Thinking Cap # 26 - Tongues
Tongues ..... Call it what you will...
- a spiritual gift,
- a heavenly language,
- religious hucksterism,
- the miraculous gift of tongues.
Forget the emotions and experiences. Forget the sincerity.
Just what is their place in the church in 1996?
To help set the stage for my views on this topic, allow me to share a short outline
that deals with the Holy Spirit.
A. He has a threefold ministry toward the world
- A reproving ministry
- A regenerating ministry
- A restraining ministry
B. He has eight ministries toward the believer. The first six are positional... God
does it for us for free
- The baptism of the Spirit - see "E" below
- The gift of the Spirit - to make me just like Jesus
- The indwelling of the Spirit - to sanctify me
- The seal of the Spirit - to secure me
- The earnest of the Spirit - to separate me (I'm married to another)
- The inspiration of the Spirit - to stabilize me (I have the Word)
C. There were only five periods in the Bible where there were an outpouring of
- To get Israel out of Egypt and into Canaan
- In the days of Elijah and Elisha (nation was on edge of total apostasy)
- A flurry in Babylon to convince Gentile rulers that God was God in spite of the appalling
testimony of His people
- During the ministry of Jesus and Disciples to convince the Jews that God had moved out
of Judaism and into the church
- There will be one more period during the Tribulation. Why were there five critical
periods of time when God performed incredible miracles and then they stopped? They stopped
because replaced miracles with manuscripts. After each period, there was a flurry of new
manuscripts added to the Bible.
D. There are two personal ministries of the Holy Spirit (the last two ministries of
the Spirit - see "B" above)
- The filling of the Holy Spirit - for our enabling to live like Jesus
- The anointing of the Holy Spirit - for our enlightenment.. To take the Word of God and
use it with authority and power.
E. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are only seven references to the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament First five were all prophetical pointing
to something that was going to happen.
- Matt 3:11;
- Mk 1:8;
- Lu 3:16;
- Jo 1:26 - John tells of the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit
- Acts 1:5 - Jesus leading His disciples before He stepped into glory. Told of a
baptism of the Holy Spirit in just 10 days to baptize people into a mystical body (the
- Historical reference - Peter ministering to Cornelius, a gentile. Cornelius, just like
the Jews was baptized by the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Cor. 12:13 - Doctrinal reference - "For by one Spirit are we all
baptized into one body." This explains what the baptism is and what it does. It takes
an individual believer and incorporates him into the mystical body of Christ, the church.
F. What about the sign gifts, tongues, interpretation of tongues and extraordinary
things? Tongues are only mentioned four times in the New Testament. Three of the times
they have to do with the way they were used. The other has to do with the way they were
abused. The first three are historical and the last occasion is doctrinal.
- The Day of Pentecost - when the church was injected into history.. as people heard the
Apostles speaking in their own native tongue and dialect... notice, just Jews were present
- The house of Cornelius (Acts 10:46) - it meant the breaking down the wall
between Jews and Gentiles... no Jews or Gentiles, just Christians... God gave the same
manifestation of the Holy Spirit (speaking in known tongues) to the Gentiles as He did to
the Jews at Pentecost to convince the Jews that they was of God
- Jewish disciples of John the Baptist (Acts 18) questioning Paul. He (like
Peter) brings upon the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Again, it is to and for the Jews.
- The Doctrinal reference is in 1 Cor. 12-14. Paul tells us four things about
- It was a sign
- It was a sign to the Jew
- It was a sign to the unbelieving Jew
- It was a judgment sign to the unbelieving Jew. Paul does not forbid it, because it was
still a valid gift. But, it was being so abused by the Corinthian church that Paul
severely curtailed its use:
- Don't practice it unless you have an interpreter
- He put it at the bottom of the list as the least important of all the gifts even then
- He silenced the women regarding the gift (this alone might take care of the problem we
are seeing) Paul said in 1 Cor 13 that tongues would cease in and of themselves
when that which is perfect is come. Studying the context (Paul is talking about gifts of
supernatural communication) indicates that this has to do with the completion of the New
In the middle of all this, in 1 Cor 14:21-22, Paul quotes from the Old
Testament that fully explains why God allowed people to speak in tongues in the early
Pentecostal church. Read Is. 28:11-12 in context which is what Paul is quoting.
Tongues is a sign not to them that believe, but to them that believe not. Because Israel
was so apostate, Isaiah told them that God was going to send the Assyrian army to uproot
them and scatter them. They would be buried in Gentile lands and would be forced to speak
their tongues. That is the judgment of God on the nation. That explains tongues in the
church. Because, once again the nation of Israel was completely and totally apostate. They
had rejected the Son of God and were now preparing to reject the Spirit of God
(Pentecost). Every time a Jew came into a church, and tongues were spoken, the Spirit was
telling them, it's about to happen again. You'd better get saved. God is going to scatter
you again to the corners of the earth and you will speak their tongues.
When the New Testament was complete and the Romans destroyed Jerusalem (Judgment had
fallen), the reason and need for tongues ceased to exist in and of themselves. There is no
further use for tongues.
So, why do some people speak in tongues today? That's a good question. If the Holy
Spirit said they would stop and they did stop, you should very well ask "where are
they coming from." Read again John's warning in 1 John 4: 1 "Beloved,
believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false
prophets are gone out into the world."
Modern Christendom is very gullible indeed to accept the speaking of tongues as being of
Dr. Kent Haralson - "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean
Berean Baptist / GMAU - not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
West Palm Beach, FL USA - acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."
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