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  1. #1
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    Biblical Study of Tongues

    Tongues as a historical judgment sign of condemnation prophesied to the leaders of Israel who rejected Jesus as Messiah is the topic of this study. Its spiritual mediation following the New Covenant indwelling of the Holy Spirit and its edifying church use are displayed in all the Bible texts pertaining to it. And the present church situation is examined in the light of the Biblical facts. Isaiah 28:11 must be understood as it is the prophetic ground out of which tongues came onto the historical scene. Further more, Genesis 11:1-9 is both the absolute beginnings of tongues and the prototype of judgment for rebellious sin which underlie God’s purposes revealed in Isaiah.
    A study of Biblical Tongues

    Genesis 11:1-9
    1And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
    One language, one speech, and the people are one. Divided, the unity is gone and they scatter. Babbling stammering lips have from this time on a divisive, and judgmentally so, effect on mankind. Stammering lips and other tongues are disparaging and prejudicial terms used frequently in the Old Testament from the standpoint of the language of God’s covenant people as they impugn foreigners who stand against them. Generally a foreign incomprehensible tongue appears base and out of place to the ears of any normal human being. Is this not rightly so? What is important here is that not understanding speech is a curse imposed upon mankind by God in judgment for rebellious unbelief. Not understanding is a curse.
    The phrases, stammering lips or tongues, occur in passages which threaten judgmental oppression by foreign powers for covenant disobedience. They also are found in passages mocking ignorance in idolatrous populations who know not the true God. Psalms 114 pokes fun at Egypt with almost a childish taunt as for 400 years of contact with Israel, still when the Exodus occurred: “1When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language;” they had still not learned the tongue. Always there is the disparaging separateness of division, non-inclusion. Isaiah 28:11 is unique, turning this non-inclusion aspect against Israel itself in the persons of those who mock the messianic offer of true rest and refreshing of the New Covenant. With the tables turned, Israel would know they were rejecting true rest and refreshing in favor of their own efforts which would fail them ultimately bringing divine judgment upon their nation. Moreover, God’s words would be foreign to them and the kingdom would become evidently Gentile, or foreign, in character. Without faith in the words of God pressed into the understanding by the Holy Spirit sent in New Covenant indwelling, there is no comfort, no fellowship, and no inclusion in the promises of God.
    Here is where God lays down that table turning indictment; it is a most shocking, form a rabbinic perspective, turning of the providence of God upon an unbelieving presumptuous scholarship: though presumably insulating the covenant law and preserving it inviolate, it rather strained at the gnat and swallowed the camel.
    Isaiah 28:9-16
    9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. 14Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
    The significant verse here is v.11 which is quoted by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21 as he informs his readers of the nature and purpose of biblical tongues. This is very important for a biblical understanding of why Tongues existed as a historical Spiritual gift.
    At this point it is sufficient to note: that the leaders of Israel would reject the direct revelation of the kingdom of God that the true Messiah would bring to them, and that their main argument against it would be its non-conformity to their traditions; hence its non-comprehensible nature to their ears which could not hear. This is what happened in the 4 gospels as God laid His foundation stone which the builders rejected. Next we note the judgment nature of the phrase “stammering lips and another tongue”: As if God says, you say my words are not understandable, not fitting into your traditions and conforming to them, you scorn them, so I will give you a sign of judgment that will confirm to you that you have rejected my word: I will speak my words to you in foreign languages. This Isaiah text deals with this historic fact, and that is why Paul quotes it.
    Though some critics exclude Mark 16:17-18 from their editions of what they suppose are the original texts, it is in this light, that the passage becomes clear: “these signs shall follow”: they are signs to the leaders of the nation of Israel that they have chosen a misguided tradition over the clear declaration of the will of almighty God shown them in the words and works of Jesus of Nazareth. Isaiah has forewarned them, so they are intelligent of this sign.
    17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They 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.
    As Paul separated the believers out of the synagogue at Ephesus—again a case of Israel’s rabbinic leaders rejecting the word—many of these signs followed (Acts 19). As Paul was traveling to Rome under this very same kind but false charge, he was bitten by a deadly serpent where it was witnessed by those under authority to those leaders, and that after Paul’s warning had saved the ship’s crew and passengers from certain death in ship wreak. I have no problem with this text. Although I will admit, that I do not know any occasion of “drink any deadly thing”; I believe it must have occurred somewhere, and that the leaders of that apostate nation must have seen it, for it was a sign to them that had knowledge of these prophesies: of messiah’s rejection by his own people’s mocking rulers.
    Tongues, however, is the focus of Isaiah 28:11 and I shall stay closely with that. This sign phenomena would say to an Israelite: Like with the leaders in Isaiah’s time, a national judgment is near, for we have rejected the rest, the Sabbath, of the Lord and the only basis of our refreshing, the restoration of true righteousness under Messiah’s ministry, v.28:12. That prophetically signified destruction came to pass in 70 A.D. but it was still future from the standpoint of the biblical narratives and epistles.

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    Acts 2:1-47

    This prophetic tongue phenomenon, a gift of the Holy Spirit, was first manifest on the Day of Pentecost following the ascension of Christ. These events are narrated in Acts 2:
    1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
    These cloven tongues of fire would be a visual symbol of the tongues and lips that would fulfill Isaiah’s prediction:
    4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
    Peter will deal with the meaning of “this” in his coming message and answer their question. But first, notice: that these tongues are normal languages that native speakers of other nations easily understood, and that secondly, the disciples were speaking of the wonderful works of God.
    13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
    It is apparent that these mocking did not understand the things being proclaimed by those stammering lips. This is exactly the kind of mocking Isaiah’s prediction was written to convict of its foolish sin: which, it does in its sign capacity. Peter is about to do the same in direct preaching:
    14But 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: 15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
    To do this Peter will begin with Joel 2, another prophesy that deals with the personal coming of the Holy Spirit as fulfillment of the New Covenant in the true kingdom that Jesus had proclaimed in word and works in the gospels. This is that which was rejected of the leaders and the people as they crucified the Messiah.
    17And 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: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: 21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    Here it is important to note: that the people hearing these tongues heard them in their native languages wherein they were born: so that by definition the tongues, though foreign to Israel, were variously interpreted by those whose native language was represented in them. And to them it amounted to prophesy as Joel’s prediction more distinctly takes notice of: “we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” Here we note as well: tongues interpreted is the same thing as prophesy or prophesizing. Back to Peter’s message:
    22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
    29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
    32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
    So then, it is the promise of the Holy Spirit which they are seeing and hearing, and this is the new birth from above that Jesus told Nicodemus about in John 3. And moreover the tongues element in it is a sign to them and their leaders that their rejection of Jesus was based on their perverted traditions that Christ confronted them with and now condemns them for. Peter will explain to them these same necessary truths: they are sinners and they need to repent and be born from above.
    34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, 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 Ghost. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
    The promise and the gift held out to all believers is the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, not tongues. Tongues are, at this time, a condemning sign that the Holy Spirit was working out in relation to intelligent—i.e. they have the prophetic warning in their scriptures—Israelite unbelievers. However tongues interpreted, prophesy, is a gift convicting sinners and edifying believers. This is what we see in this Acts passage. To not understand what God is saying is a curse: to understand what He is saying and have it illuminated in the heart and soul by the promised Holy Spirit is salvation.
    40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

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    Acts10:44-48; 19:1-8; and 1Cor.12:1-26

    The next reference to tongues in Acts is in ch.10, where Peter is called from Joppa to Caesarea with others of the circumcision to witness the inclusion of the Gentiles into the New Covenant. There, they recognize the Gentile receiving of the Holy Spirit by the same sign that they had experienced in Jerusalem. I would only note: that these tongues are interpreted at this time as well: for they knew God was being praised: “magnify God” by their words.
    44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
    Jesus had testified to Gentile inclusion in his kingdom both before and after his resurrection: sheep of another fold…etc. But still his disciples and first Jewish believers had to be shown. The leaven of the Pharisees, i.e. their line upon line precept upon precept which was very dangerous to the faith, had to be weeded out of the house in steps and stages. Let alone the fact that the synagogue Cornelius was attached to had its relation to the rejection of the gospel as well. In any event, that tongues were manifest here is no surprise. Both roles, as a sign of coming judgment and as prophesy, are evident.
    The next passage is in Acts ch.19 and occurs in the town of Ephesus. This passage we referred to at the beginning of our study noting that many of these signs were worked there. The whole passage requires study. But we quote only the most relevant verses:
    1And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7And all the men were about twelve. 8And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
    Here the thing to note is: that John’s message of repentance and preparation within the Old Covenant, though the highest point of it, is far short of the New Gospel of the kingdom. John in the Old was the greatest, yet the least in the New Kingdom is greater than he. Even without the added note that these 12 men “prophesied”, the fact that the very next reference is to Paul’s entrance into the synagogue, places these tongues in their primary role as a judgment sign to intelligent Jewish unbelievers. The rest of this chapter is a marvelous narrative of Jewish hardening, gentile conversion, signs, and opposition of condemned intelligent unbelief. The whole text is recommended reading, as many other showy marvels had a similar sign function.
    The next 20 or more references to tongues come solely from 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 and form the bulk of the doctrinal instruction concerning this phenomenon of tongues. Prophesy and knowledge, two other spiritual gifts quite more critical to the faith of the assemblies, are also dealt with. Be it noted here at the start: a disorderly tongues problem in this assembly is the occasion of these chapters being written to these saints. They had really messed things up in Corinth, and it was going to take careful teaching and admonition to clear it up.
    1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
    Paul’s introduction contains a very personal, though painful, observation and an absolute truth warning attached to it as a sort of caution to their naive exercising of these spiritualities. And it is ignorance that Paul is going to address with precise teachings to set things straight. The uncritical following after, “carried away unto” spiritual phenomena is not the mind set of a true believer, for great gospel truth and true spiritual fellowship in Christ are at stake.
    4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
    The Holy Spirit who is the promise and gift of the New Covenant is the author of these diverse charismas; both endowing them and working them in the assemblies. The administration of them, which is also diverse, is under the united direction of the Lord. And the whole result accomplished by them is worked by the sovereign God who uses so much diversity to accomplish His will. The words, “to profit withal”, form an absolute rule that measures the charismas and unifies the diversities. The whole enterprise is to edify the body, “all in all”.
    8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14For the body is not one member, but many.
    Tongues are just one of several spiritual charismas not worked in all but given to some to profit withal. Such is the assembly side of this phenomenon. It has another side: a sign side to a mocking Israel; this Paul will address in chapter 14. But at this point, Paul is addressing the edification aspect of all the charismas. Uncritical enamor following after the showy phenomena, making tongues dominant, was ignorance of the state of things. Paul, informing, continues on:
    15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. 25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

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    2Cor.12:27-13:13

    I believe we can get the picture: if the whole body were a tongue. Not a nice picture. Pride was at fault in much at Corinth, so the emphasis on God’s purposes, profit withal, unity in diversity, and honor to the less honorable are necessary as pride overlooks these things in its fixation on self exaltation. In Corinth schism was prominent and the same care for one another was neglected. Their misuse of tongues had its part in that. In Gods diverse unity there is order and diverse, but directed, personal involvement, not selfish, self seeking, chaos.
    27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28And 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. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
    Tongues and interpretation are on the tail end of this ordered list, and it is noted that not all saints do them or the others. Therefore, tongues can not be a universal sign of Christ’s baptism with the Holy Spirit. Though they were apparently evidence of such in a few instances in Acts, they are not the sign of the Spirit; just one of the manifestations of His presence.
    Very important is the 31st verse. It provides the Transition to chapter 13. The words, “and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way”, introduce this chapter on love which along with faith and hope now abides. "But you are coveting the more showy charismas," is an alternate translation of 31a that reads the main verb as a present statement of fact rather then as a command as the KJV translators did. The Greek verb in the text is capable of both as the imperative and the indicative moods have the same form in the present tense. In the imperative mood the thought is: desire the gifts at the head of this list, for they are more profitable to the body, and not these two at its tail. The thought in the indicative mood is more reprimanding: but look at what you are doing disgustingly violating the purpose and nature of these spiritualities in your self exaltations and strivings—I show unto you a more excellent way…etc. Either meaning is strong reproof and ultimately invites the same self reflection in the reader who might logically see either one: Is it I? Have I been doing this?
    1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
    Oh, how we can forget the true unity in our assemblies, and how easily we are led astray after charismas like we were unto idols. We miss the excellent way, the profiting way, as the love of God is no longer shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who indwells us. We forget that it is by our love that they will know we are Christians.
    4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8Charity 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. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
    In this wonderful description of unfailing love there is contrasted with it three things that will fail. Two different verbs are used that distinctively mark out that failing. Of knowledge and prophesies it is said, that they will be done away with, (katargeitheisetai, same verb for both and exegetical in contrast to love’s verb: unfailing: ekpiptei) and the idea in the verb is one of a force outside of themselves. However, of tongues it is said that it will vanish away or cease, (pousontai, a vanishing away failing); the idea being one of no outside force, but a force within. These are definite statements regarding the ends of these particular ostentatious charismas. Not their ends in time but their ends in fact; time would be the logical next question. For knowledge and prophesy there is a hint in the words, “in part,” and then an answer in the words; “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” Tongues were not so designated in part for they shall cease by themselves (their internal force coming to a gradual end), whereas the perfect does away with the part (the force of the coming whole doing away with the parts).
    The perfect that must be the whole which does away with the part is the completion of the whole council of God as the Scriptures came into being under God’s providence. Truly this is that whole of which prophesy and knowledge as charismas were but sporadic parts. What these two gifts of the Spirit accomplished in the assemblies, the Bible alone does with completion today. Full council means just that; it now lacks nothing. It may be noted here however that tongues interpreted equaled prophesy, therefore the assembly edifying use of it would quit along with the ending of prophesy and knowledge.
    11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

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    1Cor.14:1-40

    Tongues are now directly taken up in Ch. 14, and Paul’s rebuke there drives home the remaining questions: Is it I? And when will tongues cease? The internal force within tongues will pousontai, vanish away: what is that force?
    1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2For 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. 3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
    It should be pointed out that edifying the assembly is the teaching that Ch. 12 and 13 have already dealt with. So, when we read such a phrase as: “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself.” It should be obvious that Paul is rebuking these readers. Building ones self up at the expense of those to whom the phenomena was intended to build up is the opposite of 13:5’s “seeketh not her own.” This is not the purpose of a charisma or of love. It is so opposite, that conscious embarrassment should sink into to the heart of one asking: is it I? Paul goes on to show: if you use it at all in the assembly it must be interpreted, for in this way it edifies the body.
    5I 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. 6Now, 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? 7And 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? 8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9So 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. 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11Therefore 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. 12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
    The first point is to interpret tongues; this only is good. The second point is to spiritually pray and praise in the known tongue; that way your spirit and your understanding will both be involved. Of note here is the phrase “he that occupieth the room of the unlearned” for this is a person who might be edified if he knew what the tongue speaker was saying. The adjective unlearned may well refer to the person who was not instructed prophetically by Isaiah 28 quoted above, i.e. a Gentile, not a Hebrew. Remember, a Hebrew’s response to not understanding the tongue via Is. 28:11 would be one of signified judgment—not understanding the tongue is actually the key point in the Isaiah instructed unbelievers case. This sign’s leading purpose in the historic plan of God (it’s internal force) was judgment sign for the nation of Israel who Paul loved so much he would even be separated from Christ that they might be saved. It is Paul’s passion for his own people that lies behind the first part of his next words. And it is his love for the assemblies as the body of Christ that lies behind the second half:
    18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19Yet 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.
    Paul now lays down the doctrinal and historical purpose for charismatic tongues. When he says “In the law it is written” he means by law the whole Old Testament, and in particular Isaiah’s prophesy.
    20Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:
    Note the sign is to those who "believe not": those are the ones who willfully will not hear God’s word. These are intelligent unbelievers: intelligent because they have this verse written to them. Tongues are a sign to this class of unbeliever only.
    But prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23If 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? 24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
    And there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers,” This is a second class of unbeliever. Gentiles who have not this prophesy addressed to them. Note that their response to tongues is: “will they not say that ye are mad?” Tongues are no sign to them of judgment and the whole thing looks silly to them, unless of course they are interpreted. With interpretation they might get convicted by What God would have them to hear and understand. Paul continues:
    26How 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. 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
    Let him speak to himself, and to God,” does not look good, but rather like a rebuke. His understanding will be as impotent as any other brother or sister, and moreover the edify yourself idea is embarrassing as noted already. But no matter, real tongues was praise to God. Though I believe this line is in rebuke, I will not insist on it. Just let it be noted that this un-interpreted tongues speaking person would never be heard in a public assembly unless an intelligent unbeliever was around, because not understanding is a divinely mediated judgment of condemnation.
    29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
    Direct prophesy, another showy charisma, was to be monitored as well. And, as amazing as it was, it was to be judged: not received uncritically (there are rules for judging prophesy laid down in the law). Of course when the Bible was completed this partial would be done away with by the coming of the complete whole.
    34Let 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. 35And 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. 36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40Let all things be done decently and in order.
    This is Paul’s conclusion which is understandable in the light of the things he has said. For the church, prophesy; for tongues as sign to the rulers and people of that Israel that rejected Jesus’ preaching based on their tradition, don’t forbid; for interpreted tongues, same as prophesy, don’t forbid. Only two things I can think of would modify this conclusion of Paul: 1) when the perfect comes the parts quit, and 2) when that generation passes that rejected the word “this people” then that sign as a judgment unto them has no longer any interior purpose. This is the teaching of the Holy Scriptures concerning tongues. These are the commandments of the Lord and the instructions of his apostle.
    37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

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    Summary Of Bible Teaching

    Tongues were languages given to some, not all, believers as the Spirit gave them utterance in fulfillment of biblical prophesy. Before the completion of the writings of the New Testament, tongues, where interpreted, was the same thing as knowledge and prophesy which were also spiritually mediated phenomena not necessarily involving the intellect. The primary purpose of tongues was a judgment sign to unbelieving Israel; its incomprehensible, foreign, and stammering nature was the fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11. When the languages were understood or interpreted, the direct words of God were useful to the hearers as direct prophesy. Interpreted tongues edified believers and convicted sinners. This was a secondary use in the assemblies. The order of their use is laid down in 1 Corinthians 12-14. The sign use, unknown tongues, would come to a vanishing historical halt as that generation passed away and most certainly as the nation was brought to the divine judgment of 70 A.D. to which tongues pointed as a warning sign. The edifying use in the assemblies would vanish also as their interpreted prophetic aspect would be done away in the completion of the full council of God’s word. Biblical tongues existed only within this historical context with a definite beginning and a definite end. God’s Spirit spoke these words within this time frame only and even in that time frame the church-use was regulated and critically judged, the spirits being tested. A warning of being led away unto idols underlies the misuse of these charismas and ignorance of their purpose and regulated use allows it to continue.
    As to the question: “What is that phenomena some call tongues today?” an answer needs to be given. There are those who believe that tongues have not vanished contrary to what the scriptures teach. These claim to be born again believers and possess the ability to utter languages unknown to themselves. What is this phenomenon, if it is not biblical tongues?
    In the flesh it is possible to nonsensically babble; this cannot be excluded. But if the babble is organized into a language that the speaker does not know, it seems rather to be spiritually mediated. The question then would be: what spirit? Is it one, of God or the Devil?
    The Bible is explicit in stating: 1) “For whatever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23c; and 2) “So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. So then it is safe to conclude from these two premises: that if a person allows something to come out of his mouth that is not expressly taught, or in a way not allowed in Scripture that he is supposed to do, it cannot be of faith. So then, it is sin. The Scriptures judged biblical tongues while they were still historically valid, and I suppose there were not a few in Corinth who had to repent and did so. Nowadays, if biblical tongues no longer exist as the Bible appears to teach, then all such phenomena, if spiritual, are not of the Holy Spirit and are not only sin but demonic. Repentance and rebuking of the spirit evoking them is called for. The apostle Paul allowed only so long the familiar spirit following him announcing his ministry of Christ to continue; he finally rebuked it and cast it out: (Acts 16:17).
    There are those who say today that tongues are the sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is twisting a few passages in Acts to say the Bible teaches this, and it is ignoring the express statements in 1Corinthians that say just the opposite. Certainly this kind of Bible misinterpretation is not of the Spirit of God, and I would add: it comes from their false spirit, if we allow the word of God to be the judge.
    Several questions arise here. First, can one be sure “that which is perfect” refers to the completed and gathered books of the New Testament? For, if it does, the matter is settled. Secondly, can a born again believer who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as the Scriptures teach, be moved by demonic spirits to utterances bypassing their intellect? And if so, would there be so many so deceived who think of themselves as models of seeking after just Jesus and nothing but the Spirit and his word?
    As to “that which is perfect”, there are those who say it refers to Christ’s return. There are words in 1 Cor.13 that seem to reflect on this: “12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” And since Christ is perfect is it not possible? I have no problem seeing the 13th verse referring to Christ’s return, but it is not the perfect referred to in verse 9. If prophesy and knowledge were still viably God-worked charismas then we would be advised to add the new revelations to the bible. The very facts that the Scriptures are complete, and that faith rests solely on them exclude this notion. Even when these charismas were operated by God, the fact remains that only few are left in the written Scriptures.
    Acts 13:2 is one such passage where Paul and Barnabas are sent out from Antioch on their missionary journey. Another is recorded in Acts 21 where Philip’s four daughters and a prophet named Agabus prophesied of Paul’s coming arrest in Jerusalem. Paul did not heed these warnings so as to save himself, and his companions finally give way to Paul’s determination. Basing his purpose to continue on other convictions which he sites in that passage, Paul shows that other written considerations had a greater weight on his decisions. The charismatic manifestations were temporary and not intended to superimpose or usurp authority over written revelation.
    They are as the Scripture say: in part. The Bible is complete and whole. Tongues, knowledge, and prophesy as edifying charismas were definitely Holy Spirit moved manifestations where God spoke to His assemblies and people, but in a partial way. When the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation were written and compiled, the whole of which these were but parts entered history and did away with the parts. We have no other authority but these 66 books, so that with old saints we may certainly say, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
    The only interpretation that makes biblical, historic, and contextual sense is that the perfect is the Bible as a whole with the completed New Testament. Unless one is willing to profess that the Bible is not perfect, then any other interpretation is excluded. And if one has that negative view of the Scriptures, it is no surprise what other spirit that one may be a partaker of.
    How can a blood bought believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit be manipulated by a demon? A ouji board may move if a spirit so chooses and willing people relaxing their normal control are open to its influence. The occult’s auto-writing phenomena proceed on the same supposition as does hypnosis, and spirit channeling. Ignorance may involve a believer in these, but God will not allow them to continue. Tongues are not unique to Christian sects today, Satanists, Mormons, Catholics, as well as Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists have their ecstatic utterances. Lying wonders, signs, miracles, and even healings will support the false religion in the last days. There will be people who thought they were real believers doing these things, but Christ will say to them, “I never knew you.” Theirs is a false spirit. But a real believer can also by allowing his tongue just to move and not acting by faith, but expecting something else to take over, allow a demon to move it for him. This is not possession but it is foolish, and it is sin; and God would not have you to continue so. The Scripture says a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. In the last days God allows Satan freely to supply them.
    Can so many be so deceived, or if we may turn the coin: can so few be right? Biblically, yes. The narrow way and the wide way teach us this. Just look at all the other silly, if not demonic, things surround those who claim to be charismatic: Slain in the spirit; hysterical laughing, crying, and barking; One world ecumenicalism; twisting of scriptures; and sexual perversions. The list goes on and on. This is not the historic Christian faith that evangelized this world and watered its soil with their blood. If charismatic enchantments so define the church today, no wonder it is held in scorn. This is not the scorn that brings glory to Christ; it is what Christ told you by the apostle Paul: that the Gentile unbeliever would say, ye are mad. If we are to be scorned and held in disrespect, let it be for professing our only hope to be in the blood of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. This is the true cross, let us lift it up and follow him. With your understanding and with the Spirit speak, pray, sing, and thank God; seek no thing else. Preach the gospel, the power of God unto salvation, weakness to those who seek a sign and foolishness to those who seek the world’s wisdom. True Christians will do this in the languages God has given them to speak and to understand using the Bible as their only authority. Moreover, if it is confirmation or assurance of God’s acceptance of you that you seek, seek it not in any sign, but rather in a personal walk with the living Lord. His word will create a faith in your heart that works, and you will prove His perfect will in the life he guides you in. His, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” is what you really want to hear, and that can only come from him personally. Think on this: "The just shall live by faith." God is the one who proclaims who is “the just”. Secondly, faith comes by hearing. And lastly, try the spirits; keep yourselves from idols.

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    thanks dice, its a good bible study of tongues, thu its long but worth reading, GOD bless u

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    xDICEx, This is a very informative thread, but your conclusion is not founded by scripture. When did the spiritual gifts cease? And if they have then I suppose the great commission is also void now.

    Mark 16:15-18
    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 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.

    You are confusing the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues with praying in the Holy Spirit. They are two seperate vocalizations. To propagate this kind of teaching is to ill equip the saints.
    Religion is an ugly tyrant.

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    Matthew 28:16-20
    16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 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.

    Mark 16:14-19
    14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 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. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God

    Luke 24:44-53
    44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

    Here are the 3 Great commission texts. There appears to be some differences in the location and times in which our Lord spoke these words. As far as the Mark text goes there is no warrant for claiming “they shall speak with new tongues” is of the same duration as the succeeding assembly’s evangelical efforts to accomplish this commission. In fact the sign aspect immediately confronting the apostles, not understanding God’s words which he speaks to Israel, is very fitting to this text in its context, as the salvation of the gentiles accomplished in new kingdom was not acceptable in current Rabbinic teachings. The Matthew text is the most commonly used text as it clearly delineates the authority of Christ which we minister in. The Luke text is the fare well account and its thread is picked up in Acts, Luke’s sequel. In none of these is tongues presented as co-terminus, ending at the same time, as the gospel’s announcement to the world.

    This kind of error lies behind those cults that handle snakes as part of their worship services. I am confident you do not do that or support that.

    Paul’s statement that tongues will cease is not linked to the force in the gospel but rather in the force of the sign itself which he explains by quoting Isaiah 28:11.

    My post was not about all the gifts, just tongues, which because of its edifying church use, like with Paul in Corinthians implied prophesy and knowledge, so I too had to deal with these. As far as I know, these three are the only ones we have data in the Bible that they would fail in the sense of coming to an end. Hope this clears things up. Thank you for reading my post, I know it was a long one. I wanted to quote all relevant verses.

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    Why do you conclude that tongues and interpretation of tongues and prophecy have ceased? Jesus said that He would return for His Bride and it is confirmed by many biblical prophecies, so do you conclude that Jesus has already returned and taken up His Bride?
    Religion is an ugly tyrant.

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