The Gift of Tongues, No. 8


We come this morning to number eight in the series on the gift of tongues, our study on the modern tongues movement, the New Testament tongues gift, and the claims made by Pentecostalism today. There is one spiritual gift that is a corollary of tongues which we have not mentioned up to now, though we have mentioned it in passing. We won’t take it up as a separate special gift, but that is the gift of interpretation. We have discovered that if you exercise the gift of tongues that you must also have somebody who is on the scene who has the gift of interpretation.

You will find this in 1 Corinthians 12:10 at the end of the verse, the interpretation of tongues. This is from the Greek word “hermenia.” (This is the noun.) Then in 1 Corinthians 12:30, you have the verb form of this word and it’s a little different. It’s “diermenuo.” This is an intensive word. It adds an emphasis. It means a full interpretation, in detail. This is the word that’s used in Luke 24:27 when we’re told that Jesus on the road to Emmaus speaking to the disciples began with the Scriptures and explained to them fully the things concerning himself. It uses this emphatic word “diermenuo.” In Acts 9:36 we have the word used in terms of Tabitha being translated to Dorcas. The meaning of “Tabitha” is “Dorcas.” That gives us an indication that the idea behind this word is simply what we call “translation.” This is the spiritual gift of explaining words that are given in one language in another language so that every time you come to the gift of interpretation you can call it the gift of translation.

Now this of course was a temporary spiritual gift and it was a combination gift that was necessary when the gift of tongues was in operation. When tongues phased out naturally this gift phased out with it.

Now we have been looking at various Scriptures. We have been trying to cover, as a matter of fact, all of the Scriptures that deal with this gift of tongues because this is a major problem today. Anybody who goes wrong on tongues, it does not mean that he is not a believer, but if he goes wrong on tongues he is in all likelihood devastated himself as far as his personal spiritual advancement goes and as far as his hope for advancement and personal reward for his Christian service. To go wrong on tongues is to immediately be in a situation where emotions dominate the soul, and when emotions dominate the soul rather than the mentality then the grace of God cannot function within us because God’s grace works through doctrine, and doctrine works through the mind, so you drop a curtain between you and God when you get into the tongues movement. From then on you are out of it.

Now that does not mean that God in His mercy does not bless and that He does not even give some guidance, but the usefulness, your responding to God’s guidance, is at a standstill.

So, we have spent a good deal of time because this is a crucial problem. There is one area of Scripture however that we have not covered. We have looked in a major way at 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14 which deal with tongues. We’ve looked at tongues in the book of Acts. But there is one other area that people may bring up to you and so therefore you should be briefed on that. That is the gift of tongues in the gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

One thing we’ve discovered about the gospels is that God the Holy Spirit is very prominent through the gospels. He is God’s agent and He plays a major role. He is the agent, for example, for the conception of the incarnate Christ (Luke 1:35). Some of the believers before Pentecost were said to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ was (Luke 4:1). John the Baptist was (Luke 1:15). Elizabeth was (Luke 1:41). Zechariah was (Luke 1:67). And so was Simeon (Luke 2:25). The baptism of the Holy Spirit was predicted as a major even which was coming upon believers (Matthew 3:11). We’re told in the gospels that the Holy Spirit would direct the believers as to what they would say when they faced their persecutors (Matthew 10:19-20). The gospels tell us about the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world and into the lives of the believers (John 7:37-39, John 16:16). Jesus Christ outlined the relationship to the Holy Spirit to believers in the church age in the upper room discourse (John chapters 14 through 16). It was Jesus Christ who breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

So, God the Holy Spirit plays a major role in the gospels. Therefore, if speaking in tongues is a normative feature of the church age, we would expect to see considerable association (or at least some association) between the Holy Spirit and these things that were said concerning what He was coming to do (if the gift of tongues was a permanent expression of the Christian life). However, we discovered that tongues in the gospel is never associated with the works of the Holy Spirit. No one is reported to have spoken in tongues in the gospels. Tongues were not presented as the physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was promised.

Tongues are not mentioned at all in the Upper Room discourse. The gospel of John was the gospel written directed toward the church age. Every gospel had a particular slant. John was written for Christians. When you get to that Upper Room discourse, just before Jesus walked out to go to Gethsemane, you have some of the purest church truth found anywhere in the Scriptures. He was talking in the Upper Room beyond His mission now as the Messiah to the Jewish people. He was laying the ground work for the new age of grace which was coming. And in all of that discourse in John 14 through 16 you have no single mention of tongues as having any permanent place this age.

Mark 16:9-20

Now thumbing through the book of Mark we do find a reference to tongues. It is the only gospel that does refer to tongues. So, please turn with me to the Gospel of Mark. It’s the last chapter. Mark chapter 16 verse 15. This is the Great Commission portion of Mark. It says, “And He (Jesus) said unto them (His disciples), ‘Go ye unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow those who believe. In my names they shall cast out demons. They shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents. And if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them. They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.’”

Now here you see five signs that are going to follow the believers in the church age. That’s what this passage is saying. They are, for example, one: to cast out demons. They are to speak in new tongues. They are to be able to handle serpents. They are able to drink poison. They are able to heal the sick. Now the Pentecostalists today claim that all five of these should be and could be true of Christians today. These are characteristics, they say, which were to follow believers as long as the believers accept by faith the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If you make Jesus Christ Lord in your life, if you believe in Him as the Lord, then these five qualities can be present and should be present and would be present in your life.

Now this implies that the godly Christians and the spiritual leaders over the centuries who did not evidence these five signs were in some respects short of making Christ Lord of their lives. They simply had not looked to Him in total personal confessed sin filled with the Spirit fellowship. That’s how you make Christ Lord of your life. You take Him and where you come into this circle of eternal fellowship at the point of salvation you enter the inner circle of temporal fellowship, and this is where Christ is made Lord. Now don’t go running around trying to figure out how you’re going to make Christ Lord of your life by something you can do or by something you can say or by some way you can act. The way you make Christ Lord of your life is to have all known sins confessed. Then you are in the center of His will and He is Lord of your life. When you sin, you step out here into the area of carnality, then He’s no longer Lord of your life. But when you are here in the area of spirituality He is Lord of your life.

So, it’s saying quite a bit that godly Christians through the ages, great Christian leaders, none of whom exhibited these signs were not here at the center of the will of God in their lives. He was not Lord with them.

Now I have to tell you something about the book of Mark, at the end of Mark, from verse 9 through 20. We have some question that these verses actually belong in the Bible. When we look at the original Greek manuscripts, the two best Greek manuscripts we have preserved for us today come from the fourth century. They are called Sinuiticus and Vaticanus. Neither one of these manuscripts have these verses from 9 through 20 in them. The book of Mark in those manuscripts ends in verse 8. We have no manuscript earlier than the fifth century that includes these final verses. The church fathers, Clement of Alexandria, Origin, Eusevius, three of the outstanding ones, all omitted these verses and did not accept them as belonging the canon of Scripture. Eusevius actually says that most copies of the best manuscripts in his day end with verse 8, and he lived in the time of the Emperor Constantine. He was actually a historian and a contemporary of Constantine. In his day, the best manuscripts did not include these final verses.

This seems to make sense because when you look at verse 8, it seems to have a rather abrupt ending. The whole book just ends, “For they were afraid.” Bang. Drop. That’s it. But this also, scholars have discovered, is what would cause some scribe to say, “That’s not very smooth. I’ll smooth it out with a few verses here that I know from other gospels as to how this story ended up, and I’ll pull this story out.” And so that apparently is what happened. Actually, historically, we come up with about four major different endings for this gospel in Greek manuscripts. But there is some internal evidence against these verses being genuine.

For example, in verse 9 you have the word “weak” used. It is not the same word as used in verse two of this chapter. You would normally expect that somebody who is writing and uses this certain Greek word for the word “weak” in verse 2, that he would come down to verse 9 and use the same word, but it’s a totally different word.

Also, let’s go back first to verse 1 in chapter 16. It says, “And when the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome brought sweet spices that they might come and anoint Him.” Now here Mary Magdalene is introduced in this book at the cemetery, the graveyard scene of the Lord Jesus. Now along comes verse 9 and Mary Magdalene is again referred to, and noticed what it says. “Now when Jesus had risen early on the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom He had cast seven demons.” It seems a little odd that here Mary Magdalene should be identified relative to her background at this point where she wasn’t up in verse one. There are quite a number of Greek words which are used in verses 9 through 20 which are used only in these verses and are not common as you would generally expect in the rest of this book.

So, the most reputable Greek experts question the authenticity of verses 9 through 20. This is not to say that the passage may not be genuine. We don’t know for sure. We just have some doubts about this area such as we do not have about any other area of Scripture, on the basis of the Greek manuscripts and the best manuscripts. It may be genuine but the evidence for doubt is sufficient to make it unwise for us to base any doctrine or any practice on these verses alone. Anything that you find in verses 9 through 20, before you believe it and act upon it, should be confirmed by other Scriptures, just to have a backup that you are not acting upon the sincere opinion of some scribe who added these verses.

So, the internal as well as the external evidence that we have mentioned is against these passages. Therefore, this passage is weak support for Pentecostalism which wants to make a big support on the basis this section and these signs that are listed here.

In verse 16 we read, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Now what kind of belief is that do you think? Well that’s the belief that has to do with entering eternal fellowship. That is the belief that has to do with salvation. This is not the belief that has to do with making Christ Lord of your life by coming into the inner circle of fellowship. Now that does happen at the point of salvation, but the belief that the Pentecostalists are trying to talk about here is the belief of making Christ Lord. But that belief is spoken of in the other verses previously. That’s true. In verse 15 you have salvation referred to. In verse 16 is salvation. Then on the basis of that belief in Christ as Savior, these signs will follow those people. It does not say that these signs will follow the people who make Christ Lord in their life. It says it will follow those who are believers. In other words, if this passage is true, then everybody in this room who is a Christian this morning should expect these five signs to be in his life as practicing experiences.

The “believe” in verses 16 and 17 is in the Greek aorist tense which means it’s at a certain point which would indicate salvation rather than a continuing attitude such as would be in making Christ Lord, staying in the inner circle. Verse 17 says, “And these signs shall follow those who believe,” and “those who believe” is plural. It’s a category of people. Every single one in this group who believe this particular thing, the gospel, are going to have these signs.

Now unfortunately most tongues advocates today are not ready to claim that they have all of these signs. You’ll find it very difficult to find some tongues advocate who will come up and drink a glass of hydrochloric acid for you. If we’d have had a tongues advocate in camp last summer, he would have played with copperheads in camp. Every time we had a campfire, in would come a copperhead slithering toward the warmth of the fire. It finally became so regular that we had to set out outriders around the campfire as observers and guards to catch the copperheads seeking in.

Now I wished at the time that I’d had some tongues advocates there because we would have put them out there and let them just grab these snakes. When we saw one, we had to use sticks and maneuver around and shout and scream and yell and everything else until we got them into the fire. So, they don’t hold to all these five (things).

Let’s take a look at them: casting out demons. What references do we have for this in the New Testament? Well we have some leaders who did cast out demons, but we have no indication that this was the general practice of Christians. Speaking in new tongues: We have no indication whatsoever that every Christian in the New Testament spoke in tongues nor that every believer could do this. Incidentally, the word “new” (I want to remind you again here) is the Greek word “kainos.” “Kainos” is a word that means new in quality; that is, it’s fresh; it’s unused. So, that it is the proper word to use here where it means a foreign language. These people spoke in languages that were fresh to them. They were unused to them. They were languages which existed but which were fresh relative to the use of these people. There is another Greek word for “new” and that’s “neos.” “Neos” means new in reference to “recent.” That would fit ecstatic speech. That it’s a brand new kind of language. What it means is it’s new in terms of unused, not that it’s a recent brand new language.

So, it says they would speak with tongues. Generally in the New Testament the Christians would not speak with tongues. They would take up serpents. We have no single example of this in the New Testament of anybody picking up serpents. Now it’s true the apostle Paul was bitten by a serpent, but he wasn’t picking up the snake. It was in the process of his putting wood on the fire.

Now in the explanation of Oral Roberts, for example, on this passage is that this does not mean, when it says serpents, it does not mean real live moving snakes. Oral Roberts says it means your enemies. It means none of your enemies would be able to do you in. That you would be able to confront and take up your enemies and you would not be injured by them. Of course, what you see is happening here is that he is spiritualizing a passage of Scripture, one of these signs, and he is holding the others as real. He is saying this one is symbolic, and that violates every principle of interpretation. You can’t say one of these signs is symbolic and the rest are literal.

“Drink any deadly thing:” This is the Greek word “ti” and it means “any,” any kind at all, and “you shall not be hurt.” This is the Greek word “oume,” which is the double negative in Greek—the strongest way to say, “No way. It cannot hurt you.” This is a categorical statement that covers all believers in Christ. It may have been that Timothy, in 1 Timothy 5:23, we have a reference that Timothy had some stomach problems that made him ill by polluted water. Paul had told him to lay off the water. Here he could drink water that was polluted and become ill. And yet if this were true, like the Pentecostals claim, he should have been able to drink a deadly thing of any kind and survive.

“Lay hands on the sick:” Now we have many accounts of healing in the New Testament without touching. We have some with touching. But we do not have indication that every Christian could lay hands and heal people. For example, the Philippian jailer. You will remember that as soon as he was converted, if this were true what the Pentecostals are saying, then he should have been able to heal the wounds that he had inflicted on Silas and Paul. Instead he had to get some medication out and wash the wounds. So, this again is a categorical statement and not even the modern faith healers claim this one, that they can heal everybody.

So, this is a doubtful passage in Mark. It alone lists these signs and makes the claim that it would be true of every convert. If Mark 16:9-20 is authentic, then we may say that these signs were true in the New Testament period only, and they are no longer true now. There were many things that were true in the transition period of the New Testament, and that is a fact. Things were true then but they are no longer true in our age now. And we have no evidence that these signs are the experience of New Testament Christians nor of the modern tongues movement devotees. These signs are not mentioned in the other three gospels, and the Pentecostalists today are really inconsistent in selecting only certain signs like healing and tongues, and ignoring the others.

So, we come to the question: What’s the explanation for what we see in the modern tongues movement. The explanations may be, first of all, physiological. That is, it may be a physical matter. We all have a human brain, hopefully. The brain however is not the mind. It is simply the organ that the mind uses. The mind is part of the soul. When does a human being die? Some of you might say when his heart stops beating. Not so. A human being can have his heart stop beating and he’s still living. He’s still a living being. He dies when his mentality leaves, because when his mentality leaves you know that the soul has left. And the soul leaves at death and it takes the mind with it. So, if a doctor wants to test to see if a person is still living he has to run a test on the brain to indicate whether or not the brain is still functioning, and then you know whether the soul is still there or not. But we do have a brain, a physical organ. Every expression that you have comes from this physical organ via the mind.

There is a science that has developed in recent years called the science of cybernetics. Now cybernetics is a result of our computer age. We have built marvelous mechanical brains—computers. As the scientists built the computers, they got to thinking about the human mind. They looked at the computer and what they had to do to make the computer work, and they got to thinking, “You know, I wonder if this is telling us something about how the brain work.” And they have discovered some very astounding things about the human mind as the result of applying principles that they learned about making computers back to the human mind, because the human mind is a computer.

Now the machines that man makes are goal-directed. They solve problems but they can only act on the programs that man has put into them in the first place. If you were to try to build a computer comparable to the human mind, to the human brain’s functioning, the scientists tell us it would be a computer the size of the Empire State Building in New York City. It would take all the power of the Niagara Falls to turn the turbines to run the electricity for such a computer, and it would take all of the water of the Niagara River to cool it. That’s the infinite complexity of the brain and of the mind functioning in the brain over against man-made computers, but there are similarities. The brain, like the computer, has a memory storehouse, but it is far more capable. We have discovered that the brain retains everything that you have ever experienced, everything that you have ever seen, everything that you have ever heard, everything you have ever read, and everything you have ever felt is all stored in the brain. It’s there. It never leaves you. All you have to do is flip the (right switch), the signal is made, and the imprint is made on the brain cell. You have ten to twelve billion of them. The result is that there it is. Now all you need is the proper stimulus and that thing is brought back.

Brain surgeons discovered this in the course of operating on the brain. They could take an electrode and they could touch a portion of the exposed brain and the person lying there would begin to speak. He would record certain words relating an incident. Then they would come back and they would take an electrode and they would touch that exact point again on the brain and the person would say the same thing again, relating the same incident in the identical words as if it were a phonograph record in the groove. And this indicated that with the right stimulus, what’s in the brain can be brought out. So, nothing comes from the brain but what has first been stored there.

Now this applies to languages. Any time you have been in the presence of a foreign language when you did not know a certain word of what was being said, every word of that language is now stored in your brain. It is there and it can be triggered (this is called exalted memory) into your conscious vocal patterns.

So, the brain, like a computer, can store things. But a brain can also be overloaded and so can a computer. Once in a while a computer is given so much information and it is asked to do so much that where the computer is supposed to kick out a check for five dollars, it kicks one out for $5 million because the computer has developed a neuroses. It has more information than it can cope with so it goes kooky for the moment. It spews out nonsense. And it is no surprise therefore that the intricate human brain can also slip off into unintelligible nonsense. Now this is one explanation for the occasions when people have spoken in tongues and they have spoken in a real language. That somehow frequently these things have been run down and here is somebody that sure enough was in the presence of this language at one time and now under a subconscious control the brain is triggered and they’re repeating what they once heard, though they themselves were not aware of it or know anything at all about what it means.

Now this of course is not to say that what happened in the New Testament was not genuine tongues. We’re talking about the tongues movement today. One of the explanations is physiological.

Then of course another explanation is psychological. The New Testament tongues were authentic, controlled by the Holy Spirit in existing languages foreign to the speaker. Modern tongues is an unintelligible gibberish which lacks any kind of message. Here is the view of the psychologists today who have studied the phenomena of tongues. They concluded increasingly that it’s a neurotic manifestation and it’s in a certain category of abnormal psychology. Tongues attracts a certain type of person—the person who goes for the spectacular, the exciting, the emotional—he thrives on it.

Neuroticism is evident in the tongues practices. There are patterns of hysteria mounted by degrees among tongues advocates. There is the ecstasy of emotion because normal self-control is lost. Personality disintegrates, as evidenced in the speech. The higher critical control centers are taken over by subconscious levels. There is uncontrolled behavior and jerking of muscles. There are auditory hallucinations—hearings sounds and hearing voices. There is tremendous power of suggestion of the leader over the crowd. There is the tremendous power of the expectation which is built up in the crowd themselves as they listen to a leader.

In a little volume called The Modern Tongues and Healing Movement by Carroll Stegall, Mr. Stegall says concerning the fantastic powers of the human mind. What is taking place? Why is this neurotic? He says, “Dr. Loman made a study and the scientific explanation of the nature of the human brain and here’s what he said: ‘Powers and possibilities have been discovered in man which until now have been totally unsuspected. There are designs / subliminal powers when we speak of sub-consciousness. What physical occurrences accompany these phenomena? The lower nerve centers, the ganglionic system, or the vegetative nerves as they are called, which have the chief seat in the region around the pit of the stomach (the solar plexus) are excited to increased activity.

“At the same time, the central region of the higher nervous system (the cerebral system at the base of the neck) which is the normal state of affairs is the medium of conscious perception and action becomes paralyzed. There is a reversal of the order of nature. The lower nerves take over the body of the higher ones--compensation. This state of things comes to pass negatively by the higher organ losing its natural supremacy under the pressure of illness or artificially by hypnotism, auto-suggestion, and so on, and positively by the lower nerves being somewhat excited artificially, the increased activity, whereby they get the upper hand. These nerves then display abilities which our ordinary organs as sensors do not possess. They’re receiving impressions from a realm that is usually closed to us, such as clairvoyance, presentments, prophecies, speaking with tongues, and so on. When in a state of somnambulism (sleep-walking), the inner sense, heightened in its activity perceives outward things as clearly and more so than awake, when it recognizes tangible objects with eyes tightly closed and unable to see, just as well as by sight. This takes place according to the anonymous declaration of all somnambulistis through the pit of their stomach, that is through the nerves which have their seat in that region, and it is from this part that the nerves are set in action which move the organs of speech, in speaking in tongues and so on.

“Numbers of cases through false mysticism through all the centuries of church history display the same characteristics, the sub-conscious being always the medium of such perception and function. They are morbid, coming under the god of divine manifestations to lead souls astray. Now it is very significant that according to the assertions of the leaders, it is an activity of the sub-conscious that we meet within the Pentecostal movement. Those in whom the sub-conscious becomes active in the manner described above feel as if it were an electric stream passing through the body which is an exciting of the nerves which have their central seat in the pit of the stomach. It is from thence that the jaws are moved in speaking with tongues.

“This feeling of bliss is another characteristic feature of this class of occurrences. By exciting the lower nervous system, a feeling of intense rapture is regularly produced. At first we find connected with unusually involuntary contraction and muscles and movement of the limbs in consequence of the natural invasion of the nervous system.”

So, what he is saying is that it is well known that down and behind the area of your stomach is a secondary control system. There is an intertwining system of nerves that are able to trigger and control your body entirely on its own. But God’s design is for the cortex of the brain to be the control center. But when these are flipped, then you lose full control. This is exactly what undoubtedly is regularly happening in Pentecostal circles. The nerves at the base of the neck which normally control the vocal cords are overwritten. The nerve center in the solar plexus takes over under some emotional stress or some frustration and they gain dominance. Then the words that we speak under that condition no longer go by the mind for inspection as to their rationality or their purpose or their sense. Instead their jaw just flaps, the sounds come out directly out of the organs, and it feels good as it comes up the esophagus.

In a biblical manuscript written by Jody Dillow called The Biblical Evaluation of the Twentieth Century Tongues Movement, he makes this statement, in quoting again the study of psychiatrists: “A number of psychiatrists have come to the conclusion that the phenomena (that is, of tongues) is completely psychological.” Many times, incidentally, people who have been deeply in tongues come out and they abandon it, and you ask them, “Why did you do this? How do you explain this?” Almost inevitably they will say, “It’s psychological. It’s a psychological experience that clipped me.”

Continuing: He says, “For example, Dr. E. Mansil Prodesun, a member of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, and currently an instructor at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, said recently, ‘The product of our analysis is the demonstration of the very natural mechanisms that produce glossolalia. As a psychological phenomenon, glossolalia is easy to produce and readily understandable.’ He adds, “I can add my own observations from clinical experiences with neurological and psychiatric patients. In certain types of brain disorders resulting from strokes, brain tumors, and so on, the patient is left with disruptions in his automatic physical speech circuit pattern. If we study these … patients, we can see the same decomposition of speech that occurs in glossolalia. Similar decomposition of speech occurs in schizophrenic thought and speech patterns which are structurally the same as glossolalia. This data can be understood to demonstrate that the same stereotypes of speech will result whenever conscious willful control of speech is interfered with, whether by injury to the brain, by psychoses, or by passive renunciation of willful control. This corroborates our previous assessments that glossolalia is a stereotype pattern of unconsciously control of vocal behavior which appears under specific emotional conditions.’”

Tongues is actually viewed by the psychologists as being a very dangerous thing. In Speaking with Tongues by Stewart Bergamot, “The reasons people turn to glossolalia involve the whole life with unconscious parts of the personality trying to push through into consciousness. It is a dangerous movement for the disassociation, the de-personalization, of glossolalia goes off without being related to the wholeness of the person. Glossolalia (that is, speaking in tongues) isolates one part from the rest of the psyche, and this is dangerous.”

So, the doctors who have looked into this find this not an unusual occurrence. They find it taking place in other situations, in other problems that people have, and they find the identical expression when it comes to the tongues expressions. The use of LSD produces similar symptoms as you find among Pentecostalists. Deep profound found soul-shaking experiences (and the same look in the eyes) when the self is released.

Now there is a third explanation. What explains what is going on? We have said there is the physical explanation. There is the psychological explanation. Then there is the satanic explanation. Demons seek to prevent God’s truth from being understood (1 John 4:1-3). Ignorance of Bible doctrine makes a person receptive to what 1 Timothy 4:1 calls the doctrine of demons. Ecstatic speech was produced by demons in the ancient pagan religions. It’s produced in modern spiritism. It’s produced in primitive cultures. A Christian cannot be indwelt by a demon but he can be deceived, and thus he can be controlled (2 Corinthians 11:3, 11-15). Some of the modern tongues expressions are undoubtedly demonic.

2 Thessalonians 2:7-10

In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 you have a prophetic declaration concerning such a demonic expression. In 2 Thessalonians 2, beginning at verse 7, the apostle Paul says, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only He who now hindereth will continue to hinder until He be taken out of the way.” The mystery of iniquity refers to Satan’s evil activity. The Holy Spirit, through the filling of the believers, acts as a restraining influence upon Satan today, but there will be no restraint in the tribulation period upon iniquity as this passage is describing. The mystery of iniquity is operating, but not in its fullest way because He (God the Holy Spirit) through the filling of the believers is restraining it until He is taken out of the way which happens at the rapture of the church.

Verse 8 says, “And then shall that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” The wicked one refers to Satan’s man the antichrist in the tribulation who is going to be destroyed at the second coming of Christ (Revelation 19:15, 20).

Then verse 9 says, “Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” The antichrist is empowered by Satan and he expresses this power with what? With signs and lying wonders. He’s going to do this in the tribulation period. He is doing it today. The same words are used here as those which describe the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, in signs and wonders. But these are counterfeit—deliberate satanic counterfeit. They include the signs of healing. They include the lying words of the tongues expression. False healings can be accomplished by removing demons who have made people sick. False tongues can be experienced by a certain of category of demons known as the ventriloquist demon.

If you’ll turn to Isaiah 8:19 you have one of these ventriloquist demons described. In verse 18 Isaiah says to the Jewish people, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwelleth in Mount Zion.” The children, the sons, of Isaiah were signs. They were signs of the virgin birth by means of the name which was given to them. They were signs of national judgment. They were signs of national restoration. As the sons were named they were prophetic signs to Israel. Now along comes verse 19 and here he is warning against seeking false signs for guidance from the spirit world, the demonic world: “And when they shall say unto you, ‘Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead?’”

Now the word “medium” which in your authorized version may be translated as “familiar spirit,” is this Hebrew word “ob.” And “ob” is the word for a demon spirit who has the ability to control vocal cords. We have this indicated to us by the fact that in the Greek translation called the Septuagint version we have the Greek word “eggastrinuthas.” This means “demon.” This type of demon is a ventriloquist. That’s what the word means. It means a ventriloquist demon; that is, he can control the vocal cords.

So, along comes this medium, an “ob.” Along comes a wizard, which in the Hebrew is “one who speaks because he has knowledge—knowledge from the demon world.” We would call him a fortune teller. When he speaks he gives information. He controls the vocal cords of those through whom he speaks. So, you can go to a medium and you can get information from the spirit world because a ventriloquist demon takes hold of that medium and speaks to you the mind of Satan. This is what the rulers of the tribulation are said to have done to them in Revelation 16:13-14. These demons control them.

Isaiah says that they peep and they mutter, which means they speak in a high-pitched voice, or they mutter which is a whispering hollow sound. And it says that they make their voice (Isaiah 10:9) seem to come from the ground as if they are speaking from the spirit world underground.

Now the living, Isaiah said, should not look to the world of the dead. These demons purportedly are able to give you messages from the dead. That’s the idea, and we should not look to the dead for guidance concerning the Lord.

So, back to 2 Thessalonians 2:10, “With all deceivableness and unrighteousness in them that perish because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved. For this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie, that they might be judged who believe not the truth but have pleasure in unrighteousness.” The purpose of Satan’s counterfeit is to get people through signs and wonders in the tribulation to refuse to accept Christ as Savior. He will give them false healing and he will give them false tongues, and thus to deceive them. God permits Satan to bring strong delusion on those who are negative to doctrine.

The whole tongues movement has a kind of a mediumistic quality to it. Sometimes in a Pentecostal meeting you’ll be in that room and you’ll all be asked to join hands, just as you are at a séance table. Or you’ll all be asked to be making some kind of contact. You’re listening to a speaker on the radio or on television and you’ll be asked to go and put your hands on the set. This is just as in a séance. Everybody is seated around a table and you’re all asked to put your hands on top of the table and then levitation takes place. The thing begins to rise and move around. There are fantastic relationships that we’re going to look at next time on the relationship between the expressions of Pentecostalism and the expressions in the world of the medium. Trances, hypnotic spells, all are experienced by spiritualistic mediums, and these are identical to the things that take place in the Pentecostal movement.

Dr. John E. Danish, 1971

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