Arkiv

Were the 70 disciples of Jesus the last ones with the gift of healing?

greatest commandmentWho were the 70 disciples/apostles?

The 70 disciples are those referred to in Luke 10 – who were sent out to preach the gospel (and heal the sick), apart from the 12 disciples mentioned in the previous chapter, in Luke 9.

There are some Christians who are convinced of that the spiritual gifts (such as healing and speaking in tongues) were given only through the hands of the disciples (the 12 and the 70), and that these gifts therefore ceased after their deaths. The Bible, of course, claims no such thing. Paul even spends a large amount of text in his letters to the Corinthians to sort out rules and give advice when it comes to the spiritual gifts. Not once does he claim that they would soon cease to apply, but instead he encourages his readers to eagerly seek the spiritual gifts. Satan could not be any happier about the false teaching of cessationism, because this idea strips Christians from using excellent spiritual resources provided to us by the Holy Spirit.

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed OTHER SEVENTY ALSO, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.—17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

During the time of Jesus, the disciples/apostles were sent out by him to spread the gospel two and two. This does not mean that it is better to stay at home if we cannot find a friend to preach the gospel with, nor is it a great sin to sometimes go out three and three or more, if there is a reason for it. In the above chapter we are just informed how Jesus chose to arrange things for his disciples, and going out two and two is a great recommendation since you will always find support in your Christian brother/sister. If you have 12 disciples as your resource, it would be less beneficial to go out three and three since this would make up 4 teams instead of 6 (and having 35 teams is better than having 23 teams, if you have 70 disciples at your hands) because this means that fewer people will get the benefit to hear the gospel.

Jesus also had other specific recommendations for his disciples, such asCarry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way”. This was his advice during his  time in history and during his circumstances. (Going out preaching the gospel barefoot on the snowy streets of Sweden is not what Jesus had in mind.) Jesus does not say that all those detailed instructions were required everywhere during all times in all circumstances with no deviation.

We can find information about the 70 disciples in Luke 10, but in Luke 9 we can find  information about his closest 12 disciples and they had similar instructions. Just like the 70 mentioned later, they had the authority to cure diseases and to cast out unclean spirits (demons). They were told to preach the kingdom of God (the gospel, including the importance of repentance) and healing the sick, and this is advice also for us. We can share the gospel in various ways, and today we also have the Internet as means.

Luke 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Mark 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two;and gave them power over unclean spirits;— 12 And they went out, and preached that men should REPENT.13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Mark. 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Matt. 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 

evangelium 3Jesus commanded his disciples to teach people to observe the things that they themselves have been commanded to do

The following section is important for our understanding because here we can see that Jesus commanded his disciples to teach people to OBSERVE ALL THINGS whichever he had commanded them (his disciples). According to the books of Luke, Mark and Matthew (and Acts) Jesus taught his disciples to preach the gospel to all people (including the importance of repentance) and to heal the sick. He also explained which signs would follow the believers (such as speaking in tongues). 

Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 and had the same authority as the other disciples, but he was later replaced with Matthew.

Matt. 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This means that healing was not just a task meant for Jesus and his disciples. We can see this also in the book of James. He writes to ”the twelve tribes scattered abroad”, and not only does this signify individuals outside of the 12 and the 70 disciples, but the whole book of James applies for all of us – just like the rest of the books in the New Testament. James advice for all us and the church (the Christian fellowship):

Jam. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the ELDERS OF THE CHURCH; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of FAITH shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be HEALED. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Paul’s advice for all of us concerning the spiritual gifts:

1 Cor. 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 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:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.28 And God hath set some in THE CHURCH, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Paul’s physical contact with handkerchiefs and aprons resulted in people getting healed when they touched these items. Even demons were cast out. This is nothing that Jesus ever taught in the gospels, but Jesus never spoke against such a procedure.

Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Healing and speaking in tongues are spiritual gifts which apply for everyone. The Bible nowhere claims that such useful gifts will cease before the return of Jesus (when such gifts are no longer needed). The spiritual gifts are useful tools for all Christians.

John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME, the works that I do he will do ALSO; and GREATER WORKS than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

Mark. 16:17 And these signs shall follow THEM THAT BELIEVE; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 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.

2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

But does it not say in Acts below that the holy Ghost was received when the disciples of Jesus, such as Philip Peter, and John, laid their hands on believers, and does this not in extension mean that the same applies when it comes to the ability to heal people? No, it does not say that the giving of the holy Ghost, or healing, are restricted to the disciples only. In Acts 8 the context is Simon (the former sorcerer) who erroneously believed that the giving of the holy Ghost could be bought for money – and the ones he happened to be in contact with were Philip, Peter and John. The book of Acts concerns the life of the disciples/apostles and the very first Christians, and naturally then we can read about their particular lives and comments.

Jesus again taught others toGo ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU”, and what he commanded them was toGo ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”. Jesus sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. This means that we should do the same since it was not a task restricted for the first generation of Christians. Why would future generations not be in need of the same teaching?

Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

When it comes to healing, FAITH plays a huge role, and naturally the power of the Lord.

Mark. 5:34 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, THY FAITH hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Acts 15:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that HE HAD FAITH TO BE HEALED

Matt. 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus SEEING THEIR FAITH said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. — 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

Matt. 9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Matt. 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Mark 5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Mark. 10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Matt. 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Luke 5:17 17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to HEAL THEM.

Torben Søndergaard, should praying for kids and performing miracle cures be illegal?

Danish TV is attacking a man who follows the Bible?

Danish TV seems to automatically deem a person with the gift of healing as a lying con artist, and that is likely the outlook of Swedish TV and mainstream media as a whole. Sadly also many Christians side with this idea, despite that the Bible encourages us to use all the spiritual gifts offered to us. Other Christians might very well be aware of that healing and speaking in tongues are examples of spiritual gifts which still apply, but they still prefer to distance themselves from Torben because of the controversial aspect of the matter, and for not wanting to be attacked as well due to association. They should rather be on his side, comforting him, because these attacks naturally made him very sad. What is the point of letting Torben’s enemies be heard in the films about him, as though their judgments are true, and with no chance for Torben to defend himself?

One misunderstanding about healing is that the person with this gift can absolutely not make any sort of theological errors (or commit any sins) because this would automatically mean that the miracles are fake. This is not a required correlation. A person with spiritual gifts does not lose his free will, and he/she must strive to avoid mistakes and sins just like all Christians. Moreover, being blessed with spiritual gifts does not automatically mean that the person will endure to the very end. Judas Iscariot, disciple of Jesus, is an example of that. Fortunately, Torben speaks out against sin more than most preachers, and never forgets to highlight the requirement of true repentance.

The Bible nowhere claims that the spiritual gifts, such as healing and speaking in tongues, would cease before the coming of Christ. They are great tools for us to use, and Satan would be more than happy to make Christians afraid of using the gifts so that he can be more powerful. Despite that the Bible also encourages us to cast out evil spirits, Christians are afraid to do so. Danish TV and others have chosen to demonize those who cast out demons.

Unfortunately Youtube has recently been pressed to conform to Satan’s desires, and Christians who pray for people’s sicknesses might now be in trouble. There is always a risk that a person who does not get healed, will step forward and charge Torben for his actions. The first step to limit Christian freedom is on Youtube, but will it end there? Will it be illegal to pray for children and teenagers (or anyone) in the future?:

”YouTube’s recommendation algorithm suggests new videos for viewers, but some genres of videos, especially conspiracy videos, have been criticized for their frequent appearance in those recommendations. The company’s new policy will cut back on recommendations of “content that could misinform users in harmful ways,” YouTube said in a Friday memo. It cited three specific conspiracy theories affected by the new policy: Flat Earth theories, miracle cures, and 9/11 trutherism.”
/Daily Beast

More and more people have come to the understanding that 9/11 was an inside job, so naturally politicians must try to avoid criticism by using censorship. More people have also been converted to the flat earth movement, and apparently it is so dangerous that they must be silenced. It is a well known fact that Youtube and Google do NOT like criticism of official terror stories, and do not want people to expose them as false flags or psy ops.

(Do read Cody Snodgres’ e-book ”OCB Choosing the light”, or check if one of his interviews can still be seen on youtube. He was first offered to bomb the Murray Building in Oklahoma city but rejected the job, thinking that he would be the patsy. He also exposes the dark secrets of the shadow government, and how easily people on the streets can be fooled by orchestrated fake events.)

Luk 8:2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils

Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Mark. 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 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

James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

Spiritual gifts are in use today, but watch out for false spirits

Misunderstanding of the spiritual gifts

The evangelist Torben Søndergaard explains that the spiritual gifts are still valid today and very much in use by born again Christians. Unfortunately, he must also warn against false spirits among us in our churches, like those involved in new age and eastern religions with yoga practices such as kundalini.

The fact that someone gets healed does not necessarily mean that the person who heals him (i.e. someone with the gift of healing) can automatically be assumed to be right with God and someone who always lives a holy life. God is the perfect one who is the great Healer, and he gives authority to all Christians to receive the gift of healing (as well as other gifts). All Christians are not necessarily perfect even though they have the opportunity to be so. A person with the gift of healing can therefore not automatically be assumed to live a more righteous life than others, and might choose to go different paths in life – like into a much closer relationship with God or become consumed with the powerful gifts and subsequent fame (if we are perhaps talking about a TV evangelist) that he/she becomes worldly. You never know, but we should test all spirits and also judge people by their fruit.

Christians sometimes fall into one of two ditches:

  • Those who believe that NO spiritual gifts are still valid today (unless God would decide to zap a unknowing person on the street and make him/her possess one or more gifts) due to the possibility that fake instances of the gifts can be detected and due to their misunderstanding of the Bible text. Since they are basically cessationists (believing the spiritual gifts have ceased), they therefore assume that people claiming to speak in tongues (or with other types of spiritual gifts) are either lying (a sin), or are demonic (a sin) and are therefore not real Christians. For these people speaking in tongues is a sign that the speaker is NOT a Christian. (Compare with Mark. 16:17 where tongues are said to follow those who believe.)
  • Those who believe that a person with one or more of the gifts – particularly with the gift of healing – must be particularly loved by God and have a particularly advanced Bible knowledge. An authoritative Christian closer to God than others and who should be obeyed over others due to having such fantastic gifts.

We should have a more balanced view. Evidence of fake money is no evidence that all money is fake. Nowhere does the Bible tell us that the gifts of the holy Spirit were old news and should be forgotten even shortly after the New Testament was written. There are unfortunately Christians who totally misunderstand the spiritual gifts and believe such manifestations were only a sign for the unbelieving Jews (see here why this is not Scriptural).

It is not always the case that a healed person will automatically become close to God and interested in living a righteous life. In one occasion, Jesus healed ten lepers and only one of them returned to give glory to God (Luke 17:18). However, there is a great chance that people will indeed seek the true Healer after having been wonderfully healed themselves. It is wise to seek the one responsible for the miracles and find out what he requires from us (a holy life with love to Him and to others).

Maybe you have watched youtube videos showing people who have been healed, and who are so surprised over what just happened to them that they burst out in a curse word – probably because this is the language they normally use. If the evangelist team (or the person with the gift of healing) takes the chance to share the gospel with the healed person and welcome him/her into a Christian gathering there is a great chance that he/she will choose the right way. Those who produce such films might not include the entire communication because it is time-consuming, so do not be too quick to assume that the issue of repentance is not being taught.

Some healers might not be interested in sharing the gospel or explain the urgent call for repentance and if that is the case there is a problem. People do not get saved by getting healed (although it might sometimes be the first step that makes a person interested in finding out more about God), but by repenting for past sins and walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not possible to assume that the healing must be fake because the Healer has shown to not always live a righteous life. Again, God is the Healer and according to the Bible faith often has a lot to do with the success of getting healed. Nevertheless, a person with the gift of healing is naturally expected to live a holy life, just like those he/she heals. If you do not see an eagerness for repentance, but just a lot of empty manifestations which might even be disorderly done, there is a good chance that there are false spirits involved.

Be careful about those preachers who claim that the gifts of the holy Spirit have ceased (which is just what the devil wants you to believe), and be careful about those preachers who focus on the gifts, fame, money and worldly living.

Mark. 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues

1 Cor. 14:1 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for NO MAN understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Believe in Jesus for the very works’ sake – healing can cause faith, John 14:11

”Believe in me for the very work’s sake”, says Jesus

John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

We are created to seek God and find him (Acts 17), but it also appears as though we can be even more influenced to do so by witnessing or experiencing the works of Jesus (or any Christian who uses this gift), such as healing and miracles. However, being healed will not automatically produce a change of mind and a decision to start following Jesus. The story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19 shows this very clearly. For one of the lepers being healed also caused him to give glory to God and seek the advice of Jesus, but the others did not take this chance but went on with their current lives. In just about all other healing stories in the Bible the miracles caused a huge difference in people’s spiritual lives. Probably because those who seek to be healed by Jesus are also dispositioned to follow him because they believe he is divine, has all the power to heal the sick and will be the great Judge in the end of days.

Hebr. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It works both ways; witnessing/experiencing the works of Jesus might produce faith (or greater faith), but great faith can also cause an openness to be healed – which in turn can produce even greater faith:

Acts 14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Matt. 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Mark. 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Lazarus who was a friend and a believer in Jesus (so spiritually alive) went from physical death to physical life thanks to being healed by Jesus. Jesus encourages us to believe in order to see the glory of God, and here we can also see that many Jews started to believe in Jesus precisely because of the things they had seen him doing:

John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?-–45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

Thomas had a hard time believing Jesus was Lord and God, but after a meeting with Jesus he started to believe. It was of course something positive that Thomas changed his mind and started to believe, but Jesus also explains there are people who believe without this type of miraculous meeting – and they are therefore very blessed. It is not the normal process that each individual must first have a physical encounter with Jesus before they can believe he is the IAM and our Savior. This is how it worked for Thomas, but the word of God makes it clear we can seek him and find him without these types of meetings:

John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:31 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.

Below we can clearly see Jesus upbraiding cities due to the lack of faith within them. Mighty works were done in them, and people still did not believe! Jesus makes a comparison with Tyre and Sidon, because if such mighty works would have been done in their cities, they would have repented long ago. True repentance leads to life. Miracles such as casting out demons, and healing the sick, can therefore be very important tools to reach the lost. Not just regarding the temporary physical blessings here on earth, but for people’s eternal future – which is way more important.

Matt. 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

+ Luke 10:13-37

People near Jesus realized that it is not likely that a devil would open the eyes of the blind. At least this is nothing that they had experienced before, and they started to believe that Jesus was truly divine. Also Jesus confirmed that the works that he performs in his Father’s name also bear witness of him. Due to the skeptics’ choice to doubt Jesus, they did not qualify to be his sheep. Because, who are the sheep of Jesus? They are the ones who choose to FOLLOW him according to John 10:27. Jesus explained that people had the chance here to believe in Jesus precisely due to the miraculous works he made – in combination with prophesies and the good fruit he displayed. Despite that the Jewish Torah should have made it clear for the Jews that Jesus is the one that the Scriptures talk about, and despite that John the Baptist spoke about Jesus as divine, the Jews still looked for reasons to not believe.

John 10:21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS: that ye may know, and BELIEVE, that the Father is in me, and I in him.41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.42 And many believed on him there.

It is a sad fact that people had the chance to be believers in Jesus but despite that he performed many miracles among them and influenced them to do so, they still did not believe:

John 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

More examples of healing which can cause much faith

Below are some more examples of where Jesus miracles caused people to believe that he tillbedjan-7is the one he has always claimed to be – being one with his Father, the son of God, God in flesh, etc. On the one hand Jesus definitely expects people to believe in him due to combination of the many prophesies being fulfilled in him, due to the good fruit he displays and due to the many miracles he performs (casting out demons, healing the sick, etc) thanks to power from above. On the other hand Jesus dislikes when people approach him with total lack of faith and place the burden of proof on him – or else he has failed to win them over. Our attitude should not be ”I give you a chance right here and right now to show me signs so that I can believe. If not, you have failed to persuade me which means you lost and I won”. We are the ones who can gain by coming to Jesus in faith.

The fact that the Bible tells us about many people who started to believe when they witnessed the miracles performed by Jesus and his apostles, is of course evidence for that people were not predestined to be elect and non-elect from the foundation of the world.

John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, WHEN they saw the miracles which he did.

John 7:31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

John 6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Acts 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.12 Then the deputy, WHEN he saw what was done, BELIEVED, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

We are asked to continue on Jesus path. Casting out demons and healing the sick are still helpful tools to us. Below James is talking about the church settings, but we are also asked to go out in the world to evangalize to the lost and in such circumstances it is possible to perform the great works that Jesus has promised we would be able to do in his name.

Ja. 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Mark. 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 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.

If such miracles and possibilities are supposed to have ceased after the time of the apostles, the word of God certainly forgot to mention it. Instead Christians all over the world have accepted the wonderful promises tied to believers and as a consequence people have been set free from demons and have become healed. A good preacher will encourage Christians to make use of the spiritual gifts which are for today. Praise you Lord!

Here you can read about speaking in tongues.

Speaking in tongues was NOT a sign for unbelieving jews, and the gift is still in use

speaking in tonguesSpeaking in tongues was NOT only a sign for unbelieving jews (as a sign of God’s judgment on Israel)

1 Cor. 14: 3-4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth THE CHURCH

Paul writes extensively about speaking in tongues in the Bible, and he devotes three chapters in his first letter to the Corinthians to describe how the speaking in tongues should be used properly. At no time did he suggest that speaking in tongues would soon cease, but he rather encouraged the Corinthians (and all of us) to seek this gift and the others, in order to get edified and maybe even edifying others. We are to be EAGER to get the gifts, so it’s a shame that there are some christians who try to amend what Paul is telling us, by suggesting that speaking in tongues was only a sign for unbelieving jews and of God’s judgment on Israel. Instead, we are told to pray for one another so that we may be healed, regardless of if unbelieving jews are present or not. Since we can read ”is any sick AMONG YOU”, it suggests unbelieving jews might not be present at all.

Ja. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and PRAY ONE FOR ANOTHER, THAT YE MAY BE HEALED. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

John. 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

A few questions – mainly about Paul’s teaching…

  • Why would Paul give the Corinthians instructions how to handle the tongues among themselves, when they were NOT ”unbelieving jews”?
  • Why does he suggest that the gift of tongues is one of many gifts that helps to build up the body of Christ? What does this have to do with unbelieving jews, particularly when Paul emphasizes that this is a rule for both jews and gentiles? (1 Cor. 12:10-13)
  • Why would he suggest that God has set diversities of tongues IN CHURCH apart from apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, helps and governments? Where do the unbelieving jews fit in here? (1 Cor. 12:28)
  • Why does he say that we don’t even speak to man but UNTO GOD, if the signs were supposed to be for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:2)
  • Why does he say that NO MAN UNDERSTANDS due to tongues being a MYSTERY, if unbelieving jews were supposed to understand? (1 Cor. 14:2)
  • Why does he distinguish speaking in tongues (not understood) with prophesies (understood), if the speaking of tongues were supposed to be for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor.14 1-3)
  • Why does he suggest that the one who speaks in tongues edifies himself if they were supposed to be for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor 14:4)
  • And why doesn’t even interpreted tongues (prophesies) seem to be for unbelieving jews, since Paul specifically says they are for edification, exhortation and comfort, rather than being a sign for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:3)
  • Why are the tongues called ”unknown” tongues, if tongues were always supposed to be known and understood by unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:4)
  • Why does he again say that interpreted tongues are good for the edification of the CHURCH rather than unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:5)
  • Why does he say that speaking in tongues can be made among BRETHREN (so not unbelieving jews), but that it wouldn’t profit anything unless there were interpreted – when they would indeed be profitable for these brethren? (1 Cor. 14:6)
  • Why does he indicate that speaking in tongues is not connected to knowledge (unless interpreted)? (1 Cor. 14:6-9)
  • Why does he again suggest that spiritual gifts (such as speaking in tongues if interpreted) can be used for edification of the church, rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:12)
  • Why is there a separate gift called ”interpretation of tongues”, if tongues were always understood by unbelieving jews, and why do not all people who can speak in tongues have this gift? Why even call them ”unknown tongues”? ( 1 Cor. 14:13)?
  • Why does he again say that a person’s understanding is unfruitful if he speaks in tongues, if they are always supposed to be understood by unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:14)
  • Why does he make a distinction between praying with our spirit (when we don’t understand) and praying with our understanding? And if speaking in tongues are always supposed to be understood by unbelieving jews, why does Paul say we should pray in BOTH ways (without our understanding and with our understanding) and IN CHURCH? (1 Cor.14:15)
  • Why does he again suggest that not all people understand the tongues (unless interpreted), and why does he suggest that people are able to say AMEN to tongues whenever they DO understand them (when they are interpreted)? Why does he suggest that speaking in tongues can involve GIVING THANKS, if they are supposed to be for a judgment towards unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:16)
  • Why does he again make a distinction between speaking in tongues with and without interpretation if tongues were always supposed to be understood? And why does he say that whenever tongues ARE understood, they can be used for TEACHING, rather than being for a sign/judgment for unbelieving jews? (1Cor. 14:18-19)
  • Why would he assume that unbelievers, who might visit the church, think we are mad when we speak in tongues? Could it be because we speak gibberish? (1 Cor. 14:23)
  • Why does he again make a distinction between speaking in tongues (no one understands) and speaking in prophesies (interpreted tongues) where people DO understand, and where they can even get the benefit of being convinced of all and able to worship God – thanks to realizing that God is with these christians who speak with interpreted tongues? (1 Cor.14:24-25)
  • Why does he again suggest that speaking in tongues has a valid place in the body of Christ, and that they can be used for EDIFICATION of the body/church, rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:26)
  • Why does he again separate the gift of speaking in tongues with the gift of interpretation of tongues? (1 Cor. 14:26-27)
  • Why does he suggest that we should speak in tongues to OURSELVES and to GOD, if we are not able to get the gift interpreted IN CHURCH? How many unbelieving jews do we expect to find in our own closet where we are told to pray? If the tongues were for unbelieving jews, why would we think about using them for ourselves and for GOD? (1Cor. 14:28)
  • Why does he again say that speaking in tongues is for learning and comforting (of the church), rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:31)
  • Why does he again suggest that speaking in tongues has a place among the saints in church, rather than being for unbelieving jews? (1 Cor. 14:33)
  • Why does he give instructions for the church that they should seek to get the gift of prophesy (interpretation of tongues) and not forbid people to speak in tongues? (1 Cor. 14:39)
  • Why does the Bible provide a few accounts of people who are speaking in tongues where unbelieving jews are not around?
  • Why did so many people from various countries understand the tongues to be about ”the wonderful works of God”, rather than being judgments/signs for unbelieving jews?(Acts. 2:11)

We are encouraged to speak in tongues

Speaking in tongues is never labelled as means to spread the gospel, but if someone will hear interpreted tongues they will hear a christian praising and magnifying God about his wonderful works, and/or making prophesies. If the tongues are not interpreted, they will come out as gibberish because the person speaks mysteries which NO MAN UNDERSTANDS, and Paul specifically says that the tongues (unless they are interpreted) are not even supposed to be for man but UNTO ourselves and UNTO GOD. We are not told to not pray in tongues every again if we don’t have the gift of interpretation, but we are told to pray at home for ourselves and to God. Tongues (if interpreted) are supposed to be for the edification of the church, but how can one be edified by speaking words of judgment against the Jews? The reason God sent tongues (prophetic speech) to the believers is for power and praise.

Believing jews (not unbelieving jews) were astonished when they realized that gentiles had received the holy Ghost, and they were confident that they had received the holy Ghost precisely because they heard the gentiles spoke in tongues and magnified God.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 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.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

We can get power, after the holy Ghost has come upon us, and we can begin to speak with other tongues:

Joh. 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts. 2:1 2 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.

Some people use Acts 2 as a proof text and as a filter to read Paul’s letter to the Corinthiansspeaking in tongues 3

It’s a risk that skeptics misunderstand Acts 2 (or purposely add things which are not stated), and read 1 Corinthians 12-14 in the light of their misunderstanding of Acts 2. They are not as keen to read Acts 2 in the light of 1 Corinthians 12-14! 

Acts 2 says that ”every man heard them speak in his own language”, but it does NOT say that ALL men understood ALL tongues by ALL disciples. If that were the case, then each of those individuals understood an awful lot of languages and must have been incredibly talented! Note that people from EVERY NATION under heaven were present, and is it really likely that every single one of those men understood ALL languages that the disciples spoke?! Just imagine how it would be to understand all languages under heaven! Depending on how we count, no less than 14 different people are listed as present. I don’t know to what extent these 14 different groups of people understood each other’s languages (I’m for instance Swedish and I also understand Norwegian and Danish), but the whole point with this story is to tell us that different kinds of people from all nations, still understood what the disciples said. Maybe it wasn’t unusual for some exceptionally learned men to speak maybe 2-3 languages, but to understand more languages than that must have been highly unusual, even if we reduce the 14 languages to a smaller amount.

Acts 2: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,10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

1 Corinthians 14:21 and the quote from Isaiah 28:11

Just as the OT Jews were perplexed by the Assyrian dialect, so they are perplexed today by tongues they don’t understand, and uninterpreted tongues will not help them in any way.

Paul’s message is to NOT stand up and speak in tongues in church unless there is interpretation, because only then will the listeners be able to understand, learn and be edified. The consequence of tongues-speaking is that unbelievers (Jew and Gentile) do not understand what is being spoken, so to them it is just a mysterious ”sign” and nothing they can grasp.The Greek word for ”sign” can apart from ”sign” also mean ”wonder”, ”mystery” or ”perplexity”.  Paul wrote 1 Cor 14 to show that tongues without interpretation does not benefit anyone except the speaker, and therefore the Corinthians should not speak tongues loudly in the church service (without interpretation) because for others, it is just a mystery/sign.

1 Cor. 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.21 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.22 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.23 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?24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Isaiah 28:In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.—:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

Paul also talks about the church order, and he says that tongues are for a sign (sēmeion Strong’s 4592) to them who do not believe, but prophesying (interpreted tongues) are for those who BELIEVE – for their instruction and edification. Prophesying can also convict a stray unbeliever that happens to be there, and therefore prophecy is better than tongues in the church unless there is an interpretation. Mark tells us on the other hand that speaking in tongues is one of the signs that shall FOLLOW a believer, but then he is referring to  something that you would normally expect to see among christians (and he doesn’t say this was a fact for his generation only).

Mark 16:17 And these signs (sēmeia Strong’s 4592) shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 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.

As Paul gives these instructions, he lets us know that speaking in tongues had actually been prophesied beforehand by the Prophet Isaiah, centuries before Pentecost. Paul didn’t say that tongues are a sign to only unbelieving Jews, but that tongues were a sign ”...to them that believe not…”, and tongues can be a sign to unbelieving Jews and/or to unbelieving Gentiles alike. If speaking in tongues were a sign to only Jews, and Jews had to be present before speaking in tongues could be exercised, he would have made this clear. Are we actually to believe that Paul would not pray to God in other tongues, unless an unbelieving Jew were present with him in his prayer closet? In Isaiah 28 God is basically telling Israel that they have been so wicked that he will allow them to be conquered by Assyria, so it was a judgment and an assurance that they would be taken captive. The quote in Isaiah can’t be a prophecy that is fulfilled by the church because Christians did not take the Jews captive to a foreign land. The prophecy was only to be fulfilled once – in the 700’s B.C. Cessationists might say that tongues are still a judgment against the Jews, to show them that they are no longer God’s exclusive people, but Paul is speaking of prophecies/tongues in the church service where there are believers – for their edification and instruction. If tongues are a sign of judgment against the Jews because they do not understand it, then it is also a sign of judgment against everybody (including apostles) because NO MAN understands unless it is interpreted.

Speaking a message in tongues and interpreting it in a public service can have convicting effect on an unbeliever – by exposing them to their  faithless state, and stirring them to rededicate their lives to Christ. Today millions of millions of christians speak in tongues despite no presence of unbelievers, and if the tongues have ceased, we must ask ourselves why they haven’t ceased! Many true born again christians, who show lots of good fruit, still speak them! Are they demonic? Would God give a stone to someone who asks for a spiritual gift?

Did they speaking in tongues occur only when unbelieving Jews or Gentiles were present?speaking in tongues 2

Unbelieving jews were not always present when people spoke in tongues.

Peter preached the gospel to the gentiles in Cornelius’ house, and those present were already believers before coming there, or they were born-again in that instant. So now, you have a room full of christians, speaking in tongues, with no unbelieving jew hear them.

Acts. 10:45 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.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

In Ephesus, Paul found 12 of John the Baptist’s disciples and he preached the Gospel to them, resulting in that they believed and were baptized.  The only ones present were Paul and twelve born-again christians – so no unbelieving jews.

Acts. 19: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 Christ Jesus.When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.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.

John MacArthur causes a division in Church on false grounds – Strange Fire?

john macarthur

John MacArthur and his Strange Fire Conference, where he attacks christian charismatics

John MacArthur is a professed calvinist, and calvinists believe in TULIP which means (IF they want to be consistent with their own teachings) that they don’t believe that Jesus died for everyone (Limited Atonement), that God doesn’t want everyone to be saved, that people are born elect/non elect (saved/doomed), that nothing comes to pass against the will of God, that even sin is according to God’s will, etc. So not only does MacArthur preach false doctrines and insults our holy God, but as can be seen below it also looks like he is awfully close to committing the unpardonable sin by publicly ascribing the power of the holy Spirit – when it comes to casting out demons and healing people – to SATAN. It’s obviously not an unpardonable sin to simply doubt the truthfulness of a person’s supposed healing – not even if you express your doubt out loud, because you certainly might be right in your observation – HOWEVER if a person truly has cast out demons and healed someone and you as a believer of God publicly claim that this is not from the holy Spirit at all but of Satan, then it appears that you fit the description of blaspheming the holy Spirit. Being unsure is not a sin, and expressing your doubt is not a sin, but to publicly ascribe ALL modern cases of healing to Satan will lead to sin because not all of those cases are of Satan but of the holy Spirit. MacArthur seems to suggest that 100% of all claimed cases of casting out demons and/or healing are either fake or of Satan (unless it’s by the hands of Jesus or his apostles). If he is wrong in some of those cases – which he is – then this results in that he is guilty of suggesting that people have unclean spirits despite that they do NOT. The holy Spirit should rather be praised for what just happened instead of being attacked and compared with darkness. Only God can be the judge here, but MacArthur should reevaluate his mission – if it isn’t too late.

Matt. 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.—24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.—27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.—31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Mark. 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.—28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.30 BECAUSE THEY SAID, HE HATH AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT.

A transcript from MacArthur from his ”Strange fire” conference 2013, sponsored by Grace To You:

“Why don’t evangelical leaders speak against this movement?  Why is their such silence? Look When somebody attacks the person of Christ the Evangelical world rises up and says “no, no, no!”  . . . the Holy Spirit has been under massive assault for decades and decades, and I’ve been asking the question ‘where are the people rising up in protest against the abuse and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?‘ The only thing I can suggest is that they have been literally backed up into a corner by intimidation that they need to be loving and accepting and tolerant and not divisive in the body of Christ, that’s been the mantra. . .”

He also says:

“people caught up in any kind of error are cut off from God’s blessing.”

”Why are evangelicals silent about charismatic error?”

”The Lord calls His people to honor Him, to treat Him as holy. Leviticus 10 pictures the consequences of not doing so—of offering to Him strange fire. For the last hundred years, the charismatic movement has been offering a strange fire of sorts to the third Person of the Godhead—the Holy Spirit. And evangelical churches have chosen to be silent or indifferent on the matter. This hasn’t served the church or the Spirit of the church with honor.”

Where did he get the term ”strange fire” from, which is the title of his conference, and which he ascribes to the entire charismatic movement? This Biblical incident:

Leviticus 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

Numbers 3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.

Numbers 26:61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the Lord.

Clearly the strange fire offered to God in Leviticus was sinful and against his will, because he had forbidden that kind of unlawful fire. Nadab and Abihu were immediately devoured before the Lord when they transgressed his law. Since MacArthur equals the entire charismatic movement (Assembly of God, the Pentecostal church, etc) with this type of unlawful strange fire, then he couldn’t possibly regard any of the members as saved – but rather as gangsters who oppose the holy Spirit and side with Satan. How could anyone be saved who purposely present strange fire (which is nothing but demonic) before the Lord?

On his website MacArthur favors the idea that speaking in tongues is DEMONIC/SATANIC/HERETICAL and HAVE CEASED. Can anyone be saved who are demonic/satanic/heretical and who engages in spiritual matters that are no longer in use? Of course not, because then you’re engaging in Satanic matters instead of godly matters! So if you belong to Assembly of God or a Pentecostal church, you’re not saved according to MacArthur. Moreover, the gifts of the holy Spirit are not only in use in those type of churches, but they can also be found in various other churches even if they are more common in the charismatic ones. If you happen to be a person who belong to a charismatic church and don’t use any the spiritual gifts, how could you be saved if you choose to remain in the midst of demonic/satanic/heretical/false christians who present strange fire before the Lord? What does light have to do with darkness? Nothing! So the only conclusion is that MacArthur doesn’t believe that any of the members of the charismatic churches are saved, and that’s about 450.000 – 500.000 christians according to the statistics – and even more if you add all others (in other types of churches) who use the spiritual gifts. MacArthur says on his website:

”No, it is significant to note that Pentecostals and Charismatics can’t substantiate their claim that what they are doing is the Biblical gift. There’s really no evidence to prove it. There is no evidence that it’s language. You say then, ”What is it?” Could be demonic. Could be satanic. I think it was in Corinth, in some cases. Could be that. Ecstatic speech is a part of many pagan religions in Africa, East Africa. Tonga people of Africa, when a demon is exorcised, sing in Zulu even though they say they don’t know the Zulu language. Ecstatic speech is found today among Muslims, Eskimos, Tibetan monks. It is involved in parapsychological occult groups. Did you know that the Mormons, even Joseph Smith himself advocates speaking in tongues? It could be demonic.

Now all of these supposed manifestations of tongues were always identified as heretical, fanatical, unorthodox, outside the Church; and we conclude that when they ceased they ceased, and there have been continual off and on fabrications of counterfeit tongues. Since these gifts did cease, the burden of proof is on the Charismatics to prove that what is happening today is valid. Why do we always have to get backed in the corner and prove our case? Why don’t they take the Bible and prove theirs and look at history as well and do the same?

Wherever in the Bible does it say that you are to speak in a private tongue? Never! A private ecstatic, angelic speech–never! It’s hard for me to argue against those who say that tongues is a private prayer language because I can’t go to some text and correct them because there isn’t any text!

Suffice it to say that this unique gift given for the Apostolic time is irreproducible today, and whatever purports to be that is not that; it is something counterfeit. A myriad of studies, which I’ll deal with in the book [Charismatic Chaos], and when you get a copy you can read them in detail, give evidence of the fact that motor-autonomism (sp.), ecstasy, hypnosis, psychic-catharsis, collective psyche, memory excitation, and all other kind of terms are used to describe people who go into these kinds of trance like experiences.  

So there are no verses which say that we can speak in tongues privately? What’s wrong with these?

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD

I don’t feel those who speak in tongues need to prove anything to Mr MacArthur and he can continue to believe that speaking in tongues is ”trance like” even though they aren’t. If pentecostals today don’t do anything else but speaking in counterfeit demonic tongues, then only cessationists could be saved – unless he believes demon possessed people can enter the kingdom of God. This means that MacArthur concludes that a person is definitely NOT a christian as soon as he hears him speaking in tongues or making use of any other spiritual gifts. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the Bible says, because Peter and other believing jews realized that the gentiles around them had received the holy Ghost precisely because they spoke in tongues and magnified God (speaking in tongues in combination with good fruit). MacArthur, however, understands speaking in tongues totally different from the apostle Peter does, because when he hears someone speaking in tongues he (MacArthur) believes that person is not saved because of the tongues.

Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 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.46 FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, WHICH HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST as well as we?

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 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.

1 Thess. 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.20 Despise not prophesyings.21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

MacArthur doesn’t do anything else than causing a huge DIVISION in church, but I admire his ability to twist the Scripture to make it say what he wants at the same time as he suggests that other preachers (but not himself) are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Maybe he who shouts ”beware of the wolf” the loudest is one of the biggest wolves himself? He would do well to consider the following verses which he either avoids or butchers in his ”charismatic chaos series” and in the Strange fire conference:

1 Cor. 12:Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.—10 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:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.—30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Paul tells us to covet earnestly the best gift. Does MacArthur obey Paul in doing so? Does he realize that speaking in tongues might not be understood (since the Bible says that NO MAN UNDERSTANDS) and that there wouldn’t even be a need of the gift of interpretation of tongues IF tongues were always understood? Paul doesn’t say ”if you don’t have the gift of interpreting, then don’t use the gift of speaking in tongues at all”.duva

1 Cor. 14:1Follow after charity, and DESIRE spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.  2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh NOT UNTO MEN, but unto God: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAKETH MYSTERIES.  3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  5I WOULD THAT YE ALL SPAKE IN TONGUES but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”— 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are ZEALOUS of spiritual gifts, SEEK that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue PRAY that he may interpret.14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.—18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all19 Yet IN THE CHURCH 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.—28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD.—39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Does MacArthur understand that we are not even speaking to men but unto GOD when we speak in tongues (and no man understands), UNLESS the tongues are interpreted? Does he realize that Paul recommends us to speak in tongues privately at home? Does he realize that Paul NOWHERE says that the speaking in tongues shall cease before the coming of Christ, when we shall see him as he really is? If speaking in tongues has ceased, as MacArthur claims, how come it hasn’t? How come millions of true born again christians still speak in tongues? If they are all Satanic, why didn’t Paul bother to warn us about this? Wouldn’t it have been better for Paul to say somewhere that ”the true speaking of tongues shall cease close after my own death, but there will be millions and millions of so-called christians (who show good fruit) who will speak in FALSE tongues, so be aware of them and don’t fall into the same trap”, etc?

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

If Paul spent a few months in a certain church and noticed that none of the spiritual gifts were present, wouldn’t he have been disappointed and reproved the leaders of this church for neglecting to encourage these gifts – which could have been to much edification both for individuals and/or for crowds of people? I fear that people are so afraid of the misuse of the gifts of the holy spirit that they don’t seek them at all, and this ends up being a victory for the devil.

Unfortunately, John MacArthur has made a study Bible, and you would do well to disregard it. He gets a lot of things right, but he also gets lots of things wrong and there is a risk you will fall for gnosticism/calvinism (and that God is the author of sin) if you start to believe MacArthur’s claims in his book. I can also say that quoting MacArthur where it sounds like he believes that man has free will, that we all have a chance to be saved, etc, only proves that he is not consistent with his own teaching (TULIP) and that he contradicts himself.

”Yes, someone says, but can’t Christians put themselves outside God’s grace? What about those who commit ABOMINABLE SINS? Don’t they nullify the work of redemption in themselves? Don’t they forfeit the love of God? CERTAINLY NOT …. it’s preposterous to think that we can forfeit it [salvation] BY ANYTHING WE DO” (John MacArthur, Jr., The Love of God, Word Publishing, 1996, p. 159.)

”Secondly, you asked about occasional SEXUAL SIN or getting drunk. Again, THESE SINS CANNOT CAUSE A TRUE BELIEVER TO LOSE HIS SALVATION” (Personal letter dated 1/10/94 sent by Bryan Johnson, a counselor from John MacArthur’s ministry.)

The Bible says:

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2 Peter 2:2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 Tim. 4: 1 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;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Jude 1:For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have no other desire than seeing also John MacArthur receiving the gift of speaking in tongues (and other gifts), but if puts so much energy in fighting against the holy Spirit and His gifts, the chances are slim that it will happen.

John MacArthur teaches that it’s possible to be saved even after having taken the mark of the beast (he starts with the incorrect premise of pre-tribulation). The Bible says the opposite. What if people in the future trust MacArthur’s assurance and take the mark of the beast? It’s of course no valid excuse to blame others (false teachers) for our choices, but teachers who present damnable doctrines have blood on their hands. Let’s pray for their repentance, and that people won’t trust MacArthur’s false assurances.

See below how MacArthur makes it known, that if you’re in the charismatic movement you’re NOT saved and you’re NOT part of the body of Christ. I get chills down my spine listening to his war against charismatic christians, and how he gets applauds from the other leaders (and the audience), and how people laugh when he makes jokes about the whole matter. I also don’t trust his concern for lost souls, because if he is right about his own gospel, then his God doesn’t even want all people saved, but only the elect – and of course all calvinists belong to the elect.

Miracles in Moscow – 40-50 people got healed in a shopping mall

Torben shows that there is no requirement to use expensive computer equipment to explain the gospel for a large crowd of people. A few paper mugs from KFC and a tray work just fine. 🙂

And people get healed!

Sometimes the most simple ways are the better ways…

All glory to God, and we can only pray for more workers like Torben and his team who are so willing to explain the gospel to people on the streets – including the important truth that sin separate us from God whether we are non-believers or not.