Hebrew Roots/The original foundation/Manifestations
THE PURPOSE OF TONGUES
An examination of scripture reveals that there were five occasions in the Book of Acts where believers received the Holy Spirit (the Ruach HaKodesh) and on each occasion there is the manifestations of the Spirit in tongues.
Acts 2: 4 "they began to speak with tongues" Acts 8:17 "when he saw that through the laying on of hands the Holy Spirit was given" (i.e. he saw some evidence) Acts 9:17 "be filled with the Holy Spirit" and the result was Paul spoke with tongues as he testifies Acts 10:46 "they heard them speak with tongues" Acts 19: 6 "they spoke with tongues and prophesied"
"Tongues" is the outward sign of having received the Holy Spirit, an evidence of supernatural manifestations. As people are immersed in the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) the natural outflow is to speak in heavenly languages and glorify Yahweh, as it is an avenue of worship which bypasses the natural mind of man and enables worship to flow from his spirit to God, Who is Spirit. "God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth" John 4:24
In bypassing man's mind and natural emotions, there is a release in the spirit of man and spiritual energy flows through from the Spirit of Yahweh to lift man's spirit to soar into the spiritual realm, i.e. into the kingdom of heaven. It is the means of 'breaking into' the spiritual realm.
The natural man does not comprehend the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14), only through his spirit can he enter in. The natural mind can be a hindrance in receiving the things of the Spirit of God. This immersion is the initial step in 'quickening' - making alive the spirit of man which had fallen asleep in spiritual death at the fall with Adam.
It is also to empower the believer for witness, testimony and service (Acts 1: 8) and to continue the ministry of Y'shua on the earth (John 14:12); also to aid our personal devotional life (Romans 8:26)
The personal gift enables one to maintain their spiritual life through the energising power imparted by it, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God" Jude 20, 21
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
Examining the Book of Corinthians - Summary and Commentary Most of Paul's instruction regarding 'tongues' was to correct error and not systematic instruction in the gifts, which he obviously did with each group when he first established them in the faith, so some re-construction is necessary from what is written to understand their practice of the gifts in their normal function.
Chapter 12 - the Catalogue of the Gifts 12: 1 Ignorance of spiritual gifts is not Yahweh's desire nor Paul's intention. To be ignorant of the gifts is to be without the intended spiritual equipment for the new-creation-man life.
12: 3 The true test of authenticity in the manifestation of a gift is the Lordship of Y'shua the Messiah (1 John 4: 1-3). The Spirit will always glorify Y'shua (John 16:14)
12: 4-6 There are a variety of gifts ministered in different ways, with varying purposes but they are all manifestations of the one Spirit, overseen by the Lord of the 'Ecclessia'/Church, the head of the assembly, and the one God whose power is demonstrated through them all. All of Yahweh's gifts are by His grace (His impartation of spiritual enabling), they are not a mark of personal attainment or spirituality. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) distributes as He wills, not as man desires.
12: 7-11 Paul lists the nine gifts of the Spirit. These are often categorised as follows - Gifts of Revelation Wisdom Knowledge Discernment
Gifts of Power/Demonstration Faith Healings Miracles
Gifts of Proclamation/Vocal Prophecy (inspiration) Tongues Interpretation
These are all different expression of the same Spirit according to His ministry to the Body of Y'shua. They are given vs.7 & 8, and operated by faith. All are encouraged to operate the gifts in verse 11
12:12-27 Paul addresses the need for unity in the Body. The Corinthians Assembly were yet carnal and the operating of the gifts had been with fleshly motivations. Paul teaches them in verse 18 that Yahweh sets the members in the Body as it has pleased Him, the weak, 'uncomely' and strong are all necessary for the growth of the Body. Yahweh's desire is to see that there is no divisions, but rather mutual love and care between all the members of the Body. Differing gifts, ministries and methods of operation do not elevate one above another.
12: 28-31 While Yahweh has set differing offices in the Assembly, not everyone has the same function. Note v.28 that He has set tongues in the Assembly. What He has set in the Body no man can remove.
Chapter 13 -- The Motivation of the Gifts The love chapter placed between the gifts balances the gifts by the motive and manner in which they should be conducted. Maturity as well as unity is needed for the operation of the gifts. Love is essential to maintain the bond of unity. The maturity of love is giving rather than receiving, to bless rather than to be blessed, to see others helped rather than to be helped oneself.
The point is to not use the release of the Spirit for personal gain, but to bless the whole Body and for that, to seek the best, the most appropriate gift to achieve that object, according to the need.
13: 1-3 If not operated in the right spirit born out of love, they are offensive and of no personal benefit or value.
13: 4-8 The many facets of love are described in negative and positive aspects. Compare Galatians 5:22-23
13:8-13 The permanency of love demonstrates its superiority over the gifts of the Spirit. Love is age-enduring whereas the manifestations of the Spirit are for this age only and shall cease to be needed when that which is perfect is come. Then the knowledge of Yahweh shall fill all the earth (Habukkuk 2:14)
Chapter 14 -- The Operation of the Gifts 14: 1 Follow after/pursue love as well as desiring spiritual gifts, One does not replace the other. The word 'desire' in Greek means to earnestly desire, to covet, be jealous for. In the pursuit of love we are to covet gifts that will edify the Body - the motive is to be of love to benefit our brethren. (See 12:31)
14: 2 The person speaking in tongues speaks to Yahweh and not man, therefore the Body is not directly benefited. We speak mysteries in the Spirit and one's own spirit is edified. v.4
14: 3 He who prophesies speaks intelligible things to edify man. Prophecy is an inspired utterance, to speak on Yahweh's behalf in the areas of edification, exhortation and comfort.
14: 4 Speaking in tongues is edifying to one's own spirit. As a dynamo charges a battery, so speaking in tongues builds spiritual power and strength within the spirit of a believer.
14: 5 Paul here establishes several truths -
- he wants everyone to speak in tongues
- he would rather they prophesy in assembly
- prophecy is greater than tongues
- prophecy equals tongues + interpretation
14: 6-11 Paul instructs those speaking, to do so in ways understood by all.
14:12-13 In pursuing and following after spiritual gifts, do it for the edifying of the Body. If you speak in tongues go on to interpret the utterance you have had. Move on from the exhilaration of having the Ruach HaKodesh speak through you, onto the concern for the edification of the Body.
14:14-17 Paul's own testimony of the operation of the Spirit through him - singing and praying in tongues - praying and singing in the Spirit - praying and singing in ... (English)
Paul thus establishes tongues are an aid to prayer
- tongues are an aid to worship
- tongues add a new dimension to prayer and worship
- tongues are not exclusively used for these things
- tongues used exclusively is imbalance
- tongues are activated by the individual's own will.
- (but they spoke as the Spirit gave utterance (Acts 2: 4)
14:18-20 Paul says that he speaks with tongues more than them all - that was his source of power for ministry. But in the assembly he would rather speak only five words in their own tongue that all may be edified. Paul is referring to his personal gift as against the ministry gift of tongues in the assembly
14:21-22 In v.21 Paul quotes from Isaiah 28:11,12 as it being a sign for unbelievers. This occurred at Pentecost when unbelieving Jews heard the phenomena and were converted.
14:23-25 In open meetings, with unbelievers present, the gifts should be to bring conviction and not to confuse
14:26 Instruction on the meetings to include a balance of singing, teaching, exhortation, prophesy and tongues for the edification of all. Each individual is to seek Yahweh and come prepared to worship
14:27-33 The gifts operate at the discretion of the individual and therefore the ministry gift of tongues should be not be used if no one is able to interpret. All gifts are subject to being judged v.29 and must agree with the Word, i.e. 'prove all things' (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
14:34-35 This was instruction relative to a current situation in that assembly, it must be qualified with other scripture such as "I would that you all spoke with tongues" (14:5) "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17,18 & Joel 2:28) "Let everything that has breath praise Yahweh" (Psalm 150: 6)
14:36-40 Considering they were over emphasising gifts, Paul's instruction is very strongly toward their continuance. He makes three main points - 1. Covet to Prophesy but don't stop speaking in tongues 2. Forbid not to speak with tongues even though it had been abused 3. Everything to be done in order and in a proper manner
In Romans "I long to see you that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift" Romans 1:11
To Timothy "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of hands of the presbytery" "Wherefore I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift (charisma) of God, which is in you by the laying on of my hands" 1 Timothy 4:14 & 2 Timothy 1: 6
In Hebrews The laying on of hands to impart gifts is cited as a basic doctrine of the Assembly Hebrews 6: 2 "doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands," compare 2 Tim.1: 6; 4:14; Rom.1:11
To the Galatians "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" "Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Galatians 3:2, 5
To the Ephesians "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord." Ephesians 5:18,19 - compare with 1 Cor,14:15 - Praying with the Spirit and with the understanding. and Colossians 3:16 - Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to God.
To the Thessalonians "Quench not the Spirit" "Despise not prophesyings" "Prove all things" 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21
The Initial Outpouring - Book of Acts
"These signs shall follow those that believe; ... ... they shall speak with new tongues" Mark 16:17 which was fulfilled in Acts 2: 4 where it says, "And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" They began to speak - as the Spirit gave them utterance.
This was the manifestation of them being filled with the Spirit. Their heart had been prepared by ten days of waiting in the upper room in accordance with and in obedience to Y'shua's instruction. Having been taught by Him to expect this infilling, they were hungry to receive the promise of the Father.
"In the law it is written: With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people" 1 Corinthians 14:21