Now, I have to prove what I say using the Bible. My motto is “Prove the Bible with the Bible.”
I’ll repeat what Paul, the 12th hand-picked apostle of Jesus told us in 1 Corinthians 13:, and I will break down each verse separately.
Verse 1 – “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Paul spoke in several languages…man’s language, and he spoke in what we could give him the benefit of doubt on…the tongues of heaven…”angels”.
Let’s even agree that this “speaking in tongues” was some heavenly utterance. Paul declares in verse one, that all that is nice, but love is the gift of God that counts…the rest, without love, would be the same as a noisy sound of a gong or a clanging cymbal.
2-"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I have the gift of being a prophet, and can foretell all of the mysteries and knowledge of God, or even if I can speak to the mountains, and they jump …but I don’t have the gift of love…I am nothing to man or to God."
3- "If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
If God gave me the gift of giving everything I own to the poor and I am able to walk on fiery coals, but I do not possess the gift of love from God to mankind, I really have gained nothing.
And, here is what God’s love is - 4 - "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5-It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 -Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7- It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. 8 -Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease;”
I want you to know that the gift of Love should never fail…but the gift of prophecy will cease.
When will this gift cease? Jesus told us that the Law and the Prophets would cease Luke 16:16 -"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”
So Jesus Himself told us that the law and the prophets would cease at the time or “season” of John The Baptist.
The Law ceased because Jesus came to fulfill both the requirements of the Law...and to fulfill all prophecy. Jesus fulfilled the Law when He gave himself as a blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He fulfilled all prophecy when he met with his eleven apostles for 40 days after His resurrection, and with Paul, the 12th hand-picked apostel of Christ, on the road to Damascus. He istructed them to fulfill prophecy by finishing the New Testament, which they did by the year 70 A.D...the "season of John the Baptist".
Jesus paid the one-time sacrifice for our sins. The Laws that condemned us were overturned. He took the sins of mankind upon Himself on the cross and exchanged it for His righteousness.
Our sins for His righteousness were traded. This is called the “grace of Jesus”.
He fulfilled the prophets’ job of prophecy when He spent 40 days and nights with His apostles just after His resurrection.
The Holy Temple of the Jews also happened to be destroyed on August 4th, 70 AD.
The Jews rejected the Gospel of Christ. Jesus offers the Gospel message of His death, burial and resurrection...His ability to forgive sins, and to grant eternal life...to all mankind now...Jew and Gentile alike.
The Apostle Paul continues in verse 8 -“Where there are tongues, they will be stilled;”
He told us that tongues would be stilled? Did he indicate when they would be "stilled"?
Yes…He said, ”When perfection comes, the imperfect gifts of prophecy, tongues, word of knowledge, will disappear.”
When did “perfection” come? “Perfection was and is the fulfillment of prophecy of a coming Messiah - Jesus. This is why Jesus, perfection Himself, told us that the Law and the prophets would cease after the “season of John” Perfection was complete when the prophecy spoken of in the Old Testament was fulfilled, and written down...when the New Testament was finished. Jesus was 33.5 years old when he ascended into heaven. The New Testament was completed in that season…70 A.D.
Verse 8 continued…”where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” When? 9-For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”
Jesus came…the imperfect gifts of tongues, knowledge and prophesies disappeared within the “season of John”, which was when the New Testament was finished.
God gave us all instructions about adding even one letter of the alphabet to His Word.
Revelation 22:18-19 – A STERN WARNING – “18-"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19-And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
Paul continued to admonish us about these gifts of God… 11-When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me”
I put these gifts behind me – The ones I possessed (healing the sick, lame and blind, the gift of knowledge, the gift of prophecy, the gift of being able to raise the dead, the gift that Jesus gave me of having poisonous snakes bite my hand and shaking it off into the fire on the island of Malta…all of the gifts Jesus gave to me and the other eleven apostles only…ceased when the “season of John the Baptist ended.” These gifts were given to me and the other eleven for the purpose of confirming that we were delivering Jesus’ words to the masses with His blessing.
The Jews especially, needed “signs and wonders” or they would not believe. The Gentiles needed signs and wonders, too…for a season.
12-"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
Paul caught a “glimpse of Jesus and His love from what Jesus had said to him on the road to Damascus, and from what those other eleven had told him. The eleven walked with Jesus and saw Him daily. Paul never saw Jesus as flesh. Paul was telling us that he knew Jesus in part, but someday, he would get to see Him face-to-face, and then he would know everything fully from Jesus, his Messiah.
Paul tells us that, of all the gifts enjoyed by him and the other eleven apostles, would cease, but three gifts would remain. He finished 1 Corinthians 13 with verse 13…”And now these (gifts) three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
God leaves us all with three gifts: Faith in Christ. Hope for heaven, and love.
The two commandments left us from Jesus were both about love. “Love God, and love thy neighbor as you would love yourself.”
Now, we shall continue to talk about tongues as that subject relates to today’s Christian life.
Tongues are a source of division among the body of Christ. If this is a source of great division between the body of Christ, then tongues must bear a very significant responsibility to Christ and to mankind. It must be of such paramount importance as to divide Christians. Yet, we have discovered from the greatest Apostle – Paul, that these gifts ceased “at the end of the season of John the Baptist…around 70 A.D.
It is my belief that Christians…born-again believers…need to stand united because the Gospel of Christ is the most important thing in the Bible to God…to Jesus and to mankind.
It is my belief that Satan uses division ONLY IN AREAS OF THE WORD OF GOD THAT LACK SPECIFICS...that is to say, any area other than the Gospel of Christ that leads the lost to salvation, is SPECIFIC. The other areas...like tongues, prophecy, gifts of this or that...are vague , at best. I call those areas the "gray areas" of the Bible. If Satan can cause division...it MUST BE IN THE GRAY AREAS. Salvation is specific.
Tongues is, at the very best, gray.
To that fundamental statement...that JESUS SAVES, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost all agree. They were never divided on that fundamental statement. We should not be divided either, and we must all agree on that statement that the Gospel of Christ is what the Trinity agreed upon…and they agreed on nothing beyond that.
All the rest became the “doctrines of men”. Denominations didn’t start until way later in the scheme of things. The emperor Constantine published the Edict of Milan in 313, giving Christianity legal status.
The Catholic church has possibly been around since 60 AD, if one considers their claim that Peter, the apostle, was the first Pope, and there is no evidence that Peter was ever in Rome in the Bible. Linus (60 AD) seems to be the first Pope recorded.
Protestantism came about as a result of the “Reformation” of the 16th century. The “belief systems” held then, are the doctrines of men who believe whatever they think the Bible teaches, and God knows, the Bible is open to all kinds of interpretation, including mine.
Those of us who claim to be born again, have all received the Gospel of Christ, and we must then share that same gospel with others. Jesus told us what the will of the Father is. Therefore, the will of the Father is of paramount importance to God the Father, and God the Son…and therefore, to God the Holy Spirit who dwells within each born-again believer. Believer in what? The Gospel of Christ.
Okay, so let’s start there. What is the will of the Father, and what is the Gospel of Christ? Jesus said, “”For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."- John 6:40.
So, we now KNOW what the will of the Father is, and that is that people of the earth would look to Jesus and believe. Believe what? The Gospel of Christ.
The first recording of the word “gospel” is found in Matthew 4:23,-"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”
So the first recording of the word “gospel” speaks of the “gospel of the kingdom”.- and Jesus preached it. Now, Jesus was not crucified, obviously, at this time, so what is the gospel of the kingdom that He was preaching?
Mark, an apostle of Jesus, spelled it out in Mark 1: 1-"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2-As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3-The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4-John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”
So, the beginning of this “Gospel of Christ” was first prophesied of in the Old Testament, and someone named John the Baptist would deliver the gospel of heaven…that mankind should prepare for the entry of the Lord (Jesus Christ).
John the Baptist preached what is known as “John’s Gospel”, and that is that mankind should repent of their sins to God…and be baptized in water to demonstrate their faith that God would forgive their sins by sending a “Messiah”.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, what the Gospel of Christ is: Verse 1: -“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2-By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3-For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4-And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
So, the Gospel of Christ is that He died for our sins on the cross, he was buried, and had victory over death because He rose again on the third day.
All one has to do then to become saved from an eternity in hell is NOT to reject God’s Son, Jesus, and all that He did on that cross for us. He exchanged our sins for His righteousness.
The Gospel of Christ is also that He has the ability to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6 -…”the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins”) if we ask (repent), and He is authorized to grant us several gifts: Eternal life in heaven is one gift. He promised us the “gift of the Holy Spirit” as well.
All born-again Christians will have this free gift of eternal life and that the Holy Spirit of God would come to live in us…to guide us…to lead us, and if we ask, He will give us the “Power of The Holy Spirit”. What is this power, and why does Jesus give it to us?
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth..” Acts 1:8
We are given the power of the Holy Spirit to do what God’s will is, and His will is for us to be a witness to others of what Jesus has done for us. That is the reason for the Holy Spirit power. To give us boldness that we might not otherwise have even though the Holy Spirit dwells within us. We need to ask for this power.
Some, including those in the church I attend, believe that the “Unity of the Spirit” means that the one thing that unites the body of believers is tongues…the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. "Unity of the Spirit" is spelled out as to what it is. Unity means "oneness". Christians should be in "oneness" -unity",and this "oneness" is taught in Ephesians 4.
My Christians brothers and sisters in my church believe that the "unity of the Spirit" is having the abiltiy to speak in tongues...a "heavenly utterance". I will not argue their beliefs with them because as long as they "have oneness or unity of the Spirit according to how Paul describes this "oneness", which is the belief in the Gospel of Christ, I’m happy they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
As I have said, some of my brothers and sisters in Christ(the body) believe that the “unity of the Spirit” is manifest when they speak in tongues…which Paul clearly did, but said it would end in the “season of John the Baptist when perfection came.”
Some believe and preach that the tongue itself can bring the body into subjection. They get this from twisting James chapter 3 and verses 8-10 – “8-But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9-Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10-Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”
They believe that if the tongue was in “Unity of the Holy Spirit”, the body (of Christ) could then be in harmony somehow.
To me, that is a huge stretch to say that “speaking in tongues can bring unity of the Spirit to all Christians…therefore, tongues is the preeminent gift of the Holy Spirit, and is now used to bring unity to the body of Christ.”
That is just plain unscriptural, yet…they adamantly believe they can bypass what Paul preached and so they stretch the Bible elsewhere to verify or validate their particular opinions.
Let’s see what Paul calls the “Unity of The Spirit”, and it is found only in Ephesians chapter four.
Let’s review the whole chapter because this subject is extremely important for you, the reader, to make a decision to believe that tongues is for today, and the reason for it is to unite the body of Christ, and that it is of extreme importance in light of the Gospel of Christ.
Tongues - the ability to speak in a heavenly language, has nothing to do with the Gospel of Christ that comes to mankind through faith and belief in the Son of God – Jesus. It has nothing to do with salvation...as proven by the non-denominational thief that hung on the cross next to Jesus. Jesus saved him. Tongues had nothing to do with his salvation.Tongues, interpreted, was really tht the apostles, on the Day of Pentecost and beyond, had the gift to speak in "languages" they did not know. The "languages" or "tongues" they spok in were the languages of the twenty plus nationalities who were also gathered on the Day of Pentecost. The apostles spoke to them in their "tingue"...their "language", and the miracle was that God gave them this ability to utter words in a language not taught to them by men...but of God.
Jesus instructed His apostles to speak boldly 19-"But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20-For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” These apostles would need the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to speak (in their native tongue) to those who would persecute them. Jesus told them they would receive this power to speak. This same power is given to pastors and to laymen who want to do the will of the Father...and witness of jesus to others. The Holy Spirit gives us utterance...the ability to utter words (in English) to non-believers who need salvation. The Holy Spirit delivers to our rembrance...all those Bible verses that we have read here and there.
In fact, the duty of the Holy Spirit is the same as the will of God, and that is to point others to Christ.
John 15:26 bears this out. Jesus Himself told us, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, HE SHALL TESTIFY OF ME."
The Gospel of Christ is to testify of this one called Jesus.
Now, let’s evaluate that use of the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT as found only in Ephesians 4…the whole chapter..
Verse 1 – “I (Paul) therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2-With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3-Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Paul then describes exactly what this Unity of the Spirit is and this is what UNITES the body of Christ together: That which UNITES is "ONENESS". Oneness of what? Paul continues to teach:
4 -”There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;”
The Unity of The Spirit is that there is but one body of Christ…and one hope of your calling, and that is Jesus Christ...ONENESS.
He then tells us there is one Lord, one faith in Christ (The Gospel Message), and one baptism. ONENESS - UNITY.
That baptism is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we are saved. The outward sign of this is the Baptism of John…water baptism. This water baptism reflects the Gospel of Christ, which is to symbolize the death, burial and resurrection of Christ…as also spoken of by Paul, the apostle.
5-”One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
The Unity of the Spirit is one body of Christ, one spirit of God, one God, one hope, one faith in Christ….everything is one-ness, meaning unity...ONENESS - UNITY...UNITED in ONE FAITH, and that is in the Gospel of Christ.
7-But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8-Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 -(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10-He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
And here, Paul expounds on the gifts that God gave the body of Christ…the “church”.
11-"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;"
Did God give some churches apostles? Yes, the first churches that were established in the New Testament all had apostles.
Some interpret this to mean that Jesus continues to give the churches today apostles. How can this be if there are only twelve apostles and all twelve will be in heaven to judge the twelve tribes of Israel?
Matthew 19:28 proves the Bible with the Bible…”And Jesus said unto them, (His apostles) Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, (Judas did not follow Christ) in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
How many thromes did Jesus reserve for His apostles? Twelve.
With Paul, the 12th hand-picked apostle of Jesus, how many apostles did Jesus Himself choose? Twelve. Judas, chosen by Jesus because a "betrayer" was prophesied in the Old Testament", would not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthia was chosen by Peter and disciples of the first church at Jerusalm, and chosen by lottery...drawing lots with names on them. Jesus chose the elevn remaining apostles and He chose Paul. These are the twelve who shall be in heaven and part of the "Twenty and Four Elders".
All 12 will have a function in heaven. What is their function? To judge the 12 tribes of Israel.
The total of the 12 tribe leaders and 12 apostles is known as the “24 elders”. Revelation 4:4 – “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”
Back to Ephesians chapter 4…"God gave some churches apostles, some prophets (which Jesus also said ended with John the Baptist, and some evangelists (still in existence), and some teachers (still in existence) and to some churches, He gave pastors (still in existence today) …12”For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
Therefore, the Bible does not contradict itself when it tells us that all of the above were given to the churches. People today interpret that to mean that God gives the churches of today all of those including prophets and tongues and apostles.
Clearly, Jesus told us prophets ceased and so did the 12 apostles and Paul teaches that tongues ended as well. The rest we still have for doing the “work of the ministry and for edifying the body of Christ…the church.
These pastors, evangelists, teacher shall be with us to the end of the ages…. 13 -"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: “
The evangelists, pastors and teachers are supposed to be teaching the Gospel of Christ…to bring the body of Christ into the “Unity of the Faith”.
All born again believers should have ONE FAITH, and that is in Jesus Christ and His Gospel…His death on the cross, His burial, His resurrection, His ability to forgive sins, His ability to raise each born again believer (resurrect) from the dead to an eternal life in heaven.
The “Unity of the Spirit of God (Father, Son ad Holy Spirit) is that the Gospel of Christ be preached to all mankind. Beyond that, there seems not to be unity of the Father, Son and Spirit….only the divisiveness of the opinions of men…the “doctrines of men”.
Paul has a desire, and in verse 14 of Ephesians 4, he spells it out: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
Yet, here we are…two thousand years later…divided….deceived…by the sleight of men who believe their “wind of doctrine” is scriptural, yet it goes beyond the Gospel of Christ which is the uniter of the faith of the body of Christ.
Paul continues to teach us: 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
God Himself wants us all to “be conformed to the image of His Son”. Romans 8:29 . If we are to be like Jesus, our gifts will be as Paul has told us…we will love mankind enough to preach the Gospel of Christ to them…to be witnesses of Jesus and His Gospel.
One has to ask if Jesus spoke in tongues anywhere in the Bible! Nope.
Paul continues…Ephesians 4:16 –“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Paul emphasizes love.
17 -"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18-They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19-Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”
20-"You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21-Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22-You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23-to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24-and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
25-"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26-In your anger do not sin[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27-and do not give the devil a foothold. 28-He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
Paul also had much to say about tongues in 1 Corinthians 14. Let’s see what his feelings were on prophecy and tongues. And, keep in mind, he said “in a while, they will cease.”
In verse 4, Paul says, “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
Paul says if you speak in an unknown tongue, you only edify yourself. He wants us to edify the church…the body of Christ. Prophecy did that…until prophecy ceased.
I want to point out that combining news events of the times with Bible prophecy will come about in the “end times”. You would ask, If the New Testament is already written, and all prophecy is fulfilled, what could possibly have to be “foretold”?
I believe, but cannot prove, that God will divulge to both men and women in the end days, those things that correspond with the Bible prophecy for the end times, and the news events of the day that correspond with those events told of in the Bible.
For example….the United Nations has asked for a “one world monetary system”. The Bible foretold of this. Now, it is up to people whom God chooses to ferret out these news items and compare them with God’s word to give insight as to how the events of the day actually correspond with the prophecy already established in the Bible.
There will be a “Global Leader”. There is news out there now that point to a particular leader who that might be coming to the forefront of politics.
There will be “Messiahs” coming in the end times. Islam is waiting for their “Messiah”…the “12th Iman” or “al Mhadi”, for example.
Jesus told us in Matthew 14:21-"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22-If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23-At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24-For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.”
So, these things prophesied of in the New and Old Testaments shall come in the “end days”….and that, my friend, is sooner than most think!
Now, more than ever before, the Gospel of Christ is needed to be preached all over the planet, and the body of Christ should be unified in this effort for it is this Gospel of Christ that God’s will dictates we preach.
Considering tongues, Paul finally tells us, 9-"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.”
He tells us that we might as well speak into the air unless we speak in English (in our case)…otherwise how shall it be known of what is spoken in an unknown language?
Paul said, “I 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 spoke in tongues, and it was a gift of God for those times…as was his prophesying. They ended, according to him…when the New Testament was finished around 70 A.D., and at the end of “the season of John the Baptist”.
Paul also said that he would prefer to speak five words in language understood by him and all of the followers of Christ than to speak ten thousand words in an unknown tongue that nobody could understand.
What were “tongues” for? “22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.”
Tongues were for a sign…to demonstrate to unbelievers that the apostles had credibility to the unbelievers. They all had the power of Christ on them. Everything Jesus did, they could do…according to Jesus. It was given to the apostles as a sign to unbelievers….Jews first, then to Gentiles.
The Jews always sought a “sign from heaven”. Jesus grew disgusted with them , “And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.”
He gave his apostles powers to use as “signs and wonders” for the Jews first, then to the Gentiles, but they would fade away once the New Testament was written and all prophecy was therefore fulfilled.
I will wrap this up with the words Jesus gave to his eleven apostles in the upper room just before He ascended into heaven.
14-"Afterward He appeared unto the eleven (Judas was now dead) 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.”
Jesus met with His eleven, but He was upset with them because they failed to believe it was Him with them at first…They didn't believe Mary, Martha and others who also saw Him raised from the dead...and He chastised them for not believing Him that He would be crucified, and raised again on the third day, and would ascend back into heaven…and then he gave them instructions to carry out…and the power and authority to do it.
15-”And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Jesus wanted His apostles to get out and preach the Gospel of Christ to every creature. He wants us, as His followers (we are called disciples…as were the twelve apostles. But, apostles can be disciples…disciples cannot be apostles!).
16-"He (of you eleven) that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."(like Judas was).
I have to stop here to say that most of the people these days interpret what Jesus said to His eleven apostles, then later to His 12th apostle, Paul, as that He is also speaking to them. He was not speaking to you or me…He was addressing only his eleven apostles when He made the statements here and below…
17-"And these signs shall follow them that believe (of you eleven, and not to every Tom, Dick and Harry who reads these verses later) ; In my name shall they (the eleven…and then Paul) cast out devils; they (you apostles who now choose to believe) shall speak with new tongues; 18-They (you) shall take up serpents; and if they (you apostles who will now choose to believe me – now that you physically see me) drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them (you) ; they (you) shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
I will clarify that Jesus allowed seventy "disciples" to have the limited power of healing the sick and casting out demons as they went before Him toward Jerusalem. He did that because He was on His way to Jerusalem for the last time. He would soon be crucified, and these seventy disciples were to announce that Jesus was coming in.
The apostles also conferred the authority of Jesus given to them in the upper room (Mark 16) to seven deacons of the first church at Jerusalem. Philip and Stephen are recorded as having used these "signs, wonders and miracles" in the Book of Acts, which is formerly known as The Acts of The Apostles.
19-"So then after the Lord had spoken unto the apostles, (see now who the Lord was speaking to…them…they) He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Note – This was 43 days after Christ first went to the cross...40 days after HIs meeting with His apostles in the upper room"
20-"And they went forth ,(they..the apostles…those eleven who finally believed in all that Christ had told them, and who now saw Him in the flesh) and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”
Jesus confirmed the word that the eleven preached with signs and wonders that He promised they would have. When this generation of apostles was over, all of those gifts that Jesus gave them (and the seventy Disciples and seven deacons) ended. There would be no more need of signs and wonders for anyone…as Jesus said there would not be.
Others have later claimed that they raised the dead. One in mind is an originator of the "Pentecostal Movement". His name was Smith Wigglesworth, a plumber by trade, born in England in 1859...died in 1947. He claims to have raised three from the dead, including his preacher wife. It is his claim, and that of a friend of his. In a court of law today, "He said, she said" is third party witnessing, called hearsay, and not admissable as evidence.
None-the-less, Wigglesworth is taught in those pentecostal movements...in their colleges and divinity schools, so that information is believed, in good faith, and his books are taught and digested as fact...and passed along to those who come afterward. Then, it is conveyed to the congregations of these pastors, and passed on as truth.
I can only say that the intent of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Trinity) wants the body of Christ (the Church) to be in Unity of the Spirit, and in Unity of the Faith , and that is to Preach the Gospel of Christ. Beyond that, He does not want the “Doctrines of men “ to be preached as it becomes just that…”doctrines of men”, and would cause division among the body of Christ.
Who is all for division? Who is for dis-unity? If you guessed Satan, you would be right.
I attend a church of the "Pentecostal persuasion", and only because I love the preaching there...and the edifying of the members in Christ. I grew up in the Assembly of God camp, and later joined the Baptists. All who trust Christ as Savior, including some of my Catholic friends, are my Christian brothers and sisters...forever.
I refuse to cause division or disunity, so I do not bring up all of the biblical arguments that tongues, prophets and apostles have long ago ceased. As long as we are in "Unity of the Spirit" and in "Unity of the Faith" which means we are in "oneness" -"unity" within the known non-arguable black and white area called the Gospel of Christ.
Every Christian shares this Gospel of Christ. Therefore, we should all gang up on Satan, and not allow him to divide us on gray area issues. When we do this, Satan wins, and the body of Christ suffers. You should believe what you believe in your heart...after searching the scriptures and asking God's Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom. Don't just accept the "doctrines of men" as truth.
When YOU are convinced in your heart, as I am convinced in my gray area beliefs, then we should respect it...and let it go.
Beyond salvation and faith in Christ...which the non-denominational thief on the cross had, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the end, we all win...Satan still loses.
Through Christ, all can receive the gift of eternal life in heaven, and all will receive the immersion (indwelling - or baptism) of the Holy Spirit when we trust Christ as Lord and Savior. That is the requirement for getting into heaven. All who meet the requirements are my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all part of the family of God. Therefore, there is, indeed, "Unity of the Spirit and Faith", and no reason for division.
John Tyler, Author
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