Speaking in Tongues

Posted on June 27, 2011

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This is the most thorough and true explanation of speaking in tongues that you can read. 

I thank God through Jesus,

that God has revealed this to me. 

May God’s truth keep you close to Him and Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament, we read this about tongues…

Isaiah 28:11 Very well then, with foreign lips

and strange tongues God will speak to this people,

12 to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;

and, “This is the place of repose”—

but they would not listen.

Now read what the New Testament says about tongues…

1 Corinthians 14:21 In the Law it is written:

“Through men of strange tongues

and through the lips of foreigners

I will speak to this people,

but even then they will not listen to me,” says the Lord.

22Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.

The nowadays tongue speakers today use their so-called tongue speaking for themselves and other believers in their church, they do not use it for unbelievers as the Bible tells us it is for.  Do you see unbelievers coming to God because they hear foreigners to them speaking the words of God in their many languages?  No.  God can make anything happen, yet tongue speaking is not happening as it did when Jesus and the Apostles and Prophets were laying the foundation.

We can see from the scriptures that speaking in tongues was prophesied  about in the Old Testament, that the Lord would speak to the Jews, as stated in Isaiah 28.  In the New Testament, we can see that this is a fulfilled prophecy, as confirmed by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21.  Since the biblical speaking in tongues were for a sign, and God gave the sign for the purpose as prophesied in the Old Testament, it would make sense to believe that speaking in tongues is a gift that would stop.

This scripture tells us that tongues “will be stilled”:

1 Corinthians 13:8  Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Tongues did not stop during the time Jesus Christ, the Apostles and Prophets were laying down the foundation because the Apostles were still writing the scriptures.  Imagine if tongues had stopped in the people who had the gift, others would erroneously believe that God also took salvation away from them, since the Jews believed God accepted Gentiles as was evident by their speaking in words of God in different languages.

However, tongues have since ceased.  Jesus, the prophets and the apostles have laid the foundation; the Bible is finished.  New prophecies and new knowledge have ceased also, just as the Bible says they would, for you know you cannot add new prophecies and new knowledge to the Bible.

As for the statement in 1 Corinthians 13:10, “but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears”, nowadays tongue speakers claim that tongue speaking will not cease until Jesus comes again. However, that scripture does not say tongues will not stop until Jesus comes again. That scripture is about Jesus coming the first time.
The prophets in the Old Testament prophesied about Jesus, and prophets in the New Testament prophesied about our salvation. This is what Paul says, “…where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”

When you only have prophesy in part, because the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, or more prophecy is needed, it is imperfect, it is imperfect because the prophesy is in “part” or not yet fulfilled. However, when there is fulfillment of prophecy or more prophecy for what we need to know, then we have full understanding, so then, it is perfect and, that which is perfect is come. The Old Testament believers waited a long time for God to reveal Jesus to us, and now finally, from the Bible, we see that God has revealed Jesus, in the New Testament, the perfect has come. The Bible has everything we need to know for salvation. It is perfect. The New Testament is the “perfect law” given to us, James 1:25. The apostles from the New Testament received all the truth we need to guide us to eternal life, and they wrote this down in the Scriptures: John 16:13; 2 Peter 1:3; Acts 20:20, 27; Matthew 28:20; I Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Romans 16:25-27.

We do not need anyone’s tongue speaking to know more things about God’s Truth, we have the Bible, and it is finished.

In Acts 2:5 we see that there were JEWS from EVERY NATION.  The Jews are the people God said that He would speak to through men of strange tongues…

Acts 2:5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

In addition, in Acts 2:6 we see that the Jews from every nation spoke in many different languages…

Acts 2:6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

Just look at the list of places the Jews had come from…

Acts 2:8-Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?  9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Please note that the word for languages is the name “tongues,” see Acts 2:11.

God in His infinite wisdom knew that the Gentiles speaking in tongues would be a sign to the Jews that the Gentiles are also included in salvation.  Can you imagine how necessary it was for the Jews to have the sign that salvation is for the Gentiles too?   This is very important since the Jews called the Gentiles “unclean people.”  It was even against the law for Jews to associate closely with the Gentiles.  See the following passage how God poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit even on the Gentiles, as was evident by the Gentiles speaking in tongues and praising God.

Acts 10:44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

The nowadays tongue speaking is also commonly called a “prayer language.” Those practicing the false tongue speaking of nowadays, they believe they are speaking a prayer language, and that in this type of praying it is somehow deeper and more revealing about themselves to God, and more personal than praying with their native language with words they understand. However, that is not scriptural, and that even goes against the Word of God.

Calling the false tongue speaking a “prayer language” is from an error in understanding of the scriptures explaining speaking in tongues when no one is around who understands. It is important to realize that after the believers in the bible had the gift of speaking in tongues for the sign to the Jews…they kept the gift even when the Jews of other languages were not around. Therefore, the tongue speakers spoke only to God when they spoke in tongues they did not understand and when no Jews from other languages were there, because, God, of course, can understand all the earthly languages.

Again, if there were no one of other languages around to understand the tongue speaker, and if the tongue speaker themselves cannot interpret what they say, then they are speaking only to God, and this speaking edified (nurtures) only the tongue speakers themselves.

Tongue speaking edifies (nurtures) only the tongue speaker when no understands; they are edified in knowing that God gave them an amazing gift (the real tongues is an amazing gift). How edifying it is for oneself just to have a gift such as speaking in tongues; that alone is what edifies. It is a false edification when one is performing nonsense babbling.

Nowadays tongue speakers, while trying to copy cat the real tongue speaking as is in the Bible, they discount completely that if they do not interpret what they say, even when praying in tongues to God only…then their mind is fruitless. Surely, a fruitless mind is not something one should be aiming for in personal prayer times.

Those speaking in tongues could declare the wonders of God (Acts 2:11).  They could also praise God in tongues (Acts 10:46).  Not everyone spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5).  If someone spoke in tongues, then they should pray that they should also interpret what they say, for the benefit of others (1 Corinthians 14:13).  Even when praying and singing while speaking in tongues, the speaker, for himself also, should interpret what he is saying so that it is fruitful for his mind (1 Corinthians 14:14,15).  If there is no interpreter in church, then the speaker should keep quiet and speak to himself and God (1 Corinthians 14:28).

The New Testament is of very special times, to say the least.  God through Jesus Christ gives salvation to us, and God testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (Hebrews 2:1-4).  The gift of tongues is a gift given during the laying of the foundation of the church, and the foundation has been laid (Eph 2:20).  Speaking in tongues were for a sign to the Jews: God has fulfilled the purpose of the sign.  Yet many Christians believe their glossolalia is the tongue speaking as in the bible.

When people spoke in tongues, they spoke mysteries (1 Corinthians 14:2).  We are no longer receiving new mysteries.

The mysteries of the gospel has been given (Ephesians 6:19).

People who claim to speak in tongues nowadays also claim that they are speaking the language of angels.  Read what Paul states in the following scriptures:

1 Corinthians 13:1 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.

Hebrews 1:14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

The Bible says that angels are ministering spirits to those who will inherit salvation.  The people of the earth are those who will inherit salvation.  Therefore, the angels need to know all the languages of the people on earth!

So even if the biblical speaking in tongues did not sound like any earthly language, (as many nowadays tongue speakers claim it is not an earthly language), speaking in tongues was still heard and understood as different earthly foreign languages….by the foreigners themselves (see Acts 2:6 and 2:11).

Again, the language angels need to minister to us is with our earthly languages.  Therefore, like the foreigners in the Bible who understood those speaking in tongues, in their native language, we too would need to understand in our language what the angels were saying to us.  No unbelievers of foreign languages are hearing nowadays tongue speakers and coming to believe in Jesus because they hear the truth spoken in their language by those who never learned their language.

Nowadays tongue speakers also falsely use the scripture Romans 8:26.  Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”  However, speaking in tongues is “words” and not groans.  This scripture is about when all we can do is groan, as when we are in despair–then the Spirit intercedes for us to God.

Speaking in tongues was a gift given, a sign, given (Isaiah 28:11) during the laying of the foundation of the Church (Hebrews 2:4).  It was a sign to the Jews (Acts 2:6).   Speaking in tongues has served God’s purpose, God has given the sign (1Cor 14:21), and God has laid the foundation (Eph 2:20).  Speaking in tongues by the Gentiles showed the Jews that God granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life (Acts 11:18).  Tongue speakers spoke mysteries (1 Cor 14:2); consequently, the mystery of the gospel has been given (Eph 6:19).  Speaking in tongues is the language of angels (1 Cor 13:1), angels minister to humans (Hebrews 1:14).  Humans are to understand speaking in tongues in earthly languages (Acts 2:6, 11).  Speaking in tongues would be “stilled” (1 Cor 13:8).

The believers in the Bible times who spoke in tongues, they spoke in tongues supernaturally.  The believers who supposedly speak in tongues nowadays, they speak gibberish and believe God turns their gibberish into supernatural language, and that is a false doctrine.

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