IS TONGUES THE EVIDENCE OF THE SPIRIT
There are some Pentecostals that make tongues as THE proof that one is saved or filled with the Spirit. Many wait for this evidence to occur and when it does not they look desperately to find whatever flaw or sin is holding back God's Spirit from coming and become saved.
The Bible does not teach tongues is the evidence for salvation, but one of the many evidences of someone possessing the Holy Spirit. Their patience in striving and expecting is for naught. Paul states rhetorically in 1 Cor.12:29 are all prophets are all apostles and teachers? Answer is NO! Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak in tongues? again the answer is NO! In Chapter 14 he says he'd rather they prophecy and in vs.5: “I wish you all spoke in tongues but even more that you prophesied. At the beginning of Chpt.12 he states the Lord gives out the gifts as he wills and that they are all different gifts not everyone has the same gift vs.11. the gift of tongues is listed last. In Rom.12 and Eph.4 it is not mentioned at all, giving us the impression that it is a insignificant gift compared to the others. Tongues were never intended to be the common denominator of spiritual gifts to all believers, to make this as such is divisive.
(Jesus said you shall be my witnesses, literally martyrs. What if we were to give the same credence to being killed for Christ as a measure of spirituality. This certainly would clear the air about being spiritual. Imagine someone saying “ you don't have salvation because you haven't died for him”).
Many say God does not change, what He did before He will do today. This is used for Jesus healing all as well (Heb.13:8). It is not a matter of what He will or will not do, but what He has chosen to do in His Church. The truth is, God has changed the way He does some things, but it is His nature that does not change. For example when the Holy Spirit was first sent He came as a mighty rushing wind and fire (shekhinah) appeared over the apostles heads in the upper room. But he does not continue to do this each time people are baptized in Holy Spirit. In fact it was only done once, and not repeated for any other group who was saved (Acts 2;8;10).
1 Cor.12:1-3 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” There were two of the mystery religions in this part of the world in Paul’s time when he was doing evangelism. Cybele and Dionysius were the name of the two false gods were worshipped. The service was accompanied by speaking in tongues (ecstatic babble) and sounds from instruments, clanging symbols, smashing gongs, and blaring trumpets. Did Paul mean it was these mystery religions when he wrote 1 Cor.13:1, we can’t know for sure, but he was addressing the corruption of the gift of tongues in his letter to the Corinthian church. He certainly may have used an example they were well aware of, being saved out of that religious culture. They were delivered from the gibberish of the paganism of their culture, but they were bringing this conduct over into the church (certainly not in order). Even though they had the genuine gift, they were practicing it wrong. Funny, we don’t seem to learn from our mistakes, even when it is written down in the Bible. Remember Paul is giving a rebuke for the way they were carrying on inside the Church. With all this said we are not to forbid the spiritual gifts to be exercised, only watch that they are exercised correctly.
Is there a 2nd blessing, YES and a third, a 20th and 100th...We are to be continually filled with Spirit. But you are baptized into the Body by the Holy Spirit once.
1 Cor.12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free-- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” God states we have all been baptized in the Spirit this is how one enters the body of Christ. So there is no need to seek a baptism of the Spirit. It is a salvation experience. Nowhere do we find in the New Testament someone being rebaptized in the Spirit. However there is a need to be continually filled with the Spirit and this is a command. Eph 5:18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” I understand the semantics of what someone means, that they apply this terminology to being filled, so I'm not making an issue over the word but the meaning behind it. Is there a 2nd blessing? Yes, and numerable ones afterwards, as we are to be continually filled with the Spirit, not just once. But we are only immersed (baptized) into the body once. It is sometimes those who are suppose to be spirit filled that make this a divisive issue as if they are spiritually superior.
There is no training to receive another tongue. I have been in more Pentecostal services than not, in which I heard someone say to me or others, just speak it and it will all flow out or I have the first word of your prayer language. NONSENSE! We are to exercise faith to function in our spiritual gifts .
1Cor.12:4-11 we find it is God who sovereignly gives the gift. We are not to seek a
specific gift. At best Its foolishness to want someone else’s gift, at worst it is
coveting.1 Cor. 12:4-6 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And
there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
Vs.12-26 tells us we are all equally important to God and there is no one who has all the gifts otherwise he would not need anyone else. Unfortunately I have heard this too spoken by a prophet.
Vs.28 first appointed are apostles. Although many claim this position, again this is NONSENSE since no one has seen Jesus physically or in His resurrection which was the requirement, we have no true apostles functioning in the office today. (Revelation says there is only 12 that will be acknowledged in heaven).
Vs.29 Paul asks the question “are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? In vs.30 he asks “Do all have the gifts of healings? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? if one insists that all must speak in tongues than they all must have the other gifts as well. Then everyone is an apostle and worker of miracles. But the fact is this is the very opposite of what Paul is stating, since he was an apostle he should know. The gift of tongues is at the bottom of the list (which certainly seems to be put in the order of importance in a relative way), last of all showing it is to be the least desired for a church as a whole body. He is setting the Corinthian Church straight on their waywardness. Tongues is a spiritual ggift that gives one the ability to speak a language they have not studied; tongues is just one of the nineteen gifts of the Spirit.
1Cor.14:19-20 Paul says he'd rather speak five words with understanding,...than ten thousand words in a tongue. Paul then implies that those who emphasize speaking in tongues were babes in understanding which is the same word he used in 3:1 that he could not speak to them as spiritual, but as carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. Those five words just might have been more to do with the Gospel than showing your spiritual-oneupmanship to others.
vs.21-22 tongues are a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.” We need to ask what is a sign? In the Bible the word sign means to declare or point to something. For example, circumcision was the declaration of the covenant in the Old Testament. The rainbow serves as a sign of God's grace after judgment. When tongues were spoken out loud in Acts 2 it was to those who were in unbelief.
According to 1Corinthians 14:22, tongues are a declaration of some truth. It was used to prove God was among them to those in unbelief.
As an apostle and evangelist Paul traveled and his custom was to enter the synagogues of the Jews. This gave him the opportunity to exercise this gift to them and the gentiles.
When Paul stated that he thanked God that he spoke in tongues more than all of you (14:18) it related to his calling as an apostle that he had special signs distinguishing himself from other believers, otherwise their would be no difference from the apostles and the other believers.
Book of Acts
To understand when they first are used in the New Testament we need to have the Old Testament background.
Isaiah 28:7-8, “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” Interesting that the mockers who heard the Apostles speak in other languages said they were filled with new wine and stayed in unbelief.
What is written describes God's view of disgust with the leaders of Israel. God took Israel, a people from the nations and made them His special people above all others. But they rebelled over and over not listening to God's precepts. The rebellion got so bad that drunkenness became pervasive among God's leaders. It seems that they fell from their calling. No place could be found that had not been affected by their practice. It is in this context, God sends the prophet Isaiah to offer hope if these sinful leaders would repent.
Isaiah 28:9-10: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”
The people became so engrossed in darkness they no longer could understand the simple spiritual laws and teachings. Their was no one left to teach. Because of their rebellious state, God sent His judgment upon the nation!
Isa.28:11 “For with another tongue will he speak to this people.” This is referencing the coming Babylonian captivity which would occur in 586 B.C. It is a message of judgment that they will be, snared, and taken captive by Babylon into their land.
When Israel hears a people of a “strange tongue” which were the Babylonians who came to conquer destroy Judah and take them captive. By hearing those who spoke in another language then the people would know that God's judgment had arrived upon them ! Isaiah 28:12, “To 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.”
Rather than responding to this message with repentance and faith, the backslidden leaders ignored the message of Isaiah as they did the other prophets and the nation following the leaders rebellion was taken captive! The prophet said Those who went along with the captivity would live, those who did not would die.
This is what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 14 that “tongues are a sign to the unbelievers, tongues are a sign of God's judgment to unbelievers - for the sin of unbelief.
Isa.28:11 “For with another tongue will he speak to this people.”( these were the Jews at Pentecost) to authenticate the Gospel message. When the northern kingdom was in unbelief they were taken captive by the Assyrians they could not understand the language spoken. This event happened again at Pentecost to those who were in unbelief still could not understand. Tongues represented the same message to these Jews at Pentecost on account of their rebellious unbelief they needed to turn toward Christ. Just as they were in darkness and taken captive to Babylon they needed to be released from their current captivity of non Biblical Judaism which rejected the Messiah. It was a testimony against those who had rejected Christ Jesus. This is why Peter pleads to separate from this accursed generation.
The miracle of tongues was that those who spoke them did not know the language but those who heard understood them in their own language.
Tongues were always given unexpectedly (Acts 2,10,19) they were not expecting to see this sign gift. They did not seek it at Pentecost or any of the outpourings in the book of Acts. No one had to surrender or purify themselves to receive the Spirit, it was a collective experience for all those who believed at the same time. It was a gift freely given, not in exchange for something we do to earn him.
The book of Acts gives us the normal pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit. One thing becomes clear as the texts are looked at carefully, there is no consistent pattern of reception. In order for something to be normative it needs to be consistent and a common thing to all. Not all spoke in tongue's.
If we look carefully through the book of Acts There are only three references to believers speaking in tongues when salvation was given. Acts 2 those in the upper room who did not know what they were waiting for. Acts 10 the spirit falls on them while the message is given. Acts 19 to those who had not heard of the holy Spirit. The Samaritans did not speak in tongues in Acts 8 nor did the majority of those who were saved. Starting in chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost those who came from the upper room spoke in tongues to the Jews that were in Jerusalem who were in unbelief. Acts 2:41 tells us there were three thousand that entered into the church that day. The 3,000 that were saved were added to the church WITHOUT speaking in tongues, nor were there tongues of fire over them or anyone else that received the Spirit. If one is going to make the tongues as the evidence why not the fire over their heads too?
Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” There were tongues! But this was limited to those in the upper room, it does not say that those who experienced the salvation from Peter's message spoke in tongues.
Peter proclaimed to the Jews after they were filled with the spirit and spoke in tongues, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, (Greek-by the authority of) in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) If the requirement of speaking in tongues were necessary for salvation, would he not have included it here? This “evidence” is all based upon three verses in the book of Acts that presumes that when someone receives the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues.
Acts 3:18-19 the topic is Christ’s death, and repentance is the focus for the forgiveness of their sins.
In Acts 4:2-4 Jesus & the resurrection is preached, not baptism & again they believed the word and 5,000 were saved. There was no tongues!
Acts 4:31 tells us they spoke the word boldly when they were filled with the spirit. There was no tongues
Acts 8:17 While Philip was a miracle worker without being an apostle he was an apostolic legate. It was only through the apostles presence that supernatural gifts were manifested. Peter and John came to the Samaritans who had already received the word of God and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and still did not have the Spirit. ( Peter needed to be there; he was present for all three groups salvation -- the Jews, the Samaritans, the Gentiles). There was some type of outward sign it doesn’t tell us what exactly what it was (Simon saw this and wanted this power). It could have been tongues or prophecy or both, since both are noticeable.
Acts 8:37-38 After hearing Isa.53 which is about the death of Jesus he asks to be baptized, Philip replies if you believe with all your heart. He confesses Jesus is the son of God. When they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Phillip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. There were no tongues, but he had the joy of the Lord. Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit.
Acts 9:17-18 when Paul received salvation he did not speak in tongues until later, yet no one would contest he was saved on the road to Damascus. When he gives his testimony he refers back to the Damascus road encounter as the time of his Spiritual birth (lCor.15:18, Gal.1:12). There were no tongues. He does speak in tongues later, as probably all the apostles did.
Acts 10:43 Peter says “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. We have the exact reversal of Acts 2 they then received the Spirit before baptism, from hearing the word & believing. The Gentiles spoke in tongues as proof of their salvation to some of the unbelieving Jews present. (They did not believe anyone but Jews could be saved up until then). Acts 11:16-18 Peter recounts the Lord saying about the difference between water baptism and spirit baptism. Vs 17 “ if therefore God gave them the same gift as he did unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Acts 16:31 the Phillipian jailer asks what must I do to be saved ? answer believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household. then they spoke the word of the Lord to both him & his household. What we find in the book of Acts is no set formulae for the giving of the Spirit. There were no tongues.
Acts 19 Jews who only received Johns baptism had not heard of Christ’s death and resurrection nor Pentecost. It is Paul who initiates the conversation on the Holy Spirit. He finds that they are not disciples of Christ but of John, years after they had not heard that the one John was pointing to had already come. After receiving the Gospel they are baptized Paul lays hands on them the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they speak in tongues and prophecy. They did not seek after the Spirit as Pentecostals are told to do. Not one instance do we see anyone laboring for the Spirit. Why was the Spirit given after Paul laid hands on them. It was to illustrate that they were no longer to follow John the Baptizer but the apostles who now had the leadership role for Israel. The church with the apostles replaced the Sanhedrin and Pharisees and even John the Baptist.
In each case when tongues are manifested there are Jews present (being in unbelief). The conclusion can only be that that tongues were given primarily as a sign to unbelieving Jews (Isa.28) or to those new people groups entering the body. As with Acts 10 they were in unbelief that the gentiles could be saved and so God gave them the Holy Spirit and as proof gave them languages unlearned for evidence to those present that they received what they had at Pentecost. In Acts 19 the tongues that the unbelieving Jews spoke in that were only water baptized was proof to them that Jesus died and resurrected and the Holy Spirit had come.
Acts 2:4: “And they (disciples) were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Not one verse of Scripture can be found that says it is necessary to speak in tongues to be saved or have salvation. Nowhere in the word of God is it found! In fact we find it was whole groups of people together, not individuals. The same type of event is repeated in Acts10:46, ‘For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” Also Acts 19:6, “And when Paul laid hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them (baptism); and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” These are the only verses in the New Testament (besides Pentecost) where speaking with tongues are mentioned in connection with the receiving of the Spirit of Christ. there are just as many without a physical evidence of tongues as there are with.
Tongues is neither the initial evidence of their salvation anymore than prophecy or any other gift would be. Are we to also say that one must have hands laid on them by apostles to receive the spirit, or that they must be in groups just like the other occurrences instead of single persons?
ARE TONGUES PROOF OF THE SPIRITS PRESENCE?
There are many examples of believers receiving the Holy Spirit WITHOUT speaking in tongues. Interesting to note that both Zacharias and John were stated to be filled with the Spirit but never spoke in tongues. Luke 1:41: “And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Lk.1:67: “And, his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.”
Wouldn’t the apostle Paul, who wrote over one half of the New Testament, have included this crucial evidence somewhere in his writings to the church. Since there is no salvation without speaking in tongues? He wrote on tongues as one of the gifts, but he never writes about it as the absolute proof that one is in possession of the Holy Spirit , filled with the Spirit or makes it a salvation issue. If speaking in tongues were a requirement for salvation, we would then expect that the speaking in tongues follow the pattern given in Acts. In Acts 2:11; they spoke of “ The wonderful works of God.” In Acts 10:46, “They magnified God.” In Acts 19:6 “And they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Eph.1:13: “ In whom ye also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (2 Cor. 1:22).
Gal.3:2: “Did you Received the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Faith comes by hearing the word.
1 Cor.12:13: “For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body.” It is Spirit baptism that brings everyone in the same way, it is a salvation experience. All believers receive the baptism of the Spirit to be in Christ. This takes place at the moment of salvation when one exercises faith in Christ. What we are commanded is to be continually filled with the Spirit. Not to seek for the baptism as something we don't have after we believe. This could be divisive and could be construed as unbelief on our part.
Tongues is not the proof this has happened because the very same chapter we are told of being baptized with the Holy Spirit we are also told, not all speak in tongues. Eph.5:18 tells us if one is filled with the Spirit they will speak in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs- no tongues are mentioned. This may include tongues (singing done in another language), but it is the song and scripture in ones heart that is proof they are filled no matter what language it is sung in.
Tongues is only one manifestation of the Spirits influence. It can also be prophecy and boldness in speaking the word (in the correct manner). It can be a great harvest of people coming to Christ as in an evangelistic crusade (like Peters first sermon).
It's not tongues that is proof of our salvation but the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of the Spirit.
Gal. 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” A life of denying self shows control of the Holy Spirit.”
Eph 5:9 “(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)
Mt.7:17-18 “ Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
Mt. 12:33 “a tree is known by its fruit.” The fruit of the Spirit shows the life of Christ. Shouldn’t we be able to tell if a person has the Spirit of Christ by their fruit and not by tongues?
Mt.13:23 tells us the seed that falls on the good soil (the heart) brings forth various degrees of fruit. The tares bring the bad fruit.
To be filled with the Spirit means that someone will act spiritual that they are under the control of the Spirit and the fruit, the life of His presence will show.
In Lk.4 Jesus was filled with the Spirit and was lead into the wilderness as a time of preparation. When he was tested he came back in the power of the Spirit to perform miracles. As we are tested and become victorious in our obedience we will be filled and ready to go out to serve in His power.