Gifts of the Holy Spirit



8. Have tongues ceased?




No, they have not ceased at all and will not cease until perfection has come. Here is what Paul says to the Corinthians: “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Why will tongues cease when perfection has come?

Because since he that speaks in other tongues speaks to God for in the Spirit he speaks mysteries (that is, things unknown to him) and when perfection has come there will be no more mysteries, because knowledge will vanish away or rather because then we shall know fully, tongues will be no longer useful. On the contrary, today tongues are useful because through them, by the Holy Spirit, we pray for the saints, pleading with God to do certain things on their behalf (the mysteries Paul speaks about), without knowing their needs and often without knowing the brothers for whom we pray. I ask you, ‘If we knew all the brothers who live in this world and all their needs, both material and spiritual needs, and we knew all the distresses in which they find themselves during their life, would we need the help of the Spirit? That is to say, do you think that it would be necessary for the Holy Spirit to pray for the saints through our mouth? Don’t you think that we wouldn’t need the help of the Holy Spirit? However, since we don’t know what we should pray for as we ought, that is, on many occasions we don’t know what to ask God on behalf of a brother we know or we don’t know (for instance, on behalf of a brother who lives in Niger), then the Spirit meets our need, that is to say, He helps in our weaknesses by praying for the brother who is in need.

Another reason why tongues shall cease when perfection has come is this: through tongues we pray to God for the saints, but when perfection has come there will be no need to pray for the saints because there will be no more material and spiritual needs, so it will be no longer necessary for the Holy Spirit to pray for them (in other tongues) with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Another reason why tongues will cease on that day is this: tongues are for a sign to them that believe not, as it is written: “Tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers” (1 Corinthians 14:22 – NKJV). When the Scripture states that tongues are a sign for unbelievers, it means that tongues are useful to call their attention to the Gospel and to lead them to believe in the Gospel. However, when perfection has come the door of grace will be closed, that is, men will not be able to repent and to believe in the Lord any longer, therefore the sign of tongues will be useless. Also all the other signs and wonders which now accompany the preaching of the Gospel (Mark 16:17-20) and whose purpose is to make men obedient, that is, to lead them to obey God (Romans 15:18-19), will be useless.

Therefore, in the light of the above mentioned reasons, which are confirmed by the Holy Scripture, we reject all those pronouncements of some recognized church leaders spanning 1,600 years of Church history, according to which ‘tongues have ceased.’

In conclusion I say this: all those who teach that tongues have ceased are mistaken. No matter who they are, what church they belong to, how many degrees in theology they possess, how much famous they are, they are mistaken. Let no one of them deceive you with empty words.