Friday, June 18, 2010


Before I continue sharing my thoughts on when the spiritual gift of tongues will cease, I feel that I should probably say something about the significance of Peter being present when they occurred in Acts Two, Eight, and Ten. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said to Peter, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven...." Jesus was prophesying that Peter would be the one to determine who gets into the kingdom and who does not. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells all the disciples that the progression of the Gospel would be first to the Jew, then to the Samaritans, and finally to the rest of the world (the Gentiles). It was Peter's testimony to the others in Jerusalem that the Samaritans were to be part of the Church (Acts 8:14-17), and that the Gentiles had equal access to salvation through Jesus (Acts 11:1-18). Therefore, tongues were a sign to Jews that they no longer could limit "membership." The statement that they had interpreted as giving them exclusive access to God, in actuality meant that salvation came through the Jews in the person of Jesus Christ (compare Jn. 4:22 with Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:47; Jn. 1:11-12; Acts 1:8). The Apostles must have been slow learners because it took the Apostle Paul confronting them in Acts Fifteen before they "caught on."

Tongues were "the credentials of truth" to Jews. In Mark 16:17-20, tongues were a sign of confirmation that the speaker was of God. The writer of Hebrews declares that signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit served that very purpose saying, "Thus God confirmed the word of His Apostles, bearing them witness..." (Heb. 2:4). Which brings us back to the question of when tongues will cease. Since the purpose of tongues was to confirm truth to the Jews, when the Gospel focus eventually changed to the salvation of the Gentiles, one could expect that the sign gifts might cease. Also, when the writers of the New Testament had completed their work in approximately A.D. 95, there would no longer be a need for supernatural knowledge of God's truth; it had been written and was complete (perfect). And, since God had revealed what He had planned for the future, there was no need for addition prophetic revelation.

The Word says, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). James 1:25 calls the Word, "the perfect law of liberty." Paul says that it is scripture that provides the understanding necessary for the complete equipping of the believer for ministry (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So, the obvious question is, "If tongues have ceased due to the Gospel now being focused upon the Gentiles, and the completion of the perfect Word of God, how do we explain the phenomena of tongues in many churches today?" Lord willing, I will try to address that question tomorrow. Pray for me.

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