Ruins at Corinth
The subject of speaking in tongues is a hotbed of controversy to say the least, but when it comes to the Word of God, our feelings, various views and opinions, and personal or spiritual experiences must bow! A minister once said to me, “Son, if you ever speak in tongues you’ll know it’s real!” I had no unbelief that the gift of tongues was real in the Bible. I just knew that the charismatic twist on tongues, to which he was inferring, was not in alignment with scripture. And I’m not discounting their ‘experiences’ weren’t real. I’m just saying that every spirit isn’t the Holy Spirit. I mean, there is a reason the Book of the Acts “OF THE APOSTLES” is named what it is: “deeds of the APOSTLES.” What is the criteria for being an Apostle, by authority of scripture? YOU HAD TO HAVE SEEN JESUS CHRIST IN THE FLESH. Hello??? That is not possible for us today!!!! Some things are seducing spirits, appearing as if they’re the Spirit of Christ. Jesus warned repeatedly of deception. No matter how real something seemed, or seems to us, it can never override what is written in proper context. We submit to God, not try to make the Word submit to us. Jesus is Lord, not “I”.
In the Pentecostal/ Charismatic denomination that I grew up in, speaking in “unknown” tongues is at the heart of its doctrine. Something noteworthy is that the term “unknown“, in the verse from whence that phrase stems, was NOT in the original text. It was added later to emphasize that the language the speaker was speaking was a human language that had never been learned by the speaker. With that said, the Apostle Paul lists speaking unlearned tongues by inspiration of the Spirit of Grace as the least of all gifts of grace that were given.
1 Corinthians 12:28. ”And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
Because the Corinthian Church thought so highly of themselves in respect of the tongue, Paul sets its importance last everywhere in his writings when addressing them. Here, it is listed even below the gift of helps, which are merely works done from a servant’s heart. Yet, by inferred appearance in this Charismatic movement, you’d think it was THE greatest spiritual gift. Yet it comes lastly, even behind gifts that aren’t even supernatural in nature.
#1: “A gift of languages will never operate where there is not a need. If all the people present in a gathering speak English, why would there be a need for the Spirit of God to speak through someone in French when no one would understand what is being said? Common sense, or so you’d think, huh? If not, you may be a Corinthian heretic.
#2: The movement’s doctrine suggests that speaking in tongues is the sign of the infilling (baptism) of the Holy Spirit, even though scripture clearly teaches that not everyone is intended to speak an unlearned tongue, but all are to be filled with the Spirit.
“Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Do all work miracles? Do all speak with tongues?”
The obvious answer to all questions is no, and is made abundantly clear in the Greek grammatical markers. Did you know that there is not a single example of the Apostle Paul speaking in an unlearned language in public throughout his writings, even though he declared that he indeed operated in the gift more than anyone he was writing to? (Being a missionary Apostle to the gentile nations, it is pretty obvious why he would, duh!) Rather than some outward show, he commands to speak in intelligible words, so it actually serves a purpose to the hearers. Paul didn’t do it because he commanded us all by Christ’s authority to never do it in church, unless there is a proven interpreter present. So obviously the Apostle will set the example, LOL. Geez! Have you ever found it odd that God would supposedly use the gift that He calls least in importance of all gifts of grace as the evidence of His infilling of the Holy Spirit? Hello!?!?! If the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was going to need any evidence, you’d think God would use a gift that cannot be the easiest one faked, right? The fact is, no grace gift is the evidence of the baptism of the Spirit. The scriptural evidence is merely the spiritual empowerment for performing a purpose of suffering in God’s plan for the redeeming man and the earth back to Himself. What did Jesus say the evidence would be?
Acts 1:8- “And you shall receive POWER after the Holy Ghost has come upon you and be my witnesses in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7), and in all Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-12), and to the ends of the earth (Acts 13-28).
Power to be witnesses (martyrs); power to endure persecution and suffering. Do grace gifts appear in text examples where people received the Spirit? Of course. Can a man take a shower and sing at the same time? Sure, but just because it has been done, we don’t assume a man must sing in order to shower. They’re just two different actions taking place at the same time. There are several examples in scripture where people were filled with the Spirit and spoke in unlearned languages. (Acts 2:2-4, Acts 10:44-48) And there are many examples where they were filled with the Spirit and that did not occur. (Acts 4, Acts 19:6) So how is there a doctrine that says tongues is THE EVIDENCE of one having been baptized in the Holy Spirit? Also, do we realize that the infilling (baptism) of the Holy Spirit did not first occur in Acts 2, or even the New Testament? It occurred throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament. Jesus was filled with the Spirit at His water baptism. “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1) Where did He ever speak in a foreign tongue that He didn’t naturally know? Nowhere. John the Baptist was filled in his mother’s womb. “For he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15) Where does scripture say He spoke with an unlearned foreign tongue? Nowhere. The evidence of power was obviously in both their witnesses. They were both MARTYRED! So, again, who has given anyone the right to declare a grace gift as the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit? No one. It is a CON from pulling a TEXT out of its CONtext. And just to leave the debate of “Spirit Baptism” dead in the water, NOWHERE is “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” taught by anyone other than Luke’s writings, and in EVERY context it is presented as a corporal outpouring, and NEVER some individually acquired thing. Stop the freaking heresy! Those who promote it are delusional, and we will get to why that is, shortly.
In the Old Covenant, because sin’s debt had not been paid by a perfect Lamb, the Spirit infilled God’s servants such as Sampson (Judges 14-16), David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc to perform a task, but He could not enter and remain in them. He could empower them for a task, but couldn’t stay with them permanently. After Calvary, when sin had been dealt with by a sacrifice able to pay the debt of sin, and provide residency of the Spirit of Grace to empower believers, and release sin’s hold on man, then the Spirit was able to make men the Temple of the Holy Ghost. But the point is, the Pentecostal ideology that Acts 2 was a “new thing” is rendered ineffective. Acts 2 was about being endued with power to be martyrs, and was the pronouncement of a New Covenant through the Promise to Abraham in Jesus Christ, Abraham’s seed; A new kind of priesthood offering sacrifices of praise; a gospel to the Jew first, and then onward to the Gentile; the end of a natural kingdom, and the birth of a spiritual Kingdom, until He returns. Then it becomes both.
A verse that has been quoted, like so many, way out of context, in referring to the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, as being about being “filled with the Spirit, and speaking in tongues“, is Isaiah 28:9-13. In the KJV and other English versions, it reads as follows:
“To whom will he teach knowledge,
and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?
For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.”
For by people of strange (mocking) lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people,
to whom he has said,
“This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”;
yet they would not hear.
And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,
that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
I have heard well-intending, but still FALSE preachers/teachers, pull this verse out of context to attempt to solidify several things they want to believe:
1) That speaking in tongues, is the initial evidence of being filled with the Spirit, and is the “rest” of the people of God, and…
2) that this verse is prophetic of the Acts 2 scene, as being a justification for the charismatic doctrine of tongues.
Both could not be further from the Truth. In right context, Isaiah 28 is God speaking judgment upon the drunken priests who were handling God’s Word with irreverence and non-importance. They were ignoring the context of what God had said, in exchange for what they wanted to believe, and teaching others falsely. So God through Isaiah prophesied that He would send Assyrians, foreigners whose language they couldn’t understand, into the Temple to speak over them. Uninterpreted, it would be like babbling. In essence, it would sound like gibberish, ….a mocking tongue, instead of the clear word of Yahweh. God was in essence saying, “Since you wouldn’t accept the sensible, clear instruction of God, perhaps you’d rather accept some senseless muttering that comes from nowhere and has no true meaning to you, being that that is exactly the kind of rubbish you have chosen to speak over my people?”
How do we know this? Because the original Hebrew language tells the story. I can’t count the times I’ve heard charismatics preach and quote Isaiah 28’s tenth and thirteenth verses from an English translation, accompanied with the exuberant, charismatic “huck and buck” style, (as if that adrenaline-fueled rant is functioning in the anointing or power of God), saying, “BECAUSE…PRECEPT UPON PRECEPT, PRECEPT UPON PRECEPT, LINE UPON LINE, LINE UPON LINE, HERE A LITTLE, THERE A LITTLE…”
But you know what is terrifying, sad, and funny all at the same time? When you look at the passages in the Hebrew, nothing intelligible is rendered. In its context, the Hebrew merely shows blabbering babble. It was not intended to be translated or taken literally as actual words. KJV translators had to reach far and wide to translate an untranslatable passage. But they were hired to “translate.” These two verses are in the attached image below, highlighted in purple. Again, none of what Isaiah said in verses 10 and 13 are intended to represent actual Hebrew words. In modern terms he looked at these drunk, vomiting, idolater priests, who were profaning the Temple, with lackadaisical renderings of scripture and loose living, and said, “The word of God will be unto you like blah blah blah blah“, and the non-believing translators hired by King James to put the Bible into English, translated this rhetoric into the closest thing it sounded like in Hebrew. How hilarious, heart breaking, and fearful is this?!? I mean you can rattle off some random syllables in any language, and try to make it out to sound like something when it is intended to be just muttering. The “rest” spoken of alludes to the promise of God that His presence will go with His people and dwell with them until the final rest comes; the Day of the Lord. These passages have nothing to do with the true gift of tongues the early church used to establish the New Covenant to Gentiles. These verses are about the delusion sent by God, as judgment for not revering His Truth.
An example in my mind of a thing sounding like something, intending to mean nothing, would be that in my secular music career, we recorded a song I had written about a friend who overdosed on prescription drugs. For the fade-in intro of the song, we used a line from that song and reversed it over other audio tricks to create an effect. Playing the entire culmination rendered the singer’s voice, in what sounded like, “One more, Miller! The one who keeps us alive!” The joke and irony of the situation was that the man we worked with to co-produce our project had “Miller” as the last name of his career stage name. So to prove my point, you can hear things that sound like something, when the actual intent was nothing. So is the Isaiah 28 situation!
Verse 10 (in purple) reads phonetically as “ki tsav latsav tsav latsav qav laqav qav laqav z’er sham z’er sham.” This is repeated in vs 13, preceded by the statement, “But the word of Yahweh will be unto you as…(then more babbling..) Anyone who knows Hebrew, or at least can somewhat grammatically parse it, will tell you that this says NOTHING. It again is mocking babble, by Yahweh, through the prophet Isaiah, to drunken teachers who brought judgment to the House of Yahweh. God was saying that He would send foreigners speaking “unintelligible” words to the hearers who were rejecting the Truth, and turning to fabled interpretations of scripture to support their own lusts and desires, rather than submit to God’s ways. Sound familiar? Breaking it down, we see…
Tsav is not a word. Tsavah is a word that means precept or command. Tsav means nothing. And the “la” construct prefix NEVER means “upon”, but rather “to” or “for.” So “latsav” means NOTHING. “Qav” means NOTHING. Qavah means line. Qav NOTHING. The only two things that can be equated to actual Hebrew words are ki and sham here. Ki means “because” and sham means “there.” BUT sham NEVER means “here”, as in “here a little.” The intent was mimicry of unintelligible speech. It was not to have meaning!! The only place these syllable spellings exist in the entire Bible are these two verses of Isaiah 28, yet, it is preached charismatically in ignorance of this all the time from pulpits in America, as if that is actually what was written. …..
Side-note Question: If the “huck and buck” and shouting style of preaching in charismatic circles is a sign of God’s “anointing”, and implies being under the “authority of God”, yet the message spoken is in error and out of proper context, then isn’t it being inferred by such behavior that God is in support of improperly interpreting His Word? (Mic drop!)
If you sense my utterly, sarcastic tone at times, well then you see my disdain for the mockery and sensational nonsense that is called “charismatic.” And don’t get me started on the “slain in the spirit/ falling out” nonsense. But hey! The last line we quoted from Isaiah 28 declares that part of the judgment pronounced was that they would “go FALL BACKWARDS, and be ENSNARED.” Hello???
It is understandable to not know something. None of us know everything. We all must grow, and have plenty of room to grow much. But when people are shown the source understanding and true context of scripture, they will still reject it and proceed with trying to support the same erred information they’ve always uttered to try to solidify the lie. They serve their idol traditions, not Christ. They protect THEIR doctrines. That is exactly what the drunken priests did in the temple. That is exactly what the Pharisees did in rejection of Jesus. As Paul said, “They serve their own bellies (desires).”
Do we realize that EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE where someone fell backwards in the presence of God in scripture, was God’s JUDGMENT! Do we realize that every time God “sent the fire” that it was God’s JUDGMENT? Have you ever noticed that the hyper-spiritual, delusional behaviors seem to happen almost exclusively during the musical part of a so-called “service”, but the minute the textual Words of God come forth, and are spoken……CRICKETS!!! No more weird behaviors that excite the flesh, and boast one’s self as “spiritual” before men. Why? Because that sensual spirit loves the “feels and goosebumps” but not the Scripture. They don’t know the text, but they go on feelings. It is a sensual, devilish, and deceptive presence. It is all about the fleshy thrills. In my experience, the only time that foolishness seemed to occur during the “preaching” portion of a service was if a so-called “preacher” incited that out of order behavior to create the appearance of “something happening.” “A MIGHTY MOVE OF GOD, HALLELUJAH!!!!” (Yes, I’m mocking the exuberant spiritual behaviors of charismania.) But truly, the only thing happening in those times is a spirit of deception having a block party. The Spirit leads us into all Truth, not into delusional, scripturally rebellious behaviors and doctrines.
Do we realize that Paul wrote more chapters to the Church at Corinth than any other church that we have letters to combined? Do we know why? Because they were doing exactly everything that we know today as the “Charismatic/Pentecostal” movement. Corinth was the original charismatic church. They elevated “tongues” to a hyper-spiritual club level, and were speaking gibberish openly in church without true interpretation, or application of God’s order for these things, so much so that Paul called them fools for it. (Yikes… that stings!) He called them ignorant for making idol doctrines out of grace gifts that were given as signs to unbelievers, and lacking real godly love for one another, and the lost, by not preserving, or telling people the truth. That too sounds familiar today.
Paul called them spiritual babies! I bet they too called Paul a sheep-beater!! They were so deceived and in love with this paganistic sensualism, that they even began to rise up against and question Paul’s very Apostleship. Did you get that? They began questioning Paul’s authority, the guy who founded their church, and were calling him a heretic for trying to correct their heresy. This is what happens when you confront religion and the Beast. Ask Jesus. Paul reveals this spirit that they were deceived by to the Thessalonian church, and informed them of its origin…..
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause GOD SHALL SEND them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
God cast them off! They were reprobate and they self imploded. Folks, charimatic behaviors = unrighteousness, just like every other thing that opposes God’s order. Delusional spirits cause people to create things from the Word of God that God did not say. Remember the serpent in Genesis 3, “Has God really said?” This is exactly the context of Isaiah 28, where the priests twisted God’s truth to conform to what the people wanted to hear and believe, rather than surrender to what God really said. Therefore God, as we have seen, allowed foreign tongues with no foundational context nor meaning to come into the Temple and speak over the people, to no true understanding or true edifying, because they refused the love of the Truth for what justified them in their own eyes!!! That is a denial of Jesus Christ. That leads to spiritual blindness and judgment, and the misleading of the innocent into the same error.
1 John 2:4, “He that declares, ‘I know Him’, but doesn’t keep His commandments is a liar, and the TRUTH is NOT in him.”
So the judgment of God is sending “unbelievers” (in this case, those who think they’re serving God, but not according to His Word) speaking unintelligible (fake) tongues into the house of God, to mock idolatrous people professing Christ, who are unable through this blindness to see the mockery of themselves for supporting what God has not sanctioned. Blind leaders of the blind…and all fall into the ditch! Paul, in Galatians 1, (with emphasis added) said to:
“Let any man, or an angel, be damned to Hell if what they speak is contrary to the foundation laid by the Apostles.”
Yet in 2018, the vast majority of church doctrine is founded upon the teachings of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s, and in this case of sensualism, even manifestations occurring at places like the Welsh and Azusa Street Revivals. You know, Azuza Street!?! The “revival” in 1906 where an ILLITERATE man named William Seymour would sit quietly for random periods of time, with a wooden crate on his head in an assembled gathering and occasionally yell, “REPENT!”, and people would speak erratic syllables and fall down catatonic, and lie for hours as dead, while others rolled in the sawdust covered floors uttering gibberish. And the Assemblies of God denomination, and Pentecostal churches in general herald this guy as the”modern prophet” of their entire doctrinal origin. They hold this heresy in high regard. Last I checked, God commands that NO NOVICE, NEW CONVERT, OR UNLEARNED PERSON ever to be allowed to speak open-air on His Word. Doing so and allowing such is REBELLION. But so is Pentecostalism……
That reformed kind of foundation is NOT what Paul commanded to be built upon. That foundation is 15 to 20 centuries lost on the culture, context, and language of the Apostles and Jesus Christ. Protestantism and Catholicism are two wings of the same bird that John the Revelator called “the Beast from the Land.” They embody the False Prophet of the Antichrist. False religion, and even more specifically, false Christianity is the “image of the Beast.” It is a false Christ that leads men to be carnally minded, and not walk after the Spirit in obedience. John spoke of a “lamb” having TWO HORNS AND SPEAKS LIKE A DRAGON! Hello!?!? Who does the image of the lamb represent??? Yes, Jesus. But this image of Jesus has horns and speaks like a dragon folks. How did the Dragon speak? Go to Genesis 3. He subtly twists the Words of God to deceive. And everyone who does so is the FALSE PROPHET. Wake up.
So who were these false prophets and teachers Jesus and the Apostles spoke of to rise up in the last days, between Christ’s ascension and return? Anyone who didn’t speak the same thing the Apostles spoke, and in the same intent to which they spoke it. There are a lot of voices speaking today. Very few echo the true foundation. Very few!!! The MANY are false teachers.
What are some proof texts of this Pentecostal doctrine?
- “Tongues is the initial evidence of being filled with the Spirit.”
This one is at the heart of the Assemblies of God’s doctrine, and Pentecostalism in general. It is a cardinal belief that you must approve of, to be “ordained” thru this organized religion. But as we’ve seen, where is God’s Word on this matter? They quote Acts 2:2-4
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a RUSHING MIGHTY WIND, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them CLOVEN (divided) TONGUES LIKE AS OF FIRE, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The obvious question that first comes to mind is, “Who decided to choose tongues out of a total of three supernatural occurrences in this narrative, and by what authority?” If tongues has been declared as “initial evidence” of being filled with the Spirit, then why not the visionary witness of God’s presence, where something that appeared to be “LIKE” divided tongues of fire sitting on each believer? And what about the audible witness of God’s presence where a rushing, mighty wind swept through the Temple Mount, at the hour of prayer, where all of this really occurred? (FYI: the “upper room” was NOT where the tongue thing took place.) Why are those two aspects not part of the “initial evidence” doctrine? Who had the authority to pick and choose from this event, and declare that the one most easily faked aspect was THE evidence? Isn’t there a curse pronounced in Deuteronomy and also in Revelation for adding to or detracting from God’s Word? Yes, it called “strong delusion” sent from God, for rejecting the love of the Truth. It is the judgment for failing to rightly interpret the Word from a surrendered heart. But, what were these tongues at the Temple Mount that day doing? Acts 2:5-11..
“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of EVERY NATION under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how is it hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, WE DO HEAR THEM SPEAK IN OUR TONGUES THE WONDERFUL WORKS OF GOD.”
The gift in operation on this day was human tongues not known by the speakers. Tongues were ALWAYS human languages, unknown by the speaker as a witness to UNBELIEVERS of the power of God. It is not some “other worldly” tongue that only God can understand. If what people disobediently jabber in church isn’t a known human language, it is either faked or from a deceptive spirit, which would explain why those who are allowed to behave this way in churches are most often weak, immature in scripture, and emotionally unstable, yet boast of a power never evident in their lives. They’re wide-open to demonic activity. Why? They accept and amen everything that sounds good, and they cannot show you otherwise by the text, because they do not love the text (Truth.) And the false teachers can say whatever they want that excites the flesh, because who can correct them? They preach to deceived masses. They deceive and are themselves deceived.
The reference to “Galileans”, in the above verses was derogatory, because they were viewed as simple, uneducated people. My comparison is with what people call “ignorant hillbillies” today. Galilee sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. In America, it’s a typical, proud look at common people who do not hold high degrees in men’s wisdom. Ironically, these were the people Jesus chose to be Apostles!! Just sayin’! Now this is not even remotely relevant to the afore-mentioned William Seymour. He was illiterate. The Galileans were mocked by the “prestigious” Pharisaic types because they were all stereo-typed as ignorant because of geographical location. In those days most people were illiterate. But it is pretty obvious that those whom Jesus chose as Apostles were not. John’s writings alone are astounding works of literary genius. William Seymour could barely read or write, if at all. He, like Charismaniacs today, just encited outward behaviors to spiritually ignorant people and they called it a move of God. Most notable is the lack of God’s Word in such meetings. God’s house is a place of learning, but in deceived circles that are the product of God’s delusion for rejecting His Word, there is no Truth being the emphasis, because those folks reject the love of the Truth for fables and flesh feelings.
“He uses the things the world considers foolish to confound the wise.”- 1 Corinthians 1:27
Note: there is no “prayer language” evident here, which the Charismatics refer to as “THE EVIDENCE.” They attempt to make a distinction between the “grace gift” of public ministry, in 1 Corinthians 12, from a “prayer language” that is said to be “only spoken to God and the devil cannot interpret it.” But before we look at the grace gift of tongues in context, how is it that they call this “PRAYER LANGUAGE” the initial evidence of being filled with the Spirit, when it is the GRACE GIFT of public ministry that operated in Acts 2? This was the very first manifestation of this gift in all of human history. They were speaking to the diaspora (dispersed Jews) gathered from all nations under heaven. They heard the Jewish Christians (the only Christians at this point in history) speaking praises to God in their world languages as A SIGN TO THESE UNBELIEVERS, who were also all Jews. Do we see the ridiculous overreach of scripture to try to support a false doctrine? It CANNOT be both ways, folks. Let God be true.
Looking at 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul begins by saying,
“Brothers, I would not have you to be ignorant.”
Why? Because historically the Corinthians, (Gentiles saved out of Paganism), had ignorantly begun to err and to compromise to their prior pagan beliefs. And they tried to bring paganistic thinking into the church, and meld it with God’s Word. We see this tolerance happening today with science, and various other sensual, cultural pressures. The Corinthian Church was a vibrant and powerful church early on, but self-destructed and began to become deceived, by allowing false ideologies to have place among them. They elevated spiritual gifts beyond their intended purpose. They, like today began to seek signs and miracles, and caused a stumbling-block before other well meaning people whom God loved. Jesus said that it is “a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks signs.” As earlier stated, when Paul began to confront these errors, they were so absorbed in their hyper-spiritual, sensual behaviors that they rose up against Paul, Christ’s handpicked Apostle, and dubbed him a heretic among the Corinthian people. Religion does that when you shine light on its ignorance. Look at the Pharisees with Jesus. The Pharisees had learned their scriptural interpretations wrongly, and didn’t wanna have to relearn it correctly. They didn’t like being reproved, or to be seen by the people as being wrong about anything. So instead of repentance they sought to eliminate their threat of exposure, (namely Jesus), in fear of losing their socio-economic status, and religious control over other people. Jesus threatened their financial livelihood, because influence meant money. The same thing happens here with Paul. The Gospel rightly interpreted destroys false idol doctrines, and protects the souls of the sheep, and those who are genuinely searching. Let me say this: Being wrong about something is okay. Staying wrong, after having been reproved by the Word of God is damning. It’s rebellion. It’s called “blaspheming the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit and the Word are one. They are the same thing! You cannot reject the Word and have the Spirit. Calvinism rejects the contextual truth. Pentecostalism rejects the Truth. And every other “ism” rejects the truth. If it isn’t what the Apostles taught, it is damning.
Reject a heretical man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
The Corinthians elevated tongues to some “spiritual club” level, just like churches today. So Paul addresses the issues. They were a hyper-spiritual, paganistic bunch who were accustomed to extreme sensualism in their religious upbringing. But rather than surrendering to Christ’s Word, they began to both speak, and to promote, and tolerate incoherent gibberish in the churches, and allow lawlessness and disorder. They even had a man in their church who was sleeping with his dad’s widow, and they saw no need to deal with it. Paul was livid! Remember what Isaiah addressed, and what the judgment was for: not rightly dividing the Word of Truth? A people speaking babbling in the house of God, speaking unintelligible words over the people; inhabited by a spirit mocking them in their deception for rejecting to bow to, and enforce truth. And they’re so blind, they COULD NOT SEE THEIR CONDITION!
So, the evidence of speaking in tongues?
Acts 2 was clearly the grace gift, as they spoke every language represented to man on earth that day, to the dispersed Jews gathered for the Feast of Pentecost. Paul begins to ask these nutjobs in Corinth some basic questions about doctrinal guidelines. 1 Corinthians 12:29-30..
“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?”
The obvious answer to all questions is no. So, if the thing evidenced in Acts 2 was this gift in operation, and it is NOT intended to be for all people to have it, then where in God’s name do Pentecostal Charismatics get off declaring it as the “evidence of being filled with the Spirit?” God has commanded ALL believers to be filled with the Spirit, but not all are to operate in tongues. (If some folks thought twice, they’d be the genius in their family!!!)
So what is the gift of tongues? Is it important? How does it function, and to whom is it intended to function toward?
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
“Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are various kinds of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; TO ANOTHER DIVERSE KINDS OF TONGUES; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, DIVIDING to every man severally AS HE WILLS.”
Again, tongues clearly was NOT a gift for every believer to possess. Paul goes on to correct its purpose, and for whom it is used to minister to. All body parts are not the same, hence his references to bodily members coming together as one body, each part having a different function. So, for what purpose is the gift of tongues given?
1 Corinthians 14:21-25
“In the tanakh (Old Testament) it is written, “With men of foreign tongues and mocking lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me”, says the Lord. Wherefore, tongues are for a sign, NOT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE, BUT TO UNBELIEVERS: but PROPHESYING is not for unbelievers, BUT FOR THEM WHICH BELIEVE. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all were to speak with tongues, and there came in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, WILL THEY NOT SAY THAT YOU ARE CRAZY? But if all prophesy, and there came in one that is not a believer, or one who’s unlearned, he 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 truly in you.”
Verse 21’s reference to Isaiah 28:11 says that believers DO NOT need signs. Signs are only for unbelievers. Believers are not to seek signs, which would be considered spiritual adultery and idolatry by Christ. So tongues are not for the church, with the absence of a known interpreter present. To try to make tongues, in any capacity for the church, without always being interpreted is to accept a lie, and to open ourselves up, individually and corporately, to deception, and being overcome with a spirit of strong delusion. Failure to keep God’s strict order in the church on this matter (or any other) is when “fake tongues” find a place in speaking over the churches; muttering that cannot be understood, nor interpreted, and the people will believe it as a truth of God, when it’s very deceptive presence is the very judgment of God mocking them for their willful blindness in rejecting to apply His Word in context. Tongues can ONLY be accepted in the Church if interpreted by another person, other than the speaker, who is known to have the gift of interpretation, and to be of godly report among the people assembled. That’s God’s order! To not enforce it is rebellion by the leadership. If the assembly leadership is not aware of an interpreter present, tongues are not to be allowed in the assembly. That is confusion, and unbelievers will think the church is a cult full of nuts. FYI: The witness of tongues is in the understanding, not the foreign language. The language is useless without being understood what is spoken. Speaking a tongue to a person with no understanding makes you a threatening presence in their eyes. That is not of God. That is confusion. That person who claims to be endowed with the gift is told by Paul’s admonition to “remain silent, or speak privately to God.” Silent means to….shhhhhhh!
What is tongues performing in what is spoken? In other words, what does scripture declare that is being spoken by the possessor of the gift when tongues is in operation?
Whenever a true gift of tongues is spoken, it is emphatically speaking prayers and praises to God, and is never speaking to another person. This is where people get the notion that it is a “prayer language.” It is not, because that would denote that God is partial, and has only chosen to allow a few to have it. If we needed to have a prayer language to pray to God, everyone would have it. The operation of the gift is to witness to unbelievers who naturally know the tongue, yet the speaker does not, and they hear them speaking the wondrous works of God, in praises to God, in their native language. In church, it can function in equality to prophecy, which is a divine encouragement to the body of Christ, if interpreted. Tongues does edify the person endowed with the gift, certainly, but that is not the purpose or function, just like giving to the needy isn’t about making us feel good about ourselves. The intent is to bless the needy. Sure there is a byproduct of blessing to us, and we are built up from being obedient. But this message is not about us. It is good here to note that when the appearance of tongues and interpretations is used to give a “word“, or prophetic message to someone, it is a clear sign of cursed delusional behavior. Tongues is speaking only God-ward, and never to man. It is praise toward Him, not prophesying to you. Anyone who does this is a liar, and are deceived themselves.
1 Corinthians 14:2-4
“For he who speaks in an “unknown” (unlearned) tongue DOES NOT speak to men, but to God. For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”
No one is edified by what is not understood. The only person that can be edified by tongues operating uninterpreted is the speaker, because he knows something supernatural is occurring, even though he too doesn’t understand the language he is speaking. And I’m referring to a real language, not fake, demonic parody. But with interpretation of tongues, the words are made known to all present, and the gift becomes an equal to prophecy, being that the entire body is then edified. It also needs to be clarified that the gift of prophecy is NOT giving messages of prediction to others. It is speaking edification, exhortation, and comfort to the church by divine inspiration of the Spirit; a God-breathed word of encouragement. It is encouragement, not soothsaying or fortune-telling. So when tongues are interpreted, the church hears the speaker’s words that he was speaking to God in a foreign language, that he has never learned, and they hear his praises to God by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But a prayer language? No. That is a contextual perversion of what Paul has addressed with this very church at Corinth in their behaviors. To say this gift is a prayer language to every believer, as we’ve seen is a lie. We already have seen this gift is NOT given to all believers, yet the baptism of the Holy Spirit has been intended to be. This false charismatic view is a selfishly motivated one. How selfish would it be to go around misusing tongues for selfish gain, or to have supernatural experiences just to serve our own egos, which is the opposite of the heart of Christ, rather than it being about winning the lost? That is its intended purpose: the lost! Yet that is exactly how we have arrived at these deceptive doctrines, and their practices: twisting the intent of God’s plan to be about “me.” Reminds me of an angel I read about somewhere who lost his position for being self-focused! If I spoke with tongues and all I sought to do with it was build up myself, how spiritually immature would that be? After all, if I really believe Christ, why do I need to experience a manifestation of gifts in my life that are intended to reach the lost?
1 Corinthians 14:6-12
“Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you by revelation, or knowledge, or prophesying, or doctrine? (Things understood.) Even when things without life give sound, whether a flute or harp, how will it be known what is played unless they give a distinct sound? If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for the battle? So also you, unless with the tongue you speak words easy to be understood, how will it be known what is spoken? Otherwise you will just speak into the air for no reason. There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages IN THE WORLD, and none of them are without significance. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the speech (of those languages), I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks to me, and he to whom I speak, I will be like a foreigner to him. So, seeing that you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to BUILDING UP (growing) THE CHURCH.”
What did he say these languages were? Heavenly? Angelic? No, languages of earth. Not some mystical, angelic language that each individual Christian gets, that is encrypted so the big, bad Devil cannot intercept our prayers, because Almighty God has to hide us from him. UGHHHH…. MAKE IT STOP!!! That ridiculous view stems from a misapplication of 1 Corinthians 14:2, as we saw, truly meaning that only God understands the tongue if spoken amidst people who, 1) Don’t know that language, or 2) it isn’t being interpreted by a person gifted to do so. But it is not a special “prayer language” of heaven. God speaks Hebrew.
Tongues speaks praises/prayers to God….
1 Corinthians 14:14-17
“For if I pray in an “unknown” tongue, my spirit PRAYS, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding. Otherwise, when you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the unlearned say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, seeing he DOES NOT UNDERSTAND what you say? For you indeed GIVE THANKS WELL, but the other person(s) is not edified.”
Paul points out again the function of the gift is to bless God in praises, but notice the admonition of its intended purpose: “You praise well but the intended recipients of the edification are not being encouraged because they don’t know what you are saying!!!!” Tongues is not about YOU.
Paul goes on…
”I thank my God that I speak in tongues MORE THAN YOU ALL. Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might TEACH OTHERS also, than ten thousand words in an “unknown” tongue. Brothers, DO NOT BE CHILDREN in your thinking; rather be infants in evil, but in your thinking BE MATURE.”
Do we see how that tongues has been convoluted in modern church doctrines today? This is the danger of a proof-texting culture that has made the Gospel all about them, and God making them “blessed in this life”, all the while promising Heaven in the next. Jesus said to die to this life, and not compromise to its systems; to be about the Father’s business, as He exemplified. Yet, most church behaviors speak of the self-focus I just mentioned. Amazingly, there are multiplied thousands who have swallowed this tongues phenomenon as truth, along with other charismatic behaviors, that when put to the scrutiny of scripture, fall very short. I was raised in this system of thought. I have witnessed it all. I have seen it go so far as to be used as if God is speaking in tongues through a person to the church, or an individual present, to give predictions or ‘words.’ I have seen these “words” from “God” tell a “believer” to marry someone that scripture emphatically commands not to: an unbeliever! I have seen Pastors interrupted by this behavior in the midst of preaching the sermon message, only to have a “ha sha ta ta ta ni ni ni o mi cee” rattled off, overcoming the volume of the PA system, and a “message” given. All the while, the church is taught this is acceptable, because the leadership yields to it, in fear of man, instead of rebuking it, and by doing so, confirming it as “godly” before weaker people.
I have seen erratic behaviors, and strange body contortions, heard screams that grieved my spirit, and saw these nuts running around the building, and collapsing backwards, falling hard to the floor, as if “slain in the Spirit“, but it is really being slain by a spirit. That behavior exists nowhere in scripture, but is new to the last 200 years of church doctrines, yet EMBRACED AS TRUTH!!. Then these strange actions are often accompanied by giving the impression of tongues from the same catatonic individual lying on the floor. It is either from a demonic influence, or is merely being faked by insecure people seeking attention, but none of it is of God. We open ourselves up to demonic spirits when we receive what is not of God. And these entire scenes are presented, and approved of, as being a “move of God.” DELUSION!! DELUSION! DELUSION!!! It is from Hell, and it is sent by God upon ALL who reject the love of His Truth. God gives people over to spirits when they reject Him.
Look at this passage of scripture. Romans 8:26-
“Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought to, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
This scripture has been used in Charismatic churches in support of tongues as a “prayer language“, or “praying in the Holy Ghost.” As always, this is the danger of the con of a text used without proper context. Notice the last 5 words….”groanings (inaudible sighs) THAT CANNOT BE UTTERED.” What is an utterance? Something spoken, something with the tongue. But what is this passage saying? Here, the Spirit prays on our behalf without audible utterances. No voice is used. No tongue is wiggling. Do we see at what lengths ignorance goes to support our own desires against what God has said concerning His Church, His Gifts, and His Spirit? It is a spirit of judgment sent by God for refusing to let Him be God. If His Word isn’t the authority, we ARE NOT in Christ, but deceiving ourselves.
So where do they get the Angelic language idea?
1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a ringing brass gong or a clashing cymbal.”
Paul is speaking hypothetically, as if…
”Though I spoke with the tongues of men and of angels, and did all these super impressive miraculous things in the eyes of men, if I didn’t love those people, I am nothing but hot air and noise.” (emphasis added)
There is not one reference to an angelic language to be alluded to anywhere else in scripture. In the beginning there was but one language, placed inside Adam by God. Adam is a Hebrew name. Then in Genesis 11, men began to build a “monument to God”, at Babel, with a motive to make a “name for themselves”, and God split the language into many tongues, and abandoned those 70 nations to other gods (elohim). But at the sanctioning of His New Covenant, on the day of Pentecost, God caused His people, Jewish Believers, to begin to speak every language of every nation on earth, supernaturally, as a witness to them in His plan of redeeming the Nations, people, and earth back to Himself. This was the entire point of tongues. At Babel, they were all ONE against God. Their tongues were divided to separate them from God. But look at the language of Acts 2. “They were all in one accord and divided tongues like fire sat on each believer and they miraculously spoke all the divided languages of earth to be a witness to this redeeming covenant taking place at this moment. “And yet for all this”, like in Paul’s reapplication of Isaiah 28:11, the majority “would not hear God.” But in the end, at the Eschaton, tongues will cease, and no longer be needed when Christ returns, and the Kingdom of God will return to ONE language. Acts 2 was the start of that unity in redeeming the earth back to Himself.
Zephaniah 3:8-9 speaks of the return to that unified language…
Therefore wait upon me, says the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I return to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
As for the Isaiah 28 passage, the Lexham English Bible, translated it right:
Isaiah 28:9-13 (LEB)
“To whom will He teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from milk, those taken from the breast? For it is blah-blah blah blah-blah, blah-blah blah blah-blah, gah-gah gah gah-gah, gah-gah gah gah-gah,. For he will speak with stammering and a mocking tongue to this people, to whom he has said,“This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”; yet they WERE NOT WILLING TO HEAR. And to them the word of Yahweh will be “blah-blah blah-blah, blah-blah blah-blah, gah-gah gah-gah, gah-gah gah-gah,”…so that they may go, and stumble BACKWARD, and be broken, and ensnared, and captured.”
The Modern Charismatic/ Pentecostal movement is a part, but not limited to, the great falling away that Jesus and His Apostles declared would come. Today, false prophets speak of great revivals to come, but there is bot one passage anywhere that supports it. It is a lie. Jesus said it would get worse and many would fall away and few would enter the Kingdom. The “strong spirit of delusion” Paul speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2 is a deceptive, demonic presence sent upon all who pervert the Apostles teaching. Pentecostalism is a major evidence of that delusion and falling away from God’s truth.
Is tongues still for today? I personally hold the view that tongues and the power given to the Apostles were for their establishment of the New Covenant. When we read the scripture, they were not written to us. Sure, they are written for our learning, but still yet, we are not a part of the people to whom those texts were speaking. The things therein were addressing their day and world. Once the New Testament came to be, what need is there for those signs and evidences today? Zero. We have the whole counsel of Christ. They did not. What we now have is the recordings of what they were then establishing. We have a more sure word of prophecy. It is called the written word of God, and today it is available in about every language known to man. And we are not a part of the “Acts of the Apostles.” We are not Apostles and we were NOT given “binding and loosing authority” by Christ to establish doctrine. They were.