The Doctrine of Tongues.
Old Testament Prophecy (Isaiah 28).
The prophesy of tongues actually began with Isaiah when he was warning the Southern Kingdom that they were about to be destroyed. He prophesied at the time that the Northern Kingdom was in the process of going out under the fifth cycle of discipline. He described some of the degeneracy of the Northern Kingdom.
ISA 28:9 “To whom shall He teach knowledge of doctrine? To whom shall He cause to interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast?”
There was no one to whom the prophets and priests could teach doctrine because of the prevalent negative volition. The terrible apostasy was causing the fifth cycle of discipline, and the destruction of the Northern Kingdom as a client nation. The only hope was with the generation just born, “those just weaned with milk, those just taken from the breast.”
ISA 28:10 “For precept added to precept, principle added to principle, line added to line, line added to line, a little doctrine at this time, a little doctrine at that time.”
This refers to the importance of Bible doctrine in the client nation to God. The Northern Kingdom was a client nation, and they were supposed to send out missionaries to convert the Gentiles around them, but they failed. Instead of speaking about the Gospel, they slurred their speech, which sounded like a Gentile language instead of their own clear and concise Hebrew. Since the Northern Kingdom was about to be destroyed by the Assyrians, and the Southern Kingdom would soon be destroyed by Chaldea, verse 11 speaks of the last Jewish client nation, Judah, and the clear warning it would receive before its destruction. Judah was destroyed in 70 A.D. by a Roman army.
ISA 28:11 “For with alien articulation and by means of a foreign language, He will communicate the Gospel to this people.”
Hearing the Gospel communicated in a foreign or Gentile language was to be the warning to the Jews in the last client nation of Judah that they were about to be destroyed under the fifth cycle of discipline. Hence, this is the prophecy for the temporary gift of tongues, used to evangelize Jews in Gentile languages. Because the Jews failed to go to the Gentiles as missionaries, the gift of tongues or Gentile languages was used to evangelize the Jews. This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Jewish pilgrims had come from all over the world and suddenly the Apostles, empowered by the Holy Spirit, began to speak in tongues, or Gentile languages which the Apostles did not know. “Every man heard his own language.” They were told that Jesus Christ was the God of Israel, that the Messiah had come, went to the Cross, and was judged for the sins of the world. So the gift of tongues had content.
That was the beginning of the warning that the Jews would be destroyed by the fifth cycle of discipline, that the Southern Kingdom would cease to exist, and would never exist again until the Second Advent. The first warning was given on the Day of Pentecost. For forty years thereafter, from 30 A.D. to 70
A.D., the Jews were periodically evangelized by the gift of tongues. This gift came to a very sudden close in August of 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was overrun by the Romans.
By way of definition, the gift of tongues was a temporary spiritual gift; so temporary that it was the first one to be discontinued in August of 70 A.D. when Judah no longer existed as a client nation to God. The gift of tongues was used at the beginning of the Church-age to warn Israel of the approaching fifth cycle of discipline, and the end of Jewish client nations until the Second Advent of Christ. The purpose of Jewish client nations was the development and custodianship of the Old Testament Scriptures, plus the other responsibilities normally held by a client nation. Inasmuch as the Jews had been the custodians of the Canon of Scripture, they had functioned as the client nation to God by evangelizing, by doctrinal teaching within the nation from both priest and prophet, and by the function of missionary activity to other nations, though this was generally an area of failure. Although Jews traveled far and wide as merchants making money, they did not send out missionaries as extensively to evangelize the Gentiles. Jonah is a great illustration of their general attitude regarding evangelism, for Jonah hated the Assyrians. When God told him to go there, he went in the opposite direction. Even after God plopped him right there, he preached a message of hell and damnation to the Assyrians. Yet in spite of Jonah’s attitude, Assyrians were saved by the thousands, which changed the whole course of Assyrian history. Of course this only made Jonah mad, and he sulked for days; this is the story of the worm and the gourd. Jonah was typical of Jewish missionary activity. Very few missionaries went out. Those few that did go out were highly successful, because God sent them to places where the people were literally waiting for the Gospel message to be told.
Isaiah prophesied the destruction of all three Jewish client nations: The Northern Kingdom, the Southern Kingdom, and Judah. The Jews sought signs, and Isaiah was the great prophet of signs. The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy is found in 1Co chapters 12 and 14.
So, the reversionistic sublimation of the Northern Kingdom occurred around 725 B.C. when Isaiah 28
was written. The prevalent drunkenness is described in ISA 28:1-8
. Isaiah warned of the coming of the fifth cycle of discipline which would occur four years later to the Northern Kingdom. From the alcoholic enunciation of the drunks of Israel came the speech warning of the future, the warning of the fifth cycle of discipline through the spiritual gift of tongues during the first thirty years of the Church-age. Just as drunken speech was a warning 725 B.C., so the gift of tongues would be a warning on the day of Pentecost, and thereafter for forty years until the fall of Israel. Interestingly enough, those who spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost were considered to be drunk by the crowd. So drunkenness was in the prophecy, and drunkenness was alleged though not true in the fulfillment of the prophecy.
was so important that it was quoted in the tongues passage in 1CO 14:21
‑22 by Paul.
Tongues: New Testament Fulfillment of the Old Testament Prophesy.
1CO 14:21 “In the Law
[Old Testament Canon] it stands written
], ‘With strange
[foreign] languages, and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people
[Israel]. ISA 28:12
b And even so they will not listen to Me,’ says the Lord.”
The gift of tongues was a most spectacular gift. The Corinthians were very impressed with this spiritual gift because of their past culture and worship of the Greek gods through ecstatic experiences. The gift of tongues was legitimately held by only a few believers prior to the completion of the Canon. Many of the Corinthians were attempting to copy this gift although they did not actually have the spiritual gift. The one with this gift eloquently spoke a language he did not know. Yet in spite of this, they did not listen to God.
1CO 14:22 So then the tongues are for a sign, not to those who are believers, but to those who are unbelievers.
The gift of tongues was specifically a warning for Jewish unbelievers, as the last verse denotes. Acts chapter 2 is the first occurrence of this gift. Acts 2:1 Now when the day of Pentecost was fully come and all were together in one place.
The phrase fully come
means after 12 midnight, so that it was a new day according to both Jewish time and Roman time. All the disciples were gathered in one place, possibly the Upper Room. They were waiting for the Day of Pentecost, for as Jews they knew the Jewish timetable of the feasts. It was now the feast of Pentecost, and they knew that was the sign of the beginning of the fifth cycle of discipline to Israel. ACT 2:2
‑3, And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues
[languages] as of fire being distributed, and He
[Holy Spirit] sat
[rested] on each of them.
This was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
ACT 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in foreign languages as the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to communicate.
Remember that these disciples were uneducated, monolingual Jews from Galilee who knew only the Aramaic of their day, with a smattering of Hebrew they learned from early rabbinical education. They did not know Gentile languages.
‑11 describes the audience. During the time when the first four feasts were celebrated (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost), Jerusalem always had a tremendous number of Jews, visiting from Africa and Turkey, Greece and Rome, even India and China. At this time many were Jewish unbelievers. “And there were Jews who were residing at the moment in Jerusalem, devout men
[positive at God‑consciousness] from every Gentile nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd
[Jewish pilgrims] came together and were thrown into confusion because they
[Jewish pilgrims] were each one hearing them
[first Church-age believers] speak in their own Gentile language. And they were astonished, and they kept on being amazed, and they kept saying, `What is this? Are not all these who speak our language Galileans
[unilingual, uneducated men]? And how is it that we each one hear them speaking our language in which we were born? The language of the Parthians
[Persians] and Medes and Elamites
[Akkadians], and residents of Mesopotamia
[who spoke Assyrian and Babylonian], Judea
[who spoke Hebrew] and Cappadocia
[who spoke old Hittite], Pontus and
[the Roman province of] Asia,
[the language of:] Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt
[who spoke Egyptian, Coptic and Arabic], the districts of Libya around Cyrene
[N.Africa], visitors from Rome
[who spoke Latin], both Jews and proselytes, Cretans
[Linear B, a language not understood until this twentieth century] and Arabs
[5 dialects] ‑ we hear them in our own language, speaking about the mighty deeds of God.'”
With all of those different languages being spoken at the same time, it sounded very confusing to anyone who was approaching. To those who were negative it sounded like drunkenness, in fact Peter cleared this up in ACT 2:15 “These men are not drunk as you presume.”
This gave rise to Paul’s command in EPH 5:18 “Stop becoming intoxicated by means of wine which is dissipation, but be filled by means of the Holy Spirit.”
Tongues is not emotional gibberish or drunken speech. It is a spiritual gift which functioned only under certain circumstances. Bestowed by the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit, He controlled the vocal cords so that the speaker uttered a foreign language which was not previously known by the communicator. However the language was known to some unbeliever nearby who was listening.
Peter heard about the Gentile Pentecost in ACT 10:44-46
, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on those who were listening to the message. And all the believers from among the circumcision
[Jewish believers] who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on Gentiles also. For they were hearing them
[Gentile believers] speaking in foreign languages and exalting God.”
The gift of tongues that was first given to Jewish believers, now is given to the Gentile believers as well.
In ACT 19:2
‑7, there was a transitional Pentecost. From this episode, Peter concluded that Gentile believers have the same equal privileges and opportunities that Jewish believers do under the protocol plan of God. Once the fifth cycle of discipline was administered to Israel in 70 A.D. the gift of tongues was withdrawn. 1CO 13:8-10
, Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the completed
[the Canon, the neuter gender cannot refer to a person] has come
[96 A.D.], the partial
[temporary gifts] will be phased out.”
1) Speaking in tongues is not necessary for salvation. 1CO 12:3 “Therefore, I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, `Jesus is anathema;’ in fact, no one can say, `Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
2) Speaking in tongues is not a sign of spirituality. 1CO 12:11 “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
3) Speaking in tongues must never be confused with the baptism of the Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit enters every believer into union with Christ. The gift of tongues was a temporary gift to warn Israel of the coming discipline.
4) Speaking in tongues never caused other believers without that gift to have an inferiority complex 1CO 12:15‑16, If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.
5) Speaking in tongues should not cause the possessor of the gift to have a superiority complex or suffer from blind arrogance. 1CO 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
6) Tongues is the least of all spiritual gifts. In the passage where spiritual gifts are listed by order of merit, tongues is mentioned last! 1CO 12:28 “In fact, God has appointed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, then helps, administrations, kind of tongues
7) Tongues can only be effectively used when the believer who possesses that gift is filled with the Holy Spirit.
8) The abuse of tongues during its tenure, 30‑70 A.D., demanded its regulation by a very strict system of discipline. 1CO 14:1
‑25 teaches the inferiority of tongues. 1CO 14:26
‑35 teaches the regulation of tongues. 1CO 14:36
‑40 is the response to doctrine.
Tongues has been perpetuated past 70 A.D. under the administration of Satan as the ruler of this world. It is designed to distract the believer from the plan of God, and to introduce false experience into the Christian life. 2TH 2:7
‑12, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, only He
[Holy Spirit] who restrains it will do so until He is taken out of the way
[at the Rapture]. And then the lawless one
[Roman dictator of the Tribulation] will be revealed, whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and will bring to an end by the appearance of His coming
[Second Advent]; the one whose presence
[in the Tribulation] is according to the working of Satan with all power and attesting miracles and wonders of falsehood, and with every deception of wickedness for those who are destroying themselves, because they do not receive a love for the Gospel so as to be saved
[delivered]. And because of this, God sends them an inworking of error
[deluding influence], so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all might be condemned who did not believe in the Truth but approved the evil.”
ISA 8:19 “And when they say to you, `Seek for mediums
[those indwelt by demons] and wizards
[demon possessed people] who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?
In Isa 28
, Isaiah prophesied about the gift of tongues. In Isa 29
he prophesies about pseudo‑tongues, ISA 29:4 ” Then you will be brought low; From the earth you will speak, And from the dust where you are prostrate Your words will come. Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground, And your speech will whisper from the dust.”
The eggastromuthos ventriloquist demon controls the vocal cords of the unbeliever who speaks in tongues as a Satanic operation to distract that person he indwells from either salvation in the case of unbelievers, or from doctrine in the case of believers. He exactly and accurately reproduces the gift of tongues. This explains pseudo‑tongues from unbelievers, for they can be demon possessed.
The explanation for believers who allegedly speak in tongues is simply emotion. Pseudo‑tongues from the believer is the expression of emotional arrogance in cosmic one. The warning against emotional revolt of the soul is given in 2CO 6:11
‑12, “You Corinthians, our mouth has been open face to face with you
[Paul has preached to them accurately]; our right lobe has been expanded with doctrine. You have not been hindered by us
[Paul’s teaching] but you have been hindered by your own emotions.”
Emotion is not a part of spirituality; instead it is related to the physiological function of the human body, not the human spirit. Under extreme emotion, anyone can make strange sounds occur. Believers are commanded to separate from emotional revolt, that is, to separate from emotional legalists, emotional do‑gooders, holy rollers, the tongues crowd, and everyone who uses their emotion rather than doctrine as a criterion for life. ROM 16:17
‑18, “Now I urge you brethren, look out for those who are causing dissensions
[splits in churches] and apostasies contrary to doctrine which you have learned from a teacher; in fact, be turning away from them
[emotional crowd]. For such believers
[in emotional reversionism] are not slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ but they are slaves to their own emotions; and so by smooth and flattering speech, they deceive the right lobes of ignorant believers.”