THE BIBLICAL TONGUES AND THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT

image of ancient crossTHE BIBLICAL TONGUES AND THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT

The following brief article on the use of “ tongues”, or the “ charismata” ( glossolalia) in early Apostolic and sub-Apostolic times, is posted here in order to illustrate the true and the false notions concerning “tongues” which are and have been entertained in more recent times. The Prophet Joel spoke of the “ former” and the “ latter” rain outpouring of the Spirit of God “ to all flesh” ( believing remnant of Israel and then subsequently the Gentile believers from all nations during the early church era).

His typology and imagery was taken from the curious meteorological phenomena in Palestine which accorded with the agricultural cycle of sowing, growth, and reaping, and which Joel used to illustrate the fact that the future “ outpouring of the Holy Spirit” on the day of Pentecost, would NOT be a permanent fixture, but would, according to the prophecy of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, soon after the event “ CEASE”. In Palestine, seed sown in the fields depended on good soaking rain to fall in order to “ germinate” or “ establish” the seed for growth. This event was known as the “ former rain”. The “ later rain” was a period near the END of the annual agricultural cycle prior to harvest on which the farmer or peasant relied on to fall and give a “ plentiful harvest” by “ bloating” the seed/corn “ in the ear”. Once again, the rains were considerable, but if they fell DURING the growing season of the plant, ( namely between the former and latter rain downpour periods) they would inevitably destroy the crop, and were regarded as a dearth-causing blight.

By the time of Bishop Hippolytus of Porto, nearing the end of the second century A.D., it became apparent that the original “ manifestations” of the charismata with tongues ( given to the Apostles and their early disciples, the last of which died out near the end of the second century A.D.), had CEASED, and that the “germinal church seed” had been fully established in the “ field of the world”. The heretical Montanist movement, however, claimed to be “ continuing” the early charismata, and through the formidable influence of their ablest disciple, Tertullian, the false notion of the continuation of the “ charismata” entered the Catholic Church and was soon embraced by the Western ( Roman) Priesthood and what later came to be called the “ Papacy”. Saint Gregory Nazianzus, when referring to the “ false spirit” of the “ new prophets” ( the Montanists), claimed that the spirit was a demonic one ( from the daemon “ Cybele”), and to be avoided at all costs..

Earlier, in the mid to latter part of the second century, Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon had made the same claims against the then newly emerging Montanist movement and heresy. Montanism became the base for the growing pretensions to “ Papal Infallibility” and the platform upon which doctrines concerning the Roman Catholic supremacy, as well as the so-called teachings about the “ continuation of the charismata/gifts”, would be perpetuated. The fact that there is a “ continuing line” of claimants to the perpetuation of the charismata over the last 1900 years, from Montanus to Mani to Mahommed to the Paulicans to the Cathars and Albigensian heretics to the Franciscan Spirituals to the Anabaptists of Munster to the Rosicrucian sects such as the Quakers and the Shakers and the Mormons to the Irvingite, Welsh, and Azusa Street “ Revivals” and the modern “ Pentecostal and Charismatic” phenomena proves well the false and counterfeit nature of these fake and evil spiritual movements.

Like Nadab and Abihu of old, myriads of men and women have kindled an “ evil fire” on the altar of God’s indwelling presence over the last 19 centuries, and continue to do so at their peril. It is our firm belief that “ signs are for the Jew FIRST”, and that no “ latter rain” outpouring can or will occur except “ to the Jew first” during the near yet future time of the return and appearing of Elijah and Enoch; the only two “ witnesses” who have yet to die, and do so at the hands of the final world Emperor Antichrist. All previous manifestations of tongues and the charismata, since the late second century A.D., have been counterfeit manifestations and a “ blight” to the crop of God. They have been little more than a pseudo-christian form of demonic possession and shamanism, and men and women everywhere are warned to flee for their eternal lives these past and present movements which are consuming the Christian world with an “ evil kindled fire”, just as the Montanists of sub-Apostolic days had done, and which their present disciples in the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, continue to do.

Christ Himself in the Book of Matthew warned the Christian Church that there would come a movement which would call Him “ Lord, Lord” ( claiming to be “ born again”), and would prophecy and perform works of wonder ( the charismata), to which he exclaims

“ Be gone from me, ye who work iniquity; for I never knew you”….. We must all await the soon return of Elijah and Enoch “ to the Jew first” who will inaugurate the TRUE “ latter rain outpouring of Joel”, and restore sanity to the faithful remnant of Christendom and empower the persecuted Church to withstand the coming holocaust of the final Antichrist Emperor and False Prophet, and the treason of false brethren and sisters. May God Almighty have mercy on the believing remnant, and may many be led to Righteousness in Christ in preparation for the looming world-wide persecution…. MARANATHA….

ON THE BIBLICAL TONGUES by A.R.Faussett from his “ Cyclopedia”

Mar 16:17; Act 2:1-13; Act 10:46; Act 19:6; Act 19:1 Corinthians 12,14. The Alexandrinus manuscript confirms Mar 16:9-20; The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts, omit it; “they shall speak with “new” (“not known before”, kainais) tongues”; this promise is not restricted to apostles; “these signs shall follow them that believe.” a proof to the unbelieving that believers were under a higher power than mere enthusiasm or imagination. The “rushing mighty wind” on Pentecost is paralleled in Eze 1:24; Eze 37:1-14; Eze 43:2; Gen 1:2; 1Ki 19:11; 2Ch 5:14; Psa 104:3-4. The “tongues like as of fire” in the establishing of the New Testament church answer to Exo 19:18, at the giving of the Old Testament law on Sinai, and Eze 1:4 “a fire enfolding itself”; compare Jer 23:29; Luk 24:32.

They were “cloven” (diamerizomenai), rather distributed to them severally. The disciples were “filled with the Holy Spirit”; as John the Baptist and our Lord (Luk 1:15; Luk 4:1). “They began to speak with “other” (heterais, different from their ordinary) tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Then “the multitude were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language; and they marveled saying, Behold are not all these which speak Galileans? and how hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born, the wonderful works of God?” This proves that as Babel brought as its penalty the confusion of tongues, so the Pentecostal gift of tongues symbolizes the reunion of the scattered nations. Still praise, not teaching, was the invariable use made of the gift. The places where tongues were exercised were just where there was least need of preaching in foreign tongues (Act 2:1-4; Act 10:46; Act 19:6; Act 19:1 Corinthians 14).

Tongues were not at their command whenever they pleased to teach those of different languages. The gift came, like prophesying, only in God’s way and time (Act 2:1-18; Act 10:46; Act 19:6). No express mention is made of any apostle or evangelist preaching in any tongue save Greek or Hebrew (Aramaic). Probably Paul did so in Lycaonia (Act 14:11; Act 14:15; he says (1Co 14:18) “I speak with tongues (the Vaticanus manuscript, but the Sinaiticus and the Alexandrinus manuscripts ‘with a tongue’) more than ye all.” Throughout his long notice of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 he never alludes to their use for making one’s self intelligible to foreigners. This would have been the natural use for him to have urged their possessors to put them to, instead of interrupting church worship at home by their unmeaning display.

Papias (in Eusebius, H. E. iii. 30) says Mark accompanied Peter as an “interpreter,” i.e. to express in appropriate language Peter’s thought, so that the gift of tongues cannot have been in Papias’ view a continuous gift with that apostle. Aramaic Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (the three languages over the cross) were the general media of converse throughout the civilised world, owing to Alexander’s empire first, then the Roman. The epistles are all in Greek, not only to Corinth, but to Thessalonica, Philippi, Rome. Ephesus, and Colosse. The term used of “tongues” (apofthengesthai, not only lalein) implies a solemn utterance as of prophets or inspired musicians (Septuagint 1Ch 25:1; Eze 13:9). In the first instance (Acts 2) the tongues were used in doxology; but when teaching followed it was in ordinary language, understood by the Jews, that Peter spoke.

Those who spoke with tongues seemed to beholders as if “full of new wide,” namely, excited and enthusiastic (Act 2:13; Act 2:15-18), in a state raised out of themselves. Hence, Paul contrasts the being “drunk with wine” with being “filled with the Spirit, speaking in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph 5:18-19). The ecstatic songs of praise in the Old Testament, poured out by the prophets and their disciples, and the inspired musicians of the sanctuary, correspond (1Sa 10:5-13; 1Sa 19:20-24; 1Ch 25:3). In 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 14 tongues are placed lowest in the scale of gifts (1Co 12:31; 1Co 14:5). Their three characteristics were:

(1) all ecstatic state of comparative rapt unconsciousness, the will being acted on by a power from above;
(2) words uttered, often unintelligible;
(3) languages spoken which ordinarily the speaker could not speak.

They, like prophesyings, were under control of their possessors (1Co 14:32), and needed to be kept in due order, else confusion in church meetings would ensue (1Co 14:23; 1Co 14:39). The tongues, as evidencing a divine power raising them above themselves, were valued by Paul; but they suited the childhood (1Co 14:20; 1Co 13:11), as prophesying or inspired preaching the manhood, of the Christian life. The possessor of the tongue “spoke mysteries,” praying, blessing, and giving thanks, but no one understood him; the “spirit” (pneuma) but not “understanding” (nous) was active (1Co 14:14-19). Yet he might edify himself (1Co 14:4) with a tongue which to bystanders seemed a madman’s ravings, but to himself was the expression of ecstatic adoration. “Five words” spoken “with the understanding” so as to “teach others” are preferable to “ten thousand in an unknown tongue.”

In Isa 28:9-12 God virtually says of Israel, “this people hear Me not though I speak to them in their familiar tongue, I will therefore speak to them in other tongues, namely, that of the foes whom I will send against them, yet even then they will not hearken to Me.” Paul thus applies it: ye see it is a penalty to encouuter men of a strange tongue, yet this you impose on the church by abusing instead of using the tongue intelligibly. Speakers in foreign tongues speak like “children weaned from the milk, with stammering lips,” ridiculous because unintelligible to the hearers (Isa 28:14), or like babbling drunkards (Act 2:13), or madmen (1Co 14:20-23).

Thus, Isaiah (Isa 28:9-14) shows that “tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.” Tongues either awaken to spiritual attention the unconverted or, if despised, condemn (compare “sign” in a condemnatory sense, Eze 4:3-4; Mat 12:39-42), those who, like Israel, reject the sign and the accompanying message; compare Act 2:8; Act 2:13; 1Co 14:22; “yet, for all that will they not hear Me,” even such miraculous signs fail to arouse them; therefore since they will not understand they shall not understand. “Tongues of men” and “divers kinds of tongues” (1Co 12:10; 1Co 12:28; 1Co 13:1) imply diversity, which applies certainly to languages, and includes also the kind of tongues which was a spiritual language unknown to man, uttered in ecstasy (1Co 14:2). It was only by “interpreting” that the “understanding” accompanied the tongues.

He who spoke (praying) in a tongue should pray that he might (be able to) interpret for edification of the church (1Co 14:13; 1Co 14:26-27). Hebrew and Aramaic words spoken in the spirit or quoted from the Old Testament often produced a more solemn effect upon Greeks than the corresponding Greek terms; Compare 1Co 16:22, Maranatha, 1Co 12:3; Lord of sabaoth, Jam 5:4; Abba, the adoption cry, Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6; Alleluia, Rev 19:1; Rev 19:6; Hosannah, Mat 21:9; Mat 21:15. “Tongues of angels” (1Co 13:1) are such as Daniel and John in Revelation heard; and Paul, when caught up to paradise (2Co 12:4).

An intonation in speaking with tongues is implied in Paul’s comparison to the tones of the harp and pipe, which however he insists have distinction of sounds, and therefore so ought possessors of tongues to speak intelligibly by interpreting their sense afterward, or after awakening spiritual attention by the mysterious tongue they ought then to follow with “revelation, knowledge, prophesying or doctrine” (1Co 14:6-11); otherwise the speaker with a tongue will be “a barbarian,” i.e. a foreigner in language to the hearer. A musical tone would also be likely in uttering hymns and doxologies, which were the subject matter of the utterance by tongues (Act 2:11). The “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26) and the “melody in the heart” (Eph 5:19) show us how even inarticulate speech like the tongues may edify, though less edifying than articulate and intelligible prophesying or preaching.

Either the speaker with a tongue or a listener might have the gift of interpreting, so he might bring forth deep truths from the seemingly incoherent utterances of foreign, and Aramaic, and strange words (1Co 14:7; 1Co 14:11; 1Co 14:13; 1Co 14:27). When the age of miracle passed (1Co 13:8) the tongues ceased with it; the scaffolding was removed, when the building was complete as regards its first stage; hymns and spiritual snugs took the place of tongues, as preaching took the place of prophesying. Like all God’s gifts, tongues had their counterfeit. The latter are morbid, the forerunners or results of disease. The true tongues were given to men in full vigour, preceded by no fanatic madness, and followed by no prostration as the reaction. Practical, healthy religion marked the daily walk of the churches in which the tongues were manifested. Not these, but the confession of Jesus as Lord with heart and tongue was the declared test of real discipleship (1Co 12:3; 1Jo 4:2-3).

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