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Speaking In Tongues

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
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We have restored on the WLC website, in the Scriptures quoted the Names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible.  Click here to download the Restored Names Version (RNV) of Scripture.  The RNV is a non-WLC resource.  -WLC Team

No spiritual gift today enjoys more popularity, or harbors such inherent possibilities of deception, as speaking in tongues. So for those who have chosen to follow Yahuwah, it is important to understand exactly what His word teaches about this gift in order to avoid being deceived.

When Yahushua trained His disciples, He limited their training towards witnessing to the Jews living in Israel and Samaria. However, after Yahushua ascended into heaven, He commissioned His disciples to every nation. Yahushua had told His disciples that they would speak with "new tongues" (Mark 16:17-18), and now it was time for the promise to be fulfilled.

The Gift of Tongues

1. At Pentecost, what group received "fire from heaven," and what did it cause them to do?

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4.

Answer: The gift of tongues.

2. At Pentecost, did the apostles speak in languages or in unknown tongues?

“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of Yahuwah.” Acts 2:5-11.

Answer: They spoke in known languages of different countries. They were given the ability to speak the language of those to whom they were trying to witness to. The result of Yahushua's followers receiving the gift to speak in different languages was the conversion of “about three thousand souls” to Yahushua in just one day (Acts 2:41). So this gift of tongues was given for the proclamation of the gospel.

3. Was the next occurrence of tongues like that at Pentecost?

“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And 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. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify Yahuwah. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Master. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” Acts 10:44-47.

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Master, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as Yahuwah gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Master Yahushua, the Anointed; what was I, that I could withstand Yahuwah?” Acts 11:15-17.

Answer: Here for the first time, the Gentiles have the gift of tongues, proving to the skeptical Jewish Christians that the gospel is for Gentiles too. These tongues were real languages, because Peter, in recounting the incident testifies, “the Holy Ghost fell on them, AS ON US AT THE BEGINNING” Verse 15; and also “Yahuwah gave them the LIKE GIFT AS HE DID UNTO US” Verse 17. The gift of tongues at Pentecost was real foreign languages and now the Gentiles were given the same gift. So these Gentile converts spoke known discernable languages which were understood by their listeners just like with the disciples at the beginning.

By speaking in languages they had never learned, these Gentile believers showed their Jewish Christian audience that the Spirit of Yahuwah was also including them in “the family of Yahuwah” as His “chosen people” (see Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 10:12). It also showed that the gospel was to be preached “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6), and not just to the Jews alone. And to more effectively accomplish this, Yahuwah gave His people the ability to speak in different languages.

4. What tongues were spoken for the third time in the book of Acts?

“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on the Anointed Yahushua. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Master Yahushua. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.” Acts 19:1-7.

Answer: In Acts 19:1.-7, the same word for “tongues” is used as in Acts 2 and Acts 10. The Greek word for “tongues” used in verse 6 is “glossa” which translates “a language”. So these 12 men spoke in other languages not before learned by them, but were understood by the people who heard them.

Having looked at every occurrence of the true gift of tongues in the Bible, the only conclusion to which we can come to is that tongue-speaking is the miraculous gift of being able to speak another known language to people with whom we would otherwise be unable to communicate.

The manifestation of the Spirit in all three instances was not vain babbling or gibberish that could be confused for a drunken man's speech; it was not a language that no one could understand, or that had to be deciphered by the hearers; but it was the perfectly understood use of foreign languages spoken under the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the true gift.

5. Were the tongues practiced among believers in 1 Corinthians in accordance with Yahuwah?

Answer: No, among the issues that Paul was forced to deal with these believers in Corinth was a big problem with the gift of tongues. The ekklesia services were being disrupted by people making sounds that neither they, nor anyone present, could understand or interpret. These tongues being spoken were not of a known language, and thus could not have been a true gift from Yahuwah. So we can be sure that a counterfeit kind of tongues-speaking was taking place in this ekklesia, or there would have been no problem.

Purpose Of The Gift of Tongues

6. What problem does Paul point out to the Corinthians?

“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto Yahuwah: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.”

The reason why we use Ekklesia and not church when referring to Yahuwah's faithful in WLC content is because the word "church" does not accurately convey the meaning of the original Greek, "Ekklesia." Throughout the New Testament, Ekklesia refers to the Called Out Ones. The word "church," which emphasizes a group, is therefore an erroneous translation and should never have been used. Christians are literally the Called Out Ones. The true followers of Yahushua are indeed the Called Out Ones from the organized denominations and religions of fallen Babylon. When the call to flee Babylon has been heard, none are to again return to Babylonian churches and forms of religion.

Answer: The genuine gift of tongues had been bestowed upon them but was being used for personal praise, rather than to bring foreigners to Yahushua - the main purpose of the gift. This real purpose for speaking in tongues was being lost sight of. When the word “tongue” is used, it refers to a foreign language. However, it is true that the tongue was unknown to those present, but not to those who, could understand the language being spoken. It is therefore true that Yahuwah understood the speaker, (Yahuwah understands all languages), but those present could not.

7. Who only benefits when an unknown tongue is used?

“But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the ekklesia.” 1 Corinthians 14:3, 4.

Answer: The speaker was the only one who understood, so was the only one edified or helped.

8. What does Paul state the purpose of tongues should be?

“I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the ekklesia may receive edifying.” 1 Corinthians 14:5.

Answer: The gift of languages to communicate with various nationalities. And only that which is understood by the listeners will edify the ekklesia.

9. In what sense is speaking in tongues useful?

“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?. . . 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.” 1 Corinthians 14:6, 9.

Answer: Paul is saying that if they don’t understand what he says he has not helped them, and if they do the same, they “speak into the air” and nobody is benefited. Both the speaker and the hearer must know the meaning of what is said.

10. In what should those with spiritual gifts excel?

“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the ekklesia. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.” 1 Corinthians 14:12, 13.

Answer: Some modern tongue exponents tell of the self-benefit that non-intelligible ecstatic utterance provides. They speak of an experience like an electrical current flooding the body with over-powering emotion. Here Paul is not advocating self edification but the building up of the ekklesia. The true Christian life is one of service - not self-seeking.

11. Although Paul was a linguist, what did he say he would rather do?

“I thank Yahuwah, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the ekklesia I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” 1 Corinthians 14:18, 19.

Answer: Paul could speak several languages, but he never used them where they were not needed. He would rather speak five words with his hearers understanding him than 10,000 in a foreign tongue. There is no room here for putting the mind in neutral and letting the tongue idle on.

12. Why is the gift of tongues given to believers?

“Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” 1 Corinthians 14:22.

Answer: Tongues were never meant for believers’ use, but for taking the gospel to foreigners that are unbelievers. Paul makes it clear, that where one’s native tongue is understood, the use of foreign languages is unnecessary and to be discouraged.

The Gift Of The Spirit

13. Who controls the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit?

“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1Corinthians 12:11.

14. Should everyone speak together, with noone understanding?

“How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the ekklesia; and let him speak to himself, and to Yahuwah. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For Yahuwah is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all ekklesia of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:26-33.

Answer: No, Paul appeals for an orderly worship service. Only one person should speak at a time, and there should be an interpreter or they should keep quiet.

15. Was it Yahuwah’s design that all should possess the same gifts?

“Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” 1Corinthians 12:29, 30.

16. Is speaking in tongue the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

Answer: No, each person receives different gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28-30). Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:11 give lists of the gifts of the Spirit. Only the 1 Corinthians 12 list mentions tongues at all. On the other hand, everyone needs the Holy Spirit in their life.

17. How do we receive the Holy Spirit?

“ . . . that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:14.

“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom Yahuwah hath given to them that obey him.” Acts 5:32.

Answer: Through faith through obedience.

18. For what purpose is the Holy Spirit given?

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:13, 14.

Answer: To teach us the truth.

19. How do we know whether a person has the Holy Spirit?

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Matthew 7:16.

20. What is the fruit of the Spirit?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22,23.

Answer: The evidence of the Holy Spirit in the life is not whether a person speaks in tongues, but whether his life has the fruits of the Spirit. Speaking in tongues in ecstatic utterance is not according to Scripture. It is a perversion of the genuine gift given by Yahuwah at Pentecost. There are many deceptions in the world today - this is one of them. Many genuine Christians are caught up in the snare of the Charismatic movements.

21. 1 John 4:1 says, "Test the spirits, whether they are of Yahuwah." How can we test tongues?

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20.

Answer: A spirit must uphold Yahuwah's law, including the Sabbath, or it is a counterfeit. See Matthew 7:15, 20-23.

22. What kind of ecumenical spirits are going to unite the world?

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of Yahuwah Almighty.” Revelation 16:13, 14.

Answer: These spirits come out of the "mouth" and are likened to "frogs." Frogs catch their prey with their tongues! See Revelation 18:1-5.

Have you determined to test each gift by the word of Yahuwah and the fruit of the Spirit?