Speaking With Other Tongues
By L. E. Kidson
Why This Subject Is Important To You!
Nearly two thousand years ago the greatest manifestation of God’s love for us was seen-on the cross. The supreme price for man’s sin was paid at Calvary on the day Israel celebrated the Passover.
This sacrifice was not without purpose. Man had been enslaved to sin as a result of Adam’s transgression, and all mankind were sentenced to die. The substitutionary death of Jesus frees all who believe from the penalty of death. The power to overcome our sinful nature could not, and did not, come until after the crucifixion and glorification of Jesus.
From what source was such power to come? After the death of Jesus He appeared to many people to make known His resurrection. Then just before ascending into heaven in the sight
of His disciples, He instructed these disciples to wait in Jerusalem to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, saying, ” . . . ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me. . .” Acts 1:8. Jesus did not say “to be witnesses,” but rather ” AND ye shall be witnesses.” The power was for more than an aid in witnessing. Rom. 8, for example, describes the value of the Spirit for living a holy life.
The baptism with (or in) the Spirit is very important for another, though not unrelated, reason. Paul taught (1 Cor. 12:12, 13) that “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,” the body of Christ. Paul also taught that the body of Christ is the church (Col. 1:18, 24).
The disciples went to Jerusalem and waited according to the command of Jesus. They continued there “with one accord in prayer and supplication.” On the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the death of Jesus, the disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost. That occasion was the beginning of the church age and the church dispensation.
The question then is this: Are YOU in the BODY of CHRIST the CHURCH?
Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit? How do you know? What does the Bible teach?
Now we have come to our subject – DO ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES? The disciples spoke with tongues at Pentecost. Was such a manifestation for them alone, or did God intend that the speaking with other languages should always accompany the receiving of the Holy Ghost? If all speak with tongues, HAVE YOU?
The Day Of Pentecost
Let us observe certain significant features of the events and the calling of the day of Pentecost.
“ALL” who were filled with the Holy Ghost at the first outpouring of the Spirit spoke with “OTHER TONGUES” (languages other than their own ) as the Spirit of God gave them utterance.
A comparison of Acts 1:13-15 with Acts 2:1 indicates that per- haps about one hundred and twenty persons are referred to in Acts 2:4.
Jews from every nation under heaven heard their different languages spoken miraculously by the disciples.
There is no Bible record of God ever speaking a foreign language through man in this way before Pentecost, unless it could be in the case of Jesus, Who was both God and man. The tongues came for the first time precisely when the Spirit of God was first given in the Pentecostal sense. That the Holy Ghost and the speaking with other tongues came for the first time at the same time was no more coincidence. God planned it so. A precedent and a norm were being established for others who would likewise receive the Spirit. Tongues were to be a proof of the reception of the Holy Ghost.
Peter, in explaining the happenings of the day, said in part:
“. . . this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. . .”
Peter continued with more of the prophecy of Joel. Since Israel had prophets previously, this prophecy went beyond what Israel ever had. And since prophecy can be given in other tongues (1 Cor. 14:6; etc.), the prophecy of Joel doubtlessly refers, at least in part, to God’s plan for other tongues to accompany the receiving of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples spoke in various languages “the wonderful works of God.”
Were Tongues Given at Pentecost Principally To Enable the Foreign Jews To Understand What was Spoken?
If so, why did not God likewise empower others to speak with tongues before this time, such as John the Baptist, the twelve apostles during the earthly ministry of Jesus, and the seventy whom
Jesus sent out? Their messages were also of value for foreign-born Jews residing in Palestine.
And why would God want to speak through ALL on the day of Pentecost, all seemingly speaking at once, if He merely wanted the Jews to understand what was said?
Aramaic was the popular language in Palestine at the time, while Old Testament Hebrew (though not always in an unchanged form) was still in use in schools and religion. The Greek language was widely known and used in the world of that day. Perhaps most, if not all, of the foreign Jews present on the day of Pentecost could understand Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Jerusalem, the location of the temple, was the religious center of the Jews-not like a strange country to them. Therefore, surely no major language problem existed.
If an insurmountable language barrier existed, how did the multitude discover that each one recognized his own language being spoken? For example, who informed the crowd that the Jews from Rome heard their language? And who made it known that the Arabian Jews heard their language spoken? And likewise for those who spoke other languages? Yet the fact that each group heard their own language being spoken became common knowledge, so that the people were able to ask, “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?”
Act 2:8. The Bible says plainly that the multitude spoke “one to another” and the Bible repeats some of their conversation (Acts 2:6- 13).
When the disciples were filled with the Spirit, the multitude “were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12) “Others mocking said, These mean are full of new wine.” Then Peter preached the notable sermon recorded in the second chapter of Acts. It is altogether reasonable to judge that he preached to the entire multitude in only one language. If he had preached to one language “group at a time, he could rightly address only that one group as he began his sermon to them. But the apostle Peter addressed the entire multitude all at one time saying, “Ye men of Judaea, and ALL ye that dwell at Jerusalem . . .” (Acts 2:14). Verse 5 had previously disclosed that these people from every nation were dwelling at Jerusalem. If the tongues were given to enable people to understand what was spoke, why did not God cause the disciples to do the necessary explaining in other languages? When the people asked the vital question, “What shall we do?” again it was Peter who gave the answer.
The tongues may have been profitable on the day of Pentecost to enable some to better understand part of what was spoken, but it is quite evident that the enabling of people to understand was not the primary purpose of the tongues. Furthermore, the Bible does not state that tongues ever were given, or ever would be given, to overcome language barriers.
THE HOUSE OF CORNELIUS
(Acts 10 And 11)
All received the Holy Ghost and spoke with tongues.
The Jews who were with Peter were convinced that the Gentiles received the Holy Ghost, “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God . . .” Acts 10:4-5, 46.
Peter adds that “the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).
The tongue spoken were not the Gentiles own language or languages. The proof is as follows:
1. They spoke with tongues (plural). The Gentiles possibly would have spoken in only one language if the Spirit had not caused them to speak with other languages.
2. The Bible abounds with examples of Moses, David, Mary, and others magnifying God before Pentecost. Cornelius was “a devout man, and one that feared God” (Acts 10:2) before he received the Holy Ghost. It would be inconceivable to believe that he had not magnified God many times. Therefore, for the Jews who came with Peter to believe that these Gentiles received the experience first given on the day of Pentecost, more would be required to convince them than hearing the Gentiles magnify God in some language or languages which they already knew.
3. To add that the Jews heard the Gentiles “speak with tongues” would be a superfluous comment if magnifying God was the thing which convinced the Jews. To avoid ambiguity, the verse might then have read, “For they heard them magnify God . . . ” As the verse rightly reads, it helps to prove that the Gentiles spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
4. Again consider the words of Peter: ” . . . as on us in the beginning.” Actual other languages were spoken on the day of Pentecost.
It has been suggested that tongues may have been given to the Gentiles because of a language barrier to enable the apostle Peter, for instance, to know that the Gentiles were praising God. Such a suggestion is implausible, because the apostle Peter had just been able to preach to them, either directly or through an interpreter. Also, why would they need to speak in more than one language merely to enable Peter to understand?
God had told Peter to preach to these Gentiles. Consequently, when they spoke with tongues, there was no need to wonder whether God or Satan caused them to speak. The tongues, therefore, were positive proof that the Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost. If we receive righteousness, peace, and joy when we speak with tongues, there need be no fear as to whether or not we have received the Holy Ghost.
Was the Convincing of the Jews God’s Primary Purpose In Causing the Gentiles To Speak with Other Languages?
One belief is that the tongues were given at the house of Cornelius to prove to the Jews, and possibly assure the Gentiles, that Gentiles were acceptable to God for salvation. The Bible nowhere states that this was the purpose. Since tongues were also present when people received the Holy Ghost not only at Pentecost, but at Ephesus, why should anyone think that the need for convincing the Jews solely accounts for the presence of tongues at the house of Cornelius?
More than one use fulness can be pointed out for the tongues at the house of Cornelius. First, the tongues showed which particular Gentiles received the Holy Ghost. Secondly, since these were the first Gentiles to receive the Holy Ghost, the tongues revealed that salvation was for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews. Thirdly, the Pentecostal pattern of speaking with tongues at the time of receiving the Holy Ghost was shown to be for Gentiles as well as for Jews.
Tongues At Ephesus
The twelve men “spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:6) when they received the Holy Ghost.
“Spake with tongues” and other like expressions are never used in the Bible except when referring to the speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance.
There was no extraordinary circumstance which alone could account for the tongues at Ephesus. The twelve men, being disciples of John the Baptist, were Israelites. These men needed the same Christian water baptism commanded all Jews on the day of Pentecost. Possibly more than twenty years had elapsed since the day af Pentecost. The most sincere Jews had become disciples of John, recognizing that he was sent by God, and we can be sure that many disciples of John had accepted the apostles’ teaching through the years since Pentecost. If after
more than twenty years, God, by means of other tongues, authenticated the receiving of the Holy Ghost by the twelve men merely to confirm some truth which the apostles had been preaching through the years, we could also say that there is a continuing need in every age and in every place to confirm in like manner the truth of the gospel. In reality, however, the twelve men spoke with tongues in accordance with God’s usual method of giving the Holy Spirit, and this method naturally has the ever-present effect of confirming the gospel.
Paul’s first “recorded words to these twelve disciples of John the Baptist were, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2) In place of “since ye believed,” some translators have substituted such words as “when ye believed.” Since believed in this verse is taken from a Greek artist participle. Time is not expressed in the word itself, but must be determined by the context or other scriptures. This word can be translated “believing” or “having believed.” If we should allow the verse to read “when ye believed,” Paul’s question would still suggest that these disciples could have had some faith, and yet not have received the Holy Ghost. A person can, of course, receive the Holy Ghost only after believing (Eph. 1:13); and the Holy Ghost was never promised to anyone before being baptized in water (Acts 2:38), though God can overstep this order, as He did at the house of Cornelius. At Samaria (Acts 8) and at Ephesus the Holy Ghost was not given until after water baptism.
Paul’s question was not, “Have ye believed?” or “Have ye been baptized” His chief concern was, “. . . Have ye received the Holy Ghost . . . ?” It is possible to know the answer to this question. We can not afford to assume that we have the Holy Ghost because we think we have believed, or because we have been baptized; but we need the same evidence which accompanied the receiving of the Holy Ghost in Bible days.
TONGUES AT SAMARIA
At Samaria, Simon, who had been a sorcerer, “SAW that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given” (Acts 8:18). It is exceedingly doubtful that Simon would have offered money for power to lay hands on people that they might receive the Holy Ghost if nothing obviously happened when the people received the Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, Peter said that God “hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Is it not reasonable to conclude that, in addition to the inward works of the Spirit, the Samaritans also spoke with tongues according to the pattern established at Pentecost, and re-emphasized at the house of Cornelius and at Ephesus?
Tongues Need Not Always Be Mentioned
The statement has been made that the Samaritans (Acts 8) and Paul (Acts 9) did not speak with tongues when they received the Holy Ghost, because the Bible does not mention that they did. Is this true?
If so, then it can be said that the three thousand who were added to the church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) did not receive the Holy Ghost, because the Bible does not inform us that they did. A close look at the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John reveals that each Gospel is not an exact repetition of the other Gospels. There is variation, for instance, as to which events in the life of Christ are narrated, and there are differences as to the number of details given relative to the events described. God, in Wis wisdom, chose not to multiply details excessively. Many Bibles now are left to collect dust. How would it have been if many books the size of the Bible had been written?
Two Or Three Witnesses
In the law of Moses, two or three witnesses were sufficient to convict a man (Duet. 19:15). The apostle Paul, referring to establishing the word of truth, said, “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 2 Cor. 13:1. Jesus applied the truth of Deut. 19:15 in proving that His witness concerning Himself was true (John 8:17, 18). Because, especially, of the different applications shown to be possible for the inherent truth of Deut. 19:15, it is not far fetched to believe that the speaking with tongues at Pentecost, at the house of Cornelius, and at Ephesus (three witnesses) offers strong testimony to the fact that all, when baptized with the Holy Ghost, speak with one of more languages as the Spirit gives them utterance.
Only five accounts are given in the Bible from Pentecost onward concerning the exact occasions of particular persons receiving the Holy Ghost. These are : Acts 2 – disciples at Pentecost; Acts 8 – Samaritans; Acts 9 – Paul ; Acts 10 and 11 – Gentiles at the house of Cornelius; and Acts 19 – twelve men at Ephesus. Whereas the speaking with tongues is specifically named as having occurred on three of these occasions, we do not have so much as two examples where any other one thing is said to have accompanied the Spirit baptism. This does not mean that nothing else took place, but it does help to emphasize the prominent part of tongues in the receiving of the Holy Ghost.
PAUL’S QUESTION: “DO ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES?” (I Cor. 12:29, 30) To understand this question, it is necessary to understand the occasion of its being spoken. Paul is addressing, in a letter, the Christians of an established church. He is not writing to sinners, and he is not discussing how one receives – the Holy Ghost. He is giving instruction relative to the differing works of the various members of a church. Paul’s question is asked along with other questions, all of which require the answer “No.”
By comparing other scriptures, it helps us to form the conclusion that Paul did not mean, “Do all ever at any time speak with tongues?” He rather meant, “Do all have the gift, or ministry of tongues, whereby they speak more or less regularly with tongues?”
“To illustrate, suppose someone enquired of a church as follows: “Do all members of this church use the Authorized Version of the Bible ?” If one member had used this version until a year ago, but since then had discarded it and switched to another version, the answer to the question would have to be “No” regardless of the fact that at one time he had used the named version. This is
a simplified illustration to show that Paul’s question need not be irreconcilable with the teaching that all speak with one or more languages at the time they receive the Holy Ghost. Paul’s question might be re-framed to read, “Do all at this time, or at any other given time (within proper limits), speak with tongues?”
Let us, for comparison, consider another gift of the Spirit, the word of wisdom. This special endowment of wisdom is given only to some, but James tells us that God gives wisdom liberally “to all” who ask with unwavering faith (James 1:5). Likewise, the fact that the GIFT of tongues is given only to some does not preclude all from speaking with tongues at the time they receive the Holy Ghost.
That Paul’s question does not refer to the evidence tongues is further shown by the following list of comparisons.
A Comparison Of Gift Tongues And Evidence Tongues
1. Comparison as to the number who speak with tongues.
As pointed out, not all receive the gift of tongues, but the facts already presented indicate that all speak with one or more languages when they receive the Holy Ghost. If the Bible regards all tongues as the gift of tongues, and none as evidence tongues, is it not strange that all spoke with tongues at Pentecost, etc., rather than merely part of the disciples? God easily could have given one gift to one, and one to another.
2. Comparison as to the time given.
Whether or not individuals speak with tongues any after receiving the Holy Ghost, evidence tongues must come at the time the Holy Ghost is given. The gift tongues need not be given at the time a person receives the Holy Ghost, but may be given at any time thereafter. Paul told the Corinthians, who had already received the Holy Ghost to “covet earnestly the best gifts;” and, also, his instruction to some to pray that they might interpret makes it clear that a gift of the Spirit could be received subsequent to the occasion of one’s being baptized with the Holy Ghost. Therefore, since a gift of the Spirit is not always received at the time a person receives the Holy Ghost, is it logical to suppose that at Pentecost, etc. all received the gift of tongues?
3. Comparison as to the number allowed to speak in one service.
Paul limits those using the gift of tongues to two or three persons in one service. At Pentecost, etc. all spoke.
Comparison as to the order of the speakers.
Those using the gift of tongues in a church service are to speak by course (I Cor. 14:27). On the day of Pentecost, at the house of Cornelius, and at Ephesus, those receiving the Holy Ghost apparently all spoke simultaneously. That God sometimes is not adverse to having many speak at once can be shown by His causing the seventy elders of Israel to prophesy at once (Num. 11:24-28).
5. Comparison as to the need for an interpreter.
In the use of the gift of tongues in a church service, a person is not to speak unless there is an interpreter. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples began to speak with tongues before the multitude gathered. There is no scriptural proof that what the disciples first spoke was fully understood. Those who received the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, etc. spoke with tongues as a result of the Spirit of God taking control of them. It is extremely improbable that the disciples at Pentecost, or the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius, had any foreknowledge that they would speak with tongues. There is no reason to believe that they gave any forethought as to whether or not the languages would be understood. It was a work of the Spirit of God. In 1 Corinthians, Paul is not giving instruction for receiving the Holy Ghost, but he is instructing Spirit-filled believers in the use of the gift of tongues. A person with the gift of tongues should also speak with tongues when led of God to do so, for God knows when someone present will understand. God can, if He chooses, go beyond the rules given by Paul for the use of the gift of tongues, but the preceding comparisons lend solid support to the conclusion that the evidence tongues differ from the gift tongues.
Value Of An Outward Evidence
Man is often incapable of judging his standing with God, as to whether he has the proper love of God in his heart, and whether the Spirit of God has borne witness to his heart that he is at complete peace with God.
Jer. 17:9 : “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Prov. 21:2: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”
The tendency of the natural man often is to compare himself with others, rather than to compare himself with God’s yardstick, which many times he really is unable to read. But Paul says in 2 Cor. 10:12:
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Though Paul is referring, at least in part, to church people, the fault is common among those who are not spiritual.
To judge properly, we must have spiritual discernment. 1 Cor. 2:14 says:
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Only those who receive the Spirit know fully what the experience is like.
People can confuse a lesser experience with God with the receiving of the Holy Ghost. A change of heart was possible to an extent in Old Testament times, as shown by Ps. 51:10 and 1 Chron. 29:18, 19. Even so today, God often does a work in a person’s heart before the person receives the Spirit; but God does a greater work in his heart when giving him the Holy Spirit. A person can think the lesser experience is the Holy Ghost baptism.
A parent can commend a child for doing something good, even though the child is not doing all the parent wishes. Similarly, God can give a person a portion of peace without meaning the one has met God’s conditions for full salvation.
When someone receives the Spirit, the love of God and the peace of God will be in his heart; but because the natural man would often be willing to settle for something less than God’s best, the tongues serve a very useful purpose as an outward miraculous evidence, given in addition to the inward evidences.
TONGUES UNIQUELY APPROPRIATE AS AN INITIAL EVIDENCE
The Pentecostal type of speaking with tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance is a uniquely appropriate evidence, because the Bible does not mention such a miracle as ever having occurred before the day of Pentecost. God had confounded the language of the people at the time of the building of the tower of Babel (Gen. 11); but there He caused many to forget their
old language, and He gave them new languages. Also, God had caused a donkey to speak to a man in the man’s language (Num.22). Some have supposed that Jesus spoke with tongues, because of certain passages in the Gospels; but Jesus may have understood, before speaking, what He was going to say. In either case, Jesus was both God and man. At Pentecost, the people spoke languages which they had never learned, a like miracle having never been recorded in the Scriptures.
Prophecy would not have been a good evidence to accompany the receiving of the Holy Ghost, because many had prophesied before the day of Pentecost. Words of wisdom would not have been a good evidence, because Solomon, for instance, had great wisdom before Pentecost. Words of knowledge would not have been a good evidence, because Moses and others had supernatural knowledge before Pentecost. Miracles of various sorts would not have been a good evidence, because miracles were worked by Elisha and others before Pentecost. Faith would not have been a good evidence; because, in addition to possibly not being immediately recognized, people had faith before Pentecost (Heb. 11). Healings would not have been a good
evidence, because, for example, the apostles were used in the healing ministry before Pentecost – yet they did not receive the Holy Ghost until Pentecost. There is, however, no Bible record that the Pentecostal type of tongues had ever occurred before the day of Pentecost. The utter amazement of the multitude on the day of Pentecost indicates that surely they were not aware of any such miracle in the past. Had the prophecy of Isaiah concerning tongues been fulfilled before Pentecost, surely the Bible would have recorded the fulfillment.
1. Works of Spirit-filled believers often bear witness to the fact that these followers of Christ have received special power from God. The operation of gifts of the Spirit may be found among those who have been baptized with the Holy Ghost. I have never seen anyone used of God in divine healing, for example, to compare with those who spoke with tongues when they received the Holy Ghost. It is true that some healings have taken place through the faith of others, but God even allowed a man who did not follow Jesus to cast out devils in the name of Jesus. Other gifts of the Spirit are likewise prominent among Spirit-filled people.
2. The fruit of Spirit-filled people is also outstanding. When individuals are baptized with the Holy Ghost, often the following observations may be made. They have a thrilling experience, and a marked change takes place in their lives. They discover new horizons in their relationship with God, and in the possibilities of service for Christ. There is a fervency of spirit, a compassion for the lost, a tender conscience, and a godly boldness. As in Bible days, not all continue to maintain this high standard, but that is not a shortcoming of the experience: it is because of neglecting to use the same diligently to stay filled with the Spirit as was required at first to be filled.
3. Individuals who have had a previous experience with God often testify to having a much greater experience when they receive the Holy Ghost.
4. Proof that God is willing to give the evidence of tongues can partly be seen by the vast number of people who have spoken with tongues in our time.
DID PAUL MINIMIZE TONGUES AND DISCOURAGE THEIR USE?
Those who affirm that Paul did minimize tongues and discourage their use quote from his letter to the Corinthians. It must be remembered that Paul in this letter deals primarily with the gift of tongues, though a part of what he says is equally true for the evidence tongues.
As to the gift of tongues, the Bible nowhere states explicitly that it is the least of the gifts. And the place given to tongues in the lists of gifts of the Spirit, of ministries, etc. is not of necessity indicative of their importance. Lists are found at 1 Cor. 12:8-10; 12:28 ; 12:29, 30; 13:8 ; and 14:26. Notice that tongues, prophecy, knowledge, etc. are not always given the same positions in the lists. The fact that tongues and interpretation are listed last in some of the lists may be due, at least in part, to the need for both gifts working together so that the church might be edified – unless someone is present who naturally understands the language spoken, in which case the gift of interpretation is not needed.
In 1 Cor. 14:1, Paul says, ” . . . desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” He then proceeds to compare prophecy with tongues only, making it here appear that he considered tongues only a step below prophecy. Having included all gifts in verse 1, if tongues were insignificant, why did he not compare prophecy with all of the gifts, rather than with tongues only? In a following verse, Paul teaches that tongues plus interpretation equals prophecy (1 Cor. 14:5), thus giving tongues a high place of honor. Paul had instructed these Spirit-filled people to desire spiritual gifts. His concern was with the merits of tongues for the edification of the church. He was not here concerned with the value of tongues as an outward evidence accompanying the Spirit baptism.
Tongues as a sign to unbelievers is always valuable. Pentecost illustrated this. God chose tongues to help bring in the grace dispensation.
Even if the gift of tongues may be regarded as a comparatively small gift in any sense, 1 Cor. 12:22 teaches that every member of the body is necessary. Therefore, it is necessary for the church to have those who possess the gift of tongues.
In I Cor. 14:18, Paul says, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.” Some manuscripts had “a tongue” rather than “tongues.” Even if this reading should be correct, Paul could speak with only one language at a time, and the gift is “kinds of tongues” (plural) (1 Cor. 12:10). Therefore, Paul spoke with more than one new language as the Spirit gave him the utterance.
Paul also said, “I would that ye all spake with tongues. . .” I Cor. 14 :5.
Also, ” . . . forbid not to speak with tongues.” I Cor. 14:39.
And who can rightfully belittle tongues? God set tongues in the church (1 Cor. 12:28), and the tongues are given by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 12:8-10).
Any honest-hearted pastor who believes that the gift of tongues is for us today as in Bible days wants the gift in his church. The reason many churches do not have the tongues and other gifts of the Spirit is obvious-they have not been baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Some ministers who condemn present-day tongues are quick to magnify prophecy, and to consider their preaching prophecy. In some instances they are like certain ones to whom Jesus spoke, saying, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matt. 3:13.
And it is not enough merely not to oppose the speaking with tongues. We need to be actively for everything that is of God. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matt. 12:30.
Seek a Bible-believing, Bible-loving, and Bible-obeying church for your church home.
PURPOSES OF TONGUES
1. To serve as an outward evidence of the reception of the Holy Spirit, as already shown.
2. To be a sign to unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:22). This purpose was clearly demonstrated on the day of Pentecost. As a result of the tongues, the multitude gathered, and three thousand were receptive to Peter’s explanation and preaching. The statement that “tongues are for a sign . . . to them that believe not” does not mean that tongues can have no other purpose. If such were true, the gift of interpretation would not be needed. No interpreter was required at Pentecost, and no interpreter is necessary at any time tongues are given for a sign to unbelievers.
3. To edify the church, when the tongues are interpreted (1 Cor. 14:5; etc.).
4. To edify oneself (1 Cor. 14-:4-, 28). Just to know that the God of the universe would condescend to speak through a person miraculously in a language he never learned, and to feel the glorious presence of God at the same time, is indeed edifying to oneself.
Specific uses of tongues.
1. To proclaim the Gospel, etc.
The disciples on the day of Pentecost spoke the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11).
1 Cor. 14:6 (especially because “tongues” is plural) may well indicate that tongues can be revelation, knowledge, prophesying, or doctrine.
In brief, it can be stated that the Bible and present-day experience reveal a close similarity in the types of messages given in tongues and in prophecy. Such a similarity may be implied in the teaching of Paul that tongues plus interpretation equals prophecy. In both tongues and prophecy, God is the Speaker. In Isaiah’s prophecy concerning tongues (Isa. 28:11,12; 1 Cor. 14:21), he prophesied that God would: use the tongues to speak “to this people.” The full scope of God’s messages to the people is not indicated. As in prophecy, God can speak by means of the tongues to individuals or to groups, and the messages can be to reprove, correct, instruct, encourage, etc.
2. To pray and give thanks (1 Cor. 14:14-17).
3. To sing (I Cor. 14:15).
Tongues were not given for use by missionaries only.
In the first place, the Bible never states that tongues were to be given to save missionaries the trouble of learning foreign languages. The fact that those with the gift of tongues are to keep silence in a church service if there is no interpreter shows us that one who speaks in a tongue will not of necessity know what he is lying. He will not know unless God miraculously reveals the interpretation to him or to someone else, or unless some person is present who naturally understands the language.
Also, there is no Bible teaching that sign tongues are to be used only in missionary work, and no occurrence of tongues in the Bible will substantiate such a belief.
Furthermore, tongues and interpretation are to be used together to edify any church, such as the Corinthian church.
Uses of evidence tongues.
Gift tongues and evidence tongues are essentially the same as to kind, each being languages spoken as the Spirit of God gives the utterance. It is not surprising then that a similarly exists as to purposes. Evidence tongues can be given for more than the one purpose of indicating that people have received the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, the evidence-type tongues served the useful purpose of being a sign to unbelievers. Evidence tongues are not, however, always a sign to unbelievers. At the house of Cornelius, surely no unbelievers were present when the Gentiles began to speak with tongues; because the Holy Ghost fell on “all them which heard the word,” and the only other ones present were Peter and the “brethren from Joppa” (Acts 10:23). And there is no scriptural proof that any unbelievers were present when the Holy Ghost was given at Ephesus (Acts 19). God may, if He so chooses, use evidence tongues to edify the church. The evidence tongues, just as the gift tongues, edify the one speaking with other languages.
UNDERSTANDING I CORINTHIANS 14:2
“. . . 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.”
Every place the word unknown is found before the word tongue in the Authorized Version of the Bible, it is in italics, signifying that it was not in the original, but was added by the translators. Though the word may have a tendency to clear up the meaning for some, it unfortunately tends to obscure the meaning for others.
To understand Paul’s words, it is essential that we harmonize all scripture on the subject of tongues, rather than taking one verse out of its context, and basing a belief on the one verse alone. When correctly understood, the verse becomes clear; and all of the other scriptures fit in with it perfectly.
Also, it should be taken into consideration that Paul was not writing to people who were totally unfamiliar with the speaking with other tongues. The Corinthians already had received the Holy Ghost, and they had the gift of tongues in operation in their church. Therefore, Paul could speak to them in a more concise, less explanatory manner than would have been needful had he been addressing people who had no knowledge concerning tongues. Yet Paul does give sufficient teaching in the letter itself to clarify the verse.
Paul bases his statement that “he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God” on the premise: “for no man understandeth him.” But when an interpreter (see chapters 12 and 14) is present and gives the interpretation to the church, both the interpreter and the church understand what was spoken. Then it cannot be said that no man understands the one speaking in another language. And since Paul’s first statement was based on the language not being understood, it can no longer be said that the person does not speak to men, but to God. Paul clarifies this later by saying, ” . . . if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” 1 Cor. 14:28. We may assume, then, that verse 2 was based on a condition that no interpreter would be present.
Furthermore, Paul, in the same chapter, explains the prophecy of Isaiah, and tells how God would use the tongues to speak “unto this people” (1 Cor. 14:21, 22). The tongues, then, definitely may be spoken unto men. How could tongues be a sign to unbelievers if the tongues were not understood by the unbelievers? On the day of Pentecost, foreign-born Jews understood what was spoken.
Paul’s words of verse 2 may then be paraphrased to read, ” . . . he that speaketh in a tongue that is not understood by those present speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him . . . ” That Paul sometimes used words in a narrowed, limited sense is shown by other statements in the same chapter.
For example, 1 Cor. 14:4 infers that a person speaking with a tongue does not edify the church, but the verse following shows that he does edify the church if the tongue is interpreted. Therefore, tongue of verse 4 again refers to a language that no one present can naturally understand, or supernaturally interpret.
Another example is found in verse 22. Paul says that “tongues are for a sign . . . to them that believe not,” and he adds that “prophesying serveth not for them that believe not.” Yet immediately following (verses 23-25), Paul describes in detail how prophesying can cause unbelievers to turn to God. Paul’s meaning undoubtedly is that the physical act of speaking in another tongue is a miracle which by its miraculous nature can cause unbelievers to accept what is spoken, etc. On the other hand, the physical act of prophesying in one’s own language is not a readily discernable physical miracle on the order of the tongues, for turning unbelievers to God. But what is spoken in the prophesying can be effective in causing unbelievers to accept Christ. The word prophesying of verse 22 therefore has a narrowed meaning just as the word tongue in verse 2.”
The apostle Peter said that the apostle Paul wrote some things that are “hard to be understood” (I Pet. 3:16). A correct understanding of ten cannot be gained by a surface reading.
In 1 Cor. 13:1, Paul may well mean that the tongues are sometimes tongues of men, and sometimes tongues of angels.
Present-day experience has proved conclusively that both gift tongues and evidence tongues may be tongues of this world: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish, etc. Many people have been understood to speak in a language which they never learned, and God given interpretations have been verified by individuals who understood the language spoken.
The belief of some that the tongues were unarticulated utterances is completely without justification. If the tongues were incoherent, meaningless noises, how could tongues when interpreted equal prophecy (1 Cor. 14:5)? And how could they be a sign to unbelievers?
Another erroneous view has been that the people spoke languages which were lying in their subconscious memory. Doubters often look for natural phenomena to explain away the miracles of the Bible, and so it is not surprising that some try to explain away the tongues.
Isa. 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 yea may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”
The apostle Paul, referring to this prophecy, says in 1 Cor. 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, saith the Lord.
“Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not . . .
In carefully reading these verses, you will notice that Paul’s wording is different from that found in the book of Isaiah. Paul may have quoted Isaiah from a more accurate source than the later manuscripts which were in circulation, or Paul was merely giving the meaning of the prophecy. It was, of course, unnecessary for all of the words of the prophecy to be quoted. In the further presentation of this subject, it will be assumed that the reading given in the book of Isaiah is correct as we now have it.
Also, since Paul’s association of Isaiah’s prophecy with New Testament tongues is the only interpretation with clear Bible authorization, all comments in this booklet shall be based upon this interpretation.
1 Cor. 14:21 (Authorized Version) speaks of “men of other tongues and other lips.” “Men of” is in italics, meaning that this exact wording was not found in the original, but was added by the translators. “Men of other tongues” is taken from the plural form of the Greek word heteroglossos, an adjective meaning of another If we substitute words for the inserted word men, the verse would speak of “words of other tongues.” Some Bible translations simply say “other tongues” or “different languages.” In place of “other lips” the Greek literally reads “with other lips” in some manuscripts, and “with lips of others” in other manuscripts. Whether or not “men of” is added is of little importance, because, after all, the scripture is referring to men speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance.
The fact that Isaiah says “tongue,” whereas Paul says “tongues,” shall next be considered. By “tongue” Isaiah could have referred to:
1.The tongue of the Spirit of God speaking foreign languages through men, or:
2. The Spirit-operated human tongue speaking foreign languages.
The Spirit of God had spoken previously through prophets in their own language. That is why I did not merely say tongue of the Spirit of God.
By way of explanation, the Hebrew word used by Isaiah for tongue can refer either to the physical tongue or to a language. And the physical tongue can be called “another tongue” when used in a different way, just as the Bible speaks of the “new man.”
The tongue referred to by Isaiah apparently is a TYPE OF TONGUE. A TYPE OF TONGUE can be referred to just as man can refer to all men. A Bible example of one type of tongue being spoken of is found in Isa. 50:4, where Isaiah speaks of the “tongue of the learned.” Tongue here is singular, but learned in the Masoretic Hebrew text is plural. A Spirit-operated human tongue speaking foreign languages was certainly to be a new type of tongue, and therefore could be called “another tongue.” Either of the two possible meanings which I have presented harmonize well with the words of Paul.
Part of Isaiah’s prophecy is given in the third person, speaking of God as “he.” But Paul puts the prophecy in the first person, having God do the speaking. This, however, is no real problem, because God had told Isaiah what to say. Paul was giving what could be called a factual quotation rather than a verbatim (word for word) quotation.
Isaiah begins his prophecy in the future tense (will speak), and gives the remainder in the past tense (said, and would not hear). Paul gives the entire prophecy in the future tense, but quotes only the part of the prophecy he needs for the letter he writes to the Corinthians. Anyone who understands Bible prophecy knows that events predicted for the future can be in the past tense. In the following quotation from The Essentials of Biblical Hebrew, by Kyle M. Yates, the future tens is included in the imperfect, and the past tense is included in the perfect:
“The prophetic perfect portrays vividly and boldly a confidence that the speaker has in the certain fulfillment of a prediction. This use is found in the highest type of prophetic diction. It often is thrown into the midst of imperfects to indicate absolute confidence.”
In Isaiah 53, verse 2 speaks of Jesus in the future tense, but much concerning Him is given in the same chapter in the past tense.
The same chapter of Isaiah which speaks of the tongues also speaks of God’s laying “for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation,” etc. (Isa. 28:16), and therefore, in part, is prophesying about Christ. Christ is the foundation of the church, and the tongues first came at the time of the establishing of the church.
Paul teaches that the tongues were shown by Isaiah’s prophecy to be for a sign to unbelievers. A sensational result can take place when people are understood to proclaim God’s words in languages which they have never learned. Such a result occurred at Pentecost. Yet, just as Isaiah foretold, Israel as a nation rejected God in spite of this sign.
The words of Isaiah quite possibly mean that God would use the tongues to speak to Israel of rest and refreshing. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples spoke with other tongues “the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11). Since the tongues were being used as a sign to the Israelites, would we not expect them to speak of the wonderful works of God relative to Christ and the gospel, as well as perhaps speaking of past and future works of God? It is therefore reasonable to believe that God might well have used the tongues to speak of rest and refreshing provided for in the gospel. And if the disciples said in tongues, “This is the rest . . . and this is the refreshing” the words were fitting in a special way. The receiving of the Spirit at Pentecost gave the people rest and refreshing; and tongues were to continue to accompany the receiving of the Holy Ghost, thereby being directly associated with the rest. The fact that Isaiah did not explain what “This” referred to when he said, “This is the res . . .,” helps to indicate that a close connection exists between the tongues and the rest. To emphasize this view in dialogue form, meditate on what could have been asked and answered on the day of Pentecost:
Disciples: “This is the rest . . . and this is the refreshing.” Multitude: “What is the rest? and what is the refreshing?” Disciples: “The rest and the refreshing which we are just now receiving as a result of being baptized with the Holy Ghost; and we are speaking with other languages in connection with the receiving of this rest.”
The disciples may have spoken with tongues partly about the rest. Then when the multitude asked concerning the tongues in general, saying, “What meaneth this?” Peter explained the
pouring out of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, in reality, he spoke to them of rest which God gives, because the Holy Spirit brings rest and refreshing. And, of course, more was spoken on the day of Pentecost than that which is recorded.
If the statement, “This is the rest . . .” was to be made in prophecy in one’s own language, a connection of tongues with the rest was surely still intended by Isaiah’s words. Therefore, whatever the exact method of fulfillment, Isaiah’s prophecy undoubtedly lends support to the teaching that all speak with tongues when baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Not all prophecies were intended to be generally and fully understood when they were first given, their meaning sometimes being hidden until the time of their fulfillment. Prophecies can be dark speeches (Num. 12:6-8). To get the depth of meaning of prophecies and doctrines of the Bible, we need a revelation from God. Jesus said concerning teaching of His, ” . . . I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Matt. 11:25.
Isaiah’s prophecy broadly, covers both gift tongues and evidence tongues. The apostle Paul says that “tongues are for a sign. . . to them that believe not.” The event of Pentecost and present
day experience reveal that evidence tongues can be given as a sign to unbelievers.
In the most strict sense Isaiah’s prophecy refers to God’s using tongues to speak to Israel. Paul gave the prophecy a divinely inspired, enlarged application. For example, Paul, writing to Gentiles (1 Cor. 12:2), was undoubtedly teaching that Isaiah’s words prove tongues to be a sign to unbelievers, whether the unbelievers be Israelites or Gentiles. Tongues have been given in our time as a sign to unbelieving (Gentiles, thereby, backing this view of Paul’s teaching. Since all
Spirit-given tongues are alike, in a general way, as to kind, Paul was merely extending Isaiah’s words to cover tongues not specifically named by Isaiah. The most distinctive and outstanding fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy was surely at the time the Holy Ghost was given at Pentecost, a time when a multitude of Israelites were amazed at the speaking with tongues.
The statement of God about rest and refreshing is only one part of Isaiah’s prophecy. God does not speak these words in every message given in another language. Isaiah merely mentioned one statement that God would like, whether it be given in tongues or in prophecy. It is worthy of notice that Paul, while dealing principally with the gift of tongues, omits any reference to the words of God about the rest and the refreshing. These facts allow us to say that the part of Isaiah’s prophecy dealing with the rest can be connected with evidence tongues alone, and can have a special, ordained time and place for its complete or most spectacular fulfillment. The day of Pentecost was a most fitting time, and Jerusalem a most fitting place, for a fulfillment of this phase of Isaiah’s prophecy.
Following is a summary of reasons which show that the interpretation presented in this exposition concerning the rest is a particularly satisfying one.
1. Isaiah’s prophecy had undoubtedly its most notable fulfillment at Pentecost.
2. Isaiah, without preparatory explanation of the rest in the immediate context of his prophecy concerning tongues, gives God’s words, “This is the rest . . . and this is the refreshing,” and does not explain what “This” refers to.
3. The same chapter of Isaiah speaks of Christ as the foundation (connected with the church, as already explained).
4. The Holy Ghost brings rest — by not bringing fear, but rather peace and joy (2 Tim. 1:7; Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:22). A rest is yet to be given in eternity to the children of God, but we are privileged now to taste of “the heavenly gift” (Heb. 6:4) and of the powers “of the world to come” (Heb. 6:5). We now can have the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:23). Therefore, we now can taste of the eternal rest. Heb. 4:3 says, ” . . . we which have believed do enter into rest . . .”
5. Tongues were present at the giving of the spirit and the establishing of the church on the day of Pentecost, and served as a sign to Israel, as foretold in the prophecy. The tongues accompanied the receiving of the Holy Ghost, and therefore accompanied the giving of rest and refreshing.
TAMING THE TONGUE
James, in discussing the physical tongue of man, said, “. . . the tongue can no man tame . . .” James 3:8. Though it is the power of the Holy Spirit which tames the tongue, it is an interesting thought that God, when giving the Holy Spirit, has chosen to take control of a person’s vocal organs, and to speak through that person just the things which He could have spoken. The Holy Spirit is given not only to tame the tongue, but to bring the entire body and mind into subjection to God.
BIBLE HARMONY BY CONTRAST
The New Testament tongues may be considered to be an antithesis (an opposite) to the confounding of the language of the people at Babel. The languages were given differently, but
both types are miracles of God involving languages. At Babel, many were caused to forget their old language, and were given new languages which they could understand and speak. From
Pentecost on, the people who speak with tongues retain their natural language, and do not naturally understand the languages they speak as the Spirit gives them utterance. At Babel, the confounding of the people’s language resulted in their being scattered over the face of the earth. At Pentecost, the tongues served as a sign to turn Israelites to the one Who is to rule the world – Christ – thus helping to make the people one. The sign tongues have the same result with Gentiles. Moreover, the Spirit baptism is needed to put us into the one body, the body of Christ, and to make us one according to the prayer of Christ. Since tongues accompany the receiving of the Holy Ghost, God doubtlessly planned that just as a miracle of languages was present at the dividing of the people of the earth, so a miracle of languages would be present in the making of people one in Christ.
This beautiful harmonious picture did not come into existence by chance. Before the world began, God foreordained the scattering and the making one. We may rightly look upon this handiwork of God, and exclaim in words which describe God’s whole creation, “It is very good!”
On the day of Pentecost, after the multitude were able to “see and hear” the supernatural manifestations which were so awe inspiring, and after this great crowd of onlookers heard Peter’s sermon about Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit, the throng asked the all-important question: “What shall we do?” If you have not yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit, maybe the same question has entered your mind. How better could this be concluded than by giving the apostle Peter’s answer ?
“. . . Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. –Acts 2:38,39
SECOND EDITION SUPPLEMENT
This supplement is designed to acquaint many of the readers a a little more fully with some of the Biblical expressions used to describe the Pentecostal experience.
The terms Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit in the Authorized Version of the Bible are translations given for the very same Greek words. Some versions always translate these words Holy Spirit. Briefly stated, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God. In speaking of the Spirit of God descending as a dove at the baptism of Jesus, Matt. 3:16 says “Spirit of God”; Mark 1:10 and John 1:32, 33 say “Spirit”; and Luke 3:22 says “Holy Ghost.” Observe the use of “Holy Ghost” and “Spirit” in Acts 2:4, and compare Acts 2:4 with 2:16, 17. All scripture quotations in this book are taken from the Authorized Version unless otherwise stated.
A number of expressions are used in the Bible to describe what takes place when a person receives the Holy Ghost. For convenience in presenting some of these, four groups of people previously mentioned in “the book shall again be discussed one by one. An analysis and comparison of their experiences can be enlightening.
Disciples at Pentecost:
The Holy Ghost CAME UPON them (Acts 1:8 with 1:4, 5).
They were BAPTIZED WITH the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:4, 5).
They were FILLED WITH the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4).
God POURED OUT of His Spirit UPON them (Acts 2:16-18). SHED FORTH of Acts 2:33 is from the same Greek word as POUR OUT in Acts 2:17, 18.
The gift of the Holy Ghost was POURED OUT ON them (Acts 10:45, 46). Notice the “also,” and remember the tongues at Pentecost. The gift is the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost FELL ON them (Acts 11:15). “At the beginning” refers to the day of Pentecost.
They received the Holy Ghost (Act 10:47). Notice the “we.” The “at the beginning” of Acts 11:15 pinpoints the time). The Comforter (which is the Holy Ghost” – John 14:26) was to be RECEIVED (John 14:17). But Jesus said, “…if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you.” And “the Spirit,” which “any man” could RECEIVE, could not be received until Jesus was glorified (John 7:37-39). This all ties in with Acts 2:32, 33, where Peter tells how Jesus, upon being ” by the right hand of God exalted” after His resurrection, “hath SHED FORTH this, which ye now see and hear.”
God GAVE them the Holy Ghost. The Comforter was to be given (John 14:16). GAVE and RECEIVED are, of course, complementary terms.
God GAVE to them, and they received, the gift of the Holy Ghost. The gift here referred to is the Holy Ghost, given to us by God, whereas I Cor. 12:4-11 refers to “gifts” which the Holy Ghost gives to those who have received the Holy Ghost. Peter, in Acts 10:47, “which have RECEIVED the Holy Ghost as well as we.” And in Acts 11:17, he says, “God GAVE them the like gift as he did unto us.” Since Peter in Acts 2:39 referred to a promise which he had earlier called to the people’s attention, a comparison of Acts 2:16-18, 2:33, and 2:38, 39 reveals that the POURING OUT of God’s Spirit and the RECEIVING of the gift of the Holy Ghost are connected. Jesus spoke of the promise of the Father in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4, 5 Since the gift of the Holy Ghost was POURED OUT ON them (Acts10:45,46), as previously stated, the disciples at Pentecost RECEIVED the gift of the Holy Ghost. The words, “God gave them the like gift,” can be used to cover the bestowal of the Holy Ghost plus benefits resulting from that bestowal. The same is true for the words, “They received the Holy Ghost.”
They DRANK of the Spirit (John 7:37-39. See also 1 Cor. 12:13). l John 7:37-39, in saying “But this spake he . . .,” connects the DRINKING with the RECEIVING of the Spirit.
This is not a complete list of the expressions applicable to the Pentecostal experience, nor has the full significance of the expressions been given.
They RECEIVED the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:17).
The Holy Ghost was GIVEN to them (Acts 8:18).
The Holy Ghost FELL UPON them (Acts 8:15, 16). The “For as yet,” beginning verse 16, indicates that the RECEIVING of the Holy Ghost (verse 15) takes place at the time the Holy Ghost FALLS UPON a person.
They were BAPTIZED WITH the Holy Ghost. The Spirit baptism always takes place at the time a person receives the Holy Ghost. Compare the experiences of the other three groups.
Other expressions, also, can be used to describe their experience.
Gentiles at the, house of Cornelius:
The Holy Ghost FELL ON them “as on us at the beginning” (Acts 10:44; 11:15).
The Holy Ghost was POURED OUT UPON them. Joel’s prophecy explained the occurrence of the tongues on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:15-18), and likewise explained the speaking with tongues by the Gentiles. The POURING OUT was for “all flesh.”
The gift of the Holy Ghost was POURED OUT ON them. (Acts 10:45).
They RECEIVED the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:47). Verses 44-47 reveal that Peter knew the Gentiles received the Holy Ghost because the Holy Ghost FELL ON them and caused them to speak with tongues as at Pentecost.
God GAVE them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 11:17 says, “God GAVE them the like gift as he did unto us.” The “Forasmuch then” beginning the verse shows this statement to be a conclusion drawn from the face that “the Holy Ghost FELL ON them, as on us at the beginning”
(verse 15). Acts 10:45 says “the gift of the Holy Ghost” “was POURED OUT,” and immediately it is added (10:47) that the Gentiles “have RECEIVED the Holy Ghost as well as we.” The gift is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost was POURED OUT, as previously explained.
They were BAPTIZED WITH the Holy Ghost (Acts 11:16). The “Then remembered I” in verse 16 shows that because the Holy Ghost FELL ON the Gentiles as on the disciples at Pentecost, Peter knew the Gentiles were BAPTIZED WITH the Holy Ghost.
Twelve men at Ephesus:
The Holy Ghost CAME ON them (Acts 19:6).
The Holy Ghost was POURED OUT UPON them. Joel’s prophecy explains the occurrence of tongues at Ephesus just as it explained the occurrence of the tongues on “the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:15-18). The Spirit was to be POURED OUT UPON “all flesh.”
The gift of the Holy Ghost was POURED OUT ON them. Their speaking with tongues proves this (Acts 19:6 with 10:45, 46).
They RECEIVED the gift of the Holy Ghost. Since the gift of Holy Ghost was POURED OUT ON them, this indicates that the gift was GIVEN and RECEIVED. Also, since the gift of the Holy Ghost is not promised until after water baptism (Acts 2:38) (though there can be exceptions, as in the case of the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius), it is reasonable to conclude that the twelve at Ephesus RECEIVED the gift of the Holy Ghost following their water baptism, at the time the Holy Ghost CAME ON them.
They RECEIVED the Holy Ghost. The gift just mentioned is the Holy Ghost. After the Samaritans believed the preaching of Philip and were baptized in water, Peter and John laid hands on them that they might RECEIVE the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:12-17). Similarly, Paul laid hands on the twelve men at Ephesus after their baptism. And since they had not RECEIVED the Holy Ghost when Paul began to speak to them, it is surely reasonable to conclude that they received the Holy Ghost when Paul laid hands on them and the Holy Ghost CAME ON them (Acts 19:1-7). The RECEIVING of the Holy Ghost had been the primary issue, since Paul had been by asking if they had RECEIVED the Holy Ghost since they believed. Paul instructed them. They were baptized. And we can be sure they received the Holy Ghost.
They were BAPTIZED WITH the Holy Ghost. Acts 11:15,16 shows that Peter knew the Gentiles had been BAPTIZED WITH the Holy Ghost because the Holy Ghost FELL ON them “as on us” (Peter and others) “at the beginning” (on the day of Pentecost). The speaking with tongues was an indication of this (Acts 10:44, 45), remembering that the first words used to describe the experience of the Gentiles when they spoke with tongues were “. . . the Holy Ghost FELL ON all them which heard the word.” Since the twelve men at Ephesus spoke with tongues, the Holy Spirit FELL ON them also, and they too were BAPTIZED WITH the Holy Ghost.
Other expressions, also, can be used to describe their experience.
* * *
Some of the expressions used to describe the Pentecostal experience were also used prior to the day of Pentecost. For example, John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Ghost.” However, no one before the day of Pentecost could receive the Holy Ghost as given on the day of Pentecost. (See John 7:37-39; 16:7 with 14:26.) John 7:37-39 means that the receiving of the Spirit as foretold in prophecy for those who believe on Christ would not be possible before the glorification of Jesus. Jesus used the words, “as the scripture hath said.” The teachings of Jesus were in harmony with what before had been foretold. The receiving of the Holy Ghost as made possible by the death of Jesus would be new and different from previous experience. The benefits of the indwelling Spirit from the day of Pentecost onward were greater than ever before possible. It is this new experience, first given on the day of Pentecost, that the speaking with tongues accompanies.
“Filled with the Holy Ghost” is one of the expressions used to describe the Pentecostal experience, as already pointed out. This expression is also used to describe subsequent experiences in which the Holy Spirit takes special control for some particular reason (Acts 4:8, 31; 13:9,). Living in a state of being “full of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 6:3, 5; 11:24) presupposes an initial filling, which comes when a person receives the Holy Ghost. In Eph. 5:18, being “filled with the Spirit” is contrasted with being “drunk with wine.” The Ephesians were being instructed to be fully under the influence of the Holy Ghost.
In the early history of Israel, the tabernacle of God was made according to the pattern given by God to Moses. When it was completed and everything was in readiness, the glory of God filled the tabernacle in a miraculous manner. Later, when the temple which Solomon built for God was completed, and all of the necessary preparations had been made, the Glory of God filled the temple in an outstanding way. The apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church, said, ” . , . know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” God makes the occasion of the Holy Spirit’s coming into a person to dwell a special occasion. God’s glory fills the person, and God manifests His presence in a marvelous manner.
I shall close with words of Jesus:
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
“(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” –John 7:37-39