Why Tongues? (September 30, 2012)

Why Tongues?

What will you believe? Will you believe what the Bible says about tongues?

Many people claim to speak in tongues today, but these “tongues” have nothing to do with the biblical gift of tongues.

1. Biblical tongues were languages – modern tongues are not.

2. Biblical tongues were a sign to unbelieving Jews – modern tongues are not.

3. Biblical tongues ceased in 70 AD – the modern tongues movement did not begin until 1900.

4. Biblical tongues were a supernatural gift that came upon people unexpectedly – modern tongues are often a learned behavior. Even unbelievers can learn to do it.

5. Biblical tongues were found only within the Christian church – modern tongues are also found in pagan religions, cults, and the occult.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

I Corinthians 14:2

For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

I Corinthians 14:14

The common Charismatic interpretation of these verses says that speaking in tongues is a private prayer language. It is further stated that the tongues spoken of here could not be languages, for no man was able to understand them.

What a twisting of the texts. Paul is not saying that tongues are a private prayer language that cannot be understood. Paul is pointing out the futility of speaking in a language that is UNKNOWN to the hearers.

The context of this passage has to do with edification. If someone is speaking in a language that is UNKNOWN to the hearers, how is that edifying? That person is left speaking to the only one who can understand – God. This is why Paul forbade speaking in tongues without an interpreter (1 Cor. 14:28).

I Cor. 12:8-11 – Kinds of Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues are said to be sovereignly bestowed gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Speaking in Tongues can be Self-Induced, Group-Induced and Satanically-Induced.

What we have today in the area of the spectacular are the counterfeit gifts of the Holy Spirit. Tongues especially, are the ones coveted by all of the charismatic persuasion. This is a fleshly edification of self and self only. In other words it only makes the “unknown tongue” speaker feel good, but it does NOT EDIFY THE CHURCH.

In fact some falsely claim that unless they speak in tongues, they are not saved. This is not Scriptural, and those deluded in this way, are deceived as to know the true way of salvation. It is “by their fruit ye shall know them.” These fruit of the Spirit are found in Galatians 5, alongside the “works of the flesh.” If we are not to be deceived, let us measure ourselves up with these fruit (notice- singular?) to see indeed if we are in the family of God. John in his first Epistle, gives all the evidence of a truly born again Christian, we have no excuse to be deceived by the many “false spirits which have gone out into the world.” “If they speak not according to this WORD, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20).

This counterfeit manifestation is what we are warned about in II Cor. 11:4, “another Jesus … another spirit … another gospel …” Satan knows his time is short and he is the great deceiver, the “angel of light.” He never comes in his true garb to the church, but manifests himself as God, which he has always from the beginning wanted to be. And indeed he is “the god of this world,” and “the accuser of the brethren,” “the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience.”

The very reason the Apostle Paul spent so much time in Chapters 12, 13, and 14. This is clearly evident from his laboring over the point! He was correcting this carnal, fleshly outpouring which manifested itself in this Church at Corinth. Many here had come out of a system of false worship, where they used an “unknown tongue” to worship their deities in their pagan Temples. “Unknown” is in italics in the King James Bible denoting the difference to this type of tongue to the real tongues, or known languages. Note, the tongue that is “unknown” is always in the singular and “tongues” is in all cases in the plural in these passages of Scripture.

Again, this you will only find, I believe in the K.J.B. showing once more how Satan has gotten into these so called “Bibles,” and destroyed the true meaning of some of God’s precious Word. Very subtle, but we are warned that he is the most subtle of serpents. If one wishes to be free from this strong delusion, then look into these things for yourselves, and ask the Lord to reveal these truths to your heart, and be freed from this gigantic deception, which is overtaking Christendom today, in preparation, I believe for the Antichrist. He also will be full of all these miracles, signs and wonders. I have eight of these so called “versions of the Bible” and in one of those, I see the lie that Paul spoke in tongues, “in private.” That is certainly adding to the Word of God. (BTW, has anyone noticed that on Facebook daily Scriptures, there is a note that says, “You can choose many different translations to SUIT YOUR BELIEFS”? At least they are admitting it. It is to suit one’s beliefs!!! Trouble is what they are really saying is; “It is O.K. to be deceived”!

The “unknown tongue or the false tongues which were not known languages, but rather babble and ecstatic speech, did not bear the fruits of understanding and EDIFICATION, however, “prophesying” or preaching and forth telling the Word and “tongues” which were known languages gave understanding to the hearers, which was characterized by decency and order. (v.40). The important difference, is that the unknown tongues (glossa) which were being used in Corinth were not the same as the real tongues, (dialektos) which were real known languages, as used in Acts 2, 10, and 19. There is nowhere else in all of Scripture where tongues were used other than in these instances, in Acts and the Book of Corinthians. Not until the twentieth century did they raise their heads again in a “Christian” context!

Paul was reprimanding these Corinthians for using these babbling, nonsensical false tongues. He says, “If therefore the whole church 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? But if all PROPHECY and there come in one THAT BELIEVETH NOT, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all; And 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.”

(When it is of a demonic nature, the recipients always fall down backwards, whether in charismatic religious services of in the occult. This is a known phenomenon. The nearest Scripture that identifies with being “slain in the spirit” is when Ananias and Sapphire were struck down dead by God in Acts 5 for LYING to the Holy Ghost.)

The word “mad” here is the word “mainesthe” meaning “rave; out of mind or senses; temporary insanity.” We also get the word “maniac” from this Greek word. This verse can be compared with I Cor. 12:2, “… ye were Gentiles carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were lead,” and “THAT NO MAN SPEAKING BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD CALLETH JESUS ACCURSED:” (I Cor. 12:3). At this time of Paul’s writing to the Church at Corinth, there was a city called Delphi, which was the centre of pagan oracles. They made sacrifices to their gods. The Priestesses and prophetesses would be drunk and speak in ecstatic unknown languages which were then “interpreted” by the “interpreters”. Some had come out from this form of worship, and were out of control, using these same unknown tongues, which were not languages, thus Paul told them they “were speaking into the air” as nobody understood them (14:9) and that they were only edifying themselves, not the whole church, which was required.

Conclusion

As we conclude, we must emphasize this fact. The Scriptures teach that the gift of “tongues” was to cease with completion of the New Testament canon (I Cor. 13:8ff). As W.E. Vine wrote: “With the completion of Apostolic testimony and the completion of the Scriptures of truth (‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints,’ Jude 3, RV), ‘that which is perfect’ had come, and the temporary gifts were done away” (Commentary on First Corinthians, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1951, p. 184). (Elsewhere on this web site we have provided a detailed study of this context in 1st Corinthians; see: “”Miracles””).

Finally, there is this very telling point. Those who profess to speak in tongues today reveal a woeful inconsistency. In their mission training schools, they must teach their missionaries to speak in the “tongues” of those nations they seek to evangelize. This practice demolishes their contention of being in possession of the miraculous gift of tongues, such as that exhibited on the day of Pentecost.

Paul lists it as one of the gifts that God bestows upon Christians, along with prophesying, discerning, preaching, healing, and exorcizing. Evidently, some church members were boasting of certain gifts and Paul emphasizes that each gift is equally important; just as each member is equally precious. There were people who were speaking in tongues to the detriment of other gifts, and Paul warns them that keeping order is paramount, and it is better that the congregation understand what is being said. In his letter to the Corinthians, he says, “although I speak in the tongues of angels and of men but lack charity, I am as a tinkling cymbal or sounding brass.” In another passage, he says that all gifts will pass away and only love will endure. Different denominations put greater and lesser emphasis on tongues, probably because an interpreter is needed in order for people to understand what is being said, and spontaneous outbursts can have the effect of alienating people and interrupting the order of a service. In fact, early Christians were accused of sounding drunk in their assemblies because of their exuberance. Denominations that rely heavily on the book of Acts and its statement that “you will be imbued with power from on high,” tend to have people speaking in tongues frequently. In my own experience, I have noticed that they tend to repeat the same phrases over and over. But I grew up in a church that believed the gift of speaking in tongues had “passed away,” and don’t mean to be cynical. Pentecostal services can be fresh and spontaneous because anybody can jump in at any time, and the music and the clapping draws young people in.

Source(s):

Acts, II Corinthians, Ephesians, attendance at Pentecostal churches

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