Yet, the real evidence of Pentecost is with us today. It has always been. It is just suppressed. It is the one thing the devil fights against with all the demons under his command (the worst is traditional religion) .
Think about it. Demons don't much fight doctrines about:
- The birth of Christ
- That He was a great teacher.
- That He was crucified.
There is some battle over his Resurrection. The enemy would rather have an indeterminately dead Christ. So even in the day, they lied about the resurrection. It still is an open question among some so called believers.
The real religious demonic assault is the most intense about Pentecost. Pentecost is the greatest danger to the devil so he does all he can to decisive people about the event and what it means. The real problem is, if Christians understood the truth.. the devil's domain is in real trouble. Keeping people powerless is the best he can hope to do. To do this he needs help. Help from people who don't KNOW they are helping him. Good people. Honest (deceived) people. People who love others and lead them to a knowledge of Jesus.. just a powerless knowledge.
In the powerless church Pentecost is recognized as a great day, birth of the church, Holy Spirit coming (sorta) and a preached motivation to evangelize like Peter did. The hard questions are never answered about the day of Pentecost.. like why did they appear drunk to the crowd? What were they doing to appear so? What changed for the Disciples from hiding out in an upper room to boldly declaring to the crowd who weeks before cried "Crucify Him" and saying YOU KILLED HIM. REPENT!!
Something changed. Something happened. Pentecost. It's the "..you shall receive POWER after that the Holy Ghost shall come upon you" thing Jesus promised those who waited.
Yet.. it's not just that which should be celebrated. It was the initial empowering and demonstration of the empowering. It's just not the full story.
Why tongues as foolish evidence at Pentecost? God is in the habit of using weak and foolish things to accomplish His purposes so He uses our tongues. The most foolish member in our whole body.
He could have had a feather grow from the top of their heads of those filled with the Spirit. He might have had a mark show up.. hand and forehead or some such. He could have had a third arm manifest. He has that power. But no, He must have thought, "I confused them at Babel to divide them, now I will unify them with a supernatural tongue. One they cannot criticize one another over. One only I and the angels will understand. One where I can use it to reach people who will supernaturally hear people speak in their own language sometimes and other times will see it as a sign".
He used the tongue because it is the most difficult member of our whole body to tame. James 3:1-9
He used the tongue because once it comes under dominion, then all the other gifts of God can be released in the believer. It is the gateway to the full manifestation of all the Gifts of the Spirit. IF the whole Tongues thing can be stopped, the believer is left without power.
The religious demons have had some success blinding those who insist that Tongues are passed away. That no one speaks in tongues as they did at Pentecost. Their total proof text is ONE VERSE in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. one. ONE!!! Nothing else in the whole of scripture supports those who deny this manifestation of the Holy Ghost... particularly this initial manifestation.
There is a problem with that Proof Verse. It was talking about the day in Heaven when we will not speak in Tongues.. they will not be needed because we will simply think a thought and it will be heard. Preaching and Prophesying won't be needed either. That will be hard on some who think they are going to have a TV program on HBN (Heaven Bible Network) up there. Preaching will have passed away.
Let's look at a little Historicity. Passed away tongues (and all the other manifestations mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12) are gone as well when you take away the initial. I have never known anyone who operates in any of the others with power if they reject the initial evidence. No faith. No miracles. No healing manifesting. No Prophecy. No Words of Knowledge or Wisdom. Not much. Just preaching and teaching. It would be like a sick and dying person coming to the man of God saying,"I'm sick, Please Preach to me". No at that moment they want and need the power of God.
So if Pentecost was a one time event.. what about other occurrences.. exactly like Pentecost years later?
15 years after the Great Day of Pentecost it happens again: 1 Corinthians 19:1-7. Paul is on the Road. Traveling. He comes across about a dozen sincere believers who had been baptized by John the Baptist. "Johnabaptists" we'll call them. They were following in all that they knew. They knew some truth and were being loyal to the truth to the best of their knowledge.
Paul asks them. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” v2.
They were honest and open and answered: “We haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
He gave them a some instruction, helped them understand the Power of the Baptism of Jesus (in the Holy Spirit..)
So Paul baptized them (so much for the one baptism formula) and he laid hands on them. POW BANG ZOWIE: They started Prophesying the Glory of God and Speaking in other Tongues.
There were no "foreigners" there to hear them speak in their own language. Paul spoke to them in their native tongue. If this was about language there would have been no need for tongues. They simply were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in Tongues and Prophesied. JUST LIKE ON THE FIRST DAY OF PENTECOST. What did they Prophesy? The Glory of GOD. Just like on the day of Pentecost.
So when did it all end? Project ahead 75 years. It's the year about 125 AD. Had Tongues faded away then as the cesessionists insist? When did the last tongue talking grandpa say to his grandchild; "you know sonny, back in my day when we all got together we spoke in an unknown tongue. Just like the Bible says we should in when Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14." The grandchild chides his Grandpa; "OH GRANDPA.. You know that all went away. Nobody speaks in lounges anymore. They have ceased. That's what my Bible Teacher told me anyway". When was that last time anyone spoke in tongues and it all just stopped? Obviously it did.. or seemed to. Why. When? Without much argument tounges did stop for some reason. If scripture is telling us the truth, for DECADES after Pentecost, a free flow of all the gifts of the Spirit were in effect. This church that caused so much uproar in Ephesus (read all of chapter 19) was the one Paul long afterwards wrote to and to his spiritual Son Timothy who watched over it later.
The devil has an answer for this too. The day (The First Corinthians 13 day) became perfect when the BIBLE was canonized. So tongues aren't for today. Isn't that convenient? Nothing else is either. The devil has succeeded for centuries to keep the Power out of the Church. In the last 100 years or there has been a renewal of Pentecost. The devil really hates this and is doing all he can to defame it. The good news is he has lots of help from badly taught religious people. Even the religious Bible translators contest Mark 16:15-18. It's so inconvenient to talk of people speaking in tongues by Jesus.
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
They would love to cut out this too: 1 Corinthians 14:39
So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
I need to have a date when it all ended. There was a day.. the devils day. Here's what I know for sure. The Devil wanted it to stop and stop now. He couldn't stand it. The gift of tongues is the gateway for power and manifestations of the Spirit in the church. Stop that.. you spiritually cut the heart out of the church. De-power it.
There are lots of post day of Pentecost things to say about tongues and the gifts of the spirit that it opens the door to:
Cornelius and his family when ministered to by Peter spoke in Tongues and Glorified GOD. PENTECOST. If it was another language to be understood, who were they talking to? Everyone present spoke the same language..why tongues? This was well after the first Day of Pentecost.
Tongues are a language that only God understands. There are men's and angels tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:1-40
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
Tongues are no substitute for Prophecy.. but sometimes they are needed to get someone's attention:
1 Corinthians 14:19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
The praying in the Spirit is for OUR benefit:
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
1 Corinthians 14:4
The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.
The Spirit himself helps us in our lack of words when we do. Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
When Simon SAW people being filled with the Holy Spirit.. it was such a big deal to him, the manifestations he saw, he offered to PAY the disciples to learn how to do this. WHY? What happened? Something attracted him.
Some unbelievers will be stunned what they hear.. they will react by repentance. God will have been manifested. That will stun them.
1 Corinthians 14:22
Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.
WE are ALL supposed to come into a more excellent way. A way of Love. A way of full manifestation of all the Gifts God gives to his people to give to others.
There is one more heresy the devil has imposed on the religious church.. that when we are born again or when we are baptized we receive the Holy Spirit. This is a half truth. We all have the capacity to receive a bit of the Holy Spirit's touch by the grace of God. The thief on the cross that cried out to Jesus did so not out of knowledge but out by the power of Holy Spirit's revelation. He was not baptized in the Holy Ghost. Just saved. Yet he got some.
That's not Pentecost. That's a nominal Spirit receiving. A born again believer gets a measure of the Holy Ghost when he comes in. Good but not the Baptism of the Spirit Jesus promised. Jesus comes to the disciples and breathes on them saying "Receive ye the Holy Spirit". John 20:22 This was after the resurrection but before Pentecost. If that was all they needed then that would have been it. INSTEAD he instructed 500 people to go to Jerusalem (including the 11 remaining disciples, the Marys and the mother of Jesus) to go to Jerusalem and WAIT. In the end only 120 remained. The waiting was a weeding out process. Those 120 were hungry for God. Hunger allowed the wind to blow. We still have believers who are unwilling to wait and believe for more but are operating without the Power of the Holy Ghost. Not hungry.
If that initial infilling was enough.. Jesus would never have instructed the disciples as he did.
If you are preaching Pentecost this Sunday.. don't preach the devil's doctrine of a powerless Pentecost. Do not tell your people to go out and do the work of the evangelist if they are walking in simple salvation without the power promised by Jesus. Jesus left so we would do greater works... and He sent the equipment. Let's start to do the stuff Jesus told us to do in Mark 16 but let's do it in full power.