting to understand the Word of God.
    What happens when you hew down a useless, unfruitful tree, chop it up, and cast it into a fire?
    Naturally, you DESTROY the tree; you burn it up!
    And what happens when you use a fan, or winnowing shovel to separate wheat from the chaff and then cast the chaff into afire which you refuse to put out?
    As John said, you will “BURN UP the chaff!”
    At this confrontation, John was speaking to two groups of people.
    Previous verses tell us of the greatness of the ministry of John the Baptist; how citizens from many provinces around came to him to hear his preaching, and to be baptized of him in the river Jordan. It then tells us that some of the Christ-rejecting Pharisees and Sadducees came also among the others.
    John was speaking to TWO groups of people!
    On the one hand, he was speaking to those who came sincerely thirsting for his message; those who would repent upon being convicted, and would be baptized with water, as a symbol of the death and burial of the old self, and their commitment to begin walking in “newness of life. ”
    To them, he spoke of the baptism with the Holy Spirit!
    But he also addressed a separate, different group! Sadducees and Pharisees!
    Even as, with both analogies, he indicated there would be some trees which would be spared by the axmen; those bearing fruit; and also indicated that the wheat would be gathered into the barn while the chaff was destroyed, so he said to this whole group that SOME of them would be baptized with the “Holy Spirit’ and OTHERS would be baptized with “FIRE”!
    What kind of fire?
    The kind of fire which he called “UNQUENCHABLE”! And what is “unquenchable fire”?
    You can find out, in your own home, if you have a wood burning stove or a fireplace.
    Simply light a fire and decide not to quench it! Do not put on water, do not smother it, or use a CO2 bottle or in any way interfere with the fire you have lit! That is an unquenchable fire!
    Notice the biblical usage of the term! When Jesus rebuked the citizens of Capernaum saying unto them, “If the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day, ”
    He spoke of the fact of the DESTRUCTION of ancient Sodom!
    As you know, Almighty God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire!
    This fire was from a divine source, and is actually a type of the “Gehenna fire” of which Jesus Christ spoke.
    • He said “…but rather fear Him [God] which is able to DESTROY both soul [Greek psuchel and body [Greek soma] in Gehenna” (Matthew 10:28).
    • When an individual (referred to as a “soul” in some cases in the Bible) sins, that individual will reap the “wages of sin” which is death! (Romans 6:23).
    • Read Ezekiel 18:4 and 20! “The soul that sinneth IT shall DIE!
    The incorrigible wicked are to be cast into “Gehenna fire” which is described as a lake of fire which “burns them up”! (Malachi 4: 1).
    Read that scripture!
    • God says, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble [ “chaff’ the same analogy used by John the Baptist!] and the day that cometh shall burn them up saith the Eternal of hosts, that is shall leave them neither root nor branch!”
    • (Again, notice the direct repetition of the same analogies used by John! Referring to being left neither “root nor branch” is obviously referring to growing stalks, or trees.)
    • God’s Word goes on to say, “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Eternal of hosts” (Malachi 4:3).
    Now, notice what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah!
    • God’s Word says “…even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire!” (Jude 7).
    And what IS this “unquenchable fire” or “eternal fire” which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?
    Probably, it as like a nuclear bomb! It came from God, out of heaven, and completely DESTROYED both cities! As such, it was like a type, or forerunner of the “Gehenna fire” of which Jesus plainly warned!
    Notice that the fire is not still burning!
    John the Baptist warned the murder-plotting, sinning Sadducees and Pharisees that they represented the unfruitful trees which were. being hewn down!
    He said if they were hewn down they would be cast into the fire and BURNED UP! He said they represented the “chaff ‘ which would be separated from the “wheat,” which chaff would be cast into the FIRE and BURNED UP!
    And so, the only reference to this “baptism with fire” in all the Bible, where John the Baptist sternly WARNS sinning, evil men about the coming of Gehenna fire has to do with the threat of the DESTRUCTION of the wicked, and most certainly NOT some ecstatic, emotional “experience” one might feel in a church service or a revival!
    • You had better PRAY that the Eternal God never selects YOU for the kind of “baptism with fire” about which John warned the Sadducees and Pharisees!
    53. The Spiritual Gifts
    • Read the entire twelfth chapter of I Corinthians.
    Here is a chapter in which the apostle Paul explains how God has established His form of loving, caring and merciful government in His church!
    • God is not the “author of confusion” but of order (I Corinthians 14:33).
    Then, he shows how certain “spiritual gifts” would be miraculously added to the natural talents and abilities of the leaders in the church.
    • He said, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant … for to one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit; to another FAITH by the same spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another kinds of tongues [languages]; to another the interpretation of tongues [languages].
    • “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame spirit, dividing to every man severely as He will.”
    Notice carefully the order of importance of these spiritual gifts!
    • God places wisdom first.
    • That gift is followed by knowledge, then by faith, healing, miracle-working, and prophecy, or inspired speaking and preaching.
    • Then comes the “discerning of spirits” and, at the very tag-end of these spiritual gifts He lists “kinds of tongues” and “the interpretation of tongues.”
    • There are nine “spiritual gifts” in all.
    • In the order of importance, God shows that speaking with various kinds of languages and then being able to interpret to others those languages are listed eighth and ninth!
    Now, notice a very important point:
    Only on the day of Pentecost was there a DOUBLE miracle performed!
    As you have learned, the miracle was in BOTH the speaking AND the hearing.
    However, from that time onward, the double miracle of affecting the hearing of the audience as well as the speaking of those doing the preaching no longer occurred!
    It was absolutely UNIQUE to the manifestation of God’s Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
    From that time onward, the miracle of hearing “every man in his own tongue” as exclaimed the startled Parthians, Medians, Persians and Arabs was not utilized.
    • Here, God says there are two gifts involved in “tongues.
    • The first (listed eighth in the order of spiritual gifts) is “speaking with other languages.”
    • Then, as a separate spiritual gift, perhaps not given to the one with the gift of speaking in languages, but given to a different individual, is “the interpretation of languages”!
    Let us note how the apostle Paul said these are to be used. “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
    • “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.
    • “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. “He that speaketh in an ‘unknown tongue’ edifieth himself, but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
    • “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
    • “Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
    • “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
    • “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
    • “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air.
    • “There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
    • “Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
    • “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
    • “Wherefore let him that speaketh in an ‘unknown’ tongue pray that he may interpret” (I Corinthians 14:1-13).
    Read that entire passage, which I have included here so that you may refer to it from time to time.
    A moment’s clarification: the added word “unknown” is italicized in the King James Version.
    Printing the word in italics meant that the word was supplied by the translators! It does not appear in the original Greek, and is obviously a direct contradiction within the scripture itself! Notice the proof “I would that ye all spake with languages, but rather that ye prophesied [spoke under inspiration] for greater is he that prophesies than he that speaketh with languages EXCEPT HE INTERPRET, that the church may receive edifying! (verse 5).
    Obviously, then, the “tongue” or “language” being utilized would be a language KNOWN by someone present!
    Though most present might not understand it, and, indeed, perhaps NO ONE present understood it, yet it would be a definite language spoken, written, understood and presently extant somewhere among the human family.
    And so, the apostle Paul clearly said that one who had been given the gift of speaking in other (foreign) languages should refrain from exercising that gift unless there was someone there with the gift of “interpretation”.
    Why? Simply because they would not understand!
    Paul himself said he had been given the gift of speaking with other languages. He said, “I thank my God I speak with languages more than ye all:
    • “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding that by my voice I might teach others also than ten thousand words in a tongue! ” (I Corinthians 14:18, 19).
    • Is this true of those who diligently seek after the supposed “gift of glossolalia” or “speaking in other tongues”?
    Usually not. Very few of them would ever say they would far rather is speak only five words in a plain, easily understandable language than ten thousand words in a “tongue” spoken by foreigners or people of another language.
    • After quoting the prophecy of Isaiah 28:11, 12, Paul said, “Wherefore tongues [foreign languages] are for a SIGN, NOT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE but to them that BELIEVE NOT: but prophesying [inspired preaching or teaching] serveth not for them which believe not, but for them which believe.
    Do you see?
    • Thousands of people in the professing Christian religion which embrace the “Pentecostal” emotionalism of “tongues speaking” parade it before each other IN THE CHURCH!
    • But has there EVER been a case where a minister, perhaps speaking on television on an international satellite network spoken in only one language, and automatically been understood by twenty, thirty, fifty or more different languages?
    • You have never heard of such a thing!
    • Clearly, the gift of speaking in “tongues” is a divinely imparted gift of speaking in known, foreign languages which are spoken by other races and nations.
    • It is a tool of evangelism, added to God’s church for the furtherance of the gospel!
    • Spiritual gifts were not given for personal decoration!
    • They are not spiritual “badges” or “medals” to decorate the leaders in the church.
    • They are not for personal gratification, or for “comparing with others,” to cause ego and vanity!
    • Rather, they are miraculously-given divine GIFTS of God’s Holy Spirit, and are utilized as a sign for UNBELIEVERS as a method to convict and to convert them, calling them to repentance and a knowledge of the truth!
    • Yet, many have perverted the simple truth about “speaking in tongues,” and made it into a matter of mere human EMOTION, and in some cases, outright gibberish; making no sense whatsoever!
    54. “THE ONLY EVIDENCE?”
    • Some have claimed the “speaking in tongues” is the only proof one has the Holy Spirit.
    Nonsense!
    • Plainly, the scripture says “For to ONE is given by the Spirit the gift of wisdom; to ANOTHER [a different person] the word of wisdom … to ANOTHER [still a different person!] kinds of tongues [languages]…” (I Corinthians 12:8-10).
    • Paul said, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit! ” (verse 4).
    • Clearly, some had superior gifts of the Spirit., such as wisdom, knowledge, or faith. Others had gifts of inspired preaching.
    • Others the gift of healing, and perhaps another the gift of discernment of spirits.
    • Still another had the gift of tongues, or speaking in other, known, intelligible languages.
    • Paul shows NOT ALL of them possessed all the gifts!
    • “Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (I Corinthians 12:30).
    • So, since the Bible clearly shows tongues is only ONE of nine spiritual gifts, and is listed EIGHTH among them; since it shows NOT ALL HAD THAT GIFT, the claim that the only evidence one has the Holy Spirit is “tongues-speaking” is not true.
    55. What is the real proof of the Holy Spirit?
    • God says, “By ONE SPIRIT are we all baptized into one body…” I Corinthians 12:13).
    • He says, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 2:38).
    • WHEN we repent, and are baptized, God promises to give us His Holy Spirit.
    • The proof of the Holy Spirit is said to be “…LOVE, JOY, PEACE, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance… ” (Galatians 5:22).
    56. Must You “Speak in Tongues”
    • Jesus said, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out!” (Luke 13:28).
    But Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-NONE of them, ever ‘spoke in tongues”! Jesus said, “…all the prophets” shall be in His Kingdom-but NONE of them ever spoke in “tongues”!
    DAVID is prophesied to be the future KING OF ISRAEL in Christ’s 1,000-year reign here on this earth! (Jeremiah 30:9). But King David, a “man after God’s own heart” never spoke one word in “tongues”!
    Now, let’s review what we have learned:
    • The first time in all history anyone spoke with “other languages” as a divine miracle from God; communicating, intelligibly, to those of a foreign, different language as a result of a spiritual gift was when the apostles spoke of the resurrection of Christ on the day of Pentecost!
    • The miracle was in both the speaking and the hearing!
    • The sound they heard came from heaven, and not the throats of men and women!
    • From that time onward, even though there were several instances of God granting the gift of “tongues” when Gentiles would receive His Holy Spirit, the miracle was in the speaking ONLY, and was not a double miracle, but would have required a translator unless there had been those present who understood the language being spoken!
    • “Tongues-speaking” is a divinely-given spiritual GIFT, having nothing to do with one’s natural abilities.
    • It is listed eighth among the spiritual gifts; meaning that the spiritual gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, discernment of spirits and healing are more to be desired!
    • Yet, “more excellent” than all these (I Corinthians 13) according to your Bible, is to be filled with the love of God as defined in the “love chapter.”
    • Clearly, “speaking in languages” is a TOOL OF EVANGELISM, and is listed as a “sign to the unbeliever”! (9)
    • Paul said he would rather speak five words, and be understood, than exercise the spiritual gift of “tongues” if no one understood what he said!
    • Paul ordered those who had the spiritual gift of “tongues” to refrain from using that gift unless there was an interpreter present!
    57. “Speaking in tongues” is NOT the only evidence of having God’s Holy Spirit!
    John the Baptist, said by Jesus Christ to have been one of the greatest men to have ever lived, and a man who came in the “power and spirit of Elijah” never spoke in tongues, yet will be IN God’s Kingdom!
    Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; all the prophets, King David, Moses, Elijah and many, many others (see Hebrews 11) will be in God’s Kingdom yet NONE ever spoke with “tongues.”
    • The real “fruit” of the Holy Spirit is LOVE and it is far more important to manifest the love of God (I John 5:3) in your daily life than it is to have one of the spiritual gifts, no matter which one it may be!
    • It is sad that many thousands, seeking for a “deeper” or more “fulfilling” religious experience have allowed themselves to be blinded by a cheap imitation called the charismatic movement. ”
    • They seek a “spiritual high, ” and believe that the most important manifestation of God’s Holy Spirit is exercising what they call “speaking in unknown tongues. ”
    • True to the prediction of Jesus Christ, the MANY are being deceived!
    • I have spoken with individuals who were counseled to just let their minds go” and think of “their word,” which they would be encouraged to begin to repeat, endlessly, over and over again!
    • This is merely a form of self-hypnosis, and, in my humble opinion, DANGEROUS, for it may invite “spiritual participation” from unwanted, and dangerous quarters!
    • Surely, such people are sincere.
    • But sincerity, remember, is not the test of TRUTH!
    • You have read the truth about “speaking with tongues” in this booklet. May God give you the grace and humility to accept it.

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