On the day of Pentecost the church was filled with the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues (languages) (Acts 1:8; 2:4). It is declared in the Word of God, as a prophecy, that in the last days He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. This is also one of the promises of the Father (Acts 2:39). Jesus expressed that the believer would be baptized with the Holy Ghost, immersed in the Holy Ghost. So often the issue of that experience becomes the tongues, but the real issue is Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” In the last days our God is going to have a people who will do exploits in His name, who will radiate the supernatural power of God, and walk in the miraculous.
All through the centuries the devil has fought this experience. The devil causes Christians to fight against one another over the tongues issue. They do not realize that the experience is just the doorway into the supernatural dimension. Many lies and falsehoods have been perpetrated by the enemy against this experience to keep people from it. Isaiah called them a refuge of lies in Isaiah 28:15.
This article is written because very often people do not receive this experience because they cannot get past their questions.
Q1. Is it true that tongues were given just on the day of Pentecost to preach the Gospel?
- No, the tongues drew a crowd, but no one got saved until Peter preached in his voice and own language (Acts 2:14). In fact, the nature of the tongues on Pentecost (initial outpouring on Jewish believers) and in Acts 10 (initial outpouring on Gentile believers) was praise, not preaching (Acts 2:11; 10:46).
Q2. Aren’t we to put away childish speaking in tongues because we have the perfect completed New Testament and now tongues should cease?
- The perfect which is to come is not the completed New Testament, but the perfect state of the kingdom when we will have our glorified heavenly bodies and our redemption shall be complete (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Romans 8:18, 19, 23; 1 John 3:2). It is when we see God face to face, and at that time tongues shall cease.
Q3. Didn’t speaking in tongues end with the Apostles?
- No. The promise is unto you and to your children and to as many that are afar off (Acts 2:38, 39). This experience doesn’t just come from a man’s hands, like in Acts 8:14-17, but from Jesus’ hands from heaven (Acts 2:1-4). Jesus is the Holy Ghost baptizer (Matthew 3:11), the First Apostle, Who still lives. Besides that, there are still apostles given (Ephesians 4:11-13) until we all come to the unity of the faith. There are not anymore Apostles of the Lamb (original 12 who were eyewitnesses – Acts 1:15-22), but there are still apostles (Ephesians 4:11). The
Q4. Doesn’t the Bible discourage speaking in tongues and say all would not speak in tongues?
- No. Reading 1 Corinthians 14:5, “I would that you all spake with tongues…,” 14:18, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all,” 14:39, “. . . forbid not to speak with tongues,” could hardly be discouraging it. When it says, “do all speak with tongues?” (1 Corinthians 12:30), it is speaking of the ministry gift of the Spirit that is followed with an interpretation to minister to men. It is helpful to understand that there are two thrusts of tongues talked about in 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14. To distinguish the two thrusts, all that is needed is to distinguish the direction that the tongues are going toward. One direction is vertical, to speak or communicate to God (1 Corinthians 14:2). One direction is horizontal, to speak or communicate to men (1 Corinthians 14:6). Not all will be used in the ministering to men in public when it says, “do all speak with tongues?” (1 Corinthians 12:30)
Q5. Aren’t tongues of the devil?
- No. God’s promise, Luke 24:49 and Acts 2:38, 39, was not to the devil and his crowd. If it were, why didn’t we do it before we got saved, and why don’t we hear it coming out of the mouth of people bound by the devil and sin? I don’t ever recall speaking in tongues from my past as a sinner, do you? If they are of the devil then those who had devils in them in the Bible would have manifested them. The man in Mark 5 who had 5,000 devils in him spoke in one known language, not other tongues. The demon that attacked the sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-17 did not speak in tongues but in a language the sons understood.
Q6. Isn’t it just a bunch of gibberish and mumbo jumbo?
- No. It is a language that could be of men or angels (1 Corinthians 13:1). The words in other tongues can be words of prayer, worship, praise and thanksgiving, or blessing (1 Corinthians 14:14-17). The words can be speaking the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 14:2). Those mysteries generally are the spiritual truth or divine revelation once kept hidden in the Old Testament, but now made known in the New Testament (Ephesians 3:3-5), and the hidden wisdom of God the devil cannot know (1 Corinthians 2:7,8).
Q7. Don’t you think if God wanted me to have it, I would?
- No. God wants you to have it, but the issue is you have to receive it and it only follows them that believe (Mark 16:17). Since the day of Pentecost and beyond when the Holy Ghost was initially sent in this dimension, the Bible emphasis is on “receiving”: Acts 2:28 (receive); 8:15, 17 (receive, received); 10:47 (received); 19:2 (received). The word “receive” carries the idea and force of grasping. That means you have a part to play in receiving it, and God will not force His will against your will.
Q8. Well I believe in speaking in tongues, but just for private use, and isn’t it out of order to do it out loud in a public gathering or church service?
- When ministering to men through tongues, someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the person is to hold his peace or keep silent in the church. The person should not try to communicate to men in tongues, but speak to himself and to God. The reason being that if men cannot understand the words you are speaking, they cannot be edified by your ministry to them. But there are times in the service or gathering when we are not talking to one another, but to the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:21), and it is clear to Him. If others hearing us talk to God and no interpretation being given is considered out of order, then Pentecost was out of order. At Pentecost in Acts 2:11 and the initial outpouring on the Gentiles in Acts 10:46, others heard them in public. Also, how could anyone ever get filled with the Holy Ghost in church in a public service? No, my friend, tongues are a sign to unbelievers of the supernatural (1 Corinthians 14:22). Paul’s rules and correcting of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14:26-28 is not when we minister to God, but when we minister to men.
Q9. Is the baptism with the Holy Ghost, being filled with the Holy Ghost, and receiving the Holy Ghost all talking about the same experience?
- All three descriptions are used to describe the same experience each from the perspective of the three persons involved in the experience. It is the baptism with the Holy Ghost because Jesus is the one who baptizes us (Matthew 3:11). It is being filled with the Holy Ghost because the Holy Ghost fills you (Acts 2:4). It is receiving the Holy Ghost because the person has to do the receiving (Acts 19:2, 6).
Q10. Didn’t the Apostle Paul say he would rather speak with his understanding in church than with tongues (1 Corinthians 14:19)?
- No. The previous verse (18) must be read with verse 19 to clarify what he said. He said he thanked God for speaking in other tongues more than all the Corinthians, but in the church when it comes to teaching, he would rather speak five words that you could understand than five thousand words in tongues that you could not understand. For people in church to benefit from teaching their understanding needs affected or they will not be built up or edified. It also indicates that if he spoke in tongues more than all the Corinthians, he did most of it in his own private prayer, praise, and devotional life, which is a major benefit. It enhances our private prayer, praise, and devotional life. What a blessing!