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Except Ye Repent
By Dr. Harry Ironside

Pastor Harry A. Ironside

Chapter 9 – REPENTANCE IN THE APOCALYPSE

The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ fittingly closes the volume of Holy Scripture. It deals with both the present age and the coming era, climaxing all God’s ways with man, and bringing before us the eternal issues of the long conflict between good and evil. It is the Lord’s last word to mankind until the voice of the returning Saviour is heard from the heavens, calling His redeemed to meet Him in the air, preparatory to taking His great power in order that the kingdoms of the world may become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. And, significantly enough, it contains a most urgent summons to repentance. In fact, the call to repent is found seven times in the letters to the seven churches, and four times we are told of men whom God had visited in grace and in judgment who repented not, and thus refused to give Him glory.

Time was when comparatively very few Christians paid much attention to the book of Revelation. As a result of the great revival of Bible study in our day, however, this is no longer so evident. Ministers and people are now studying the Apocalypse, eagerly seeking to find in it some explanation of the present difficult times and some clear light on the impending future.

Many believe that in the letters to the seven churches God has not only given a message that had a direct, literal application to the assemblies named in John’s day, but that there is a hidden, prophetic meaning in them, outlining in a very striking way the state of the church from apostolic days to the end of its testimony on earth. All, however, are not agreed as to this.

But one thing is very evident, and that is, that in these letters the Lord has given us a diagnosis of every state or condition in which His churches may be found at any time throughout the Christian epoch.

Looked at in this way, we see in Ephesus a thoroughly orthodox church that has failed because it has left the freshness of its first love. Smyrna is a suffering church, true to Christ despite persecution and poverty. Pergamos is a worldly church, yet reasonably sound in doctrine, though tolerating much that is very unsound in practice. In Thyatira superstition and gross immorality prevail, save among a very small minority who grieve over conditions, but do not seem able to remedy them. Sardis is cold and formal, with very little evidence of divine life, though even in it a few are found whose garments are undefiled. Philadelphia is a true Bible church, where the authority of the Lord is owned and His name revered. Consequently there is an open door for testimony and faithfulness is manifested in maintaining the truth of God. Laodicea is lukewarm and latitudinarian. Its members play fast and loose with eternal verities and, while professing to have Christ in their midst, He is actually seen outside the door.

Now to all of these churches there comes the voice of the Lord, declaring, “I know thy works.” Everything is open to His searching gaze. It is noticeable that in each letter the order is the same: First, the Lord presents Himself in some special way suited to the spiritual condition of the church addressed. Second, He gives His own diagnosis of the state of that particular assembly. Third, there is a special exhortation or warning, as needed in each case. Fourth, we have the promise to the overcomer and the summons to harken. In the first three letters, however, the call to hear precedes the promise. It is the opposite in the last four. That there is a divine reason for this is evident, but it need not detain us at the present time.

In five out of the seven letters we find the exhortation to repent. Smyrna and Philadelphia are both without rebuke, so there is no such command given to them. Let us note carefully, however, what is said to the other five.

Ephesus is rebuked because of having left her first love. Orthodox to the core, this church seemed to pride itself on its jealousy for fundamentals. But there may be great zeal for doctrinal standards where there is very little manifestation of the love of the Spirit. It is a grievous mistake to suppose that the Lord delights in correct dogma and ignores the lack of love. A cold, hard, censorious devotion to a creed, however correct, will never make up for lack of brotherly kindness and a tender Christlike spirit. So we get the exhortation, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (2:5). How affecting and solemn is this! It is not a question of one who has been a Christian losing his soul, but of a church that once witnessed boldly for Christ now in danger of losing its testimony.

Mere doctrinal correctness is not enough to keep the Gospel light brightly burning. It is as the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that our words count with others. Emerson said once, “What you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” And an inconsistent, un-Christlike church will cause the world to turn in scorn from its message. So the Lord calls for repentance. That this is more than a mere change of opinion is evident, for He adds, “and do the first works.” He would have them turn from their supercilious self-satisfaction to the love and earnestness of their early days, when He Himself was precious to their souls and for love of Him they could toil and suffer that others might know Him too. Surely to many of us today the same call comes, coupled with the warning that unless there be a new attitude, a turning back to the Lord in contrition and confession, He will take away the candlestick, and we shall be useless so far as witnessing for Him in a dark world is concerned.

The condition of the Pergamos church is even worse. For there positively evil things were tolerated and unholy alliances formed, which were an affront to the One they professed to serve. Again comes the call to repent. Note the words, “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (v. 16). What a solemn alternative! Repent, or I will fight against thee! He cannot tolerate unjudged iniquity in His professed people. He will be sanctified in them that come nigh Him. To boast of salvation by grace while living in sin is detestable to Him. The sword of His mouth is His Word. That Word is positively against all who make a pretence of godliness while walking in unholy ways.

Could anything be more needed today than such a message as this? Is not the church in many places dwelling comfortably on Satan’s throne, settled down in the world, with no thought of separation to Christ? Balaam of old taught Balak that, if he could break down the wall of separation between his own wicked Moabites and Israel, their own God would have to punish them for their backslidings. The iniquity of Baal-Peor accomplished what Balaam’s attempt to curse could not do. It is indeed a serious matter when the Lord has to take sides, as it were, against His people. But He refuses to condone sin in His saints. Surely we all need to heed the call to repent.

When we turn to consider the Thyatira church we are confronted with conditions so grave and wickedness so shocking that we might naturally hesitate to recognize it as a church of God at all. Yet the Lord addresses it as such. It bore His name. It professed to represent Him in the world. Yet it condoned iniquitous practices that were below the level of ordinary decency. On the other hand, this church had once been characterized by love and devotion of an unusually high order, and there were in it still a faithful remnant who mourned over its fallen condition and who were as the salt preserving it from utter corruption.

Are there not many such churches at the present time? Is it not true that in scores of instances known evil of the vilest kind is tolerated in Christian communities, and no attempt made to cleanse the leprous house? How often have wealth and prominence protected wrongdoers and seemingly made it impossible to deal with them, lest whole families be disgraced or the church be actually disrupted. But desperate diseases require drastic treatment. The voice of God is still calling to repentance. Until there be a changed attitude toward unholy practices there can be no blessing.

In Thyatira there was open immorality, and that of the most revolting type. Like the licentious orgies of the heathen Nature worshippers, it was often practiced under the guise of pretended piety. That wicked princess Jezebel, who brought her hateful Phoenician idolatry over to Israel and grafted it into the perverted worship of Jehovah, is used as the symbol of what had crept into this church. Degrading and revolting behavior was thus linked with the holy Name of Christ.

It had gone so far, and the proponents of this corruption had been so persistent and so determined, that the Lord says, “I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (Rev. 2:21-22). The last words indicate that there was hope still. He had not utterly rejected them. But blessing and restoration were conditioned upon repentance. How marvellous is the long-suffering of the grieved and offended Spirit of God. And if today the churches would heed the call, and repent, honestly facing every wicked thing in the light of the Word of God, there would come, we may be sure, revival and renewal that would make the once powerless assemblies a living witness for Christ in the world.

In the church in Sardis we see a very different condition prevailing. There all is outwardly correct. There is no intimation that vile practices of any kind were being tolerated. But all is cold and formal. It is the respectability of spiritual death. Yet it is evident there was a time when this church was aflame with passionate devotion to Christ. Hence the admonition, “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” (Rev. 3:3).

One thinks of many churches founded in revival days or reformation times where the light of truth shone brightly and the members were marked by intense zeal and energy. Evangelizing the lost and building up believers were characteristic under a Spirit-filled ministry that made such churches centers of blessing for miles around. But little by little all this has been changed. Formality has taken the place of living power. Coldness has succeeded the old time spiritual fervor. Academic pulpiteering has displaced the Bible preaching of the olden days. And smug self-complacency now holds sway where once deep concern for the souls of others was manifest.

O that in such former strongholds of evangelicalism and active evangelism there might be a great turning to God, a repentance that would again fill nearly vacant prayer rooms and bring the churches to their knees in brokenness of spirit until God should open the windows of heaven and pour out life-giving showers to revive the barren wastes and give the world to see again a mighty movement of His Holy Spirit.

“Revive Thy work, O God,
Disturb this sleep of death.
Quicken the smoldering embers, Lord,
By Thine Almighty breath.”

Such a revival is sorely needed, but it can only come in the wake of sincere repentance.

With the church in Philadelphia the Lord finds no fault. He commends it for its faithfulness and promises rich reward, so we find here, as in the letter to Smyrna, no call to repent.

But it is otherwise with lukewarm Laodicea. Another has remarked that “a lukewarm state is not a passing from cold to hot, but from hot to cold” (Russell Elliot, in A Last Message). And this is what has so often taken place. Moreover, it is a state easy to fall into. Most of us realize that true, spiritual fervor is maintained only where there is a constant sense of our weakness and the need of much prayer and of nourishing the soul upon the Word of God. If private devotion be neglected we will soon become lukewarm, and the church itself is just what its members make it. These Laodiceans did not seem to know that their condition called for any rebuke. Like Israel in Hosea’s day it could be said, “Gray hairs are here and there upon him, but he knoweth not.” Like Samson, their strength had departed and they wist it not. Backsliding begins so insidiously that one may get far from God in heart and mind before some terrible failure reproves and arouses him. Hence the need of constant watchfulness.

The believer out of fellowship with God may be quite satisfied for a time, boasting of being rich and increased with goods and needing nothing. Yet all the while the Lord detects the sad lack of practically everything that makes for vital godliness. In His grace He sends trial and affliction to draw the wayward heart back to Himself. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (3:19). No halfway measures will do. There must be positive, earnest endeavor to trace the evil to its source and to take the right attitude toward it and to the One who has been so grievously wronged. For He stands outside the door — and mark, it is the door of the church, not merely of the individual — knocking and seeking restoration of fellowship. The door is unlatched only by repentance; it can be opened in no other way. So long as there is pride and arrogancy He remains outside, for He has said, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:2). He delights to dwell with those who fear Him and cleave to His truth, but he knoweth the proud afar off.

How touchingly He speaks to His disciples, as recorded in John 14:23: “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.” It has often been pointed out that the word translated “abode” here is the same as that translated “mansions” in verse 2. He has gone back to the glory to prepare an abiding place for us. Meantime the Father and the Son delight to find an abiding place in the hearts of the redeemed while still in this wilderness-world.

Oh, the shame of keeping Him outside the door! Like the bridegroom in the Song He cries, “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night” (Cant. 5:2). But we coldly slumber on, or if barely awakened find some flimsy excuse for not giving Him admittance.

“Be zealous therefore, and repent.” Conditions are worse than we know. Lethargy and drowsiness have blunted our sensibilities. The hour is late. The end of the age draws on. And we are indifferent and lukewarm still. Repentance, if it be worth while, must come soon. Otherwise it will be too late, and He will say of us as of Thyatira, “I gave her space to repent … and she repented not.”

Oh, what God might yet do with a truly repentant church, aflame with loving devotion to her adorable Lord!

Mr. Sunday, the eccentric evangelist so recently gone to his reward, used to relate a graphic story of a well known village atheist who was seen running vigorously to a burning church building intent on joining with others in subduing the flames. A neighbor observing him, exclaimed facetiously, “This is something new for you! I never saw you going to church before.” The atheist replied, “Well, this is the first time I have ever seen a church on fire.” Who can tell how many might be drawn to the people of God if they were only on fire for Christ and burning with zeal to win the lost?

“O kindle within us a holy desire
Like that which was found in Thy people of old,
Who valued Thy love and whose hearts were on fire,
While they waited in patience Thy face to behold.”

A lukewarm church is a powerless church. There is nothing about it to make unsaved men believe its testimony is worth while. But a church characterized by fervent love for Christ, and energetically reaching out after the lost makes an impression even upon the most ungodly that it is hard to ignore. When the churches themselves heed the command to repent and get right with God, we may expect to see repentant sinners flocking to their altars.

[Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948]

Speaking In Tongues Study

August 6, 2013 at 12:26pm

By Mark Jungwirth.

Speaking in Tongues is only mentioned in 3 books in the Bible: Mark, Acts, and Corinthians. In Mark, it is spoken of, but not in detail. In Acts, it is referring to someone speaking an understandable human language that they couldn’t possibly know how to speak. And in Corinthians, tongues are mentioned by Paul only to give a rebuke to the Corinthians for perverting and misusing the gift. The next point that must be understood is that when the Bible talks about speaking in tongues, the word “tongues” is glóssa, which simply means “tongue (the body part)” or “languages”. It’s obvious from the context that the meaning in the case of “speaking in tongues” is languages. In other words, the gift of tongues is more properly translated “the gift of languages”.

 

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. [ languages]

 

Acts 2:3  Tongues [ the body part] like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. 

 

(When it says “tongues as of fire”, it is describing when God supernaturally manifested literal tongues (the body part) that looked as if they were made of fire, which represented the language that each individual was speaking. This was the 2nd physically noticeable sign from God, the first being the “noise like a violent rushing wind”, in the previous verse Acts 2:2)

 

Acts 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues,  [ languages] as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

Acts 2:11  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues [ languages] the wonderful works of God. 

 

(For absolute proof that regular human languages were being spoken, look at verses 5-11, “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”  First, the listing of the different countries, and the fact that it says specifically in verse 8, “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language to which we were born,”  proves undoubtedly that “speaking in tongues” means speaking in a human language that the speaker has not learned. Second, the fact that Gallileans were speaking in Jewish languages is a big deal. Gallileans were uneducated and couldn’t speak those languages. Also, it was unimagginable to the Jews that God would communicate in a Gentile language. This was part of the miraculous sign to them that God had brought salvation to both Jews and Gentiles through Christ. The fact that Jews were hearing works of God declared in their own dialects by people who didn’t speak such languages was fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 28:11, which Paul addresses specifically in 1 Corinthians 14:21.)

 

Acts 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues [ languages], and magnify God. Then answered Peter.

 

Acts 19:6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues [ languages], and prophesied.

 

*Note: The KJV sometimes says “unknown tongues” in Corinthians, rather than just “tongues”. The word “unknown” does NOT appear in the original Greek. As well, it could be logically concluded that when it says “unknown tongues” that it is not saying the language is some sort of mystery language that nobody knows, but that it means the language is simply a language that the speaker does not know, which is exactly how the gift of tongues is described every place in scripture.  

 

1 Corinthians 12:10  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues [ languages]; to another the interpretation of tongues [ languages].

 

1 Corinthians 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues [ languages].

 

1 Corinthians 12:30  Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues [ languages]? Do all interpret?

 

1 Corinthians 13:1  If I speak with the tongues [ languages] of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 

 

(Just to note: 1 Cor. 13:1 in the KJV says “Though I speak”, not “if I speak”, but in the original Greek it is properly translated “If I speak”.  Paul is using hyperbole here, saying “I don’t care if you speak like a man or an angel, if you do it without love, its meaningless.” This is well supported by the very next 2 verses, and by the ending of the previous chapter. Some Pentecostals and Charismatics have taken the words “tongues of men and of angels” out of context here and claim that it means speaking in an angelic language for private prayer. They combine this verse with Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities for we know not what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”  Nowhere does it say anything about a private prayer language there. It says that the spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that CAN’T be uttered, not language that CAN be uttered (meaning cant be spoken with words). And it’s not us doing it, it’s the Holy Spirit. The word “groanings” is stenagmós – groaning (sighing), especially brought on by circumstances creating great pressure. See 4727 (stenazo). Stenázo (from 4728 /stenós, “compressed, constricted”) – properly, to groan because of pressure of being exerted forward (like the forward pressure of childbirth); (figuratively) to feel pressure from what is coming on – which can be intensely pleasant or anguishing (depending on the context). The words “can not be uttered” is alalétos in the Greek, which means “unutterable” or “inexpressible”. When it says “groanings too deep for words” or “groanings that cant be uttered” it means literal groaning or sighing, not speaking gibberish. Therefor, this scripture is clearly NOT referring to speaking in tongues or an “angelic language”. It is simply saying that when you are under great stress and pressure that you may actually groan or sigh (being too stressed to speak properly) and the Holy Spirit, knowing what you are groaning for, makes intercession for you to God.   It’s important to realize that nowhere in scripture is it ever recorded that angels have their own language or speak in non-human language. Every instance where an angel speaks in scripture it is in a regular human language. A very interesting point that must be made here is found in the Greek in Matthew 6:7.  “But when you pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”  The word for “vain repetitions” is battologéo, which means “to blubber nonsensical repetitions.” And the word comes from “batta” and “logos”. Logos means “word”. Batta is an onomatopoeia, which means it is a word whose sound suggests the sense. Example: The letter B makes the “buh” sound, the letter K makes the “kah” sound, and the letter G makes the “guh” sound. Buh, kah, and guh are onomatopoeias, as are words like “hiss” and “whoosh”. In other words, what Christ is saying in Matthew 6:7 could be taken to mean “Do not say ‘Kah buh lo tay ma’ like the heathen do.”  But regardless of whether or not this rendering of battologéo is what was intended, there is still no scriptural justification for speaking in such a manner.  

 

1 Corinthians 13:8  Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall pass away; whether there be tongues [ languages], they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall pass away.

 

(Here the words for “Cease” and for “Pass Away” are 2 different words, which may mean 2 different things. “Pass away” is katargethesontai, which is a future indicative passive verb. Passive meaning nothing is going to act upon it. It will “pass away” on its own. While “Cease” is pausontai, which is a future indicative middle verb (not passive) which could mean something will act upon it, making it cease, or putting it to an end. I say “which could mean something will act upon it” because it can’t be proven if the author meant for a different meaning by using the terms “cease” VS “pass away”. It is very possible that Paul simply meant that all of these things will stop when “the perfect comes” (mentioned in the following verses). 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 says, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”  The “perfect” can’t be the 2nd coming of Christ because knowledge and prophecy will still have their place, as we will still be in our human bodies here on Earth. The “perfect”, according to many Bible scholars, is the eternal state, the New Heaven and New Earth. This can be verified by looking at the Greek word for “perfect”. The word is teleion, which means “absolutely complete, or fully developed in all parts”; then by looking at the Greek word for “be done away” at the end of verse 10. The word is katargethesetai, which means “to be rendered ineffectual.”  In other words, “we know in part and prophesy in part, but when that which is complete has come, the partial knowledge and partial prophecy will be rendered ineffectual.”  God is saying that knowledge and prophecy will be complete and fully developed, that we will have all knowledge. This is further proven by Luke 12:2 “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”  This explains why partial knowledge and partial prophecy will be ineffectual. And if prophecy and knowledge won’t be rendered ineffectual until we’re in our spiritual forms in the eternal New Heaven and New Earth, and tongues will cease by something making them cease, then this means that tongues must cease sometime in regular Earthly human history. Based upon historical evidence and study of scripture, the most logical time for this to happen would be with the completion of Biblical scripture. In all known church history and writings after the New Testament, the “gibberish version of “tongues” had never been regarded as orthodox (accepted by most Christians) until the rise of Pentecostalism. References to speaking in tongues by the Church fathers are rare. Other than Irenaeus’ 2nd-century reference to many in the church speaking all kinds of languages “through the Spirit”, and Tertullian’s reference in 207 AD to the spiritual gift of interpretation of tongues being encountered in his day, there are no other known first-hand accounts of speaking in tongues, and very few second-hand accounts among their writings. And in their writings we see again, “speaking in tongues” is talking about actual human languages. I do not take the cessationist position that tongues have ceased with the completion of scripture, based upon testimonies from various legitimate Christians (all of whom speak of “tongues” as being a human language that they didnt know how to speak), and based upon the fact that cessationists also say that all of the “sign gifts” such as healing are no longer in operation but regardless, it is abundantly clear that it is not gibberish talk. It is being able to speak in a language that the speaker has not learned.)

 

1 Corinthians 14:2  For he who speaks in a tongue [ language] is not talking to men but to God; because no one knows what he is saying; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. (Paul is not affirming the idea that “tongues” are also a privatre prayer language to God, he is saying “If you speak in a tongue [ language] only God knows what you are saying. You may speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit, but its useless because nobody understands you.” This is proven by the context and content of the very next verses and the rest of the chapter.)

 

1 Corinthians 14:4  He who speaks in a tongue [ language] edifies himself; but he who gives the prophet’s word edifies the church. 

 

(It is clear by the previous verses that the gift is for edification of the church, not for edification of yourself. Self-edification puffs you up and makes you prideful. Here, Paul is warning against the selfish and show-off-ish use of the gift.)

 

1 Corinthians 14:5  I would that ye all spake with tongues [ languages] but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, unless he interprets, that the church may receive edifying.  

 

1 Corinthians 14:6  Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues [ languages], what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

 

1 Corinthians 14:11-19 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. Even so, you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue [ language], my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the mind. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the mind. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God I speak with tongues [ languages] more than you all, yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue [ language].

 

(Paul makes it abundantly clear that speaking in tongues is pointless if the hearer can’t understand you.)

 

1 Corinthians 14:21-23  In the law it is written, With men of other tongues [ languages] and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues               [ languages] are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that do not believe: but prophesying is not for them that do not believe, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues [ languages], and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad? 

 

(When Paul says, “In the Law it is written,” he is referencing Isaiah 28:11 because when the Gallileans spoke in Jewish dialects at Pentecost, it was the fulfillment of that prophecy.) 

 

1 Corinthians 14:27-28  If anyone speaks in a tongue [ language], let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

 

(This is very clear and tight restriction on use of tongues in the church. All Paul is saying here is, “If you’re going to speak in a language, make sure it gets translated so that everyone knows what is being said. Otherwise, be silent, because without translation your gift is being abused by showing it off with no purpose.” These two verses should be shown to almost every modern tongue-speaker. Regardless of whether or not someone chooses to believe in the modern gibberish version of tongues, they should at least recognize and live by the guidelines laid out in God’s Word.) 

 

1 Corinthians 14:34-38  Let women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone does not recognize this, let him not be recognized.

 

(Many women will not want to acknowledge these scriptures, and many pastors will not teach the truth of what they say, however, God’s Word is God’s Word. And here Paul is stressing this teaching so much that he actually says “If anyone does not recognize these teachings as being commanded by God Himself, let that person not be recognized as a true believer.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Women are not to speak in tongues, or at all during church service. They are to be submissive, in general, toward men, and should look to their husbands for spiritual headship and instruction.) 

 

1 Corinthians 14:39  Wherefore, brethren, desire to prophesy, and don’t forbid to speak with tongues [languages]. 

 

(Finally, after giving such a rebuke, Paul closes by clarifying that there is indeed a proper manner in which to exercise the gift of tongues.)

 

* If what modern tongue-speakers do is actually speaking an “angelic language” why are there no discernible words in that language? Why is it that you can compare 2 modern tongue-speakers and often they sound so similar (even saying the exact same “words” in order), but when the supposed translation is given you often find they said vastly different things? (Example: Person 1 says “Ka lo boba tah see tah tay no mo.”, and person 2 says “Ka lo boba tay tah see tah no mo”  These 2 “sentences” should be translated to say similar things if this is an actual language with actual words, however, we often find that “tongues” will be this similar, but with vastly different translations. And often times the length of the supposed translation won’t seem to match the length of what is being said “in tongues”.  If this is a language, why is it that we can’t analyze words and conjugations and figure out what is being said, at least to some degree? The answer is: because it isn’t actually a language. Its gibberish. And if it isn’t an actual language then it isn’t the gift of languages. 

 

 

* In 1972, William J. Samarin, a linguist from the University of Toronto, published a thorough assessment of Pentecostal glossolalia which became a classic work on its linguistic characteristics.[6] His assessment was based on a large sample of glossolalia recorded in public and private Christian meetings in Italy, The Netherlands, Jamaica, Canada and the USA over the course of five years; his wide range included the Puerto Ricans of the Bronx, the Snake Handlers of the Appalachians and the Russian Molokan in Los Angeles.

 

 

Samarin found that glossolalic speech does resemble human language in some respects. The speaker uses accent, rhythm, intonation and pauses to break up the speech into distinct units. Each unit is itself made up of syllables, the syllables being formed from consonants and vowels taken from a language known to the speaker:

 

 

It is verbal behaviour that consists of using a certain number of consonants and vowels[…]in a limited number of syllables that in turn are organized into larger units that are taken apart and rearranged pseudogrammatically[…]with variations in pitch, volume, speed and intensity.[7]

 

 

[Glossolalia] consists of strings of syllables, made up of sounds taken from all those that the speaker knows, put together more or less haphazardly but emerging nevertheless as word-like and sentence-like units because of realistic, language-like rhythm and melody.[8]

 

 

That the sounds are taken from the set of sounds already known to the speaker is confirmed by others. Felicitas Goodman, a psychological anthropologist and linguist, also found that the speech of glossolalists reflected the patterns of speech of the speaker’s native language.[9]

 

 

Samarin found that the resemblance to human language was merely on the surface and so concluded that glossolalia is “only a facade of language”.[10] He reached this conclusion because the syllable string did not form words, the stream of speech was not internally organized, and – most importantly of all – there was no systematic relationship between units of speech and concepts. Humans use language to communicate but glossolalia does not. Therefore he concluded that glossolalia is not “a specimen of human language because it is neither internally organized nor systematically related to the world man perceives”.[10] On the basis of his linguistic analysis, Samarin defined Pentecostal glossolalia as “meaningless but phonologically structured human utterance, believed by the speaker to be a real language but bearing no systematic resemblance to any natural language, living or dead”.[11]

 

Felicitas Goodman studied a number of Pentecostal communities in the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico; these included English, Spanish and Mayan speaking groups. She compared what she found with recordings of non-Christian rituals from Africa, Borneo, Indonesia and Japan. She took into account both the segmental structure (such as sounds, syllables, phrases) and the supra-segmental elements (rhythm, accent, intonation) and concluded that there was no distinction between what was practiced by the Pentecostal Protestants and the followers of other religions.[12]

 

Conclusion:

 There is no biblical support for the idea that speaking in tongues means speaking in “angelic” gibberish. Every instance in scripture where tongues are mentioned it is clear that it is talking about an actual understandable human language. There is also no scientific evidence that the gibberish modern tongue-speakers use is a language. Tongues may or may not be in operation in modern times. Although it appears from church history, and from scripture study, that the gift is no longer in operation, even if it is, the gift is being able to speak in a language you haven’t learned, not speaking gibberish. Hence the gift being called the “gift of languages”, not the “gift of gibberish”.   

By Mark Jungwirth.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-jungwirth/speaking-in-tongues-study/606796462693394

Except Ye Repent
By Dr. Harry Ironside

Pastor Harry A. Ironside

Chapter 8 – REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS

In the remarkably difficult passage warning against apostasy, in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, there is an expression that may well claim our serious attention. In setting forth the “word of the beginning of Christ” (note the marginal reading), which we are exhorted to leave in order to press on to the full revelation of the Gospel, which is denominated “perfection,” in contrast to the Law, which made nothing perfect, we find the couplet, “of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (v. 1). Because we are exhorted not to lay again this foundation, we are not to suppose that we are called upon to ignore the earlier principles in order to enhance the importance of the new. God’s truth has been imparted to man gradually, but no later truth demands the spurning of that which has gone before.

By the term “the word of the beginning of Christ” I understand the testimony of the Law and the Prophets right on through the ministry of the last of them all, John the Baptist, and the added instruction of our Lord Himself in the days of His flesh. All this constitutes the foundation upon which the later revelation rests. It is noticeable that this foundation is given in three couplets. In addition to the one already mentioned, and which I propose to deal with at some length, we have “a doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands,” and in the third place, “of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” All of these six principles were dealt with in, and formed part of, the earlier messages of God to His people Israel and to the world at large.

There is no doctrine of baptisms, or washings, in the Christian system. The reference is to Jewish ceremonial washings which sanctified to the purifying of the flesh. The laying on of hands refers not to ministerial ordination, as some have imagined, but to the laying on of hands upon the sacrificial victims, which identified the offerer with his offering, thus typifying the believer laying hold in faith upon the finished work of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. This has been beautifully expressed by Isaac Watts when he wrote:

“My faith would lay her hand
On that blest head of Thine,
While like a penitent I stand
And there confess my sin.”

The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment runs all through Scripture. Paul refers to it as part of the hope of Israel, for believing which he stood condemned (Acts 24:15). It is almost needless to remind my reader, if instructed in Christian truth, that we have an interesting advance upon this, however, both in the four Gospels and in Paul’s Epistles; for there we learn of resurrection from the dead, the first resurrection unto life, as distinguished from a second resurrection unto judgment.

But now we turn to consider the first pair of doctrines in this double trilogy referred to. Here we note the order as elsewhere in Scripture, repentance first, then faith. We have already seen that Paul preached “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the full-orbed Christian message. In Hebrews it is repentance from, not toward, something. From what? From that in which every legalist puts all his confidence — dead works.

In Scripture we have three kinds of works: good works, evil works, and dead works. Good works are the fruit of the new life, and in our dispensation of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Of all who are unsaved we read, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Disciples of Christ, on the other hand, are exhorted so to walk and speak that men may see their good works and glorify their Father which is in heaven. We are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Well has the hymn writer declared:

“I would not work my soul to save,
That work my Lord has done;
But I would work like any slave
For love of God’s dear Son.”

Good works are life works — inwrought by the Lord Himself, who works in us — both the willing and the doing of His good pleasure. Evil works are the wicked ways of the unregenerate man. They are but the manifestation in outward behavior of the evil nature that is estranged from God and can only bring forth bad fruit. The world hated Jesus because He testified of it that its works were evil. He showed the source of all this to be the heart, out of which sin proceeds as foul water from a polluted fountain. Good resolutions, attempted reformation, pious intentions, are alike powerless to change this. The prophet asks: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). The trouble is too deep seated for human effort to change it. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately [or, incurably] wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Until the sinner receives a new heart his works can only be evil continually.

But in our text we read of “dead works.” What is meant by this expression, so strange to our ordinary way of thinking and speaking? Dead works are law works. They are the vain efforts of the natural man to win God’s salvation by obedience to law, whether human or divine. But because the man himself is viewed by God as dead in trespasses and in sins, his attempts to produce a righteousness suitable to merit eternal life and salvation are likewise looked upon as dead works. When God gave the Law He proclaimed, “The man which doeth those things shall live by them.” But no man was ever found who could keep this holy Law, and the penalty for violation of its precepts was death. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” This sentence was passed upon all men. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:19-20).

This is what God Himself has declared, but few there are who accept it as true. “They being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). This was true of Israel after the flesh. It is just as true of millions of Gentiles, who, ignoring the solemn testimony of God’s Word regarding man’s utterly lost condition, still persist in trying to work out a righteousness of their own, deceived by the Adversary into believing that they can in some way placate an offended God and put Him in their debt so that they can earn His salvation. Isaiah tells us that “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6). It is just this attempt to work out a human, legal righteousness that God’s Word dominates “dead works.”

What then is meant by “repentance from dead works”? It is a complete change of mind, whereby the convicted sinner gives up all thought of being able to propitiate God by effort of his own and acknowledges that he is as bad as the Word has declared him to be. He turns right about face. Instead of relying on his own fancied merits he turns to the Lord for deliverance and seeks for mercy through the Saviour God has provided.

In Old Testament times the legal code with its attendant forms and ceremonies was given, not as a means of justifying righteousness, but as a test of obedience. It was as true then as now that the righteous requirement of the Law was only fulfilled (and that of course but in measure) in those who were already regenerated. God has never had two ways of saving people, but different stewardships, or dispensations, have been committed to His people as standards of living, in the various ages. No one was ever saved by law-keeping or by sacrificial observances. To trust in these things would never avail. Not sacrifices, nor offerings, but a broken and a contrite heart, was acceptable to God. All outward forms or legal efforts, apart from faith, were but dead works, from which the prophets were constantly calling upon men to repent.

A personal experience may make this clear and help to impress it upon the reader’s mind. On one occasion, upon being asked to preach in a country church, I dropped into a Bible class conducted by a kindly, earnest man, whose knowledge of Scripture, however, was distressingly limited. In the course of the discussion he put the question, “How were people saved before Jesus came into the world to die for our sins and to redeem us to God?” Timidly, a lady replied, “By keeping the law of Moses.” “Exactly,” said the teacher. “If they kept the commandments they received eternal life.”

No one demurring, I felt impelled to ask, “What, then, do you make of Galatians 3:11, ‘But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them’? And again in verse 21 of the same chapter we are told, ‘If there had been a law given which could have given life verily righteousness should have been by the law.’ Do not these passages, to which many more might be added, show clearly that one must have divine life before he can do what the Law commands, and that no one was ever justified by keeping it?”

For a moment the leader seemed confused, then he responded graciously, “I think our visitor is right. We had overlooked these passages. Who else can suggest a way whereby people could be saved before Christ came?” Another ventured to inquire, “Would it not be by animal sacrifices? If they broke the Law, did they not make an atonement for their offense by bringing a sin-offering?” This quite satisfied the teacher. “I think that makes it perfectly plain, does it not?” he declared.

But the visitor had to object again, “What do you understand by the solemn words of Hebrews 10:4, ‘For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins’?” Candidly he confessed, “That is a difficulty. What, then, would you say, sir?”

In reply I endeavored to show that in all ages men were saved when they turned to God as repentant sinners and believed His testimony. Of this Abraham is the outstanding example. He believed in the Lord and He counted it unto him for righteousness. And David shows that forgiveness was granted and sin covered when one owned his guilt before God and trusted His grace, as set forth in Psalm 32. They were saved as truly as we are by the atoning work of Christ Jesus, only they looked forward to the cross while we look backward to it. Romans 3:24-26 makes this very plain: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

I pointed out, what every careful student of Scripture knows, that the expression used in verse 25, “sins that are past,” refers not to our past sins prior to our conversion, but to sins committed by believers in past ages, before Christ died to put them away. The clause might be rendered ‘to declare his righteousness in the pretermission of sins.’ Then in the next verse comes the present application of the work of the cross, “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness,” in justifying ungodly sinners through faith in Jesus.

It was most interesting to see how eagerly that little company drank in the truth and with what joy they seemed to apprehend it.

Dead works, then, are works of the flesh, but works performed with intent to earn God’s salvation. Of old it might be the effort to keep implicitly the Ten Commandments and to fulfill all the requirements of the ceremonial law. But if the man himself had no life, his works were all dead and could not be accepted of God. In fact, he needed to repent from such dead works, to recognize the folly of trying to win salvation by deeds of the Law. From all such dead works he needed cleansing, as truly as from his manifold iniquities. And all this has been provided in the cross. In Hebrews 9:13 we read: “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh [Note this, for it was as far as the Law could go. It gave outward cleansing not inward]: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

This is the Gospel revealed to Saul of Tarsus and which changed him into Paul the Apostle. His “dead works” are enumerated in Philippians 3:4-6: “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” But from these he repented when he turned from self to Christ, and, casting away all confidence in legal righteousness, he could exclaim: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

When Moody and Sankey were having their stirring evangelistic campaigns in England Mr. Sankey used the hymn a great deal which is an answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?”

“Nothing either great or small,
Nothing, sinner, no;
Jesus died and did it all
Long, long ago.

“When He from His lofty throne,
Stooped to do and die,
Everything was fully done,
Harken to His cry—

“It is finished!’ yes, indeed,
Finished every jot,
Sinner, this is all you need,
Tell me, is it not?

“Till to Jesus’ work you cling
By a simple faith,
Doing is a deadly thing,
Doing ends in death.

“Cast your deadly doing down,
Down at Jesus’ feet.
Stand in Him, in Him alone,
Gloriously complete.”

James Anthony Froude, the noted essayist, declared this hymn to be “absolutely immoral.” To him it left no place for ethical behavior in the plan of salvation. But he was wrong. It is when men repent from dead works and put their faith in God, resting in the redemptive work of His blessed Son, that they really begin to live unto Him and to manifest in their ways the good works which are the natural result of the impartation of a new nature received when they are born from above and so made members of that new creation of which the Risen Christ is the Head.

“‘What must I do?’ has oft been asked
Eternal life to gain;
Man anxious seems for any task
If this he may obtain.

“But all the doing has been done,
As God has clearly shown,
When by the offering of His Son,
His purpose He made known.

“He laid on Him the sinner’s guilt
When came the appointed day.
And by that blood on Calvary spilt
Takes all our guilt away.”

Happy is the man who sees the end of all flesh in the cross of Christ, and, giving up all pretension to human merit, turns from dead works of every kind and description and rests solely upon the finished work of Jesus. “‘It is finished’,” repeated a dying saint, and then added, “Upon that I hang my eternity.”

Repentance from dead works,” then, implies the giving up of all confidence in the flesh, the recognition that I am not able to do one thing to retrieve my fallen estate. As a dead sinner I cannot do one thing to merit the divine favor. My prayers, my tears, my charity, my religiousness, all count for nothing, so far as earning salvation is concerned. I am lost and need a Saviour. I am sick and need a Physician. I am bankrupt and need a Kinsman-Redeemer. I am dead and need Him who is the Resurrection and the Life. All I need I find in Christ, for whom I count all else but dross.

[Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948]

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