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The wait for the promised Holy Spirit was over: Jesus had told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and on the day of Pentecost, the wait was over!
Now believers would have the Holy Spirit and His power living in them forever.
(Lk.
24:49; Jn.14:16)
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
(Acts 2:1-13)
“Other tongues” - two types given: The Pentecost event drew two different reactions from the mixed crowd of Jews and non-Jews, some of whom were “God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5, 13).
The God-fearing Jews heard the disciples “declaring the wonders of God in our [their] own tongues!” “Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’”
(Acts 2:11-12), but some people, “however, made fun of them [the disciples] and said, “They have had too much wine” (Acts 2:13).
To understand all that we can about this gift of speaking in “other tongues” (Acts 2:4) and why it led to such different reactions, we must begin by looking at the opening statement in 1 Cor.
13.
When Paul, a late arrival among the apostles (1 Cor.
15:8), said, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor.
13:1.
KJV), undoubtedly he was referring to the gift of speaking in “other tongues” that the Holy Spirit had given to believers on the day of Pentecost.
Thus, we are now aware that the gift of "other tongues" consists of two types of tongues, “tongues of men and of angels.”
Therefore, on the day of Pentecost, the crowd must have heard the disciples speaking in these two types of tongues; they could understand the “tongues of men” (1 Cor.
14:2, 22) but not the mysterious “tongues of angels.”
(1 Cor.
14:3, 22)
The disciples also received the gift of interpreting tongues, which applies to the mysterious “tongues of angels” (1 Cor.
14:28).
"Tongues of men defined": Believers enabled by the Holy Spirit to speak in earthly languages they never learned, to declare the goodness of God.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
...we hear them declaring the wonders of God (Acts 2:4, 5-8, 12).
"Tongues of angels defined": Believers enabled by the Holy Spirit to communicate with God in heavenly languages, which no one understands.
2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God.
Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit (1 Cor.
14:2).
“Tongues of men and of angels” have other names: Having made the connection that speaking in “other tongues” in Acts 2:4 consists of two types of tongues, “tongues of men and of angels,” mentioned in 1 Cor.
13:1, only provides partial information to aid in the understanding of this gift, because both tongues have other names, which come from the book of Acts.
These other names are their final identities.
In Acts 2:17-18, “declaring the wonders of God” in the “tongues of men,” is prophesying, and in Acts 10:46, speaking in the “tongues of angels” is, simply, speaking in tongues.
(See the sections, "The act of speaking in tongues of men called prophesying," and "The act of speaking in tongues of angels called speaking in tongues," for further development of these insights.)
Note that within these two types of tongues, each type has more than one language.
For example, when the disciples spoke in the “tongues of men” they were speaking in the native languages of people from many different nations.
Regarding “tongues of angels,” Paul refers to it in the singular or plural forms, tongue or tongues, and some passages specifically state that there are “different kinds of tongues” (1 Cor.
12:10, 28).
The act of speaking in tongues of men called prophesying: Amid the crowd’s reactions to the events involving the disciples on the day of Pentecost, Peter uses Old Testament Scripture, Joel 2:28, to explain to the crowd what had just happened.
His explanation showed that filled with the Holy Spirit and enabled to speak in the “tongues of men,” languages they never learned, to declare the “wonders of God” (Acts 2: 4, 11), the disciples were prophesying.
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose.
It’s only nine in the morning!
16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy... 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy (Act 2:14-18).
(cf. 2 Pet.
1:21).
Thereafter, Peter spent much of his time talking about the good news of Jesus to the people, with great results.
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41).
Except to say that the disciples were not drunk, Peter did not make any reference to the presence of the mysterious “tongues of angels,” which could be part of the reason for some of the people saying that the disciples were drunk, a comment likely to come from unbelievers.
Those who have the gift of speaking in the “tongues of men” bear the title, prophets.
They are the new brand of prophets, New Testament prophets, who now have the full Gospel or “insight into the mystery of Christ… which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets” (Eph.
3:4-5).
Gifted and placed in the Church to take the good news of Jesus to the nations, near and far, in the native languages of the people, it is their chief role, and then comes the work of building up the body of Christ.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Eph.
4:11-13)
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith (Rom.
12:6).
The apostle Paul encouraged others to "follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Cor.
11:1).
One way of following Paul is to observe him as a model prophet to the Gentiles.
Jesus did a lot more than just call him and send him to the Gentiles with the Gospel (Acts 9:1-18; 26:12-18), Jesus also made sure he would be able to preach and teach in the languages of the Gentile peoples.
Consequently, in First Corinthians, Paul is actually revealing to us that he has both types of tongues, in particular, prophecy.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor.
13:1-2).
Additionally, Paul’s Israelite name, Saul, appears on the list of prophets and teachers who were in the Church at Antioch.
1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul (Acts 13:1).
Equipped for his ministry, no wonder Paul was so effective in reaching many Gentiles with the Gospel, traveling to various places and setting up Churches as he went.
Knowing peoples’ languages also helped him to adapt to their cultures and situations in positive ways as he ministered to them.
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.
I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor.
9:21-24).
Believers who have other gifts, and not this prophetic gift to declare the goodness of God in languages they never learned, can still take the full Gospel of Jesus to people, near and far, who speak the same language(s) that they themselves naturally speak, because every believer has the same command to go into the world and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19; Mk 5:19; 16:15; Lk 14:21, 23).
The act of speaking in tongues of angels called speaking in tongues: In Acts 10:46, after Pentecost, speaking in the “tongues of angels” became speaking in tongues.
The "tongues of angels" are not languages known on the earth, so they have no given names such as Parthians or English; they are simply called "tongues" in the verses below.
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.
46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water.
They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days (Acts 10:44-48).
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus.
There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.
He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
7 There were about twelve men in all (Acts 19:1-6).
Some ways in which the two types of tongues appear in passages: "Tongues of men and of angels" appear together as a unit in passages, whenever the believer receives both.
Hence, in the Acts 10:46 passage, above.
the words, “speaking in tongues and praising God” indicate the presence of both types of tongues as a unit.
"Praising God" is used as an aspect of prophesying, even though Paul’s discussion in 1 Cor.
14:16, could cause us to believe that it is the language and its particular role that are represented.
Apart from appearing as a unit, the two types appear as separate gifts, in same passages, usually, with the understanding that not all believers have received both types.
Both also appear in the same verse or longer blocks of text for comparing and contrasting their benefits to the Church.
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