Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth." (John 4:24)
ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC EVENTS in human history occurred on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 30 in Jerusalem. Eleven apostles miraculously proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ in human languages unknown to them. How did such a phenomenon occur? These men had just received the baptism of God the Holy Spirit and His sovereignly-bestowed Spiritual gift of tongues. This wondrous event inaugurated the unique era of human history — the New Covenant Church Age.
Today, controversy over the gift of tongues persists in seminaries, pulpits, and among countless Christians. Do believers still receive the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues? Does speaking in tongues manifest the baptism of the Holy Spirit? When does the baptism of the Holy Spirit occur?
The Theological firestorm surrounding these questions was ignited on the final evening of the nineteenth century during an unusual Watch Night service at Bethel Bible Institute in Topeka, Kansas. The founder of the institute, Charles Parham, had instructed his students that the power to live the Christian life and to evangelize the world would come from a gracious gift after Salvation. He identified this gift as the baptism of the Holy Spirit and asserted that receiving the gift would be accompanied by speaking in tongues. As midnight approached, an emotionally charged thirty-year-old woman requested that Parham pray for her to receive the “Holy Ghost.” At the conclusion of the prayer she began to speak unintelligibly. Everyone present presumed that she was experiencing a revival of the Biblical gift of tongues. This incident spawned the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement which has captivated millions throughout the world and infiltrated almost every denomination.
The only authoritative conclusions to the debate over the validity of tongues are found in the Bible. Your Theological view must align with what the Scripture says. Doctrinal error seeps into Christianity where the Bible is misinterpreted, distorted, or ignored. To understand correctly, the proper role of tongues, the Word of God must be rightly divided — “accurately interpreted.” (2Ti 2:15) What do the Scriptures teach about tongues? For the answer, we must turn to the Book of Isaiah. Old Testament prophecy is a key to understanding the Spiritual gift of glossolalia found in the New Testament.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Isaiah foretold the presence of a “foreign language” spoken by armies invading the land of Israel — a sign of national punishment. In Isaiah’s day this would be the unmistakable warning to Jews of Spiritual failure and the foreshadowing of another occurrence of “tongues.” After the ascension of Jesus Christ, foreign languages would once more be heard in the Land — this time as the Spiritual gift of glossolalia. This miraculous gift that would evangelize the nation of Israel in gentile languages would not only be the unmistakable sign to the Jewish people of their Spiritual failure and imminent Divine judgment, but would also proclaim the New Covenant Church Age.
In the Law [The Old Testament] it is written, “BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES [Foreign languages] AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS [Gentiles] I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, [The Jews] AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN [Negative volition] TO ME,” [Quote from; Isa 28:11-12] says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign... (1Co 14:21-22)
ISAIAH IS ONE OF THE MAJOR SOURCES of eschatological [End Times; Tribulation and Millennium] signs and miracles, each sign being an integral part of the overall plan of God. Since Old Testament Prophecy encompasses the Principle of ‘near and far fulfillment,’ Isaiah’s messages applied not only to his generation, near fulfillment, but they also anticipated future events, far fulfillment. For example, Isaiah recorded the signs that pointed to the First Advent of the Messiah: His virgin birth; (Isa 7:14) His suffering; (Isa 53:3-4) His substitutionary, Spiritual death on the cross; (Isa 53:4-5; Isa 53:10-12) His burial; (Isa 53:9) His exaltation and return in glory. (Isa 9:6-7) The prophet Predicted Israel’s failure to accept “the Holy One” of God, both among his contemporaries and among the Jews of future generations. (Isa 5:24) Therefore, Isaiah’s warning against apostasy was addressed to the Jews of his day as well as their distant progeny.
Isaiah continually reminded the Israelites that Divine Thinking is the strength of a nation.
And He [The Lord] shall be the stability of your times, A wealth of Salvation, [Physical deliverance] wisdom,
and knowledge; [Divine Thoughts] The fear [Fellowship] of the Lord is his treasure. (Isa 33:6)
But Israel was not interested in the Divine “wisdom and knowledge” of the Lord. Despite their negative volition, Isaiah’s solitary voice continued to teach the Truth.
In the twenty-eighth chapter, Isaiah calls the corrupt religious leaders of the nation of Israel “the drunkards of Ephraim.” (Isa 28:1-8) His earthy imagery depicts their disgusting dissipation.
And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink: The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink; They reel while having visions, They totter when rendering judgment. For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, without a single clean place. (Isa 28:7-8)
At the same time false prophets and teachers advised Israel to seek demonic counsel. (Isa 8:19) This destructive counsel and the repudiation of Divine Thinking by the inebriated priests, false prophets, and the people caused Isaiah to indicate that the next generation would be the audience for his message.
“To whom would He [God, through the prophet Isaiah] teach knowledge? [Divine Thoughts] And to whom would He interpret the message? [Make it clear] Those just weaned from milk? [New believers] Those just taken from the breast?” [Babies] (Isa 28:9)
The series of rhetorical questions in (Isa 28:9) confirm that the current generation had ‘deaf ears.’ The only hope of deterring judgment upon the client nation that has rejected God’s Word lies in the teaching of Truth and the subsequent Spiritual growth of the next generation.
Although three thousand years have passed since Isaiah’s warning, the same rejection and apathy prevail today. Unbelievers still reject the Gospel of Salvation and believers are still indifferent to learning and Thinking with God's Word, choosing to remain Spiritual babies. In every generation, unbelievers must be evangelized, while believers must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Pe 3:18) There should be nothing more important on your scale of values than the daily intake of the Word of God. Truth should have the highest priority in your life! (Psa 138:2)
“For He says,‘Order on order, [Precept on Precept] Order on Order, [Tzaw latzaw, tzaw latzaw] Line on Line, Line on line, [Qaw laqaw,qaw laqaw] A little here, a little there.” [Ze’er sham, ze’er sham] (Isa 28:10)
Isaiah’s brilliantly constructed tautology in the Hebrew sarcastically mimics the drunken, repetitious babbling of the degenerate priests, while at the same time describes the method for accurate Biblical teaching — “Precept on Precept, Line on Line.” The objective of Biblical teaching is inculcation of Divine Thinking, Spiritual Thought on Spiritual Thought, but Truth in the soul accumulates gradually in increments. One Precept builds upon Another. “Precept on Precept” describes the classifications of Divine Thoughts. “A Thought by Thought,” Word-by-Word, Verse-by-verse analysis, lifts these Divine Thoughts from the pages of Scripture. Truth must be presented in an Isagogical, (Isagogics is the interpretation of Scripture within the framework of its historical setting or prophetical environment) Categorical, (Categories are the classification of Bible Thinking according to subject matter By using the hermeneutical Principles of exegesis and comparing Scripture to Scripture, Biblical subjects emerge and are organized into divisions of Truth in order to progressively build Thought upon Thought, complex Truth on basic Truth) and an Exegetical manner (Exegesis is a Word-by-Word, Verse-by-Verse, grammatical, syntactical, etymological, and contextual analysis of Scripture from the original languages of the Bible — Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek — to extract Principles and define Biblical Thoughts) — not once, but repeatedly, until it lodges permanently in the soul. When Truth is faithfully taught and consistently assimilated, “a little here, a little there,” the various portions of Scripture eventually fall into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. (1Co 2:16) Gradually, we expand our frame of reference for receiving and retaining further Truths. We are now able to comprehend more advanced Concepts and Truths until, God's Thinking is our Spiritual Thinking and we become Spiritually self-sustaining.
Isaiah tried to convey these Concepts to Israel, but the Jews continued to reject his Message. Then suddenly, in the midst of his exhortation on the importance of Truth, the prophet interrupted his message and announced one of the most astonishing events ever to occur in history.
Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips [Alien articulation] and a foreign tongue. [Language] (Isa 28:11)
What did this pronouncement mean? The judgment on Israel, both near and far, would be announced in “a foreign language!”
THE IMPORTANCE OF DISPENSATIONS
The cataclysmic Prophecy of, (Isa 28:11) predicting judgment on Israel, must be understood within the framework of God’s timetable for human history — the dispensations. The sequences of Divine administrations that divide human history into consecutive eras are called dispensations and constitute the Divine Viewpoint and Theological Interpretation of history. The dispensational approach is necessary to orient us to time as well as to Revelatory and eschatological events and to accurately interpret the Scripture. Understanding dispensations is how we, as believers, living at a specific time can relate to God’s plan, will, and purpose for our lives. Human history may be classified into seven dispensations: the Age of perfection, (Adam and Eve before the Fall) the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of Israel, the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, (The Lord Christ Jesus ) the Church Age, the Tribulation, and the Millennium.
In each age God operates according to His grace policy. Salvation is always received in the same way — faith alone in Christ alone. In the Old Testament dispensations the object of faith was the Second Person of the Trinity, the Prophesied Messiah; in the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union the object of faith was the incarnate Jesus Christ; in the Church Age and the Tribulation the object of faith is the resurrected Jesus Christ; in the Millennium the object of faith is also Jesus Christ who will then be reigning on earth. Likewise, restoration of fellowship is the same in every dispensation — naming sins to God the Father. (Psa 32:5; (1Jn 1:9)
The first two dispensations, perfection and the Age of the Gentiles, began with Adam; the Age of the Gentiles terminated with Moses. From Adam until after the worldwide flood of Noah, this era was characterized by one race and one language. All evangelism was conducted in that one language. There was no written canon of Scripture; God revealed Himself and His plan through dreams, visions, angelic appearances, and Theophanies. Following the Flood came a population explosion. The descendants of Noah began to contemplate a way to preserve and protect the human race through their own efforts. Their utopian solution was to unify. To monumentalize their vainglorious alliance, the people decided to construct a magnificent building.
And they said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; [Arrogance] otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen 11:4) cf. (Isa 14:14)
With the convenience of a universal language a coalition was quickly established. The combined population presented themselves as “masters of their own destiny” and self-sufficient, apart from God. (Gen 11:6) Their city became the hub of opposition to God’s Mandate to disperse over the earth. (Gen 9:1) The purpose of this satanically inspired rebellion was to unite the people of the world in an anti-God coalition. To prevent a tyrannical global government that would ultimately destroy them, God stepped in and judged this abominable alliance. He “scattered” the people and confused their language. (Gen 11:7-9)
The multiplicity of languages generated a multitude of nations, frustrating all attempts at unification. The many languages now in existence called for a new method of evangelism — missionary activity from one centrally located missionary base. To launch this endeavor, God appointed His own representative, a Gentile named Abram, an aristocrat from the third dynasty of Ur. Abram responded to the Gospel and followed God’s direction, crossing the River Euphrates and entering Canaan, a foreign land. God Promised that he and his progeny would someday possess Canaan (Gen 13:14-15) and be a great nation through which all nations would be Spiritually blessed (Gen 12:1-3) In anticipation of the day when that Promise would be realized, Abram chose to live as a transient, “an alien in the land of Promise . . . dwelling in tents.” (Heb 11:9) He had a tremendous impact on all those he met. Although Abram’s native tongue was Chaldean, he adopted one or more of the languages of Canaan, among them Phoenician and Ugaritic. By combining Chaldean with Canaanite words, the patriarch was soon able to evangelize the people of this strange land. Many responded; the names of three of his converts are recorded in, (Gen 14:13) Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner.
Abram became the father of a new Spiritual and racial species, the last and most illustrious of all races — the Jews — and for this God renamed him, Abraham. Believing Jews in the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were to be God’s chosen people. (Gen 21:12; Deut 7:6; Rom 9:6-8; Heb 11:18) As the race greatly increased, they became the nucleus for the first client nation in history.
The Age of Israel began with the Exodus from Egypt and lasted until the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although Israel would remain a relatively small nation under God, (Deut 7:7) the Jews were destined to have an impact far beyond their borders. As the only Theocracy in history, they were Mandated by God to fulfill two special Commissions: custodianship of Divine Revelation (Rom 3:1-2) and dissemination of the Gospel to all other nations. (Isa 43:10-13) Yet time after time Israel failed to evangelize other nations, thereby defaulting on their missionary responsibility. And time after time, as a result of their failure, they suffered Divine discipline.
The failure of the Jews individually and nationally reached rock bottom when they rejected “the Holy One of God,” Jesus the Messiah, at His First Advent. The virgin birth, (Isa 7:14) as well as the two deaths of Christ on the cross, (Spiritual and physical) were two signs that the nation of Israel’s punishment was forthcoming. The final sign of their impending judgment would be the Spiritual gift of glossolalia.
Any study of the Bible must make the distinction between the Age of Israel, (A political, racial and Spiritual Kingdom) and the New Covenant Church Age. (A Spiritual Kingdom of Jews and Gentiles) This contrast is a recurring theme in the New Testament (Acts 10:45; Rom 11:25; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:11-22; Heb 3:5-6) and is the cornerstone of dispensational Theology. What makes the separation of these two dispensations so significant? The Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union — the First Advent of Jesus Christ! This epoch recorded in the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, began with the virgin birth of Christ and terminated with His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah terminating the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, God has temporarily set Israel aside until the Tribulation period begins.
Since Israel would no longer be God’s official representative on earth, God summoned a new entity called the Church. (2Co 5:17) God replaced Israel with a new missionary agency. The Church, called the Body of Christ, (1Co 12:12) are those who “in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Co 1:2) They come from all walks of life, all parts of the world, and speak many different languages; yet all share the common bond of faith alone in Christ alone. (Gal 3:26)
The New Covenant Church Age is divided into two time periods. The pre-canon period of the Church Age is that period of time before the New Testament canon was completed in writing. It began on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 30, and ended A.D. 96 with the completion of the Book of Revelation and the death of the Apostle John. The post-canon period of the Church Age began with the completion of the New Testament and will end with the removal of Spiritually mature Church age believers. (Rev 3:10)
This age is the unique dispensation. No other age is more demanding or rewarding and in no other dispensation have believers been given more Spiritual assets. Believers in the New Covenant Age are permanently indwelt and initially filled by God the Holy Spirit, a privilege never given to any previous dispensation. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a permanent relationship acquired at the moment of regeneration in which the body of every believer is transformed into a temple for the indwelling of Christ as the Shekinah Glory. (1Co 3:16; (1Co 6:19-20; (2Co 6:16) The filling of the Spirit is the initial entrance into fellowship with God at Salvation and is maintained through admitting sins privately to God the Father. (1Jn 1:9) This filling of God the Holy Spirit is the provision of Divine power to execute the unique Spiritual life of the New Covenant Age. (Eph 5:18) For the first time in human history every believer is in union with Christ — a member of the royal family of God. We are royal priests, ambassadors for the absent Christ, and responsible to God to witness for our Lord. Moreover, there exists for the Church Age believer the completed canon of Scripture, the Bible. The entire realm of Truth is readily available to every believer for advance to the high ground of Spiritual maturity. In the entire economy of God, no dispensation other than the age in which we live presents so great a challenge to put Divine Thinking to the test.
The April 02, 2009 G20 agreement, is the start of the countdown to the Tribulation period and resumption of the Age of Israel; THAT BEGINS September 2012. (Dan 8:11-14; Dan 9:27; Dan 12:11) and ends with the Second Advent of Christ. (Deut 4:30; Isa 34:1-6; Jer 30:4-8; Eze 38:1; thru Eze 39:29; Dan 9:24-27; Dan 11:40-45; Dan 12:1-3; Matt 24:1-51; Rev 6:1 thru; Rev 19:21) etc. The Tribulation will be the most horrendous period of human history — satanic tyranny and chaos will reign. (Rev 13:11-17) This is the time of the devil’s desperation, (Rev 12:12) in which Satan unleashes all his power in a futile attempt to destroy the Jews.
The final dispensation, which follows the Tribulation and the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, is the Millennium. (Psa 72:1-20; Isa 11:1-16; Isa 35:1-10; Isa 62:1-12; Isa 65:8-25; Zec 14:4-11; Rev 20:1-15) The King of kings will reign over the earth for a literal one thousand years of perfect environment. The angelic conflict will be restrained while Satan and his demons are incarcerated in the Abyss. (Rev 20:7) As victors with Christ, Spiritually mature believers will rule with Him. (Rev 20:4-6) The Jews will be preeminent once more among the nations of the earth as God’ s restored client nation and will receive all that God promised in the Old Testament Covenants. (The Abrahamic Covenant; (Gen 12:1-3) the Palestinian or Real Estate Covenant; (Gen 15:18) the Davidic Covenant; (2Sa 7:8-18) and the New Covenant to Israel. (Jer 31:31-37) In the meantime, however, the plan of God for the ages must run its course. With this dispensational framework in mind, we resume with Isaiah’s bombshell: “He will speak to this people through . . . a foreign tongue!” [Language] (Isa 28:11)
THE PROPHECY OF JUDGMENT
Isaiah’s long and faithful ministry (739-685 B.C.) occurred during a crucial time in Israel’s history. Shortly after the death of Solomon (Around 926 B.C.) a revolt against Divine authority had split the nation of Israel into two entities. The Northern Kingdom, (The ten tribes) called “Israel” or “Ephraim,” established its capital at Samaria; the Southern Kingdom, (The two tribes) called “Judah,” kept Jerusalem as its capital. Isaiah prophesied the doom of both kingdoms. In 721 B.C., almost twenty years after Isaiah’s warning, the apostate and degenerate Ephraim was destroyed in the fifth cycle of discipline, administered by Sargon II, the Assyrian king. (Isa 28:1-4) (The five cycles of discipline are progressive stages, each becoming increasingly harsh for the disobedient nation. First cycle of Discipline: Loss of health; decline of agricultural prosperity; terror, fear, and death in combat; loss of personal freedoms due to negative volition toward the Word of Truth. (Lev 26:13-17) Second cycle of Discipline: Economic recession and depression; increased personal and individual discipline for continued negative volition in spite of the first warning. (Lev 26:18-20) Third cycle of Discipline: Violence and breakdown of law and order; cities laid waste. (Lev 26:21-22) Fourth cycle of Discipline: Military conquest; foreign occupation; scarcity of food; (Reduced to one-tenth the normal supply) separation of families. (Lev 26:23-26) Fifth cycle of Discipline: Destruction of a nation due to maximum rejection of Biblical Principles (Lev 26:27-39) cf. (Rebound; Lev 26:40-46) Yet Ephraim had accomplished its own internal destruction long before being conquered by the Assyrian invaders. The stability and vigor of any client nation depend on Spiritual factors: the evangelism and subsequent regeneration, (Faith in Christ; being born into the family of God) of unbelievers, custodianship of Scripture, and the dissemination and application of Truth among believers. In the absence of these stabilizing factors, hostile pressures from other nations merely finished the ruin which Spiritual decadence has begun.
Down through the centuries, the Jews have always received gracious warnings from God of approaching judgment. The Prophetic Messages, the Principles stated in the Mosaic Law, and the punitive measures of the five cycles of discipline all describe what happens to a people who reject God and His Word. (Lev 26:14-46)
Moses had earlier warned Israel that the sound of a foreign language in the Land was a harbinger of the fifth cycle of discipline — judgment and destruction of the nation.
“The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand.” (Deut 28:49)
Jeremiah had also taught Israel about the warning sign of judgment.
“Behold, I am bringing a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” declares the LORD. “It is an enduring nation, It is an ancient nation, A nation whose language you do not know, Nor can you understand what they say.” (Jer 5:15)
Isaiah’s warning prophecy of Chapter 28 was voiced to his contemporaries. The arrogant and apostate Ephraim was still standing when Isaiah announced the impending fulfillment of the prophecy — the end of the “fading flower.” (Isa 28:1-5) The Assyrians were advancing on Ephraim to vanquish the nation.” A foreign tongue,” the sign of judgment, was heard in Ephraim, yet national disaster could have been averted. Isaiah’s emphatic Declaration concerning foreign languages was also a last call to recover from apostasy.
The destruction of Ephraim in 721 B.C. was a warning to Judah. If they persisted in the same idolatrous practices for which Ephraim plunged into slavery, calamity would also befall them. (Isa 28:14-23) While the impact of Isaiah’s message and the response of the believing remnant prolonged the life of Judah for 135 years, Judah eventually reverted to apostasy. They failed Spiritually, economically, socially, and militarily; they ignored the Doctrinal and Divine establishment Principles by which a client nation functions to the glory of God. (Divine establishment is the Principles ordained by God for the survival, stability, protection, and perpetuation of the human race, believers and unbelievers alike, during the course of human history) Since the Jews did not heed the warning, the Chaldean language was heard in Judah for twenty years (605-586 B.C.) before the judgment.
Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest of the Chaldean rulers, first invaded Judah in 605 B.C. and deported hundreds of thousands of Jews to Babylon. (The first deportation was in 605 B.C. and the second, in 598 B.C. In 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar completely devastated Jerusalem after a siege of eighteen months and deported the third group to Babylon) In 586 B.C. the final, terrible judgment occurred. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the nation, demolished the Temple, and led the surviving Jews to slavery in Babylon. After the Chaldean Empire fell and the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity were concluded, Jews were resettled in Judah by a decree of Cyrus the Great of the Media-Persian Empire. However, thousands of Jews decided to remain in Persia. Their descendants became the economic backbone of the Persian and later, the Parthian Empire.
Further Jewish dispersion occurred in the days of Alexander the Great. (356-323 B.C.) Again a foreign language was heard in Judah. Alexander invaded Israel intending to besiege Jerusalem. To his surprise, Jaddua the High Priest, escorted by the priests and citizens of Jerusalem, led a procession out from the city to welcome him. Jaddua carried the sacred scrolls of the Holy Scripture in his arms. Solemnly, he unrolled the scroll of Daniel and showed Alexander that his conquests had been prophesied by God! So profound was Alexander’s amazement and admiration of the Jews that he appointed certain ones as administrators in cities throughout his far-flung empire, some as far away as India. A group of Jews who had settled in Alexandria, Egypt, later translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. The Septuagint, as it was called, made Scripture available in Greek to Jews induced by dispersion to abandon their native Hebrew.
Under the principle of the far fulfillment of Prophecy, God permitted Isaiah to look down the corridors of time to view the dismal failure of a future generation of Jews. The long-range fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy would again be national dispersion, (A.D. 70) when another generation of apostate Jews would suffer horrible judgment for their obstinacy. So specific and lucid was the Prophecy of tongues that the meaning was unmistakable. In that distant future God would again warn the Jews of impending national punishment by the sign of foreign languages — this time not by foreign gentile invaders, but by fellow Jews and Gentiles wielding the Spiritual gift of glossolalia. (Acts 2:4)
For through men stammering in speech [Bila’ agi saphah] and through a strange gentile language, He [God] will speak to this people. (Isa 28:11; literal translation)
Bila’ agi saphah, translated “stammering in speech,” emphasizes the harshness of foreign gentile languages on the Hebrew ear. The speech of the people who surrounded Israel sounded coarse and spluttering to the Jews. What added force to Isaiah’s Prognosis was his obscure style — he became elliptical by omitting verbs and cryptic by emphasizing the shocking nature of the sign of strange gentile languages. The Jews, who had once been given the Truth, would someday be forced to hear the Truth in foreign tongues.
While this Prophetic sign may not seem of great significance to us today, it was offensive and insulting to the Jews of Isaiah’s era. “Think of that!” they must have said, “Imagine gentile languages speaking God’s Word to us! We were given the Law; we are the custodians of Scripture; we are to evangelize the world. How dare Isaiah tell us that crude and grating gentile languages will bring us the message of Salvation!” To their thinking, the announcement of evangelism of Israel in gentile languages was a totally revolting, repugnant, and horrifying concept; they could not believe such a thing could happen. “Surely God would not set aside His privileged people.” So they haughtily ignored the Prophecy of Isaiah.
All Biblical Prophecy comes true at some point in time. The eternal Son of God was born of a virgin (Isa 7:14) and came to dwell among men. (John 1:14) Thirty-three years later, on the Day of Pentecost, (The Feast of Weeks) ten days after the ascension of Christ, the Spiritual gift of tongues was given. Every Jew who understood the scroll of Isaiah realized this sign announced catastrophic judgment on their nation.
CURSING TURNED TO BLESSING
The fifth cycle of discipline would again place Israel under a curse; yet God’s grace always provides the means whereby cursing can be turned to blessing. When Isaiah predicted the sign of judgment, he also declared a message of hope.
He [The prophet] who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary,” And, “Here is repose,” but they would not listen. (Isa 28:12) cf. (Jer 6:16)
“Rest” refers to Salvation and Spiritual maturity. Jesus Christ said:
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke [Spiritual life] upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matt 11:28-30)
Only when Salvation is appropriated through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is cursing immediately turned to blessing. The grace of God provided Salvation and Spiritual maturity for man, not from the works of the Law; (Gal 2:16) cf. (Gal 3:1-3) or human efforts. (Tit 3:5) Salvation is freely offered to all who will receive it. (Rev 21:6)
On the very day that the curse of the fifth cycle of discipline was announced to the Jews, they were also given the Gospel — the opportunity for deliverance! Although national dispersion was imminent and the judgment would affect all the Jews, (Deut 28:64-68) God could not abandon them. The issue for them was and remains: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Cursing is turned to blessing by the evangelism and regeneration of individual Jews. In the grace period between A.D. 30 and AD. 70, God used a special method to Communicate cursing and blessing to the Jews — the gift of tongues, however stammering and repugnant it may have seemed, was designed to awaken them to another imminent dispersion and present Christ as their only Savior.
THE SIGN OF TONGUES
Two Prophecies declared the end of the client nation of Israel and the coming of the Church Age: One addressed to the Jews; the other to the Gentiles. The approach to the Jews, who always clamored for a sign, (Matt 12:38-39; (1Co 1:22) was evangelization in gentile languages. The approach to the Gentiles was Jesus Christ’s Prophecy of the baptism of God the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) As the Church Age commenced, the two Prophecies merged. (Acts 2:3-4) On the day of Pentecost (AD. 30), (The implication is that they returned to their own countries, bearing the message heard, thus avoiding the long delay which a missionary's experience in learning the language of the people to whom he goes would have caused. It was in the power of God to reverse the experience of Babel, which He evidently did for a time in Jerusalem this day) the apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by glossolalia — gentile tongues through which the Jews were to be warned and evangelized. Glossolalia continued for forty years (A.D. 30—70) signaling the coming destruction of Jerusalem by Rome. This purpose for glossolalia is clarified by the Apostle Paul fifteen years before the catastrophe.
In the Law [The Old Testament] it is Written, “BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES [Languages] AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS [Gentiles] I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, [The Jews] AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN [Negative volition] TO ME,” [Quote from; Isa 28:11-12] says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, [A warning to Jewish unbelievers of the proximity of Divine judgment and dispersion] not to those who believe, but to unbelievers but prophecy (The teaching of God's Thoughts filled with God the Holy Spirit) is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. (1Co 14:21-22)
Since the destruction of Jerusalem would be a devastating disaster, God provided a prelude of intensive evangelism. All who accepted the gift of Salvation during the interim would escape the curse of the fifth cycle of discipline. Those who recognized the sign would know what it foreshadowed and flee to safety in accordance with Divine Instructions. They would also receive the baptism of God the Holy Spirit and become members of the Body of Christ — a part of the Church in the new dispensation.
Although the Jews remain under Divine discipline for the duration of the Church Age, God never condones anti-Semitism. God needs no help administering His discipline. He is righteous, just, and forever gracious in all His dealings with man. God blesses those who bless the Jew and curses all who raise a hand against him. History testifies to this principle: Nations that offer refuge to the Jew are blessed (Gen 12:3) and nations that become anti-Semitic are destroyed.
THE PROMISE OF GOD THE FATHER
And gathering them [The apostles] together, He [Jesus Christ] Commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had Promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me.” (Acts 1:4)
During the forty days before His ascension to heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ summoned the apostles for a last-minute briefing. (Acts 1:1-4) He Commanded “the eleven” to remain in Jerusalem and “wait for what the Father had Promised.” God the Father Promised that upon the Lord Jesus Christ’s return to heaven, that God the Holy Spirit's PERMANENT New Covenant ministry would come into the world. The apostles had been told by Jesus that the Holy Spirit would be their Teacher, (John 14:26) Mentor (John 14:16-17; John 16:7) and Guide to the entire realm of Truth. (John 16:13)
The critical element of the Lord’s Command was “not to leave Jerusalem,” for it was there on the day of Pentecost God the Holy Spirit would dramatically descend to baptize and bestow the gift of tongues. This was to be a unique moment in human history.
THE FULFILLMENT OF
And when the day of Pentecost had come, they [The eleven apostles] were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1)
“Pentecost” (The Feast of Weeks) was the fourth of the Spring feasts in Israel. The first of these holy days was Passover, the first annual pilgrimage feast requiring all Jewish males to celebrate at the Temple in Jerusalem. (Exo 23:17; Deut 16:16) Immediately following Passover was the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread. On the third day of that week was the Feast of First-fruits (Lev 23:9-14; cf. (Num 28:26-31) — the Resurrection Day. Fifty days after Passover was Pentecost, the “Feast of Weeks,” (Exo 34:22) the third annual pilgrimage feast.
The “they” of, (Acts 2:1) refers back to the nearest antecedent, Matthias and the “eleven” of, (Acts 1:26). On this particular Pentecost morning in A.D. 30, the eleven apostles plus Matthias, in obedience to the mandate of Jesus Christ, (Acts 1:4-5) remained in Jerusalem to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. (Acts 2:2-3)
“And suddenly” came the awe-inspiring signs that proclaimed the baptism of the Holy Spirit and inaugurated the New Covenant Church Age. A roar like a tornado reverberated throughout Jerusalem, announcing the commencement of the new dispensation — the New Covenant Church Age. This sound of “violent, rushing wind” was the initial herald for God the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Like the enormous power of wind, God the Holy Spirit is the source of Divine power for executing the unique Spiritual life of the New Covenant.
At the baptism of Jesus Christ that inaugurated His earthly ministry, (Luk 3:21-23) the presence of God the Holy Spirit was manifested in the form of a hovering dove; (John 1:32) but on the day of Pentecost God the Holy Spirit was made known by the appearance of “tongues as of fire.” Fire represents judgment in Scripture (2Th 1:7-9; Rev 1:1-15; Rev 21:8) and this miracle was a foreboding sign of the holocaust to come.
THE MIRACLE OF TONGUES
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, [Glossa — languages] as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (Acts 2:4)
The instant God the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost and bestowed the Spiritual gift of tongues, the apostles were simultaneously indwelt and filled with God the Holy Spirit. As evidence of this new status of Spirituality, they suddenly began speaking in foreign languages. The miracle was even more amazing since these apostles were all Galileans. Why is that significant?
In those days two kinds of Jews lived in Palestine: the Judeans in southern Palestine and the Galileans in the north of the Land. Judeans were more academically accomplished and often trilingual. They conversed in Latin, (The language of the Romans) Greek, (The language of culture) and their native Aramaic, (The language of commerce in the Middle East) Galileans, however, were typically uneducated farmers and fishermen who spoke only Aramaic with a distinctive, rural accent. These Galileans, however, were God’s chosen instruments. The monolingual apostles were suddenly transformed into gifted, multilingual Galileans proclaiming the Gospel to the Jewish pilgrims from distant lands, the far fulfillment of Isaiah’s warning.
WITNESSES TO THE MIRACLE OF TONGUES
Now there were Jews living [Katoikeo] in Jerusalem, devout men, from every [Gentile] nation under heaven. (Acts 2:5)
As always, God’s timing is perfect. In painstaking observance of the Mosaic Law, thousands of Jews were converging on the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the spring feasts, including Pentecost. The present active participle of katoikeo, translated “living,” signifies their temporary residence in Jerusalem for the duration of the holy days and distinguishes these travelers from the permanent residents of the city. They had come from Asia Minor, Europe, and North Africa to fulfill the mandate for worship. Because their ancestors had been dispersed in other countries for over three hundred years, they were no longer conversant in Hebrew. Scripture describes them as “devout men” — intensely religious, meticulous keepers of the Mosaic Law, yet like Nicodemus, unsaved. (John 3:1-21)
We can easily reconstruct the events of the Day of Pentecost. The narrow streets of Jerusalem were congested with festive crowds when a violent wind took the city by surprise. Overwhelmed with curiosity and alarm, both visitors and citizens thronged to the place from which the supernatural sound had come.
And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they [Jewish pilgrims] were each one hearing them [The apostles] speak in his own [Gentile] language. [Dialektos] And they were amazed and marveled, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language [Dialektos] to which we were born?” (Acts 2:6-8)
The Jews were astonished. The foreign-born Jews had returned to the land of their ancestors fully expecting to hear only Aramaic spoken. Instead, they were amazed to hear their native, gentile languages, foreign to the Jewish people in Palestine. Certainly they never dreamed that these simple Galileans would suddenly become accomplished linguists.
The word used here for “language” is not glossa but a synonym, dialektos. Since dialektos means “language of a nation or a region,” it follows that glossa also refers to human language. (Acts 2:4) This completely excludes any notion that speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost was an angelic language or some form of ecstatic utterance. God the Holy Spirit bypassed the mentality of the apostle’s souls and controlled their vocal cords to enable them to communicate the Gospel in gentile languages familiar to the foreign-born Jews. Consider the wide variety of languages represented.
“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs — we hear them in our own tongues [Glossa] speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” (Acts 2:9-11)
The Parthians migrated from central Asia during the fifth century B.C. and came under Persian and later Macedonian rule. When Alexander the Great conquered Parthia, he established several cities and left behind his Jewish administrators. As Alexander’s empire disintegrated, the Parthians seized power. (250 B.C.) Their military strength effectively prevented the eastward expansion of Rome into India. During this period, large Jewish settlements promoted commerce in the region. These Jews spoke the ancient Parthian language. On the day of Pentecost the apostles miraculously proclaimed the Gospel in the Parthian dialect.
In the high plateaus of the Zagros Mountains in what is now western Iran, a nomadic people called the Medes had united with the Persians to master the world in the time of Cyrus the Great. (Around. 539 B.C.) After the collapse of the Persian Empire, they returned to their native highlands, taking their obscure language with them. Jews began to settle in these isolated regions during the Babylonian Captivity. By the first century AD. Ancient Median was a dead language, replaced by the language of the Persians and adopted by the Jews who were utterly surprised to hear Persian clearly voiced in the streets of Jerusalem.
The Elamites were already a warlike people in Abraham’s time. (2100 B.C.) They posed a constant threat to the Sumerians and Babylonians and struggled for dominance of the Fertile Crescent. They aggressively swept down from the southern Zagros Mountains east of the Tigris River to briefly subjugate the Babylonians in the twelfth century B.C. They moved on to dominate the Arabian Desert, but were driven back into their secluded, mountainous retreats, isolated from other cultural influences. Though subsequently controlled by Chaldea,
Media-Persia, and Parthia, this small district maintained its own ethnic characteristics and language. Here, too, Alexander the Great appointed Jewish administrators in the wake of his rapid conquest. Now the descendants of those Jews returned to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts in the Holy City. By God’s design they heard the Gospel declared in the ancient language of the Elamites.
Mesopotamia is the land of the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Over the centuries many languages were spoken in this small region: Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkaddian, Old Persian, Elamite, Greek, Syrian. When Mesopotamia came under the dominion of the Parthian Empire, Middle Persian and Aramaic were spoken. The Jews who had journeyed to Jerusalem from their adopted home in Mesopotamia heard the Gospel presented in Middle Persian. Judeans spoke excellent Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Middle East, a language quite different from Cappadocian. Located in the eastern half of modern Turkey, Cappadocia was comprised of a rugged, mountainous region. Jewish merchants began to settle there by139 B.C. drawn by the commercial opportunities of key trade routes that linked Greece with Persia. The harsh terrain left most of Cappadocia inaccessible; hence, the mysterious Cappadocian dialect was among the lesser-known tongues spoken by the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
The Roman province of Pontus, a narrow strip along the south coast of the Black Sea in what is now Turkey, had been colonized by the Greeks since the seventh century B.C. In the mountains and valleys, away from the coast, the ancient Greek dialects were still spoken. By the first century the commercial prosperity of these Greek seaports had attracted Jewish merchants. To the southwest of Pontus lay the Roman province of Asia. Since the Trojan War, this area had been dominated by Greek-speaking people. To the southeast along the Mediterranean coast, lay another Roman province, Pamphylia, comprised of five major Greek cities. Their language was a mixture of Greek and ancient Pamphylian which combined into one Greek vernacular. Mountainous Phrygia bordered Pamphylia on the north. The ancient Thracians had conquered the Phrygians and established an empire under the legendary King Midas. Antiochus III of Syria resettled Jews here in the second century B.C. These Jews heard the Gospel proclaimed on Pentecost in various Greek dialects.
Jews fled to Egypt in the sixth century B.C. to escape the Chaldean occupation of Jerusalem. Later, Alexander granted their descendants special privileges and status in Alexandria. Under the Ptolemies, much of the administrative and military leadership was provided by Jews. These privileges continued under Roman rule. By the first century A.D. their language, in transition from Middle Egyptian to Coptic, was heard proclaiming the Gospel in Jerusalem.
Cyrene, on the North African coast of Libya, was colonized by Dorian Greeks in the seventh century B.C. and by the fifth century was famous for its medical school and Platonic Academy. In the second century B.C. Ptolemy I resettled thousands of Jews in Cyrene and other cities in Libya. Inhabitants of rural Libya conversed in an antiquated dialect of North Africa, while the city dwellers spoke fluent Greek and Latin, as did the “visitors from Rome.” Some of the apostles proclaimed the Gospel in Latin to these travelers.
Besides foreign-born Jews, those native to Palestine returned to Jerusalem from other parts of Judea and Galilee. In their midst were proselytes, Gentiles who had converted to Judaism. They had come from throughout the Roman Empire for the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jewish settlement on Crete began more than two hundred years before Christ. Cretans were known to have spoken a rare and difficult form of Greek. Jews who had emigrated south to Arabia conversed in Arabic and both languages were represented on the day of Pentecost.
In all of this diversity of languages there was only one goal — to make the Gospel of Salvation through faith alone in Christ alone understood by all. Everyone present on that momentous day heard in his own native tongue how the Messiah had been crucified as a substitute for the sins of the world and raised from the dead — “the mighty deeds of God.” (Acts 2:11) If this phenomenal message had been correctly understood and believed by those who observed and heard it, they would have recognized the present danger of Isaiah’s ancient warning. But did they recognize it as such?
“WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?”
The dramatic manifestation of the gift of tongues caused considerable excitement and speculation among the observers.
And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” (Acts 2:12-13)
Although the Jews had been forewarned, they were bewildered by this spectacular phenomenon. Just as Isaiah’s generation had rejected his Message, so too this generation was negative and skeptical, even when the unmistakable sign was right before their eyes. Those foreign Jews, who understood the words of the apostles, were baffled by the sudden transformation of the unlearned Galileans; the native Judeans present, who did not understand the gentile foreign languages being spoken, assumed the apostles were drunk. All exhibited their ignorance and clamored, “What does this mean?” In his Pentecostal sermon, (Acts 1:1-40) the Apostle Peter refuted the intoxication charge (Acts 2:15) and interpreted the meaning of tongues.
1. He explained this was a pouring “forth of My [Holy] Spirit,” (Acts 2:17) a reference to the baptism of God the Holy Spirit.
2. He presented the Gospel whereby individual Jews might escape the disaster that awaited Israel in time, as well as judgment in eternity. (Acts 2:11; Acts 2:38-40)
Thus, Isaiah’s Promise of “rest” (Isa 28:12) materialized in the words of the disciples who proclaimed the power of God’s saving grace.
THE WAY OF SALVATION
Now when they heard this, [Concerning the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ] they were pierced to the heart, [Soul] and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, [Metanoeo — change your mind about Christ] and let each of you be baptized [In water as a teaching aid] in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive [Lambano] the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38)
When these Jews understood that it was the Messiah they had rejected and crucified, they reacted as if they had been stabbed in the heart. In horror they asked, “What do we do now?” Peter answered metanoeo, “Repent!” Metanoeo is not an emotional contrition, but a change of mind. Repent means “to change one’s attitude” — specifically toward Jesus Christ. Repentance immediately precedes and or is coterminous with faith in Christ. Peter was presenting the way of Salvation to these devastated Jews.
When a person changes his mind about Christ and believes in Christ, his pre-Salvation sins are forgiven (Acts 10:43) and he receives the “gift of God the Holy Spirit.” The future tense of the verb lambano indicates the gift will be received immediately upon repentance and forgiveness.
Today, anyone who believes in Christ instantly receives the baptism of God the Holy Spirit. This New Covenant ministry of God the Holy Spirit never occurred in history until the Church Age was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost.
(Acts 2:38) does not state that water baptism is part of the way of Salvation. The plural verb “repent” goes with the plural pronoun “your” in the clause “for the forgiveness of your sins” and should be translated, “repent for the forgiveness of your [Pre-Salvation] sins.” The singular verb “baptized” cannot be connected to the plural clause “forgiveness of your sins.” Therefore, “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” is parenthetical, separated from the rest of the sentence. Based on the syntax of the verse, water baptism is not a prerequisite or a requirement for forgiveness of sins, repentance, Salvation, or God the Holy Spirit baptism. Water baptism is a visual illustration depicting the baptism of God the Holy Spirit; that occurs at Salvation.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“For John baptized [Baptizo] with water, but you shall be baptized with [By the agency of God the Holy Spirit [En pneumati] not many days from now.” [Ten days after the ascension of Christ on the day of Pentecost] (Acts 1:5)
The baptism of God the Holy Spirit is a phenomenon unique to the New Covenant Age. To avoid confusion and distortion of this essential Doctrine, we must begin with the etymology of the word baptizo. The English “baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek verb baptizo meaning “to dip, to immerse.” This word was used by ancient Greek poets, dramatists, and historians to signify identification of one object with another; so that the nature or characteristic of the first object is changed. For example, in the fourth century B.C. Xenophon describes new recruits in the Spartan army dipping their spears into pig’s blood before going into battle. By identifying the spears with blood, the nature of the spear was changed from the spear of a hunter to the spear of a warrior. In the fifth century B.C. Euripides used the word to describe a sinking ship. As it sinks, the character or nature of the ship is changed. It becomes “identified” or “baptized” with the water.
Today when anyone believes in the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation, he is baptized by God the Holy Spirit and identified with Christ, retroactively as He died on the cross and currently as He is seated at the right hand of God the Father. This identification with Christ in His Spiritual death, physical death, and burial is called ‘retroactive positional Truth.’ Identification with His resurrection, ascension, and session is called ‘current positional Truth.’
Or do you not know that all of us [Every believer] who have been baptized into [Identified with] Jesus Christ have been baptized into [Identified with] His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. [The New Covenant Spiritual life] For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. [Spiritual life NOW and in eternity] Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. (Rom 6:3-6)
As unbelievers, we were enslaved to the tyranny of the sin nature from the moment of our physical birth when Adam’s original sin was imputed to our genetically formed sin nature. When we believe in Christ, “our old self,” the sin nature, “was crucified with Him” and identifies us retroactively with His work on the cross which provided our Salvation. We are currently identified as “no longer . . . slaves to sin” — the power of the sin nature that once ruled our life is broken and we are now in a position to live the unique Spiritual life. The baptism of God the Holy Spirit occurs at the moment of Salvation.
For you are all [Every believer without exception] sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you [Every believer without exception] who were baptized [Baptizo] into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Gal 3:26-27)
For by [The agency of] one Spirit [En pneumati] we were all [Every believer] baptized [Baptizo] into one body, [The Body of Christ, the Church] whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1Co 12:13)
The constative aorist tense of the verb baptizo in, (Gal 3:27) and (1Co 12:13) indicates that every Church Age believer is “baptized into Christ” at a moment in time — the moment of regeneration. The passive voice of baptizo shows that “all” Church Age believers receive the action of baptism and are united into the “one body” of Christ by this one baptism of God the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:5) at the moment of Salvation.
The baptism of God the Holy Spirit described in, (1Co 12:13) is identical with the baptism prophesied by both John the Baptist (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luk 3:16; John 1:26-34) and Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:5) The Greek in each of these passages uses the identical prepositional phrase “en pneumati” to describe the personal agency of God the Holy Spirit in performing this baptism. The King James Version, the New American Standard Version, and the New International Version inconsistently translate these Gospel passages “with” the Spirit and the First Corinthians passage “by” the Spirit causing some to erroneously conclude that the verses describe two different baptisms: one at Salvation and the other subsequent to Salvation. But since the Greek terminology is exactly the same in each of these verses, the baptism prophesied by John is the same one described by Paul and it occurs only at the instant of faith in Christ.
This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun [Enarxomai] by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal 3:2-3)
The aorist participle of enarxomai, “having begun” by the Spirit, connects the starting point of the Christian life, faith alone in Christ alone, with receiving the Holy Spirit. In the same instant that we respond to the Gospel by “faith,” the Holy Spirit gives eternal life. We are baptized by the Spirit, united with Christ, and given a permanent, eternal relationship with God. Regardless of whether the new believer was once a Jew or a Gentile, he is born again (John 3:7) and receives a renewed human spirit. (Tit 3:5-6) At that instant he is Spiritually alive to God, (Eph 2:1-5) a child of God, (John 1:12) a member of the royal family of God, and a new Spiritual species.
Therefore, if any man is in Christ he is a new creature; [New Spiritual species] the old things passed away; behold, new things [Divine Thoughts and Nature; 2Pe 1:4] have come. (2Co 5:17)
In the royal family of God the old racial, social, class, and gender distinctions characteristic of the Mosaic Law have “passed away.” No person or group can claim Spiritual superiority. Gentiles are Spiritually equal to Jews in the New Covenant Age and receive every Spiritual blessing and asset Jewish believers receive. (Gal 3:28) “In Christ” every believer has equal privilege and equal opportunity to learn Truth, pursue their Spiritual life all the way to Spiritual maturity, and glorify God through the power of God the Holy Spirit. (Eph 3:16-19)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, [Gentile] there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in [Union with] Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)
When the individual Jew believes in Jesus Christ, he is born again. Regeneration removes the curse of sin and Spiritual death. (Rom 5:12) In union with Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, his race is no longer an issue. (1Co 12:13) The same Principle applies to the Gentile who is born again. Both believing Jews and Gentiles are “one in Christ.” Thus, the unity and equality of the Body of Christ is assured through the baptism of God the Holy Spirit.
Today, the baptism of the Spirit is not a post-Salvation occurrence. All believers after Pentecost receive God the Holy Spirit at the moment of Salvation. Only in the transition period from the Age of Israel through the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union to the pre-canon, apostolic era of the Church Age, revealed by the Book of Acts, did four different groups of believers receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after Salvation.
1. The apostles and other believers in Jerusalem. (Acts 2:1-47)
2. The Samaritan believers who received the Spirit when the
Apostles Peter and John laid their hands on them. (Acts 8:14-17)
3. Cornelius, a gentile believer living in Caesarea, and those with him received the Spirit as Peter preached the Gospel of Christ. (Acts 10:1) thru (Acts 11:18)
4. Several disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus when Paul laid his hands on them. (Acts 19:1-8) The four groups who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit subsequent to Salvation were representative of four types of believers in the transition phase. The first group (Acts 2:1) was all Jewish, the apostles and those believers directly associated with them. The second group, the Samaritans, a mixed race of both Jews and Gentiles, was looked down upon by orthodox Jews. Yet they too received the Holy Spirit in the same manner as those who had been present in Jerusalem on Pentecost. (Acts 8:1) In this instance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit no known Samaritans spoke in tongues. It is significant that even in the pre-canon era; the Spiritual gift did not always manifest the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The third group represented Gentile believers only, (Acts 10:1) again showing that Gentiles, held in disdain by the Jews, also received God the Holy Spirit. These gentile believers, indwelt and filled by God the Holy Spirit were at the same time baptized — also spoke in tongues as a warning sign to the Jews who were present. Word of these events spread rapidly throughout Judea heralding the New Covenant Church age.
The fourth group, the disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus, represent Old Testament believers of the Jewish dispersion. (Acts 19:2-8) They too were identified with the events at Pentecost, receiving the baptism of God the Holy Spirit through apostolic authority. Though they had been saved as Old Testament saints, they now received the Holy Spirit. They also spoke in tongues as a sign to other Jews in their periphery and to announce the New Covenant Church Age.
In all of these instances dispersed, apostate Jews were present to hear the Gospel and to observe glossolalia as the sign of judgment. This was the far fulfillment of the Prophecy of Isaiah — the warning sign against Spiritual apostasy and the offer of God’s redemption solution.
The startling manifestations of the initial occurrence of the baptism of God the Holy Spirit and glossolalia on the day of Pentecost clearly marked the beginning of the new dispensation and introduced a gracious warning period for client nation Israel. This warning period extended over the first four decades of the early Church, so an entire generation of Jews could be alerted by hearing the Gospel in gentile languages. Still, the nation would not listen. Because they rejected the Gospel, Divine judgment was inevitable. Jerusalem would be destroyed in A.D. 70 and New Covenant Israel would be temporarily set aside until the Tribulation.
Remember, the Book of Acts records the transition to the New Covenant Church Age.
(Acts 1:1-8) takes place shortly before Christ ascended to heaven, before any believer was given with the New Covenant Spiritual life. There was no Church, no New Testament, there were no Christians, and the New Covenant Church Age was a “mystery.” (Col 1:25-27) By the time of the completion of Acts over thirty-five years had passed, Christ had ascended and was seated at the right hand of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit baptized, indwelt, and filled every believer. Miracles were rare compared to the early chapters of Acts, tens of thousands of Christians were scattered throughout the Roman Empire, and about half of the New Testament Canon was written. With the apostolic era in full swing, there was no longer a need to proclaim the already well-established Church Age. As the Roman legions closed in on Jerusalem, there would no longer be a need for glossolalia to continue announcing the fifth cycle of discipline. And was NEVER to be used as a part of the New Covenant Spiritual life! For ALL NEW COVENANT DOCTRINE [MYSTERY DOCTRINE] WAS NEVR REVEALED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES! (Eph 3:4-5) The Spiritual gift of tongues would soon cease. (1Co 13:8)
THE GIFT OF TONGUES, which Isaiah had prophesied (Isa 28:11) as a sign to the Jews, initially fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, must always be viewed from the Biblical perspective. When the gift of tongues is taken out of Biblical context, misconceptions and abuses abound. Such was the case in Corinth where tongues became an underlying cause of friction and turmoil. The fabric of unity of the city’s fledgling church was being ripped to shreds. So divisive had the controversy become that the Apostle Paul devoted three chapters in his first epistle to the Corinthians (1Co 12:1-31) thru (1Co 14:1-40 ) to clarify the purpose for the gift of tongues.
Although in the pre-canon Church speaking in tongues was a legitimate Spiritual gift, Paul corrected fallacies and prescribed regulations to prevent phony ecstatic utterance and un-interpretable gibberish. Those Corinthians who genuinely spoke in tongues verbalized a real, extant language, capable of being interpreted, that conveyed a rational meaning to the hearers.
CORINTH, CAPITAL OF COMMERCE
In the ancient world the city of Corinth epitomized worldly pleasure and religious excess. Strategically situated on an isthmus between two harbors, this Roman colony was the hub of trade between Asia and Europe. The commercial supremacy of Corinth attracted merchants and tradesmen from throughout the Roman Empire, including a thriving Jewish community.
For centuries itinerant sailors and retired soldiers brought their worship of pagan gods and goddesses along with the degenerate rites of the phallic cult to Corinth, creating a religious melting pot. As interest in the traditional gods of Greek mythology waned, the masses turned to other emotional and mystical religions to satisfy religious yearnings and gratify sensual desires. The rigorous morality of the Jews was in vivid contrast to the licentious paganism so popular in the temples of Corinth. Decadent morals made “Corinthian” synonymous to this day with brazen, unrestrained immorality.
The Apostle Paul arrived at Corinth in the autumn of A.D. 49 to proclaim the Gospel of Christianity and teach the converts the Divine Thinking necessary for Spiritual growth. Initially, he went to the Jewish synagogue bringing the good news that Jesus, the Promised Messiah, had died on the cross as a substitute for the sins of the world. When the majority of the Jews rejected his message and expelled him from the synagogue, Paul then proclaimed the Gospel to the Gentiles; “many of the Corinthians” believed. (Acts 18:8) The emerging congregation was composed mainly of Greeks reared in the midst of heathen mythology, humanistic philosophy, and wanton sexuality.
Among the pagan religions that influenced the Spiritually immature, gentile believers in Corinth (1Co 12:2) was the worship of Apollo. Several temples to Apollo were in Corinth, as well as the in famous shrine at Delphi, northwest of the city, across the bay. There the priestess — the oracle of Delphi — spoke in frenzied utterances when possessed by the, pneuma puthonos “a spirit of divination.” The pneuma puthonos is equivalent to the engastrimuthos or ventriloquist demon. Initially, the word puthon,“python,” referred to the mythological snake that guarded the oracle at Delphi. When the god Apollo killed Python, the oracle became the preeminent shrine of Apollo. Here the prophetess Pythia, named after the indwelling engastrimuthos demon who controlled her vocal cords, would utter her oracles in a ‘mysterious demonic’ language while in an ecstatic trance, and her priestess attendants would then translate.
The Dionysian cult was one of several mystery religions which appealed to the Greek’s desire for salvation and a personal religious experience. Mystery religions offered an initiation into a secret experience intended to save the soul after death. According to Aristotle the initiates “did not learn anything so much as they felt certain emotions and were put into a certain frame of mind.” In secret rites the emotions of the devotee were aroused in torchlight ceremonies by the throbbing beat of drums, erotic dancing, and the intoxicating flow of wine. At the height of the ritual, the idolater was mystically united with the pagan god, (Demon) who spoke through him in a ‘secret language.’ The Dionysian cult, one of the most degenerate of the mystery religions, flourished in a blend of pseudo-ecstatic utterances, drunken debaucheries, demonic healings and miracles — all evidence of supposedly being filled with the spirit of the god.
Another popular mystery religion, the Cybele-Attis cult, had been linked with the perversions of the Dionysian cult for several centuries before Christ. In this cult the priests would excite the emotions of the adherents with clashing cymbals, banging drums, and loud gongs cf., (1Co 13:1) until the worshipers finally collapsed in a state of irrational ecstasy, babbling in mysterious gibberish.
In Greek religion there is a series of comparable phenomena from the enthusiastic cult of the Thracian Dionysus with its [Glottes bakxeia, “languages produced by Bacchic frenzy”] to the divinatory manticism [Divination] of the Delphic Phrygia, of the Bacides, the Sybils, etc. . . . The unintelligible lists of magical names and letters in the magic papyri, (Voces mysticae) which are used in the invoking and conjuring of gods and spirits, may also be analogous to this obscure and meaningless speaking with tongues. With these mystical demonic names etc., in which there are echoes of all the various oriental languages, we may certainly couple the view that they derive from suprasegmentally tongues used by the gods and spirits in heaven, each class having its peculiar [Phone “sound, speech”] or [Dialektos, “dialect, language”].
Though some of the languages used in the mystery religions were produced by an engastrimuthos demon, the rest were simply the out pouring of emotional frenzy. Devotees of the mystery cults believed that speaking in ecstatic utterances and emotional excitement were proof of a special relationship with the gods. When they spoke in ‘secret languages,’ the so-called benefit was solely personal, since no one else could understand these “obscure and meaningless” orations. They believed these utterances enabled them to receive communication directly from their god in order to experience what they believed was a more meaningful Spirituality. All their experience was evaluated by their emotions.
These mystery religions promoted a satanic counterfeit of the miracles of the early Church. When a new believer, who had converted from these mystery religions, brought the corrupt thinking of his pagan past into his new Christian life, he would continue to associate emotional stimulation and impressive miracles with the Spiritual life. Therefore, it is easy to understand how the carnal Corinthian believers, by superimposing the same pagan, mystical concepts on the legitimate, first-century Spiritual gift of tongues, disrupted and confused the local congregation.
CONFUSION IN THE CHURCH
The fact that the Corinthians were saved in no way means they were advancing in the Spiritual life. When Paul penned this epistle, the church in Corinth was the most confused and carnal congregation of the pre-canon, apostolic era, operating on subjective, human viewpoint rather than objective, Divine Viewpoint from the Word of Truth. (1Co 2:11-14; (1Co 3:1-3) There was little if anything of Spiritual value to commend them. Their list of sins was long and appalling: pride, envy, jealousy, childishness, pettiness, gossip, maligning, adultery, incest, and drunkenness. As a result, the congregation fragmented according to the individual trends of their sin natures. Those who followed the trend toward legalism and asceticism were self-righteous concerning marriage, divorce, sexuality and remaining single. (1Co 7:1-40) They created discord over eating meat sacrificed to idols (1Co 8:1-13) and accused Paul of carnality; when he as the leader apostle did not take money for the Gospel or get married and kept working to pay his way and helped pay for the people who were with him. (1Co 9:1-19) cf. (Acts 20:32-35) Those who followed their trend toward antinomianism returned to the licentious lifestyle of Greek religion. They practiced incest, (1Co 5:1) fornication, (1Co 6:13-18) and participated in the phallic cult; (1Co 6:15) they even exploited the Lord’s table as an excuse for gluttony and drunkenness. (1Co 11:20-21)
Paul harshly rebuked the Corinthians for their competition over water baptism; (1Co 1:11-17) their rejection of both Divine Thoughts and those who communicated them; (1Co 3:18-22) their arrogance in many areas, (1Co 4:6; (1Co 4:18-19; (1Co 5:2; (1Co 8:1) including dragging fellow believers before unbeliever magistrates to resolve disputes; (1Co 6:1-8) and for lack of proper respect for authority by contentious men and women. (1Co 11:2-16) Positionally the Corinthians were new creatures in Christ, (2Co 5:17) but experientially they were still the same old sinners clinging to vestiges of heathen mysteries, refusing to rebound and “be filled with God the Holy Spirit.” Until they rebounded and their false human and satanic thinking was renovated by Divine Thinking, (Rom 12:2) they would remain in carnality and confusion.
The Apostle Paul corrected their misconception of Spirituality in, First Corinthians 3. He explained that Spirituality is the absolute status of the believer’s soul when under the control of the Holy Spirit. (Eph 5:18) When the believer sins, he grieves and or quenches the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30; (1Th 5:19) and temporarily loses the filling of the Spirit. Through rebound, acknowledging of known sins and or being out of fellowship to God the Father (1Jn 1:9) the believer is purified from all wrongdoing, recovers the filling of God the Holy Spirit, is restored to fellowship with God, and can resume his Spiritual life The Corinthians failed to use rebound, so Paul described them as “men of flesh” and “babes in Christ” — carnal and immature believers. (1Co 3:1)
Yet by the grace of God, this church abounded in Spiritual gifts. (1Co 1:7) But because of abuse, these gifts became a curse instead of a blessing. The immature and carnal Corinthians overrated the sensational gifts and underrated the less sensational gifts. They used Spiritual gifts to abuse authority over one another. They spoke in tongues for personal gratification. They elevated glossolalia over edifying sermons. They arrogantly promoted glossolalia as a sign of a superior false Spiritual life, so that worship services had deteriorated into a rowdy confusing search for happiness, and resulted in immoral degeneracy. Their attitudes and actions had more in common with the heathen mystery religions than the mystery Spiritual Thinking of the New Covenant Church Age.
EDIFICATION NOT TONGUES
Obviously, the glossolalia practiced by the immature and carnal Corinthians was not advancing their devotion to the Lord. However, the gift of Prophecy — the declaration of Divine will and Thoughts before the canon of the New Testament was completed, benefitted edification — the building of Truth in the soul for the Spiritual growth of all believers. (1Co 14:12) Paul corrected the Corinthians’ misuse of the gift of tongues for personal edification by pointing out that all Spiritual gifts are bestowed for the purpose of edifying the Body of Christ, not for individual benefit or recognition. (1Co 14:4)
But to each one is given the manifestation [Gift] of the Spirit for the common good. (1Co 12:7)
The Greek noun, charisma which signifies Spiritual gifts, is based on the word, charis “grace.” All Spiritual gifts are a matter of grace. They are a God-given talent, ability, or aptitude sovereignly bestowed on every believer in the New Covenant Age by God the Holy Spirit, at the moment of Salvation to enable the believer to perform a particular service in the Body of Christ. (1Co 12:4-7; Heb 2:4) The gifts become operational as a result of Spiritual growth, determined by being filled with God the Holy Spirit and by rebound, reception, retention, recall, resisting of sin and repeating! Spiritual gifts are never the cause for Spiritual growth, they are the result. They are associated with Spiritual momentum and have their greatest impact in Spiritual maturity. Every gift guarantees a position on the Spiritual team for service in the Body of Christ.
But One and the Same Spirit works all these things, [Spiritual gifts] distributing to each one [Believer] individually just as He wills. [Boulomai] (1Co 12:11)
The choice of the verb boulomai, “to will,” indicates careful and intelligent planning and means that God the Holy Spirit knows precisely what He is doing when selecting the recipients of His grace gifts. Each gift is distributed where it will serve the greatest benefit to the entire Body of Christ. All are equally necessary for the effective operation of the Body of Christ — a principle that is so well depicted in the harmonious relationship of the many intricate parts of the human body. The body is a unity but it has many components.
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is [The Body of] Christ. (1Co 12:12)
How and where God decides to use each Christian is a matter of Divine prerogative. Therefore, the sovereign distribution of Spiritual gifts is never an indicator of either Spiritual inferiority or superiority. Yet the Corinthian church did exactly that!
SPIRITUAL INFERIORITY VERSUS SPIRITUAL SUPERIORITY
With stinging words Paul instructed and admonished the Corinthians for their one-sided emphasis on certain Spiritual gifts. To demonstrate the absurdity of exaggerating the importance of glossolalia, Paul continued his analogy from human anatomy.
If the foot should say, “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 should say, “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. (1Co 1:1-16)
The hand is much more visible than the foot. The eye is more noticeable than the ear. While some Spiritual gifts are highly visible and others invisible, every Spiritual gift is critical to the function of the Body of Christ. The sum of the parts equals the whole. The foot represents a believer who had developed an inferiority complex because he was not given the conspicuous gift of tongues as was Brother Hand. Brother Ear also felt inferior to Brother Eye who had the gift of miracles. Brothers Ear and Foot each possessed a behind-the-scenes gift, perhaps the gift of helps or administration.
Flaunting their miraculous gifts, Brothers Hand and Eye were arrogantly proud of their God-given abilities. Apparently, Brothers Hand and Eye confronted Brothers Foot and Ear and smugly asserted, “Unless you two can speak in tongues or perform miracles like we can, you are not Spiritual; you will never make it in the Christian life!” Believing that possession of miraculous gifts indicated a closer relationship with God, Brothers Ear and Foot felt Spiritually inadequate and Brothers Hand and Eye felt Spiritually superior. All were wrong!
Brothers Foot and Hand, Ear and Eye all suffered from the same malady — arrogance and ignorance of Divine Thinking — the Word of Truth. Neither Brother Hand nor Brother Eye was superior because they felt superior. They had distorted their gifts out of context with the Word of God. Only knowledge of Truth could correct their false assumptions. The possession of a Spiritual gift does not determine the Spirituality of a believer nor does it make him better than others.
Even if Brother Foot attempted to become a hand or Brother Ear tried to become an eye through imitating a sensational gift, the foot would remain a foot, the other, an ear. Why is that true? Because believers receive permanently whatever gift the Holy Spirit sovereignly bestows upon them. No human effort can effect a change; the gifts of God the Holy Spirit are irreversible. (Rom 11:29)
To capture the attention of these stubborn Corinthians, Paul used another anatomical analogy to underscore the necessity of all Spiritual gifts.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? (1Co 12:17)
While the eye is a valuable member of the human body, it is only one part of the whole. The analogy is obvious: Tongues was a valuable gift in the pre-canon era of the Church Age, but the Body of Christ could not exist with only one gift. Each believer and his Spiritual gift is part of the team that represents Christ on earth. (1Co 12:25-27) As on any team, there is authority and priority. To follow Paul’s anatomical illustration, the brain has a functional importance over the hand, but both are integral to the working of the body. The most visible gifts are not necessarily the most important. In fact, when the foundational Spiritual gifts are listed according to their importance for edification to the entire Church, the last one named is tongues.
And God [The Holy Spirit] has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. [Languages] (1Co 12:28)
The foremost Spiritual gift in the pre-canon Church was the gift of apostleship. The Greek apostolos described someone sent on a particular mission with the full delegated authority required to fulfill that responsibility.
The New Testament reveals two categories of apostles. The technical use of apostolos referred to the Spiritual gift of apostleship, bestowed only on the original eleven disciples and later, Paul, who replaced Judas Iscariot. Apostleship was a temporary gift that carried the highest authority in the pre-canon Church. The twelve apostles provided leadership for the Church, declared Divine will by Communicating the mystery Doctrine of the New Covenant Church Age, recorded the New Testament in Writing, founded the Church in the first century, established local churches and local church policy, and trained pastor-teachers.
The apostles’ credentials were established through the sensational Spiritual gifts they possessed, including tongues, miracles, and healing. These gifts validated and confirmed their Divinely appointed authority and were necessary to gain a hearing for their message. (Acts 2:43; Acts 4:33; Acts 5:12; cf., 2Co 12:12) Qualifications for the Spiritual gift of apostleship included being directly commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ and being an eyewitness to His resurrection. (John 15:27; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:22; Acts 10:41) These standards obviously exclude this gift in any subsequent generation.
A more general use of apostolos described men with the office of apostle, who were commissioned by a local church or sent out under the authority of a man with the Spiritual gift of apostleship to establish local churches. Barnabas, (Acts 14:14) James, (Gal 1:19) Andronicus, Junius, (Rom 16:7) and Titus (2Co 8:23) were among this group called “apostles” because they were sent out as pioneer missionaries by local churches. These men were not commissioned by our Lord and did not possess the same authority or the Spiritual gift of apostleship.
The second most valuable gift in the early Church and closely related to apostleship was the temporary gift of Prophecy. Unlike his Old Testament predecessor, the New Testament prophet was not a national Spiritual leader. He functioned only within the realm of the pre-canon Church age as a communicator of God’s direct Instructions, including aspects of the mystery New Covenant Truth, (Eph 3:5) Divine Guidance regarding current events, Warnings of Divine judgment, and Predictions about the immediate future. (Acts 11:27-28; Acts 13:32; Acts 21:10-11) In, Acts 11, the prophet Agabus predicted the famine and depression to come. In, Acts 21 he warned Paul not to go back to Jerusalem.
In the exercise of this gift, the prophet received his Message directly from God, then either Verbally or in Writing communicated the Infallible Word of God. However, their Prophecies did not always become part of the canon of Scripture. Prophets were subordinate to the apostles (1Co 14:37) and their function was restricted to that of spokesperson for God, similar in this respect to Old Testament prophets.
As recipients of communication gifts, the apostles and prophets are declared to be foundational for the Church.
Having been built upon the foundation of the [Spiritual Thinking of] apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone. (Eph 2:20-22) cf. (1Co 3:10-20)
In this analogy the royal family of God, the New Covenant believer, is compared to a building. The “corner stone” is Jesus Christ; the Temple in the soul” is made up of the first-century Spiritual Thinking of apostles and prophets. (Eph 3:5-10) The laying of the cornerstone, representing the saving work of Christ on the cross. (Rom 6:10; Heb 7:27; (1Pe 3:18) In the same way, the laying of the foundation was a once and for all event. When the current dispensation began, no Revelation had been recorded in writing to instruct believers in the unique Spiritual life of the New Covenant Age. These mystery Divine Thoughts were revealed through the apostles and prophets. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, [“Inspiration” is the translation of the Greek word, Theopneustos which literally means “God-breathed.” (2Ti 3:16; (2Pe 1:20-21) God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that without waiving their intelligence, vocabulary, individuality, literary style, personality, personal feelings, or any other human factor, recorded God’s complete and coherent Message to mankind with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture] and all the information necessary to understand the Spiritual life of the New Covenant Age was recorded in the New Testament for all time. Once the mystery Doctrines, (The New Covenant Spiritual Thoughts for the New Covenant Spiritual life) were revealed, written, and disseminated, they were no longer a mystery and did not need to be revealed again! Hence, the need for the gifts of apostleship and prophecy ceased. When the New Testament canon of Scripture was closed with the Book of Revelation, the Church’s foundation was complete. (1Co 13:10) Because this foundation is laid only once, the Spiritual gift of apostleship will never function again.
The third temporary gift named is teacher. This was a gift of knowledge. The teacher communicated what had been revealed to him of the mystery Truth. He preached expository sermons about Doctrine to the Church before the completed canon was available in writing.
With the cessation of the temporary, foundational gifts of apostle, prophet, and teacher, the permanent gift of pastor-teacher continues for the faithful Instruction and training of the Body of Christ. (Eph 4:11-13) Although the Word of God holds absolute dominion over the believer, the pastor-teacher is responsible for communicating from a completed canon, the specifics of The Word of Truth for Spiritual growth. To be effective, teaching must always include authority — the authority vested by God in the Spiritual gift.
Of lower priority were the temporary gifts: miracles, healings, tongues, and the gift of interpretation. (1Co 12:10) All of these gifts became extinct as the apostles disappeared from the scene. For example, the Apostle Paul possessed the gift of healing to such an extent that he could heal the lame and ill when they simply touched handkerchiefs or aprons he had previously worn. (Acts 19:12) Yet just a few years later, he could no longer heal even his close friend Epaphroditus who nearly died from an illness and Trophimus he also left sick at Miletus. (Php 2:27; (2Ti 4:20) With the establishment and spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, the groundbreaking necessity for these miraculous gifts no longer existed. Once the Book of Revelation was finished in A.D. 96, all of these gifts became obsolete. Only the communication gifts of pastor-teacher and evangelist, and other service gifts such as administration, mercy, helps, hospitality remain as essential to the function of the post canon New Covenant Church Age and indispensable to the Body of Christ.
But earnestly desire [Zeloo] the greater gifts. (1Co 12:31)
The verb zeloo, from which we derive the English word “zealous,” means “to be ardently devoted to” or “to earnestly desire.” It is stated in the second person plural and, therefore, addressed to the entire assembly of Corinthian believers. The congregation should “earnestly desire” men with communication gifts so they can learn Truth and grow Spiritually. The imperative mood conveys a command which, if obeyed, will rectify the failure to advance Spiritually and resolve the
schism within the Corinthian church.
In effect Paul was saying, “Whenever you Corinthian Christians assemble, you should always desire that the “greater” Spiritual gifts be used among you. The highest gifts which benefitted all in assembly worship were the communication gifts of apostle, prophet, and teacher; the least beneficial gift was tongues.” Since tongues were last on the list of gifts, the Corinthians were not to covet or glorify the possession of it. Instead of longing for spectacular exhibitions and or emotional stimulation, they must desire to learn sound Divine Thinking and Think with Divine Viewpoint which is critical to the Spiritual life.
A SYSTEM OF THINKING
The Spiritual life was designed by God as a system of Spiritual Thinking recalled from the mentality of the soul and applied to the circumstances of life. (2Pe 1:10)Edification and advancing in the Spiritual life demands Spiritual Thought, not emotion. Emotion cannot learn, analyze, solve problems, or produce Spiritual growth. Yet many believers would rather rely on emotion than invest the time and energy in the concentration and self-discipline required to Think Divine Viewpoint.
When emotion dominates thought, subjectivity, irrationality, self-absorption, and sin control your life. When your mentality is governed by knowledge from Bible Truth, you can Spiritual Think objectively, no longer preoccupied with yourself. The greater the reservoir of Truth in your soul, the greater the opportunity for application of Truth in your life. Scripture repeatedly underscores this Principle:
For as he thinks within himself; [In his soul] so he is... (Prov 23:7)
Set your mind [Phroneo — keep Spiritually Thinking ] on the things above, [God's Thoughts and ONE REALITY] not on the things [Human false realities] that are on earth. (Col 3:2)
And that you be renewed in the spirit [Spiritual Thinking] of your mind. (Eph 4:23)
Have this attitude [Phroneo, Spiritual Thinking] in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. (Php 2:5) cf. (John 3:11-12; John 12:49)
What enables you to have Divine Thinking like Jesus Christ? The knowledge of the Word of Truth called the “Mind” of Christ! (1Co 2:16) Though you may respond with intense emotion to Truth, those feelings must never be construed as Spirituality or Spiritual growth. When you attempt to live the Spiritual life controlled by feelings, you ride a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows that negate stability from Truth. What God says, not how you feel, is the only criterion for the Spiritual life. The Word of God must be more Real to you than any emotion, circumstance, thing, person, problem, or experience. Only by learning Truth and replacing your human thinking with God's Thinking can you know God, utilize His power, advance in the Spiritual life, reach Spiritual maturity, and glorify Him. How is this accomplished? BY MAKEING GOD'S WORD OUR THINKING!
And do not be conformed to this World ['s,] [Way of thinking] but be transformed by the renewing [New Spiritual Thinking] of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2)
Understanding the will of God necessitates renovating the CONTENT and process of your mind. You exchange human viewpoint for Divine Viewpoint.
At the moment of regeneration, God the Holy Spirit creates and imparts a human spirit (1Co 2:11-12) to the Spiritually dead person and imputes eternal life to that human spirit, making him Spiritually alive. Simultaneously this new believer is filled with the Holy Spirit. (Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16) The human spirit provides the capability to understand, assimilate, and categorize pneumatikos in the Greek of, (1Co 2:13) “Spiritual Thinking” or Doctrinal Information; the filling of God the Holy Spirit, maintained through the rebound recovery procedure, empowers Operation Z.
When the pastor-teacher communicates Truth, God the Holy Spirit, as your Mentor and Teacher, makes this Truth understandable to your human spirit. (John 16:13)
“But the Helper, [Mentor] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all [The Divine Thoughts] that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
The [Holy] Spirit Himself bears witness with [Communicates to] our [Human] spirit that we are children of God. (Rom 8:16)
Pneumatikos is automatically transferred from your human spirit by God the Holy Spirit as objective comprehension of Truth to the left (Perceptive) lobe of your soul, called nous. The left lobe, the staging area of the soul, stores the academic knowledge called gnosis in the Greek of, (Eph 3:19). As long as gnosis remains in the staging area, it does not contribute to your Spiritual growth and cannot be applied to your experience.
When you exercise faith-perception —when you believe the Truth you have learned — the Holy Spirit transfers academic knowledge from the left lobe of your soul into the right lobe, designated by the Greek word, kardia translated “heart.” (Rom 10:9-10) This converts academic knowledge in the left lobe into Spiritual knowledge epignosis in the right lobe. This process is called Spiritual metabolism. Only epignosis, (Spiritual Thinking) has value for Spiritual growth, for recall and application to the circumstances of your life. (Col 1:9-10; (2Pe 1:8)
As epignosis accumulates in the right lobe of the mentality of the soul you grow “in [By means of] the grace [Virtue] and knowledge [Truth] of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Pe 3:18) This is the process of edification which strengthens your soul and glorifies God. (Eph 3:19) You cannot have “Spiritual Thinking” without the mechanics of Operation Z and you cannot have Operation Z and Spiritual growth without God the Holy Spirit empowering the rational use of the mind in reception, retention, recall, resisting of sin repetition and application of Truth. From this we see the crucial role Spiritual Thinking plays in the advance to Spiritual maturity.
A SUPERIOR WAY
...And I show you a still more excellent [Superior] way. [Of life] (1Co 12:31)
The superior way of life is Spiritual maturity exemplified by love. (1Co 13:1-8) Paul states: “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” [Virtue-love-Spiritual maturity] (1Co 13:13) However, before we can understand why Paul in First Corinthians 13 concludes that love is superior to the Spiritual gift of tongues, we must first understand the kind of love to which he refers.
WHAT IS LOVE?
God IS love (1Jn 4:16) Love is intrinsic to His nature and is the demonstration to man of the absolute Virtue and benevolence of His Thinking. God’s love extends to mankind in two ways. He loves an imperfect, sinful object, unregenerate mankind, with Impersonal love. This love is based on the perfect and Absolute Attributes of God, rather than the failings of man.
But God demonstrates His [Impersonal] love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died [as a substitute] for us. (Rom 5:8)
The moment a person believes in Christ for Salvation, God imputes to that person His very own perfect righteousness. (Rom 4:3) Based on the imputation of Divine righteousness, God’s Personal love now flows abundantly to the believer.
And we have come to know and have believed the [Personal] love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love [Stays in fellowship] abides in God, and God abides in him. (1Jn 4:16)
Divine Personal love emphasizes the object, the person loved; Divine Impersonal love emphasizes the subject, the person who loves. Divine Personal love emphasizes God’s righteousness in the believer; Divine Impersonal love emphasizes the absolute and perfect Virtue of God. The believer, through the unique Spiritual life, follows the pattern of Divine love by developing Personal love for God and Impersonal love for all mankind (Matt 22:37-40; Eph 5:1)
To love God, you must first know God. Love IS Spiritual Thinking, not emoting. Knowledge of God comes only from metabolized Truth. Your Personal love for God develops as you increase in epignosis knowledge from metabolized Truth in the right lobe of your soul. Only then can you respond with the motivational Virtue of Personal love for God: respect, admiration, and reverence for who He IS and what He has done for you. (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37-38; (1Pe 1:8) Motivated by Personal love for God, you acquire the capacity to imitate Christ (1Co 11:1) with the functional Virtue of Impersonal love toward all mankind. (Col 3:12-14)
Jesus Christ confirmed this sequence when He answered a scribe’s question, “What Commandment is the foremost of all?” (Mark 12:28) His answer, “You shall love [Personal love] the Lord your God with all your heart.” (Mark 12:30) Then Jesus named the second most important Commandment, “You shall love [Impersonal love] your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) The combination of Personal love for God and Impersonal love for all mankind is called Virtue-love, the highest motivation of the Spiritual life.
And this I pray, that your love [Virtue-love] may abound still more and more in [By means of] real knowledge [Epignosis] and all discernment. [Divine Viewpoint] (Php 1:9)
Every believer is Mandated to emulate God’s Impersonal love toward all mankind. (1Jn 4:7) This functional Virtue of Impersonal love is a non-emotional unconditional regard for the entire human race. It is rational, dependent on epignosis knowledge and Thinking Divine Viewpoint for its operation. Impersonal love is not based on personal knowledge, appeal, or merit in the object, but on the Virtue and Spiritual maturity of the subject.
In the Church Age the utilization of Impersonal love is called “fulfilling the royal law” because the Mandate is directed to the royal family of God. The unique Spiritual life of the New Covenant Age endows every believer with the capability to fulfill the royal law.
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL [Have Impersonal] LOVE [For] YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. (Jas 2:8; cf., Lev 19:18; Rom 13:8; Gal 5:14)
Unfortunately many believers do not understand how to fulfill the royal law. They wrongly assume fulfillment demands human personal love for all mankind. But human personal love is conditional, based upon the appeal or merit of the person loved and is not capable of loving the unlovely, repulsive, unattractive and or obnoxious people in the believer’s periphery. Attempts to comply with the Command to love our neighbor as ourselves; with human personal love, will result in frustration, hypocrisy, and superficial emotionalism.
Since it is impossible to personally love more than a few, all the Scriptural Mandates to “love your neighbor” refer to Divine Impersonal love. The characteristics of Impersonal love (Luk 6:27-38; Rom 12:14-21) summarized by the Apostle in First Corinthians 13, reveal its Virtue and stability, the antithesis of the attitude exhibited by the Corinthian church.
Love [Virtue-love] is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, [It is not selfish] is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the Truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails... (1Co 13:4-7)
Virtue-love, defined in this passage, is motivated by Personal love for God and executed by Impersonal love for all mankind. When Personal love for God and Impersonal love for others unite as Virtue-love, the believer will not be encumbered by cruel intolerance, smoldering anger, judging, hatred, or other mental attitude sin, and will not be distracted by the stress and pressure of adversity or prosperity. He will obey and imitate the Lord by enduring insults and antagonism with humility, compassion, kindness, and patience. (Col 3:12-14; (1Pe 3:8-9) Only with Virtue-love can Spiritual gifts be used to their utmost capacity in Christian service to provide edification for the Body of Christ — “Knowledge [Gnosis] makes arrogant, but love. [Virtue-love] edifies” (1Co 8:1)
Without the power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit, without fellowship with God, and without Spiritual growth the carnal Corinthians had no capability or capacity for Personal love toward Him. (1Co 13:1-2) Consequently, they did not have Impersonal love toward each other. Christian service and “morality etc.,” without Spiritual Thinking — Virtue-love is called “wood, hay, straw” and will count for nothing and will be burned up at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (1Co 3:12-15) Only Spiritual growth, not Spiritual gifts, develops Virtue-love.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS WITHOUT VIRTUE-LOVE
The thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians is parenthetical — interrupting the discourse on Spiritual gifts and their edifying of the Church in chapters 12 and 14 — to demonstrate that Virtue-love is far superior to an emotional infatuation with the Spiritual gifts of glossolalia, Prophecy, and knowledge. In the first three verses of the passage the Apostle Paul uses hyperbolic hypotheses to establish his first Principle concerning the Spiritual gift of tongues.
If I speak with the tongues [Languages] of men and of angels, but do not have [Virtue] love, [Agape] I have become a noisy gong [Chalkos] or a clanging cymbal. [kumbalon] (1Co 13:1)
The third class condition “if” at the beginning of this verse announces a hypothetical situation. In effect Paul is saying, “Even if I spoke in the language of men and angels, but I do not have Virtue-love, I would be making noise without meaning.” By using this hyperbolic hypothesis, Paul stresses the importance of correct motivation in the Spiritual life from Virtue-love. Even if a believer in the pre-canon period possessed and utilized the Spiritual gift of tongues; without Virtue-love, the exercise of the gift is nothing more than an ostentatious clamor.
Paul then cites two examples of irritating noisemakers in the ancient world. The chalkos consisted of two pieces of metal — and alloy of copper and tin — used by peddlers to attract attention to their wares. This “noisy gong” exemplified the tactics of the carnal Corinthians seeking to gain the approbation of others by speaking in tongues. Their emphasis was on self rather than on Truth.
The kumbalon was a hollow brass instrument that magnified a shrill sound, generally used at festivals or ritual observances. The “clanging cymbal” exemplified the ecstatic’s of the mystery cults and emphasized emotion rather than the content of Truth. These noise makers are a fitting description of the believer who exalts himself and misuses his gifts. Like the sound of a clashing cymbal that fades away, the abuse of tongues may attract attention for a moment but then quickly vanishes with no Spiritual advantage to anyone.
And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, [Virtue-love] I am nothing. [Outhen] (1Co 13:2)
Again, the third class condition “if’ at the beginning of this verse sets up another hypothetical situation. Paul’s new supposition further de-emphasizes the significance of temporary Spiritual gifts in the pre-canon era. In effect he is saying “Even if I possess the sensational gifts of Prophecy, knowledge, and faith, I have nothing without virtue-love.”
The presence of the revelatory gifts of Prophecy and knowledge, which communicated new Truths from God, must have been quite impressive to the pre-canon church. How easy it would have been for those who “know all mysteries” and who had the “faith... to remove mountains” to succumb to an attitude of exalted self-importance. However, Virtue-love protects the believer from being impressed with the spectacular. The Spiritual life does not depend on sensational gifts, but on the power of Virtue-love. (John 4:22-24) So essential is this power that the believer who fails to use it becomes outhen, “utterly insignificant” in the Spiritual life. Only a person occupied with Virtue-love and filled with God the Holy Spirit could minister with these gifts, including tongues, without destroying himself with pride.
THE ABOLISHMENT OF
TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Paul then contrasts the permanent value of Virtue-love with the temporary value of sensational Spiritual gifts.
Love [Virtue-love] never [Oudepote] fails; [Pipto] but if there are gifts of Prophecy, they will be done away; [Katargeo, passive voice] if there are tongues, they will cease; [Pauo, middle voice] if there is knowledge, it will be done away. [Katargeo, passive voice] (1Co 13:8)
He begins verse 8 by connecting the temporal adverb oudepote, “never, not at any time,” with the present active indicative of the verb pipto, “to fade out, become invalid, to cease.” In this context pipto is equivalent in meaning to the two subsequent verbs in the verse — katargeo and pauo. Therefore, oudepote pipto means that Virtue-love never ceases, while katargeo and pauo affirm that Prophecy, tongues, and knowledge do cease. Virtue-love is permanent; miraculous Spiritual gifts were temporary.
“Tongues” with its verb pauo is not used again after verse 8, while Prophecy and knowledge with their verb katargeo appear again in First Corinthians 13:9ff. Why? Paul was differentiating between the gift of tongues, and the gifts of Prophecy and knowledge. Prophecy and knowledge had a different purpose than tongues and would cease at a different time.
The termination of tongues is denoted by pauo, which is in a different voice than katargeo, the abolishment of prophecy and knowledge. In the indirect or dynamic middle the verb pauo means “to cease on its own,” or to “terminate” on its own without an intervening agent. Tongues would be phased out when it was no longer necessary to warn the Jews of impending judgment and to herald the dawn of the Church Age. The Spiritual gift of tongues began in A.D. 30, but its era had passed by the time the Roman legions under Titus destroyed Jerusalem in August, A.D. 70.
Katargeo in the passive voice signifies that something, an intervening agent, would act upon the gifts of Prophecy and knowledge to render them inoperative in the future. That agent, found in, (1Co 13:10) is “the perfect.” Therefore, the gift of Prophecy and knowledge, in contrast to tongues, would cease “when the perfect comes.”
The future tense of katargeo and pauo indicates that the cessation of tongues, Prophecy, and knowledge had not yet occurred when Paul wrote in ca. A.D. 56. Remember, these miraculous gifts of tongues, Prophecy, and knowledge was foundational for the Church. After the resurrection and ascension of Christ, the death of the Apostle John, and the entire canon of Scripture was reduced to writing, the foundation was complete. Any further attempts to add to or take away from Scripture were prohibited. (Rev 22:18-19) In the post-canon era of the Church miraculous gifts were no longer necessary to reveal Truth.
For we know [Ginosko] in part, [Ek merous] and we prophesy in part. [Ek merous] (1Co 13:9)
The Spiritual gifts of knowledge and Prophecy only provided revelation ek merous, “in part.” The retroactive progressive present tense of ginosko denotes a developing knowledge that started in the past with the beginning of the Church Age, and continued up to the time of Paul’s writing. (A.D. 56) When First Corinthians was penned, just four New Testament books existed. Therefore, only partial revelation of mystery Truth pertaining to the unique Spiritual life of the New Covenant Church Age was available in writing to the believer. Revelatory gifts were still required to provide never-before-revealed Truth to the sprouting young Church.
But when the perfect [Teleion] comes, the partial [Ek merous] will be done away. [Katargeo] (1Co 13:10)
Verse 10 specifies that these “partial” gifts (Ek merous) of Prophecy and knowledge “will be done away” (Passive voice of katargeo, repeated from; 1Co 13:8) “when the perfect (Teleion) comes.” Therefore, the critical question is, “What then is the nature of the perfect that terminates these gifts?” If, the perfect is either the Second Coming of Christ, the Millennium, or the perfection of heaven, then Prophecy and knowledge would still be operative for the entire Church Age. But does teleion refer to any of these future events?
This substantive, an adjective used as a noun equivalent, has several meanings: “perfect, completed, mature.” “Perfect” has a qualitative connotation describing something that lacks any flaw, an idyllic or utopian state; “mature” or “completed” carries a quantitative meaning, describing the conclusion of a process, a whole instead of a part.
If the qualitative meaning, “perfect,” is assigned to teleion, then it would refer to the ideal condition that will exist following the Second Advent of Christ. This would mean that partial knowledge communicated by Prophecy and Scripture would continue throughout the Church Age and be replaced by ‘perfect’ knowledge when the believer is face-to-face with Christ in the Millennium or in heaven. Though it was common for Greek philosophers to use teleios in a qualitative way to refer to a perfect man or ideal state, this meaning is foreign to Scripture.
In contrast, the use of teleion and its cognates in the New Testament refer to the quantitative meaning, completed or mature. (1Co 2:6; (1Co 14:20; Eph 4:13; Heb 5:14; Jas 1:4) Since the immediate context of, (1Co 13:9) focuses on the partial or incomplete nature of revelation through Prophecy and knowledge, teleion in, (1Co 13:10) must also be understood in the quantitative sense of God’s completed” Revelation of Truth. Since teleion is in the neuter gender, it cannot refer to the coming of the person of Christ, a masculine noun. Therefore, both context and grammar eliminate the qualitative meaning of “perfect” — the return of Christ, the Millennium, or heaven — as a possible interpretation for teleion. This word refers to the complete Revelation of the Canon of Scripture. Once the whole Canon was in writing, the gifts of Prophecy and knowledge that had gradually revealed portions of mystery Truth would be terminated.
(1Co 13:11-12) are illustrations of the partial and the complete related to “when the perfect comes” in verse 10.
When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; [The partial] when I became a man, [The complete] I did away with childish things. (1Co 13:11)
In this analogy the “child” represents the pre-canon era because of the partial knowledge then available to the infant church. Just as a child cannot speak, think, or reason as a mature adult, so the pre-canon church did not yet have the entire realm of Truth in writing. The sensational gifts were an interim state of affairs, in order that the generations of the pre-canon church could understand some of the Doctrines not then reduced to writing and execute the unique Spiritual life. Now, in the post-canon church, with access to all the mystery Doctrines in the completed canon, the “childish things,” prophecy and knowledge, are discontinued.
The second illustration also describes the partial nature of pre-canon Prophecy.
For now [Arti, in the pre-canon period] we see in a mirror dimly [The partial] but then face to face; [The complete] now [Arti] I know in part, [Partial] but then I shall know fully [Epignosis, the complete] just as I also have been fully known. (1Co 13:12)
“Now” is arti in the Greek, an adverb of time that refers to the immediate present of the Apostle Paul at the time of writing — the pre-canon Church Age. Therefore, in this verse the “now” corresponds to the pre-canon, “know in part,” (1Co 13:9) in contrast to the post-canon “when the perfect comes.” (1Co 13:10) When Paul wrote, Christians were totally dependent on the apostles’ and prophets’ Revelatory gifts for learning Truth to live the unique Spiritual life of the Church Age. But he saw a time in the future when believers would have the entire realm of New Covenant Doctrine to objectively know themselves as never before and become Spiritually self-sustaining.
Paul uses a mirror analogy to illustrate this Principle. In a mirror a person looks at the reflection of himself. The believer who looks into “a mirror dimly,” the incomplete Canon, (And the incomplete Spiritual life) cannot see himself clearly. But the believer who gazes “face to face” into an unclouded mirror, from the complete Revelation of Church Age Truth, is able to see and evaluate himself “fully” in relation to the Absolute Standard of God’s Word. The unclouded mirror is reflected in the believer’s soul when Truth is metabolized into Spiritual Thinking; and he has a clear image of himself as he truly is in the light God's Word. (Prov 27:19; (2Co 3:18) With this objectivity he establishes new priorities, renovates his scale of values, and gives top priority to the daily perception of the Word of Truth. He subsequently reaches Spiritual maturity. Therefore, when Paul says, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully,” he is referring to partial Revelation, incomplete Truth, in contrast to complete Revelation, the entire Canon. Just as God has known us perfectly from
eternity past, now we can know Him fully as He has revealed Himself through His complete Word.
But now [Nuni] abide faith, hope, [Virtue] love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1Co 13:13)
In conclusion Paul reiterates the permanence of Virtue-love. Nuni, “now,” is a different adverb than the “now” Arti of, (1Co 13:12). In nuni the idea of time is weakened, indicating not the specific time of Paul, but the broader scope of the Church Age in general. The central focus of this dispensation would be Virtue-love defined by the unabridged mystery Truth revealed in the completed Canon. “Now” faith, hope, and Virtue-love, not temporary Spiritual gifts, continue for the entire span of the post-canon New Covenant Church Age.
THE REGULATION OF TONGUES
Before we analyze the complex fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians, remember the Corinthian church was engulfed in carnality and confusion reigned. Under these conditions it was impossible for the Corinthians to understand the proper role of glossolalia. To correct them, the Apostle Paul contrasted the gift of tongues with the gift of Prophecy to punctuate the priority of “replacing human thinking with Divine Thinking.” (Rom 12:2) He stressed that the issue in the Spiritual life was not speaking in tongues, but Spiritual Thinking for Spiritual growth. This was the thrust of his scathing rebuke in the fourteenth chapter. Three of Paul’s main points must be kept foremost in mind.
1. The gift of tongues was not primarily given to benefit believers but was intended by God as a sign for unbelievers. (1Co 14:22) This indicates that tongues were a gift, like evangelism, that would normally operate outside the local church where unbelievers congregate, not in a worship service or Bible class designed to edify believers.
2. The Corinthians had already been told that tongues would cease, so its days were numbered. (1Co 13:8) Therefore, the Commands of, (1Co 14:27-28) act as a warning of the danger of ignoring edification.
3. Paul never commended speaking in tongues. Instead, he repeatedly contrasted the ineffectiveness of tongues for edification with the effectiveness of Prophecy, a gift that brought Spiritual growth to believers by communicating New Covenant Truth, Tongues was detracting from rather than enhancing to the Spiritual life of the Corinthians.
For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; (Because “ONLY GOD KNOWS WHAT IS BEING SAID”) for no one understands, but in his spirit [Pneumati] he speaks mysteries. [UNKNOWN WORDS] But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; [Self-exaltation] but one who Prophesies edifies the church. (1Co 14:2-4)
Confusion begins when the English versions of the Bible translate pneumati as “his spirit.” The pronoun “his” is not present in the original Greek. Neither is there a definite article before the noun pneumati. Absence of the definite article in Greek denotes a noun of the highest quality. Therefore, “Spirit” in this context refers to God the Holy Spirit who empowered glossolalia.
When a believer in the apostolic era legitimately spoke in tongues by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit, the speech could be either understood by a foreigner who spoke the language or interpreted by another believer with the Spiritual gift of interpretation. If the speech could not be interpreted, then whatever was said would be incomprehensible “mysteries.” So, Paul sarcastically states that God was the only one who could possibly understand what was being said. Later, in (1Co 14:9) Paul calls this un-interpreted speech “speaking into the air,” an idiom for words without meaning for any human.
In, (1Co 14:2-4) Paul again rebukes the carnal Corinthians for their infatuation with tongues rather than appreciation for
Prophecy. The gift of Prophecy disseminated vital New Covenant mystery Truth to the entire assembly of believers. The gift of tongues declared only the Gospel in gentile languages. The gift of Prophecy edified and therefore matured, exhorted, and comforted the believer. The gift of tongues edified the entire assembly only if the meaning was translated to “the church” by another believer who could interpret. (1Co 12:10)
The statement that the “one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself’ does not recommend the private use of tongues because that would be in direct contradiction of the purpose of all Spiritual gifts. God the Holy Spirit sovereignly bestows Spiritual gifts, not for self-exaltation, but “for the edification of the church. [The Body of Christ]” (1Co 14:12) However, the tongues speaker was personally edified along with the rest of the congregation by the interpretation of his speech and by the visible proof of God’s power and grace in bestowing upon him a miraculous, even though a temporary, Spiritual gift.
Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. (1Co 14:5)
This verse confirms a legitimate function for tongues in the local church of the pre-canon era. Tongues primary purpose was to present the Gospel to visiting unbelievers who spoke a foreign language. All effective witnessing communicates the Doctrines of hamartiology, soteriology, and Christology. Certainly these Truths were edifying to the church when they were understood by the congregation through an interpreter.
How stimulating it must have been to conduct evangelistic campaigns under such circumstances as the early churches experienced. The operation of tongues and other miraculous gifts was a spectacular manifestation of the power of God the Holy Spirit. The speaker was often highly animated in his presentation. Enthusiastic and immature audiences could easily fall prey to emotionalism and distort the pre-canon gift of tongues.
Because Paul himself had been the recipient of the gift of tongues, he could understand their ambitions for the gift. (1Co 14:5; cf., 1Co 14:18) He wished as much as they did that all of them might have been given the ability to witness in other languages, for Paul yearned to see every Jew evangelized and rescued from the terrible consequences of the fifth cycle of discipline in time and from condemnation in the Lake of Fire for all eternity. (Rom 10:1)
However, because of the Corinthian distortion of tongues, Paul continued stressing edification and advance in the Spiritual life through Prophecy and crystal clear Truth. He contrasted tongues with edification by drawing illustrations from everyday life. The first came from music.
Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? (1Co 14:7)
Musical instruments produce either beautiful music or disharmonious sounds. The analogy is obvious: Just as a musical instrument that produces only a cacophonous sound has no melody, so glossolalia that produces un-interpretable words has no edification. The military furnishes Paul’s second illustration.
For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? (1Co 14:8)
From ancient until more recent times, the horn or bugle was the primary means of communication in the chaotic conditions of the battlefield. Each short blast of the bugle relayed a specific command. If the bugler garbled the command, confusion erupted across the battlefield. The “indistinct sound” is, therefore, analogous to the confusion of un-interpretable tongues.
So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, [Interpretable language] how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. (1Co 14:9)
For his final illustration, Paul turned to philology.
There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages [Glossa] in the world, and no kind is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the language, [Glossa] I shall be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me. (1Co 14:10-11)
Paul used glossa to mean a true language, not unintelligible babble. Language communicates thought. When people do not speak one another’s language, words become meaningless sounds and thoughts cannot be communicated. According to ancient Greek and Latin usage, the word “barbarian” was ascribed to an outlander, a foreigner, and was always used in a derogatory meaning. Barbarian is an onomatopoetic word imitating how all other languages sounded to the Greek ear: “bar-bar-bar-bar.” There were no intelligible words; therefore no information communicated. The barbarian analogy illustrates that Doctrinal edification cannot be gained from meaningless sounds!
So also you, since you are zealous of Spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. (1Co 14:12)
This Mandate summarizes the absolute priority for the believer in the assembly: “Seek to abound for the edification of the church.” Paul stressed gifts beneficial for Spiritual growth for the entire church. He was not advocating tongues but focusing on the necessity of edification.
For if I pray in a tongue, [Language] my spirit [God the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What
is the outcome [Conclusion] then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also. (1Co 14:14-15)
“Spirit” in these two verses refers not to the human spirit, as some English translations suggest, but God the Holy Spirit. The New Testament teaching about man never juxtaposes the human “spirit” and “mind.” Any biblical contrast and comparison is always made between the outer person, the body, and the inner person, the “spirit” or “mind.” (Rom 7:22-23; (2Co 4:16; Eph 3:16)
Even though Paul says, “If I pray in a tongue,” this does not mean that he expected the Corinthians to pray in tongues. He is not advocating praying in tongues. This phrase is a third class condition — it is hypothetical. If the believer prayed in tongues, he would not be praying at all, but the “Holy Spirit” would be praying while the believer’s “mind” was bypassed. The believer would never know what he prayed for, or if God answered the prayer. Therefore, Paul is contrasting between praying in tongues with the mentality bypassed and praying “by means of the Spirit” with the mind engaged. Without the believer’s mental participation there is no comprehension or Spiritual benefit. Understanding and cognition are functions of the mind. The believer’s volition and mentality must always be engaged to advance in the spiritual life.
Throughout Scripture rational content is underscored as foundational and crucial to edification and Spiritual growth. (Rom 12:2; Eph 4:23) According to Paul, any instruction without rational content and meaning eliminates the ability to present Divine Viewpoint and destroys the capacity to worship God.
However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. [Glossa] (1Co 14:19)
Verse 19 uses such strong hyperbole, (Exaggeration) that it is difficult to understand how anyone could miss the point: “Five words” of Doctrinal instruction are far better than “ten thousand words” in tongues. Glossolalia is not the means for communicating Truth necessary for Spiritual growth.
Never once did Paul succumb to Spiritual superiority because he possessed the gift of tongues. He saw the gift in its proper perspective and thanked God not only for the gift, but also that he had occasion to use the gift in its proper context to a greater extent than all the Christians in Corinth. (1Co 14:18) Frequent contact with Jews throughout the Roman world and the linguistic barriers he encountered, made the gift of tongues a necessity for him. Yet Paul himself refused to use the gift “in the church.” He did not prohibit speaking in tongues, but his statement was so restrictive that, in effect, Paul discouraged the use of tongues in the assembly except in the rarest of circumstances.
In the Law it is written, “BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN TO ME” says the Lord. [Isa 28:11] So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but Prophecy [is for a sign, is not in the Greek] not to unbelievers, but to those who believe. (1Co 14:21-22)
After quoting the prophecy of tongues from Isaiah 28:11 in verse 21, Paul concludes that tongues was a sign to Jews (The Nation of Israel) who would not listen and believe GOD AND HIS WORD! (“Unbelievers”) And by the fifth cycle of discipline New Covenant Israel would be temporarily set aside until the Tribulation period. (Rev 14:4) cf. (John 10:27; John 12:26) While Prophecy is FOR believers. Why? Prophecy BELIEVED edifies the believer. (Heb 4:1-2) Tongues did not edify the believer when practiced in the local church as the Corinthians practiced it.
If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men [Idiotes] or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? (1Co 14:23)
The Greek word idiotes, “ungifted men,” was originally used of those who did not participate in the affairs of state in the Athenian democracy. In this context idiotes referred to anyone visiting the Corinthian assembly who was ignorant of Christianity but was nevertheless seeking Truth. “Unbelievers” are unsaved persons who had been exposed to Christianity before and had returned for further information. If in the presence of these unbelievers the Corinthians assembled as a congregation and all ‘spoke in tongues,’ complete chaos would reign. (1Co 14:40) Unbelievers would regard such a service as an asylum of lunatics.
God never intended Spiritual gifts to drive unbelievers from the Gospel or to create pandemonium in the local church.
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1Co 14:33)
No church service should resemble the disorderly clamor of the pagan mystery religions and no member of the congregation should be seeking his own ‘religious experience.’ The local church was established as a classroom for a pastor-teacher to edify the church by teaching Bible Truth to his congregation.
Worship services in the early church usually included two or three sermons. These were the forerunners for our modern expository sermons in which the Truths of the Bible are defined. Once the Canon was completed, the nature of the church service changed. Since the temporary gifts no longer existed, interpretation and application of Scripture by the pastor-teacher became the method for communicating Truth. The same Principle still governs the normal routine of the church.
But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner. (1Co 14:40)
As AD. 70 approached, on the rare occasion that the gift of tongues might still have been used in an assembly of believers for communicating the Gospel to a visiting unbeliever, Paul laid down some important regulations. However, these regulations no longer apply to the local church since the gift no longer exists. But when so-called tongues are erroneously ‘spoken’ today, these restrictions are either unknown, conveniently ignored, or blatantly rejected.
If [Third class condition] anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret; but if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. (1Co 14:27-28)
The third class condition “if’ recognizes the possibility that this could happen, (In the pre-canon era) but can also indicate that this is not probable. In the event tongues were spoken in the pre-canon local church, no more than three were permitted to exercise the gift during a service and then, only if an interpreter were present so the rest of the congregation could understand the message. Without an interpreter no one was to exercise the gift inside the local church. The phrase “let him speak to himself and to God,” appears to approve the private use of tongues without an interpreter, but must be understood in light of Paul’s other assertions inverses 2, 9, and 12 of Chapter 14. Remember, he clearly stated that Spiritual gifts are for “the edification of the church,” (1Co 12:14) not individual edification. Therefore, Paul in, (1Co 14:28) is once again reprimanding any Corinthian believer for speaking “mysteries,” (1Co 14:2) words without meaning to himself.
After examining this chapter it is clear that Paul was discouraging and dissuading the Corinthians from speaking in tongues. He did everything but forbid it, which he could not do, because the gift was still operational for a few more years as a warning to Jews. Paul concludes by reaffirming the importance of Prophecy over tongues.
Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. (1Co 14:39)
Paul only mentioned the gift of tongues in his first epistle to the Corinthians, which he penned in the early years of his writing. He never mentioned tongues in his later letters, for even then the gift was disappearing. Paul would not live long enough to see Jerusalem fall to the Roman legions in A.D. 70, when the Spiritual gift of tongues would cease forever.
Would God deprive the Church of something necessary for its function? Never! Temporary gifts were stop gap measures until something greater replaced them, the completed Canon of Scripture. Did the removal of these gifts indicate the removal of the power of the Spiritual life? Never! All the essential Truth for the believer’s advance to Spiritual maturity in the Church Age is now complete and available. The assimilation of this Truth by means of the filling of God the Spirit is the basis for the Spiritual growth essential for the edification and effective operation of the Church on earth.
IN THE TRIBULATION
IN EVERY DISPENSATION SATAN, the master-counterfeiter, (2Co 11:14-15) continually seeks ways to duplicate God’s perfect design and obscure the Truth. His strategy is to blind unbelievers to the Gospel (2Co 4:4) and lure gullible and ignorant believers away from the Word of Truth and prevent edification of the Church. (1Pe 5:8) Counterfeiting tongues is an exceptional method for Satan to attract followers to his religious shams. Where tongues are fraudulently spoken, the focus is on emotionalism instead of the Word of God.
Satan exploits tongues in an attempt to distort Spirituality. Down through the post-canon centuries of the Church Age, religious sects have advocated the demonic false gift of tongues as evidence of Spirituality. Devotees have included Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, the Montanists of the early Church, the French Camissards and Jansenists in the seventeenth century, and the Irvingite heretics in England in the nineteenth century. Wherever religion extols tongues as a measure of Spirituality, Satan succeeds in his objective of deception. Tongues was never intended to be equated with Spirituality or evidence of Spirituality.
The frequency and intensity of counterfeit tongues will dramatically increase during the Tribulation as Satan will again spuriously link pseudo-tongues with Spirituality. Paul in Second Thessalonians Prophesied Satan’s future intentions.
And you know what [A thing; the Abyss] restrains him now, so that in his time he [The Beast from the Abyss] will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness [World full of socialism — demonism] is already at work; only he [It; the Abyss] who [That] now restrains will do so until he [Satan] is taken out of the way. [In the Tribulation period] Then that lawless one [The Beast demon king; Rev 9:11] will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; [At the Second Advent] that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, [Believers living out of fellowship] because they did not receive the love of the Truth [God's Thinking] so as to be saved. [Delivered] (2Th 2:6-9) cf. (Rev 9:1-11; Rev 12:12-13)
The “mystery of lawlessness” refers to what is revealed in the New Testament canon about the future culmination of extreme violence and lawlessness in the world. Anomia, “lawlessness,” refers to total rejection of Divine establishment, rejection of the Gospel, and rejection of all Divine Thinking. Then, Satan’s pent-up frustration and anger will be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. The subsequent seven years of the Tribulation will be the most concentrated period of evil the world has ever known. (Matt 24:21-22)
The “power” of the tribulational dictator will come directly from the demon from the Abyss and Satan who gives him power and authority. (Rev 13:4) Personally indwelt and empowered by him, the “lawless one” will perform “signs” and “false wonders” to give himself credibility. (Matt 24:24) Signs imitate the gift of tongues. False wonders imitate the remarkable miracles, including healing, performed by Christ and the apostles. Since God validated His Son with “signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Heb 2:4) so Satan will validate his ‘son,’ the dictator, by using miraculous signs to legitimize his worldwide conquest and tyrannical misuse of power. The satanic counterfeit of signs and wonders will only serve to obscure the Gospel and deceive carnal believers.
And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so [For the purpose] that they might believe what is false. (2Th 2:11)
The heart, the right lobe or mentality of the soul, hardens when the unbeliever repeatedly rejects the Gospel; and when believers reject staying in fellowship and Thinking with God's Word. As rejection continues, they become entrenched in negative volition. They are incapable of discerning Truth and invariably choose to accept the false. As it was in the case of the Pharaoh of the Exodus, (Exo 7:22) so it will be in the tribulationl unbelievers; and believers who take mark of the Beast. (Rev 14:1-12) Truth will be rejected on an unprecedented scale. (2Th 2:10-11) Tongues etc., will become fraudulent substitutes for the presentation of Gospel Truth. Satan’s mechanism for counterfeiting the gifts was described long ago by the prophet Isaiah.
Behold, [Angels] I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. And when they [Religious leaders of any time] say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? (Isa 8:18-19) cf. (Heb 2:13)
The Hebrew word for “mediums” is, ob the equivalent of the Greek engastrimuthos, (Isa 8:19; Isa 29:4; Lxx) and means “ventriloquist.” A ventriloquist demon sometimes produces within the medium a strange calliope of whispers (High sounds) and mutters. (Low sounds) At other times he projects his voice out from the ground, up from the table, or down from the ceiling. The engastrimuthos demons must possess the thinking of those through whom they speak in order to control the vocal cords of the medium in a clever impersonation of the dead.
Ventriloquist demons are mentioned in various parts of both the Old and New Testaments. (Isa 29:4; Mark 5:6-10; Acts 16:16-18) Since no language barrier exists for these demons and they can impersonate anyone from past history, they can easily provide an unfamiliar language to anyone they indwell and control. And they will control certain rulers of the earth during the Tribulation. (Rev 16:13-14) Hence, these demonic mimics will counterfeit the gifts to advance the agenda of the Beast indwelt ruler, (Barack Obama) and his ally, the False Prophet. (?)
The Scripture plainly recognizes the Reality of the continued use of counterfeit signs and miracles. Jesus Christ himself warned that miracles are not evidence of either Salvation or Spirituality.
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt 7:22-23)
Jesus declared false prophesies and miracles to be “lawlessness.” Their power, whether now or in the Tribulation, is from Satan. At the Judgment Seat all who performed these pseudo-miracles in the name of Christ, will answer to Christ.
In summary we have examined two Prophecies regarding tongues. The first Prophecy, (Isa 28:11-12) was related to foreign languages in Israel and dealt with the warning of the approaching fifth cycle of discipline at the time when the Jews would be evangelized in gentile languages. The second prophecy in, (2Th 2:8) concerns the “lawless one” the ruler of the Tribulation who will be demon-energized with the power to speak in tongues, etc. Although this last Prophecy concerning the Tribulation has yet to be fulfilled, it casts its ugly shadow on the Church Age, for the “mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” (2Th 2:7)
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times [The Church Age] some will fall away from the faith, [The Spiritual life] paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1Ti 4:1)
Whereas the gift of tongues was an unmistakable sign to the first century Jews of apostasy, (1Co 14:22) pseudo-tongues today is an unmistakable ‘sign’ to the Church of the same apostasy — the appalling lack of positive volition toward Doctrinal teaching. Every experience that is categorized as tongues is in Reality a pseudo-tongues experience. It is never a demonstration of Spirituality, but rather emotional exhilaration, a psychotic reaction, or a manifestation of demon influence in believers or demon possession in unbelievers. Why then would Christians today assign top priority to a temporary gift that existed for a specific, dual purpose: to warn and to evangelize the Jews before their dispersion in A.D. 70, and to proclaim the new dispensation? Many Christians would rather indulge their emotions by speaking in pseudo-tongues than apply their mind to the study of the Word of Truth.
Even as the Jews of old had to be warned about the consequences of disobedience to God’s plan, so too we must be cautioned about distortions of Scriptural teaching. Today, tongues is evil and false because it is no longer of God, it is of Satan. An insidious part of demonic doctrine against which every believer must be on guard is the modern pseudo-tongues movement. This evil has infiltrated every religion and country in the world with tragic consequences:
1. Pseudo-tongues obscures the Gospel for unbelievers;
2. Pseudo-tongues leads believers into false doctrine and emotionalism, hindering Spiritual growth and stifling the edification of the Church;
3. Pseudo-tongues opens a vacuum in the soul that sucks in demonic Biblical false doctrines which influence and destroy a generation.
In the early years, Pentecostalism was characterized by uninhibited emotionalism, a lack of scholarship, and untrained clergy. This is no longer the case. Today many charismatic theologians are trained in Biblical Hebrew, Greek, and Theology. Their arguments have become more sophisticated and their views have moderated. Many no longer hold the view that tongues is a necessary sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Also, many no longer believe tongues are for every believer or necessary for Spirituality. But they continue to interpret the Bible with the presupposition that glossolalia still exists in the post-canon era of the Church Age. They continue to espouse the use of tongues for personal edification. In contradiction to Scripture, they advocate the personal, private, ‘devotional’ use of ‘tongues’ as a mode of prayer, completely reversing the Biblical point of view in First Corinthians 14 and violating the true pre-canon purpose for tongues. They try to equate modern ‘tongues’ with the Spiritual gift of, (Acts 2:4-11) or First Corinthians 12—14. Frequently, their pseudo-tongues is a learned technique that lacks language structure. Although some admit that the tongues phenomenon on the day of Pentecost involved legitimate foreign languages, they now claim to ‘speak’ a mysterious angelic language.
The many modern developments among charismatics include the ecumenical Charismatic movement and the more recent Signs and Wonders movement. The only commonality among the many Protestants and Roman Catholics, theological liberals and conservatives, Calvinists and Arminians, antinomians and legalists who embrace pseudo-tongues is a delusional emphasis on subjective personal experience. They declare that subjective experiences, such as pseudo-tongues, takes precedence over God's Word. “The person with an experience is never at the mercy of another person with Truth.” This is blasphemous! Experience never supersedes Truth or validates the Spiritual life. When experience contradicts the Bible, the Word of God always takes precedence! When intuition, preconception, experience, or emotion replace isagogics, categorical instruction, and exegesis from the Scripture, Spiritual Truth will never be discovered. The only source of objective, verifiable Truth is infallible Scripture. All experience must be evaluated by this Absolute Standard.
To discern error you must know Truth. When you fail to learn Truth consistently, on a daily basis, you inevitably revert to
the human viewpoint systems of emotionalism, rationalism, or ritualism. The emotionalism of ‘tongues’ has enormous appeal today in making the believer “feel” close to God by ‘heightening sin nature demonic power.’
Too often, churches today operate on a false principle: As soon as someone is saved, he is encouraged to seek an emotional experience and then rushed into some form of Christian service. Nothing could be more harmful to the new believer or the Body of Christ. The immature believer has no knowledge of epignosis, (Spiritual Thinking) and no function of Virtue-love. He confuses the emotionalism of speaking in pseudo-tongues with Spirituality. He perpetuates the false thinking that emotion is the criterion for Spirituality.
Throughout Scripture the focus of the Christian life is Thinking with Divine Viewpoint. (Rom 12:2; (1Co 14:20; Eph 4:23) You are to Think according to the Scripture, the “Mind [Thinking] of Christ”; (1Co 2:16) filled with God the Holy Spirit; (Gal 5:22-23) only then will you begin to grow Spiritually. (2Pe 3:18) Any preoccupation with emotion fosters Doctrinal ignorance. Paul and his traveling teaching staff had correctly taught the Divinely-inspired Doctrines. Therefore, the only limitation to the Spiritual growth of these early Christians was their own emotions. Paul pointed out the dangerous position of the Corinthians when he wrote:
Our mouth has spoken freely to you, [We are teaching you Truth] O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained [Limited] by us, but you are restrained [Limited] in [by] your own affections. [Splagchnon, “emotions”] (2Co 6:11-12)
Paul’s warning holds just as true today, as it did for the Corinthians. On the authority of the Word of God, I say to you, believer, beware that you are not led around by your emotions! Beware that your desire to feel close to God does not seduce you into false doctrine! Yearning for an emotional experience reveals ignorance of Divine Thinking. Stay with the Word of God which is “alive and powerful” and you will never be swept away by emotional delusions!
The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12)
Power, Spirituality, edification, and Virtue-love are resident in the filling of God the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; Eph 5:18) and in the complete Canon of Scripture, not in an emotional experience. When a believer renovates his Thinking with God's Thinking, he grows Spiritually to the point of maximum Virtue-love. True Christian experience is not in a defunct gift like speaking in tongues, but in living the unique Spiritual life of the New Covenant Church Age. As for you, be like Timothy and ‘tongues’ will never subvert your Spiritual life.
“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge"--which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. [The Spiritual life] Grace be with you.” (1Ti 6:20-21)
CATEGORIES OF BAPTISMS
I. Real Baptisms: An actual identification in which one object is identified with another. All real baptisms are dry baptisms.
A. Baptism of Moses (1Co 10:2)
1. Moses is identified with the path through the Red Sea and the Jews are identified with Moses.
2. Moses is identified with the cloud (Christ) and the people are identified with Moses.
B. Baptism of Fire: The fire judgment of unbelievers and cleansing of the earth by fire. (Mal 4:1; Matt 3:11; Luk 3:16; Luk 12:49; (2Th 1:7-9; (2Pe 3:10)
C. Baptism of the cross. (Matt 20:22; Mark 10:38-39; Luk 12:50)
1. Christ identified Himself with the cross and with our sins.
2. All the sins of the world were put in one cup and poured out on Christ on the cross, thereby identifying our sins with Him as our substitute. God the Father judged those sins when they were imputed to Him.
D. Baptism of God the Holy Spirit.
1. Definition and mechanics: The Salvation ministry of God the Holy Spirit whereby He enters the believer into union with Christ and makes him a member of the royal family of God forever. (1Co 12:13; Col 2:12) The baptism of God the Holy Spirit identifies every Church Age believer with the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session of Christ.
2. This baptism is a status, not an experience.
3. Never occurred in Old Testament times or in any previous dispensation. (Col 1:25-27)
4. Prophesied by Christ just before the interruption of New Covenant Israel. (John 14:20; Acts 1:5)
5. God interrupts political, racial, and Spiritual New Covenant Israel; and begins the New Covenant Church Age Spiritual Kingdom inside the believer — for both Jews and Gentiles. (Matt 16:18; Acts 1:5-8; Acts 2:3; Acts 11:15-18; Gal 3:28)
6. Unifies all members of the Body of Christ. (Eph 4:5; Col 3:10-11; Heb 2:11)
7. Provides Spiritual equality in the royal family. (Gal 3:26-28)
8. Related to positional sanctification.
a. Basis for retroactive positional Truth. (Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:12)
b. Basis for current positional Truth by which the believer has a permanent relationship with the King of kings.
(Eph 1:3-6; Col 2:10)
II. Ritual Baptisms: representative identification in which water is used as a training aid to express a Principle of Truth.
A. Baptism of Jesus was unique (Matt 3:13-17)
1. Water represented God the Father’ s Plan for Salvation.
2. Under the water Christ was identified with the Father’s will in going to the cross.
3. As Christ emerged from the water, He was identified with the resurrection, ascension, and session.
B. Baptism of John. (Matt 3:1-17; John 1:25-34; Acts 19:2-4)
1. Water represented the Kingdom of God.
2. Identified John’s converts with Jesus and His Kingdom forever.
3. Never again practiced after John’s death.
C. Believers’ (Christian) precanon baptism. (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:36-38; Acts 9:18; Acts 10:47-48; Acts 16:33)
1. Testimony of the baptism of God the Holy Spirit.
2. A personal testimony of Salvation through faith alone in Christ alone.
3. Immersion is identification of the Church Age believer with Christ in His death and burial in the strategic victory of the angelic conflict; (Retroactive positional Truth) a picture of rejection and separation from human old sin good.
4. Emerging from the water is identification with Christ in resurrection; (Current positional Truth) walking in the newness of life; (Rom 6:4) The Spiritual life. (Baptism is an illustration of these Doctrines before the completed canon of Scripture)
5. With the exception of, (1Co 1:14-17) where it is mentioned negatively, there are no acts of water baptism recorded in the Epistles.
Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts
I. Definition: A talent, ability, or aptitude sovereignly bestowed on every believer in the Church Age by God the Holy Spirit at the moment of Salvation for performing a particular service in the Body of Christ.
A. Spiritual gifts are a witness to the grace of God the Father.
B. They are a witness to Salvation in the Church Age. (Heb 2:4)
II. Distribution of Spiritual gifts.
A. Distribution during the Church Age is accomplished by God the Holy Spirit who gives at least one Spiritual gift to every believer as a member of the Body of Christ. (1Co 12:11)
B. Gifts do not depend on human ability, talent or achievement, but are allotted solely by the decision of God the Holy Spirit.
III. Function of Spiritual gifts.
A. At any point in the Church Age, each Spiritual gift in every geographical area is necessary for the function of the Body of Christ in that area. (1Co 12:27-31)
B. All Spiritual gifts function through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in and through the believer. (Acts 2:4)
C. Spiritual gifts always function under the team Concept, each as a member of the whole Body of Christ.
D. The function of any Spiritual gift depends on Spiritual growth, from replacing human thinking with Divine Thinking, from the Word of Truth. (Rom 12:2-3)
E. Spiritual gifts function to the maximum in Spiritual adulthood.
IV. Two categories of Spiritual gifts.
A. Temporary gifts (Pre-canon)
1. Gifts necessary for communication of mystery Doctrines until the canon of Scripture was completed and circulated.
2. Gift of tongues terminated in A.D. 70 at the fall of Jerusalem. (1Co 13:8-10)
3. Once the Canon was completed, the gifts of apostleship, Prophecy, healing and miracles were no longer necessary and were terminated in A.D. 96. (Acts 19:11-12; cf., Php 2:27; (2Ti 4:20)
B. Permanent gifts (Post-canon)
1. Permanent gifts include: pastor-teacher, evangelist, administration, helps, mercy and giving. (Rom 12:7-8; (1Co 12:28)
2. Continue to function after the completion of the Canon and throughout the New Covenant Church Age. (Rom 12:6; (1Co 12:31)
V. Time of distribution.
A. All Spiritual gifts were given after the resurrection, ascension and session of Christ. (Eph 4:8)
B. Given for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, when New Covenant Israel was interrupted and the New Covenant Church Age began. (Acts 2:1)
C. Except for the short transition period in the pre-canon Church Age, (Acts 2:1-11; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 19:2-8) each individual gift is distributed at the moment of Salvation.
VI. Abuse of gifts.
A. Abuse in Corinth demanded regulation of temporary gifts. (1Co 14:1-8) Reversionism and apostasy seek to perpetuate temporary Spiritual gifts, such as tongues and healing, beyond the closing of the Canon in A.D. 96.
C. Anyone today who claims to possess the first century gifts of apostleship, Prophecy, knowledge, tongues, miracles, and healing are apostate and reversionistic.
D. Possession of behind the scenes gifts never indicates Spiritual inferiority and conspicuous gifts do not indicate superiority and must never be a source of divisiveness in the church.
VII. Communication gifts.
A. The temporary gifts of apostle and prophet were designed for providing leadership in the pre-canon Church, declaring Divine will by communicating mystery Doctrine, recording the New Testament in writing, founding the Church in the first century, establishing local churches and local Church policy, and training pastor-teachers. These gifts were terminated in A.D. 96.
B. Permanent communication gifts are pastor-teacher and evangelist.
C. The pastor-teacher communicates the whole realm of Truth inside the local church; the evangelist communicates the Gospel to groups of unbelievers outside the local church.
D. These gifts are bestowed to men only. (1Co 14:34-35; (1Ti 2:12; (1Ti 3:1-7)
E. Authority of these gifts is established in, (Heb 13:7; Heb 13:17).
F. Purpose of these gifts is defined in (Eph 4:11-16).
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.