Signs and WondersSigns and wonders: no man ever spoke in tongues outside of the presence of an apostle. No woman ever spoke in tongues in the New Testament.
In the first part we gave some of the background to show why a one-time speaking of tongues among the major groups only in the presence of an apostle was important. We saw that only males, such as a warrior, was caused to speak in tongues in Peter's presence to confirm that Peter's perception about Gentile acceptance in the church was correct. We have no record that Cornelius ever spoke in tongues again.
Women would not be a sign of the Apostle's authority to speak God's word because women were the primary instigators of effeminate men speaking in tongues as a sign of female superiority. This is well documented in the Greek world in which Paul had too confront women RULING OVER which he connects to speaking, singing or "prophesying" in tongues. We know for certainty that this defines the women who served in the ORACLES of gods such as Apollo (Abaddon, Apollyon) just up the coast from Corinth.
Our plan is to show that speaking in tongues was a sign to confirm the truth of the Apostolic preaching. To be a sign of confirmation as opposed to a sign of madness, there had to be a "double blind" test.
So what do we have actually recorded about Signs and Wonders?
At Pentecost, the Apostles were overwhelmed by the Spirit of Christ (John 14:16-18) and spoke in tongues. Consistent with the spirit which rested on Jesus (Isaiah 11:1-3) this would be a sign that Christ had come to further lead the apostles into all truth and to confirm their preaching.
The believers were saved and then were to receive the gift only after their baptism. Peter said you shall receive. In any miraculous sense, this gift would come only by the hands of the Apostles. However, the gift of the holy spirit is the gift of A holy spirit. The same Peter said that baptism is where we REQUEST A clear conscience which is A clear consiousness. This word means A CO-PERCEPTION so that OUT spirits are pure or sanctified so that the Mind of Christ or the Holy Spirit can dwell in us by faith.
In Acts 2, the "signs" were performed by the Apostles, and in Acts 8 the Samaritans heard, believed and were baptized. Were they not then saved? The "believer's baptism" writers claim that Cornelius was saved by belief and/or the baptism of the Spirit. But believer's baptism was invented by Zwingli in 1525 and was the ancient pagan baptism.
However, all were saved because they had done what Jesus commanded, Peter preached and now Philip practiced. A holy spirit is connected to baptism but this was internal and needed an external validation of the Word of God being spoken to them. After they spoke in tongues we have no record of them performing any supernatural signs such as speaking in an UNLEARNED language.
The signs and wonders were performed by the evangelist. Only after an apostle had bestowed the gift did any of the believers possibly speak in tongues. This was recorded only once of them and it was a sign of the Apostle's power.
At Samaria, the people were baptized and saved before any gifts were given.
Therefore, the supernatural gifts were not connected to salvation in Christ's commission, Peter's command, by the people at Pentecost, Ephesus or at Samaria.
First, look at the promise of the miraculous power of the Spirit.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17
What is a sign? When you see a road sign which reads "Nashville" you know for sure that the sign is not the city of Nashville. In Greek "sign" is:
Semeion (g4592) say-mi'-on; an indication, espec. cer. or supernatural miracle, sign, token, wonder.
The Apostles were given the power to perform the signs upon others. Therefore, one who speaks in tongues has not personally performed a valid sign because the sign and the performer are just one witness. If I tell you, "I am a new Jesus, better than the old one," I give no proof of my Divinity. To the contrary, Paul told the tongue-speaking Corinthians that their sign out of their own spirit was a sign of madness. He then demanded two or more witnesses.
However, if I have no inclination to speak in tongues and don't know what it means, speak english, and an apostle puts his hands on me and I begin to speak Hebrew words which he understands then I still have no proof of my superiority. Rather, in Samaria, Simon understood that the power was in the hands of the Apostles. Furthermore, he understood that it was not gibberish or ventriloquism or the kind of speaking in tongues which he sold as the voice of God. It was real speech.
Double Blind Test for Tongues
On Mount Carmel, the test between Baal and God in the Elijah event would be repeated in the latter-day "Baal" clergy fight against the new Elijah, John the Baptist who represented Jesus as God Incarnate.
Take the dry bull and "sing, dance, play music and cut yourself. Cry out to God in charismatic ecstasy. And the bull just lies there."
The test has to be without debate. Saturate the bull with water and make it burn up simply by speaking words which God understood.
The priests and prophets of paganism who roved around in bands were, like most priesthoods, highly afflicted with a gender problem and they had no interest in joining a band of 40,000 clergy trying to get into a "Masculine Journey" to get things fixed. They were a perverted lot and they loved it.
"We know that Canaanite prophets were organized in guilds centered on the larger sanctuaries, as, for example, 'the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the Asherah four hundred,' with whom Elijah had memorable dealings on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). Similarly,
Israelite cultic prophets were to be found in and around the sanctuaries, roving about in rowdy troops,
working themselves up into frenzies by dancing and music,
and uttering semi-coherent oracles (speaking in tongues or sermons)
which the credulous accepted as divinely inspired." (Heaton, E. W., Everyday Life in the Old Testament, p. 221, Scribners)
The Bible defines these people as "prophesying" because they were charismatic. Those who plagued the Temple mount were male and female prostitutes. Music was a SIGN of their trade and a METHOD of making vile sodomites look more attractive just as modern "musicians" do to be "loved" by both sexes. "Thesbianism" in these pagan cults translates "Lesbianism" as in the "Lesbos singers."
One of the most common things in the ancient world was speaking in tongues as a sorcerer or diviner like Simon the magos or the witch of Endor. Everyone but the superstitious knew that it was a "parlor trick."
The king of Israel gathered 400 prophets "prophesied" or spoke or sung in tongues to tell the king that he should go to war. However, the lone Micaiah, said that they were lying:
"But the prophet, speaking under the influence of Yahweh's spirit, was able to interpret the meaning of events and to proclaim the will of God in concrete terms. This of course, was not possible so long as the prophetic group was acting or singing in unison. So more and more we see individuals standing out from the prophetic band, even breaking from it, in order to proclaim the word of God for a particular crisis." (Anderson, p. 231).
"With Micaiah, prophecy was no longer the echo of nationalizm or the servant of popular desire. Here we have a break with the professional prophets&emdash;a break that became sharper later when Amos disavowd any connection with the 'sons of the prophets' (Amos 7:14)." ( Anderson, Bernhard W., Understanding the Old Testament, 3rd, Prentice-Hall, p. 249).
In this case, 400 of the professional "clergy" were totally in error and were leading the king into destruction but there was only one true prophet who refused to join the mass meetings.
Because you couldn't depend upon the huge band of professional tongue speakers, it was a common practice in the Old Testament that a king might have a dream but before calling a soothsayer or prophet he wrote the dream down. Then the soothsayer was forced to tell the king both the dream and his interpretation. If a Daniel could tell the king what his unrevealed dream was then the king could have some confidence in the interpretation. (Daniel 4).
If I speak some gibberish and tell you that God demands that you give me 8 million dollars or He is going to kill me then you know that a scam is in the works. If an 800 foot Jesus took the prophet then I would send him some money.
With this same understanding, Paul didn't encourage speaking in tongues in Corinth but he gave a good test which would certainly silence the practice. If you believe that your strange sounds are a message from God then you must put it to the test and have another "inspired" person interpret and get the understanding. We don't have the record in the text but in that society there would have been some "double blind" testing in Paul's mind so that two people couldn't be in collusion. Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylonian captivity illustrate the method.
Jesus followed the same procedure. At Pentecost, people of many foreign dialects clearly understood the message of the Jewish fishermen. If only one dialect group said that they understood then there would be no proof of anything. Pentecost, was a double blind test. Many groups getting the same instructions in their own language.
In the case of Cornelius, if he knew anything about Pentecost, he could just speak a string of Latin words and impress Peter and the Jews. Nope. Doesn't work that way. The words the Roman Cornelius spoke were understood by common Jewish men. The proof was so absolute that Peter dared anyone to interfere with baptism.
Therefore, to be believable, you (a Russian) have to tell me something in english which actually comes about.
Furthermore, to be valid, the giver of the gift and the recipient must not be the same person. That would be too sneaky. Therefore, the signs would and did follow the apostles when their faith was finally confirmed on Pentecost.
Again, the promise was given only to the apostles
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17
To follow is the Greek:
Parakoloutheo (g3877) par-ak-ol-oo- theh'-o; from 3844 and 190; to follow near, i.e. (fig.) attend (as a result)
Jesus was wise enough that if He meant that all believers were to speak in tongues He could have said: "All who believe and are baptized shall speak in tongues." To follow someone is not to perform something. The signs followed the believers but the believers did not perform the signs. The "lamb" followed "Mary" to school one day but the lamb was not Mary.
What were the additional signs?
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick,
and they shall recover. Mark 16:18
So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Mark 6:19<>And they went forth, and preached every where,
the Lord working with them,
and confirming the word
with signs following. Amen. Mark 16:20
Notice that the same "Lord" Who spoke to them was taken up into heaven and the same Lord was working with the Apostles as the Spirit.
If you were not one of the they to whom the promise was given then you are not one of them Christ the Spirit is working miracles to confirm that thou is one of the they.
The signs following did not confirm the baptized believer but confirmed the word which the selected witnesses preached.
The signs following did not save or prove any person saved.
For this reason, in the Cornelius event, we see the signs following the apostles and not saving Cornelius.
Now, at Pentecost we have lots of baptized believers -- over 5,000 -- in Jerusalem and the Lord had added them to the church. However, we don't know of a single case of "congregational" tongue speaking in Jerusalem. Not even the men who had the apostles hands laid upon them to send them to aid the widows and to evangelize spoke in tongues. Why not? Because the sign had been performed to confirm that they who were speaking were the they whom Jesus had taught and would guide into all truth. A sign does not need to be repeated to believers.
Even throughout Biblical history, there is no evidence that any tongue speaker other than the apostles took up serpents, drank poison or healed the sick. The only conclusion is that the Apostles were the ones who performed the signs.
Who is the Lord Who Worked With Them
To understand this concept we must know that the Lord is the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ as pure or Holy Spirit. He promised to be with the Apostles when they began their work when He said:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 14:16
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:18
When Paul was confronted by the Lord His Name was Jesus:
And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. Acts 22:8
It would be a cruel hoax if Jesus promised to return and just sent His "agent." He returned to confirm that He had restored Himself to the Majesty and Glory He, as God, laid aside to become a man. Therefore, the Spirit Jesus is not "poured out" over and over because you cannot pour a Divine Being.
Peter, who put baptism into force, said that Jesus is the Spirit of the Old Testament who inspired the prophets:
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 1 Peter 1:11
And Paul noting that the Jews refused to follow the Spirit Christ, said:
Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:16
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17
What is it to Confirm
Confirm means to stabilize or to form a base upon which one builds. Webster adds that Conform means "to make valid by formal approval." This is not something we should ever demand that Christ do over and over any more than we would ask Him to die on the cross just as a special favor for our age.
How did the Speaking Jesus also confirm
Paul used this same Greek word when he wrote:<>How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first
began to be spoken by the Lord,
and was confirmed unto us
by them that heard him; Hebrews 2:3
God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? Hebrews 2:4
So we have the truth confiremed by: Speaking of the Lord, spoken by eyewitnesses, and confirmed to others by supernatural signs.
The signs were not to save. The signs were not to everyone. The signs were not from some internal power of the tongue speakers. They did not have anything to do with the tongue speakers. Rather, these were signs that Jesus had really returned as pure or Holy Spirit and was working with the Apostles.
The miracles were not to make the apostles superior. The miracles were not to set a standard or pattern for external or body worship. The total purpose of the miracles was to prove that the once-spoken words wore indeed "Spirit and Life" (John 6:63).
To rejecte these "once for all delivered to the saints words" is to reject the God Incarnate Who spoke them and Who as Spirit empowers them as long as they are spoken to evangelize, and are meditated upon as worship in spirit and in truth.
It seems from all of the evidence, that to ask for a fresh confirmation means that we do not believe in the first one. By analogy, we read the Declaration of Independance which was confirmed by men who put their lives, future and fortune on the line to sign it and demand that to be valid it must have our signature right after and larger than--
Who performed the miracles.
All of these confirming signs were performed by the Apostles who were preaching the gospel. Speaking in tongues was only performed by males in the presence of the Apostles who were delivering the Gospel and the Lord confirmed it by having someone else perform the tongue sign so they would not look like the common magicians.
And only males spoke in tongues because in charismatic ecstasy in the pagan worship rituals, masculine males would not be caught dead losing control of their wits. Loose women were almost exclusively the musical prophesiers or tongue speakers.
Therefore, by having unwilling males speak in tongues the supernatural confirmation of the apostles (exclusively apostles) would be believable.
Again, notice that these signs were not to save people or confirm that they were saved. Rather, Jesus said that the signs performed by the apostles would confirm the message as being authentic.
Even the rare cases of speaking in tongues was because of the presence and influence of the apostles and not because of some internal power of the speaker.
At Pentecost, people heard, believed, repented, were baptized and were saved. Not a single one of them did a single miracle. On the other hand, Luke confirms the Great commission:
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. Acts 2:43
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomons porch. Acts 5:12
The rare miracle performed by others was directly related to the laying on of the hands of an apostle.
The case for modern charismatic ecstasy (madness) could easily be made if one individual person began to speak in tongues outside of the presence of an apostle.
Fear falling upon these people was not a little person called FEAR baptizing them. Rather, like the falling on Cornelius which was an embracing, Acts 2:43 uses words related to physical conception. However, the signs were done only in the presence of the Apostles.
In Samaria, the signs and wonders were done prior to baptism by Philip who was ordained and given power by the apostles to act as an evangelist:
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. Acts 8:5
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. Acts 8:6
After the people believed in the name of Jesus Christ they were baptized:
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Acts 8:12
You must understand that faith was not given to a select few as a gift directly from God: faith came from hearing and hearing from the Words of God.
These people probably had some Jewish blood left in them but they were not Jews. Therefore, we have an example of the same baptism performed in Jerusalem.
They were not baptized in the Spirit (overwhelmed with the Mind and Words of Christ (Isa 11:3, 1 Cor. 2) because they did not speak in tongues on their own as modern tongue speakers demand.
The baptized believers were now saved. However, the signs which followed were not done by the converts.
Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Acts 8:13
Simon followed Philip and the signs also followed Philip and not the baptized believers.
Some "signs followed" but still there is no power to cause someone to speak in tongues probably against their will. Philip was not an apostle and therefore did not have the power to induce tongues by his presence.
Supernatural signs were not manifested in any baptized and saved believer without the presence of an apostle. In a sense, the miracles were similar but superior to the magical tricks of Simon. They were believed by many but not by the resident trickster. He apparently did not feel the need to try to get the power for ordinary miracles.
Therefore, the confirmation of the Apostles and therefore confirmation of Jesus and the Gospel had not been extended into the far reaches of the Chaldean type Soothsayers or Necromancers who, like the witch of Endor, could cause her familiar spirit or "old wineskin" to "speak in tongues." Of course, the tongues were her own mumbling, muttering, peeping or chanting echoing and reechoing through the wineskin or hole in the ground. Simon the sorcerer would be an expert at this because most of the income came from getting a direct message from the "gods" for the people -- for a price, always for a price.
Let's say it again, the professional sorcerers gained their income from speaking in tongues to fool the foolish.
Remember again that Peter promised two things to the people in Jerusalem. He did not say "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit." Rather, he said:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
The Holy Spirit was future tense and did not apply to everyone in a miraculous sense, but only representatives from every group. Not everyone experienced the Upper Room so not every one should expect to receive the Holy Spirit as a supernatural gift. The Apostles heard about the Samaritans:
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: Acts 8:15
(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Acts 8:16 (and therefore saved: Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38)
Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:17
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Acts 8:18
We do not know that the Samaritans spoke in tongues but something happened which could even impress a sorcerer who thought that he knew all of the tricks.
Simon was baptized and he saw some miracles but Simon knew that it was only through the hands of the Apostles that speaking in tongues was bestowed upon others.
There is no Biblical exception to this rule.
When Peter met Cornelius two things happened: first, Cornelius was in the presence of an Apostle who alone had the power to bring on the sign of speaking in other languages. Second, Peter actually laid hands on Cornelius:
And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. Acts10:25
But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. Acts10:26
In his account to the other apostles, Peter places the embracing of the Holy Spirit before he had completed telling Cornelius what he must do to be saved:
And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Acts 11:15
In the Cornelius event the confirmation was actually to the Jews and Apostles who had not "gone into all the world" yet. When Peter understood that the Gentiles were actually God's people as well as the Jews, he literally dared anyone to refuse baptism. If Cornelius was already saved why would anyone care about baptism?
In Ephesus, Paul the Apostle rebaptized men who had been baptized into John's baptism but had not heard that Jesus had returned as pure or Holy Spirit and were still living in anticipation:
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:5
If Jesus was correct in Mark 16:16 and Peter was correct in Acts 2:38 then those who believed and were baptized were saved. As Peter said "You shall receive" the gift. Because Paul was a speaking-touching Apostle he caused them to speak in tongues:
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. Acts 19:6
The Corinthians pretended that all of them had all of the gifts. However, Paul didn't say that any of them had any gift. To shame them, he shows that true gifts are not to save but to be utilitarian in spreading the gospel:
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: 1 Corinthians 12:10
Paul said, "not all speak in tongues, do they?"
Not even Timothy was exempt. If Timothy was not an early-day apostle or prophet why would anyone think that they are later-day apostles with more power than Timothy?
The elders taught Timothy and sent him out as an evangelist:
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 1 Timothy 4:14
However, the gift of God was bestowed by the putting on of Paul's hands:
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 2 Timothy 1:6
When Isaiah prophesied of the Spirit which would rest upon Jesus it was not a person but the "mental disposition of the Lord."
Ruwach (h7307) roo'-akh, from 7306; wind; by resemblance breath, figurative of life, anger, by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being including its expression and functions. mind.
The spirit of a being is like the wind but it is not a separated "ghost." Rather, the Holy Spirit of God to our human grasp is in the Mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2). Our spirit is our knowing, feeling or understanding nature as opposed to our physical or external self. Isaiah, through the Spirit of Christ, prohesied:
AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: Isaiah 11:1
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and (of) understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11:2
And shall make him of quick understanding (ruwach) in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: Isaiah 11:3
Sirach 39:6. If the great Lord is willing, he will be filled with the spirit of understanding; he will pour forth words of wisdom and give thanks to the Lord in prayer.
When the Spirit of Christ came upon certain people they spoke intelligible language which they did not know in order to show that the Apostles were speaking the Mind or Spirit of Christ.
This "spirit" is not "ants in the pants" or charismatic preaching or performance singing to get everyone hyped up with the morphine-like drug or endorphins.
Jesus said that He sought worshipers who would worship "in spirit" and in truth. This is purely internal because Jesus as pure Spirit uses only the Spirit "medium of Spirit to spirit exchange" and that is His Words working in the spirit or mind of the worshipers. Remember that "John was in the spirit on the Lord's Day." That is, he was alone and worshiping God in the spirit.
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath (ruwach Spirit) of his lips shall he slay the wicked. Isaiah 11:4
When God pours out His Spirit on all flesh it was confirmation of the Apostle's offices and was therefore a judgment pronounced upon the clergy Jews who refused to worship in spirit and in truth.
This is why Paul told the Corinthians that the unbelieving outsiders would just see their external worship in songs, prophecies and prayers in tongues as a sign of madness -- just like the old temple they once attended with the dominant prophetesses speaking in tongues and selling it for the words of the gods.
We have no interest in what transpires as worship in many buildings on Sunday. Nor do we try to evaluate other people's personal experience. What happens in church and what happens in our personal lives is not what counts. What counts is loving the truth and trying to set if forth as clearly as we can.
Kenneth Sublett h
Background to this articlettp://www.piney.com/HsGiftHands.html