People adhering to the Christian faith value the works of the Holy Spirit the most, and among these works, “the gift of speaking in tongues” is frequently mentioned. Believers insist that gibberish such as “sha-na-hoya,” “lana kanna saee yahai” or “Eh-comdeka-kakakubra akori” can be used in a conversation with God. Through this article, let’s understand what “speaking in tongues” means, and what is the way to communicate with God.
The Truth About Speaking in Tongues
The Origin of Speaking in Tongues
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Speaking in tongues is something that took place 2,000 years ago during the feast of the Pentecost. On the day of his ascension, Jesus told His disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they received the gift that God had promised them, that was the power of the Holy Spirit. The day on which the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit was the day of Pentecost. On that day, the disciples displayed the gift of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues and many people were born again in Christ.
The history of speaking in other tongues began this way and also signified being a special person in the Christian community during those days. It was believed that if you received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, then you must be a blessed person chosen by God.
1 Corinthians 12:28-31 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
In a church, there are pastors, missionaries, deacons and other people with assigned duties established by God, and God gives them gifts that are appropriate for their duties. Because of this, some of the believers at that time, who liked to boast about themselves, began to say that they had experienced speaking in tongues and they began to speak unintelligible words that no one could understand nor were they speaking any language spoken in this world. As a defense, some Christians today claim that “speaking in tongues” literally means “speaking in heavenly languages.”
As a result, since the church’s growth started to concentrate on the outer appearance of the church rather than on the basis of the Bible, “tongues that no one could understand” were created. This was in an effort to gather as many people as possible to a particular church and preachers established that “speaking in tongues” was a prerequisite to determining if God was with them. Those who spoke in tongues gained fame and also drew many believers to their church. This kind of marvelous and miraculous deed was very effective in leading people to gather in the church.
Today, several Pentecostal, Evangelical and Catholic Churches teach that speaking in tongues is something that people cannot understand, but only God can. They even go as far as to say that God created “speaking in tongues” as a way to communicate with God that the devil would not understand. However, we cannot find any history of using unintelligible words in the Bible. Nor does the Bible express that “tongues” are “angelic words” or “heavenly language.”
Other Tongues Mean Foreign Languages
“Tongues,” as testified in the Bible, indicates “foreign languages” that exist on this earth. Genesis, which contains the history of God’s creation, clearly shows God saying that tongues mean foreign languages.
Genesis 10:5 from these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.
After God punished mankind through Noah’s flood, he allowed Noah numerous descendants and from them came many nations and tribes, and God gave each nation and tribe a different language. We can see that tongues are language structures that differ based on social class and region. Let’s see some Bible verses about this:
2 Kings 18:28 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew (the Jews’ language, KJV): Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria!
Nehemiah 13:24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah.
Isaiah 19:18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction.
We can see through these verses that tongues are languages used in certain regions. The Bible does not define “speaking in tongues” as “saying things that people cannot understand.” Even the apostles, who spoke in tongues after they had received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, did not speak words that people could not understand. Rather, the people who came from different regions were able to understand what they were saying.
Acts 2:5-7 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”
When you continue reading the verse, you will see that these men came from around 13 different countries, yet they were all able to understand what the disciples were saying in their own language. This shows that the tongues the disciples spoke during the Pentecost are not the same unintelligible words that churches today claim to speak. The work of speaking in tongues means preaching the words of God to unbelievers with languages that exist on this earth.
“But in the Church, I would rather speak five intelligible words…than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
Apostle Paul claimed to speak in tongues, however, he said that he would rather speak in words that others are able to understand rather than in a language that no one would understand.
1 Corinthians 14:18-19 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
The tongues that Apostle Paul was referring to in the letter to the Corinthians were not gibberish, but actual languages that Apostle Paul spoke.
Acts 21:40 Having received the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic:
Acts 14:11 When the crowd saw that Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”
Apostle Paul also received the gift of speaking in tongues through the Holy Spirit of God, yet they were not gibberish full of unintelligible words. Instead, Apostle Paul was fluent in several languages such as Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Lycaonian languages.
Speaking in Tongues Was a Gift to Preach the Gospel to the Whole World
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
After Jesus resurrected, He gave His disciples an important mission: to preach the gospel to all nations of the world. For this reason, after the feast of Pentecost, Christ gave His disciples the gift of speaking in tongues so that they could carry out the duty He entrusted to them.
One thing we should pay attention to when we see the works of the apostles is that they received the gift of speaking in tongues after keeping God’s feast, the Day of Pentecost. Nevertheless, if people say that they’ve received the gift of speaking in tongues without keeping the feast of Pentecost, they are clearly lying. God will never give any gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who do not keep God’s holy feasts.
Today, in accordance with the words of Christ, the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG), which was established by Christ Ahnsahnghong, fulfills the works of what speaking in tongues after receiving the Holy Spirit really means. The WMSCOG has established branches in 2,500 locations in 175 countries.
Let us keep the feasts of God, and after receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, let us proclaim the glory of God to the whole world.