THE SOUND OF TONGUES

Series, PART 2 of " Pentecostal Sounds"

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It was a day of miracles. This would have been our "Sunday" and the Feast celebration was in full swing. The miracles were different from those miracles performed earlier by Jesus. No one was healed. No lame walked; no dumb spoke; no blind were made to see; such had happened with Jesus as is recorded in Matthew 15:30. On this day the miracles were wrought through sounds. There were four different sounds that came from Heaven.

The first one, we considered last week, was the phone sound from Heaven that got everyone's attention. It was a blast like of a rushing mighty wind that had brought the multitudes crowding into the presence of the apostles to see what was going on.

The second sound is called "tongues". The word "tongues" in this context refer to two phenomenon of tongues. The first phenomenon was the physical appearance of cloven tongues that sat upon each of the apostles (Acts 2:3). Each of these luminous tongues (Greek: Glossa G1100 ) sat upon each (Vincent) and resembled fire.

The second phenomenon for this sound of "tongues" (Glossa G1100) refers to the miraculous display of language via the literal tongues of the apostles who speak to those gathering. Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tonguesG1100, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

Robertson's Word Pictures explains "With other tongues (heterais glossais). [I.e.,gw] Other than their native tongues. Each one began to speak in a language that he had not acquired and yet it was a real language and understood by those from various lands familiar with them. It was not jargon, but intelligible language." Vincent's Word Studies adds with, "Strictly different, from their native tongues, and also different tongues spoken by the different apostles."

This event reminds us of the building of the Tower of Babel, shortly after the Great Flood. The Godhead (Trinity) saw that the people in their evil imaginations purposed to build a structure whose top may reach into Heaven. Whereupon, the Trinity stopped the foolishness by causing them to speak different languages.

Septuagint (LXX) version of the Old Testament: "Deute kai katabantes sugchewmen ekei auton ten Glossan hina me akouswsin hekastos ten Phonen tou plesion" (Genesis 11:7). "Come, and going down, let us confound their language (GlossanG1100 ), that they should not hearken to each the voice (Phone) of the neighbor." In the Hebrew Bible both "language" and "voice" are identical; to wit, saphahH8193. I would call the event a miracle since the Godhead intervened in the natural order of things.


It was a miracle of tongues (GlossanG1100) 4500 years or so ago. It's translated as "language" in the OT reference in Genesis 11:7. However, the word is the same "tongues [GlossanG1100]" that occurs in Acts 2. The result back then was a scattering and division among the people of the earth. Twenty-five hundred years later and the reverse takes place. God is bringing His people together in the initial building of the church (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47l). The same message for all; the same understanding.


We know that the "tongues" spoken were understood; the audience declared that they did. The people hear what the apostles are saying in their own native tongues about "the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11). The Jewish foreigners visiting Jerusalem for the Pentecost celebration included Cretes and Arabians, etc. They said, "We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." They heard them. They understood the message.


Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries says "tongues" (Glossa G1100) means: 1. the tongue, a member of the body, an organ of speech [similar to that in verse 3]; (2) the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations.

This miraculous sign was promised by Jesus to His repentant apostles (Mark 16:17), "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues,GlossaG1100." "New" (kainosG2537) tongues (GlossaG1100) meant they were languages "recently made, fresh, unused" and "unprecedented, novel, uncommon". Indeed, these tongues were "new" to the Galileans who were untutored in these "foreign languages"; yet they were able to communicate with these Jewish "foreigners" through these GlossaG1100 (Acts 2:7).


UNKNOWN TONGUES.


The Gentiles in Cornelius' household were speaking in tongues (GlossaG1100) and the disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus spoke in tongues and some of the Christians at Corinth. The Cornelius household was unique because it was said that the Holy Spirit "fell on them" like He had with Peter and the apostles "in the beginning" (Acts 11:15). John's disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7) did not know that the church had been established. They obeyed the gospel preached by Paul and then Paul laid his hands on them so that they received the power of the Holy Spirit who gave them ability to speak in tongues. Some at Corinth (1 Corinthians 12-14) were given the gift to speak in tongues for a specific purpose of being understood by the foreigners that would pass through the isthmus on their journeys. There were three harbors at Corinth making it "the bridge of the sea." All types of "tongues traveled through there.


Mark 16:19,20 records that the Lord Jesus worked with his apostles and confirmed with signs the preaching of the Word, the gospel (Mark 16:19). The gift of tongues was one of the signs that the message was approved and confirmed by Heaven. Signs (semeionG4592), according to Thayer's Dictionary, is an "indication of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's."


The apostle Paul told the divisive church at Corinth that these "tongues, GlossaG1100 " were signs for unbelievers. The gift of prophecyi was, on the other hand, for believers (the only Scriptures they had at that time were the Old Testament books). "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying (PropheteiaG4394 )ii [serveth] not for them that believe not, but for them which believe" (1 Corinthians 14:22).


Those on the day of Pentecost were persuaded that the message was from God and "they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). Those at Ephesus could be comforted by assurance that Paul was indeed an apostle by the signs of the tongues. As Paul told the Corinthians he worked among them with the signs of an apostle: "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds" (2 Corinthians 12:12). In fact, Paul said that he could speak in more tongues than all of them at Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:18).


"Now if there are propheciesG4394, they will be done away with. If there are languages (GlossaG1100), they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For what we know is incomplete and what we prophesy is incomplete. 10 But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will be done away with" (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).


All signs (called gifts in 1 Corinthians 12) were to stop when the prophesying was complete; this included tongues (GlossaG1100). Jude 3 the faith (prophesying) has been completely delivered. Hence, we all have to study the languages naturally to understand them. That includes English or Greek or Hebrew or whatever is needed to understand and appreciate the wonderful works of God.


- Gaylon West

Throw Out the Lifeline



i PropheteiaG4394 "a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events" (Thayer's).

ii ibid.

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