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Tongues: Past, Present and Future
Over the years many devoted and sincere people have thought and felt they were being empowered by the Spirit of the Heavenly Father. They thought they were given “witness,” as is spoken of in Acts 2:4, (i.e., empowered to speak in tongues). And many today feel, think, and act as if they too are being led to speak in “tongues.”
Are they speaking in tongues as described in the book of Acts, or is it just an act? Or is it something else all together?
Let’s go back in time to a period when fiery symbols and sounds came from heaven, when even wind filled the inside of a home. A time when human limbs were made whole; a time when someone who was born blind could be made to see; a time when someone who could hear nothing, could then hear the sweet sounds of birds and the simple sound of water being poured into a basin.
It was a time when Yahweh’s Spirit was poured out in
abundance, and it is a time still to come.
Some 1900 + years ago after Yahshua had ascended into heaven after spending 3 days and three nights in the tomb, He sent, as promised, Yahweh’s Spirit.
In the Hebrew this Spirit is called, Ruach Ha Qodesh, and is translated in many Bibles as The Holy Spirit. It’s a Spirit that is different from the spirit of man; it’s different than the spirit that now rules this world (2 Cor 4:4). As the word Qodesh literally means, Separate or Set-apart, we find Yahweh’s Spirit is indeed “separate” from the world and from most people today. Only a precious few are chosen to receive a portion of His Spirit at this time.
Yahweh’s Spirit is in essence a part of Him, His Nature, and His Power. It is NOT a separate entity, as some translations have it as Ghost. It is Yahweh’s Spirit, not a “Ghost.”
It can be poured and Yahweh can speak though His Spirit and He does today through those that have it. But does that mean speaking in tongues?
Speaking in tongues was a prophetic sign mentioned in Isaiah 28:11-12 and it occurred in the apostles’ day. “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith Yahweh.” 1 Cor .
What does the term “other tongues” and “other lips” mean?
Tongues and Lips Defined By Scripture
Tongues and lips, as defined by Scripture, can only mean one of two things. When you see the word “tongue” in your Bible it means either a “physical tongue” or “a language.” The same goes for “lips,” which can only mean, “physical lips” or “a language.”
“By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” Gen 10:5. The word “tongue” used here we find clearly is in reference to “languages” of other nations.
In the following Scripture we find the word “tongue” means a physical one: “The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.” Lam 4:4. So in context of what is written we can see how they can mean one or the other.
A little trivia for us today is that some of the Old English language of the KJV (1611) has jumped the centuries into our own Bibles today. Especially the KJV, which has kept the word “tongues,” in most cases, rather than using the clearer meaning of the word “language” when appropriate within context.
You may want to look at the following verses in your own Bible: Acts 2:4, 8, 11 and 1 Cor 14:2, 4-5, 9, 21-22…replace the word “tongues” with “language” each time. It should begin to bring these verses into sharper focus and better relay what is being said. Before you read further, give it a try.
Ok, did you try that exercise? Did you notice it really made sense until maybe you got to 1 Cor 14:2? Why would the book of Acts be easier to understand than the book of 1 Corinthians? We know that Luke was the author of Acts and Paul the other one. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter clearly says Paul’s letters can be hard to understand. But we can still see what he is saying if we look at it properly.
Let’s look at each section of 1 Corinthians mentioned above. “For he that speaketh in an unknown language speaketh not unto men, but unto Elohim: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.” 1 Cor 14:2. This makes sense when you understand that the audience he’s speaking to only spoke maybe Hebrew and Greek at the most. He wouldn’t have said something like that in Acts where there were different people understanding an assortment of different languages (more than you can count on both hands) at the time of Pentecost. This was when travelers had traveled in from distant lands to keep the Feast.
Concerning the last part of 1 Cor 14:2, it would be like a person speaking mysteries; if no one understood, it would indeed be mysterious. Yahweh would understand, because He knows all the nations’ languages.
So a person would, if speaking in a different language, be speaking only to Yahweh, as only Yahweh would understand him.
Doesn’t that make you wonder why Yahweh would even allow a person to speak in a different language, when no one around could understand it but Yahweh? Remember that “Tongues” was given as a sign to unbelievers (1 Cor ).
“I wish you all spoke with languages, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with languages, unless indeed he interprets, that the assembly may receive edification.” 1 Cor 14:5 NKJV. The whole point here, is that prophesying (i.e., teaching from inspiration, not always foretelling the future) would be a whole lot better, than speaking in a different language.
Is it possible for someone to speak a different language and then interpret it? I have yet to meet anyone who claims to speak in “tongues,” that also claims to understand what they’re speaking. Though this was evidently done in the apostles’ day because of the strong outpouring of Yahweh’s Spirit at that time.
“So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” 1 Cor 14:9. Paul basically says here that unless you speak English (or whatever the language is), then how will it be understood?
Notice that he did say “words,” not garbled sounds uttered under a hypnotic-like state.
“In the law
it is written, With men of other languages and other
lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me,
saith Yahweh. Wherefore languages are for a sign, not to them that believe, but
to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe
not, but for them which believe.” 1 Cor
-22. So here we find that speaking in different languages (tongues) was a prophecy,
and the prophecy took place at Pentecost. Was it taking place in
The whole purpose of writing to them was to straighten out their thinking and actions, from Chapter 1 telling them to get it straight whom they should follow, to Chapter 15 trying to explain the idea of a resurrection to them. The question we should ask is, “Why?”
The answer is that they had major problems, even in observing the Passover mentioned in the latter half of chapter 11. If it wasn’t that, it was litigation in chapter 7, or marriage in Chapter 6. It’s interesting that those two should be next to each other. But the thought is, if they were having so many problems, could it be that they were acting like people of today? Maybe trying to show off a miracle for an egotistical “see me” type of thing. Wouldn’t it be an easy thing to do, especially if no one understood a word you said anyway…I mean really?
Tongues; A Sign For Today?
Today many claim that “tongues” is a sign that they received the Spirit. Wow, think what pressure there must be to blurt something, anything, out at one of those groups so they’ll know you’re “in Him.” Especially when everyone has his or her eyes on you, when you’re the one supposed to be getting a dose of the Spirit.
To answer those that would say that “tongues” has to be present, I would point out that Yahshua when he received the Spirit did NOT speak in “tongues.” However, there was a gentle image, like a dove of the Spirit that came upon Yahshua (John ).
I might also mention that there were, what looked like, physical tongues that came upon those in Acts, see Acts 2:3. That’s not to mention the sound and wind (Acts 2:2). Where does this happen today?
Some ministers often will energize a group by jumping up and down and acting a little crazy. They throw arms up in the air, shouting out to the crowd who is now starting to mirror back what they see the preacher do, as he encourages them to do the same.
It would be easy to do just about anything in a situation like that and claim it’s from The Spirit. I would think it’s from a spirit of emotion, than anything else.
But what about the claims of miracles, “The blind can see, the lame can walk”?
There was a very popular preacher on television not too long ago that would line up wheel chairs across the stage to make his point. “People are being healed today!” So he claimed.
I watched this gentleman lay hands on a boy who could barely speak and was evidently handicapped somehow, either deaf or otherwise, he just couldn’t speak well. He spoke with slurred speech. The preacher calmly had the boy try to say something. The boy did. And I could strain to hear a resemblance of a word that I recognized. The preacher then put his hand on his forehead and said, “Be healed!” Along with that and a few other words that I forget, the boy went backward and of course there were some gentlemen behind to catch him. The audience could hardly contain themselves.
The preacher started yelling, “Get up, get up!” Then he told the boy to… “Shout HalleluYah!” The boy at a new increased level of volume shouted… “HalleluYah!” slurred just like the other time he spoke, but the crowd went wild anyway.
They rose up out of their chairs to clap and cheer. “It’s a miracle!” exclaimed the preacher. He had the boy shout again, as the boy was able to do; again the crowd went wild. The boy did shout, but the boy still had a speech problem. You could hear it; it was obvious. It was just a louder speech problem. I’ll never forget it, and I’ll never forget how deceived everyone seemed to be. Couldn’t they see? Some evidently did, as the last I heard the preacher was under investigation for fraudulent practices.
Miracles Do Happen
But what if a miracle really happened? Let’s say someone’s vision or hearing was restored? Would Yahweh heal under such circumstances? I mean, the apostles never made a stage show of the healings that occurred in their day. Yahshua never touched people on the forehead and sent them backward.
Why are all these so-called miracles happening under such conditions that are contrary to Scripture? We know that Satan is a powerful spiritual being and can produce signs himself (2 Thess 2:9). But could he produce a healing, and why would he heal?
Satan is a destroyer, he doesn’t do good, he does evil. He is evil. He may not be able to heal, as we would think of healing.
Let’s consider the following: Here we read of a lady who had a “spirit of infirmity.” “And, behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.” Luke 13:11. Yahshua said, “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” Luke 13:16
We know that Satan deceives (Rev 12:9) with whatever means he can. Is it possible that Satan can bind someone with disease, blindness, hearing loss or other kinds of ailments, then turn around and release them at a time that’s convenient for him…all for the purpose of deceiving?
I think it is possible. But that’s not to say that’s what is happening, because really these healing preachers that I’m referring to aren’t doing any healings at all…that I’ve ever seen. The boy mentioned above is one example. There are many more examples that could be brought forth and shown as phony healings.
But if there ever seems to be one that just can’t be denied as an actual healing…then remember that Satan can and does deceive by various means. Let’s not be deceived, but rather, let’s see what Yahweh says will happen.
Duality In Prophecy
Yahweh works in many cases in what would be called duality, as being defined here, the act of prophecy in two stages.
We can see the “Abomination of Desolation” prophecy that was foretold in the book of Daniel actually did happen in part. It happened when an image of a pagan deity, was set up on the temple altar under the rule of Atiochus Epiphanes who was king of his Hellinistic Syrian kingdom from 175 to 164 B.C.E.
The Jews knew that this was what was foretold to
happen. “The Jews popularly spoke of this as ‘the abomination of desolation.’
Greek soldiers and their paramours performed licentious heathen rites in the
Yahshua said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the set-apart place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).” Matt 24:15.
The Jews of His time did understand that it had taken place, in part, but they were being told here that it was going to happen again and to be prepared.
The duality of Joel 2:28-32 is first seen in Acts chapter 2. Read Acts 2:17-21. The one part that was not seen in both the prophecy of Daniel and of Joel mentioned is the following:
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Dan 12:1
“And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of Yahweh come.” Acts 2:19-20
From the above Scriptures we can see that they both have yet to be fulfilled, and yet the prophecies, in part, both took place before…duality of Scripture. And they will take place again, this time though in completeness.
Now, having said all that; is either the “abomination of desolation” or the “pouring out of His Spirit” a continuous prophecy, without a break in between? No, of course not. This is why no one is emptying hospitals, or causing deformed limbs to grow normal, and a host of other miraculous things. Not to mention being inspired to speak in another language.
Does this conflict with Scripture? No. Should we still pray for others? Yes. Should the Elders still lay hands on people to heal them? Absolutely. We cannot forsake what we are told to do, and we have clear instruction on these things.
Though we do not see the Spirit in the strength or performance that we see it in the book of Acts and elsewhere in the apostles’ time does NOT mean that we don’t see it at all, in our time. But understand that there will be a “pouring out” of His Spirit onto His people in the last days just before the “day of Yahweh” that will come upon this earth shortly.
Satan also will be performing miraculous and amazing things; the difference is that two different Spirits will be at work. And one has and will guide and direct the first-fruits (i.e., Yahweh’s people that are being chosen now).
People will be amazed and want to partake in what Yahweh’s people will be able to do.
Notice, "Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue [flatteries].” Dan NKJV.
Could the “little help” being spoken of here be speaking of some of the abilities that a pouring out of Spirit would give?
Notice that “many” of the people witnessing these things will join them, not necessarily because they believe the truth, but because they desire and want what they see happening. They will evidently have great words of praise for those doing such things. Let’s hope and pray that some will be convicted with a second sign (Ex 4:8) and follow for the right reasons.
We have to be aware, and discern whether or not certain things are from Yahweh’s Spirit. John said, under inspiration of Yahweh’s Spirit: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of Elohim: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.
John continues to clarify how we are to discern the Spirits. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of Elohim [Yahweh]: Every spirit that confesseth that Yahshua Messiah is come in the flesh is of Elohim: And every spirit that confesseth not that Yahshua Messiah is come in the flesh is not of Elohim: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4:2-3.
With that in mind: How many use, speak, and proclaim the Name Yahshua? Not many, in fact Yahweh’s people are referred to as a small flock. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32.
We also see it will be “a remnant” that will be saved. “Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant [a first-fruit] shall be saved.” Romans (Isa -23).
Let’s look at how many languages there are today out of the 6 billion plus people in the world. We read, “There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. However, about 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers.” ---- infoplease.com
The following numbers are also impressive, but how many of these translations have the proper Names of the Father and the Son in them? “At the start of the nineteenth century, Scriptures were available in just 68 languages. Today, Scriptures are available in no less than 2,233 languages, with the complete Bible having been translated into at least 371 languages, and the New Testament into some 960. In addition, parts of the Bible (Portions) have been made available in more than 900 languages.”---- biblesociety.org
Given the statistics, and the fact that “few are chosen” (Matt 20:16), could it be that with the second phase and pouring out of Yahweh’s Spirit that the ability of speaking different languages will also be given? That would be a tremendous sign for unbelievers. We know for some reason “many” will follow Yahweh’s people with flatteries (Dan ). Let’s not be unaware when the time comes, let’s be aware, alert, and awake!
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:
For now is our salvation nearer than when we [first] believed.” Romans 13:11
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