Monday, August 14, 2006

TONGUES Thesis: Part 8

...........them, and there very well could have been pagans present who worshipped their deities by going into trances and vocalizing "ecstatic utterances", therefore thought the Spirit filled apostles were doing the same thing!

There were those who thought these men were all drunk and just babbling! (Acts 2:13) "Others mocking said, 'These men are full of new wine'." The word "other" is taken from the Greek word "heterox", the same as vs. 4. Therefore, it refers to a generic distinction. So, it is plain those mockers were other than the previously mentioned non-Palestinians. Peter begins to address them in verse 14. It is very important to note here that there is no mention of "interpreters" anywhere in this event! Those to whom "the wonderful works of God" were addressed did not need any interpretation, as they were hearing "every man in his own tongue, wherein he was born." The Palestinians, men of Judea, and dwellers in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14), did not understand, and it was to them Peter began to explain the meaning of the events at Pentecost, and preach the gospel of Christ. The result was conviction of sin, repentance, faith in, and obedience to Christ, and what happened? The same thing happened then as happens now when the elect of God are born again! They are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit! (1 Cor. 12:13)

Let us look at what happened. After Peter preached the salvation message, "now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, (convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit), and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, "men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:37,38) Salvation is a gift, and everyone saved receives the Holy Ghost at conversion. This is exactly what happened, as we are told in verse 41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about 3,000 souls."This verse is used by many to propagate water baptism in Jesus name to receive the Holy Ghost, but I do not believe there was water baptism meant here. What happened is that as soon as they believed in Christ for salvation, they were baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13) This was the normal method of being baptized by the Holy Ghost! It nowhere mentions that even one of those 3,000 spoke in tongues as the apostles did!

The speaking in other languages was by the apostles for a sign to the unbelieving Jews, and this was not a normal phenomenon! Again, Paul later stated this in 1 Cor 14:22 perfectly verifying what happened here. "Wherefore tongues (languages) are for a sign, not to them that believe, (the unconverted elect who would hear the gospel preached, believe, and be saved), but to them that believe not: (the unbelieving Jews who heard the other tongues and understood, but would still refuse to believe the Gospel) but prophesying (preaching the gospel) serveth not for them that believe not, (again, the Jews who would not receive the gospel) but for them which believe (those who would receive the Gospel and be saved). So there we have the setting for the ushering in of the new dispensation of the church age. The Jews at large, except for the elect, had rejected Christ, therefore, had rejected God Himself. He had spoken to them in their own language, which they could understand through Christ; and since they rejected Him, now He was turning His attention away from them to the church, which would now include gentiles. The sign to the unbelieving Jews who had rejected Him would be, that He now would address them through men of "other tongues" and stammering lips before He would judge them!

From everything I have said so far , could Pentecost ever be duplicated? In order to do so, even partly, a group of believers would have to congregate in a busy area of some large city and miraculously start speaking in over a dozen different languages spoken in that area and be heard by each of those the message of the Gospel in his own language! To even make it more difficult, a wind sound with tongues like fire would really authenticate it was actually the re-occurrence! However, this never happens today, regardless of various claims! If it did, why would we need Bible translators like Whycliff to translate the Bible in all the languages so each of the world's people can hear the Gospel in their own language so they can be saved? If that miraculous gift had not ceased with the death of the last apostle, and was still available today, missionaries could go overseas and preach the Gospel in languages they have not devoted their time to learn! It just does not happen normally.

Many isolated cases are reported as still happening today, and I do believe that God can do it if He chooses, but other than hearsay, I cannot prove that he has done it, and if there are no unbelieving Jews present when the reported occurrence happens, then I would have to judge the event by scripture, rather than scripture by the experience. Since scripture declares an unbelieving Jew had to be present, and he was not, the event was not Biblical, if anything did actually happen!

Before I move on to the next time tongues were witnessed as a sign, I want to bring to the reader's attention that Paul mentions one other type of unbeliever in the Corinthian assembly who might witness the utterance of tongues. "If therefore the whole church be coming together unto one place, and all speak with tongues, (other languages which the hearer could understand), and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad (crazy)? So, Paul states that tongues do not do the unconverted any good at all! In fact, it may drive him away, because he will think they are crazy! The same applies to the Pentecostal services today when unbelievers walk in and hear tongues for the first time! I have heard many testimonies of how tongues turned visitors off so they would never come back, and even in my own church, I can attest to the fact I lost many visitors who would never return because of their witnessing of ecstatic utterances! When an unconverted person does visit the worship service, if tongues makes him think the worshippers are crazy, will that do him any good? Paul answers that in the next verses. "But, if all prophesy (preach the gospel) and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, be is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth." (1 Corinthians 14:24,25) Therefore, if Paul said that the unconverted needed preaching to worship God rather than the genuine gift of languages which he could not understand, then it only is reasonable that in our day when the unconverted walks in, he needs sound doctrine preached to him in order to convict him of his need of salvation, and not a counterfeit unbiblical ecstatic utterance! If the real gift of tongues did not help him, then the phenomenon we are witnessing today will even be worse, since the real gift ceased with the death of the last apostle.


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