ON THE DAY
By Atif Himadeh
A very controversial topic of theological belief at the present
time is that of "speaking in tongues". Almost all
denominations are agreed on the historical facts of the early
church corresponding to this subject. The question, however,
is whether the "speaking in tongues" of those early
days is the same experience and practice as that of those
who claim to speak Tongues in modern days.
The record of "speaking in Tongues" as found in
the book of Acts, and where relevant, in the Epistles, is
not fully in accord with the present claims of many who say
they "speaking in Tongues".
The reader may ask himself why people on the day of Pentecost
spoke in "languages" and today people who claim
to speak in Tongues do not speak languages.
Let us study the fact of "speaking in languages"
on the day of Pentecost.
Every person who is a Christian must believe in Pentecost,
and all that happened on that day. "And when the day
of pentecost was fully come, they were all in 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. 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 marveled, 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 Judea, 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 God." Acts
Let us examine the actions of this small assembly of believers.
1- They were all in one accord.
2- A "sound" was heard from heaven as of a rushing
mighty wind, and it filled all the house, where they were
sitting. Acts 2:2.
3- There appeared unto them "cloven tongues" like
as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Act 2:3.
4- All were filled and they started speaking in "tongues
(languages)" as the spirit gave them utterance.
5- Every man heard them speaking in "his own language".
6- They spoke in tongues (languages) glorifying and magnifying
God. "...,We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful
works of God." Acts 2:11 "For they heard them speak
with tongues, and magnify God. ..." Acts 10:46.
This is the true Pentecost "speaking, in Tongues".
They spoke languages and they glorified God. But in our day
how many of these six points are true when people claim they
speak in tongues. Let us take the first point.
1- They were All in "One Accord".
After ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ to heaven, the disciples
were meeting and praying in one accord that is "they
agreed in all things" and were in one heart. But today
the Charismatic people are not in one accord but rather are
very much divided and often hate each other. Their claim of
being "Baptized by the Holy Spirit" is well known,
yet hatred and strife fill their hearts. "By this shall
all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one
to another." John 13:35
You will be surprised when I tell you what happened in a Charismatic
church. I was told that the supposed believers speaking in
tongues, attacked each other wishing and praying for the death
of the other person. Do you think that the Holy Spirit would
fill people and yet their hearts would remain full of contention?
Could you make me believe that when the Holy Spirit fills
people, He will lead them to verbally attack each other publicly?
This is exactly the opposite of the "one accord"
that is found in the Bible. And contradicts the commandment
of our Lord Jesus Christ which says to love one another.
Most of the charismatic groups, who claim the speaking in
tongues, allow women to become preachers, pastors and evangelists.
Some believe in the premillennial pretribulational rapture,
and other believe that they will establish the millennium
for Christ and that the Lord Jesus Christ will not come until
the millennium is over. Some charismatic groups do not believe
in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They say when you accept
the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, you still
need to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. There is a small group
of charismatics who do not believe in hell.
The strangest charismatic group is the one that claims to
be filled with Holy Spirit, and they speak in tongues praying
to the virgin Mary and worshipping idols.
In the book of acts the early christians were "in one
accord," but almost all those who speak in tongues today
are rather "in confusion" as shown above.
2- "The Sound as of a Rushing Mighty Wind."
Nowadays nowhere in the world is the sound as of a rushing
mighty wind to be heard in charismatic services where they
speak in tongues. Instead of that sound, you will hear the
sound of singing of hymns with a rock and roll devilish beat.
Even when the preacher is preaching you will hear shouting,
and when they start praying you will not understand anything
because every one is shouting.
The whole experience is not the filling of the Holy Spirit
of God but is rather a man-made imitation. Men can imitate
almost everything, but one thing they cannot imitate is the
real visitation of the Holy Spirit.
3- "There Appeared Tongues of Fire."
It was not imagination at all; there were actually cloven
tongues of fire on the disciples. Oh, what a marvelous sight
that must have been!
Today the great emphasis in charismatic meeting is on "speaking
in Tongues" but we do not see the "tongues of fire".
It is too bad that today men have to substitute the tongues
of men for the tongues of fire. We do not have the fire of
conviction of sin anymore nor the zeal for the Lord that once
was present. Many today are living in sin and enjoy it.
Some people are sincere and they love the Lord others will not
lie to men only, but also to God. They say the Lord told me
this and that, while it is only their imagination or dreams.
If we allow devil possessed schizophrenic people to enter the
church, we will have new Mormons, new Seventh day Adventists,
new Christian Scientists, new Jehovah Witnesses and new Islamic
religions. But God loves his own very much, and he does not
allow every schizophrenic to start a new religion. Many of these
schizophrenics have been taken to Mental Hospitals. According
to statistics it is said that around 85% of mental hospital
patients in the USA are from pentecostal background people.
It is no longer the tongues of fire, but rather, a man-made
way that is now at work. A person who had been taught how to
translate tongues told me "you just open your mouth and
say the first verse or idea that comes to your mind." That
is not translation. If that is the case, nobody needs to study
another Language. When you hear another language "say the
idea that comes to your mind" and that will be the translation
according to what he said.
The word "translate" in Greek means "to explain"
or "to interpret". How can someone explain or interpret
things he does not know? God inspired writers to write, but
he never inspired the authors of the Scriptures to write in
a language they did not know.
The Church in the first decades before the NT was written was
in a real need for NT Scriptures. As the church started to face
new problems, they needed real guidance from the Lord every
day. The Lord Jesus Christ, after he ascended to the right hand
of God, remained in the church as he promised, "...: and,
lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Matt. 28:20b. As the church needed NT Scriptures, God gave that
scripture by the Holy Spirit in different ways. One of these
ways was the speaking in tongues. The speaking in tongues and
the translation of what was said was very essential to the growth
of the church in its early stage. This is why the apostle Paul
said "..., covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with
tongues." ICor. 14:39. As the needs arose for a certain
church, the Lord sent the needed Scripture and guidance by a
vision, a dream, a prophecy, or by speaking in tongues where
at least on person knew the language so that it could be interpreted.
"But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in
the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God."
ICor. 14:28. If a person speaks in tongues and no one knows
the language he is speaking then let him stop speaking (keep
silence in the church).
On the day of Pentecost there was no problem in the interpretation
of the speaking in tongues. "..., because that every man
heard them speak in his own language." Acts 2:6. There
were some who did not understand what was said. "others
mocking said, these men are full of new wine."
God can inspire those who translate, to do a perfect job of
translation through the Holy Spirit from their knowledge of
the language. Those who speak in "tongues" today perform