A much held misconception among large sects of the Pentecostal church is the idea that the charismatic experience is something given to the believer to authorize him or her with the miracle working power of God. They associate their experience with glossalaliá (speaking in tongues) with the receiving of the Holy Spirit, and are quick to point to the Book of Acts for proof.
In reality, God’s resurrecting power is available to His children, but not for the purpose of miraculous manifestations, but to walk in newness of life while being crucified together with Christ; then to love others, even those that are one’s enemies, with God’s perfect love. This is why the dúnamis power of God is given, not to make us feel giddy, but thru love to serve one another. God’s power is given through Christ to be “witnesses” on his behalf; the Greek word for witnesses is marturían and literally means, “martyr.” It implies a willingness to identify with Christ’s suffering, not to walk around prophesying and healing everyone you think needs it.
For someone that desires to speak in tongues for the first time, understanding what it involves is vital, because knowledge can and does minimize the fear of the unknown. In my 30+ years as a born-again Christian, speaking in tongues is an important part of my relationship with God the Father through His son Jesus Christ, the mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).
I have personally prayed with several hundred believers that were seeking the glossalaliá experience. Without doubt the measure of success I have had is well over 90% because I first take time to gently, carefully, methodically, and thoroughly explain from scripture, whatever is necessary for each individual need, always using scripture reading, and pointing them to specific verses that help them comprehend what glossalaliá is.
· 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy and acknowledge him as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. AMP
The earnest seeker needs to know exactly what speaking in tongues is, how it happens, what will happen when he or she speaks in tongues, to insure he or she believes it will occur right then, and right now, otherwise praying for them at that moment is usually in vain. I am not trying to make this into a manmade formula; however, when you find something that works effectively, and it is proven repeatedly successful, then you can be certain a pattern is emerging that God honors and uses to His advantage. It has been my experience there are two basic things to look for in a person that wants prayer to be able to speak in other tongues.
First, is the person fully knowledgeable? Does he or she know exactly what speaking in tongues is? I ask them questions like, “What will happen when we pray; will you speak in tongues? Do you feel comfortable if I pray in tongues while you are seeking to receive? Do you realize YOU are the one that initiates speaking in tongues, even though Jesus helps you?” This direct line of inquiry opens up a very candid dialogue and helps put the person at ease.
In 9 out of 10 people I ask the last question to, they are surprised to learn God does not, “Do it all,” when it involves glossalaliá. I may ask many more questions, depending on his or her level of openness, to determine what the extent of knowledge they have is, adding from my own background of scripture and personal experience.
Second, and equally important, I ask them how long they have been seeking the glossalaliá experience. This is very significant, because often Christians that have been seeking for several months or years and have not experienced glossalaliá, invariably it is attributed to some personal hang-up or misconception they have. It could be they have wrong perceptions, are self-conscious when praying with others, feel unworthy or hopeless or any number of issues. One thing is CERTAIN; God is no respecter of persons, and He shows no partiality in the distribution of His power (enablement) to fellowship in the spirit with Him.
· James 1:5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God; Who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. AMP
· Ephesians 6:9 … knowing that He Who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no respect of persons, and no partiality with Him. AMP
· Galatians 2:6 God is not impressed with the positions that men hold and He is not partial and recognizes no external distinctions. AMP
· Romans 2:11 For God shows no partiality undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another. AMP
In Part One of this study, I proved that the Greek word, ‘charis,’ has been erroneously translated as, “gifts,” meaning, “unmerited favor.” Charis, from whence comes the word, ‘charismatic,’ does NOT mean unmerited favor; rather, it implies favorable influence. This is very important because it changes the entire New Testament outlook on spiritual ‘gifts.’ Later you will see it also affects the meaning and interpretation of Acts 2:38, when Peter told Jews from many nations, “Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit…” The word for “gift” is NOT charis here, an important distinction because the scripture teaches the crucified and risen Christ Jesus IS the “gift” not tongues, as important as glossalaliá is.
If the Greek word charis, (the word translators frequently translate in the NT Bible as ‘grace’ & ‘gift’), means, ‘unmerited or undeserved favor,’ then logic dictates there is no choice or decision to seek on the part of the Christian, because he or she is simply receiving God’s, “undeserved, unmerited, gifts.” You must follow the rules of logic; if you define ‘grace’ (from charis) as, ‘unmerited favor,’ the same rules apply to spiritual ‘gifts’ (from charis) as, ‘unmerited gifts.’ What I have just done in this paragraph exposes the pernicious infiltration of Calvinistic doctrine, that has subtlety crept into the belief system and manifest in the charismatic community, albeit unknown to most.
Calvin’s doctrine of predestination is one of the most malevolent doctrines in Christianity today, because it teaches a God who arbitrarily, with forethought and extreme prejudice (i.e. – partiality), selects those who will, or who will not be candidates to receive His, “irresistible grace.” Calvin taught, ‘unconditional election,’ meaning there are no human conditions for salvation; according to Calvinist theology it is God, “does it all.” Man has no choice in the matter whatsoever, because the rules of Calvinism defined are:
1. Totally depravity - all mankind is so depraved men can’t think or believe in God
2. Unconditional election – God chooses your election (eternal destiny), not you
3. Limited atonement - God limits heaven to those HE chooses; the rest go to hell
4. Irresistible grace – depraved mankind cannot resist God’s grace if He gives it
5. Perseverance of the saints – this is a joke if you believe the other 4 points
This TULIP acronym above makes God out to be the only One that decides the eternal fate of mankind; some men He takes to heaven others He sends to hell. Hyper-Calvinism allows for no exercise of individual moral agency and with no participation of the human will or intellect. In Calvinism, people don’t choose to receive or seek God’s grace; instead they are “irresistibly overcome by it.” Can you now see how Calvinism has been a major influence in distorting the Christian definition of grace (charis) and wrongly transformed it from ‘divine influence’ to ‘unmerited favor’ (i.e. – Unconditional election)?
Not ironic, the mainline churches that believe and practice Calvin’s doctrines of unconditional election and irresistible grace are the same churches that have wrongly decided speaking in tongues ceased with the death of the last apostle of Christ, and in so doing, they have negated their individual responsibility to obey the admonition in 1 Corinthians 12:31, to, “earnestly DESIRE the greater gifts.”
Since Calvinists believe grace is defined as the random, irresistible and unearned favor given by God, they justify their fear of speaking in tongues by saying it is an, “unearned gift,” that “ceased” to exist once the last book of the NT was written; this is absurd logic, but it affects the lives of millions of believers. Many good Baptist and Presbyterian brethren are being steered down the wrong path by the one-man pastor protocol of local churches that remain in subject to the will of their denomination’s statement of faith.
The word “grace” in the NT does NOT mean, “unmerited favor,” but rather, “favorable influence, which brings tranquility and joyful optimism.” Isn’t the product or result of God’s presence rightly described as being the, “divine influence that calms with peace and brings gladness and joy?”
Sadly, many uninformed seekers in the Pentecostal and charismatic churches have frequently and unknowingly embraced Calvinism’s definition of grace and integrated into their perception of spiritual gifts. In large part, the ignorance about glossalaliá in charismatic Christianity is the woeful lack of teaching on the subject. To make matters more confusing, most of the teaching on speaking in tongues focuses only on the initial experience, and does not detail how glossalaliá is meant to be used and what each believer’s spiritual purpose is in the daily exercise of glossalaliá.
On more than one occasion (actually, on dozens of occasions), in church meetings, Christian retreats or other charismatic meetings, I have watched as anywhere from 2-10 well-intentioned and enthusiastic charismatics lay hands upon some soul seeking the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” with the “evidence of speaking in other tongues.” The prayer group energetically prays aloud in tongues, with assorted shouts of praise and victory, determined utterances of, “Yes, O God, we believe You! Fill him full of Your Holy Spirit Lord, in Jesus’ mighty name!”
No one can accuse these eager Pentecostal prayer warriors of a lack of fervency, as they tarry with intercession, sometimes for an hour, and sometimes even 2 or 3 hours, awaiting that golden moment, when the Holy Sprit suddenly envelopes the person being prayed for in a brilliant haze of divine glory. Only true glossalaliá initiates know what to expect, or at least they think THEY DO.
Their only goal is to see the sister or brother in Christ being prayed over burst forth with uncontrollable and indistinct sounds and tones, familiar to them as speaking in other tongues as he or she is giving praise to God. The problem is, the person being prayed for usually doesn’t have a clue what is really going to happen!
In days gone by, I used to muscle my way in and get close enough to whisper into the person’s ear that was being prayed for, which is no easy task when you’ve got 8 or 9 people’s hands laid upon them. If I got close enough, I’d ask him or her, “How’s it going? Do you feel like you’ve prayed in tongues yet?” Usually they are all knotted up inside, eyes closed tightly, palms turned upward, and often they won’t even acknowledge I’m there, for fear they might mess the whole gig up. Meanwhile, the crowd control is out of hand behind me, and hearing becomes an exercise in futility because of the decibel level of their fervent prayers.
When and if we finally begin to dialogue, most every time it doesn’t take me long to determine that the person being prayed for has not a clue what God is going to do or what will actually happen when he or she speaks in tongues. One of the more familiar people say is a despondent, “I want to pray in tongues, but I keep waiting for God to do something and it just doesn’t happen! Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I am really sincere, and have asked God to forgive me if I’m unworthy, but He just has not made me speak in tongues.”
Many of these uninformed seekers expect some kind of heavenly “Zap!” Nobody ever told them they are the one that begins to speak in an unknown tongue, not God. Expecting God to, “Do it all,” they erroneously wait for Him to miraculously begin moving their lips and making sounds like everybody else.
The aforementioned method varies depending on which brand of charismatic or Pentecostal church you belong to, but this is a very typical and common scenario. I have personally peeled up to 15 tongue-talking believers off of some poor soul so I can sit and discuss the topic logically from scripture, then by way of simple demonstration, I speak in tongues in front of them, starting and stopping at will, which demystifies the whole glossalaliá experience. I cannot underscore the value of doing this little demonstration and have seen it consistently calm the person, increase their confidence level and their faith, and usually within less than 10-15 minutes they are speaking in other tongues.
The title to this chapter begs for an answer. I have to admit that for years, I told people they should seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit, not tongues; I affirmed in their mind that the “tongues” would just come “naturally” (so to speak) once they were “filled” with the Holy Spirit.
This is my reason for doing this study; I want to determine FROM SCRIPTURE what the accurate doctrine of the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and “speaking in other tongues” is, and what the true relationship between the two involves. I know for certain WHO the “Holy Spirit” is, because I have already proven beyond any doubt the following:
1. The Parakletos, aka ‘the Helper, Comforter, Counselor, etc, (depending on the Bible version), in John 14:16, 26; 15:26 & 16:7 is one and the same as, “the Holy Spirit.”
2. The Parakletos is specified as being our “Advocate” with the Father (God) when we sin, and 1 John 2:1 plainly states it is Jesus Christ the righteous.
For years I could never figure out why praying for people to receive the Holy Spirit only worked about 10-20% of the time, but when I explained what tongues was, and gave my verbal demonstration to an anxious seeker, my success rate escalated above the 90% mark. This taught me one very valuable lesson, that speaking in tongues is more about active yielding, as opposed to passive yielding.
Yet for me, it was still a confusing issue, because if I told them to seek glossalaliá alone, I felt like I was somehow compromising the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit (which I wasn’t, but it is how I felt). If I told them to just “receive” the Holy Spirit, they would shift into a mode that was more passive, and getting them back involved proved difficult.
There are a few other complications that need to be mentioned here; for one thing, all the people I ever prayed for were Christians SEEKING either the baptism in the Holy Spirit or the glossalaliá experience. This complicates things somewhat, because Christianity has too many varied doctrines about the “Holy Spirit” and what it is. With Christians in America these days, I never know what background issues are, that I will need to address to prepare them for glossalaliá.
For example, if I am explaining the glossalaliá experience as being the “evidence” or the “sign” that a born-again Christian is, “filled” with the Holy Spirit, and presupposing this person has been a believer for any length of time, then in essence, what they HEAR me saying to them is this, “I am going to pray for you to have the Spirit of God come and live inside of you, and unless you speak in tongues, you don’t have God dwelling within you.” How would that make a person feel, especially if Jesus Christ was working in their life, and they were experiencing a relationship the Father God thru him?
Even though I did not intend for the person seeking glossalaliá to think I might be implying they don’t have God or Christ dwelling in their heart, how else can it be perceived? Do you see my point?
It is a highly prejudicial to teach tongues is the only evidence that God’s spirit, or the spirit of Christ, or both are living on the inside of them. The scripture does not teach this; the evidence of God’s work in the life of anyone is a changed life thru the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. By the same token, there are several passages of scripture, like Acts chapter 8, that seem to imply in the English Bible versions that receiving the Holy Spirit comes after salvation.
Acts chapter 8 tells the account of the Samaritans that believed Phillip’s gospel message, and they were baptized in the name of Jesus, but the text indicates the “Holy Spirit” had not yet “fallen upon” any of them; they were merely baptized in water.
· Acts 8:14-20 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." 20 But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! NAS
Proponents of tongues as being the only evidence of the Holy Spirit are quick to point out the passage above because it clearly establishes a distinct difference between basic salvation, water baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit, thru the laying on of hands by the apostles Peter and John. HOWEVER, what is glaringly absent in Acts 8:14-20 is the mention of speaking in tongues, which Pentecostals say is typically associated with the Holy Spirit experience; the question is, ‘ Why?’ Didn’t Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, feel it was important to mention such a dynamic, first-time glossa encounter?
For many years as a diehard Pentecostal, I used Acts chapter 8 to leap over to Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 19:1-6, because in each of these accounts, glossalaliá IS mentioned in association with having the Holy Spirit. Not only is this poor Bible scholarship, it ignores the critical issues in the context.
The word “receive” in Acts 8:15 is from the Greek word, “lambano,” and means, “to take hold of,” or “to take unto one’s self.” Lambano is frequently mistranslated in all Bible versions as, “receive.” This makes it appear as though the receiving is passive and lacking animation on the part of the recipient.
The words “the Holy Spirit” ” in Acts 8:15 are anarthrous (omitting the definite article). Therefore the verse should read, “Who came down and prayed for them, that they might take hold of a perfect spirit.” Whether this applies to the same experience as the other places in Acts (e.g. – 2, 10, & 19) that mention speaking in tongues is not provable from this verse alone.
By “perfect spirit” I am using a viable definition of hágios, because if the “spirit” they are taking hold of is Jesus (in his glorified spirit form), then certainly he is perfect, because scripture teaches Jesus was made perfect (Hebrews 5:9; 7:28; 12:23). On the other hand, if the anarthrous construction implies the standard meaning of hagios pneuma (I.e. – consecrated, set apart, morally & physically blameless life), it becomes difficult to see what the connection with speaking in tongues is. Besides, in Acts 8:16a, the Greek text definitely uses the personal pronoun to describe who the hagios pneuma is, therefore I deduce it should be translated as, “a perfect spirit,” and refers to Jesus.
Some scholars will criticize my translating skills here, saying I have embellished the text; so be it. I am less concerned with technical accuracy than I am with finding the truth. This subject should not be so confusing. Below is a text from Acts 16:6-7
that proves beyond any possible doubt my rendering of hagios pneuma, in the anarthrous construction, is referring to the perfect (or perfected) spirit of Jesus.
· Acts 16:6-7 And they passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and when they had come to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them. NAS
Luke’s record in Acts 16:6-7 indicates the “Holy Spirit” and the “spirit of Jesus” are one and the same. I have already proven this point earlier with my treatise on the Parákleetos but this portion of scripture punctuates my point. The reason for showing the association here is to determine if my translation of hagios pneuma, as it pertains to the Samaritans “taking hold” of the “perfect spirit” is referring to them taking hold of the spirit of Jesus, in that they are yielding to his control.
· Acts 16:6 – “having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit” = hupó toú Hagíou Pneúmatos = LITERAL, “remaining yielded to the control of the operation of the perfect spirit.”
· Acts 16:7 – “the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them” = tó Pneúma Ieesoú ouk eíasen autoús = LITERAL, “the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them.”
In Acts 16:6 “the Holy Spirit” is NOT anarthrous; notice the definite article toú precedes Hagíou Pneúmatos; this emphasizes the IDENTITY of the noun Pneúmatos (Literally, “the operation or working of the perfect spirit”). In Greek, a definite article functions somewhat differently than in English, because Greek definite articles, unlike English, serve more purpose than merely to specify the noun (person, place or thing).
Greek definite articles IDENTIFY the SPECIFIC NOUN (i.e. – the specific person, the specific place, or the specific thing). Therefore, Acts 16:6 is easily rendered, “THIS perfect spirit operating.” It is IDENTIFYING WHICH spirit is operating. Acts 16:6 is showing the perfect spirit (of Jesus) was operating to forbid Paul and Silas from speaking the word in Asia.
I must point out the difference between pneuma and pneúmatá is merely the “mata” part of the word; mata is added to pneúma whenever instrumentality is being associated with the noun, showing the active role or function of the noun. Instead of being just a “spirit” (pneuma) it is a “spirit operating” (pneúmatá).
So now that we know Acts 16:6 refers to the operation of Jesus’ sprit, notice the Greek word hupó in the construction of Acts 16:6 - hupó toú Hagíou Pneúmatos; hupó means, ‘to remain under,’ and shows Paul and Silas were YIELDED TO THE CONTROL of the working or operation of the perfect spirit (of Jesus). Because they gave control to him, the perfect spirit (of Jesus) was able to “forbid,” or as the literal Greek says in Acts 16:6, “prevented” them from speaking the word in Asia.
The difference between Acts 16:6 and Acts 16:7 is very clear in the Greek text; tó Pneúma Ieesoú ouk eíasen autoús means, “ the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them.” This Greek construction is not emphasizing the yieldedness of Paul and Silas, but rather, it is an ORDER GIVEN BY THE SPIRIT OF JESUS TO Paul and Silas not to go into Bithynia. The spirit of Jesus could give them a direct order by not “permitting” them to go into Bithynia, because Paul and Silas had already made themselves yielded to his control, as portrayed by the preposition hupo in Acts 16:6, inferring their yieldedness was already established.
So now I have proven beyond any doubt the following:
1. The Greek word construction, “Toú Hagíou Pneúma” is typically translated in Bible versions as, “The Holy Spirit,” but can and should be translated as, “the perfect spirit,” whenever the context refers to Jesus as the Parákleetos (Helper).
2. The Greek anarthrous word construction, “Hágios Pneúma,” is better translated as, “a perfect spirit,” and still refers to the glorified spirit of Jesus as the Parákleetos (Helper).
3. When Bible versions speak of “receiving” the “perfect spirit,” it mischaracterizes what the Greek text implies, which is more literally and accurately rendered, “take hold of a perfect spirit.” The Greek word, ‘lambano,’ implies ACTIVE reception, not passive; also, it occurs in the middle tense, meaning, “take hold to one’s self.” It appears this construction is used to show the ACTIVE, not passive, role of believers seeking to yield control to Jesus’ spirit.
4. The spirit of Jesus (tó Pneúma Ieesoú) is synonymous with the same person and identity as, “the Holy Spirit,” (Toú Hagíou Pneúma or Toú Hagíou Pneúmatá)
Now that these facts are established, reread the text of Acts 8:14-20 above; Acts 8:16a is mistranslated, but the literal Greek gives a better sense what was happening, “For as yet none of them embraced with affection the idea of yielding control to him.” This implies the Samaritans had not yet given control of the inner working of the spirit of Jesus to him, but they had simply believed in and been baptized into his name. Below is an amplified and expanded version of Acts 8:15-16 complete, using the more appropriate literal rendering:
· Acts 8:15-16 who came down and prayed for them, that they might take hold of a perfect spirit. 16 For as yet, none of them embraced with affection the idea of yielding control to him; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were taking hold of the perfect spirit.
The Greek word in Acts 8:16 translated as, “For as yet,” is, oudépoo; Thayer’s says this word is constructed this way in John 7:39, which is yet another scripture passage to link the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, and the Parákleetos to the, “living water,” flowing from innermost being of those that believe in Jesus AFTER he is glorified. Notice in the context of John 7:37-39 below, this spirit is not given until AFTER Jesus is glorified, showing it is one and the same as the “promise of the Father.”
· John 7:37-40 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet (oudépoo) glorified. NAS
Another interesting observation above in John 7:39 is the word, “receive,” which is, in the Greek, “lambano,” meaning, “to take hold of.” This word lambano is the exact same word used in Acts 8:15 & 17 for “receive.” Again, to reiterate, lambano denotes active taking hold of the perfect spirit, not a passive receiving of the spirit of Jesus .In Acts 8:17, the apostles laid hands on them, and the Greek text says the Samaritans, “took hold of, (seized upon) a perfect spirit.”
In Acts 8:18-20 is the account of Simon the magician, who saw something happen that caused him to desire the authority to lay hands upon others; Acts 8:18 says Simon saw “the Spirit” (tó Hágion) was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, and he offered money to buy the same authority Peter possessed.
Were it not for this verse, I would seriously question whether the Samaritans spoke in tongues or not. However, because the Greek text uses the definite article, and reads, “tó Hágion,” I am convinced this is the same as the Parákleetos.
The last comment on the text in Acts 8:20 is very important: Peter rebuked Simon saying, “… you thought you could obtain the gift (dooreán) of God with money.” The Greek word for “gift” is “dooreán ” and it means, “gift or gratuity.” Dooreán comes from a root word meaning, “sacrifice.” More important however is the link to the promise of the Father Jesus spoke of in the gospels, when he identified the Parákleetos as, “living water.”
· John 4:10 "If you knew the gift (dooreán) of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." NAS
John 4:10 is an important verse because this context involves the woman at SAMARIA and Acts chapter 8 is the fulfillment of Samaria’s acceptance of the gospel, including their willingness to take hold of the living water, later described to this woman in John 4:20-24 as worshipping the Father, “in spirit and truth.”
· John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." NAS
Since all the other accounts in the Book of Acts such as chapters 4, 10, 11, and 19 can be tied to glossalaliá and the “Holy Spirit” (even though a mistranslation), I conclude that when a person is seeking to embrace with affection the Parákleetos, they are seeking to give more control of their human spirit to Jesus, the glorified son of God, who then leads them into worship of the father in spirit and truth.
I also see a connection between the “promise of the Father” Jesus mentions in the gospel accounts in John chapters 14, 15 and 16, and his last instructions to the apostles and disciples about the Parákleetos. When the disciples asked Jesus about this in Acts 1:4-8, as you read the text below, note carefully that he tells them they will receive “power” to be his witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but also in SAMARIA; this ties all of Jesus other teaching about living waters, the Holy Spirit and the parákleetos together, and shows it was the spirit of Jesus they were experiencing in Acts chapter 8 when Peter and John came down and prayed for them.
· Acts 1:4-8 And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from me; 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. " 1:6 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 1:7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. "
The Greek word for “power” is dúnamis and it literally means, “enablement.” Often this word is misused by charismatics, who think it is only referring to miracle working power to heal, prophesy, cast out demons etc. While the apostle did do these things, the primary reason for this power was to be “witnesses” of Jesus Christ, from the beginning of his ministry, until the time he was taken up, as happened in Acts 1:9-11 and Luke 24:49ff. Jesus had taught the disciples that he would help them by giving them enablement when they were persecuted and brought before rulers for his name’s sake in Mark 13:5-6, 9, 11 below:
· Mark 13:5-6, 9, 11 And Jesus began to say to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in my name, saying, ' I am He!' and will mislead many… for they will deliver you to the courts… and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, as a testimony to them… When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.” NASU
Jesus’ words bring the issue of yielding control to him into the real world; there is a PRACTICAL application. Jesus said, “for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.” What does he imply? Why does he word his exhortation in this way?
I believe Jesus is instructing the disciples they would soon be in a position to need his assistance and would need to remember his words, and to yield to him, giving the control of their tongue to him. Hence, the need for some form of power that helps the believer give the Lord Jesus the control and use of the most unruly member of the human body… the tongue. As you will see later in this study series, this is exactly what happens when a believer prays in the spirit, otherwise known as prayer in other tongues.
· 1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. NAS
Further proof the Holy Spirit and the Helper (parákleetos) are actually referring to Jesus is what the angel says to Jesus’ disciples as he ascends out of their sight up into the clouds:
· Acts 1:11 and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." NAS
When the angel tells them, “This Jesus … will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven,” the only point of reference they had for this was in the context of his message regarding the Holy Spirit in John chapters 14, 15, and 16. Jesus DID come back to them, just as they had seen him depart upwards when ascending. The only difference is that when Jesus comes back to them, it is in SPIRIT form.
To prove this last and final point, read the account in Acts 2:1-6 below, and note carefully that, “… suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind.” Keep in mind, this is written by Luke only a few verses after the words to the disciples from the angel, and being an eyewitness, he would certainly understand what came from heaven was Jesus, now wouldn’t he?
· Acts 2:1-6 And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 2:5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language. NAS
Mark 16:14-20 is a little studied or recognized passage, but it occurs in the same time frame as Acts 1:11 and Luke 24:49-51 when Jesus instructs his apostles, then ascends into heaven. However, Marks gospel differs because it is the only one that mentions glossalaliá, or speaking in tongues, proving Jesus knew ahead of time they would need these new tongues to yield control to him in the spirit.
· Mark 16:14-20 And afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. " 19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. NAS
Jesus uses two key words that definitively link the “signs” and the “speak with new tongues” to Paul’s instructions regarding tongues in 1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13, and especially chapter 14. I will use PART THREE of this series to embark in depth into the meaning, use and application of tongues, and pray that it will demystify and make clear the subject of glossalaliá, particularly to our Baptist brethren, and those who can now see it as only beneficial to their relationship with Jesus.
Links to the entire "What is Speaking in Tongues” Series: