Tongues are For a Sign
Purpose #1: Tongues are a Sign
According to the World Christian Database, at least a quarter of the world’s 2 billion Christians (7.75% of the worlds pop.) are thought to be members of … (Pentecostal or Charismatic) faiths, which emphasize such spiritually renewing “gifts of the Holy Spirit” as speaking in tongues, divine healing and prophesying.
Are tongues for today?
Have tongues ceased?
What are the four biblical purposes of tongues?
If tongues are for today, do they always need to be interpreted?
What about 1 Corinthians 14?
Somebody told me tongues are of the devil?
This question was answered by Jesus Himself in
Luke 11:11-13 KJV
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
If someone is praying to receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus has promised that you will not receive a scorpion!
Now the devil obviously knows more than one language, and if someone is demon possessed, they may speak another language, but that does not detract from the fact that in every case in Scripture where people spoke in tongues, it was a result of the Spirit of God.
1. Prophecies of the Holy Ghost
19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart
out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my
people, and I will be their God.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little,
and there a little:
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the
refreshing: yet they would not hear.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and
your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day
of the LORD come.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall
speak with new tongues;
18.They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay
hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him
come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost
was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto
me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
2. The fulfillment of the prophecies
The key to understanding the first purpose of tongues is acts chapter 2:
2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house
where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that
every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and
Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and
all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men
shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of
the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Peter equates speaking in tongues with the outpouring of the Spirit!
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of
the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit
thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye
have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of
the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the
Lord our God shall call.
But don’t you automatically receive the Holy Ghost when you believe?
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing
the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and
many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and
bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of
11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name
of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and
wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God,
they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he
offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God
may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
What did Simon see or hear that caused him to offer the apostles money?
10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and
prayed to God alway.
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and
saying unto him, Cornelius.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy
prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou
oughtest to do.
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because
that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as
well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry
19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper
coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We
have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with
tongues, and prophesied.
In every example in Scripture, when people received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues, or it is
strongly implied that they did so.
1 Cor 14:21-22
21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet
for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but
prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.