Speaking in tongues or glossalia and the other sign Gifts and what says the Bible?
This was a study which was a part of a bigger study about the Charismatic movement which I made 3 years ago just before the degree of master of Biblical studies. Dear reader I hope and pray for you that you may understand this study about this topic.
Speaking in tongues or glossalia:
In this part of this essay we will discuss about “speaking in tongues (glossolalia)”what we hear and read about it in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. In the Bible we can read about speaking in tongues in the Bible in early Acts (Acts 2, 10) and in the church at Corinth with all the sign gifts they had. We will also see what the Charismatic movement understands from speaking in tongues and how they use it and other sign gifts.
We have to ask ourselves are the sign gifts (including speaking in tongues) still actual today? Do we have to speak as Christians in tongues today? We already saw that in the Charismatic movement speaking in tongues or glossolalia and other things as faith healing, prophecy is a lot used. The question arises: does God still use this sign gifts?
Before we answer these questions we have first to see what is speaking in tongues? What says the Bible over tongues? Why were tongues given? To answer this, let read in our Bible in 1 Corinthians 14:21,22: “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, said the Lord. Wherefore tongues 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 witch believe”
It was a Sign for Israel because this verse comes from Isaiah 28: 11, 12: “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”
The apostle Paul uses the scriptures from the prophet Isaiah because he finds a parallel between the days of Isaiah and the days he lived! The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Assyrians and Babylonians would take Israel captive and in this, God would speak to Israel with men of other tongues. It was a SIGN of Gods displeasure and judgment upon the nation. It was a SIGN for Israel in the past and the tongues among the Gentiles in Corinth had this same significance. In I Corinthians 1:22: “The JEWS require a SIGN! There is no doubt that tongues were a sign specifically of Israel! We can read in I Corinthians 1:22: “The JEWS require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.” The Greeks stand for the Gentiles!
The Church in Corinth had a historical background and that was Jewish. In Acts 18: 1-11 the apostle Paul preached first in the SYNAGOGUE and testified to the JEWS that Jesus was the Christ! Verse 5: “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ” The JEWS opposed and blasphemed and Paul said to them in verse 6b “Your blood be upon your own head: I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” So Paul went to the Gentiles and in verse 7 we read that Paul started the local church in Corinth joined to the Synagogue: “And he (Paul) departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.”
No wonder than that they spoke in tongues! They were a Sign to the Jews people that the message what Paul brought concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah was right!
Now we go back to Mark 16:17, 18. Here the Lord Jesus after His resurrection spoke to His disciples: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
What the Lord Jesus say to His disciples here in this passage came in practice on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:4: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”. The speaking in tongues followed here on the day that the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost. Remarkable we see here on the day of Pentecost, that speaking in tongues were in existing languages because we read here in Act 2 verse 8-10: “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes.
On the day of Pentecost a lot of Jews and Jews from other countries and Proselytes were there in Jerusalem and everyone has his own language. So now they could hear in their own language, tongue, and the wonderful works of God. Who were these proselytes? Answer: the proselytes were
Gentiles who were converted to Judaism, were bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the Jewish economy, and were full members of the Jewish people. They were to be circumcised as the Jewish people. Later in another chapter of this essay we shall see what happened on the day of Pentecost.
The gift of tongues was the God given ability to speak in a different language; one which the person had never studied or known. We read in Acts 10:44-48: While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. This was when Peter visit for the first time and only time a Gentile believer named Cornelius and others with Cornelius in Caesarea in a special commission of God. We see in the special commission of Peter visit Cornelius that the gift of tongues has to do with praise and prayer!
In the epistle to the Corinthians we find the verses in I Corinthians 12:8-10: For the one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.
You see here in these verses it is a gift to speak in tongues and to interpret tongues. Not everyone could do it in the church at Corinth!!! In the Church at Corinth some people could speak in tongues and somebody had to translate this speaking in tongues.
Almost the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 14 is about speaking tongues and Sign gifts.
In verse 13 we read: “Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret”. And in verse 27-28 we read : “If any man speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two. Or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God”.
You see dear reader that speaking in tongues in the local church must be translated and interpreted. If there was no interpreter than someone must be silent and not speak in tongues!
In verse 26 of the same chapter we read: “Let all things be done unto edifying.
Further on we read in this chapter in verse 22: “Wherefore tongues 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”.
We read in verse 2 : For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him, howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
Clearer than this cannot be! And in verse 5: I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Paul spoke more in tongues that all the believers there at Corinth see I Corinthians 14:18! But he admonishes the believers at Corinth to prophesy more than to speak in tongues. Why is this?
And in verse 19 we read: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. About prophesy we read further on in verse 23-24 of the same chapter: “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all” So we see thus that it was better to prophesy in the local church than to speak in tongues because of unbelievers or unlearned men who would visit the local church.
A SUMMARY ABOUT SPEAKING IN TONGUES
1 Isaiah 28:11,12: With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto THIS people (Israel) and yet for all that will They not hear me, saith the Lord.
2 The tongues are for a SIGN to Israel, not to them that believe, but to Israel that believe not! ( I Corinthians 14:21,22)
3 Speaking in tongues among the Gentiles of Corinth had this above significance again I Corinthians 14:21,22.
4 The tongues were needed to demonstrate to Israel that Jesus was the true Messiah.
5 When somebody spoke in tongues or in an unknown tongue he spoke not unto men but unto God for no man could understand him, howbeit in the spirit he spoke mysteries
6 The gift of tongues was the supernatural imparting of languages.
7 Prophesying was better to do because people could be convinced and learned by prophesying I Corinthians 14:5, 24, and 25.
8 If somebody was speaking in tongues it must be 2 or 3 persons and to be interpret by one person in the local church. I Corinthians 14:27.
9 If there was no interpreter than the person has not to speak in tongues I Corinthians 14:28.
10 If somebody could speak in tongues of men or tongues of angels and have not the charity he had become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. I Corinthians 13:1.
We now know why the SIGN GIFT of tongues, as well as healing and miracles were given.
They were needed to demonstrate to Israel that Jesus was the true Messiah. When God finally broke His relation with the nation Israel, He ceased demonstrating that fact to Israel. It was never the intension of God that the SIGN GIFTS among Gentile members of the Body of Christ permanently should be exercised I Corinthians 13:8: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge it shall vanish away.
The supernatural gifts as speaking in tongues were operative only during the transition period in Acts. We have seen that during the transition period some of the believers had the gift of speaking in tongues or interpret them. Why was this? The gospel of the Kingdom: they had power to perform all the gifts. Mark 16-15-18: all believers were to have all the gifts.
Why was it than different later on? Because God was turning away from, and setting aside the nation of Israel, His act with the SIGN people. The purpose of sign miracles was to let Israel know who the Messiah was, and not , as generally supposed, to accredit Christianity to the Gentile. After the stoning of Stephen God pronounces judgment upon Israel and blinds them Acts 13:6-13 with Romans 11:25 and set Israel aside for a time. This is now for about 2000 years! God concluded the whole world (Jew and Gentile) in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. Romans 11:32!
God, after the stoning of Stephen, began a new plan, the dispensation of grace Ephesians 3:1-3 and saved His greatest enemy on earth Saul (Paul) of Tarsus and he was the first in the Body of Christ, the church. He, Paul was Roman citizen and Jewish, a Pharisee. I Timothy 1:11-16. He, Paul became the apostle of the Gentiles Romans 11:13, 15:16. We live now under the dispensation of God’s grace Ephesians 3:1-3.
The Sign gifts were given during the Acts period (transition period) after the stoning of Stephen to the Gentiles for the benefit of unbelieving Israel till the final rejection of Israel in Acts 28: 17-31!
The sign gifts (tongues, healings and miracles were only operative during the Acts period and not after this time because they ceased when Israel was finally set aside and when the Word of God was complete! In the epistles, written after the Acts period, (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and 2 Timothy, Philemon and Titus) there is no mention of these sign gifts. We can read here that the gift of healing has disappeared. Paul no longer exercises this gift. In this dispensation of Grace there is no gift of healing anymore.
There is now that there is Divine healing through prayer and through Gods sovereign and gracious will. In 2 Timothy 4:20 we see that Trophimus was left at Miletus sick. Epaphroditis was dangerously ill in Philippians 2:25-30. God’s divine mercy that spares Epaphroditis and also Paul later on. Now we have only special gifts for the saved in the body of Christ and not the sign gifts anymore. Now in this day of Grace it is important that believing the Scriptures about the cross will save anyone.
We have seen now that the sign gifts are not operative anymore today. Now the question arises, why people are speaking in “ tongues” in this Charismatic churches? People who are speaking in tongues are defending their speaking in tongues. We are not to go in discussion with this fact. Satan can also imitate God. This “speaking in tongues” can be a method of him to withdraw a lot of believers from Gods Word!
A lot of believers today in the Charismatic churches are often pressured to speak in tongues because it is a measure of spirituality they believe. Some of these believers are caught up in the emotionalism of the moment. It is like electricity with praise, loud music, shouting, swaying back and forth with hands raised, people who are rolling on the ground, falling afterwards, speaking in tongues. Through this emotionalism some of these people swept and speak in tongues or more languages that they have learned years earlier. About speaking of tongues today, there are people who had studied this and what they found was composed of unknown sounds lacking in grammatical features. It was not unknown tongues but unknown sounds, having no resemblance to any actual language at all.
Once long ago I was in a Pentecostal church in a big building . Every Saturday evening there was a Christian film in the Cinema what was also in the building. One of the men of the cinema invited me to visit the service of their local church on Sunday. So once I attend this church, people were smiling to me very friendly but didn’t ask me if I was here the first time or what I believe. I didn’t feel comfortable in this church . Than The service began and what I remember was that people were singing and on a certain moment after almost an hour a lot of people began to speak in “tongues”. There was nobody to translate this, so there was no interpreter to interpret the tongues so I couldn’t understand it. The sounds of this speaking in tongues or praying or praising sounded like the chanting of a Roman Catholic priest! The preacher stood on the podium and say only Allaluja.
At that time I didn’t know the grace message, was searching for the truth and this speaking in tongues of so many people in that church frightened me and I was asking later if this was from God. Later when I began to see the truth, the grace message Acts 20:24, my conclusion was and is that people who are “speaking in tongues” don’t have this supernatural gift as it was in the period of Acts and in the church of Corinth because of the fact that the tongues are ceased what we already saw. Satan really can use this “speaking in tongues” or jabber to withdraw believers from God’s Word and that they maybe never come in their lives to the knowledge of the truth! He blinds people and in this he is a master! He can also imitate God. We see this in Exodus 7:10-8:7 with Moses before Pharaoh. He shall do this again in the great tribulation 2 Thessalonians 2:9: “Even him, whose coming is after the working of satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”
Now we come to another question: what is angelic or heavenly tongues what we read in I Corinthians 13:1? Answer to this if you read in Genesis 18:1-19 or when the angel of the Lord came to Mary to tell her that she will conceive in her womb the Son of God, Jesus (read Luke 1: 28-35) or in other appearances the angel spoke the language (most of the time Hebrew) what man already understood. Otherwise men could not understand what the angel specific say to him or her. People from the Charismatic movement claim that the tongues of angels is really a heavenly language. We can ask now what is heavenly language and we have already seen that the language angels spoke were languages what men could understand according to the Scriptures. It is not jabber or gibberish what people couldn’t understand! The apostle Paul heard a voice speaking with him and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I (Paul) said, Who art thou , Lord? And He said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” We read this 3 times in Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26.
We have seen already the difference between prophecy and speaking in tongues. Prophecy had to do with a direct revelation and preaching the Word of God. I Corinthians 14: 29-32, 36-37. Speaking in tongues had to do with praise and prayer and is called a SIGN gift.
We read in I Corinthians 13:8 ”Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease. With other words the gift of tongues would disappear. When was there no longer need for speaking in tongues? Answer: when Israel was finally set aside! As long as God was busy with Israel the Sign gifts were actual! This was in the transition period, the period of the book Acts!!!! Till the end of the book of Acts we read about the SIGN gifts but after Acts 28, in the epistles Ephesians , Philippians, Colossians, I Timothy and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon we don’t read about speaking in tongues, prophecy or other SIGN gifts what are named in I Corinthians 12:8-10.
We have seen what speaking in tongues was in the Acts period and in the church of Corinth.
Now we are going to see the other SIGN gifts. In I Corinthians 12:8-10 we read again the verses: “For the one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
We begin with WISDOM: We know that King Solomon had a lot of wisdom. He was the wisest man in the Bible who ever lived. He got his wisdom from God because he asked God for divine wisdom and with this wisdom he could better lead the nation of Israel. We know about this King Solomon how he used this Wisdom with the two women and the baby in I Kings 3:16-28. This same wisdom what Solomon had was been given as a gift to the first members of the Body of Christ in the local church of Corinth! It was divine wisdom which worked during the Acts period. After Acts 28 this supernatural gift from God stopped. So some of the believers of Corinth had this gift given from God. Not everybody could have this gift.
KNOWLEDGE: This was also a supernatural gift from God to know for a person to know the will of God. The person who had this special supernatural gift from God had also the authority to act upon it to the glory of God. For example the apostle Peter had this knowledge as we see in Acts 5 that he already knowed that Ananias and his wife Sapphira were telling a lie. Peter knew the will of God to proclaim judgment upon such liars. We can find this in Acts 5:1-11. Some passages about this we read: “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (verse 3) “ Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold , the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out” (verse 9). Also this same supernatural gift what the apostle Peter had in early Acts, some of the Corinthian believers had this gift too.
FAITH: This gift was also as wisdom and knowledge a supernatural gift from God. A lot of the Corinthian believers had this gift of faith. It was the strength to complete the impossible as a result of their deep and eternal faith in God. An example who had this supernatural faith is Stephen. He was one of the first deacons and he belonged to the kingdom church at Jerusalem.
In Acts 6:8 we read: “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” He had also the gift of wisdom because we read in verse 10: “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake”. The most intelligent people under the folk of Israel couldn’t resist the wisdom of this man! Stephen proclaimed the Word of God with such boldness among the people that the wisest men under them couldn’t answer his arguments. This gift was given from God in the Acts period to make known His secret purpose , the mystery, to the Gentiles.
Now we have seen that some people received these SIGN gifts by God in the Corinthian church! As long as God was dealing with Israel and the gospel of the Kingdom the supernatural gifts of Mark 16:15-18 were given to all believers who preached to all nations and every creature under heaven!!! During the transition period in Acts we read in I Corinthians 12: 28-31: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers, are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way”
Do you see dear reader, not everybody had the supernatural gift during the transition period! This is the difference between the gospel of the kingdom and what happened under that administration of God and the transition period in the book of Acts!!!
HEALING: We have read that some of the believers in Corinth during the Acts period had received from God this supernatural gift. In Acts 19: 11,12 we can read: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them”
This is an example for the future time when God will have His Kingdom on earth. In this Kingdom sickness and disease will not be there. Why was Paul healing here people? Answer: to show Israel that God was setting her aside in unbelief. Romans 11:25. After chapter 28 of Acts God’s dealing with Israel is stopped and we see in the epistles after this period that there were no more SIGN gifts. Another question arises: does God not heal men anymore? Well this is not true because God is still the BIG DOCTER today but everything is under His sovereignity. He can heal people today according to His will. An example of this in the Bible we find in Philippians 2:25-30. We read here about Ephaphroditis who was almost dead but God had mercy on him. There are more examples that people in this world were healed through the prayer of other people. It can for sure but it is not conditional!!! Most of the times now we know that people are not healed from their sickness or maladies. A great example we find in II Corinthians 12:8,9 where we read that the apostle asked 3 times the Lord that He will take away the thorn in the flesh. What was the answer from God? My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Another example in the Bible we find in the case of Job. Satan made Job sick we know. We read this in Job 2:5-7. Satan’s purpose with this was to withdraw Job’s faith in God away and away from God’s Word and that Job would curse God. Satan can also remove sickness! We know that the SIGN gifts ceased after the Acts period.
During this age of Grace under which we live satan had these same methods. A big majority of believing people today satan has in his power to withdraw them from God’s Word and blinds them to see not the truth, the gospel of the grace of God and the Word rightly dividing (Acts 20;24, 2 Timothy 2:15). Experience of healings or miracles is more important than the Word of God who can make people alive! In those healing meetings the healing of persons and emotionalism is most important. All is focused on the healing!! On Youtube I watched a healing in Arnhem, a city in the East part of our country. People from a Charismatic church on street and special one man of them could heal persons from the pain in their stomach, back, what they had for years. After the healing every man or woman who was healed was very glad of it. You can’t deny that this not happen. We can ask ourselves is this God Who heals people here on the street? The great opposer of God satan can also heal people for a time because our bodies have not eternal life on this earth!
So maybe after a while a person who is “ healed” today from his sickness or pain can have later this sickness again or something more bad like cancer or a heart attack! Why are people in that Charismatic movement and special the Pentecostalists so focused on healing? Most of them are unaware of God’s dispensation of grace under which we live. They believe that they are living in the days of early Acts and that the Church, the body of Christ begins there! And that we have to wait for the Kingdom on earth!
We can read in II Corinthians 12:8,9 that God’s grace enough is! Sure we as believers can pray to God when we are sick of for another person whom we know is sick. In Philippians 4:6 we read: “Be careful for nothing/ but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” And God answer your prayer directly and everything we ask Him we receive? No! What do we read in verse 7? Answer: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus “ It gives us not the quarantee that God make us better or a person better when we pray to Him. He can answer our prayers but it is not a quarrantee!
MIRACLES: According to this we read in II Corinthians 12:12:” Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” The apostle Paul possessed these miracles because God wrought them in Paul. It was to let the people see in the period of Acts that the apostle Paul was sent from God. An example of this we can read in Acts 13:6-11. We cite verse 11:”And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, an thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him (Elymas) a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand”
PROPHECY : Some of the Corinthian believers had this gift! God used people and prophets during the Acts period because His Word wasn’t complete. The so-called New Testament what we have today was not complete in that time! People who prophecied in that time talked to people about the mind and will of God in a perfect way. We can read in I Corinthians 14:3,4: He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church” To build up a local church it was better to prophecy than to speak in tongues. Also prophecy had his rules. Prophecy had his order. We read in verse 40: Let all things be done decently and in order” We can read in I Corinthians 14:29-33 that God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all churches of the saints we read here. Prophecy was necessary because in the Acts period the Word of God was not complete!
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS: the purpose of this supernatural gift what was given by God is the following: it was given to persons because to be sure whether some person was demon possessed. Under the time when our Lord was on earth and also in the Acts period demon possession was familiair. We know also what happened in Philipi when Paul and Silas were there. We read in Acts 16: 16-18: “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” This evil spirit tried to mock the apostle. The apostle had the gift to discern this evil spirit. Paul had also the gift of knowledge so he could speak and drove out this to the evil spirit who possessed the damsel. In this dispensation of grace and heavenly program of God demon possession is not anymore here on earth! If somebody is saved by grace alone, by faith alone and in Christ alone he or she has the Holy Spirit. A believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit Ephesians 1;13,14. It is not possible for him or her to be demon possessed! A person now in this day of grace can be neurotic or has physical abnormalities or other abnormalities in his head. Such person cannot be healed like the damsel in Phillipi! We can pray for such a person, that’s the only thing we can do.
The conclusion about the Sign gifts is that the Sign gifts disappeared after the transition period of Acts. These sign doesn’t exist anymore in this dispensation of grace!! What we now have is in I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” These 3 replaced all the SIGN gifts when the Word of God became complete and these 3 shall continue till the end of this dispensation when the Lord Jesus Christ will bring us in His presence ! I Thessalonians 4:13-18, Titus 2:13, Philippians 3:20.
When was God’s Word complete? We read in Colossians 1:25,26: “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints” Personally for me this is the verse that let us see that the Word of God is complete and specially the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Mystery, what the apostle Paul preached to the Gentiles Ephesians 3:3!
We begin with the word FAITH: this is the keystone in this day of grace, under this dispensation of grace under which we live as believers! We believe that God exists and we believe that in Christ we have eternal life because God in Christ gave His life for us sinners and have forgiven all our sins through the blood of Christ which was shed on Calvary and He rose from the death for our righteousness I Corinthians 15:3,4. Through His grace we as believers are saved through faith and that not of ourselves: it is a gift from God; Not of works, lest any man should boast! Ephesians 2:8,9!!! It is HIS FAITH that saved us!!! Now we are on earth to serve Him where we live and as we step into the glory of His presence our faith shall turn to sight! That’s why we walk by faith, not by sight 2 Corinthians 5:7. Our faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God Romans 10:17.
HOPE: As believers we have hope, hope is in our Lord Jesus Christ! The hope in Him is because He gave us eternal life and one day He will bring us into His presence, in heaven litteraly. Till that moment we have hope.
And when that moment became reality than we have no more hope because we are in heaven! In Romans 8:24,25 we read: “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” With patience we wait for the rapture and that can be every moment! Let’s read this in I Corinthians 15: 51: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” This is our hope!!!! This is more than what happen in the Charismatic movement like speaking in so called tongues, healings, dreams etc. In answer to all these heal meetings we have the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house (our body which is corruptible) of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” Let this verse rule our hearts and let this be in our daily life: we walk by faith and not by sight!!!!, 2 Corinthians 5:7. In Jesus Christ we have our resurrection, eternal life, reigning position!
The last word is CHARITY or LOVE: This will endure eternal!!! God is LOVE. In Romans 5:8 we read : “But God commandeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” That God in His Son Jesus Christ gave His life for you and me is the greatest love!!!! He had redeemed us through His love and one day He will bring us home and LOVE will abide forever. This LOVE of God heals our hearts. The love of God is in our hearts so thus for our daily life we have to love one another and bear one another’s burdens because we are members of the body of Christ. We read this in Galatians 6:2: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”.
So in this part we have seen that in the transition period , the book of Acts were the SIGN gifts as speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, healings, miracles, knowledge , prophecy, discerning of spirits. We have seen why these SIGH gifts were given. We have seen the difference between the gifts given in Mark 16 and the gifts which were given to the believers at Corinth! We have also seen when these SIGN gifts stopped and passed away. Now we have faith, hope and love and love will be forever!