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Written by Patrick Hawthorne for “SGM” @ http://servinggrace.com
Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 3)
By Patrick Hawthorne
In Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 1) I wrote that, in the Word, there are four distinct operations of tongues. To recap…
Tongues for personal edification (Man speaking to God)
Tongues for intercession (Man speaking to God)
Gift of Tongues with Interpretation (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)
Tongues for a sign to unbelievers (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)
In Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 2) I explained why I believe it is to every believer’s benefit to speak in a prayer language.
In this particular post, I would like to offer an explanation of why I personally believe that God chose to give New Covenant believers the ability to speak with Tongues. By no means am I dogmatic in this explanation and welcome feedback.
For us to begin, we must first go back to the Garden of Eden. Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve lived in heaven come down to earth. As such, Adam operated only on a plane of faith. He knew nothing other than the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I can only imagine the conversations Adam had with our Heavenly Father.
With what language they communicated is unknown to us. There is speculation that it was a pure form of what later became the Hebrew language. I don’t believe this to be the case for several reasons, but it matters little for this post. One thing that I do know is that the language was pure and undefiled; it was heavenly in its origin – that is until the fall.
After the fall, the world was turned upside down. Faith became fear, life became death, and love became hate. We see the immediate effect of the fall because Adam suddenly went from having a reverential fear of the Lord to SPEAKING of being afraid of the Lord (Gen 3:10). This heavenly language was now defiled and no longer pure. Furthermore, the direct line of communication had been severed. Notice that God had to call to Adam, saying, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9.)
Following the fall in the garden, Adam and Eve were forced out of Eden (Gen 3:22). Yet, one thing they obviously took with them was their heavenly language which had now become defiled. As mankind grew, evil grew. Eventually, because the evil of man became so great, the Lord flooded the earth destroying mankind, save Noah and his family. (Gen 6). Despite the flood, one thing that was not destroyed was the now defiled heavenly language.
Fast forward a couple of hundred years, give or take, and we find Nimrod, the great grand-son of Noah. Nimrod leads the populace to build a tower to the heavens in order to make a name for themselves. (Gen 11:4).
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. (Gen 11:5-8 bold mine)
Did you get that? The Lord Himself said, “…Now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” Exaggeration is a lie and God cannot lie. God knew that, because of their defiled heavenly language and defiled hearts, what man proposed to do would not be withheld from them. What was the solution? It was to rid man of this language by confusing their speech. Babel was the last time that man spoke with that Heavenly language.
So, let us now get to the part of why I believe that Tongues are for everyone who is willing to receive. The promise of tongues is mentioned in several places in the Old Testament. However, in one place in particular, the promise is undeniable.
“For then I will restore to the peoples (nations) a pure language that they all may call on the name of the Lord, TO SERVE HIM WITH ONE ACCORD.” (Zephaniah 3:9 bold/underline mine).
Notice the word, “Restore.” To restore something means to bring back – to reestablish. In other words, to restore a pure language meant that at one time there was a pure language. As I wrote in part 2 of this series, “When we pray in a prayer language (Tongues) – one that is specific to the individual as given by the Holy Spirit – we are able to pray out secrets that would have remained secret if not for the revelation by God. When we pray in Tongues, nothing that is proposed will be withheld because it is God’s perfect will.
Some might argue that this pure language will be given after Jesus returns to set up his Kingdom of earth. Others might argue that this pure language is meant for Israel alone and will be a purified form of the Hebrew language. Honestly, neither of those suggestions makes sense to me. Why then would God give us Tongues for the here and now? Tongues are a pure and undefiled heavenly language given to the body of Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, as a way of direct communication with the Father while removing personal bias.
I will end with this…Why do you think the devil strives to get a hold of our tongues; the way we talk? Why do you think he loves it when we say foolish things such as, “That scared me to death,” or “I just know I’m going to get sick this flu season?” It is because words have power. Therefore, pure words have pure power.
In my next post, my plan is to tell my story of how I came to speak in Tongues. Until then, be blessed.