A Voice in the
When we speak of the Holy Spirit, and learn His role in prayer; the next question that pops up amongst many is, "What about praying in tongues?" And a companion retort, "We have one person speak in tongues, and then another interprets. See! We follow Paul's teaching (1Cor14) on the matter."
Let us discover What tongues is, Whom they are for, and for what Purpose. And whether they are appropriate for the Gentile Church.
In Numbers 11, 70 elders were commissioned to help Moses bear some of the burden of administration and leadership. When they were commissioned, the [Holy] Spirit that was on Moses also distributed upon the 70, and they prophesied. A one-time event, "although they never did so again."(vs25)
Joel, a Jewish prophet, to the Jewish nation, prophesied (2:28), "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh...I will pour out My Spirit in those days."
On the Day of Pentecost (a Jewish feast day), as the Holy Spirit has just been distributed to the (Jewish) Believers(Acts2), Peter quotes Joel, claiming fulfillment of that passage. And based on these two passages, essentially, the whole tongues "movement" exists today.
Let's first take a look at Peter's quote. The Apostles thought they were on the brink of Christ's return to set up His kingdom.(Acts1:6) And Peter quotes the whole passage, including the "fire, smoke, wonders in heaven, etc." But obviously those parts were not fulfilled at that time. They did not yet understand that there was to be a time of the Gentiles. A "split prophesy."
Let's go look at Joel again. He says, "it shall come to pass AFTERWARD." After "WHAT?" The context of ch2 is the "Day of the Lord." He refers to "in those days."(2:29) A common O.T. phrase to indicate the last judgments on the nations of the world, as God restores Israel to purification and cleansing and fellowship with Himself as He gathers them from the four corners of the world to which they have been scattered/dispersed because of their rebellion against Him, and idolatry. This "70th week" of Daniel, a seven year period, is yet future. And the remainder of Joel's prophesy (in question) is for the end of those seven years.
Jesus fulfilled the first part of the "Day of the Lord" when He came the first time.(Isa61:2,Lk4:19) Notice Jesus' Own words. He quotes the first part of Isa61:2 "acceptable year of the Lord" and stops short of "day of vengeance.." In the same way, the signs in Acts were cut short, and will resume "afterward" when the "Day of the Lord" resumes again. Paul says about tongues, "they shall cease."(1Cor13:8)
Why were there tongues in Acts? There are "only" three occurrences of tongues. In the first case(Acts2:4) the Holy Spirit initially indwelt the Jews in Jerusalem. In (10:46) the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles. And in (19:6) to Jews of the dispersion. In each case Jews were present. And the tongues was a "sign" to the Jews of God's "NEW" work, which Paul later teaches, that Gentiles were now also part of God's plan for salvation.(Eph2:14-22) And yet they, as a nation, rejected.(1Cor10:5,14:22)
God's relationship with Israel has always been with "signs and wonders" and with "outstretched arm."(Ex7:3,De4:34,6:22) And on Israel's behalf His signs have been to the heathen.(Jer32:21,Dan6:27) Unbelievers. (1Cor14:22)
Is it any wonder, then, that there is no teaching in the N.T. on tongues? If it were something so important and necessary to the Church, there should be teaching on it. But there isn't. The only mention is Paul's attempts to correct gross error in a completely rebellious, totally carnal church at Corinth. This church was infested with pride, immorality, extortion, idolatry, drunkenness..to name but a few things.
Part of the carry-over from idolatry was the desire to get into "spiritism." They wanted a "feel-good" experience. They were not "speaking in an understandable language" as occurred in Acts.(2:8) They were making sounds that were unintelligible.(1Cor14:2,6-9) This is one characteristic of demon worship, and also of those who are demon- possessed.
Forget what some supposed "scholar" may have tried to impress you with the Greek that these words rendered "tongues" are different, and some of them mean "ecstatic uttering." They are all the same (except 14:21), and mean "language or dialect." But we take our understanding from the context. The whole discussion has to do with being "spirit filled."(small "s") And Paul introduces the matter by referencing their past in idolatry.(12:2) And he immediately compares things to God's [Holy] Spirit (capital "S").(vs3)
Tongues is selfish(13:5), only benefiting "himself."(14:4) But speaking intelligibly (prophesying) benefits the whole church. Anything done in the Church, by the Holy Spirit, benefits ALL.(12:7) The whole purpose of Paul's discussion is that communication in the Church is to be intelligible. Understandable. When a person hears God's truth, they will come to Him in repentance.(14:25) But if gibberish is going on, it is cause for scoffing.(14:23) If you "bless with the spirit" (small "s"), there is nothing to say "Amen" to(14:16) since there is no understanding.
"What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding."(14:15) In other words, if a thing is of the Holy Spirit, it is understandable. If there is a foreigner in the midst (14:21) who is to speak, then, let there be an interpreter.(14:27)
Some will say that they want the "spirit to control" their meeting. Paul says, "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets."(14:32) In Acts13:2 it says the "Holy Spirit said..." to dedicate Barnabas and Saul to a specific work; but did not force ("control") them against their will.
Some will whine, "Can't God do whatever He wants to?" In other words, if it isn't the norm right now for speaking in tongues, do we limit what he "chooses" to do amongst us? Let's remember again...there is NO TEACHING on tongues in the N.T. as a doctrine of something to be observed. That which is mentioned, is to correct the wrongs that had crept in from idolatry. Paul gives a solemn warning about adding to the message that "we have preached" other than "what you have received."(Gal1:8-9) If God didn't teach it through His apostles, He is not going to circumvent His own Word. Even if an "angel from heaven" says something new/different, "let him be accursed."
Those today who insist on having "signs and wonders" to authenticate the Holy Spirit's work are showing a GROSS lack of faith. They are carnal just like the Corinthians were. By being so engrossed, they are actually admitting to not truly believing in Christ's work of salvation, since they are pursuing a different "spirit." (1Cor14:22,Rom8:9,14-16)
When Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas, a Jew, wanted proof, a "sign" that Jesus had truly come back to life. What did Jesus reply to him? "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed"(Jn20:29) In other words, a "new kind of faith." A faith not based on "signs and wonders." But based on the "witness" of the Holy Spirit.(Rom8:16)
What passes for "tongues" today is not the same thing that occurred in Acts, is in a totally wrong time-frame prophetically, and is not amongst/for Jews and "unbelievers" ...as it was not intended for the Believing Church. At best, they show gross immaturity and deception. At worst, they have opened their hearts for Satan's imitation "signs and wonders"(Mt24:24) and is of a different spirit(2Cor11:13-15) as they deliberately, willfully cling to this carnal, unregenerate demonic fetish.