Tonight I wanted to dig up some information on “tongues”, and went to the Internet to see what I could find. Unfortunately, there is nothing but argument and nonsense on that topic. Apparently, people abuse the “gift” (as it is called by men), pretending and masquerading on the hope that they are saved because they “have it”. Other experts say its all nonsense, or that it died with the disciples, or that there has to be a crowd or that there can only be a few. All absolute rubbish. The ‘two or at most three’ thing is Paul commenting on speaking in an assembly of men and Paul talked and talked and talked. Personally, I cannot imagine speaking the language in the presence of anyone at all. I do pray in church on Sabbath, but quietly. No one hears me except our Father.
Public prayer is not what the language is all about.
I read comments in forums, and opinions on websites. I read scriptures galore about “tongues” and unknown languages. I read Isiah and Acts and Corinthians and everything Paul said things that contemporary teachers have taught, and none of it was correct. Yes, Paul might have boasted that he spoke in tongues more than an entire church, but he didn’t say much about what it actually was, did he?
Whatever happened at Pentecost was for the tourists and visiting Jews who spoke foreign languages. They heard Truth in their own language, but that was not “tongues.” Bear in mind that there are only a couple of English words that are sufficient here: ‘tongues’ or ‘tongue’ and ‘language’. So those words have to do in order to cover the broad issue of verbal communication between people foreign to one another, and this ‘gift’ thing.
One of the writers I read was Ray Stedman. If you have been in the business of Truth for very long, you have read something that Mr. Stedman wrote. He has been online publishing forever, and I suppose he is a pretty fine fellow. But when I got about seven percent into his article I knew for sure that he, like every other opinion I found tonight, did not have a clue what the tongue is.
That does not mean that there are not some inspired writings on this subject, just that after looking at several pages of search links and reading several pages of comments, forums, articles and sermons, I came up empty.
So I wrote Mr. Stedman a letter and wanted to share that letter with you here tonight. His article, titled “The False Gift of Tongues” is linked.
Dear Mr. Stedman, I appreciate your hard work moving forward with the gospel in this wicked world. I have known of you for many, many years and you are a diligent servant. Yet I have this to say to you regarding the language of the Spirit: you do not understand the nature of the gift.
In order to understand me here, I must tell you of my experience many, many years ago. I was 19 years old, a military policeman on a missile test range in New Mexico. One evening I was the “desk sergeant”, meaning I was the patrol leader for that shift, operated the radio and sat in a chair drinking bad coffee.
That evening I happened to take with me to my desk duties a bible that my aunt had mailed to me. I was the antithesis of a “christian”. I did not believe any more than most humans believe. Maybe there was a god. Maybe not, and did it matter? I didn’t think so.
I opened the book to Romans, because it was about the Roman army, right? I was in the army so it had to be pretty interesting.
But no. Instead, I read from a random place in chapter 5 of the Living Bible that said “that we might become all that God has in mind for us to be.”
I read it a couple of times and it spoke to me. It got my attention. And at nearly that same moment my patrol came in the front door of our MP station. We were in the desert of New Mexico in the late 1970’s and the door was open 24 x 7 unless there was a sand storm or if it was freezing cold. His name was Cohen, and I asked him for the keys to the jeep and told him to take the desk until I returned.
It was dark. Late, around midnight. I drove a few miles out into the desert and then up onto a great earthen blast shield and parked the jeep. I got out of the jeep in that inky black night and looked up at the stars. The stars that night were many, and brilliant. The sky was completely cloudless and there were bright stars on 360 degrees all the way to the horizon. As I looked up at them I realized that they looked exactly like a giant, upside down bowl of stars. A dome, if you will. I could easily make out the curve of that canopy of stars.
And then my arms went up. I reached out to the sky and started praying in my heart. My mouth opened and the wildest sounds came from my lips. I went on like that for a long time, weeping and sobbing and my whole body shook violently. A conscious thought was that I had simply lost my mind, but the words flowed from my mouth in a torrent, and the shaking was unstoppable.
After some time, the event subsided and I drove back to the MP station. I walked in and told Cohen to get back on patrol, and he looked at me with the oddest, questioning expression on his face as he got up and walked out.
I did not know what happened for about a year, but after I was discharged from the army I returned to my home town and visited a church. During the service people were invited to receive the “holy ghost” and I wanted that so I went into the designated room where a fellow told me to put my hands up. I did and he placed his hand on my forehead and immediately I started with the same language and the same shaking, but to a much smaller degree.
I stopped, looked at him and said “Hey! I’ve done this before.”
My point is that I was filled with the spirit of Yahuah even though I was alone, uninformed, and not seeking it or anything like it. I never went to church, never prayed and lived a sinful, party life. I had no connection to Yahuah except for the fact that I was baptized when I was 12 at church camp at the urging of my older cousin.
I still pray in the spirit. The language evolves and has changed over the decades. Sometimes I do recognize words, Hebrew words. Very few but I hear them and I also am aware of my thoughts as I pray. I am conscious of the direction and content of my prayers.
I love Him. He is always with me and I live for His Truth. I was sealed in Him that night in the desert, and my “tongue” is our purest channel of communication. Its for me more than it is for Him. His language, the sealing of me in Him – He comforts me and reminds me that I am His. His presence is here with me now. He is here.
His sealing, this “tongue” thing, the way He gave it to me, the way that He made me His – its all real. It is all His doing. He saved me when I did not know I needed saving. He just did it. When I read that scripture, it was the very first scripture that I ever took to heart – to become all that He has in mind for me to become.
It spoke to me, and was alive in me, and He called me into the desert to the top of that hill and sealed me forever as His son. The language is personal, private and meaty. It has muscle in it. Strength. There is power in it and the Truth finds its home in me.
I hope someday you can experience this. Then you will know Truth.
Peace to you. May the Truth abide within you.
I love you. If you are suffering, I suffer with you. If you are sad, I am saddened with you. If you are alone, I am alone with you. If you are hungry, I hunger with you. If the love of the Truth is in you, you will never be alone.