5. The Holy Ghost Was Not Unique To Pentecost
An Accounting Must Be Complete To Be Accurate
One major problem lies within the method of analysis, which is often both inconsistent and incorrect. Whatever rule one uses to interpret the Bible should be consistent throughout. Thus our rule should apply the same to all scriptures. We cannot just arbitrarily use one rule of interpretation and then not apply the same rule of interpretation to other similarly structured scriptures.
The word used in (Acts 2:4) “began” clearly indicated that something had “started” and what “began” was a speaking in tongues incident that had been documented.
If you are going to claim “speaking in tongues” as an “initial sign”one should equally be able to claim that several other signs must also occur or take place as was also recorded (Acts 2:1-4) for the concept of this claim to be adhered to as accurately complete.
Other signs (4) unquestionably occurred, that same day but they have not (not to my knowledge) occurred since this time period; sounds from heaven, of winds, cloven tongues as of fire “appearing” and “sitting” on each. Again you could not rightfully justify selectively picking just one sign, as if it were the only sign indicating the presence of the Holy Ghost that Pentecost day, when more than one sign occurred.
What justification prevents us from selecting the “appearance” of cloven tongues as of fire being the required “initial” sign? Certainly, no one could dispute that sign as not being a “spiritual” sign coming from God.
It is somewhat curious as to why churches who mandate speaking in unknown tongues, chose the “spiritual” sign that was the easiest to reproduce or fake? The problem that exist is only part of the scripture passage is being identified. Pentecostals do not claim that “sounds from heaven” or “cloven tongues” must also occur. In fact most churches claim that speaking in tongues is the only sign found reoccurring whenever the Holy Ghost reoccurred. This argument is seriously flawed.
In the book of Acts 11:15-16, Peter indicated that the Holy Ghost fell on them “as on us at the beginning”. So just what part of the scripture do you omit from that which occurred prior without changing the facts as stated in (Acts 2:1-4) occurring on the day of Pentecost? NONE!!!!
You can’t just pick one aspect of a passage and discard the remaining scriptures as not being directly connected to the event.
The Correct Reporting of What “Initial” Sign(s) Occurred:
Peter during a later event said that the Holy Ghost fell on them the Same Way as it did in the Beginning (Acts 2:38).
(Acts 11:15-17) “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us AT THE BEGINNING….”
(Ref. Acts 2:1-4 and Acts 2:7-11)
1. a sound came from heaven (as of a rushing mighty wind); and
2. there appeared unto them cloven tongues (like as of fire); and
3. it sat upon each of them; and
4. THEN they were filled with the Holy Ghost; and
5. THEN they began to speak with “other” tongues, (various foreign country languages) NOT “unknown tongues”.
The fact is “a sound came from heaven” and the appearance of something (either figurative or literal “tongues”) where actually the initial signs, not the “speaking in tongues”. So if we rely on the events in Acts 2:4 it either shows us evidence of what is required or what occurred that day. It is without question that these were all signs from the same “Spirit” called the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit).
Any analysis of “initial” is consequently dependent upon reference to its starting point. Even if we were to start after the Holy Ghost came upon them on the day of Pentecost the first mention of any tongues was “other tongue(s)” (which is plural) (Acts 2:4, Acts 10:45-46 and Acts 19:5-6) and was described as being in reference to many human languages (Acts 2:7-11).
On the other hand the terminology unknown tongue (singular) is described in the Bible as a specific type of communication spoken unto God which no man understands (1 Corinthians 14:2.)
NOTE: Between these two tongues, “Other tongues” is unquestionably a human language which can be understood by men in contrast to an “unknown tongue” which can NOT be understood by men. Of those who were filled with the Holy Ghost, it is undisputed that they were heard speaking in human languages, not unknown tongues.
NOTE: It is also distinguishable in that “unknown tongues” is also not referenced to Pentecost or being filled with the Holy Ghost in the Bible. Again this clearly indicates that they spoke in human languages when they received the Holy Ghost and not unknown tongues.
The Holy Ghost Was Not Unique To Pentecost:
Another problem facing those who claim speaking in unknown tongues always occurs when someone is filled with the Holy Ghost is that they must not be aware of the fact that the Holy Ghost was not unique to the Day of Pentecost.
The Holy Ghost (God’s spiritual power given to man) was given to men and women before Pentecost, therefore events which “occurred” on the day of Pentecost were not necessarily more unique than any other miraculous event occurring with John (being born with the Holy Ghost) as well as Jesus Christ. Both Esaias and David speaking by the Holy Ghost could very well be considered the same as speaking in tongues (or a language) as the spirit gave utterance.
(2 Peter 1:20, 21) “… no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”
(Acts 28:25) “And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers”
(Mark 12:36) “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
(Acts 1:16) “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.”
(Luke 1:7, 13, 15) “And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years……………………..But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John….. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mothers’ womb.
(Luke 1:41) “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:”
(Luke 1:67) “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,”
(John 20:22) “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”
(Luke 2:25-26) “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
These were all men who spoke to people under God’s calling and all had the Holy Ghost, yet it is not recorded once, anywhere in the Bible, where any of these men, including Jesus Christ, ever spoke in unknown tongues; either it was in understandable languages, parables, or prophesies.
The Pentecostal Experience Summary
The word “Pentecost” is a Greek word that simply means “fiftieth.” This feast was to be kept fifty days after the Feast of the Passover. It was to commemorate (celebrate) the beginning of the wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22). On this particular day, the Jews were required to bring, besides their animal sacrifices, two loaves of bread made with the newly gathered wheat, that they might be waved in worship before the Lord. (Leviticus 23:16-21). It was very significant that Jesus Christ, our “Passover Lamb” (I Corinthians 5:7) was crucified on the very day that the Jews kept the Feast of the Passover. It was just as significant that God should choose to pour out His Holy Spirit on another Jewish feast day, while the Jews filled the city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost (also called “Feast of Weeks,” and “Feast of the Firstfruits”).
The Visible Signs Of The Holy Ghost
The giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was accompanied by a great demonstration of God’s power, both visible and audible: thunder, lightning, the sound of a loud trumpet, an earthquake, and fire. This was convincing proof to Israel that God had surely visited His people.
The day of Pentecost ushered in a new age for Israel–and for all who would become “spiritual Jews” through faith and obedience to Jesus Christ. When the Holy Spirit came upon the approximately 120 believers, there was a sound from heaven of a rushing mighty wind. (The Pentecostal experience came from heaven!) Then tongues of fire sat upon each of them.
This phenomena is mentioned as having been repeated again in the book of (Acts 11:15-16). Peter indicated that the Holy Ghost fell on them “as on us at the beginning” therefore this verse must also be taken into consideration. In the four historical accounts given of people receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost (book of Acts), speaking other languages (or tongues) was clearly stated or implied as having taken place.
Speaking With Tongues
On the day of Pentecost all who were filled with the Holy Spirit spoke with other tongues (languages that were foreign to them). Notice that they spoke. It was not some mysterious voice speaking out of their body, but their voice. The Holy Spirit took control of their tongue and lips and gave the utterance (formed the words).
The analysis of “initial” is therefore dependent upon reference to its starting point. If we start at Pentecost (Acts 2:4 through Acts 10:45-46 and Acts 19:5-6) other tongues (plural) is in reference to human languages (Acts 2:7-11). The terminology unknown tongue (singular) is specific and only found in 1 Corinthians 14. It is not referenced to Pentecost or being filled with the Holy Ghost.
Again this clearly indicates that they spoke in human languages when they received the Holy Ghost.
Biblical principles that have been incorrectly taught have caused many to back slide, to be confused about what they believe, and to become discouraged in their walks with God.
Being taught that mimicking “speaking in tongues” as it was experienced on Pentecost is how to receive this gift is incorrect teaching.
When “we” give the newly repented individual the expectation that they will be sin free, problem free, and that the Holy Spirit will make them do right or good when they receive the gift is also incorrect teaching. Imagine how disappointed the new saint will be to find out they must still face and overcome temptation.
Speaking in tongues is one of many spiritual gifts of God. Although it is a sign, it is not written as being the “initial” sign or prerequisite for one’s salvation.
When we read the Bible, we must remember that it is a HISTORY BOOK of FACTS some with instructions. One must be careful and be aware of the difference between reading a history accounting of events that took place during a specific time, in comparison to an explicit set of instructions being given from God to the Jews, Gentiles (us) or for all mankind.
NOTE: God DID NOT say; “WHICH” gift he will give you, or “WHEN” you will get your gift, only that you will get a gift after something occurs. We cannot go around putting words into the scripture that do not exist just because we want it to say something different.
For example: Let’s just imagine the writer of the book of Acts was the news reporter at that time and let’s say God (through one of his anointed – Peter) was being recorded telling a group of people something very similar within the context of what was written in the Bible:
“God will give you the gift of the Holy Ghost, but only after you repent and are baptized.” (As long as we agree that this is a statement someone could possibly make)
Afterwards or immediately afterwards Mary (one of many in the crowd), just receiving her portion of the Holy Ghost (just as God had promised), immediately jumped up flapping her arms in the air and began to fly around in the room and praising God.
With this new God given ability Mary flew all the way to Mexico, something she was not able to do until she received the power (gift) of the Holy Ghost.
This does not mean that you can do the same thing. Although God may give you that ability, he did not promise you or anyone “which” gift you would get upon receiving the Holy Ghost but it is undisputed that Acts 2:38 clearly identifies the source (the Holy Ghost) from which the gift would come. And as bad as you may want to fly, prophesy (or speak in tongues), which “power” or “ability” God gives you as a “gift” is determined by God, and is not based on what happened to someone else.
We will not all have the same gifting(s); but covet earnestly the best gifts.
(1 Corinthians 12:27-31) – Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some (some not all) in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
(1 Corinthians 14: 9-12) – “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”