Baptism with the Holy Spirit



8. Is it true that on the day of Pentecost tongues were given to evangelize?




No, it isn’t. Let me explain why.

Now, Luke says: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13). First of all, note that those Jews, devout men, came together “when they heard this sound“ (Acts 2:6 – NIV) like the blowing of a violent wind, thus they arrived to that place while the disciples were already speaking with other tongues through the Holy Spirit. And what were the disciples saying in other tongues? They were declaring the wonders of God. This was noticed by those Jews who came together and heard them, for they realized that they were speaking in their own languages the wonders of God. I would like you to notice that all the disciples of the Lord were speaking the wonders of God, each one of them in a foreign language, yet all of them were speaking the wonders of God. Can those wonders of God, which they were declaring, include also the Gospel those Jews needed to hear? The answer is ‘no’. Why? Because the Gospel was preached to those Jews in the Hebrew language (the language they all could understand) by Simon Peter when he stood up with the eleven (after he heard some making fun of them saying ‘they are full of new wine’). Here is what Peter preached to them: “Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 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: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain [you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross]: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hades], neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell [Hades], neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 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. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:14-36).

Now, I say this: ‘If the about one hundred and twelve were preaching the Gospel in other tongues to those Jews, don’t you think that Peter did not need to preach the Gospel to those Jews in the Hebrew language? Therefore, the disciples of Jesus, through their speaking in tongues were not addressing the unbelievers. And this is confirmed by the fact that those Jews were pricked in their heart after they heard the sermon that Peter preached to them in their language, as it is written: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart ….” (Acts 2:37), and not when they heard them speaking in their own languages the wonders of God. On that occasion they were amazed and perplexed, but not pricked in their heart. Only when they heard Peter saying that Jesus, whom they had crucified, had been raised from the dead by God and made both Lord and Christ, were they pricked in their heart. And also by the fact that those Jews spoke to Peter and the other apostles these words: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), for if those Jews had already heard the Gospel in their own languages they would surely have heard that they had to repent and be baptized in the name of Christ, while the fact that after they had heard them speaking with other tongues they did not know what they had to do means that in those words the disciples spoke in other tongues was not included what the Jews had to do in order to be saved; it was after Peter preached the Gospel to them in the Hebrew language that they heard what they had to do.

To believe that tongues are given in order to preach the Gospel is a mistake that many believers made at the beginning of the twentieth century in the United States of America when the Pentecostal revival broke out. For they believed that the tongues which they had received with the baptism with the Holy Spirit were for the purpose of evangelization and thus some of them went to foreign countries thinking that they would preach with those tongues, but after some time they returned to their country very disappointed.

This mistake is still made by some believers for they don’t know the following words of Paul: “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God” (1 Corinthians 14:2). Please note how Paul says very clearly that tongues are directed toward God and not toward men.