The Pentecostal Gift of the Holy Spirit with Tongues

The Pentecostal Gift of the Holy Spirit with Tongues

Pentecostals get their name from the Biblical Day of Pentecost in which God poured out His Holy Spirit upon about 120 disciples on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two. Pentecostals believe that the same gift of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues “as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4)” which was first received at the inauguration of the New Testament Church on the Day of Pentecost is still promised for all true believers in the last days, even until the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The Day of Pentecost, The Birth of The New Testament Church

It was not without significance that God made the disciples wait until the day of Pentecost to receive the full new birth experience “of the water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5). Pentecost literally means fifty. The number fifty is used in scripture to symbolically represent liberty as in the year of Jubilee. Every fiftieth year, slaves were liberated, debts cancelled, and liberty was proclaimed throughout the land. Paul wrote, “…where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Moreover, it was at Pentecost that Israel first received the Law of God at Mount Sinai just fifty days after departing from Egypt at Passover. In like manner, the New Testament disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to write His laws in their hearts just fifty days after Passover (Christ's Death). Hence, the Law was given physically on the Old Covenant Day of Pentecost as a type of what was to come when the Law would be given spiritually on the New Covenant Day of Pentecost. Great and marvellous is the wisdom of God who masterminded so great a salvation for His people.

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make ... says the Lord, I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS …” (Jeremiah 31:33)

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, and cause you to walk in my statutes…” Ezekiel 36:26-27.

The Jews have always referred to the Day of Pentecost as “The Feast of the Giving of the Law,” or “The Birthday of Judaism.” Likewise, the Day of Pentecost speaks to the New Testament Believers as the first day of the proclamation of “The Law of Liberty” (See James 1:25) and the Birthday of the New Testament Church.

Pentecost was known as “The Feast of Harvest” (See Exodus 23:16; 34:22) i.e. “wheat harvest.” Spiritually speaking, Pentecost denotes a time of celebration and great joy for the great harvest of the souls of mankind which would be born into the New Testament Church.

The Necessity of Receiving The Holy Spirit With Tongues

The Prophet Isaiah spoke of the promise of the Holy Spirit when he prophesied in Isaiah 28:9-12: “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from the milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line. Here a little, there a little. For WITH STAMMERING LIPS AND ANOTHER TONGUE HE WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, to whom he said, THIS IS THE REST WITH WHICH YOU MAY CAUSE THE WEARY TO REST, AND THIS IS THE REFRESHING; yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:9-12).”

We find a marvellous correlation of scripture when we compare Isaiah’s prophecy with Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-29. Jesus is the one who causes “THE WEARY TO REST” through the supernatural experience of speaking in stammering lips and another tongue. “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

The rest and refreshing of God speaking to His people with stammering lips and an unknown tongue is consistent with Jesus' description of the birth of the Spirit in John 3:5-8:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God … Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The WIND blows where it wishes, and YOU HEAR THE SOUND OF IT, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. SO IS EVERYONE WHO IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:5-8)

The original Greek word translated as “wind” is Pneuma. The word pneuma literally means “Spirit,” “wind,” or “breath.” In every other place where the word pneuma is used throughout the Greek New Testament, it is translated into English as the word “Spirit,” except in this one instance. Hence, the more literal and consistent Greek rendering of this passage in the Emphatic Greek Diaglott renders John 3:8 as follows: “The Spirit breathes (pneuma) where it will, and YOU HEAR ITS VOICE ... THUS IT IS WITH EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN BORN OF THE SPIRIT.(John 3:8, Emphatic Greek Diaglott)

The J. P. Green Interlinear Bible (which is consistent with most other literal word for word Interlinears) also renders John 3:8 as follows: “The Spirit breathes where He desires, and YOU HEAR HIS VOICE but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes - SO IS EVERYONE WHO HAS RECEIVED BIRTH FROM THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:8, J. P. Green Interlinear Bible)

What is Jesus talking about when he said that “The Spirit breathes … and you hear its voice?” Surely, he is not talking about a believer making a verbal confession of faith. This cannot be said to be the Spirit's Voice. There is something else that Jesus is talking about in which everyone must receive to receive the birth of the Spirit. The only supernatural phenomenon found in the Bible in which God's Spirit blows or breathes upon His people and you hear the Spirit's sound or voice is speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance.

Acts 2:1-4 says, “When the Day of Pentecost had 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 the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.(Acts 2:1-4 - NKJV)

On the day of Pentecost, the early believers in Jesus heard the sound of “a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2) which was obviously a supernatural sign that the Spirit of God was anthropomorphically breathing His Spirit presence into His followers. Then the next verse says (Acts 2:3), “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with others tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).”

Here we find that the Spirit of God “breathes” or “blows” His Divine Presence down on believers and the Spirit’s voice was heard when the believers began to speak words (other languages/tongues) “as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Since it was “the Spirit” who “gave them utterance,” we know that it was the indwelling Holy Spirit of God speaking through the disciples. Thus we can clearly link the “voice” of “the Spirit” being heard when New Testament believers received the new birth of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

The Spirit breathes (pneuma) where it will, and YOU HEAR ITS VOICE ... THUS IT IS WITH EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:8, Emphatic Greek Diaglott)

The Spirit breathes where He desires, and YOU HEAR HIS VOICE but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes - SO IS EVERYONE WHO HAS RECEIVED BIRTH FROM THE SPIRIT.” (John 3:8, J. P. Green Interlinear Bible)

Jesus stated in Mark 16:17 that one of the signs that shall follow them that truly believe upon Christ as the scriptures have said would be that “THEY WILL SPEAK WITH NEW TONGUES.”

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name, they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues…(Mark 16:17 - NASB)

Peter later testified to his Jewish brethren that the angel further said to Cornelius that the apostle Peter “SHALL TELL YOU WORDS, WHEREBY YOU AND ALL YOUR HOUSE SHALL BE SAVED.” (Acts 11:14)

Cornelius and those who were with him obeyed the angels instructions and sent for Peter who preached salvation through believing in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 10:43-47 give us the following account of the conversion of Cornelius, his household, and his cohorts: “To Him all the prophets witness that through His name, whosoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. While Peter was still speaking these words, THE HOLY SPIRIT FELL UPON ALL THOSE WHO HEARD THE WORD. And those of the circumcision (the Jews) who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT HAD BEEN POURED OUT ON THE GENTILES ALSO. FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES and magnify God. Then Peter answered, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT just as we have.” (Acts 10:43-47)

We find that the Jews knew that the Roman Gentiles had received “the gift of the Holy Spirit” because “they heard them speak with tongues.” In the conversion account of the Roman Gentiles, there is nothing to justify a belief in a new birth of the Spirit prior to receiving “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” How then did the believing Jews which came with Peter know that the Gentiles had received the gift of the Holy Spirit? The only scriptural answer which is consistent with Jesus' statement, “The Spirit breathes where it will and you hear its voice … thus it is with everyone who has been born of the Spirit” is hearing “them speak with tongues” as “the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Hence, there can be no doubt that the believing Jews were convinced that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit when they “heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” True Bible believing Christians should have the same faith in the words of Jesus and the apostles to receive the “same gift … as he gave” to the early Jewish and Gentile converts “when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Those who say that a verbal confession alone automatically causes one to receive the Holy Spirit must ask why the Bible is silent about such a belief. The scriptures say that a believer is to “Repent and be baptized … and he shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).” When we compare Acts 2:38 with Acts 8:12-16, we find that the believing Samaritans were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus but did not receive the Holy Spirit until Peter and John came down from Jerusalem.

“Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:15-17 - KJV)

Inspired Scripture does not say the moment one believes that he automatically receives the Holy Spirit. The scriptures plainly declare that all who would lawfully enter God's Kingdom must “Repent and be baptized” and they “shall receive the gift Holy Spirit.” This is consistent with Jesus' own words found in Luke 11:5-13.

“And He said to them, which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him; Friend, lend me three loaves … I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, YET BECAUSE OF HIS PERSISTENCE he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you … how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those WHO ASK HIM!” (Luke 11:5-13)

The context of Luke chapter eleven indicates that a confession of Jesus Christ as Lord or repentance does not automatically impart the Holy Spirit. Jesus instructed his followers to have faith and persistence in asking God their Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit which implies that receiving the gift of the Spirit does not automatically come in a prayer of repentance.

The apostle Paul’s teaching confirms that receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is not automatically imparted upon faith and repentance because our faith in Jesus Christ is demonstrated when we believe and are baptized into his name (Mark 16:16 – “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved”).