Etikettarkiv | power

Is it God’s responsibility to KEEP US, even by force?

John 8.jpegGod and his ”responsibilities”

There are some Christians who erroneously believe that it is God’s responsibility to make sure that born again believers are kept, and some even believe in the concept that God keeps us from falling (sinning). They might suggest that if a true Christian falls away and is no longer a child of God, then God’s power was not great enough to keep him, as though the Bible says it is God’s responsibility to keep people by force.

The truth is that we have a free will and we are therefore able to walk away from God without him preventing it from happening. If we on the other hand repent and come to him (or return back to him) he will accept us (keep us) us rather than rejecting us. Had it been up to God to make sure that we do not fall (sin) then we would of course not sin a single time for the rest of our lives. If we sin, it is always our fault and never God’s fault.

God created us to seek him and come to him, which means that we can. We have also been provided with the ability to repent, which we are all requested to do.

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;— 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27That they should SEEK the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though HE BENOT FAR FROM EVERY ONE OF US. — 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Clearly not everyone seeks God, nor repents, which means that God has chosen to create us with free will and with the ability to both obey and disobey. This does not hurt his ”sovereignty” (a non-Biblical word – KJV).

But what about verse 2 Thess. 3:3? Does it not suggest that God in fact is the one who keeps us, and does so no matter what we do? No, he can indeed keep us from evil, but he does not promise to do so unconditionally – and he does not promise that we will never be affected by persecution or pain. If we walk our own ways and even seek to be tempted, then we cannot expect to be kept from the snare of the devil since we have chosen to remove ourselves from God and his protection.

2 Thess. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Examples 1

The word ”keep” in the above verse is  a translation of the Greek verb φυλάσσω (Strong’s 5442, phylassō). The same word can also be translated observe, bewaresave, guard and watch.  

When we read the examples below (words in green are based on another verb) where this word is used, we can see clearly that what is ”kept” is not necessarily kept unconditionally or for ever. A choice is involved. We can for instance read that shepherds ”keeping” watch over their flock, but this does not mean that sheep can never ever stray away and be lost. We can also read warnings such as ”Little children, keep yourselves from idols”, which is evidence of that we can not sit back and expect God to take this responsibility instead of us. If some of us do to get involved with idols, then we can be certain of that it is not due to God lacking in power but due to our own choices when we oppose God’s commandments.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Mark 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. (+ Luke 18:21)

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. — 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. — 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. — 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

Acts 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. — 19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

Acts 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for TO KEEP, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

Rom. 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

Gal. 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

1 Tim. 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

1 Tim. 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: — 20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keepthat which I have committed unto him against that day.13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

2 Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

2 Pet. 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

choiceExamples 2

There is also another verb often translated ”keep”, which is τηρέω (Strong’s 5083, tēreō). This word can also be translated observe, reserve guard, watch, preserve, hold fast, etc – i.e. it is often used interchangeably with the verb φυλάσσω above. The examples show that there is a choice involved in this case as well.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Matt. 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matt. 27:36 And sitting down they watched him there

Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.— 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. — 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. —24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: — 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

1 Cor. 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

2 Cor. 11:9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

Eph. 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. — 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Ti. 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

2 Ti. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Ja. 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Ja. 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. — 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev. 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations

Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. —8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. — 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Rev. 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rev. 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Rev. 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Rev. 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. — 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.  

We also have a noun tied to the the above Greek verb, which is τήρησις (Strong’s 5084, tērēsis):

1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

We also have the verb παρατίθημι (Strong’s 3908, paratithēmi), and in this verse we can clearly see that the righteous are not forced to remain righteous by God as though they would lose their ability to sin. It is true that it is not likely that a born again Christian would like to return to the world and his/her old vomit, but once in a while it still happens:

1 Pet. 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Annonser

Jesus free will ”subordination” to the Father doesn’t contradict the TRINITY

godJesus lived in another shape long before his start as a human being in Mary’s womb

We know that Jesus Christ didn’t start to exist only some 2000 years ago when he by his own free will was placed as a seed inside Mary, but he existed long before then – from all eternity – albeit not in flesh.

John. 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee BEFORE the world was.— 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me BEFORE the foundation of the world.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.—14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

He was also together with the Israelites during the Exodus, probably in the form of the Angel of the Lord (not a created angel). This also occurred long before he was born in flesh.

1 Cor. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;—4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST. — Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

We also know that there is ONE GOD alone, and we know that 1) the Father, 2) Jesus Christ the son, and 3) the holy Spirit, have each been referred to as GOD in the Bible. The only way to combine these truths is to use the concept of the Trinity, and this is also what the early church Fathers did as can be seen here. It’s hard to know exactly how the Godhead functions since it’s the Almighty GOD we are talking about (and we are not required to know exactly how our Creator GOD works as long as we don’t believe in contradictions), but at least we know that Jesus is fully GOD – which is also confirmed by his own Father in Hebr. 1:8.

Col. 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily.

The fact that Jesus always chose to do the Father’s will doesn’t contradict the Trinity, nor does it mean Jesus is of another nature than his Father 

Wouldn’t it be more strange if Jesus did NOT do the Father’s will? God the Father remained in heaven when Jesus chose to be born as a baby on earth, and as a man Jesus was lower in rank than the angels – which means that during this time Jesus must have been lower in rank than his Father. However, that’s certainly not the position that Jesus held prior to being born in flesh.

If Jesus would have claimed that he always spoke on his own initiative, there would be reasons to doubt his shared life with the Father, but Jesus often claimed to do the works of his Father – just a he also claimed to have a will of his own.  This means that every ”he sent me”, and ”I only do as told” and ”I speak not from myself” should not be construed as evidence against the Trinity, because these expressions are statements of continuity with the Father, rather than indications of their discontinuity. Jesus had no personal agenda to carry out, and he wanted his audience to understand this. That’s why he constantly spoke to them about ”God’s kingdom” and ”my Father”, in order to highlight that he didn’t come to preach about a new religion or a new God.  Jesus emphasized that he always chose to act according to his Father’s will, because he wanted his audience to realize that his words were trustworthy – being completely those of God the Father – the God that the israelites had worshiped all along.

What would his audience think if Jesus would have said: ”I have come to do MY will, not the Father’s will! I have come without being sent by the Father–but on my own initiative. The gospel that I preach is my own, and NOT that of the Father. I have come in my own name, and not in the name of the Father”? The son would never take any actions that would interfere with the will of the Father, or in any way place himself over the Father. If the son is capable of choosing to do whatever the Father does, he must be as divine as the Father since he obviously has the power to obey or disobey GOD himself!

Jesus chose to give his own life for us, which means that he had the power to choose to do otherwise

If Jesus wouldn’t be able to choose to lay down his own life, it would be dishonest to claim that this is exactly what he did for us. Either he had this free will capability to make this decision, or he was forced to lay down his life by his Father, having no choice in the matter. Even if the Father first had to make him ”willing”, it would still be filed under ”Forced” since it would involve a manipulation of the will.

John. 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Matt. 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends

Let’s also remember that both God and Jesus are referred to as having created the heavens and the earth ”with his own hands” (see for instance Hebr. 1).

Being SENT by someone doesn’t indicate that you’re of another nature than the Senderdove 2

Human messengers sent by human rulers, are certainly not LESS human themselves, and if someone by free will places himself in a lower rank than another person, neither does this humble free will decision make him any less human. It’s absolutely possible that the persons in the Godhead made a joint decision to carry out the creation in a certain way that they felt pleased about, and also to carry out the salvation plan in their own preferred way. Such a decision would mean that the Father and the son couldn’t BOTH be born as babies on earth, and the Father and the son couldn’t BOTH remain in heaven while none of them stepped down to earth to live as a man in flesh.

It’s a good thing for us that the persons in the Godhead decided to adopt separate roles within their own nature. ”The Father is greater than I” should not be taken to mean that Jesus is not God.  Neither would anyone assume that a statement like ”the prime minister is greater than I”, would indicate that he is more human than the speaker, nor that he is greater than all others in ALL areas of life. On top of this, a prime minister isn’t a prime minister for eternity, and he can choose to step down and take on a much less authoritative position.

A Managing Director is ”greater” in authority than all his employees at work, but off duty he might be a Board member in a Boat club where he is ”only” a secretary, and one of his employees (from work) might be the Head of the Board with greater authority when it concerns the Boat club. Maybe this particular Managing Director even had the opportunity to be the Head of the Board for this Boat club but declined, or maybe he even used to be the Head of the Board but stepped down by free will to offer his position to this other person – despite that he had the chance to continue in the highest position. Moreover, this Managing Director – particularly if it’s a female – might not be the top authority in her own home but only at work. Just because you’re in the highest position at work doesn’t mean you’re in the highest position at home. It’s absolutely possible to voluntarily grant another person the authority over oneself – at least in part. As soon as we accept a job position, we will likely have a boss as an authority over us who is much greater in rank at work (and not outside of work).

Let’s say that three friends would like to start a business together, where all three individuals would not be able to fill all job positions in the company. It’s a lot smarter to split the duties to make the company work so much better, and this method wouldn’t change the fact that they are all equal co-owners of the company that they founded together (equal shareholders). Maybe one of them by free will offers to be the one who travels across the world to meet new customers, and he must therefore leave the daily administration of the company to his colleagues, and maybe also all the fancy titles. Again, this doesn’t mean that he is of an another nature than his partners, and neither does it mean that he is inferior to them. They just have a mutual goal to make the company work fantastic, and that’s why every single one of them can’t hold the highest position of the company. Splitting the duties and the titles would be beneficial for all of them and for the entire company. It’s also possible to make an arrangement where they take turns holding the various positions and job titles, or they could decide to keep their positions until the very end, and let only one of them do the hard work away from the office (but also make the decision to reward this particular person abundantly when the final goal has been achieved).

The point is that it’s not possible to use statements such as ”the Father is greater than I”, or ”I will put everything under his feet”, as evidence for the idea that Jesus is not God. That would be like comparing apples with oranges, because Jesus nature doesn’t have anything to do with the free will arrangement within the Godhead (whether in short-term or long-term). Jesus was in the form of GOD but decided to step down from his position in heaven to become a servant and in the likeness of men. This means that Jesus would start to exist in a completely new form and under totally different circumstances compared with before – by his own free will. Suddenly he lived as a man just like other human beings, and he started out as a little baby just like the rest of us. I don’t think he reasoned and behaved like a 30-year-old man trapped in the body of a little baby, but I truly believe he was like any other human baby with corresponding mental limitations. He still grew up without sin, and probably started to realize exactly who he was when he matured. Luckily God the Father didn’t have to go through the same stages, and God wouldn’t have the ultimate control of this universe if the entire Godhead would suddenly end up as a little baby and could only reason as a baby.

If Jesus wouldn’t be God (which the Father says he is), then it’s strange that the Father wants every knee to bow down before Jesus rather than himself? Is it only to confuse us into believing that Jesus is God?

Phil. 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But MADE HIMSELF of no reputation, and TOOK UPON HIM THE FORM OF A SERVANT, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When Jesus lowered himself and washed the feet of the disciples, this was a voluntary action and doesn’t mean that he therefore was a lesser human being than his disciples and inferior to them. In Romans 15:8 Paul says ”For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth”, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that Jesus was inferior to the Jews. There is a non-correlation between ”submission” and ”inferiority”. The Holy Spirit is said to be sent by the Father, and also said to be sent by the Son. Does this in any way make inferiority-assertions about the Spirit of God? No, since it’s only a matter of free will roles within the Trinity.

Jesus speaks of “my Father” and “your Father”,  but never “our Father” 

Suggesting that God is ”our” Father might simply mean that he is our God, but Jesus often spoke in such a way that his audience understood that he made more serious claims than that. Jesus made himself EQUAL with God and he made himself GOD. (If you’re called God you’re either the creator-God or a false god which you can read more about here and here). The jews didn’t understand his words to express subordination to God, but to full equality and being no one else but God. That is the reason they wanted to kill Jesus – due to blasphemy. It can’t be more clear than that.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 

Phil. 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (NASB) (KJV ”only begotten son”)

It’s also well-known that Jesus used God’s own name on himself (IAM, and the alpha and omega) and constantly allowed people to worship him.

The Shekinah glory of the OT is the very presence of God – in the form of a cloudcloud

Jesus is called ”the glory of the Father” alluding to the Shekinah glory which was the very presence of God in the tabernacle/temple – not just a representation or manifestation.

When God in form of the angel of the Lord (probably Jesus as can be seen here) appeared to Moses in a burning bush, surely the heaven was not devoid of a GOD? If God was in the burning bush, does this mean that he was unable to appear also before other people at the same time, or does it mean that he was unable to behold each person’s activities on earth because he was too occupied with the conversation that he had with Moses? Is it hard to imagine that our holy Creator can be in multiple places at the same time, and that this divine power doesn’t turn him into several gods?

Ex. 3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

In Exodus God also appeared in the form of a cloud during the day and as fire during the night. In some verses GOD is said to have done it, in other places the angel of the Lord is said to have done it and in 1 Cor. 10 even Jesus Christ is said to have done it. Either the Bible is confusing (and we have several gods) or the cloud can be explained by the Trinity-God.

Ex. 40:38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

1 Cor. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;—4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST. — Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

We can also read about the real presence of God in form of a cloud, being in the midst of the priests in the house/temple of the Lord. God was in this cloud (just like he was in the fire in the burning bush) and spoke to those who were present in the form of the Almighty God. The same questions can be asked here. Surely the heavens and the rest of the earth were not devoid of a God, when God was in the form of this holy cloud? Surely God can be in several places at the same time without being accused of being several gods? Surely the God in the burning bush and in the holy cloud was not a lesser God than God in heaven or of another nature? Would we consider the God in the burning bush or in the cloud to be subordinate to God in heaven? Or would we consider the God in the cloud to be inferior to God in heaven only because the former was ”sent down”?

2 Chron. 5:13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God. (+ 1 King 8:10-11)

Ez. 10:3 Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.4 Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory.5 And the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh.18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.19 And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.

Ez. 43:2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: —4 And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.6 And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

Jesus is able to be in the midst of two or three persons who gather in his name, but what happens if more than one group of people gather in his name? Is Jesus only able to visit one group at a time? OR, does he have the power to attend several meetings at the same time and still not be charged of being several ”sons”?

Matt. 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

He has put all things under his feet?

Jesus has gone through several stages in his life time, and certain stages are yet to come in the future. Jesus never stopped being God throughout these stages but it has been necessary to say no to some of his divine powers, like when he was in the stage as a human being – and especially as a little baby with reduced mental capabilities. As a human being he was lower than the angels, but before and after this stage the angels were inferior to him and were supposed to worship him (no one should worship anyone else but GOD). Jesus….

  1. He is the Creator of the world and absolutely nothing was before him (1 Col. 1:16, 1 Hebr. 1:8, etc)
  2. He has lived in the form of the angel of the Lord (called Jahve) and communicated with Jahve in heaven
  3. He has by free will been placed as a human seed inside Mary
  4. He has been a baby, a little boy and a full grown man
  5. He has proved to be the promised Messiah
  6. He has shared the gospel of God on earth
  7. He has died a physical death
  8. He has resurrected from the dead
  9. He has been glorified
  10. He will return once again to earth and destroy Antichrist and bring home his Bride
  11. He will reign in the new Jerusalem, where no sun is needed because the LAMB will be the source of light

Much has been made of 1 Cor. 15:27, and people are ready to ditch all sorts of clear verses about the deity of Christ due to this verse which they prefer to interpret in the wrong way.

1 Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.24 Then cometh the end, when he [Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Remember again, that Jesus chose to be born as a baby on earth to carry out a mission, which means that he left his secure place in heaven and some of his divine powers and became even lower than the angels in rank. This means that he must be restored once again when he has completed his task, and who else can restore him but God the Father in the same Godhead? At no time did God the Father lower himself from his highest position that he had together with his son, but always had all the power in the world. As a mediator Jesus will lay down his office at the feet of the Father when he (Jesus) has completed his work to the very end, because the dominion of Christ will one day terminate. Jesus will finally reclaim his divine sovereignty when he has overthrown his enemies – including Antichrist himself (2 Thess. 2:8). Submission can be a voluntary act, and Jesus life on earth was also meant to serve as a model for believers to follow.

The last verse above might tell us that Jesus is actually not subject to his Father at this particular point but later ”when all things shall be subdued unto him, THEN SHALL the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him”. This looks like the redemptive post-resurrection son is currently not under the subjection of the Father. This means that Jesus is not and has not been eternally subordinate to his Father, but that his redemptive work has something to do with it. The fact that the son is said to become subject unto the Father in the very end of this stage is because ”God may be all in all”. It probably means that they will no longer be separate with a need for one of them to be in the form of an angel of the Lord or as a human being, but they will be united in one permanent role in the Godhead.

Jesus has been given the authority to judge, not because he is the son of God but because he is the son of man who has successfully accomplished what he has purposed to do for mankind. (John 5.27). It looks like Jesus can create, forgive sins, judge, give eternal life, be worshiped, be called IAM just like God the Father, despite that God clearly states that he shares his glory with NO ONE. Only the Trinity can solve this puzzle.

Jn 5.20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.—27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Rev. 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

The Father and the son are ONE in a totally different way than the body of Christ is ONEJesus5

We can be ”one” in various ways and the context of  ”I and my Father are one” in John 10:30 is entirely different from John 17:21-22. In the latter the context is about having the same goal and attitude (as in not having divisions among christians), but in the former passage it’s about being one with the same authority, spirit and nature. The jews understood this too well since they immediately picked up stones to kill him after having made this statement. No one deserves a death sentence for claiming that believers should have the same goals and attitudes, but it’s certainly a death sentence for claiming to be equal with God. God is not the author of confusion, and he is able to express himself in a way that listeners and readers can understand.

John 10:25 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.—28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.30 I and my Father are one.31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

The danger of misusing the misuse of tongues

Below I use the word ”cessationist” (a person who believes speaking in tongues is not for today but a gift that has ceased) but I could address anyone who is skeptic about tongues and especially those who have produced ”anti-tongue material” – like uploaded video clips on youtube. Sometimes I wonder if cessationists feel that if they can’t pray by the Spirit’s power, they assume that no one else can either and they therefore prefer to read the Bible accordingly.  I don’t wish to cause bad feelings with what I write, but would like to defend the gift of speaking in tongues, and to make some clarifications concerning some common misunderstandings.

Speaking in tongues does not mean that the language is always understood, but actually the exact opposite

It’s very common for cessationists to base their views about tongues on Acts 2 alone, with hardly no aid from 1 Cor. 11-14 where Paul quite extensively describes tongues and the way to use them. If the agenda is to show that speaking in tongues has either ceased or nothing to strive for,  people would likely try to ignore 1 Cor. 11-14 to avoid the clear information we can find there:

  • we should be eager to get this gift
  • tongues can edify YOU ALONE, which is something good
  • NO MAN understands the tongues (unless interpreted)
  • you’re not even addressing people with your tongues but you’re praying to GOD
  • you should pray in BOTH ways; 1) with the spirit and 2) with your understanding

Acts 2 of course doesn’t contradict 1 Cor. in any way, but it’s still not a good approach to avoid the larger passages about tongues and focus on the very first experience alone. What if the very first experience was totally unique and a bit different than the experiences which followed? The Greek word ”dialectos” is used only in the original Pentecost of Acts 2. The other occurences of tongues-speaking (Acts 19, Acts 10) was not in earthly dialects and ”dialectos” is not found in the text. All we know from Acts 2 is that ”every man heard them speak in his own language”. Notice:

  • It does NOT say that each man understood ALL the languages spoken
  • It does NOT say that each man understood every single disciple
  • It does NOT say that no ”gibberish” was uttered apart from the comprehensible languages

If tongues are always foreign languages, then there is no reason for anyone to ever do it alone (where no foreigners can hear) and yet we are told to pray privately:

1 Cor. 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF, AND TO GOD

Also, there would have been no reason for the Ephesians (of Acts 19) or for Cornelius’ family (Acts 10) to speak in tongues since there were no foreigners there to understand it. If tongues were always understood, why is ”interpreting tongues” a separate gift? And how come believers with the gift of speaking in tongues don’t automatically have the gift of interpreting? We are told to pray in two ways; 1) with the spirit (where we don’t understand what we are saying) and 2) with our own words (which we understand):

1 Cor. 14:19 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.

1 Cor. 14:13 Wherefore let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret (so clearly not a gift always combined with speaking in tongues)

1 Cor. 14:17 For you verily give thanks well,[in tongues] but the other is not edified (because he can’t understand)

Since the Bible says that no one understands a person who speaks in tongues, it means that ”gibberish” fits this description rather well. That people sometimes understand the tongues is likely due to that they are interpreted.

Speaking in tongues is for praise, worship, edification and not for evangelism

Tongues are for praise and nowhere are we told they are meant for evangelism. The Ephesians in Acts 19 and the Romans in Acts 10 (Cornelius’ house) spoke in tongues but there were no foreigners around to hear in a foreign ”known language”. What purpose would a foreign dialect serve as they all already spoke the same language? Two portions from the book of Acts show that tongues are for praise rather than for evangelism:

1) Acts 10:44-46 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God

In Cornelius’ house there were no foreigners to hear what was spoken. ”And Cornelius waited for them, and he called together his kinsmen and near friends.”Acts 10:24

2) Acts 19:5 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.

Paul met some faithful Jews who believed in John’s baptism and when Paul told them of Jesus and laid his hands on them they spoke in tongues. But not to evangelize foreigners but they where simply prophesying (and we have learned that prophesying is mainly for believers). No foreigners were present.

When a cessationist says that pentecostals over-emphasize tongues; he is basically saying that Pentecostals over-emphasize prayer and praise. A good church service shouldn’t contain all the important aspects of a church service; teaching, song, praise, edification, etc.

The tongues (interpreted) are not for the jews but for the CHURCH

1 Cor. 14: 3-4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church

Cessationists might say that tongues were only meant to judge the unbelieving Jews. This idea is proved false because there were no unbelieving Jews to hear the words of ”judgment” at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) or at Ephesus (Acts 19) as mentioned above. The Scriptures that cessationists use to support their idea is below (notice the absence of the word ”judgment”):

1 Cor. 14:20-22 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 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. 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.

The OT quote within 1 Cor 14:20-22 (above) is from Isaiah 28, where God is telling Israel that they have been so wicked that He will allow them to be conquered by Assyria.

Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

Therefore cessationists have come to the conclusion that hearing a foreign language is a judgment. However, the judgment against Israel in Isaiah’s day was not a strange tongue but that they would be taken captive. The strange language was not a judgment, but a consequence of the judgment. The consequence of tongues-speaking is that unbelievers (Jew and Gentile) do not understand what is being spoken and therefore to them it is just a ”sign.” The Greek word ”semeion” means a ”sign” as in a ”wonder” or a ”mystery” or ”perplexity.” This same word is used in a similar way in Rev. 12:1, Rev. 12:3 and Rev. 15:1. Paul, wrote 1 Cor 14 to show that tongues without interpretation does not benefit anyone except the speaker; therefore, do not speak tongues loudly in the church service (without interpretation) because for others it is just a mystery/sign. And just as the OT Jews were perplexed by the Assyrian dialect, so they are perplexed today by tongues, and it will not help them.

Paul wants to show that the church is made up of believers, and prophecy is for believers in the church-service for their instruction, and that prophecy can also convict a stray unbeliever that happens to be there. Therefore prophecy is better than tongues in the church unless there is an interpretation:

1 Cor. 14:24 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.

Speaking in tongues is a sign that shall follow them that BELIEVE:

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

If speaking in tongues has ceased, then people who still speak in tongues would have to be faking them or being possessed by the devil. This would in turn lead to that a sure sign of an unsaved person would be if he spoke in tongues! That is the exact opposite of what Mark 16:17 is saying!

It is only during the portion of the church service that is set aside for prophetic speaking that the tongues-speakers should keep silence – if there is no interpreter. However, there are no verses which prohibit quiet tongues-speaking during the prayer/worship portion of the service. If you would normally pray quietly for yourselves in church, perhaps due to a common request from the pastor, then speaking in tongues would be one way to express yourself. There is a chance/risk that a person who sits beside you overhears your mumbling, but this is not against Paul’s teaching. Someone might also overhear another person praying in Spanish who sits beside him, and no one would be offended unless the prayers are inconveniently loud. It’s only when a person requests the attention of others that irritation can be the outcome. If a person stood up in an American church speaking in another language, then that would clearly violate Paul’s instructions, and it’s not hard to figure out why. A person who repeatedly shouts ”Praise the LORD, Halleluyaaaa, Amen”…” etc, and jumps up and down, would equally disturb the church service and contribute to chaos. This could not be filed under ”dangerous” but rather ”silly” and ”annoying”. Paul advised against speaking in tongues publically because no others would be edified, and outsiders would think you’re nuts. Not because it’s ”dangerous”.

Yes, speaking in tongues is a GIFT freely provided by God

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

It’s nothing controversial about the fact that speaking in tongues is a GIFT freely offered by God and something that you can’t earn, because this is generally accepted both inside and outside of the Pentecostal church. Sadly people misunderstand this to mean that we should just forget about this subject altogether since it’s God’s business to intervene in our lives and give us any gift he wants us to have. How is this ”covet earnestly the best gifts” which we are told to do? Although it’s true that we certainly can’t give ourselves any gifts, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t approach God and ask for them, and be EAGER to get them. Sometimes we don’t get because we don’t ask (it’s still a free gift), and if we on top of this doubt that we might be the lucky recipients of spiritual gifts, then this might hinder us to get them. It doesn’t matter if God is standing there handing out gifts if we don’t even look for them or stretch out our hands to get them.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.—13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Speaking in tongues is not a ”less important gift”

1 Cor. 12:8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To 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: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Paul never says that he is listing the gifts of the Spirit in a descending ranking order. If that was his aim, we would have to conclude that the interpretation of tongues is not as important as tongues-speaking, because it is listed below ”tongues”. Yet, the ”best gifts,” according to Paul in 1 Cor. are ”prophecy” and ”interpretation” because more people can be edified. Paul goes on to explain right after the verse above that all parts of the body are necessary and equally important. Also:

1 Cor. 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied:For greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying

With other words, we are told to earnestly covet the best gifts, meaning that we should be eager to get gifts where as many people as possible can be edified. This means that we shouldn’t be satisified with only being able to speak in tongues, but we should also earnestly seek the gift of interpretation since this would lead to prophesying. Are you honestly seeking the gifts on Paul’s list as he tells you to, or have you brushed all these gifts aside? (Or even worse; are you spending your valuable time giving warnings to fellow christians to be aware of spiritual gifts, and hindering them as well from being eager to get them?)

A believer can be ”filled” again by the Holy Ghost

Below we can see WHY the believing jews understood that certain gentiles had received the Holy Ghost. It was ”FOR they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God”. We can trust that this reason is correct, maybe in combination with noticing good fruit. These gentiles had not yet been baptised in WATER but they had received the baptism of the HOLY GHOST. Also Peter was certain of that these gentiles were ready to be baptised also in water since he understood that they had been baptised in the Holy Ghost. No one involved seemed terrified that these gentiles maybe faked their tongues or that they were demon possessed. They didn’t feel it was ”dangerous” at all, but they took what they heard as a sign for that the gentiles were true believers and ready to be water baptised since they had the Holy Ghost:

Acts 10:44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them whichheard the word. 45And 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. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 

It is a spiritual power seen as manifestations of the Spirit which are demonstrated by the working of spiritual gifts. Acts 1:5, Acts 1:8 and Joel’s prophecy point to a filling of the Holy Spirit that is more than just a salvation experience.They speak of a ”drenching, soaking” of the Spirit known as ”baptizo”. The ”baptizo” experience happening to someone who already has the Holy Spirit in him (because he is already saved) might be for him to attend a powerful prayer meeting, like the one in Acts 4:31, and this person would gain the power to prophesy through tongues, the word of wisdom etc. A power that the believers received when the Holy Spirit was poured out was the ability to praise God through the Holy Spirit. A true believer who has the Holy Spirit dwelling inside him can still be said to be ”filled with the Holy Ghost/spirit/power” at a later stage in his life and on several different occasions. This can happen through prayers:

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness 

Luke. 24:48-49 ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high

Acts 2:16-17 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy”

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you

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.

Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

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

The Apostle Peter was filled with the Spirit when Jesus breathed on him. He was filled again on the Acts 2 Pentecost. After that, he was at a powerful prayer meeting where the whole house was shaken. John was ”in the Spirit” (as opposed to just a normal day when he would not be considered as being ”in the Spirit”) when he wrote the book of Revelation. Stephen was ”filled” when he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. Even though the Ephesians were already saved, Paul still tells them to be ”filled” with the Spirit. At the moment that someone prophecies he is filled with an extra anointing of the Holy Spirit for that occasion.

”Baptism” has a primary meaning which is ”to drench”, but the proper definition of the word ”baptizo” (”drenching”) is something that not all Christians receive. For instance, there are many Christians who have never been baptized in water yet they may be said to be ”baptized” in a more general sense. When Bible writers use the word ”baptism” to describe the Holy Spirit falling on someone causing him to speak in tongues, they are not speaking of ”baptism” in a vague sense; rather they are speaking of a Holy Spirit drenching that is a spiritual equivalent of a water-baptism.

Why do people get so scared when it comes to speaking in tongues?

Maybe because they have come across some of the material from people who have an agenda to scare people away from the Pentecostal churches and from the spiritual gifts. This might even inspire them to produce their own material and continue spreading the rumour that pentecostal churches are dangerous and filled with unruly people who speak with fake tongues which we would do well to keep away from. Why is this not slander? What if we would start a campaign where we claimed that MOST baptist churches are like the Westboro Baptist Church?

A common denominator among those who fervently speak out against tongues (and others who have a negative attitude towards them) seems to be that they are not members of a charismatic church and possibly haven’t made many visits in one either (I know there are exceptions). There are some who spend their valuable time to produce video clips, audio clips and articles where they write warning upon warning about the misuse of tongues. Some of them are cessationists and some of them are ”just against the misuse” of tongues as they say. But in the latter category you will find some starting out saying ”I’m not a cessationist, BUT…” followed by several pages of warnings and examples of negative things about tongues. Why not doing the exact opposite? Why not start out saying ”I’m aware of that there is a misuse of tongues in some odd churches, BUT…” followed by page upon page with encouragement to speak in tongues, and with wonderful examples across the world where people have been much edified by them? If the idea isn’t to scare people away from speaking in tongues, and to run away from Pentecostal churches, then what do they think such scare-tactics material will do to people? Why not at least spend 50% of a video clip with encouragement to use the spiritual gifts?  The risk is that viewers might believe the material and flee from tongues. This means that SATAN is the winner.

People who produce this type of warning-material, and compare the practice of pentecostals with pagans, might feel they are doing a good deed among christians. Instead they are causing a DIVISION about something that is neither common nor dangerous. Why not give warnings about doctrines or traditions which could harm your soul? There are plenty to choose from. (But maybe the same people refrain from doing this to ”not cause a division”.) How ”dangerous” would it be if I stood up in an American church and spoke in Swedish? It would be irritating at worst, and I would be wasting people’s time, but dangerous? Hardly. You might say that people wouldn’t know if I spoke with ”demonic” tongues or not, but how many examples of ”demonic” tongues do we really know from the western world, and how many examples inside a CHURCH? (Do give me a source with valid examples because it would be interesting reading.) Anyone could stand up in a church and say a curse in another language (not necessarily in tongues) but this isn’t very likely, and of course everyone would notice a person who is disturbing the church service. Besides, a ”curse” wouldn’t make anyone lose his soul. Satan can’t touch a christian’s heart unless the christian person opens up for him. I’m saying this to show that it wouldn’t be ”dangerous” to stand up speaking in tongues with no interpreter, but just dumb.

The anti-tongues videos can cause christians to be robbed of spiritual power

By scaring christians away from the spiritual gifts, Satan robs them of the many benefits of speaking in tongues and the power of the holy spirit. So instead of helping christians, this anti-tongue material is causing much harm and is a GREAT aid for Satan to diminish our strength. Keep this in mind if you think you’re doing something good by producing and/or endorsing such material.

Some pastors might feel that the subject of speaking in tongues is so controversial that  they won’t raise up this topic at all in church, to avoid being charged for influencing the members in either direction. But do they reason the same way when it comes to the subject of Creation or Evolution, or other touchy subjects? There are even pastors who WARN members against speaking in tongues. Why not making videos and warn people against churches which are negative towards tongues? By speaking in tongues, Christians would be edified and get much power,joy and confidence, and yet these pastors try to prevent them from getting these benefits! If you are in a church where the pastor is speaking about the spiritual gifts in negative terms, then I hope you will consider leaving this church. It’s rather serious (and dangerous) if a leader of a church warns people against something that Paul encourages. Paul gave instructions about tongues and seemed to take this gift for granted in churches, so he would likely be appalled if he lived today and realized that this gift is totally ABSENT in many churches! I believe he would like to have word with the church leaders if he realized they have tried to put a lid on the holy spirit:

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

You might hear cessationists say ”MOST pentecostal churches misuse the tongues” and ”the misuse of tongues is INCREASING” and ”it’s dangerous” but they of course have no sources or statistics to back up their claims. By doing false generalizations like this, and painting with a broad brush, they just want to build up a scenario where they try to show that their warning-material is much-needed. Instead the misuse of tongues might not be common at all, and only tied to a small group of infamous preachers and their supporters.

I read on a thread on Facebook the other day: ”Having been originally taught as a Baptist, tongues were not talked about hardly at all” and someone else said ”As a Presbyterian growing up the Holy Spirit was never mentioned except in the doxology” and another person said ”I would ask him why would we not believe the Bible on the issue of spiritual gifts, and his excuse was because some had abused the gifts”. No wonder that the gifts of the holy spirit is absent in so many churches!

People feel ”pressured” to speak in tongues in Pentecostal churches?

One argument against the Pentecostal church that I’ve heard on several occasions, is that people might feel ”pressured” and even ”forced” to speak in tongues when they are in a Pentecostal church. I find this to be very strange considering that not all people inside the pentecostal church have this gift, which pentecostals are well aware of, and pentecostals are also aware of that you’re not supposed to speak in tongues with no interpreter. Do people feel bothered and pressured to speak in tongues because they overhear people who speak them? If my praise and worship to the Lord bothers someone else, then so be it. I shouldn’t have to feel pressured to reduce my time of praise in order to accommodate someone else. Naturally I shouldn’t be too loud, and I shouldn’t be disturbing the rest of the service by praising and praying in the wrong time. Not even misuse of tongues should have to cause a person to feel ”pressured” to speak in tongues, unless he enters a church where pretty much everyone babbled in unknown tongues. Still, he shouldn’t be judging all Pentecostal churches based on one where they misuse tongues. What if a person enters a church and finds the members there sing beautifully, unlike him? Should the church members try to sing less beautifully, or reduce their singing, in order to not make the visiting person feel bad?

1 Cor 1: 4-7 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ