Monday, August 14, 2006

TONGUES Thesis: Part 10


A further incident revealing people in transition is recorded in Acts 19:1-8, referencing disciples who were neither Christian nor Jewish! This event is a common "proof text" used by Charismatics, (including myself in the past) to prove that tongues were normal for that day, as well as now, due to the fact that those "disciples" had been saved before, but never received the Holy Spirit until later.

Let's read the Biblical event in order not to loose the full context of the event as recorded. "And it came to pass, that while Apollas was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples (learners), He said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." (Acts 19:1,2). The King James translators incorrectly used the word "since" in vs. 2. The correct translation from the original Greek should have been "when" ye believed! That throws a whole different light on the question!

Paul wanted to verify if they had really been saved or not by the only real verification of salvation, which is the baptism of the Holy Ghost into Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Apollos and those learners may have been seeking the truth up to then, but the fact is, they had never been fully converted, because they had never even heard of the Holy Ghost, obviously indicating they could never have received Christ, or they would have been baptized by the Holy Ghost with an inner witness of His presence! That is the scriptural normative method of true salvation in the New Testament. Paul reveals this when he explained the Ephesian believers "that we (those truly saved) should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In. whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed (confirmed) with the Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (down payment or pledge) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:12-14) So, it is obvious, Apollos and those disciples with him had not received this Holy Spirit of promise as a seal of their salvation!

Paul, after hearing the answer of Apollos, knew right away they had not been saved when he wanted to know what kind of Spirit they received from their past "supposed" salvation experience! He asks "unto what (not who) then, were ye baptized? And they said, "unto John's baptism". (Acts 19:3) Paul then told them in vs. 4 that they had only been baptized for the repentance of sin in water by John, but now, if they would believe the Gospel of the risen Christ, they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit into the risen Christ! He preached the gospel to them, and they then believed and were born again." This is confirmed in verses 5,6, and 7. "When they heard this (the Gospel message), they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied and all the men were about twelve."

So, Paul was being kind of sarcastic or facitious to them when he asked unto what they were baptised! He knew that it certainly was not Christ they were baptized into, because he later stated to the Roman believers "But ye (true believers) are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." (Romans 8:9)

Therefore, it is obvious, when closely examining the context, that Apollos and the disciples were in the transition from the old dispensation to the new. If the text is only .quickly examined, as most charismatics do, the text seems to state that the Spirit is received subsequent to salvation, as a kind of "second blessing". If this could be proven, it could verify the Pentecostal doctrine of a baptism with the Spirit at a time later that conversion. However, it is a weak argument because Paul's question was asked to determine whether they had truly been converted, not whether they had received subsequent baptism of the Holy Spirit.
After ' Paul laid his hands on them and prayed for them and they spoke in tongues (vs.6), the Greek word for "tongues" is the same Greek word used in Acts chapter 2 and 10 meaning "languages". Again, apostles were present in this event, authenticating apostle's authority, and by the laying on of hands by an apostle! There is no instance in the New Testament where anyone ever received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands apart from the apostles. Since the last apostle died, 1s It possible in our day to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands of the self proclaimed "spirit filled" charismatics who claim this power? No, it is not possible and is defiantly not supported by the scriptures! If any spirit is transferred to a recipient by the laying on of hands other than an Apostle (and they have all died), the spirit received is somewhat other than the Holy Spirit, because the Biblical pattern is the day we are saved, that very day we receive the Holy Spirit!

The true church of Christ, which is God's present habitation on earth (Ep.2:20) when you build a 50 story building in our day, you lay the foundation first, and then do not later relay the foundation every few floors along the way! That's why" the apostles and prophets were foundational in the initial building of the church, but now that the foundation has been laid, their ministry to the church has been replaced by the ministry of Evangelists, pastors and teachers, who are gifts from God to His church!

In a later thesis, I will deal with the past and present ministry of the prophet, but for now, I can assure you that our present day prophets do not have the same type of ministry as the Old Testament prophets or the early church prophets. Jesus stated in Matthew 11:13 "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." This indicated that the then similar ministry of the prophet ended with the death of John. Therefore, again, the foundation of the church, was built upon apostles and prophets with Christ being the chief cornerstone, so we need not lay the foundation over and over! We have other work to do in our continued building of the church, and that is to preach the Gospel to every creature, or give the "outer call", so Christ can give the "inner call", until the very last one of the elect comes to the full knowledge of the truth and is saved!

So, the theme of the Acts 19 incident is to understand that Paul did not try to teach the twelve disciples to "press on" to a second level, or get something more, but he realized that their missing link was not the information about Jesus Christ! So he preached Christ to them, they believed, and were baptized and spoke in tongues and prophesied. The reason Paul may have laid hands on them was to show them as Jews that it was no longer


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