What exactly is the meaning of talking in “tongues”?
In order to clearly understand this vital subject, we must go back to the time just before His crucifixion when Yahshua Messiah first gave His disciples the promise of that most precious of all gifts.
Addressing them by the endearing term, “little children,” He told them of His imminent departure. “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ ” John 13 :33.
He went on to tell them that, though He was to be gone, He would be working to prepare a place for them, and that, while He was going forward with this work for them, they were to continue preparing characters after the divine similitude. See John 13:34.
Yahshua asks us to be as simple, trusting and humble as a child. Matthew 18:3-4
Yahshua went on to tell His disciples that, contrary to appearances, His leaving would not result in a separation.
Upon His departure they would receive the Comforter. In describing the work of the Holy Spirit, Yahshua sought to inspire His disciples with hope. He recognised that by imparting His Spirit, He was able to give to His people the highest gift it was possible to bestow. The Spirit was to be a regenerating power, making effective for them the benefits of Yahshua’s sacrifice. To enable people to share the Gospel, even if that meant the person had to speak in known tongues so they can lead others to Yahshua speaking in the listeners own language. It is known languages, not some gibberish.
People tell me that when they talk in gibberish or unknown tongues, its a prayer between them and Yahweh. They will claim that it’s a “angels” tongue. Well, firstly, tongues is not meant for the person praying, it’s only meant for unbelievers [1 Cor 14:22] to hear us sharing the Gospel. And secondly, if we look at the Bible, we have angels speaking to people in known languages. For example we have an angel speaking in Matthew 28:5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Yahshua who has been crucified.”
Notice by the above verse that the angel did not speak in some gibberish and unknown language. The angel spoke in an understood language.
So if a person tries to tell you that unknown tongues is supported in 1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels…” Then you can show them that angels spoke in the Bible many times, but always in known language and known tongues.
And in 1 Cortinthians 14:2 which seems to be used a lot by the unknown tongues movement, is actually not supporting unknown tongues at all!
If you read it with the context of known tongues, it’s easy to tell that Paul spoke about it as if the person is talking in a known tongue but not understood by the speaker. For example, the true tongue would have the speaker share the Gospel in Hebrew, when the person cannot speak Hebrew normally. So the speaker would not understand what he was saying, only Yahweh would understand it, unless a Hebrew was standing around and hearing it also. Yet notice it’s always KNOWN languages, not some gibberish/gibberish nonsense.
And realise this, you don’t need to talk in some gibberish tongue that no-one understands for Yahweh to hear and understand you. Yahweh already knows your thoughts and He understands you even if you talk in plain English terms.
Many people will claim that in 1 Corinthians 14 that it teaches to talk in unknown tongues. But on careful reading, a person can clearly see that it does not.
Let us take a close look at 1 Corinthians 14, in which the tongues problem is brought into focus.
Over half of the verses in this chapter mention the words edify, understanding, learning, or teach. It is obvious that the Corinthian church was not using the gift as it was supposed to be used. Over and over Paul urged that tongues be used only to teach the unbeliever, or unlearned. Apparently some were creating great confusion by speaking any foreign language they knew, even while others were talking, and also when no one present could understand the language they spoke.
The burden of the entire chapter is that no one use the gift of tongues except to edify someone who could not be reached otherwise. Interpreting of tongues was also to be utilised only for instructing those who could not understand without a translation.
Verse 4, “edifieth the church.”
Verse 5, “except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”
Verse 6, “except I shall speak to you … by knowledge.”
Verse 7, “except they give a dis-tinction in the sounds …”
Verse 8, “if the trumpet give an uncertain sound …”
Verse 9, “except ye utter … words easy to be understood.”
Verse 11, “if I know not the meaning of the voice …”
Verse 12, “seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”
Verse 13, “pray that he may interpret.”
Verse 14, “my understanding is unfruitful.”
Verse 15, “Pray with the under- standing …”
Verse 16, “seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest.”
Verse 17, “the other is not edified.”
Verse 19, “that I might teach others.”
Verse 20, “be not children in understanding.”
Verse 22, “tongues are for a sign … to them that believe not.”
Verse 23, “unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”
Verse 26, “Let all things be done unto edifying.”
Verse 27, “And let one interpret.”
Verse 28, “If there be no interpreter, let him keep silence.”
Verse 30, “Let the first hold his peace.”
Verse 31, “that all may learn …”
Verse 33, “For Yahweh is not the author of confusion.”
Verse 34, “Let your women keep silence.”
Verse 35, “if they will learn anything …”
Verse 40, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Those who read this chapter of 1Cor 14 for the purpose of finding ecstatic utterance can locate two or three verses which seem to give them support. But when those verses are studied in the context of all the rest of the chapter, and with an actual foreign language in mind, they all can be seen to harmonise. Paul’s discourse here is built around his contention that “tongues are a sign … to them that believe not.” Verse 22.
Let me repeat that: Tongues are NOT for believers, but for unbelievers! So why are people trying to tell us that it’s for believers? The Bible clearly says tongues is for UNBELIEVERS only! Read 1 Corinthians 14:22 closely.
And why would the Holy Spirit seek to enlighten or instruct someone in truth by going through all the process of a strange tongue and translation when the listener could understand plain English to begin with? If the gift of tongues is for edifying the unbeliever, how perverse it seems just to talk among believers in a garble of words whose meaning must depend on the absolute veracity of another believer, whose “interpretation” provides no objective test for accuracy.
And you will notice that most times a person begins talking in gibberish tongues, that there is not even one person around to understand it or interpret it. But if the true purpose of tongues is for the unbelievers to hear the Gospel about Yahshua in their own native language, what purpose has this gibberish nonsense that nobody can understand?
We must be very careful! This unknown/gibberish tongues is not a true gift from Yahweh, but is Satan’s counterfeit tongues! Be very careful as when you speak in unknown tongues you could be CURSING Yahweh and not knowing it.
The Holy Spirit understands all we think and speak, so there is no need to speak gibberish to Yahweh.
In describing the office and work of the Holy Spirit, Yahshua not only revealed the work that the Spirit was to do, but also laid out the truth regarding obedience: The Spirit was only to be given to the obedient. “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” John 14:15, 16. Inseparably bound up with love for Yahshua is loyalty to His Law.
It is very important that we do not overlook or minimize the relationship between obedience and the gift of the Spirit. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26.
Also note…the true Name of the Father is Yahweh and the Messiah is Yahshua, so when people talk about “Jesus”, they are speaking with a false spirit because the Holy Spirit would never use a fake and false name like “Jesus”.
A part of the teaching done by the Holy Spirit is the reproving of sin. “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8. And what is sin? “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4
“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom Yahweh has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32. God cannot minister to sin; He cannot co-operate with anyone who is not a doer of His Word.
The gifts counterfeited:
In His sermon on the mount, recorded in Matthew, Yahshua made a most startling announcement that not everyone shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but only they who does the will of the Father in heaven. Yahshua taught that many will argue that they did great works in His Name, yet Yahshua’s Name is NOT “Jesus”, yet many use the false name “Jesus” to perform works…. yet Yahshua will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23
The issue that divides between those whom Yahshua recognises as His and those in whom a counterfeit spirit is working – is the Name for which they use and their obedience. The true saved people will use Yahshua’s real Name and will be obedient to all His Commandments.
Not all receive the same gift:
That the Holy Spirit is promised to all believers does not imply that all will have the same gifts. The gift of tongues was not the only gift of the Holt Spirit promised to the newly founded Church. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul enumerates various gifts, including the gifts of teaching, church administration, prophecy, and the ability to work miracles.
In giving the description of the gifts that were available, Paul is very specific that “not all” are to receive the same gift. “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Holy Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 records sixteen different language groups who were present as the Spirit-filled disciples stepped outside the house to start witnessing. All was understood, and was not gibberish. Here is a simple description of the true gift of tongues. It is not the uttering of some ecstatic language of heaven. The tongues were real languages that people could understand, and every person of every race was edified and enlightened by hearing the gospel preached in his own mother tongue. In a nutshell, it could be understood.
After having likened the various gifts of the Holy Spirit to the separate and yet united body parts, Paul raises the questions: “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” 1 Corinthians 12:29,30. As all will agree, the obvious answer is, no!
So this has to make us wonder. If not all are given the same gift, how then can we have a room full of people talking in all this gibberish tongues if it was true tongues that come from Yahweh? Not all are given the same gift. Not all will be given the gift of tongues. So how then are all these people in the same room talking in supposedly tongues? Answer: It is not a true gift from Yahweh.
The gift abused:
More is said about speaking in tongues in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth than in any other place. From the context, it is apparent that he was addressing a church that was abusing the gift. In addressing them, Paul sought to point out to them that in making this gift of such signal importance, they were reversing the gospel order, placing emphasis where Yahweh had not placed it.
Consequently, after counseling them in the matter, he urged them to seek for the better gifts, most particularly the gift of prophecy. If, as many currently believe, the gift of speaking in tongues was a “sign” or “token” of having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this counsel by the apostle would seem most inappropriate.
The true gift of tongues:
Only by earnest study of the Bible can we find truth and light.
In His parting words to His disciples, as recorded in the first chapter of Acts, Yahshua told them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, “but to wait for the Promise of the Father.” Acts 1:4. And what was the Promise for which they were to wait? The Holy Spirit. (See Acts 1:8.)
There is no intimation here that the coming of the Holy Spirit was for the purpose of giving them an unusual experience or as a sign of their acceptance and salvation or for any personal benefit to them as individuals. Rather, they were to receive this promised blessing as an aid to them in giving their witness.
There is no question that the disciples had a story to tell, but they were unqualified for the task that was before them. Before they could fulfill the commission of taking the gospel to the whole world, they were in need of the Holy Spirit’s help.
In obedience to the final instructions of Yahshua, the disciples waited for the promised blessing. As promised, a short time later as they were together in a certain place, suddenly there came a sound as of a rushing mighty wind. It seemed that it filled the whole house, and what appeared to be tongues of fire rested upon each of them.
At this time there was in Jerusalem a large gathering of pilgrims from all parts of the world that had come to the temple to keep the feast. The disciples were now prepared to give their witness, and they immediately began to share with others the gospel of a crucified and risen Saviour.
The next few verses identify more than a dozen different groups of people, all from different countries, each speaking a different language; but each could hear the apostles speaking in their own language. “And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language…. Then those who gladly received his word were baptised; and that day about three thousand people were added to them.” Acts 2:6, 41
A little later in the book of Acts, there is an occasion where the gift was manifested for an entirely different purpose. On this occasion Peter had been called to preach the gospel to an officer in the Roman army and his family. See Acts 10:44-48.
From the experience that the apostle had just before his call to come and preach, it is apparent that he, as yet, poorly understood the gospel commission; and the opposition called forth from the brethren in Jerusalem as a result of his having gone to a Gentile’s home confirms the fact that none of the believers clearly understood their responsibility to the Gentile world.
While Peter was speaking, however, the Holy Spirit came upon his listeners with power; and they began to speak with tongues. It was only because of this evidence of acceptance by the Holy Spirit that Peter felt clear in baptising them. See Acts 11: 15-18.
When we examine the verses dealing with the misuse of tongues in the church at Corinth, we notice that Paul’s concern was that the gift be used to edify and teach. He says in 1 Corinthians 14:22, “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers…”
Sadly today, many claim and think tongues is for the believers. But the Scriptures clearly tell us it’s for unbelievers as the verse above shows.
Paul also pointed out that to speak in a language not commonly understood by those who were listening was a reproach to the gospel, something to be avoided.
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? 1 Corinthians 14:23
Considering the counsel given, it is apparent that some of the believers at Corinth were creating much confusion by speaking in a tongue that others present could not understand. The burden of Paul’s entire discourse was that no one should speak in tongues except to minister to those who could not otherwise be reached. In conjunction with this counsel, the believers were told that translation of tongues was to find its place only as a means of instructing those who could not otherwise understand what was being communicated.
In summing up the counsel of Paul, it is very evident that the believers were using the gift of tongues in a way that was creating confusion and enlightening no one. This, he points out, is not the work of the Holy Spirit, for confusion has no place in the orderly manner of Yahweh’s working.
The modern tongues movement is similar to the ancient situation, though it perhaps creates even more confusion than that among the Corinthian believers. Instead of speaking in actual languages, those who profess to have the gift of tongues today fill the air with noise that cannot be identified as relating to any language on earth.
This raises the question, Why would the Holy Spirit seek to speak through a person in sounds that are meaningless to all who listen? If the gift of tongues is to edify, why would it not manifest itself in the language of those present, that all might be enlightened and thereby benefited? Even when someone purports to be able to interpret these ecstatic utterances, there is no possible way to determine objectively the accuracy of the “interpretation.”
Gifts versus fruits:
The true purpose of the gift of tongues – to edify and instruct unbelievers in their own language – is not being served by the gibberish of the modern “tongues” movement.
The Bible teaches that it is a gift, and must be received by faith. Paul’s doctrine is “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:14. It is by faith, not by feeling. In claiming the promise of forgiveness, we do not demand a sign from Yahweh that He has fulfilled His word. We know it is done because He said it would be. In the same way, we should claim the promise of the Holy Spirit by faith, not requiring some special evidence from Yahweh that He kept His promise. By demanding signs and evidence people are doubting the Word of Yahweh.
Acts 2:9-11 records sixteen different language groups who were present as the Spirit-filled disciples stepped outside the house to start witnessing.
Here is a simple description of the true gift of tongues. It is not the uttering of some ecstatic language of heaven. The tongues were real languages that people could understand, and every person of every race was edified and enlightened by hearing the gospel preached in his own mother tongue and was led to Yahshua as a result. It could be UNDERSTOOD! On certain occasions it was needed in order to overcome the language barrier.
In many minds there arises a confusion between the gifts and fruit of the Spirit. The “fruit” and “gifts” are two distinct manifestations of the Spirit. The fruit is “love”, singular, and this fruit of love expands into joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” [Galatians 5:22, 23 KJV]. These are brought forth in the believer as the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart.
This fruit develop as the result of a connection with Yahshua and the surrender of the life to Him. This transformation of character is evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life and results in salvation.
The purpose of the gifts is altogether different. It is not their purpose to work a change in the person’s life. They are, rather, the work of the Holy Spirit through him for the instruction and salvation of others. They provide power for witnessing. But for Yahweh to give the gifts of His Holy Spirit to any but those who first have the fruits of the Spirit in their lives would be to place His approval on sin.
Tongues is a wonderful gift if it fulfills its purpose. A person can visit a strange land and share the Gospel in their language.
Imagine you going to some country and you can’t talk or understand the language there, and you meet an unbeliever, and all of a sudden you started to talk in tongues and telling your testimony to the person, and miraculously he “understands” you in his “own” language, and you lead that person to Yahshua. Wow, what an experience. This is the “true gift of tongues”, to lead others to Yahshua.
When Yahshua sent His followers to the world with the commission of proclaiming the wonderful story of salvation, He marvelously equipped them to communicate that message through the gift of understandable tongues. Those who heard them speak took note of them that they had been with Yahshua. (See Acts 4:13.) It was needed in order to overcome the language barrier.
There are so many people now that believe that no-one is truly saved unless they can talk in gibberish tongues. They will even encourage you, and even try to coach you, and tell you that you should, and must, talk in gibberish tongues, and if you don’t you aren’t saved. Also, they believe that they are in higher authority than those that can’t talk it. Can you see what Satan has done here? Please, pray to Yahweh regarding this. Only Yahweh can guide us into the truth and keep us safe from deception.
I encourage you to keep away from any gibberish tongues movements, and always remember that the true tongues is KNOWN languages and is only meant to be used for the UNBELIEVERS where the unbeliever can hear the Gospel about Yahshua and UNDERSTAND it. If there is no person around to interpret the known tongues, then it serves no purpose. It is Satan’s counterfeit and false tongues.
1. Every single occurrence of tongues in the Bible was KNOWN LANGUAGES! It was given to overcome the language barrier so people could share the Good News with people of different languages. There is not even a single event in the entire Bible where someone was speaking in tongues which nobody understood.
2. The Bible clearly says that tongues is NOT for believers, but for UNBELIEVERS! So a room full of Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians who are BELIEVERS, speaking UNKNOWN tongues, that nobody can interpret, is not only unbiblical, but it’s human fanaticism/emotionalism and a crime against Yahweh!
1 Corinthians 14:22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.
3. NOT EVERYONE receives the same gift, NOT EVERYONE will receive the gift of tongues, So a room full of Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians who are ALL speaking tongues is not only unbiblical, is also a contradiction against the Bible.
Those 3 points are just the start of the problems with the Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian Movements.
You have to make a choice, follow men or follow Yahweh, follow error, or renounce error and embrace truth.
Please watch this video to see that not only false tongues has infiltrated the Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian Movements, yet many other false teachings.
May Yahweh bless your understanding.
Yeremyah & Michaiyah (Yahweh’s House Ministries)