The Gifts of the Spirit
©1975 by Lee Stoneking
Printed in United States of America
Sixth Printing, 1999
About the Author
Reverend Stoneking, raised in an Iowa farm environment, fervently desired and sought all the status symbols that would signify worldly success. After achieving his goals, he discovered the emptiness of those achievements and possessions. Accepting an invitation to a Pentecostal Church, he found in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost all that his dissatisfied heart had yearned for!
Having graduated with highest honors from a leading Bible Institute and doing further pastoral, evangelistic, and spiritual study, he now writes this needful book on the Gifts of the Spirit for your study and spiritual instruction.
Reverend Stoneking, an ordained minister, is currently engaged in evangelistic campaigns around the world with great outpourings of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Signs, wonders, and miracles follow his ministry.
"At a time when there is such a phenomenal upsurge from many people of various denominations who have been filled with the Holy Ghost, it is extremely important that we be current and sensitive to all that God has planned for the New Testament Church. We feel that it is under the direction of God that Brother Stoneking has undertaken to set forth in a clear, relative, and lucid way the wonderful provisions possible through the Gifts of the Spirit. The author, a man who is not only theoretically but also experientially very knowledgeable of his subject, makes his book most desirable. I am most happy to recommend this book to you."
"Though my library consists of hundreds of books that are placed on shelves behind my desk, I have made a special place on my desk for this book alone! I am grateful that the author is not only a teacher of the principles set forth therein, but his ministry also projects the Gifts of the Spirit."
This book is affectionately dedicated to the knowledge and desire of the only True God, even Jesus Christ, who has for the benefit of all mankind condescended to human frailty in unspeakable love.
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
(I Timothy 1:17)
In appreciation for all those who have wept and prayed for me -- fasted for me -- loved me -- taught me -- counselled me -- and kept me before His Throne of Grace!
No names are mentioned here -- you know who you are, and it is enough that the Great 'Recorder' has credited to your account your spiritual touch upon my otherwise hopeless state. Thank you!
"The church needs the Gifts of the Spirit exquisitely adorned by the Fruit of the Spirit."
This book is not written as, nor does it claim to be, an exhaustive understanding, revelation, or practice of the Gifts of the Spirit, but rather it is written as a guide and skeletal presentation for the child of God who views a lost and dying world frozen against hypocrisy and lifeless theology, as it cries for the pulse of the first church which stood sovereign behind the impenetrable force of the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God.
Hopefully this book will fall into the hands of children of God who understand this kind of world need and by faith will apply the salve of this 'power ointment' to the wounds of an injured, diseased, and sin-stricken humanity.
This book deals specifically with the nine gifts mentioned in the Apostle Paul's I Corinthians 12:8-10. The great desire of Paul is found in verse one of chapter twelve, "...brethren, I would not have you ignorant." It is the goal of the author to continue to carry this burden of the Apostle Paul, removing ignorance and fear of the supernatural from among out people near and far.
The only reasonable explanation for the Apostles' tremendous authority and power is that they believed the Word of God and the Promises of God literally. If we are to have a book of Acts end time revival in this hour, then we will of necessity have to believe the Word and promises of God literally. To understand the Bible, we must first believe it literally and then spiritually.
May your life and/or ministry be anointed with Apostolic authority and power.
Respectfully, Lee Stoneking
The great error of the various tongues movements in our present day, outside of pure Apostolic Pentecostalism, is the lack of understanding between the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and the divers tongues mentioned in I Corinthians 12:10, more commonly called the gift of tongues. Most tongues movements misconstrue there two entirely different experiences to the be the same experience.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost of the gift of the Holy Ghost (the terms 'gift' and 'baptism' being used interchangeably in the book of Acts to mean exactly the same thing), is in reality the birth of the Spirit mentioned by Jesus in John 3:1-8, promised and further illustrated by Him in John chapters 14 and 15, and culminating in actual fulfillment of experience in Acts 2:4. Peter, one of the first recipients, boldly declared this experience to the whole world; hence, "...to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39).
The divers tongues or so call gift of tongues is one of the nine gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12:8-10, and consequently is an attribute of the indwelling Spirit, or we might say a product of the indwelling Spirit. The gift of tongues then is only present and operable if one has received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost which makes it possible to qualify for the gifts of the Spirit.
If one has spoken in tongues, it does not mean he has the gift of tongues, it means that he has received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and can properly identify with Apostolic first-church Christians.
On the other hand, you may have the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking with tongues and not have the gift of tongues through you speak with tongues at intervals in your Christian experience. Note Commentary on 'tongues' for further clarity.
Assuming then that all who read this book have received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking with tongues as in Acts 2:4 at the birthday of the church, let us go on to the gifts, or attributes, of that Spirit in one's life.
Regulating the Gifts
Many argue against the presence or the free operation of the Spirit because of the writings of Paul to the Corinthian Church. Paul's stern remarks are not remarks of attack against the gifts or their importance, but rather they are points of wise instructive regulation for greater overall church order and spirituality.
The Gifts of the Spirit within the Corinthian Church has obviously been abused and misused. If understood properly, the writings of Paul to the Corinthian Church help us to see the great need for supervision and regulation where the Gifts of the Spirit are concerned. Anything divine place in the hands of man is subject to error and misuse. The Gifts of the Spirit do not have to be made to work or forced to work, they work automatically when the Spirit of God is moving as a result of sincere fervent worship. Let me repeat, "The Gifts of the Spirit need constant regulation."
Understanding this need will then help us to see the great essentiality for having the Five-fold ministry among us (Ephesians 4:11). Apart from the regular ministries in the church, it behooves the pastors to appease the two guards who stand at the door through which all must pass if they are to be used supernaturally of God, namely Prayer and Fasting, gaining for themselves the Gifts of the Spirit in their own lives, thus qualifying them to be in a position for proper regulation and supervision of the workings and Gifts of the Spirit within their local congregations.
Paul admonishes us in I Corinthians 14:1 to desire spiritual gifts and in I Corinthians 12:31 we hear him say, "Covet earnestly the best gifts."
Possessing the Gift
"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of Operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (I Corinthians 12:4-6). These verses teach us that there are different gifts, different administrations, and different operations, but it is the same God or Spirit that worketh all in all. This illustrates to us that the Gifts of the Spirit are attributes of the Spirit of one God, though they be different in appearance, administration, and operation.
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal" (I Corinthians 12:7). Here in verse seven we are helped to understand that the manifestation of the Spirit (or the Gift of the Spirit) is given to every man or individual that all might profit. Hence, whatever gifts God has bestowed, or in whatever way the Spirit of God may have manifested Himself, it is all for the common benefit of the Church.
Some believe that the gifts are in the church as a whole and not in the lives of individuals on a resident basis. "...given to every man" in verse seven helps us to understand that the Gifts of the Spirit are imparted to individuals, and we further remember that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29). Once an individual is used by God with a particular gift, he can fully expect to be used again in the same manner, for the gifts of the Spirit are resident, and they are not imparted to us from God on a repentance basis.
If, as some say, the gifts are in the church and not resident in the lives of individuals, then there would never be a time when a message in tongues would come forth for church edification without an interpreter present to interpret, for God could use anyone in that congregation at His will. According to I Corinthians 14:27-28, if there be no interpreter present, then let the 'message giver' become silent, hence we understand that the gifts are resident and belong to individuals which God uses again and again. Within verse 8-10 of chapter 12 the Bible state, "for to one is given..., to another..., and to another given, etc.," signifying that the Gifts of the Spirit are literally given to individuals.
A person who has received the Holy Ghost automatically has the potential power to manifest the nine Gifts of the Spirit in his life as mentioned in chapter 12. It would be possible to possess all nine Gifts of the Spirit in one's life. The gifts are for anyone who desires and seeks them.
In conjunction with the above paragraph, we need to quote verse 11 of chapter 12. "But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." The word 'severally' means separately and distinctly, thus we understand again that the gifts are given to individuals, and that all nine of them are not showered down at once upon an individual, but rather they are divided separately to individuals as HE WILLS! There is a very definite indication here that the Will of God is directly involved where the distribution of the gifts into individual lives is concerned. With this insight into this particular scripture, we can see better the reasoning of Paul's statement, "But covet earnestly the best gifts" (I Corinthians 12:31). The Baptism of the Holy Ghost in one's life automatically fills one with the potential to obtain the nine Gifts of the Spirit which we are discussing. However, as in all aspects of our walking with the Lord and securing and obtaining from Him we are also involved with the perfect will of God in our lives which may deem us unworthy of or immature for the possession of some gifts. God is always careful to give us that with which we can be trusted. Our motives, dedication, and consecration are determining factors for God's "dividing to every man severally as He will."
The Gifts of the Spirit are set in the church carefully, intricately, and beautifully with great care and forethought as surely as the jeweler sets with artistic exactness and design that which becomes a priceless work of art. The dependence we have upon each other within the body or the church -- our place -- our setting -- is God's righteousness which makes us a collective body and not a separate individual entity without dependence upon other members of the body. No one is a church within himself, though the church is within him. We need each other!
"For the body is not one member, but many. If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet one body. Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts" (I Corinthians 12:14, 17-20, 30,31)
If God has graciously bestowed upon you His gifted touch and one or more of the Gifts of the Spirit have manifested themselves in your life, then you must continue to exercise faith toward God and His gift in you life. You must, in other words, possess the gift, as surely as Abraham was required to possess the land he walked upon (See Deuteronomy 3:18, 20; 4:1, 14, 22; 7:1 -- Note the emphasis on God's command to 'possess.')
We only really have what we possess and use! We must acknowledge God and self tat which God has given us. We must claim it is Jesus' Name and allow God to use us for His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom.
In possessing and claiming that which God has done for us, we are helping to destroy the greatest enemy of us all, 'doubt,' which in reality is only faith in reverse, and we know that without faith it is impossible to please God.
When the Gifts of the Spirit being to operate in your life there are stages you go through until complete understanding is developed. In the beginning when the Spirit of God begins to move upon someone to impart a gift of the Spirit, the individual may be hindered by feelings of fear, uncertainty, and a lack of boldness, to by faith become obedient to the unction of God and give forth that which the Lord wants to manifest. There is a definite need to understand that the body of Christ (His church) can't sit back and say, "Spirit, do it." The Spirit can't do it, you have to do it --you are the body and the Spirit of God works through the various members of that body. Hence, you and I must learn to recognize the voice of God in our lives, cultivating the Gifts of the Spirit learning as we go to perfectly cooperate and work with God, so that the Great Work of the Spirit within the church can progress with dignity and power, thus continuing the New Testament Church in our present age.
Division of Gifts
Beginning at verse eight of I Corinthians, chapter 12, the Gifts are listed in this order:
1) Word of Wisdom
2) Word of Knowledge
4) Gifts of Healing
5) Working of Miracles
7) Discerning of Spirits
8) Divers kinds of Tongues
9) Interpretation of Tongues
The Gifts of the Spirit can properly be divided into the three categories as follows:
To Know -- Revelation
Word of Wisdom
Word of Knowledge
Discerning of Spirits
These three gifts have to do with revelation from God, things that are revealed from God to us through His Spirit.
To Speak -- Utterance
Divers kinds of Tongues
Interpretation of Tongues
These three gifts deal with anointed utterances. Because these gifts are vocal, they are conspicuous and easy to identify, whereas you must look for some of the other gifts.
To Act -- Power
Gifts of Healing
Working of Miracles
These three gifts demonstrate the power of God -- they give credence to His reality and presence.
Let's look at these more closely:
To Know -- Revelation
WORD OF WISDOM
WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS
These three gifts have to do with revelation from God, things that are revealed from God to us through His Spirit. In order to understand the Word of Wisdom, perhaps it would be wise first to look at the Word of Knowledge and then progress to the Word of Wisdom.
The Word of Knowledge
Note carefully that the Bible does not state gift of knowledge but rather it states 'Word' of Knowledge. An unction of the Spirit can come to you imparting words of knowledge, facts from God about people, things, events, or places which you could not possibly know unless God told you. Let me repeat, the Word of Knowledge is simply facts imparted from God to you that you couldn't possibly know unless God told you. These facts can deal with the past, present, or future. The Word of Knowledge is insight, as if a curtain were drawn back and facts concerning people, things, events, or places are revealed.
For example, John on Patmos in the Book of Revelation knew the condition of the seven churches of Asia Minor by the Word of Knowledge, and he was able to give them the mind, will, and commands of God.
In Acts chapter five, verses one through ten, we find the Church in great revival and Peter distributing the funds brought by these zealous new converts who sold their possessions, bringing that price to the Apostles' feet, so that every man might receive according as he had need. Ananias with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession -- notice 'a possession' -- signifying that they had more than one possession, and even on this one kept back part of the price having agreed together in this lie. When Ananias came to Peter, Peter by the Word of Knowledge knew what had been done and so stated it to Ananias. Immediately upon the Word of Knowledge being executed, the judgment of God fell, Ananias was slain in the presence of all -- some three hours later Sapphira came in before Peter; upon his questioning and receiving lyings answers from the lips of Sapphira, the judgment of God was re-enacted whereupon she was slain, carried out, and buried beside her husband!
How did Peter know all of this? He knew by the Word of Knowledge -- facts from God -- insight from God. Imparted words of knowledge from God to God's man, and boldly stated, brought this manifestation of God's judgment, shaking that early church with great fear and respect fro Apostolic authority and power. This is the need of our day; and revival, real revival, will bring these things again into sharp focus, so that at the hands of the ministry, may signs and wonders will be wrought among the people bringing purity and holiness within!
How many times has a pastor known facts about the people and situations, and insight that staggered the understanding and comprehension of a soul who felt with all confidence that everything was covered over so well and no one would ever know? Oh, the marvelous potential power and understanding that God has for us if we would only believe and let God have His way!
One man of God, known to many of us, bought a city dump because the Lord said, "Someday a beautiful highway will go by there." He purchased it for very little, but in a short time it was quite valuable.
There is no gift of knowledge as such, but Oh, Lord, let us listen for the imparted Word of Knowledge from Thee that will save us hours of counselling, pain, grief, and tears. Just a few words, a sentence, a paragraph can change the direction and course of a lifetime!
The Word of Wisdom
After we have now studied the Word of Knowledge, we can better understand the Word of Wisdom, for the Word of Wisdom is simply knowing what to do with the facts, i.e., properaly applied knowledge.
The Word of Wisdom can be present or future imparted wisdom from God to direct -- a word of wise counsel -- the revelation of the purpose of God concerning people, things, or events. Again let me state that this wisdom can be present, future, or looking to the future.
For example, when Elisha received the facts concerning Naaman, the leprous Captain of Syria, he knew what to do with the facts. Properly applied knowledge became the wonderful wisdom of God as the Prophet gave the means and method whereby Naaman might be healed -- 'dip seven times in the River Jordan!' Elisha knew by the Wisdom of God what to do to achieve the desired result!
The Word of Wisdom is supernatural -- it is divine wisdom -- divine counsel.
Jesus knew the treachery of His enemies. More than once they had tried to trap Him, twist His words that they might take Him by some means. Luke 20:21 is such a setting as we hear them saying, "Master, we know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest Thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no?" Jesus, perceiving their craftiness and knowing factually that they sought to trick Him (for if He answered Yes, it would be in direct conflict with their religious laws and if He answered No, it would be in direct conflict with the political laws) simply said, "Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it?" They answered and said, "Caesar's." In verse 25 the wisdom of God was brought into sharp and explosive focus as the answer silenced their wicked tongues, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's and unto God the things which be God's. And they could not take hold of His words before the people; and they marvelled at His answer, and held their peace."
The author can remember specific times when upon pouring out problems to a man of God, the answer came so simply from his lips, the solution was so profound -- it made the problem seem like no problem at all, and he has marvelled at such wisdom. He has learned to look just beyond the man of God, and there over his shoulder, he has caught a glimpse of the Word of Wisdom smiling confidently at him. Such wisdom is too great for us, we marvel, we reach to attain, but it comes by a gentle unction of His divine presence, and we are made to sit at the feet of all wisdom, even His Majesty, the Holy Ghost, as He imparts those few words, those sentences, those paragraphs, and then He is gone. But the lingering awesomeness of His wisdom has saved us from the abyss of man's inabilities and weaknesses. Tears vanish, the smile returns, and with confidence, we turn and face our vanishing problems and find peace beneath our cross; the load is lighter, the climb is less steep, and we see the summit nearing.
How many times have we ministries listened to the impossible situations, the tangled lives, the facts -- Oh, the staggering facts and then with a sigh of helplessness began to speak; and marvelled at the wisdom coming from our lips speaking a solution that brought right out of wrong, straightness out of crookedness, and leveled mountains to the ground. We fail to claim it, to identify it, but could it be that the Word of Wisdom has flowed through you, and you failed to realize what it was? I believe so!
Discerning of Spirits
Contrary to the much heard expression, "They have the gift of discernment," there is no such thing as the gift of discernment to mean that one knows things or has insight into given situations. Many people misconstrue 'the gift of discernment' to mean the Word of Knowledge which we have already discussed. The Bible does not state that there is a gift of discernment, but rather it states Discerning of Spirits! There is definitely a gift of the Spirit, an unction from the Spirit of God upon one's being to impart to them the ability to discern spirits in the lives of others. I John 4:1 admonishes us to "...believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God...." thus, we can readily see Paul's proclamation of such power in one's life through the Gifts of the Spirit and John admonishing us to use it!
Discerning of Spirits allows us to know whether the spirit of a person is of God or not. There are spirits or demons of many kinds that attach themselves to people, either by oppression (a hovering lingering demon presence that seems to follow you wherever you go) or by possession (an actual entering in of the spirit of demon into one's body and taking possession of an individual, residing within the person and thus controlling him).
There are demons of alcohol, drugs, sex, cigarette smoking, hatred, jealousy, unclean spirits, etc. These spirits take advantage of the works of the flesh cited in Galatians 5:19-21 -- "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like...." A person living in this life without the born again presence of the Holy Ghost living in his heart to war against and subdue the works of the flesh can be approached by the oppressing or possessing power of demon spirits and find himself totally unequipped to resist them -- being in the end result, overcome by them. That person then will reflect the nature of that oppressing or possessing spirit. Many people commit acts of violence, live unbelievably immoral lives knowing that these things are wrong but they cannot help themselves, for they are, "Driven by some power," they say.
'Discerning of Spirits' enables us to identify these ungodly spirits in others, and if they want deliverance and escape from such dark powers, then we can call upon the all powerful Name of Jesus Christ through His shed blood at Calvary and rebuke with all authority, casting the spirits out and away leaving their victims free and fit receptacles for the Spirit of all Spirits, even the Baptism of the Holy Ghost!
In the ministry of Jesus throughout the Gospels we find Him dealing with deaf and dumb spirits, unclean spirits, and also note the many instances in the Gospels in which Jesus healed the diseased and afflicted by casting out demons, thereby overcoming the work of Satan. Note that in Matthew 8:16 Jesus healed all the sick who came to Him and cast out demons with His Word!
Sometimes who have to identify the name of the spirit before you can cast it out. You must ask what its name is! For example, one minister noticed that a young man had come to his pre-church prayer meeting and, in the midst of effectual fervent prayer from the members of his church, the demon powers threw the young man on the floor, only to find themselves under fire from the man of God who commanded them to come out. The demons spoke from within the young man and said, "We will not come out, you do not have the power to cast us out!" The minister, being full of the Holy Ghost and power, using the authority of Jesus' Name, commanded the know the names of the occupying demons. What a thrilling experience to hear the helpless demons reply, "We are sex, alcohol, and drugs." Adding further bluff they said, "And we will not come out." With some continued wrestling in prayer and a final command from the man of God, the demons cried out and said, "They always win, we will have to go!!!" They came out, and the young man was filled with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking with tongues as the Spirit of God gave him the utterance. Today he is preaching the Gospel!
The author has been in the presence of great men of God who have walked up to total strangers and told them exactly what kind of spirit they were possessed with and then by the Word of Knowledge told them the exact details of their sinful practices. The stranger being exposed in his sin many times will scream out to God for mercy, while others will walk away being content to remain possessed and live in their sins, loving darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). The possessed person must of necessity want to be delivered from Satan -- this, as you can see, would have a great deal to do with deliverance in the life of anyone, for the will of man is an unusual thing. God treats our will as sovereign, He does not transgress our will -- He does not force, though He is ever present to set free. If we will to be bound, then we remain bound. If we will to be set free, then God through the Gifts of the Spirit (and in particular 'Discerning of Spirits') flows through the man of God, and demon powers are exposed and cast out leaving us free!
On one occasion the author can recall being approached by a total stranger in a strange city, and the demon power within the man spoke out and called the author by name, never having heard his name or never having seen him before. The conclusion: the devil knows who the servants of the Lord are but, Praise God, we through 'Discerning of Spirits' can identify the powers of hell and cast them out, rending the chains of hell's emissaries!
We need to try the spirits and see if they be of God or not, and our instrument of detection -- Discerning of Spirits! How great are the ways of God and with what care He has made a ways to keep us safe and secure from all harm within the spirit world. We as born again believers have power to subdue and control the possessed or oppressed. The devil and all his demon powers are ever subject to us through the all powerful Name of Jesus Christ!
To Speak -- Utterance
DIVERS KINDS OF TONGUES
INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
These three gifts deal with anointed utterances. Because these gifts are vocal, they are conspicuous and easy to identify, whereas you must look for some of the other gifts.
Divers Kinds of Tongues
The term that is most familiar to us is, 'the gift of tongues,' but here again we are involved with an applied term rather than a Biblical term. The Bible does not say gift of tongues but states 'Divers Kinds of Tongues."
If a person speaks at various times throughout this Christian experience with joy and blessing as he or she is moved upon by the Holy Ghost, it merely means the the Holy Ghost is alive within them. Leading obstetricians have stated that with every normal life that is born into this world, sound accompanies that life -- sound is so significant of life! As long as a person lives we can expect sound to issue forth from that life. So it is when we are born of the Spirit of God. Once we have received the Holy Ghost, we can fully expect that living Spirit to speak through us from time to time as long as we are alive spiritually. To speak with tongues from time to time with joy and blessing simply means the Spirit of God is alive within us; this is normal when you have been born of the Spirit!
Divers Kinds of Tongues can properly be divided into two parts:
(1) Speaking in Tongues for 'Personal edification.'
(2) Speaking in Tongues for 'Church edification.'
(1) Speaking in Tongues for personal edification is a Gift of the Spirit within the 'Divers Kinds of Tongues' which enables one to speak with tongues at will almost instantaneously. Let us clarify this statement. people who have a Divers Kind of Tongue for personal edification can close their eyes and begin speaking in tongues as they turn their attention upon Him. It is just there -- as if the Spirit just hovers in their throat and mind. Some people with this gift can speak with tongues in their mind; they can actually hear, as it were, the words being spoken there.
This gift is of great spiritual blessing to the individual, for it allows the individual a marvelous outlet in his or her personal prayer and devotional life to God. I Corinthians 14:2 states, "For as he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him: howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." And in verse four of this same chapter it states, "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself..." in Romans 8:26 we find this insight, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Speaking in Tongues). How many times have we gone before God with a heavy burden, and our human understanding and mentality have failed to adequately express in our knowledge of vocabulary the burden with which we are involved? We cannot put it into words. Many times Holy Ghost filled children of God have said, "God, I cannot find the words, my burden is too heavy, please pray this prayer for me," immediately an unction comes from God, and we find ourselves praying with the spirit of prayer lifts, the burden is also taken care of, and we sense that we have prayed through or touched God for that particular need. intercessory prayer is a wonderful thing! Many people have a Divers Kind of Tongue for personal edification using this gift in intercessory prayer and personal blessing.
Some people pray earnestly and for several minutes or even longer and then being to speak in tongues. In contrast to this others will barely touch the floor with their knees and they will be speaking and praying with tongues. Why? Because the latter, in addition to being filled with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking with tongues, also has a Divers Kind of Tongue for personal edification.
(2) Speaking with tongues for church edification is a gift of the Spirit within the 'Divers Kinds of Tongues.' This particular aspect of Divers Kinds of Tongues differs from the Divers Tongue for personal edification, in that it is to be interpreted for church edification, designed by God to lift up, encourage, enlighten, strengthen or convict the congregation depending upon the desire of the Spirit toward the need of that particular gathering.
As surely as God spoke to Moses from the burning bush and God's people were heavenly informed, so God yet speaks to His present people, the church, not in a burning bush but by surging through a Spirit-filled vessel causing him to speak with tongues as the Spirit gives utterance at which time we wait for the interpretation to come forth.
Now let us look at the actual operation itself. There is a distinct unction of the Spirit upon the 'message giver' directly from the Holy Ghost which inspires and helps him to yield to the will of God, and he gives forth a 'message in tongues'; thus, we hear God speaking to His people.
Most Spirit-filled congregations are aware of the supernatural presence of God coming down desiring to speak to His people. Usually there will be a total congregational awareness of God's desire to speak. It is as if a signal were given, and a hush will await the anointed speaking. out of an awesome stillness will come the voice of God's 'message giver,' uttering words unknown to the congregation. Following this utterance will come forth an interpretation of the message in tongues, if there be an interpreter present.
Note in I Corinthians 14:27, 28 that Paul admonishes us that, "If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret, but if there be no interpreter let him keep silence in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God." We understand from this admonishment that we are safe and in most perfect Bible harmony when we hear two, and at the most, three messages and interpretations of tongues.
Why, you may ask, are such regulations placed upon this gift? First of all, that which God speaks is to be confirmed or established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. Note: II Corinthians 13:1; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17. The Old Testament judicial procedure rested upon -- 'In the mouth of two or three witnesses' (Deuteronomy 19:15). We see this carried over into the New Testament at the trial of Jesus when the great difficulty was getting two or three witnesses to agree that they might convict Jesus. The witnesses were bribed, lewd men of the baser sort whose testimonies against Jesus did not agree. We also note that this precept of two or three witnesses is judicial spiritual procedure in the writing of Paul for the church. Two or three manifestations of the Divers Kinds of Tongues for church edification, more commonly called 'messages in tongues,' are sufficient for any given service in which God's people are gathered. The sign is wasted after the second or third time!
The author has talked with many who are gifted in speaking with tongues for church edification. Most people who are possessors of this gift of the Spirit know as they approach the house of God or at the beginning of a service if God wishes to use them in that particular service. The unction may be felt prior to or during the course of the service and build up until, at God's proper time, it will come forth in power and anointing. If the 'message giver' is inexperienced in the gifts of the Spirit, he may give forth the utterance from God before the proper time. If this happens the message will be less effective than if the unction had been held by the individual until God, by the moving of His Spirit, made place for it.
It is possible for one to speak out in tongues during a service thinking that it is a message in tongues fro interpretation when in reality it is an utterance from the heart speaking out burden, praise, or blessing. A man of God in the pulpit, understanding the gifts of the Spirit, having possession of them himself, will be able to regulate people like this knowing the difference between the person speaking out and the 'heaven-sent unction.'
Messages in tongues will always compliment a service, add witness to the sermon, or bring comfort to the people. Amazing how difficult sometimes it is to remember the interpretation -- Why? Because the message is given for time and place, for that moment, for that people. Sometimes, however, God will speak concerning future events, things, or places, and we then take these things to our hearts and hold them there with faith and prayer until God brings them into existence.
If there be no interpreter present, then the message giver is to speak to himself. However, this is an evident sign that that particular church needs to seek for the gift of interpretation or the message giver pray that he may interpret.
Messages in tongues given under the unction of the Holy Ghost will never drive the lost away but on the contrary will many times witness to them the supernatural power of God among His people. "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not..." (I Corinthians 14:22).
The subject of tongues has come to be one of the most discussed subjects of our day. Scores of ideas and opinions are being broadcast everywhere. Some say it is of God, some say of the devil, others that it was only for a few in Biblical times, etc. But in the midst of these things, we should desire to know what God's Word teaches. God's Word is right! So we hereby set forth, not our own idea, but that God has said!
Speaking with Other Tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance is the manifestation God has given as a definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
One of the first mentionings of Tongues in the Bible, is that of the prophet Isaiah, who spake thus: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear" (Isaiah 28:11, 12).
Jesus, in giving the last commission to his disciples, foretold Tongues as one of the five signs that should follow those who would believe and obey the Gospel (Mark 15:15-18).
It was when God first set up His Church and men were privileged to receive the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, that God first manifested Himself to men in speaking through them in Tongues (other languages) -- Acts 2:4. Notice that they were ALL (about 120 including 12 apostles, Acts 1:13-15) filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other Tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).
A multitude of devout Jews out 17 nations gathered quickly together upon hearing reports of such strange things, and being amazed and confounded, they marvelled to hear Jews of one nation only, speaking in their respective languages the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:5-11). While they were amazed and were in wonder and in doubt at the things which they were seeing and hearing, while some even mocked, Peter standing up with the eleven lifted up his voice and said unto them, "Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon ALL flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Acts 2:12-18). Notice Peter said this mighty marvelous manifestation of the Holy Ghost speaking with Tongues at which all were marvelling, is that which God said He was going to pour out upon ALL flesh in the last days.
He further stated that that which they saw and heard (TONGUES and the accompanying manifestations) was a sign or witness that the Holy Ghost, the promise of the Father in John 14:16 had come! -- Acts 2:33.
As Peter continued and many were made to believe, they cried out and said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to ALL that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:37-39). Here it is definitely stated that ALL who shall obey the gospel SHALL receive the same Holy Ghost. Not only those present, but their children, and ALL who were afar off, even as many as the Lord should call. My dear reader, this includes you!
For further proof we remind you of Cornelius and his household (these were Gentiles) unto whom Peter preached the same word and "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word. And they of the circumcision (Jews) which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with TONGUES, and magnify God" (Acts 10:44-46). Here again is proof that this mighty, supernatural manifestation of God is for ALL who believe and obey the Gospel. These believing Jews who accompanied Peter so regarded TONGUES that, although they had believed that the Holy Ghost was only for Jews, they were astonished and made to believe that these had received the same, for they heard them speak with TONGUES. If the Apostles so honored TONGUES, how can we esteem them less? If they regarded such signs as evidence of the infilling of the Holy Ghost, why should we not do the same?
Again in the 19th chapter of Acts, men of Ephesus, after hearing the Gospel by the mouth of Paul and being rebaptized in Jesus' Name, "The Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with TONGUES, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6).
Let me repeat what we have thus established: One of the first mentionings of tongues was by the prophet Isaiah who prophesied TONGUES as "The Rest and Refreshing" (Isaiah 28:11-12). It was picked up by John the Baptist who taught us that though he himself baptized with water unto repentance, this Messiah or Christ would come baptizing with the Holy Ghost and fire (Matthew 3:11). Tongues were foretold by Jesus as a SIGN that would follow every believer of the Gospel (Mark 16:16, 17). This experience was first poured out upon the Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2:4); then upon the Gentiles at Caesarea (Acts 10:44-46); thus fulfilling the prophecy of Joel, that it should be poured out upon ALL FLESH (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:15-18).
Without any doubt or hesitation, we can sincerely say that Acts 2:4, 38 is the fulfillment of Jesus' teaching in John 3:5. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost or gift of the Holy Ghost (the terms 'gift' and 'baptism' used interchangeably in the book of Acts to mean exactly the same thing), is literally the birth of the Spirit. The birth of the Spirit of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is entirely different from the Divers Tongues mentioned in I Corinthians 12. The significance is different, the experience is different and the result is different. There is a vast difference between the Baptism of the Holy Ghost given at Pentecost signifying the infilling of God's Spirit and the Divers Tongues operating within the realm of the Gifts of the Spirit. They are not one and the same!
It is true that Paul taught that all should not receive the Divers Tongues (I Corinthians 12:10, 30); and that in the church he would rather speak five words with his understanding, that by his voice he might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (I Corinthians 14:19); and if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church (I Corinthians 14:28); but nowhere did Paul condemn or degrade TONGUES. And again we repeat, Paul in this instance is writing about an entirely different and distinct kind of TONGUES than that which we have mentioned in the book of Acts. There we are given the description of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost when ALL speak in other TONGUES as God's Spirit give the utterance (Acts 2:4); but in Corinthians we are instructed concerning the gifts of the Spirit or the attributes of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost in one's life who has been biblically born again of the Spirit of God.
Paul in no way inferred that that which fell on the day of Pentecost, or thereafter, was out of divine order. That would be utterly absurd!
Paul further states, "I would that ye ALL spake with TONGUES" (I Corinthians 14:5) and, "I thank God, I speak with TONGUES more than ye all" (I Corinthians 14:18). He counted it a blessing!
Therefore, my dear reader, although the Divers Tongues, or so called Gift of Tongues, may only be received by a few, that mighty manifestation of God, speaking with Other Tongues as His Spirit gives utterance, as on the day of Pentecost, is for ALL!
Paul said, "Forbid not to speak with TONGUES" (I Corinthians 14:39). Dare we teach or preach contrary?
It is now easy for you to understand that no one would have a Divers Tongue unless he had first received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking with tongues as on the Day of Pentecost, for the Gifts of the Spirit are attributes of the indwelling Spirit!
God has never changed. He has but one church, and it has but one door! If God so manifested Himself in the beginning of the church age, He will do just as much now in the end of the same church age.
We do not ask you to seek for TONGUES. Seek for the Holy Ghost and when it comes, God will give you the witness as in the Apostolic days. Thousands of hungry, God-fearing people are obeying the Gospel in these last days and are being gloriously filled with the same Holy Ghost. God is speaking through them with OTHER TONGUES as His Spirit gives utterance, and they are rejoicing as in the days of yore. Why not lay aside tradition and, through faith and obedience, get a real experience according to the scriptures?
We do not believe that every manifestation in the world called TONGUES is of God, but we do know that in the midst of all the unbelief and hypocrisy and mockery in these days, God has a REAL manifestation according to His Word. It is for this that we earnestly contend. If every writer and Apostle in the New Testament spoke in OTHER TONGUES, we certainly must say it is of God.
As for those who contend that TONGUES is of the devil, let us note that in the beginning in Acts, chapter two and verse two, the Bible says, "And suddenly there came a sound from HEAVEN as of a rushing mighty wind." This came from Heaven!
Verse four of chapter two states, "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in OTHER TONGUES as the SPIRIT (or God) gave them utterance." This was God's doing!
Verse eleven of chapter two say, "We do hear them speak in our tongues the WONDERFUL WORKS OF GOD." This was God working!
Again in Acts chapter two and verse 33, the message of Peter states that it is Jesus that hath shed forth this which they were now seeing and hearing.
In Acts 10:46 after those of Cornelius' household had received the Holy Ghost it is stated, "For they heard them speak with TONGUES and MAGNIFY GOD." This experience was magnifying God!
This speaking with tongues is of God, and we further remember that Peter in quoting Joel explains speaking with TONGUES as the outpouring of God's Spirit in the last days!
Interpretation of Tongues
The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues being one of the nine gifts of the Spirit which we are discussing is directly connected with the Gift of Divers Kinds of Tongues for church edification.
The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:1 states, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels..." From this statement we ascertain that men may speak with earthly tongues (languages) or heavenly tongues (languages). Regardless of whether an individual is speaking in earthly tongues or heavenly tongues, they are without exception always unknown to the one speaking with tongues. Why, you may ask, do you approach the reader from this position?
Simply because at Pentecost the Jewish dispersion and others who had gathered from at least 17 different countries for the Jewish Feast Days, and who were now congregated around the upper room, heard Galileans who had never been to the various countries of Jewish dispersion speaking in the languages of the countries wherein the dispersed were born. It was a puzzling miracle. The Galileans were speaking fluently languages unknown to them. The Jews of the dispersion understood the languages clearly because they knew the languages and recognized them. No interpretation was needed, they simply understood the languages being spoken, Does this still happen today? Yes, an unbelieving Japanese man hearing an American Pentecostal witness the glory of the Pentecostal experience was unmoved by the testimony received, when suddenly the American became moved on by the Holy Ghost and began speaking in tongues. The shock and astonishment of the Japanese man was readily seen. Why? Because the American who knew not the Japanese language was speaking in Japanese, as the Spirit of God gave him utterance, telling the Japanese man of the truth and glory of God. The Japanese man was immediately converted, and he himself received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking with tongues!
The author himself knows personally a young man who received the Holy Ghost at the age of ten in a Camp Meeting. The ten year old seeking for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost suddenly received it. Visiting missionaries at the camp grounds from South American were summoned to come close to the child as he received the Spirit of God. Immediately upon drawing near to the child, the missionaries exclaimed, "We understand the child, he is speaking Portuguese." The child knew nothing of Portuguese, but he was speaking with tongues as the Spirit of God gave him utterance. What was the child saying? I am sure you want to know. Among general praise and worship to God this statement was said repeatedly, "I am being filled with a river of life!" Amen.
It still happens today, people receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking in earth languages unknown to them. Some missionaries have reported natives receiving the Baptism speaking in clear fluent English never having heard or learned English -- How great and thrilling are the ways of God. If only people would believe! people may also receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking with heavenly tongues (languages) which are unknown to anyone on earth. The important thing is that the believer speak with tongues as the Spirit of God gives him the utterance. Whether one received the Holy Ghost speaking with heavenly or earthly tongues is immaterial. Whether one can be understood or not understood is also immaterial; but that they do speak with tongues is the important thing. The receiving of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking with tongues neither requires nor demands an interpretation -- it does not have to be interpreted -- this is not the purpose of the experience!
The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues is the 'Siamese Twin' to the Gift of Tongues (Divers Kinds of Tongues for church edification). Speaking with tongues, as we have already discussed, for church edification definitely demands an interpretation. This brings us to the subject at hand; How does it work?
Interpretation of Tongues is put into being as are the other Gifts of the Spirit by an unction or prompting of the Spirit. As the message in tongues is going forth, the interpreter that God wishes to use receives a signal, prompting, or unction of the Spirit. However it may happen for the interpreter being used by God, upon this moving of the Spirit within him, he immediately reaches or feels after God for the interpretation.
Some interpret by a word, a phrase, a sentence, or a vision. Let me explain. Regardless of how it may come to the interpreter, God expects the interpreter to by faith take the word, phrase, or sentence and utter that. Upon taking by faith and uttering what God has given, God will then with rapidity give the rest of the interpretation and the interpreter is expected to utter those received words, phrases, or sentences. God cannot give the complete wording of the interpretation all at once to the interpreter, else some of it would be forgotten, or not given at all.
On one occasion the author can remember interpreting a message in tongues with only one word to being with and that being, 'Marching!' In his mind he kept reasoning with the Lord saying, "But, God that isn't very much to go on." But the word 'Marching' was all that came. Knowing God as he does, without any further hesitation when the tongues utterance ceased, he simply spoke out with anointing, "Marching!" Still nothing else came, and so again he said, "Marching!" This happened a third time, and then suddenly before him unfolded a vision of saints robed in white marching toward pearly gates receiving the crown of life. The unfolding scene was simply told to the congregation with anointing and the excitement of such an event. There was no need for anything else -- the entire congregation came forward and there upon bended knees they wept and praised their God for He had spoken to them!
Many interpreters interpret by vision. In other words while the message in tongues is going forth, God will give them a vision. For example, once while a message in tongues was going forth, the author, having his eyes closed, suddenly saw before him the sun's rays falling upon the edge of a snowcap covering a mountain peak. He noticed the trickles of melted snow water sparkling across the earth trickling downward only to become a small brook, bubbling down through a forest bouncing over rocks, picking up more and more water until it became a stream and flowed downward to the desert which stretched away from the foot of the mountain. What was God trying to tell His people? How would you interpret such a scene? What is the Holy Ghost going to let you understand and draw from his scene that He might speak to His people?
The interpretation was very easy to receive and give forth. The Lord wanted us to know that, "As the sun doth shine upon the edge of the snowcap, and as the water doth trickle away, bubbling and bouncing through the forest, becoming greater, swifter and wider on its journey downward, so doth My Spirit come down to you. As the cooling water from mountain heights doth quench the thirsty desert floor, so doth My Spirit quench your thirsty soul and bring life..., etc."
Glorious strength, purpose, peace, enlightenment, and insight can be received by the people of God through the marvelous Gifts of the Spirit which God has placed in His church.
Some have said, "Well, the message was short and the interpretation long; therefore, I cannot accept this." All of us know that in interpreting one language into another, it may take many or few words to convey the same meaning or idea into another language, thus such statements as this are of no merit or value.
Notice that the Bible says Interpretation and not translation of tongues. Therefore, we can expect not a word for word translation, but rather an interpretation of the message from God. If this is understood, then there will never be a question or cause for concern when interpretations are given. For instance, someone from an uneducated background may have the Gift of Interpretation and be used by God, but his interpretation would lack the poetic, prose-like expression of a college graduate who would perhaps use flowing beautiful words of expression. If two such people were to interpret the same message in tongues, one would use perhaps even incorrect idiomatic expression, while the more learned individual would use beautiful flawless poetic expression. (This, of course, would never happen -- only one interpretation would be given -- this is an example only.) Does this mean then that one is correct and the other incorrect? No, for the interpretation or understanding will be the same, but the word expression would be different. We have interpretation and not translation of tongues among us.
God has placed wonderful protective measures within the church, so that the Gifts are not abused. But here again, we must understand and know how to regulate the Gifts of the Spirit. In I Corinthians 14:27-30 relative to tongues, interpretation, and prophecy, there are statements such as, "...let is be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace." These statements are rules for perfect harmony and order within the usage of the gifts. It is a dangerous foolish thing to allow the flesh the chance to glory and become exalted in flaunting the Gifts of the Spirit for self glorification, because someone else in a congregation with like gift knows if you are genuinely in the Spirit or not -- they can judge! There may be several people in a congregation with the same gift as yours, and they know if it is real or not when you give forth your utterance. Perhaps the congregation will not always know, but another possessor of like gift can tap you on the shoulder and say after church, "You were in the flesh, that wasn't of God" or "You missed it tonight!" How embarrassing for you and what a shadow you have cast upon God's divine order and purpose. These protective guidelines are set in the church to protect the body. Conclusion -- be sure you know the voice of God, making certain that God has really desired to use you before you act!
Messages in Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues can so richly enhance and permeate a service bringing the sharp awareness of God's presence and interest in us. May His voice ever be heard among us! May we never be a people without the sound of His Spirit trumpeting forth powerfully, majestically, and may the world know that He speaks to us in these troublesome times!
The Gift of Prophecy
Prophecy can be divided into two parts: (1) forthtelling and (2) foretelling. We must remember that in either case, prophecy will always be in harmony with God's Word. Prophecy will coincide with set doctrines of the Word. God's Word is forever settled! Prophecy will never replace the Bible nor diminish its worth, but the one will complement the other and augment a life walked in the Spirit!
Forthtelling is to retell that which has already happened. Each time we preach from God's Word retelling the lives of individuals, the happenings to God's people, the miracles fo the Bible, we are in essence forthtelling or prophesying. Forthtelling is a setting forth or bringing forth that which already has happened.
Have you ever noticed that while Holy Ghost filled preaching is going forth and the examples and stories are being preached that suddenly the age old account takes on life? You can see David picking up the stone, you can hear and see the ugly giant, you can heart the whistle of the sling as it cuts through the air, the roar or the retreating and conquering armies as Goliath crashes into the earth -- the young David leaping upon the giant and off with his head! The preached stories of the Bible release their characters from the ink and paper, and as they step out before us, we see, feel, touch, and hear them. This is 'forthtelling' -- (prophecy). The man of God is actually in this sense a prophet -- he prophecies! There is no substitute for anointed preaching that actually is seasoned with forthtelling. It is the kind of preaching that convicts and converts us. We see Jesus Christ, we hear Him speak, we watch the lame walk, see blind eyes flutter open, and watch Him speak to the dead. We view with our own eyes the dead raised and watch a funeral procession filled with weeping and mourning become a praise service! The procession makes an about face entering the city gates with shouts of praise and victory. We ourselves worship and join the happy throng. We are never the same since forthtelling has brought Him out of the ink and paper, and He stands before us in full view!
Prophecy is among us in all of its resplendency. We hear it often, and now perhaps we will recognize it more readily. We are thankful for forthtelling and its unforgettable influence, but let us go on to the next dimension of prophecy.
We have such wonderful examples of foretelling in the Old Testament, and we thrill at such a manifestation and divine intervention from God. During the Gospels we hear Jesus foretell many things, but at the end of John's Gospel, can we accurately and intelligently say that we do not leave foretelling here, but that it does carry over and is seen and heard in the church? I think so! Let us take a close look:
Prophecy is definitely one of the nine gifts of the Spirit. I Corinthians 14:3 tells us that, "...he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort." Does out understanding of this scripture rightfully exclude foretelling? Do we understand fully edification, exhortation, and comfort, or could it be that foretelling enhances and becomes edification, exhortation, and comfort? Let us see what occurred in the New Testament Church.
In Acts 21:9-12 we find a certain 'prophet' named Agabus. He foretold in verse 11 actually stating, "Thus saith the Holy Ghost...." Agabus exhorted Paul and in the process he foretold coming events.
I Corinthians 12:28 states that prophets are set in the church. Where have they ever been removed? Nowhere! In I Corinthians 14:29 we find admonition and instruction for the prophets and their utterances. Read on; notice that verse 31 states, "...that...all may be comforted!"
In Ephesians 4:11-13 we again find the office of prophet mentioned. Here in verse 12 we see God's complete perfect will and plan. It is the will of God for a five-fold ministry to perfect the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. For how long you may ask? Verse 13 answers this so completely. "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Let me ask you, have we perfected the saints or attained any of the other things mentioned? The answer, of course, is no! These ministries, including the office of a prophet, are needed and will be needed until the coming of the Lord.
Please note the Bible says he gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and some teachers. There is no indication here that any one of these offices or callings is higher or greater than the other. They are mentioned with equal importance. There are those that say a prophet and apostle are greater callings, higher callings. I fear that we have exalted these two offices above measure, and we have done this ignorantly. These offices or calling of prophets and apostles are no more exalted than that of the calling and office of a pastor, teacher, or evangelist. The apostle or prophet has to, or necessity, pick up his cross and bear it as do the teachers, pastors, and evangelists. There is with each office or calling that share of humiliation and suffering for the cause of Christ. No office or calling is exempt from the devil's attack -- this is obvious from reading the Bible itself. We are all in this together, and I personally thank God for the five-fold ministry that we might be helped and finally presented to Him a glorious church. There should be no dispute as to who is the greatest among us or what calling is the highest -- Jesus strongly indicated that he who is greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.
Foretelling is definitely in the church at the beginning, and it shall continue to the end.
Many frown upon upon foretelling and the office of a prophet because of abuse and fraudulence through the years, but everything that is good, the devil would counterfeit and destroy. There are frauds in everything -- always have been and always will be. But God gave us the safety guide, and that is found in I Corinthians 14:29 - the word 'judge' -- the right to judge. Just because someone has misused or abused any one of the nine Gifts of the Spirit does not validate anathema to the subject at hand. There is the genuine -- the authentic -- and it is for this that we so earnestly contend!
The Gift of Prophecy or foretelling works by an unction or prompting of the Spirit and is easily identified. Anyone filled with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost may possess the Gift of Prophecy: laity, teachers, pastors, evangelists, and apostles. The Gift of Prophecy in operation will appear and sound almost exactly like an interpretation of tongues, except there will be no tongues utterance preceding it. It will be just simply spoken out by the person who has the Gift of Prophecy as he speaks the mind, wisdom, or plan of God.
Many preachers prophesy foretelling as they preach. They will begin by saying things that are quickened to them by the Spirit of God which they had no intention of saying. They themselves sometimes even marvel at that which they utter as they feel the Spirit take hold upon them. Many sermons have a mixture of forthtelling and foretelling.
The actual Gift of Prophecy will be similar to the following in operation. The author can remember a little old man standing in a church service and while testifying, his Gift of Prophecy began to work. He expressed to us that the tavern on the corner would burn down and that our church would secure the property! Perhaps if you had heard this, you would feel like laughing or become embarrassed and wish the little man to sit down. However, in a matter of three or four days day, the tavern burned and the lot was eventually secured by the church for only about one third of its original set value! There are many such examples that can be compiled and presented but this is sufficient.
Caution: Make sure you assuredly gather the facts before you hearken to the voice of a so-called Gift of Prophecy which demands you to sell all that you have and give the proceeds to the prophet or tear up roots and move to another state, etc. It is this type of activity which destroys faith in the genuine manifestation of God. In the Old Testament false prophets were stoned if their prophecies did not come to pass, but it did not stop the true prophet from expounding what "Thus saith the Lord!"
To understand the full dimension of prophecy, we must list the three aspects of its personality:
(1) Spirit of prophecy -- "...for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). The spirit of prophecy can move upon us as we witness for or testify of Jesus quickening the truth of Jesus to the hearer. An anointed testimony given for Jesus may have within it the spirit of prophecy. This is what preachers feel when they preach. This is the unction or the anointing which enables a preacher to preach far above his own mentality or ability.
(2) Gift of Prophecy -- The Gift of Prophecy may be possessed by anyone who seeks for it, and the Gift will manifest itself when the unction of the Spirit so leads. The Gift of Prophecy is to give forth an anointed utterance proclaiming or foretelling as herein discussed.
(3) Office of a Prophet -- The office of a prophet has within it the resident spirit of a prophet as we find throughout the Old Testament.
We definitely find prophets mentioned as a very active part of the New Testament Church! Note the following references: Acts 11:27, 28, "...prophets from Jerusalem...." Acts 13:1, "...prophets and teachers..." Acts 15:32, "And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves...." Acts 21:9-12; Here again we find Agabus prophesying! Also note these statements relative to prophets and instructions concerning their gifts. I Corinthians 12:28; I Corinthians 14:29-32; Ephesians 4:11-13.
To Act - Power
GIFTS OF HEALING
WORKING OF MIRACLES
These three gifts demonstrate the power of God -- they give credence to His reality and presence.
The Gift of Faith
All of us know that without faith it is impossible to please God, i.e., Hebrews 11:6. Every born again child of God has faith, otherwise he would not be living for God; for where there is no faith, there is spiritual death. All of us as Christians possess faith, but let us go on to that special endowment of faith within the nine Gifts of the Spirit called the 'Gift of Faith.'
There is a special endowment of faith, an impartation of faith that is supernatural and will exhibit itself when circumstances are brought into our lives such as tragedy, danger, sever illness, accident, fearful happenings or other situations that seem impossible (be they good or bad). We all know that God is able but the above mentioned circumstances will demand us as believers to reach beyond the acknowledged ability of God and say, "God is going to do it!" or "It's going to be all right." We need 'Now Faith' and 'Now Power' in our lives!
How many pastors raising up a work have reached the seemingly bitter end of hopelessness; no finance, no support, no big congregation -- despair grips him. Suddenly on the scene walks a precious saint of God and says, "Pastor, God is going to raise this work up by your hand, and there is going to be a great work for God here!" Anyone might have said those words, but there is something different about this -- there is a ring to it! Confidence and hope spring up within you. You are lighted by the fire from an unseen power, and it was ignited by someone other than self. On the other hand when you as minister face a family who have resigned themselves to the fact that a loved one is going to die or the surgery is inevitable, suddenly you find yourself as a pastor telling them boldly with great anointed, confident authority that they will not die or surgery will not be necessary, and it comes to pass exactly as that special unction of faith hath declared. It becomes almost a defiance of prognosis, a defiance of diagnosis and rests solely upon a great surge of 'Faith' in God's power and ability. We are talking about the Gift of Faith!
Faith moves God. He simply breaks all laws and barriers when faith is lifted to Him. Prayer, it have been stated, is the key to heaven, but FAITH unlocks the door!
The Gift of Faith herein discussed is a measure of faith above and beyond that faith which all of us have as children of God who walk daily with Him through life. It is a special portion of faith quickened to us by the Spirit, as are the other Gifts of the Spirit.
The Gift of Faith then is a special unction of the Spirit within one's life which comes to the rescue when ordinary faith, or we might say that regular portion of faith required to live daily unto the Lord, is not sufficient. It is a miraculous, instantaneous touch of abundant faith which surpasses all reason, looks impossibilities in the face and turns them into miracles. We must expect a miracle -- keep in mind that every miracle begins with an impossibility!
For more clarity let us consider the following: The three Hebrew children expressed passive faith when they said, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (Daniel 3:17-18). God did deliver them, and they were not burned to any degree by the fire. Please note, however, that the three Hebrew children did not say, "God is going to get us through the fire." They were simply willing to accept whatever God wished to do for them or to them. But what if the unction of the Gift of Faith had come on them, and they boldly declared by this special unction of Faith, "We will get through the fire and not one hair upon our heads shall be burned," and it happened as faith declared it. This would be faith getting them through the fire. On the other hand what if, when the three Hebrew children entered the fire, they commanded the fire to go out, and it immediately stopped burning! Can you see that this would be the working of a miracle?
Let us say that you are in a ship. A severe storm comes; other ships are destroyed by the wind, and raging waves are all around you. But the Gift of Faith comes to you, and with assurance, you declare that all will be safe and no damage done. In other words, faith gets you through the storm. If you went to the bow of the ship and spoke to the storm commanding it to subside, and all became quiet, can you understand that this would be the working of a miracle?
To go through the fire safely would be the Gift of Faith. To put the fire out would be the Working of a Miracle. To go through the storm safely would be the Gift of Faith, to stop the storm would be the Working of a Miracle.
Faith in itself is an exerted energy. It is definitely an awareness within, and this awareness within is intensified when the Gift of Faith is upon us. Here again when the Spirit moves upon us, we must act upon it and claim it. Action and obedience on our part in response to God's touch are most pleasing to God. He is ever touched by our faith and motivated to intercede on our behalf.
Substance -- Evidence
In Hebrews 11:1 the Bible states, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Biblical faith contains two elements: substance and evidence.
Someone once said to the author, "I have never understood that scripture; it is meaningless to me. Can you help me?" they questioned. The following example helped them, and perhaps it will help you.
In a particular revival meeting which the author conducted a child of God came. She came on crutches and wore a brace. Each night she took her place on the front pew and placed the crutches and the removed braced on the floor. The foot and ankle were with some little difficulty placed on a cushioned folding chair. On one particular night, while the Spirit was moving mightily in the service, the ministry present felt impressed to leave the platform and go to our visiting sister in the Lord and pray for her. The author remembers laying hands upon her as did the others and closing his eyes in prayer. Though his eyes were closed, yet he could see this sister walking across the front of the auditorium. He opened his eyes, and she was seated praising God but, nevertheless, still a slave to the brace and crutches. Again he closed his eyes and continued praying with the others -- He could see her walking. Immediately he opened his eyes and whispered in her ear, "I believe you can walk in Jesus' Name!" Instantly she began to remove her foot and leg from the chair and made effort to stand. She did so! The power of the Lord was mighty and manifested throughout the congregation. After turning in a circle, dancing lightly on the weakened foot and ankle, she began to walk across the front of the auditorium completely and divinely healed. The next day she went out and purchased a new pair of shoes. Praise the Lord! Hip surgery had incapacitated that ankle and leg for one year, and the prognosis was that it would be another year before she could walk upon that foot. Faith united with the Spirit of God defies all prognosis.
The little mental picture of his sister in the Lord walking was 'substance' and he held to substance until substance became 'evidence.' Faith can stand in the place of what you ask for until it is manifested visibly. your faith is the exact image of that which you ask for, and as an image, is but the reflection of the actuality. When faith is present it means that the things which we asked for are ours, and we only now await their manifestation by God!
Gifts of Healing
For this particular Gift the key to proper understanding is the word, "Gifts." Please note the plurality of the word, "Gifts." The Bible does not say 'Gift.' There is no such thing as the 'Gift of Healing,' but there are 'Gifts of Healing' within the church.
Mark 16:18 makes known to us the promise that if the believers lay hands on the sick, they shall recover -- this we know to be true. James 5:14 talks about the sick calling for the elders of the church anointing them with oil in the Name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick.
These are wonderful promises to the believers, but in addition to this, there is a special unction from the Spirit imparting the operation of the 'Gifts of Healing' within one's life
Some who have the 'Gifts of Healing' in their lives have disclosed to the author that God has given them a sign, and they always know by that manifested sign that God is going to heal that particular person no matter what the problem. one minister told the author that there was a warmth which came into his hand as a sign to him that God was going to heal the sick before him.
When the Gifts of healing are in operation and hands are laid upon the sick, God can remove the cause of disease or affliction and healing ensue. Many times the devil defeats us by causing us to doubt and waver, knowing that he can steal out victory if out faith does not remain firm. For example, if I cut a tree down in my yard, and the neighbor man comes by and says, "Oh, that tree is still alive," I say, "No, it has been cut down.' The neighbor may contend earnestly that the tree is alive simply because the leaves remain green, and they may do so for several days, but the truth of the matter is -- the tree is dead because it has been cut off from the roots. It will die and the leaves turn brown, thus the neighbor will be convinced! So it is many times when we are prayed for divine healing. Because the tree stays green (the symptoms remain) we agree wholeheartedly with the devil that the disease is still there. We must hold fast the profession of our faith that the Name of Jesus, through prayer and laying on of hands, has cut the thing off from the roots, and it is dead! Many have obtained their healing by consistent profession of their faith thanking God for the victory.
Special attention should be given to this aspect of the Gifts of Healing. Has it ever occurred to you that some people can pray especially for the blind and see great and constant success in the blind recovering their sight? While others can pray for the deaf and they are healed, still others pray for the lame and they are healed, others pray for cancer victims and they are healed. Why, you may ask? The reason is that just as within the medical profession 'Specialist' exist, so within the Gifts of Healing there are 'Specialists' who seem to specialize in one particular disease. If you can understand this, then you will not be shocked if a man who has a reputation for praying for the blind with great success prays for a deaf man and nothing happens and vice versa. The Gifts of Healing cover these various aspects being discussed.
God has so wonderfully set up the Gifts of Healing, until we stand amazed at His power over all sickness and disease. One who is used by God in the Gifts of Healing could be a 'Specialist' in several areas. Also, God will be present through the ministry within a local church to meet the needs of the people therein. This has been proven over and over again!
Within the New Testament Gospels we find the statement, "And the power of the Lord was present to heal them" (Luke 5:17). How wonderful that the power of the Lord is present to heal all manner of sickness and disease, as He channels Himself through the Gifts of Healing held resident within the lives of believers. We understand that healing is one of the signs which automatically follows believers, and that the ministry can pray for us, and we will recover. These promises and signs are normal for the New Testament Church but beyond this, there is a special endowment of God's divine Spirit upon individuals to manifest the Gifts of Healing which are a part of the nine Gifts of the Spirit outlined for us in I Corinthians chapter 12.
It has been stated that there are 39 major killing diseases in the world today. Our attention is then drawn immediately to the 39 strips placed upon our Lord's back of which it is written, "...and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). The Lord was beaten for us with 39 strips, hence, there is a stripe for every major killing disease. God hath done all things well!
Sickness and disease have two sources: (1) Demonic spirits. Note how many times throughout the life and ministry of Jesus, spirits were cast out and healing ensued. Comments have been made on this under -- Discerning of Spirits. (2) Organic causes.
There are three dimensions in time -- Past, present, and future. We live in one dimension -- the present. God lives in all three -- He is not limited by time as you and I are. This is difficult for us to understand; but let me illustrate. In Matthew chapter 12 we find the account of Jesus restoring the little man's withered hand. The word 'restore' immediately indicates to us that the hand had not always been withered! Jesus simply made it again as it once was! Not being limited by time He reached into the past and brought the past to the present thus restoring the man's hand.
To heal is to make the body as it should be. For example, an injured hand that takes six weeks to heal brought into the presence of Jesus does not have to wait for six weeks to pass, for Jesus can reach into the future six weeks, pull the future back to the present and you are healed! Jesus can connect the past to present or the future to the present!
When the ministry prays or when anyone prayers for the sick, we pray for encouragement and results, ever mindful of the will of God and His power through His promises to believers and the resident Gifts of Healing within the lives of individuals.
Let us now proceed to the Working of Miracles for further clarity and enlightenment.
The Working of Miracles
To be prayed for by a man of God and then to recover day by day to the point of perfect health again is one thing but to be prayed for and become healed instantaneously is quite another! The man who is prayed for and healing ensues is involved with the Gifts of Healing, but he who is prayed for and healed by the power of God instantly is involved with the Working of Miracles.
Please note the sudden conspicuous healing in Acts 3:1-8 where the lame man heard words, "Such as I have, give I thee: in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." Immediately the man leaped to his feet and tan into the Temple worshipping and praising God. Acts 4:16 speaks of this as a notable miracle and again verse 22 refers to this healing as a miracle. Thus instantaneous conspicuous healings are termed as miracles.
The Working of Miracles is a Gift of the Spirit in which supernatural power is released by God through a person's life to effect a supernatural healing or happening. Throughout the Bible there are marvelous miracles wrought by believers: the rolling back of the Red Sea, the feeding of the 5,000, walking on the water by Jesus, raising the dead, and many others.
The author knows personally a man of God who took young people and children out into the country during the winter to ice skate, all of them participating in Christian youth fellowship. In the process of the ice skating party a small girl fell on the ice breaking her arm resulting in a compound fracture. The bone had come through the flesh. The man of God simply fell on his knees and laid hands upon the child praying in Jesus' Name! Before their very eyes the bone withdrew and the hole closed over, the child being completely healed!
The Working of Miracles through the Gifts of the Spirit are needed in our day as never before to close the mouths of gainsayers and scoffers in these last days.
The Gifts of the Spirit many times do not work independently of each other or totally alone. Many times the Gifts of the Spirit will work together, perhaps several of them at once to bring the desired effect.
For example: Many people had been raised from the dead in Bible times and in our present day! Upon raising the dead, it is easy to see that the Gift of Faith could be working, plus the Gifts of Healing, plus the Working of Miracles, as they overlap and join hands bringing about the desired result.
The Gifts of Healing and the Gift of Faith many times work together. The Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom work together along with Discerning of Spirits.
The Gifts of the Spirit are a closely knit family working for one cause, the advancement of the Church. Though they be nine members, yet they are the sublime influence of the invisible remaining presence of a Saviour who desired our deliverance from death, hell, and the grave. Jesus desired this to such an extent that He himself died an ignominious death for the security of such a church wherein dwelt the demonstration of His Spirit and Power! Thank God for such a Church! All of the truth is being restored to us in these last days!
The author has either been used himself by God or has seen the Gifts of the Spirit herein discussed at work in the lives of other men of God. The validity and authenticity of these Gifts cannot be disputed. You too will thrill as God permits you the privilege of being used by the Spirit or to see these mighty tools of the Spirit fashion and make a glorious bride fro Jesus Christ which shall appear before Him without spot or wrinkle!
We must evangelize the world! Our age is coming to a close, and the unreached masses who kneel before millions of man-made gods have neither heard the voice of nor seen the lowly Man from Galilee. How can we reach the world that is before us without the demonstration of the Spirit and power which enabled the first Christians to turn their world upside down? Consider this -- twelve ignorant, unlearned fishermen for the most part did turn their world upside down! They shook the Roman Empire from center to circumference with the story of a man called Jesus! That Palatine Hill was not immune to its effects!
How did they do it? They had a burning desire, they believed completely, and the Spirit of the Lord worked with them everywhere confirming the Word with signs and wonders! We must have it! We cannot survive without it! Our world is fast reverting to paganism -- Communism has enslaved its millions -- Buddha overshadows other millions with cold lifeless smile -- eyes that see not, ears that hear not -- India has millions of gods!
I know only One that lives, walks, talks, sees, and hears among us. Place Him beside the millions that have been made, make all that can be made, and yet He will have no equal, for the Lord, He is God!!!
Let us pray, let us seek, let us knock, let us believe, and the door will open wide ushering us into an age where the Gifts of the Spirit present Him alive among us in the demonstration of the Spirit and power of the only true God -- Jesus Christ!
May your Christianity be challenged, your spiritual life exploded into an undaunted boldness and unwavering faith as you read this book. We must together reach our lost world! God help us!
A prayer has been prayed over this book that all who read its contents may be thrown into building of the latter house, the glory of which there shall be no end! In Jesus' Name -- Amen.