Anglo-Saxons Are Not Israel?

The Doctrine of Tongues

by W.G. Broadbent
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Place in Scripture

There is one reference to Tongues by the Lord in Mark 16:17.

There are three passages in the Acts where Tongues are referred to: - Acts 2, 10 and 19.

In the Pauline Epistles the chapters of 1st Corinthians 12 to 14 contain teaching on the subject of Tongues.

Tongues are not referred to elsewhere in Scripture.

First Reference in Scripture

When Tongues were first in evidence at Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, Peter then explained that what had happened was a fulfilment of Joel's prophecy and he quoted the prophecy in Joel 2:28-32.

A careful examination of Joel's prophecy however shows that Joel does not prophesy that there would be Tongues. He prophesied that the Holy Spirit would be given, and Peter said "this is that spoken of by Joel."

It is clear that Joel's prophecy will not be fulfilled in fullness until the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord, for only then, will God's Holy Spirit be poured upon "all flesh". Verses 31 and 32 of Joel's prophecy do not have their fulfilment until "the terrible day of the Lord come" when the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood. These words and also the reference in verse 32 to "the Remnant" agree with the teaching of the Book of Revelation and other Scriptures to show that what is referred to in Joel has its wider and most complete fulfilment at the Day of the Lord - the period of the Great Tribulation and the Millennium.

At the time of the fullness or the fulfilment of Joel's prophecy the earth will have one unified language. "For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent" Zeph. 3:9.

Accordingly in the Millennium when all men speak with one tongue, tongues would be meaningless and absurd. No wonder Joel makes no reference to the subject of Tongues.

What happened at Pentecost was a pre-fulfilment in measure of what will be a universal experience in the Millennium - the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit on mankind. At Pentecost on SOME men and women, in the Millennium on ALL men and women.

The Great Event which occurred at Pentecost was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Church of God. This Great Event, was accompanied by a sign not referred to by Joel, the Manifestation of Tongues.

The first reference to this sign is given by the Lord Himself in Mark 16:17. As with every subject in Scripture, the first reference gives the key by which the subject is to be understood wherever it is later referred to.

The Lord says in Mark 16: 17-18 "And these signs shall follow them that believe: -

  1. In my name shall they cast out devils.
  2. They shall speak with new tongues.
  3. They shall take up serpents (and they shall not hurt them).
  4. If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.
  5. They shall lay, hands on the sick and they shall recover.

The Lord Jesus when on earth, was manifested in the fullness of the Holy Spirit but He never spoke with tongues. Now He says that one of the five signs that will follow them that believe will he that they will spell: with new tongues. Obviously the key to the Doctrine of Tongues is to understand that it is a manifestation given by God as a "sign" and as a sign that will follow them that believe. In the days that followed Pentecost we see these "signs" did indeed follow them that believed.

That its purpose is for a sign and a sign only, is confirmed by Paul when he states clearly in I Corinthians 14:22 "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them which believe not."

The purpose of a sign is described in John 20:30-31 "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."

That is, the sign is not for its own sake, but to teach and prove a truth.

The sign of Tongues had a meaning to the Jews that it did not have to others. The Jews had been taught to recognise a sign and it is noteworthy that the sign was evidenced only before Jews in the three occasions referred to in Acts.

At Corinth also there were many Jews as is shown in Acts 18:5. Paul confirms to the Corinthians, "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom" (I Cor. 1:22).

The Message to the Jews brought by the sign of Tongues is seen in each case where it is referred to in Scripture: -

  • At Pentecost "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
  • At Caesarea "They of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 10:45).
  • At Ephesus (Acts 19) again a group of Jews received this sign. In their area they had confirmed to them by this sign "that they should believe on Him" (Christ Jesus) (Acts 19:4).
  • At Corinth Paul tells the Corinthians that the sign is given for a sign "to them that believe not" (I Cor. 14:22). That it is Jews that are referred to is evident from the preceding verse where the apostle refers to the Law and "this people" when he says "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." That is, in I Cor. 14:21 Paul is quoting Isaiah 28:11-12 to prove "Wherefore tongues are for a sign", which truth the Jews readily understood.

A Pattern in Sign Miracles:

All the "special" miracles of Scripture of which "Tongues" is one, conform to a recognised pattern. "Special" signs are for "Special" periods, and these periods are all relatively short. Dr C. I. Scofield puts it "All miracles have been for special seasons only. The miracles prepared for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt were not needed in the wilderness, those in the wilderness ceased when Jordan was crossed. It would not have been according to the mind of God had they prayed ever so long for the pillar of cloud to lead the tribes to their various inheritances. It had served its purpose and ceased to be, and if we examine into the gift of tongues we may find something very similar."

A Diminishing Manifestation

Stage I: The sign of Tongues was given with great clarity at Pentecost, for when the Holy Spirit descended "they all'' began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Then again when the Holy Spirit first came upon Gentile believers at the house of Cornelius "The Holy Ghost fell on "all them" which heard the word . . . for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."

Only three times do we have Tongues mentioned in Acts and they are all "First" occasions. The other such occasion is when Paul was introduced to 12 men on the Mission Field at Ephesus who knew only the Baptism of John. Here also, "The Holy Ghost came upon them and they spake with tongues and prophesied." It does not expressly say so, but the inference is that they, all 12, spoke with tongues.

Accordingly in Stage I all in each group referred to, spake with tongues.

Stage II: About half way through the Apostolic Age - that is the age in which the New Testament was in course of formation and during the lives of the Apostles, Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians which in His goodness and plan God has incorporated for us in the inspired canon of the New Testament Scriptures.

At the stage when this Epistle was written, a change had come, for Paul says in I Cor. 12:30 "Do all speak with Tongues?" It is a rhetorical question, meaning "Not all speak with tongues". He has just stated, "Are all Apostles?" - obviously not. So he says, "Do all speak with tongues?" Obviously not.

The whole section in I Cor. 12-14 shows that at this stage, some spoke with tongues - not all.

Stage III: In the same section Paul rates tongues as the least important of the gifts of the Spirit, and he goes further and indicates that a third stage will come in the manifestation of this sign. In Cor. 13:8 he says: -

  1. Love never faileth.
  2. Prophecies shall fail.
  3. Tongues shall cease.
  4. Knowledge shall vanish away.

We do not know that Paul saw the cessation of Tongues but it was given to him to know that at some time later than the time at which he wrote in I Corinthians "Tongues shall cease".

We have already seen that Joel's prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit contained no reference to Tongues and when that Prophecy is fulfilled in its fullness in the Millennium, Tongues will be an impossibility. First because there will be a unified language, second because there will be no unbelievers for whom a sign will be needed.

What is the time of the cessation of Tongues?

The following things are noteworthy in this connection: -

  1. Paul did not once refer to tongues in his later epistles, and I Corinthians was one of his earlier writings.
       
  2. Peter, John, James and Jude all wrote Church epistles after I Corinthians was written. They covered all forms of Church practice and conduct, but there is not a word about the sign of tongues.
       
  3. In the Last Book, Revelation, written in John's old age, there is no reference to Tongues.
       
  4. In I Corinthians 13 we are told that three things will cease - Prophecies, Tongues and Knowledge. Prophecies and Knowledge here are the miraculous gifts by which Truth was conveyed and ministered to the early Church before the New Testament Scriptures were completed. These gifts "ceased" or "failed" or "Vanished away" when the New Testament was completed and was available to the Church. We can safely deduct from the linking of "Tongues" with these gifts in verse 8, that all three ceased together about the same time.
       
  5. In the same chapter it is stated that while Prophecies, Tongues and Miraculous Knowledge "fail" or "cease" or "vanish away", three other things "abide" - Faith, Hope and Love (verse 13). This is the Pauline Contrast of this chapter - some things cease, other things abide. Now there must be a period in which the things that abide, continue after the other things have ceased or failed. Faith and Hope abide only until the Lord returns for the Church, and then they also cease, for Faith then "gives place" to sight, and Hope gives place to Realisation.
         
        Faith we know ends at the Rapture. The Lord said to Thomas "Because thou hast seen thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." The day is coming when faith will give place to sight, and we shall see Him as He is, and we shall be like Him. Faith will end at that day, but it will continue or abide throughout the present Church Age.
         
        Hope is also of limited duration although it abides throughout the present Church age. In Romans 8 we read "What a man seeth, how doth he yet hope for it?" During this Age of the abiding of Hope, we hope for Christ's return and for all that His return will bring. But when He does return, then we shall hope no longer, for we shall have the fact of His presence and of Heavenly Bliss. Hope abides for this age but gives place to Realisation at the Return of the Lord.
      Accordingly, if Hope and Faith end at the Lord's return, Prophecies, Tongues and Miraculous Knowledge must have ceased long before, if the passage is to be understood at all. A further exposition of I Cor. 13 is given in the last section of this booklet.
       
  6. In Hebrews 2:3-4 we read concerning the "so great salvation" that "at the first" it was -

    (a) 

    Spoken by the Lord.

    (b) 

    Confirmed unto us by them that heard Him (the Lord).

    (c) 

    God also bearing them (the persons who heard Him) witness both by signs and wonders and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to His own will.

     

    Obviously Tongues and the other signs mentioned by the Lord in Mark 16:17-18 are referred to here in the words "signs and wonders and divers miracles". At the time Hebrews was written these signs were not spoken of as being then still present but they are referred to as having been in evidence "at the first", and as the special witness that God gave "Them that heard the Lord".

  7. When Paul, late in life, wrote to the Ephesians setting out in detail God's provision for the Church, he particularly listed in Chapter 4:11 "gifts" given to the Church for its ministry and help. Tongues is not in the list, and the only inference possible is that it was then clearly appreciated and understood that the sign gift of Tongues was one that would not "abide" for the whole age of the Church. It had ceased or would soon cease thereafter.
       
  8. In 20 Books of the New Testament written after I Corinthians, Tongues are not referred to.
       
  9. It is noteworthy that there is a similar "cessation" of a gift in the Old Testament. In Numbers 11 we have the account of the bestowal of Moses' Spirit upon the Seventy Elders. "When the spirit rested upon them they prophesied". A special manifestation was given in the first instance. But the record goes on and the Revised Version gives the meaning clearly "but they did so no more". (Num. 11:25). That is, the gift ceased, soon after the first manifestation.

The Sequence is: -

In the early Apostolic Age:  All (of each group referred to) spoke in Tongues.

In the Mid-Apostolic Age:    Not all - some.

When the full New Testament was available to the Church - Ceased.

 

The Reason for this gradual diminishing and final cessation of the sign of Tongues is readily understandable.

When Christ ascended to Glory from the Mount of Olives, He left a small group of His followers, heartened by the infallible proofs of His resurrection but completely unrecognised and unknown by the world of men.

Accordingly, a sign was needed from Heaven to show that these feeble people were now the accredited people of God. When the Church took life at Pentecost, the sign of Tongues was that which proved to thousands that God was in this movement. The tongues were not needed to convince the Lord's people themselves - other manifestations enabled them to know the power of the indwelling Spirit. But tongues convinced the people from every part then gathered at Jerusalem, who heard the word of God in their own languages though spoken by unlearned and ignorant men.

This sign was needed and used in the early days of the Church, but as the body of Christians grew and as the Church spread to all parts of the then known world and as Christ's followers became known as Christians - as unbelievers came to know who they were and what they presented, the sign was not needed to such a degree - especially as Church Doctrine and practice became settled and known and was taught everywhere, and the New Testament commenced to be written and was read by the Churches.

When the New Testament was finally completed, Church Doctrine fully settled and the Church itself recognised as a force and power in the world then the need for this sign no longer existed, and it ceased.

 

What Then Is This About Tongues Today?

Some people today claim to have "Tongues". A power or force enters their personality and in an ecstasy they prattle incoherently.

This is certainly something real, and it is on the plane of the Spiritual, but it is not of God, and is not the sign referred to in Acts and in Corinthians.

That this is not of God may be deduced as follows: -

A. Doctrinally:

  1. The Purpose of the sign no longer exists, as shown above and God does not bestow signs unnecessarily. As the sign ceased at the end of the Apostolic age, that which is now in evidence is something else and is not the Divine sign referred to in Scripture.
     
  2. God's word is immutable, and as He has said "Tongues shall cease", God could not give Tongues to any man, now that Tongues have ceased pursuant to His Word. God's name and Honour are involved for Scripture declares the cessation of Tongues.
     
  3. The importance given to this Spirit Ecstasy called "Tongues" is directly opposite to the teaching of Scripture. In I Corinthians 12, Prophecy and Tongues are compared in great detail and all through, Prophecy, or the gift of ministry of the Word of God is shown to be much greater in importance as a gift, than Tongues. But to the Modern Cults, Tongues is the sesame to all that is spiritual.
     
  4. Modern Tongues devotees preach that Tongues is a gift for all, and it is true that anyone can get this ecstasy.
    I Cor. 12 makes it clear that at that time and from that time the True Gift of Tongues was available only to some.
     
  5. Modern cults seek and encourage all to covet and tarry for Tongues. The whole teaching of I Cor. 12 and 14 is that there are much more important gifts to covet - particularly the gift of prophecy and the gift of Tongues is shown to be not a gift to covet.
     
  6. Modern cults despise what God exalts - the gift of prophecy and exalts what Scripture places at the bottom of the list - Tongues.
     
  7. Where there was the true gift of Tongues in Paul's day, there were rules set in Scripture for the exercise of the gift, in meetings.

    (a) 

    Never more than two or three to take part in Tongues at a meeting (I Cor. 14:27).

    (b) 

    These to take part "by course" (not all together, but one after the other) (I Cor. 14:27).

    (c) 

    They were not to do so, however, unless someone was present with the kindred gift of interpretation who should interpret to those present what was said in the tongue.

    In the Cults today, commonly many indulge in the ecstasy (more than three) and they do so together so that there is no possibility of interpreting. Sometimes a pretence is made at interpreting certain particular speakings in Tongues, but this is the exception rather that the rule.
     
    What is so obviously contrary to Scripture cannot be of God.
     
  8. Paul set a premium on reason and a discount on Tongues.
    He said and his words have become the inspired vehicle of the Word of God to us: "I had rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand words in a tongue." That is, he rated reason against tongues at 2000 to 1.
    The Cults rate Tongues above reason by about 2000 to 1.
    This is so obviously contrary to Scripture that it cannot be of God.
     
  9. Throughout the Cults where the Tongues ecstasy is indulged in, women take a large place of prominence, they speak at meetings and often act as leaders of assemblies or groups.
     
    This is contrary to the teaching of the very chapter that has most to say about Tongues. In I Cor. 14:34 "Let your women keep silence in the Churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak" and again in I Cor. 14:35 "It is a shame for women to speak in the Church".
     
    What is so obviously unscriptural cannot be of God.
     
  10. Scripture states that to use Tongues without relation to the purpose for which God gave the sign is
      (a) Unprofitable.
      (b) Uncertain.
      (c) Just speaking into the air.
     
    For we read:
    "Now brethren, if I come unto you, speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge or by prophesying or by doctrine.
     
    "And even things without life-giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
     
    "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
     
    "So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue, words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air." I Cor. 14:7-9.
     
  11. Scripture further denounces what the Cults do as -
      (a) Childish.
      (b) Mad.
     
     "I had rather speak five words with my understanding that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brethren be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." (I Cor. 14:19-20).
     
     "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?" (I Cor. 14:23).
     
  12. The purpose of all gifts of the Spirit is to bring profit to the Church. "The Manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man, for the profit of all." (I Cor. 12:7). 
    This great principle of Doctrine sets the pattern for all that is said about Tongues in I Cor. 12 and 14. 
    Where is the profit in the Modern Tongues practices?
     

B. From the Practices of the Cults

  1. Those who practise the Modern Ecstasy of Tongues commonly descend to the unseemly.
    In the ecstasy it is not unusual for men or women to fall down and throw their arms and legs about in an unseemly way.
    Who shall dare to say that this can be of God?
     
  2. In meetings there are times when there is general disorder and confusion.
    God is a God of order and He is never the author of confusion. Again the Word says "Let all things be done decently and in order".
     
  3. The practice has developed even in prayer meetings, while one person is praying, for another or others to boom in with another voice and prayer so that they all speak together in different words and thoughts.
    This is clearly contrary to the teaching of I Cor. 14:27-33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all Churches of the Saints."
    Those who engage in such practices are operating under a spirit that is not the Spirit of God.
     
  4. Crude confessionals are sometimes part of these practices and it is commonly known that the intimacy realised between fellow confessors of moral sins, leads to temptation in the moral field that creates an atmosphere of grave peril.
    Again this is not to profit but to sin, and God is not the author of it.
     
  5. The practice of the laying on of hands.
    When one member of a group effects to lay his hands on the head of another "to transmit the power of God" to him, that group has come to a dangerous pass.
    The implication of audacious pride that would lead one to so imagine that the Power of God can be so readily transmitted, puts us in remembrance of persons named in the Acts of the Apostles who sought this power to traffic in lightly and upon whom the judgment of God fell.
    In Tongues Meetings, it is a common practice for both men and women to lay hands on others for the purpose of allegedly transmitting the Power of God.
     
  6. The practice of rhythm and chanting.
    It is the custom to seek elation by rhythm in clapping hands and by saying many times "Jesus, Jesus. Jesus" or "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord."
    Beware of people who chant like this, for they are very likely being indoctrinated into the Ecstasy of Tongues.
    They have not learnt to do this either from the Scriptures or from God.
     
  7. The effective practice of the Tongues Movement is to hold the persons of the Godhead in a wrong perspective, and to honour the Third Person of the Godhead above the Father and the Son.
     
  8. Tongues devotees know and experience a power or a force in the Spiritual World, which elates and causes certain metaphysical results which magnify the power in the minds and beings of the devotees.
    The Holy Spirit of God however is a person, rather than a force. He does not magnify Himself, but He always reveals and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
     
  9. Tongues Cults practise indoctrination into Tongues as "The Baptism of the Spirit".
    Scripture states clearly that all Christians have the Baptism of the Spirit. Paul says in I Cor. 12.13 "By one Spirit are we all baptised into one body and have been made to drink into one Spirit."
    To pretend that only Tongues people have the Baptism of the Spirit is to make a lie of I Cor. 12:13.
     
  10. Tongues groups practise Spiritual Pretentions.
    They say that if and when they speak in Tongues, they are "filled with the Spirit."
    At Corinth there was the Gift of Tongues, but nevertheless, the Church there was not very Spiritual. Corinth is the least attractive of all the New Testament Churches. To claim that one is filled with the Spirit because he has had certain sensations or experiences is Spiritual presumption.
    A true man of God, when really filled with the Spirit is like Moses "who wist not that the skin of his face shone".

C. By the Agency Employed:

The Rhythm and Repetition above referred to, and the ecstasy itself, are all achieved by the overthrow of self-control and of the Reason. The ecstasy is only possible in a state of mental abandonment.

It is when in a state of no-control that the Power of Satan can, and will enter. Satan enters either that way or on the horns of pride. "Now the Spirit saith expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (I Tim. 4:1).

We are in the latter times and the truth of this Scripture is observable on every hand.

What is the agency in the Tongues Movement? It cannot be of God or of the Gracious Holy Spirit of God, for it is acting contrary to Scripture, contrary to order, contrary to Holiness and contrary to self-control.

D. The Test of Lordship

In the chapter in which Paul so fully sets out his teaching on Tongues, he concludes with these words: -

"If any man thinks himself to be a prophet or Spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."

That is, the statements by Paul in I Corinthians chapters 12 and 14 about Tongues, are the commandments of the Lord, and if you are Spiritual you will admit it. Do you?

People who indulge in Tongues speak patronisingly of "Jesus", but commonly they avoid the test of Lordship. He is not their Lord, for they do not act in accordance with His commands.

The Devil is the liar who says this thing is of God. Confusion; unseemliness and vanity are the hall-marks of Satan. This is his masterpiece to trap those who seek for "experience" into a snare. And from this mesh few ever escape.

If work for God is to be done, we must have truth, not error, order, not disorder, and Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. Above all let every faculty be protected and enlightened by the Gracious Holy Spirit of God who has given gifts to every man to the profit of all.

THE APOSTLES AND TONGUES

A careful study of Acts 2 will show that the "all" of Acts 2:1 who were also the "each of them" of verse 3 upon whom the cloven tongues of fire appeared and who were also the "they all" of verse 4, who were failed with the Holy Spirit and who began to speak with other tongues, are the men referred to in the last paragraph of Chapter 1.

There were of course no chapter divisions in the original Scriptures, and verse 1 of Chapter 2 follows immediately the last verse of Chapter 1. The last section of Chapter 1 deals with; the concern of the eleven Apostles to choose a successor to Judas Iscariot, and they chose Matthias. The record then says immediately, "and when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."

Accordingly the "they all" referred either to the twelve apostles, the group last in view in the last verse of Chapter 1, or to the wider group from which Matthias was chosen. That is, the 120 disciples of verse 15, who were all men, and whom Peter addresses as "Men and brethren". The word "disciples" here means "brethren" and is so translated in the Revised Version. Accordingly, which ever way the matter is viewed no women could be referred to in the "they all" of Chapter 2. Agreeing with this, the words "all" and "they" in verse 1 are pronouns in the masculine gender.

The Place where Tongues were first manifested, was "the house" of verse 2 which is the "one place" of verse 1 where "they all' were found "with one accord". "The House" was the Temple which is often so named in Scripture. In Luke 24:53 we are told; that after the Ascension, "disciples were continually in the Temple praising, and blessing God". Then after Pentecost in Acts 2:46 we read "And, they continuing daily, with one accord in the Temple . . . " Just before the Manifestation they were with one accord in one place. And just after, they are "continuing daily with one accord in the Temple"

To this place, all the multitude ran together "when this sound was heard". They ran to the sound. The multitude could not come to an upper room. Chapter 2 is not concerned with the upper room of Acts 1:13 which is seen as the dwelling place where the women were also abiding. The place was the temple and no women were present, when Tongues were first manifested.

PETER AND PHILIP

Philip was an evangelist and one of the Seven First Deacons of the Church, but he was not an Apostle. He first brought the Gospel to the Samaritans and numbers believed and were baptised, but they did not receive the Holy Spirit under Philip's Ministry. It was necessary for Peter and John to come down from Jerusalem before the Samaritans as a people could receive the Holy Spirit.

In order, three groups received the Holy Spirit, and Peter was present at each occasion: -
  (a) The Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2).
  (b) The Samaritans (Acts 8).
  (c) The Gentiles (Acts 10).

There was a special Manifestation on each of these first Apostolic occasions. But as subsequent groups and individuals were added, the Manifestations were not repeated. In Acts, there are 16 groups of believers referred to, but Tongues were referred to in connection only with three of the 16 groups. The story is told in Acts of the conversion or spiritual experience of 14 individuals, but none of these is referred to as having spoken in Tongues.

When the Ethiopian Eunuch had confessed his faith and had been baptised, Philip did not follow up his work with directions about a Second Blessing. But the Eunuch was allowed to go his way without speaking in Tongues and with no directions to seek a Second Blessing. The record says "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; that the Eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:39).

The Philippian gaoler washed the wounds of his prisoners, but he did not speak in Tongues.

Lydia's heart was opened to the Word of Truth, but she did not speak in Tongues. No individual did, in any of the experiences recounted of individuals, and no groups or individuals were directed to pray for, seek or expect to speak in Tongues.

WOMEN AND TONGUES

No woman spoke with Tongues on any occasion referred to in Acts. In Acts 2 we have seen it was men only who spoke in Tongues. In Acts 19 it was 12 men. The only other occasion in Acts was in Acts 10 where Cornelius, his kinsmen and near friends (verses 24) were gathered. There is nothing to indicate that any women were present. There is no place in the whole Word of God where a woman is spoken of as speaking in a miraculous tongue or language -only men and Balaam's ass, have this pace in Scripture.

The one Doctrinal passage in the Word of God directing concerning the use of the Gift of Tongues - I Cor. 14 - says expressly "Let your women keep silence in the Church, for it is not permitted for them to speak", and "It is a shame for women to speak in the Church".

Nothing could be plainer. The fact that women are prominent in Leadership and in "speaking" in Pentecostal groups shows just how far those groups are removed from the Truth of God.

TONGUES AND TARRYING

The Lord did not tell His disciples to pray for the Holy Spirit to come. He told them the Holy Spirit would come and they were to wait at Jerusalem until He, the Third Person of the Godhead, did come. Nothing the Disciples did, affected the coming of the Spirit. He came at a fixed time, 50 days after the resurrection in accordance with prophecy, on the Day of Pentecost.

There is nothing anywhere else in Scripture to warrant people "tarrying" for Tongues as is practised by Pentecostal Groups.

TONGUES AND THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT

"For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink of one Spirit" 1 Cor. 12:13.

Now I Cor. 12 says "Not all" speak with Tongues, but here "all" are baptised by the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit could not be sent until Jesus was Glorified. "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 Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified" John 7:38-39.

In John 20 a further stage in the coming of the Holy Spirit is reached, and in verse 22 we read, "He breathed on them, and saith unto them "Receive ye the Holy Ghost."

This was an overt act taken in Resurrection Power by the Lord before He ascended and was Glorified. He here took the initiative that was to result in the coming of the Holy Spirit, though that coming was still delayed until He was Glorified.

After the Resurrection and before His being Glorified, men could still look on Him and even mistake Him for another man. But after He was Glorified no man could look upon Him with natural eyes. John, in the Spirit, saw Him and fell at His feet as dead. Paul was blinded and smitten to the ground.

Forty days after the Resurrection, the Lord ascended to Heaven and was Glorified, and ten days later, in accordance with His promise and pursuant to the action of John 20:22, the Holy Spirit "came" and all the believers drank of' one Spirit and were baptised into one body.

Israel of old was made one and a people apart by Baptism together in the Sea and in the Cloud.

An army is made one by sharing together the Baptism of Fire.

The Church is made one by the Baptism of the Spirit. He is the unifier, the Blessed Holy Spirit of God sent from Heaven when the Lord was Glorified, unifying each member with all other members and all together with the Glorious Head. Not to speak of Himself or to elevate His own Person but to glorify and to unite, to indwell, to seal, and to energise the Body of Christ.

Each feeblest believer shares in all these things. He has been baptised into the Body, he has been sealed and set apart, he has the earnest or proof of his inheritance and he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

It disparages the work of the Holy Spirit to say that if a believer does not speak in Tongues he has not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

TONGUES AND LANGUAGES

The Tongues of Acts 2 were clearly other languages understood by the peoples of those languages.

In I Cor. 14 the issue has been clouded by the use of the word "unknown". This occurs six times in verses 2, 4, 13, 14, 19 and 27. This word is not part of the original text of Scripture. It was apparently added by a translator and has been the source of much confusion.

The Greek word for Tongue is the same basic Greek word whether used in Mark, in Acts or in Corinthians. It means a human language, and nothing else.

There is no reason to believe that a different meaning is attributed to the word in Corinthians from that in Acts. Where there is a difference of meaning intended Scripture makes the difference apparent, but no qualification is observable to show a difference here.

Anyone could talk gibberish in an ecstasy, but it is a miracle and a sign to speak in other languages. The ecstasy is not a sign but the language is.

The place where each exercising of Tongues was observed is noteworthy. Just four places in Scripture: -

  1. Jerusalem at Pentecost when Jews from many Nations were present.
  2. Caesarea where foreign persons met with Jews.
  3. Ephesus (Acts 19) a great clearing place in Asia through which Jews of all Nations passed.
  4. Corinth a similar maritime city in Europe.

All these were places where the Sign had a special significance if it is realised that they were other human languages.

Pentecostalism would evaporate overnight if no women spoke in Tongues and if no gibberish was spoken.

HYPNOTISM AND TONGUES

Any Hypnotist can make any of his subjects speak gibberish, whether the subject is a believer or not. In the directed control of hypnotism the anatomy of man is such that the vocal organ is loosed as from the seat of the emotion and noises emerge which are commonly called "Tongues".

There is much authority available today to show that the "Sprit Baptism" of Pentecostalism is a "Hypnotic-crisis" experience induced by auto-suggestion, repetition, and self-hypnosis. In this state the subject "believes" whatever he is told. He is given twisted truth and made to believe he is experiencing the Baptism of the Spirit and that he has the gift of Tongues. This enters the subconscious mind and permanent damage results. His mind is perverted, and set that way in the vital subconscious station of thought, which conscious reasoning and truth cannot correct.

EVIL SPIRITS AND TONGUES

The power of hypnotism and the power of Evil Spirits in Man is very closely related. It may be that they are different powers, but no-one knows where the bounds of psychic hypnosis ends and the region of the Devil World begins. Certain it is that the evil spirits hasten to attend the victims of Hypnosis and a power may enter the life that will control it.

Scripture calls this "another Spirit" (II Cor. 11:4).

Satan is able to carry a Medium beyond gibberish and cause a true speaking in another language and many instances have been known of people speaking in a Tongue which has been recognised by people of that language and the speaking has involved filth and blasphemy in that language.

This is a true speaking in a Tongue but it is the Devil's counterfeit of the true original gift and sign of the Holy Spirit. It is "the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (II Thess. 2:9). That is, it is a modern form of the Spirit of Jannes and Jambres through whom evil spirits imitated the miracles of Moses (Exod. 7:11).

Heathen Religions in various parts of the world produce such wonders, and so do the Mormons and the Pentecostalists.

The Scriptures tell us this will happen: - "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (I Tim. 4:1).

And John warns "Beloved believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).

THE CULTS AND TONGUES

In Meetings where Tongues, and the so-called "gifts" of Prophecy and Interpretation and Healing are practised, it is a common experience that the adherents freely refer to, that at a certain time early in the meeting all present become suddenly aware of the "descent upon" them of a Power. They are all electrified and together pass into an ecstatic condition in which Tongues and other manifestations are expected and are experienced. Those present are not impressed with the meaning of what is said - but with the ecstasy they are sharing together, whether to speak or hear what affects them while under the power.

This trance-worship is contrary to Scripture and to God. It relates to Satan and not to God. To say that this power is the power of the Holy Spirit is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. To say that what is of Satan is of the Holy Spirit is gross wickedness.

These people have breaking of bread meetings in this atmosphere and bring in small children to partake of the bread and wine. The women sit without head coverings and take a leading part in the proceedings. Where the atmosphere is "under the power" this is none other than the table of devils (I Cor. 10:21).

Individuals practise the same "descent of power" in private and have their ecstasy and worship with the Power. No such thing is known in Scripture except in relation to Devils. Paul says "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils" (I Cor. 10:201.

TONGUES AND PROSELYTISM

When Cultists attempt to proselytise, the fActs as above are not revealed at first, but are gradually introduced. Deception and lies are attendants of the proselytising agents.

The Cults are active proselytisers and they have developed the system of installing adherents in other church groups to set about "winning converts". Each Church is a Mission Field to these Fifth-Column workers. The Fifth-Columnist deceives the people in his Mission Field as to his purposes. He will even deny that he is interested in Tongues, but subtly he proceeds to influence individuals and collect a group within the Church who are indoctrinated to take an interest in Spirit Manifestations. This goes on surreptitiously and Church Leaders and the Church generally may have no knowledge of the evil that is working.

Deception, Evil, Lies and subtilty have been the grotesque weapons of Satan and his servants from the Garden of Eden, through to the Twentieth Century. "Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (I Tim. 4:2).

Further the hypnotic power of the evil is brought to bear, and people who know the Truth and love the Truth are often brought under a "spell" and rendered inoperative, though they begin to see the working of the evil. How evil is that evil which binds the good to allow the evil to spread unhindered!

However, God is greater than Satan, and the Lord's people need not fear, so long as they are vigilant and stand firm. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" "Having done all, to stand" (Eph. 6:13).

It is necessary to know where the conflict is. The sad thing today is that many Christians can be right in the area of this awful war, and not know it.

"But I fear lest by any means, as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another Spirit, which ye have not received, or another Gospel, which ye have not accepted ye might well bear with him" (II Cor. 11:3-4).

1  Another Jesus

The Jesus of Pentecostalism is not the Jesus of the Word of God. He is not the Lord Jesus. Rather He is to them a Jesus who weakly will let them do as they wish. He is a Jesus of their own imagination and often His name is linked with gross sensuality and in speakings in Tongues, so ;called, horrid thoughts are sometimes revealed, as when they say such things as "Mary Jesus, and get perfect love." - This is another Jesus.

2  Another Spirit

The Holy Spirit of God reveals and glorifies and delights in the true Jesus, our Lord. But the other Jesus of wicked imaginings is exalted by the Power of another spirit from the dark realms of Satan. The true Holy Spirit is grieved and quenched as the Power enters of another spirit.

3  Another Gospel

The Gospel is stated in 1 Cor. 15:1-3 thus: "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures: and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures."

But Pentecostalists preach another Gospel, seeking to add to it, and they call it a "Fuller Gospel". They would introduce a second Blessing or Second Gospel. This is what is spoken of by Paul in Galatians 1:6-9. He calls it "another gospel" and says it is "another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ."

The True Gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16). But that which holds up to the heart's devotion "Another Jesus" is of "Another Spirit" and is itself "Another Gospel".

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if has ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness: whose end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15).

 

The Doctrine of Balaam

We have shown that the true "Gift of Tongues" has ceased, and that the manifestation of "Tongues" in the world today is riot of God.

If then this ugly thing should appear within our Church Fellowship, how should we view it and what should we do about it?

1  HOW TO VIEW IT

Obviously, the way we should view arid consider all matters of every kind, is the way the Lord Jesus views them and considers them. We should view this evil as the Lord views it.

Now the Lord has taken special precautions to make sure that His people should know His mind on all essential matters and the whole written Word of God is evidence of this. But to make doubly sure, the Lord Himself dictated to the Apostle John seven letters to the seven Churches of Asia as recorded in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3. These letters have a very special importance for us today in that they apply particularly to this present Church age or dispensation. In these letters the Glorious Head of the Church review all matters affecting the Testimony, Practices and Doctrines of the Church, and He reviews the Church in all its phases and conditions.

The Lord speaks with absolute authority, and with great seriousness, as He weighs and considers the things that we see around us today. He praises and censures; He measures and weighs; He says plainly what He thinks. God forbid that any of us should have a different view from His view!

In these epistles, the Lord divides false doctrine within the Church into two main categories. There is the Doctrine of Balaam, and the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The most important section on Doctrine is the Epistle to the Church at Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-17).

The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans is ecclesiastical and is related to the Doctrine of Balaam, but it is with the Doctrine of Balaam that we are particularly concerned. The Doctrine of Balaam represents those forms of teaching which have an action within the Church similar to that which Balaam introduced in Israel.

Balaam was hired by Balak to work spiritual evil in Israel, and Balaamism is within the Church that action of Satan by which he would bring spiritual evil within the Church.

When Balaam, on the ass that spoke to him, was stopped by the Angel of the Lord, he saw One who was "standing in the way, with his sword drawn in His hand". It is significant that when the Lord writes to Pergamos, the Church charged with the Doctrine of Balaam, He is revealed in the character of "He that hath the sharp sword with two edges" (Rev. 2:12). Accordingly, both in the Old Testament and in the New, the Lord appears with the Sword of Judgment to deal with Balaamism. He regards Balaamism as a matter of the gravest consequence.

Now Balaam was hired to curse the People of God. But God saw to it that instead of cursing, there was blessing. However, we are told in Revelation 2:14, that Balaam "taught Balak" to do three things: -
    (1) To cast a stumbling block before the Children of Israel.
    (2) To cause them to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
    (3) To cause them to commit fornication.

Balaamism is a "Doctrine". It is what he "taught". It is a teaching which had dire and evil results in life and conduct. In Israel the result of the teaching was grave indeed, and brought a fierce judgment from Jehovah. The historical account of this is given in Numbers 25, and in verse 9 we read "and those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

Within the Church of God, Balaamism is teaching of a kind which produces similar havoc among Christians.

The Lord lists three things that "Balaam teaching" does within the Church:

  

(1) 

It causes God's people to stumble.

  

(2) 

It brings to the people of God food for the soul which is contaminated with evil. God's people are encouraged to eat as spiritual food that which has been sacrificed or prepared or dedicated for Satan's purposes.

  

(3) 

It causes God's people to commit a form of' spiritual fornication. Members of Christ's Body come into unholy communion and association with Powers of Evil.

It is only too obvious that the Modern Tongues Movement is a "teaching" or "doctrine" of Balaam, for it does all these things.

  1. It pretends to be something spiritual to snare or "stumble" God's people. Many people who are keen to find spiritual experience have difficulty in distinguishing between God's Truth and Satan's lie. Satan has produced his master stumbling block for the last era of the Church - Tongues and Healing, which he sets before people who want spiritual values. He says, "Get spiritual gifts - Tongues particularly, and this will prove that you have the Holy Spirit."
     
  2. Then to the person who stumbles he offers a spiritual fare that is from below, and he, Satan, rejoices to see God's people eating Devil's Food. This food takes the form of an "elation" or experience that satisfies for the moment, but does not "edify". People who speak in "Tongues" do not know what they are saying. They have no command over their own minds. Their fare or spiritual food is just an "elation" or "ecstasy". It is well known that people who eat this food enjoy it at the time, but later they feel "flat" until they can have it again. Is not this characteristic of all the Devil's offerings to man? The thrill of sin, then flatness afterwards.
     
  3. And the result is spiritual fornication, for in this elation or ecstasy Christ's members yield themselves to Satan's use. The Tongue (God's possession) becomes the vehicle of Satan, and not only the Tongue, but also the Mind and the Spirit of man.

So the Lord says "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth" (Rev. 2:16). This is the Lord's view of Balaamism.

It is sometimes alleged that so-called "spiritual" people take up this thing, and this in turn stumbles others. It would appear that what really happens is that sometimes people who have experienced the working of the Holy Spirit of God in their lives and appear to others to be spiritual - become dissatisfied with His working in their lives - especially when He deals with them on matters of sin and discipleship. What they call a "seeking" for greater spirituality stems from a dissatisfaction with the working of the Holy Spirit within them. Then they "re-open" their lives for "an experience" and another spirit enters, with the Holy Spirit grieved.

Both Peter and Jude in their epistles refer to this type of false doctrine. Jude calls it "The error of Balaam" (verse 11). Peter refers to people "Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (2 Peter 2:10). "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity; the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet" (2 Peter 2:15-16).

The Lord once gave a "Tongue" to Balaam's ass. Now others claim "Tongues" and-they say surely God in His sovereignty could give Tongues today! But God cannot forswear Himself. He has said "Tongues shall cease". And now that Tongues have ceased pursuant to His Word, He cannot give "Tongues" today. In the same way, God could not flood the world again in Judgement, as the rainbow proclaims.

False doctrine generally is also viewed in Scripture as leaven. It is something that works unseen in a group of people as leaven works in the meal, "until the whole is leavened". Just leave it to work long enough, and that is what happens. Does the Tongues doctrine work in this way? Experience from all over the world answers, "Yes, it is a leaven of evil working in the Church today".

Paul says in I Cor. 5:6 "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" A few people with this doctrine can quickly work mischief in a Church today.

2  WHAT SHOULD THE CHURCH DO ABOUT IT?

Wherever the evil of the Modern Tongues Movement appears within the Church, this evil should be exposed as Balaamism, and Judged accordingly. The Lord warns in Rev. 2:16 that if a Church does not judge it, then the Lord Himself will take action within that Church. "Repent," He says, "or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."

How Should the Church Judge Balaamism?

Remember that Balaamism is a doctrine. It involves persons who believe certain things. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." If a man believes in a doctrine, good or evil, it will sooner or later work out in his own life and he will influence others accordingly.

If a Doctrine is to be dealt with in a Church it is necessary to deal with those that hold it. It is not a question of judging the working out of Doctrine. It is not the-practices but the Doctrine itself that is in question. If the Doctrine is not held, then no one will be worried with the working out of the evil.

Scripture always deals with such problems at the source. The root of the problem is the Doctrine and accordingly the Lord's complaint is "thou host there them that hold the Doctrine of Balaam." He does not complain that the Doctrine of Balaam has been allowed to work out in evil practices, but simply "Thou has there them" that hold it.

The course of action to be taken against evil Doctrine is set out quite simply and clearly by the Apostle Paul in Titus 3:10, 11.

"A man that is a heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth being condemned of himself."

The word rendered in the Authorised Version "Heretick" does not mean one who is astray on so-called "essential Doctrine" relating to the Deity of Christ, or the truth of the Resurrection and such matters. The word in the Greek simply means "a contentious person", or "a factious person". It means one who is peddling a Doctrine that the Church should not accept.

The Lord charges the Church at Pergamos with not having taken the action required under Titus 3:10. "Thou has there them" - "Thou has not rejected them."

The Order set out in Titus is that the Elders in each Church should take aside and question those who have revealed that they hold this Doctrine. To "hold" the Doctrine means that the Doctrine is steering or controlling in the life and the evidence of the "working" of the Doctrine will be obvious. The seriousness of the matter should be explained, and the person in error should lovingly be constrained to turn from the evil.

The reason for two admonitions is obvious. The dictates of love require that the first effort must be to save and reclaim the one who has strayed. "Brethren if any of you do err from the Truth, and one convert him; let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (Jas. 5:19-20).

It is left to the discretion of the Church what length of time shall elapse between the two admonitions, but the second must follow, if the first is not fruitful in producing a change of heart and mind. If after a further period of loving entreaty, it is found that the evil is still "held", then Scripture must be followed and the offender rejected from the Company and Fellowship of the Church.

The Principle of Truth or Light demands finality in the dealing. The Principle of Love calls for long-suffering in the dealing. Only the Spirit of God can rightly equates Light and Love in their proper proportions in each case.

The overall principle that must ultimately prevail is that the whole is more important than the part. The course of discipline will ultimately reach the stage where we must turn from trying to save the wolf, to save the flock he is destroying.

"For I know this, that after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them. Therefore watch . . . " (Acts 20:29). "But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker" (2 Tim. 2:16-17).

Throughout this paper on The Doctrine of Tongues, we have sought to follow Scripture simply and surely. The whole truth is crystal clear:

     

(1) 

The early gift of Tongues has ceased.

(2) 

What is in evidence today and is called "Tongues" is a Satanic lure.

(3) 

This evil doctrine must not be named among us, and those that hold it must be rejected.

It was only when Phinehas took direct action, as recorded in Numbers 25:8, that "the plague was stayed". And to the church at Pergamos, charged with the Doctrine of Balaam, the Lord promises "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17).

 

Tongues Shall Cease

Many proofs call be brought to show that Modern Tongues are not of God. In such questions the final reference must always be "to the Word and the Testimony."

God has said "Tongues shall cease" and Tongues have ceased pursuant to His Word. A careful exposition follows of the section of Scripture in which this Truth is given.

 

First Corinthians 13: 8-13 An Exposition

The 13th chapter of I Corinthians is commonly called "The Love Chapter", for it enthrones love as the greatest thing in the world.

The chapter itself is however the vital link-chapter between chapter 12, which is concerned with Spiritual Gifts, and chapter 14, which is concerned with one of those Gifts - Tongues. Central to chapter 13 is the announcement "Tongues shall cease" (verse 8). The cessation of two other gifts is also announced and it is clear that the Gifts referred to are three of the Spiritual Gifts spoken of in chapter 12.

In chapter 13 Paul says some wonderful things concerning love, but his purpose is to illustrate the truth he has been teaching concerning Spiritual Gifts in chapter 12 and to prepare the way for some direct things he has to say about Tongues in chapter 14. Chapter 14 must always be read in the light of chapter 13 which states that Tongues shall cease. Accordingly, the directions concerning, the use of Tongues in the Church, contained in chapter 14 applied only for the period until the gift ceased.

Chapter 13 is written in typical Pauline style, and is a chapter of contrasts, from beginning to end. There is the major contrast between verse 8 and verse 13 wherein it is shown that while Prophecies, Tongues and Knowledge shall vanish away or cease, Faith, Hope and Love will continue to the end of the Church period.

But then, agreeing with this contrast, and illustrating its teaching are two other major contrasts: -

     

A. 

The Miraculous Gifts are contrasted with Love (verses 1-7).

B. 

The Miraculous Gifts are contrasted with the Completed Revelation of God (verses 8-12).

We are here concerned with the "B" Section, verses 8-12, and verse 13. Our B Section is again divided into four further contrasts: -

      

(i) 

That which is in Part and that which is Perfect.

   When?

 

(ii) 

Childish Things and Man's Things.

   How?

 

(iii) 

A Glass Darkly and Face to Face.

   Why?

 

(iv) 

Knowing in Part and Knowing as Known.

   Why?

(i) THAT WHICH IS IN PART AND THAT WHICH IS PERFECT

In verse 8 Paul says distinctly that three of the Miraculous gifts will vanish away or cease, and he proceeds to explain when, and how, and why.
The "when" is answered in short form immediately in verse 10 "When that which is perfect is come".

In Part:
Verses 9 and 10 make it quite clear that "that which is in part" is the Gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge for it says "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part."

Now these gifts were the gifts which provided for the early Church that which was later provided by the New Testament Scriptures.

The word for "Part" used in this passage is used also in Luke 11:36 "If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."

In our chapter the subject is the same; that of Spiritual illumination. In Luke "No part dark". Here the light they had was "in part", and that part illumination would give place to "that which is perfect."

When Paul wrote this epistle to the Corinthians, the only part of the New Testament then in existence appears to have been the two Epistles to the Thessalonians. The early Church was at a very great disadvantage without the New Testament, so God gave it the Miraculous Gifts of Knowledge and Prophecy. These Gifts enabled the early Church to assimilate some of the Truth so readily available to us in the New Testament. But these Gifts were "in part" compared with the "perfection" of the completed Scriptures which we now hold. It is easy to understand accordingly that "when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

Those who had the Gifts of Knowledge and Prophecy were able "in part" to reveal Truth to the Church. But their part was no longer needed when that which was perfect was come.

 

That Which Is Perfect

The expression "that which is perfect" is in the neuter gender in the Greek and could not refer to Christ or to a person.

"The Law of the Lord is Perfect" Ps. 19:7.

"His Work is Perfect" Deut. 32:4.

The Greek word rendered "Perfect" in verse 10 of our chapter is first used in Scripture in Matthew 5:48. "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." The Hebrew counterpart is first used in the Old Testament in Genesis 6:9 "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation."

Paul uses the same word in Romans 12:2 when he speaks about the "acceptable and perfect will of God, and in I Cor. 2:6 when he says "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect."

In none of these uses of the word does "perfect" refer to the future eternal state, but to life here on this earth, and this is clearly the connotation here in I Cor. 13:10.

The Gifts which were in exercise at Corinth and which were "in part" were for me in the early days of the Church on earth. It was to this scene also that "that which is perfect" was to come. These would be "done away" when that which is perfect "is come."

The expression "is come" surely envisages something coming to earth from God. Paul does not say "When we have come to that which is perfect", but he says, "when that which is perfect is come."

God was sending it, and when it was come, this perfect revelation of truth, then the miraculous Gifts, with the part revelation, would be "done away."

In Matt. 2:2 the Wise Men say "We have seen His star in the East and come to worship Him." This is the same Greek word and indicates a motion from the East to Bethlehem.

So in I Cor. 13:10 the words "is come" can only represent a movement from Heaven to this World. Why read anything else into these words? There is nothing in the passage elsewhere to refer to eternity, so we may be assured that the words have their ordinary simple meaning. "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

"Shall be done away."

Let us complete the study of verse 10 with a consideration of the meaning of the verb expression with which the sentence ends.

The Greek word Katargeo used here is the same word used twice already in verse 8.

"Prophecies shall fail" R.V. "Be done away."

"Knowledge shall vanish away" R.V. "Be done away."

The word means "To render entirely idle or useless, to abolish, to do away, to become or make of no effect, to fall, to vanish away, to make void."

This word is used also in the next verse "When I became a man I put away childish things", meaning that these things just vanished away having been rendered entirely useless in maturity.

It is evident that the Revelation of Truth by the Gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge was "in part" in contrast with the later Revelation of Truth through the Completed Scriptures.

But if "that which is perfect" refers to the Future State as some have thought, then where is the contrast? What would be the use of any gift in Heaven? Why ever would Paul hold up these two gifts and say "Behold these are `in part', and Heaven is `that which is perfect'?" What a futile statement that would be! How unlike Paul's consistent crisp thinking! Heaven is perfect, but there is no sense in which these two gifts are particularly and specially "in part" as contrasted with Heaven.

No! Paul says "Behold the Revelation available through these two gifts is "in part" in contrast with the Revelation that will come with the Completed Scriptures for these are the two gifts which have been serving the Church meantime. But when the full Revelation of the Completed Scripture is come, then the two "in part" gifts shall vanish to be superseded by "That which is perfect". And this makes good sound Pauline sense.

Further, if "that which is perfect" is Heaven, then the change referred to is the Rapture and the two "in part" gifts remain as our mode of receiving our Revelation of Church Truth until then. This is of course nonsense for we get our Church Truth today from the Bible and not through Miraculous Gifts. Further, the Scripture claims to be a Complete Revelation and the last chapter of the completed Truth contains a solemn warning against attempts to add to "the words of the prophecy of this Book" (Rev. 22:18). These gifts cannot operate now the New Testament has come and that accounts for the statement in verse 8 that they cease, when that which is perfect is come.

But then again we are told by some that it is not the Miraculous Gifts that are referred to in this passage, but just ordinary Knowledge and Prophecy in its widest sense.

This contention cannot stand for two reasons:

    

(a) 

Verse 8 speaks not only of Knowledge and Prophecy, but also of tongues. Tongues is so obviously one of the Miraculous Gifts of the previous chapter, that it is inescapable that the three things which are said to cease in verse 8 are all three of them, Miraculous Gifts.

 

(b) 

If it is ordinary Knowledge and Prophecy in its widest sense that is referred to in this passage, when do they cease? The Knowledge we have now, we carry into eternity with us. It does not cease at any time. Prophecy in the wide general sense does not cease either. God's Word which contains all prophecy remains operative after the Rapture. The most sure word of Prophecy does not cease. God has a great programme to fulfil after the Rapture, and all Prophecy is preserved, abides and will be performed.

 

(ii) CHILDHOOD - MANHOOD

How will the Miraculous Gifts cease? In what manner?

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (verse 11).

The manifestations of Prophecies, Miraculous Knowledge and Tongues were, in the figure of this verse, the "Baby" ways of the Church.

But the full revelation of God gave the Church maturity in contrast with those Baby ways. When the Full Revelation came the Baby ways vanished away and ceased.

Note also that the figure of Childhood agrees with the method of giving of the Gifts and of their cessation. The Gifts of Prophecies, Knowledge and Tongues were given to the infant Church by a direct Sovereign Act of the Holy Spirit. In its infancy it was normal and accepted for the Church to speak in Tongues, understand by Miraculous Knowledge and think as the Prophets taught.

But as the Scripture was given, the Church gradually cast off those things until they disappeared - just as a child gradually changes from childhood's ways to adult manners and notions.

Obviously it is not the change that comes at the Rapture of the Church that is in view, for that is a sudden change. It would be quite out of character to say of that sudden change "when I became a man I put away Baby things." Obviously no such thought was in the Apostle's mind when he penned those words. An infant does not:
(a) suddenly throw away childish things, and
(b) suddenly become a man.

The expression "to become a man" is expanded by Paul in Ephesians 4:11-14 where he states that Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given for the "perfecting" of the saints "Till we all attain unto (R.V.) the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

So pastors and teachers help to bring each individual in the Church unto a perfect man - R.V. "A full-grown man". Here again if the eternal state were intended by "full grown" surely the change would not require the assistance of pastors and teachers.

"Full-grown" means for the individual in Ephesians 4:13 - full Christian Spiritual maturity in this scene. But in I Cor. 13:1.1 "When I became a man" directs the mind to the adulthood of the Full Relevation as compared with the Childhood of the part Revelation.

(iii) NOW A GLASS DARKLY - THEN FACE TO FACE

Why will the Miraculous Gifts cease? For what reason?

In Isaiah 3 the prophet gives an amazing list of feminine trinkets and included in verse 23 are "the glasses" meaning hand-mirrors.

We are told in Exodus 38:8 that the laver and its foot were made "of the looking-glasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation."

Again in Job 37:18 there is the question "Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong and as a molten looking glass?"

In the imagery of Job the sky itself reflects in a way the Glory and Truth of God. So also the laver reflected divine truth.

But this reflected truth is blurred and imperfect compared with the Glory of the Full Revelation of Scripture.

So also here, the Gifts of Prophecy, Knowledge and Tongues, reflect the Glory and Truth of God "in part" or "through a glass". The Revised Version gives the true significance "For now we see in a mirror". The word in the Authorised Version translated "darkly" is in the Revised Version rendered "in a riddle."

So the early Church received Truth "mirrored" to it and given "as in a riddle' through the gifts of Prophecies, Knowledge and Tongues.

Paul says "Now" (when he wrote the Epistle) Truth was mirrored and "in a riddle", but "then" (when Tongues cease, when Prophecies and Knowledge vanish away), "Then" when the full Revelation of God is given to man through the completion of the New Testament, "Then" you shall see "face to face."

And that is exactly the wonder of the Written Word of God in its completed form, that we no longer have Divine Truth, mirrored or in a riddle, but face to face. Divine Truth, the Full Divine Truth shines face to face with us as we read it, with the Spirit's Help.

So, in Mount Sinai the Lord spoke with Moses "face to face''. Scripture always interprets itself. What God did with Moses in revealing the mysteries of the old Economy of Law so now He will do for the Church to give it a face to face revelation from the written word of God, revealing all His Truth for the Church and for the World to the end of the Cosmos.

"And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." That is what God does with each one of us today through His Word.

Again in Numbers 14:14 this thought is expanded further and we read "And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night."

The Children of Israel were known to be the people of God by these things. So now is the Church of God revealed as such to the world - the cloud is over the Church - the Glory of God is upon it - the Lord is seen by the Church face to face.

Not only so, but the face of the Saviour is seen in such a way that each Christian mirrors or reflects again to the world something of His glory. The R.V. rendering of II Cor. 3:18 is "But we all with unveiled face, reflecting as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory as from the Lord the Spirit."

In I Cor. 13:12 it is the vanishing gifts that are spoken of as Mirrors. In II Cor. 3:18 it is the individual Christian who is a Mirror to the World of the Lord he sees face to face.

The first use of this expression in Scripture is very illuminating indeed. In Genesis 32:30 we have Jacob at Peniel and it is recorded "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved."

What happened at Peniel? There, there wrestled a man with Jacob until the breaking of the day. He touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh. He asked his name and obtained the answer "Jacob". Jacob in turn asked His name. Jacob's name was changed, and he was blessed, "For as a prince hast thou power with God, and with men and hast prevailed."

Summing it up, immediately afterwards, Jacob said "I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved."

Again, Jacob's experience was an earthly one, while still in the days of his pilgrimage. It was not the commencement of the eternal state for Jacob. Instead we read, "Jacob halted upon his thigh". Instead of being physically healed, he was slightly lamed as a result, of this experience.

As the Church and each member of it come before the full revelation of God, He makes us each confess our name. We say "Jacob" and He delights to have us ask for His Name which the Book wonderfully reveals, and as we wrestle at the Spiritual Peniels of our lives, we also may each learn what it is to be a Prince with God and prevail.

As we struggle, relating affairs in our lives with the Power of God's Word in our lives, we may scarcely realise what is involved at the time. But afterwards, as we move forward in life, we realise that the hollow of the thigh has been touched and we give testimony "I have seen Hint face to face, and my life has been preserved."

Because of this, the Lord is able to say through Isaiah, "Fear not thou worm Jacob . . . I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth" (Isaiah 41:14-15).

Paul then is saying that the Miraculous Gifts of the early Church "reflected" the Glory and Truth of God and presanted truth "in a riddle": but that when these gifts give place to the completed Word of God, then the Church would be brought "face to face".

In a Riddle (Darkly):

There is an amazing passage in Numbers 12 which very fully illustrates what Paul has in mind when he says "For now we see through a mirror darkly (as in a riddle) but then face to face."

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses and they said "Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us?"

"And the Lord heard it." "And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out."

"And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron, and Miriam; and they both came forth."

"And He said hear now my words. If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto you in a vision and will speak unto him in a dream."

"My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

A perusal of the Book of Genesis confirms that prior to Moses the manner of revealing Truth had been "in visions", "in dreams" and in "dark speeches". That is, as it were in a riddle. The visions and dreams and dark sayings had to be interpreted and explained.

So also in Paul's day, the revelation of Church Truth through the Prophets and through the Miraculous Gift of Knowledge and through Tongues were as in a riddle (darkly).

But God was jealous to show Miriam and Aaron what a distinction there was between the Prophets generally and Moses.

With him: -

   

"Mouth to mouth."

"Even apparently."

"Net in dark speeches."

"The similitude of the Lord shall he behold."

 

If this is not "face to face", what is?

Now is it not remarkable that the Old Testament contains such an exact comparison agreeing in all points with the comparison in I Cor. 13? Again we say that Scripture is its own interpreter. Numbers 12 is dealing with a comparison of two forms of Revelation in Old Testament days, and so also is I Cor. 13 dealing with a comparison of two forms of Revelation in New Testament times.

Face to Face:

What is meant by this expression? Jacob said he saw God face to face, and that is true. He did. But did he see God's face physically? This he did not.

Jacob said "I have seen the Lord face to face and my life is preserved." But the Lord Himself says in Exodus 33:20 "There shall no man see Me and live." Accordingly, although Jacob saw the Lord "face to face" he did not in physical fact view the Lord's face.

What is the meaning of this mystery? It is this than Jacob saw a man who was a manifestation of God - a theophany. That is, a physical manifestation of the presence of God, in the form or appearance of a human body, or person.

God did not reveal His face to the gaze of Jacob, but nevertheless Jacob was made to realise that he had been face to face with God.

This is exactly what the Word of God achieves for us. We do not see God physically, but as the Revelation does its work with us powerfully and effectively and clearly we are made to feel and know that we have been "face to face".

Even Moses, who spoke with God "face to face" did not see the face of God, as is made clear in Exodus 33. But he was hid in the cleft of the rods, covered with the hand of God and then allowed to see His "back parts". And God said "I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy." This is to see God face to face, and that is exactly what the Scriptures do for us today - through the Word He makes His goodness pass before us, and He proclaims the Name of the Lord before us, and He shows mercy and is gracious to whom He will.

When that which is perfect is come, then we shall see face to face.

The Risen Lord says as His final word to the Churches at the end of the last of the letters to the Seven Churches in Rev. 3:20 "Behold I stand at the door and knock; and if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Is not this face to face? How do we sup with Him? Surely it is through the miracle of "that which is perfect," that we meet with Him face to face.

In Deuteronomy 5 there is an analogy which clearly shows the meaning of the words used in I Cor. 13:12. Moses says "The Lord talked with you face to face in the Mount out of the midst of the fire." (Deut. 5:4). Then Moses recounts the words of the Decalogue and says "These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the Mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me."

Now until Moses, the Lord spoke "in riddles", "in visions", "in dreams", but at Sinai God spoke "face to face" with Moses and also with all the people "and He added no more". From that time Israel had in the Law a "face to face" revelation compared with the previous part revelation that was in visions, dreams and riddles.

That is the analogy. So now Paul is saying that in the Church Dispensation, the gifts of Prophecy, Knowledge and Tongues are like the riddles, dreams and visions prior to Sinai. But "that which is perfect", the full Truth of God, when available will be a "face to face" revelation of Truth for the Church as the law was to Israel.

"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall nor we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven." (Heb. 12:25).

"Ye are not come unto the Mount that burned with fire . . . but ye are come unto Mount Zion . . . to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn . . . And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel." (Heb. 12:18-24).

Now and Then:

The Greek word for Now; in this verse "Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face", is the emphatic "Now" meaning at this present moment when Paul is writing. Now, when there is no New Testament and when Truth is only given through the gifts of Knowledge and Prophecy, Now we see in a mirror darkly, but then, when the New Testament will be available, then face to face.

The Greek word used here translated "Now" when used in Scripture always means "at this present moment". It is a different word that is translated "Now" in such Scriptures as "Now is the accepted time, Now is the Day of Salvation". (II Cor. 6:2).

The word used in I Cor. 13 is only used in such Scriptures as John 9:19 where the parents of the blind man are asked "How then doth he now see? " This word never means anything else in Scripture but "at this moment" and it could not mean anything else.

Now (when Paul wrote): -

   

There was the Gift of Prophecies.

There was the Gift of Tongues.

There was the Gift of Knowledge.

Revelation was "in part".

Childish things were still in use.

Truth was seen mirrored and as in a riddle.

Knowing was "in part".

Faith, Hope and Love were abiding.

But

When that which is perfect is come: -

Then: -

Negatively:   

1  

2  

3  

4  

5  

Prophecies shall be done away.

Tongues shall cease.

Knowledge shall be done away.

That which is in part shall be done away.

Childish things shall be done away.

Positively: 

6  

7  

8  

We shall see face to face.

We shall fully know as we are fully known.

Faith, Hope and Love will still abide or continue thereafter.

 

(iv) PART KNOWING AND KNOWING FULLY

Why will the Miraculous Gifts cease? For what reason?

Verse 12 of I Cor. 13 concludes "Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known."

Two different Greek words are used for "knowing" in this verse. In the clause relating to Spiritual Gifts "Now I know in part" it is the simple usual verb "ginosko" that is used, meaning "To be aware of, to know, to perceive, to understand." But then comes the comparison - "But then shall I know, even as also I am Known," and here the word "know" and "known" is the rarely used emphatic verb "epiginosko" meaning "To know upon some mark - to recognise - to become fully acquainted with". This Greek verb is first used in Scripture in Matt. 7:16 "Ye shall know them (or recognise them) by their fruits."

"That which is Perfect" the Bible, is also the Revelation of Jesus Christ who is Himself, the Living Word of God.

The Miraculous Gifts of the Early Church were fruitful in providing a part-knowledge of Him. But it was only a part knowledge. "Now" when Paul wrote, they had this Part Knowledge of Him. But "when that which is perfect is come" then they would be able to fully recognise and be acquainted with Him.

He is the Head of the Body and He knows each Member. When "that which is perfect is come" then the Members will be able to know Him fully, as He Himself knows the Members.

This does not mean that the Members will all have the Omniscience of the Head. When the Church is with Christ in Glory in Eternity, He will still remain the Head, and will have the quality of Omniscience, and the Church will not have it. He will remain God Blessed for ever and we shall remain His creatures. We shall share His inheritance and share in His knowledge. All eternity will provide for the Church a progression of knowledge as God opens out and reveals more and more of the wonders of His Grace. But Christ knows all these things being God. He is Omniscient.

The word here does not mean that we shall share His Omniscience when it says "I shall know even as I am known". Impossible!

But as He knows us, our character, our names, our life and purposes, our Hopes and desires, so we also may fully know His Character, His Names, His Life and Purposes, His Hopes and Desires. Also His Power and Grace and Love and Glory. What a wonderful revelation of Christ the Word of God is! How full is "that which is perfect" of Him! Surely today we "may know Him and the Power of His Resurrection."

Paul's prayer for the Churches for full knowledge is recounted in several places, but in the Ephesian Epistle he records the epitome of this prayer when he prays in verses 17-19 of chapter 1, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power."

Paul's prayer for full knowledge, that the Church may fully know Him and His power was answered in the completing and providing for the Church of "that which is perfect".

Why do the Miraculous gifts vanish away? Because they are superfluous when that which is perfect is come. There is no need for "part knowledge" in the face of "full" knowledge.

"That which is Perfect" means the Full Scriptures after the addition of the New Testament. We deduce this as follows: -

  1. The Contrasts of this chapter make it obvious that this is what is meant. What else could contrast with the Part Revelation of the Miraculous Gifts, but the Full Revelation of the New Testament Scriptures?
     
  2. What else could supersede the Miraculous Gifts but the New Testament?
     
  3. Historically it is what happened. The Miraculous Gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge vanished when the New Testament appeared.
     
  4. The expression "That which is perfect" is beautifully and accurately descriptive of the Completed Scriptures.
     
  5. The many quotations given in this article illustrate the true Scriptural meaning of the terms employed by Paul. The whole passage sings together in harmony with the whole Word of God when it is understood that "that which is perfect" is the Completed Scriptures of Truth.
     
  6. Scripture will not harmonise with any other view, for then it is necessary to show: -
     

(a)  

That Faith and Hope are carried into Eternity and continue there. 

(b)  

That the Miraculous Gifts of Prophecies and Knowledge are still with the Church today and that we can receive Truth in these part-revelations direct from God today (contrary to the warning given in Revelation 22 against attempts to add to "the words of the prophecy of this Book"). 

(c)  

That "is come" does not mean what it says, but it means when "we go" to Heaven. 

(d)  

That Paul is describing the Rapture of the Church here as a baby gradually losing his baby ways (whereas just two chapters further on he does describe the Rapture and says "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye . . . we shall be changed"). 

(e)  

That "To become a man" describes the same sudden change! 

(f)  

That we are still only receiving a mirrored, dark revelation of Truth - just in riddles.
 

But again, could "That which is Perfect" refer to something else altogether? Could it refer to "Spiritual Maturity"? We have shown that "a perfect man" in Ephesians 4:13 means a Man here and now who has attained a Spiritual Maturity. The difference between Ephesians and 1st Corinthians is that in the former Paul is discussing Spiritual Maturity and in the latter he is discussing the contrast between Part Revelation and Perfect Revelation. These things are related, but they are different concepts in themselves.

The expression "that which is perfect" as used in I Corinthians 13 could not refer to "Spiritual Maturity" for the following reasons: -

  1. For all the reasons stated in this Exposition "that which is perfect" refers to something else.
     
  2. No-one would ever speak of Spiritual Maturity as "that which is perfect". The expression in Ephesians is clear and natural. But to say Paul was expressing the same thought in I Cor. 13:10 by the words "when that which is perfect is come" is on the face of it immature thinking.
     
  3. The "Spiritual Maturity" teaching in relation to this chapter is based on the words "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
     
    Now Paul uses these words to illustrate the manner in which the Gifts will cease. Accordingly, the Spiritual Maturity exponents base a Doctrine on an illustration. Anyone in Spiritual Maturity should know not to do this.
     
  4. Paul says in verse 8 that the three gifts will cease and then he says immediately "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. This is Paul's Number 1 Explanation of Doctrine, and we must see that our understanding of the illustration given later, agrees with the Doctrine. Now in what possible way could the gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge be "in part" as compared with Spiritual Maturity? Who today starts off with the gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge and then dispenses with them to take Spiritual Maturity?
     
  5. If Spiritual Maturity is the answer, then we should expect to observe today the following order:

    (a) 

    First the immature Christian speaking in Tongues.

    (b) 

    Then, later, the same man giving up Tongues and becoming Mature, for "the Part" ceases on the coming of "that which is Perfect".
     
    Do we observe this order?
     

  6. The expression "that which is perfect'' is in the Neuter Gender in the Greek, and could not possibly refer to a person.

Verse 13:

We have surveyed the contrast between the Miraculous Gifts and the Completed Bible under its four sub-contrasts as portrayed in the Section Verses 9 to 12.

The Miraculous Gifts have been contrasted with love in Verses 1 to 8.

Now verse 13 brings the overall contrast of the chapter. The three named Miraculous Gifts of verse 8 are to vanish away and cease, but when that which is perfect is come, three other things will abide or continue - Faith, Hope and Love.

We have seen that the "Now" of verse 12 is the urgent "now" of time, meaning "Right now at this moment". But here in verse 13 it is not time that is referred to but we have the "Now" of argument.

"This being so, now therefore,'' the following things apply. As is shown in the Revised Version, the first word of the sentence should be "But" not "And". So that the force of the argument of the "Now" is contrast. The Apostle proceeds to argue and demonstrate from the premises of verses 1 to 12 a proposition of contrast and he says "But now". It is very forceful, and the point must not be missed or the whole argument of the Chapter is lost.

"But Now," (while three Miraculous Gifts are shortly to cease, when the Whole Word of God is come in the manner of their vanishing away like the ways of a Baby being forgotten in Manhood, for the reason that the Full Revelation is Face to Face compared with the Part revealings of the Gifts, and for the further reason that a Full Knowledge of Christ will then be open to the Church).

"But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three: and the greatest of these is love."

Some things cease, other things abide.

Today we are in the era of Faith, Hope and Love. This is very much the day for Faith, Hope and Love. These things characterise our whole manner of life and have done so for the Church both before and since the Miracu!ous Gifts faded out when that which is perfect came.

Which scene is most easily recognisable as the sphere of Faith, Hope and Love? Heaven or Here? Which period do these things best describe? The Eternal Future or the Present?

Which fits best? Which is Paul speaking about? Is he saying that the Miraculous Gifts carry on to the Rapture and then after that Faith, Hope and Love carry on in Heaven? Or is he saying that the Miraculous Gifts fade out when the New Testament is complete and that after that Faith, Dope and love carry on right to the end of the age? Surely it is the latter.

Faith is the very breath of Spiritual Life in this age on earth. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." "Whatsoever is not of Faith is Sin."

Hope is the comfort, joy and inspiration of the Saints in this life "who look for a City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God".

Love is the greatest of all and is eternal. But in this chapter love is related to life here in this scene. It is the "more excellent way" for the Church on earth. Tongues is just like sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal without love. That Divine Love, shed abroad in the Believer's Heart is greater than Faith and Hope and all the Gifts are profitless without it. They are nothing, without it. In this chapter Love is viewed in the setting of this scene. It is compared with the Gifts which belong to this scene. It is urged on the Church then and now in this scene, and it is spoken of in relation to "envy", "vauntings", "being puffed up", "behaving unseemly", "seeking her own", "being easily provoked", "thinking evil", "rejoicing in iniquity".

These are all earth things that never enter Heaven, and accordingly we judge that Love, Faith and Hope are all portrayed in this chapter in relation to the period of the Church's course on earth, and that alone.

Now there must be a period in which the things that abide, continue after the other things have ceased or failed.

Faith and Hope abide only until the Lord returns for the Church, and then they also cease, for Faith then "gives place" to sight, and Hope gives place to realisation.

Faith we know ends at the Rapture. The Lord said to Thomas "Because thou has seen thou halt believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." The day is coming when faith will give place to sight, and we shall see Him as He is, and we shall be like Him. Faith will end at that day, but it will continue or abide throughout the present Church Age.

Hope is also of limited duration although it abides throughout the present Church age. In Romans 8 we read "What a man seeth, how doth he yet hope for it? " During this Age of the abiding of Hope we hope for Christ's return and for all that His return will bring. But, when He does return, then we shall hope no longer, for we shall have the fact of His presence and of Heavenly Bliss. Hope abides for this age but gives place to Realisation at the Return of the Lord.

Accordingly, if Hope and Faith end at the Lord's return, Prophecies, Tongues and Miraculous Knowledge must have ceased long before, if the passage is to be understood at all.

The order of I Corinthians 13 is: -

  

(a)

Three things are to cease -
       Prophecies.
       Tongues.
       Miraculous Knowledge.

(b) 

Three things abide (do not cease) throughout the Church Age -
       Faith, Hope and Love.

(c) 

Faith and Hope disappear at the end of the Church Age, at the Lord's Coming.

(d) 

But "Love never faileth" (verse 8).

Love is as eternal as God is Himself.


Orange Street Congregational Church