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Tongues, a Sign to the Unbeliever

Discussion in 'Spirit-Filled / Charismatic' started by CharismaticLady, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    1 Corinthians 14:22 "Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers"

    What do you believe this means?

    I didn't know what this verse meant for 30 years. I just put it on the shelf in hopes that someday it would make sense to me. Now I know. (If you've read my book, please don't respond with what I wrote as I just want to know what other Charismatics believe.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  2. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    A misunderstood verse in a misunderstood chapter.

    Sign here means: that by which a person or thing is distinguished from others and is known

    So, tongues don't distinguish believer's from one another. It doesn't make one believer special or different than another. (so in the context of 1 cor 14... stop making it a competition). But it does distinguish believers from unbelievers.
     
  3. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The sign of tongues for the unbeliever was clearly shown at the Day of Pentecost when the crowd of unbelievers heard the 120 praising God in tongues, and then the miracle of them hearing the great works of God being proclaimed in their regional languages.

    Paul links it with the judgment of Israel when it was invaded by the Assyrians who spoke a foreign language. The presence of the foreign language spelled judgment for the Israelites because of their idolatry and faithlessness to God.

    When an unbeliever witnesses a believer receiving the baptism with the Spirit and speaking in tongues, it is a sign of impending judgment on those unbelievers. It is a sign that because of the foreign language spoken, the judgment is just around the corner. This needs to be followed up with the preaching of the gospel which first shows that because of their failure to keep to God's moral law, they are sinners and condemned to an eternity in hell. This brings conviction of sin, which either causes a person to oppose and persecute the Christians, or to cry out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then the good news of the death and resurrection of Christ can be given to them.

    The personal and private speaking in tongues is not a sign for the unbeliever, because it is done is private before God alone. But the tongues message plus interpretation is, when unbelievers are present, because they hear the foreign language, which is the sign of God's judgment on them, and then the interpretation which can come as a prophecy.

    When a prophecy is given in the power of the Holy Spirit, the unbeliever's heart is exposed and he will fall down, worship God and receive Christ, because he will know that God is among that gathering of believers.

    The devil hates tongues and does all he can to demean it, because he knows the power of it to convict sinners of their sin, their need for righteousness and the judgment to come. When it happens along with interpretation, prophecy, and the preaching of the gospel, the devil's grip on unbelievers is weakened, and they are often lost to his influence.
     
  4. tturt

    tturt Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Sorry Not familiar with your book

    Studying it, found that tongues are a sign - To unbelievers - By believers
    (I Cor 14:22 and Mark 16:17) Agree with Topher694.

    That's the reason that prayer language is available to all believers. There wouldnt be any purpose if every believer had the message for interpretation I Cor 12:30

    Also agree with Oscarr in that the enemy hates it
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  5. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It is interesting that about 365 people viewed this post, but only three answered. I believe the reason is the same reason I had to put this verse, 1 Corinthians 14:22, on the shelf for 30 years. We have a preconceived idea that signs are only positive, so why such a negative reaction in verse 23? That is what I couldn't understand.

    And the sign of tongues is not the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 12 which is immediately interpreted. That would not cause visitors to think they are crazy, as the next verse indicates. No Paul is reprimanding the Corinthians for using their personal prayer language in the public gathering, and all speaking at once with no interpretation. It would be a cacophony of unintelligible sound, that unbelieving mockers would call gibberish, as they do today. So, yes, it becomes a negative judgment, as mockers today will face.

    1 Corinthians 14:22-23 (the context)
    22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

    The sign of tongues is actually for all who believe as Mark 16:16-18 indicates. These "signs" will follow those who believe...

    Many who associate the Day of Pentecost to the sign of tongues to unbelievers, put it in a positive sense, when in reality the negative judgment would only apply to the mockers that day who thought they were drunk, and not the 3000 devout Jews who were saved that day. To them it was positive, and they did not mock.

    This sign is actually a dual edged sign, both positive and negative. Negative to the unbeliever, but positive to believers. It is the same type of sign as the sign of Jesus in Luke 2:34. A sign "which will be spoken against." Interestingly, the next verse is similar to verse 25 of 1 Corinthians 14, validating that tongues and Jesus are, indeed, the same type of sign, signs that will be spoken against.

    Luke 2:34 "Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against"

    Luke 2:35 "that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

    1 Corinthians 14:25 "And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  6. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

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    I had a pastor friend who after awaking from surgery was approached by one of the nurses asking him about his Hebrew language. He told her he did not speak Hebrew. She told him that while under anesthetic he spoke Hebrew quite fluently and the doctor, a non believing Jew, had understood every word...my friend had witnessed to the doctor the whole time and spoke of the wonders and glories of God. :clap:
     
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  7. Faith_love

    Faith_love Newbie

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    Can I ask if why one will tear when pray in tongues?
     
  8. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you mean cry? Not usually, that would be an emotion of the one crying.
     
  9. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

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    Not necessarily. I remember a testimony from a well-known minister where a woman came to him and told him that the Holy Spirit had a message for him. He politely listened as she began to weep, loudly. That's all she did was weep. Finely, out of irritation, he asked her what the message was. Through her weeping, she said, "this is it". Then the Holy Spirit spoke to him and told him how his actions and attitudes were causing HIM grief. This well-known minister broke down and began to weep and repent.

    We don't know what the Spirit is praying for when we are praying in tongues. I think often, the grieving that HE feels, we can feel too through Him praying through us.
     
  10. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I love that testimony. But that wasn't while speaking in tongues. She was a prophetess.
     
  11. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

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    I understand what you are saying, however, we are to only dismiss what the Spirit does when it's outside of God's written word. If there is a verse somewhere where God said, "if you cry while you're speaking in tongues then it's solely your own emotions" then I will stand corrected. It could be, then again, maybe it's not. Just like the priest misunderstood Hannah, we could be misunderstanding what God is doing. They could be interceding for someone.

    Really not trying to argue, just pointing out that we really don't know what God is doing. Maybe it is the person's own emotions. I don't know that it really matters. Just my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  12. CharismaticLady

    CharismaticLady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm not saying someone can't cry while speaking in tongues. They may be receiving the interpretation at the same time and it may make them cry. All I'm saying is in your first story you didn't say she was speaking in tongues at all, only had a message for the pastor and then she cried. And said, that was the message, that Jesus was crying over what he was doing. That is a manifestation of the gift of prophecy, not tongues and interpretation.
     
  13. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Some people (maybe multitudes) cry (joy, relief, cleansing tears, grief for our black sinfulness)
    when Jesus is present, in full forgiveness , nurturing grace and mercy overflowing from Yahuweh's Throne ,

    to men.

    Who can stand in His Presence ?
     
  14. Eha

    Eha Member

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    never think about it. but yours words remind me behavior of YW people - they were like stunned for a while. but actually - as much i have seen - soon enough they - nonbelievers or Yehowa Witnesses, who i also take as nonbelievers - find some "logical' explanation and move on..
     
  15. Alarmist

    Alarmist New Member

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    after the teaching, Paul gives in Corinthians ch. 12-14, he finally narrows down to his main point...but not before making an earnest plea for their understanding, and for the withholding of "potentially" their anger, as a result of what he must tell them

    here is that plea:
    1Corinthians 14
    20
    Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
    ..when you make this type of request, it is that you have concern for the hearers' ability to receive the truth, that you have to tell them, graciously.

    ...and hear is what he had to tell them...
    1Corinthians 14
    21In 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. 22Wherefore 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.

    Why would this upset them?
    Simple answer: They had been using the "gifts of tongues" as the sole indicator/evidence by which they considered one to be brought into the body of Christ.

    No wonder he spent so much time in Ch.12, telling how one (natural)body part couldn't say to another part, that it wasn't part of the body...
    example - (eye can't say to the hand, because I'm not the hand I'm not part of the body)
    -This was exactly what was happening, in the body of Christ/the church at Corinth.
    -Paul wasn't so concerned about your natural body having this debate, but it is the spiritual body/The Church, which also has many (parts/members)...such as tongues, prophesy, gifts of healing...just to name a few. It is these members that should not exclude another potential member because they don't have a certain gift.

    No wonder Paul spent so much time in Ch. 14, telling how that prophesy was preferable to tongues. He was trying to pry them away from the emphasis they had placed on tongues.

    oh yeah, ch.13...well division, such as that caused by placing Tongues in an elevated position (as the determining gift by which one would know they were in the Body of Christ), would be much less likely to happen in an atmosphere of love. Charity envieth not,is not easily puffed up, is kind, seeketh not her own, is easily entreated, hopeth all things, believeth all things. Without this, all the gifts in the world would be basically useless. Because the gifts could be used to tear down and drive away, rather than edify the body( which was their intended purpose).
     
  16. Alarmist

    Alarmist New Member

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    just bumping to see how this shows up as an active thread.,
     
  17. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I don't agree. There is nothing in chapter 14 to say that the Corinthians believed that tongues is prerequisite for salvation. We can't read into the chapter information that just isn't there.

    Paul's concern was that they were speaking out in tongues during the fellowship meetings without having them interpreted. When he spoke of prophecy being more important than tongues, he was talking about its use in the fellowship meetings. He was quite clear in saying that if someone wanted to just pray in tongues, then they were giving thanks to God well, but in the wrong way. He said that if there is no interpreter they should speak to themselves and to God. He was clear in verse 2 that the person who speaks in tongues speaks to God, because no person understands him. He speaks mysteries in the Spirit.

    But he says that he speaks in tongues more than them all. But he never speaks it in the fellowship meetings. If he didn't pray privately to God in tongues as some say, then where else would he speak it? It couldn't have been in fellowship meetings, because then he would be a hypocrite - teaching something that he did himself. No. What he is saying is that he supports the use of tongues in prayer more than anyone there. In fact, he clearly says that the speaking in tongues should not be forbidden.

    So it is quite clear that Paul makes a distinction between praying in tongues privately with God, and speaking out in a fellowship meeting expecting it to be interpreted by someone with the gift of interpretation of tongues. So when he is saying that prophecy is to be preferred over tongues, he is talking about the fellowship us of it, and not the private prayer use of it. Nowhere does he say that tongues is inferior to prophecy, but when he speaks of "desiring the best gifts" he is talking about the fellowship us of them, and not the private use.

    If one carefully reads the book of Acts, we find that every writer in the New Testament spoke in tongues. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, spoke in tongues, because she was present in the room when the Holy Spirit first fell and she spoke in tongues along with the other 119 people present. What this means is that the New Testament was written by those who had the gift of tongues, whether they used it in the fellowship context or privately. So there is a link between those who were Apostles of Christ, prayed or spoke in tongues, and wrote inspired Scripture.

    Therefore it is significant that Paul, saying that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else, his writing takes up the lion's share of the letters of the New Testament and contains the "hard core" of the revelation of Christ concerning God's plan of salvation and how we appropriate the death and resurrection of Christ for our future eternal security.

    Old Testament Scripture is described as "Holy men of God spoke as the Holy Spirit inspired them".

    Therefore, it is best to support and teach what is literally there in the Scripture, and not read into it what we want. We all have to give an account to God one day, and we will be called to account concerning what we teach others in the body of Christ. Therefore it is best to teach what the Scripture actually says and not deviate from it, so that when we stand before God we are not seen to have perverted the Scripture.
     
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  18. Alarmist

    Alarmist New Member

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    Paul, really told the Corinthians that tongues were "not for a sign to believers"
    Evidently they thought it was a sign to "the believer" , or Paul was wasting ink writing that tongues were not a sign. Somebody apparently thought they were a sign.
     
  19. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The private and personal use of tongues was not a sign at all. How could that be a sign for anyone seeing that the person is praying in tongues in his private prayer room with God being the only listener?

    It was more the fellowship use of tongues along with interpretation that was the sign. Paul links it to Isaiah who said that the presence of the Assyrian language in the nation of Israel was a sign to show God's judgment upon the nation in that He was allowing it to be invaded by a foreign power, because of their idolatry.

    Paul's statement about tongues being a "sign" would make more sense to Jewish believers, because the pagan Corinthians would not be able to make that link. The Jewish believers would have know exactly what Paul meant; and any Jew coming into a Christian fellowship meeting and hearing tongues and interpretation would know the sign because they would be able to make the link to Isaiah's prophecy. But Gentiles coming into the meeting, not being able to make that link, would not see the use of tongues as a sign at all. This is why when tongues were spoken without interpretation in the fellowship meetings, any unbeliever or uninitiated person coming in would think they were all mad. This is the same in modern Pentecostal and Charismatic meetings where all and sundry are speaking in tongues without interpretation.

    So, to say that one must always have an interpreter when speaking in tongues because of the "sign", and it is never spoken in private, shows a misunderstanding of the difference between Jewish and Gentile believers and unbelievers.

    The principal fulfilment of the "sign" was on the day of Pentecost when the crowd of unconverted Jews from all parts of the known world heard the praises of God in their own languages. This sign is repeated every time someone speaks in tongues and a person is hearing the praises of God in their own language, such as African bushmen who had not seen a white person, coming to Christ, getting filled with the Spirit and then speaking in pure Oxford English when they spoke in tongues. Or my friend who spoke in a Ghanaian rural village dialect in a prayer meeting in my church and was understood by a Ghanaian visitor from that very village. Or the events in church history where a person was miraculously given a foreign language in order to preach the gospel in that country. These are all signs of tongues being the "sign" to unbelievers, to show them that God is real and alive and that Jesus is the true Saviour.
     
  20. tturt

    tturt Senior Veteran Supporter

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

    "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." I Cor 14:22
     
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