*ANGELS’ TONGUES OR NATIONAL LANGUAGES?*
Here are some thoughts on the subject of ”tongues”; students are free to believe otherwise but can’t practice or promote other opinions on the college’s premises.
Etymology: *Greek word ”glossa”* means ”tongue” as organ and also ”spoken language”*. In Acts2/5-11 there are listed 16 nationalities that heard ‘the wonderful things of God in our own mother tongues (languages)’; in Revelations it speaks of ‘people from every tribe and tongue (languages)’: 5/9, 7/9, 10/11, 11/9, 13/7, 14/6, 17/15. ”Glossa” means always *national language* in Acts and in Revelations. In modern English usage of ancient word ‘tongue’ denoting the action is replaced by ‘language’ and ‘tongue’ should only be used for the organ. French and Romanian translate ‘tongue’ (as organ) and ‘language’ using the same word, just as in Greek.
*Some believe that speaking in angelic languages is a proof of having received the Holy Spirit* but 1Cor.12/29-30 says: ”are they all apostles?…are they all teachers?…DO THEY ALL SPEAK IN LANGUAGES?” The answer to all these question is NO!! Therefore not all Christians receive the gift of speaking in languages. True assurance of having received the Holy Spirit is seen in Rom8/9 and Galatians 5/22-23, not in speaking in languages. In many situations in Acts languages are not mentioned when some received the Holy Spirit as in Acts8/14-17, Acts8/38. In Mark 16/17-18 Jesus says that those who believe in Him shall speak in new languages, but it also says that they will also cast out devils, heal the sick, drink poison and will not be harmed; I do believe in these promises of Jesus, but all these miracles do not happen to all Christians and at all times. (In Romanian prisons many Christians have been killed by poisoning. If you pretend to speak in angels’ languages, please do not drink poison to prove to me that you truly speak in tongues!)
*Some believe they speak in angels’ languages*, using 1Cor13/1 but there Paul says: ”though (if) I would speak in languages of humans and of angels”, word ‘though’ is ἐάν in Greek, it is a conditional particle, correct translation is ”if”’ not ‘though”;the same word is translated ”if” in: Mat4/9, 5/13, 5/23, 6/14, Rom7/3 and in other 290 verses. Romanian and French bibles translate it ”if”, not ”though”. The conditions: ‘if I would speak in languages of men and angels’, ‘if I knew all mysteries and all knowledge’ (and Paul didn’t know all mysteries, see 1Cor8/2 and 13/9, also surely he didn’t have all knowledge – ‘gnosis’ in Greek, which means science), ‘if I would have all the faith so as to move mountains’ , all these mean: ‘if I had these – and I don’t – but I have not love, I am nothing’. Paul didn’t say he spoke in languages of angels but simply said, ‘if I did speak in all the human languages and in languages of angels but I have not love, I am nothing’. His point is that love is more important than speaking in all kinds of languages. Love is the much better way he spoke of in 1Cor12/31 and described in the following verses in chapter 13.
Paul said, ”If I spoke in human languages”…; there are 6600 languages in the world, but Paul didn’t speak all; in 1Cor14/18 he said he spoke in languages more than all the Corinthians combined, as in his travels he met peoples of different languages so God gave him by miracle the capacity to speak many languages to preach the Gospel to many.
*1Cor14 gives more details on the subject:*
–v2 he who speaks in another language is not understood by others that do not speak that language; part b of the verse says ”*nobody understands him*” because the respective language is unknown to them, so he should talk to God only
–v5 *he who preaches is greater than one speaking in a language* unknown to hearers, unless that language is translated and thus becomes preaching
–v6 what use to speak in a language that brings no benefit to the hearer?
–v7-11 all languages have words that can be understood, or else those languages are ”*speaking in the wind*”; Paul here addresses the pagan practice of gibbering, so called ‘languages’ by pagans (see further)
–v14 if I pray in a language (unknown to one speaking it, as understood from the context), then my spirit prays but the *mind does not benefit*: it is what happened in the Catholic church from around 600AD until 1965, as Latin was used in liturgy without most people understanding the Latin language, as it became slowly a dead language, out of use.
–v15 I desire therefore to pray with the spirit but also with my *understanding* (or mind, intellect, ”nous” in Greek) which implies a praying in a language that the speaker understands;
–v16 if you pray in a foreign language, how will *the unlearned* say ”Amen”? ”Unlearned” in Greek is ”idiotes”, meaning ”ignorant”, it implies that the unlearned has not learned that language which could be learned; if the speaker was speaking in a heavenly language of angels, instead of ‘ignorant’ it should have been said ”one lacking the gift of understanding”.
–v16,17 purpose of preaching or prayer, even in languages, is *edification* or teaching, which implies translation of language for understanding;
–v18 ”*I speak in languages more* than you all” combined–means that Paul spoke many languages; not in terms of time but of number of languages
–v19 better *5 understood words* than 10.000 in an unknown language
–v20 one that wants to speak in a foreign language without others understanding anything is *’childish’*, immature
–v21-25 for the unbeliever *languages are a sign* (‘miracle’, Greek word ”semeion”, used 77 times in New Testament); vain babbelings or gibbering are never a miracle for the unbeliever; a foreigner speaking in someone’s mother language without ever having learned the language is indeed a miracle; there are tribes of 100 people that are the only ones speaking a certain language on earth, so an outsider is easily recognized and him speaking perfectly their language without one of them teaching it unto him is a clear miracle that the unbeliever can’t deny.
Verse 21 quotes Isaiah28/11-12 where God promised to Israel the *miracle of speaking in languages* and He says that Israel will still not listen and indeed all Israel didn’t listen to God but accused the disciples of being drunk, only 3000 believed (see Acts2/1-41); the miracle of speaking in other national languages can happen at any time in God’s sovereign will and will happen again on a large scale as in Acts 2 in the near future after the rapture through the 144.000 Jewish evangelists (Rev7)
–v27 if some speak in (other) language, they should speak 2 or at the most 3, one after the other (not in the same time); *one should translate*
–v28 if there is no translator, *he should keep quiet* in the church; it means that tongues are not for personal use but for others’ benefit through teaching with the help of a translator. 1Cor12/7 says also that the gifts of the Spirit are for others’ benefit, not for personal benefit
–v32 *the spirits of the prophets are submitted to the prophets*,v33 for God is not the God of disorder or confusion; therefore one can’t stand at once in church and shout some ”new prophecy from God” mixing some ”tongues-babbelings” as many often do; speaking as a medium possessed by a spirit is not from God but from demons (1Sam28 the witch of Endor)
*OTHER POINTS TO PONDER:*
–Mat.6/7 Jesus forbids *vain repetitions* in prayer;
–all believers are *priests with free access* to God in prayer (1Pet2/5,9) without a need of a special miracle gift for prayer; many prayers are recorded in the Bible and all have understandable words, not in ‘tongues’ or babbling; read the prayer of Jesus in John17
–some say they pray in the language of angels so that Satan could not understand the prayer, forgetting that *Satan is an angel as well* (a fallen one of course), forgetting that *God is a loving Father* who hears and understands any language you speak (Shona, English, German or other) and He chases away demons to hear your prayer (James4/7, Mat4/10-11)
–many are *like Thomas*, in need of a miracle to support their faith but Jesus said, ”blessed are they that didn’t see (miracles) and believed”; many try to *manufacture miracles* by ”speaking in tongues” to convince themselves and others that they are spiritual.
People from ancient history wrote about the practice of ”babbling in an ecstatic state”, see Virgil of the first century writing about pagan priestess on the Isle of Delos, see also National Geographic Society in ”Greece and Rome” page 171, also Christian theologian Chrisostom wrote of such babbling of pagans in the 4th century; Joseph Smith, who started the Mormons’ cult, spoke in ”tongues” (see ”Speaking in tongues” by Joseph Dillow page 173); many false religions and past nations practice or have practiced ecstatic babblings: ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, Muslims, Mormons, Tibetans, Borneo cults, voodoo demon-worshipers in Benin; many Christians testified of ”speaking in tongues” even years before getting saved, when they did not have yet received the Holy Spirit (see testimonies gathered by Miles, in ”Introduction to Christian Doctrine”,p3; I personally also know of such testimonies).—