I can remember the first time ever I was exposed
to a Pentecostal church where people claimed to
speak in tongues.
After the charismatic preacher worked everyone
into a frenzy, several men and women in the
congregation began chanting ecstatically with
an unrecognizable language.
I felt weird, not knowing what to do. I was about
20 years old at the time and saw young and old
engaging in this practice.
They explained they were speaking in tongues and
had the “Holy Ghost” and said that if a person did
not speak in tongues they were not saved. Further,
they claimed to have other gifts of the Spirit which
enabled them to exorcise demons and heal the sick.
I wanted to know more about this phenomenon but
did not learn the truth about it all until 1979, about
5 years later.
In discovering this truth, I found that the idea of
tongue-speaking was related to the last days and
judgment. What is the last days significance of the
the gift of tongues?
To answer that question requires a few simple
- A rational mind
- A desire for truth
- Honesty with the facts
- Careful reading of Bible texts
- Courage to challenge tradition and status quo
Scripture demands that we are adopt a reasoned
approach to understand its meaning. (Isaiah 1:18,
Acts 17:11, 12). In other words, emotions, traditions
nor creeds must be allowed to rank above the
inspired text for those who believe in the inspiration,
authority and all sufficiency of scripture, (2 Tim. 3:16–
Secondly, a burning desire to know the will of God
can help one to overcome many obstacles. (John 7:17)
However, as in any endeavor, desire alone is not
sufficient. Good intentions alone may leave one
short of the goal. This is why the next point is critical.
Honesty in handling the word of God assures one of
positive results. Evidence must be properly considered
as it reveals the heart of the reader, (Luke 8:15, 2 Cor.-
The fourth step requires careful reading of the Bible
text. Certain hermeneutical principles must be kept
in mind, i.e. the time of writing, the audience
addressed, the subject and who’s speaking.
One of the most common problems with interpretations
especially of matters related to the end time is the
failure to consider audience relevance. By this we
mean applying the message to the times and people
to whom it was first written, (2 Tim. 2:15)
One of the most important factors necessary for
arriving at truths in scripture is courage to challenge
the traditions and sacred cows of denomiational
beliefs and doctrines.
Jesus and the apostles often confound conventional
wisdom on eschatological matters, i.e. David’s
throne, the resurrection, the overthrow of the
temple, the end of the law.
If you have a weak stomach due to your religious
affiliation, the Bible will not be a very comfortable
place to hang on the issue of tongue speaking
The last pre-requisite is humility. Ego must go.
Let God be true and every man a liar. Your
unbelief or refusal to accept truths will not
make the word of none effect.
A sign of the end which most recognize is the
coming of the Holy Spirit. Joel prophesied the
coming of the Spirit in the last days (Joel 2:28-30).
His prophecy is mentioned several times in the New
Covenant, most notably in Acts 2:16-20. In fact,
each time the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New
Testament, the prophecy of Joel is in the background.
In the next few lines, you will discover an important
but often overlooked truth relative to speaking in
tongues. After reading it, you may want to get an
expanded discussion of the topic.
The Gift of Tongues and Christ’s Return
Citing Joel’s prophecy Peter says, “This is that which
was spoken by the prophet Joel” alluding to the exercise
of the gift of tongue-speaking.
He affirmed that the role of the eschatological Spirit
continued until the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70,
(Acts 2:19, 20).
This he equated with Christ’s second coming,
Compare Matthew 24:29, 34; 1 Corinthians 1:7, 8.
What was key about tongue-speaking in the first century
is that it confirmed imminent judgment upon the nation
The Gift of Tongues and Judgment
Isaiah’s prophecy provides the context of judgment
citing that men of other lips (of a foreign language,
meaning the Assyrians, 8th century B.C.) would speak
to the rebellious house of Israel. (Isaiah 28:11, 12)
Paul correcting the first century church of the misuse
of tongue speaking cites this prophecy saying that
tongue speaking was a sign, not to believers but to
unbelieving Israel. In so doing, he alludes to the coming
judgment upon the ancient nation in A.D. 70, (1 Corinthians-
Such confirms that the modern state of Israel
has no place in prophecy and contrary to popular
opinion, absolutely nothing to do with the end-time.