Friday, June 29, 2012

Gifts of the Spirit Explained: Prophecy & Tongues

Prophesy is the first of the three Spoken Gifts of the Spirit. The literal definition of prophesy is to foretell by divine inspiration. 2 Peter 1:21 says “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”. This is seen many times throughout the bible. As we looked at earlier in the book of Ezekiel. When men prophesy, the words they speak about the future are given to them directly by God.
Different kinds of tongues
Tongues is the second of the three Spoken Gifts of the Spirit. Mark 16:17-18 says “these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues”. The gift of tongues was first seen in the bible in Acts chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit came swiftly into the room where one- hundred disciples were gathered. Acts 2:4 says “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (this passage will further be explained in the next Holy Spirit Blog Post).
Although most of the times, the words being uttered through the gift of tongues cannot be understood by men, we can be assured that what is being said is of the Holy Spirit. Therefore whatever is being spoken is sure to be within the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 describes tongues as the Holy Spirit making intercession for us through “groans” that we ourselves cannot utter:
26- Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27- Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God
One of the benefits of the gift of tongues is that although we may not know how to design our own prayers to always be for what the Father planned specifically for our individual lives, the Holy Spirit uses tongues to intercede for us according to the will of God in that way.
Another benefit of tongues is that it builds our faith. It is arguably the hardest of all the gifts for a person to dispute within themselves. If a person who just starting out in faith receives a word of prophesy, a word of knowledge or wisdom, the interpretation of tongues, discernment or faith from the Holy Spirit it can be very hard for them to differentiate whether it is the Holy Spirit or their own imagination that generated the thoughts, ideas and words. Sometimes, even when the Holy Spirit performs a healing or a miracle, the human mind thinks so logically that we can tend to sometimes question the science behind what was done to determine whether it was truly the Holy Spirit or just a rare coincidence. However, when a person receives the gift of tongues it is extremely evident to them that the Holy Spirit is present. To be extremely descriptive here, the person literally is able to feel their tongue and mouth moving; knowing that they themselves are not moving it! For this reason, there are a lot of people who still don’t ever believe a person is filled with the Holy Spirit unless the person speaks or has once spoken in tongues! It is extremely hard to dispute that gift, especially from the perspective of the person who receives it. So much so, Jude 1:20 says that when we pray in the Holy Spirit we build up our most holy faith. (According to the book of Corinthians, praying in the spirit means speaking in tongues. See in context 1 Corinthians 14:15-16)

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