About Speaking in Tongues

Satan is the prince of this world, and Satan’s legal and justice systems prevail here on earth. The reason Satan’s systems prevail in the nations is that men insist upon attempting to govern themselves according to their own wisdom and understanding. However, men are not YHWH, and man’s thoughts are not YHWH’s thoughts, nor are their ways His way.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 55:8-9
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says YHWH.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Men seek to establish government systems that please themselves, not realizing that YHWH demands an entirely different form of government for His people, based on entirely different principles. If YHWH wills, we will attempt to explain these principles in this book.

It might seem kind of strange to start off speaking about how to establish a righteous government on earth by explaining about speaking in tongues (and the relationship between tongues and prophesy), but as we will see, these spiritual gifts are the key to establishing the righteous spiritual government that YHWH wants for His people Israel.

As we will show, the essence of prophesy is to hear YHWH’s voice (the Still Small Voice), and then to communicate what one has heard by speaking, singing or writing, so that others can understand it.

In contrast, to ‘speak in a tongue’ is to hear YHWH’s voice, but to speak it in a way that is not understood. Nonetheless, in order to speak in a genuine tongue, one must still hear from YHWH, and then attempt to communicate what one has heard: and this is a good thing, for as we will see, tongues are often a first step towards prophesying.

Before we begin, we should point out that there are two different types of prophecy:

Fore-telling (prediction); and
Forth-telling (otherwise speaking according to the Spirit, but without predicting anything).

Fore-telling (prediction) is the kind of prophecy that most people think of. “Thus sayeth YHWH” prophecies generally fall into this category. A good example of fore-telling (prediction) is found in First Kings 17:13-16.

Melachim Aleph (1st Kings) 17:13-16
13 And Eliyahu (Elijah) said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says YHWH, Elohim of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day YHWH sends rain upon the earth.'”
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Eliyahu; and she and he and her household ate for many days.
16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of YHWH, which He spoke by (or through) Eliyahu.

Eliyahu (Elijah) listened for YHWH’s voice, and then spoke what he had heard YHWH say to him. In so doing, he fore-told (predicted) that the widow’s bin of flour would not be used up, and that her jar of oil would not run dry.

Additionally, although the Apostle Shaul never said “Thus sayeth YHWH,” he also sometimes foretold (or predicted) what would happen in the future. A good example of this is found in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8.

2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8
7 For the mystery of Torahlessness is already at work; only he is holding back now, until it comes out of the midst;
8 and then the Lawless One will be revealed, whom YHWH will consume by the spirit of His mouth….

In contrast, the second type of prophecy is forth-telling. This is closely related to fore-telling, except that there is no prediction involved. In forth-telling, one listens to hear what YHWH says, and then communicates what one has heard (typically by speaking, singing, or writing). This is also part of the definition of prophecy.

OT:5012 naba’ (נבא); a primitive root; to prophesy, i.e. speak (or sing) by inspiration (in prediction or simple discourse):

While predicting the future is glamorous, we should not lose sight of the fact that whenever one hears the Spirit, and then speaks (or writes, or sings) according to what one has heard, one is prophesying. That is because the essence of prophecy is to hear YHWH’s voice, and then to communicate what one has heard (whether by speaking, writing or singing).

Yeshua tells us that Isaiah did a good job of hearing YHWH’s voice, and then reporting what he had heard. However, while Isaiah was used to deliver a lot of prediction (foretelling), he was not used to predict anything in this particular passage.

Mattai (Matthew) 15:7-9
7 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 “‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 “‘And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commands of men (i.e., the Talmud)’.”

The reason Isaiah prophesied “well” is that he was broken, and mentally still on the inside. Being broken and mentally still, he was able to hear what YHWH was saying to him without his own thoughts getting in the way. Then, remaining mentally still, he repeated (or perhaps, interpreted) what YHWH had said to him.
In Hebrew, the word נבא means ‘bubbling forth,’ as water gushes out of a spring, or ‘sprouting up,’ as buds shoot forth from a tree. The allusion is that of bringing forth good and vital things from the Spirit.

When one prophesies, one hears the things that come from YHWH, and then speaks those things clearly, and freely. However, when the flow is not free, one speaks with stammering lips, and often in an unclear language; and the result is that one ‘speaks in a tongue.’

Isaiah 28:11-12
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,
12 To whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” and, “This is the refreshing”; but they would not hear.

(11) כִּי בְּלַעֲגֵי שָׂפָה וּבְלָשׁוֹן אַחֶרֶת | יְדַבֵּר אֶל הָעָם הַזֶּה:
(12) אֲשֶׁר אָמַר אֲלֵיהֶם זֹאת הַמְּנוּחָה הָנִיחוּ לֶעָיֵף וְזֹאת הַמַּרְגֵּעָה | וְלֹא אָבוּא שְׁמוֹעַ

As we will see, it is much better to prophesy than to speak in a tongue, because while prophecy can be understood, tongues cannot be understood (unless one has the gift of interpretation, or unless an interpreter is present). And yet it is a very good thing to speak in a tongue, not only because it is evidence that one is hearing His voice, but also because it can be a step towards learning how to prophesy.

But if speaking in tongues can lead to prophesying, then what does Scripture tell us about it?
The Renewed Covenant speaks of ‘tongues’ five times. In chronological order, these references are:

Mark 16:17;
Acts 2:1-13;
Acts 10:44-48;
Acts 19:5-7; and
First Corinthians Twelve through Fourteen

However, there is a problem, in that the first reference (Mark 16:17) contradicts the last one (First Corinthians Twelve through Fourteen). That is a problem indeed, for John 10:35 tells us that Scripture cannot be broken.

Yochanan (John) 10:35
35 “If He called them elohim (‘g-ds’), to whom the word of Elohim came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)….”

If Scripture cannot be broken, then it is also impossible for Scripture to contradict itself, because if any two passages of Scripture contradict each other, then logically speaking, one of them must be broken if the other one is to be fulfilled. (By definition, if two passages of Scripture contradict each other, and one of them is true, then the other one must be false.)

It is no small thing to suggest that a given passage of Scripture is illegitimate, and needs to be removed from the Canon. This kind of analysis needs to be handled extremely carefully. However, at the same time, if there are any passages in Scripture that really are not supposed to be there, then we need to know about them, so that we do not practice false worship based upon false doctrines.
According to Metzger’s textual commentary on the Renewed Covenant, the first Renewed Covenant reference to speaking in tongues (Mark 16:9-20) is missing from the oldest known manuscripts, including the two oldest known Greek manuscripts, the Old Latin Codex, the Sinai Syriac (Aramaic), from about one hundred Armenian manuscripts, and also from the two oldest Gregorian manuscripts (circa CE 897 and 913). Further, both Origen and Clement of Alexandria tell us that the Book of Mark ended at verse 16:8 (Metzger). Beyond this, the Church Fathers Jerome and Eusebius attested that verses 9-20 were absent from almost all of the Greek manuscripts known to them. Then we might also note that Mark 16:17 contradicts the last reference (First Corinthians Twelve through Fourteen).

If all of the oldest known manuscripts have Mark 16 ending with verse 8, then everything after Mark 16:8 must be a later addition to the Text. This would mean that Mark 16:17 was not originally included in the Book of Mark (but that it was added later). This would mean that we should never use Mark 16:17 as the basis for any kind of doctrine.

What kind of doctrine? If we read it carefully, we can see that the language of Mark 16:17 suggests that everyone who follows Yeshua must speak in “new tongues.” That is to say, if someone does not speak in “new tongues,” then that person does not follow Yeshua (and is therefore not saved).

Marqaus (Mark) 16:15-18
15 “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to every creature.
16 He who believes and is immersed will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The specific language of Mark 16:17 makes speaking in tongues and handling serpents into ‘litmus tests’ of one’s salvation; and there are some denominations within Christianity that treat these things as such. Some of these denominations are even known to bring poisonous snakes into their set-apart places (in which unclean animals are not supposed to enter), and make their members handle them (and speak in tongues), in order to prove their faith. But is it really Elohim’s will for us, that we bring deadly serpents into our set-apart places of worship?

There are a number of problems with Mark 16:17, but the one that concerns us the most is that it conflicts with First Corinthians 12:8-11, which tells us that not all believers will speak in tongues, but that the same Spirit will give different gifts to each one of us.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Cor.) 12:8-11
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Sixteen verses later, First Corinthians 12:27-30 tells us much the same thing.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Cor.) 12:27-30
27 Now you are the body of Messiah, and members individually.
28 And Elohim has appointed these in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

If the Spirit gives different gifts to each of us, then how can there be a requirement for all to speak in tongues? And, if we attempt to speak in tongues when we have not actually been given this gift, then are we not actually attempting to exercise gifts that YHWH has not truly given to us?

And what is it to attempt to exercise a gift that YHWH has not actually given to us, but false worship?
Sensing that something is wrong with these kinds of ‘mandatory tongues sessions,’ many believers have cast a suspicious eye towards speaking in tongues altogether. This is great pity, for legitimate tongues are a legitimate gift, and they have hidden value to us as a step in the restoration of our nation.

In order to understand what the legitimate gift of speaking in tongues really is, let us look at the other references to speaking in tongues in the Renewed Covenant, and see if we can spot any helpful patterns.

Many believers are familiar with the miracle of speaking in tongues that occurred in Acts Chapter Two.

Ma’asim (Acts) 2:1-13
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Set-apart Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of Elohim.”
12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

Acts Chapter Two was the very first time the Spirit was poured out en masse, and there are several important things to notice about this key event. In Acts Two:

A divided tongue (as of fire) miraculously appeared upon each of the speakers’ heads;
The disciples began to speak in tongues other than their native Hebrew and/or Aramaic;
The foreign pilgrims who had come up for the festival were given the gift of interpretation of tongues on a mass scale, so that each of them could hear and understand the ‘tongue’ that was being spoken in his own native language.
YHWH gave the miracle of interpretation on a mass scale.

Tongues and interpretation are mentioned in other places, but the flames of fire never appear anywhere else, and the gift of interpretation of tongues was never again given on a mass scale. Why? Also, since it is better to prophesy than to speak in a tongue, why did the veteran believers (i.e., the disciples) merely speak in tongues, rather than prophesy?

The reason the veteran believers spoke in tongues in Acts Chapter Two was that it was the first time the Spirit had been poured out en masse. As we will see, when one is first filled with the Spirit, a natural outcome is to speak in tongues. Prophecy is also a natural outcome of being filled with His Spirit, but it takes a much deeper connection to prophesy than it does to speak in a tongue, and not all believers have this deep of a connection when they first receive His Spirit.

Because the veteran believers were only speaking in tongues (rather than prophesying), YHWH gave the pilgrims the gift of interpretation of tongues en masse, so that they might each hear the Good News in his own language (and thus, believe).

The gift of tongues was next given to Cornelius (and those with him) in Acts Chapter Ten. (As we explain in Nazarene Israel, Cornelius was actually the first of the Ephraimites to return to the Nation of Israel.)

Ma’asim (Acts) 10:44-48
44 While Kepha (Peter) was still speaking these words, the Set-apart Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45 And those of the Circumcision who believed (i.e. believing Pharisees) were astonished, as many as came with Kepha, because the gift of the Set-apart Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles (the Ephraimites) also.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify Elohim.
Then Kepha answered,
47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be immersed who have received the Set-apart Spirit, just as we have?”
48 And he commanded them to be immersed in the name of YHWH. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

In Acts Chapter Two (above), the veteran believers spoke in tongues when they were filled with the Spirit. However, in Acts Chapter Ten, it was the new believers who spoke in tongues. Since these new believers did not prophesy, and since there was no interpreter present, no edifying message was imparted. However, the fact that the new believers spoke in tongues served as a sign that they had just been saved (which also astonished the believing Pharisees, verse 45).

But why would it serve as a sign that someone has just been saved, that they should speak in an unknown tongue? As we will see in the next section, it is because speaking in tongues is an indication that one is hearing the voice of the Spirit, and is attempting to speak according to the Spirit’s voice. This is a very positive step, since the first step in prophesying is to hear YHWH’s voice, and then to attempt to speak according to what one hears.
In Acts Chapter Nineteen, the Apostle Shaul laid hands on those who were just newly saved. However, this time, those who were newly saved did not just speak in tongues, but (at least some of them) also prophesied.

Ma’asim (Acts) 19:5-7
5 When they heard this, they were immersed in the name of the Master Yeshua.
6 And when Shaul had laid hands on them, the Set-apart Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

Then, from First Corinthians Twelve through Fourteen, the Apostle Shaul talks about spiritual gifts for three whole chapters. Since Scripture does not waste space (and since people used to write with quills), we should realize that whatever Shaul is expounding upon for three whole chapters must be very important.

Shaul starts out by telling us that he does not want us to be ignorant concerning spiritual gifts:

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 12:1
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

Shaul then tells us clearly that not everyone will be given the same spiritual gifts; but that there will be diversities of spiritual gifts, even though it is the same Spirit that gives all of these divergent gifts.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

As we mentioned earlier, one reason Mark 16:17 cannot be inspired is that contradicts Shaul’s writings here. Mark 16:17 requires that everyone who is saved speak in tongues as a mandatory sign of their being saved. This contradicts verse 4, which tells us that the Spirit gives each of us different gifts (even though it is the same Spirit that works in and through all of us).

8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as She wills.

Although some people do speak in tongues when they first get saved (and even afterwards), Shaul is quite clear that we will not all receive the same spiritual gifts. We are all still members of His Body, even if we do not speak in tongues.

27 Now you are the body of Messiah, and members individually.
28 And Elohim has appointed these in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

The answer to Shaul’s many questions in verses 29 and 30 is “No.” Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone works miracles. Not everyone is given the gift of healings. Not everyone is given the gift of tongues, and not everyone is given the gift of interpretation. Some people are given these gifts, but others are not. None of these groups is superior to any other.

Then, as if he is saying something cryptic, Shaul tells us to earnestly desire the best gifts. By this, he tells us that some of the gifts are ‘better’ (or more desirable) than others.

31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I (will) show you a more excellent way.

Next, in First Corinthians Thirteen, Shaul tells us that love (KJV: charity) is the greatest of all of the spiritual gifts. Since Elohim is love (1st John 4:8, 16), Shaul essentially tells us that without love, none of the other spiritual gifts means anything at all.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Shaul then tells us that love is superior to prophecy, to tongues, and to all other spiritual gifts. This is very important to realize, for without love, nothing we do has any lasting value.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

Some think this passage means that after we begin to love, we will cease to speak in tongues (and also cease to prophesy). However, this cannot be Shaul’s meaning, because the apostles all loved, and yet they also spoke in tongues, and prophesied.

Next, in Chapter Fourteen, Shaul tells us that in addition to love, we should pursue the rest of the spiritual gifts. However, the spiritual gift we should seek most (in addition to love) is the gift of prophecy. This is because while no one is edified if we speak in an unintelligible tongue (unless someone interprets), when we prophesy, others can be edified.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
1 Pursue love; and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy;
2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to Elohim, for no one understands him; but in the spirit he speaks (only) mysteries.
3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the assembly.
5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets; that the assembly may receive edification.

When one speaks in a tongue, one is edified personally because of what one hears in the Spirit. However, a prophet hears the same thing as someone who speaks in a tongue, but since he is able to articulate it (and put it into human language), others can be edified as well.

Tongues, then, are to prophesying as baby-talk is to mature speech. While it is good that a baby tries to talk, if the baby is eventually to grow into a mature, fully-functioning adult, then his speech must also mature. In the same way, he who speaks in a tongue must work to develop his ability to articulate that which he hears in the Spirit, so that he may be able to speak in human speech, and so benefit and edify others in the assembly.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?
7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?
8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?
9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.

When we hear YHWH’s voice in the Spirit, we can edify others by speaking according to revelation, knowledge, prophesy, and/or teaching. However, in order to edify anyone else by any of these means, our speech before others must first be clear.

Since the whole point of speaking in the assembly is to edify the assembly, unless our speech will edify the assembly, we should just keep quiet. This is also why one who speaks in tongues should keep quiet unless an interpreter is present: if his unknown tongue does not edify anyone else, then it does no actual good.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance.
11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.
12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the assembly that you seek to excel.
13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may (also) interpret.
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

In verse 13, Shaul tells us that he who speaks in an unknown tongue should also pray that he may interpret it, so that his speech can be understood.

In other words, he who speaks in an unknown tongue should pray that he will be able to prophesy before the assembly, so that his speech can also edify others (and not just himself).

15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amein” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.

Those who speak in tongues (of the stammering-lip variety) should continue onward towards prophesying. They should remain broken, and put aside their own thoughts, so as to be able to hear (and thus speak from) the Still Small Voice more clearly.

Shaul tells us that he thanked Elohim for the ability to speak in tongues; and yet he would rather speak five words of prophecy (that could be understood) than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
18 I thank my Elohim I speak with tongues more than you all;
19 yet in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Only by speaking with his understanding could Shaul edify the Body. Nonetheless, Shaul tells us that it is good for those who speak in tongues to speak in them, for they serve as a sign to non-believers that the speaker is saved.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Cor.) 14:20-25
20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
21 In the Torah it is written:
“With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says YHWH.
22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; for prophesying is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe.

The language here is difficult, and we have to work to understand it. Shaul tells us that prophesying is meant for those who believe, while tongues are meant as a sign for those who do not believe. However, Shaul cannot mean that tongues are never used to show those who believe that someone has just been saved, for that is clearly how it was used in Acts Chapter Ten, where we are told that those who were newly saved spoke in tongues.

Ma’asim (Acts) 10:44-48
44 While Kepha (Peter) was still speaking these words, the Set-apart Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45 And those of the Circumcision who believed (i.e. believing Pharisees) were astonished, as many as came with Kepha, because the gift of the Set-apart Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles (the Ephraimites) also.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify Elohim.
Then Kepha answered,
47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be immersed who have received the Set-apart Spirit, just as we have?”
48 And he commanded them to be immersed in the name of YHWH. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

What Shaul means is that it is good for a believer to speak in tongues in public, because it is difficult even for non-believers to ignore the fact that one is speaking in an unknown tongue. When a non-believer sees a believer speaking in tongues, it can give him a witness that something from Elohim is taking place.

However, Shaul also tells us that it is not good that the assembly should all speak in tongues if an unbeliever should come into the assembly, because the unbeliever would probably say that all of the people were out of their minds.

23 Therefore if the whole assembly comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.
25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship Elohim and report that Elohim is truly among you.

While fore-telling (prediction) is sometimes difficult even for believers to understand, even nonbelievers can understand forth-telling, if the one who brings forth the things of the Spirit does so intelligibly. If the prophet uses words of revelation, then the secrets of the non-believer’s heart can be revealed, and the unbeliever can be struck in his heart, and then fall down and worship Elohim.

Yet prophesying is superior to tongues, even in public. If the non-believer can be struck in his heart if a prophet brings forth the things of the Spirit to him in an assembly, then that same non-believer can also be struck in his heart in a public setting.

Remembering that a tongue is to prophecy as baby-talk is to mature speech, we can also make some interesting analogies to the human family.

In human families, parents do not expect their babies to use adult speech all at once. They are thrilled if their child makes any sound at all, even if it just sounds like baby babble (i.e., tongues). However, as the child gets older, the parent expects his child’s speech to grow and mature, just as one who speaks in tongues should eventually be expected to prophesy. And when guests come over to the house, the parents may understand what their baby is saying, but the guests may not understand, unless the parents interpret for them.

Some Christian denominations, however, encourage the household to continue to speak baby-talk, in celebration of the fact that their babies talk in baby-talk. Yet, how would it be if the whole congregation dropped down on all fours and start crawling around on the ground, in celebration of the fact that their babies crawl? Or what if everyone toddled? Would it not make their guests uncomfortable?

Similarly, we are our Father’s children, and while He is thrilled when we babble at first learning how to speak according to His Voice, will He be happy if we continue to babble as children? Or will He not be much happier if we continue to progress onward towards mature speech (i.e., prophecy)? And is this not also Shaul’s intended meaning in First Corinthians Thirteen?

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 13:11
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

While we should always be glad when someone first speaks in tongues, we should also encourage him to continue his spiritual progress, so that he might learn how to prophesy (so as to edify others). However, Shaul tells us that we should never prohibit anyone from speaking in a tongue when an interpreter is present (as that would be the equivalent of forbidding prophecy). However, when people speak in tongues, they must do so in an orderly way:

Qorintim Aleph (1st Cor.) 14:26-28
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation (i.e. Elohim gives you something to share).
Let all things be done for edification!
27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.
28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself and to Elohim.

Let us bear in mind, however, that not everyone is able to interpret tongues, and Shaul tells us that if no one is present who can interpret, it would be better for the assembly if those with a tongue just prayed silently.
Yet even when an interpreter is present, all things must still be done in an orderly way. Israel is the Army of the Living Elohim; and in an army, all things must always be done decently, and in order.

Speaking to this, Shaul tells that those who are sharing for the benefit of all must be orderly, and speak in a manner that befits all. Those who are speaking should take turns, one by one.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge;
30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.
31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be encouraged.

Since orderliness is important, it is good that even those who prophesy should take turns. Further, if someone is prophesying and another is given a quick word of revelation, then all present should honor the movement of the Spirit by being quiet, allowing the one who has been given the revelation enough time to speak what the Spirit has just revealed to him.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, meaning the prophets should control themselves. They do not need to ‘blurt anything out,’ or be disorderly in any way, but they must learn to control their spirits.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
33 For Elohim is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints.

Finally, Shaul tells us about women prophesying in the assemblies. Some have mistakenly concluded that just because women are not allowed to teach (or to lead an assembly), that they are also not allowed to speak in an assembly, or to prophesy (or to speak in tongues). This generally comes from a misunderstanding of First Timothy 2:12-15.

TimaTheus Aleph (1st Timothy) 2:12-15
12 And I do not permit a woman to teach, or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was formed first, then Havvah (Eve),
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing, if (she) continue(s) in faith, love, and set-apartness, with self-control.

However, Shaul cannot be telling us that women are not allowed to speak in the assemblies at all, because when we continue onward in First Corinthians Chapter Fourteen, we see Shaul pointing out the erroneous conclusions of an unknown Corinthian letter writer, who claims that women are not supposed to speak in the assemblies. What we see is that Shaul disagrees with this author.

Remembering that there are no quotation marks in ancient Hebrew (or in Greek), then we can see that Shaul disapproved of this unknown Corinthian letter-writer’s assertions that women are not allowed to speak in the assemblies.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
34 (Quoting) “Let your women keep silent in the assemblies, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the Torah also says!
35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in the assembly.”
(End quote.)

Shaul rebukes the unknown Corinthian letter-writer by asking him some questions.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14:36
36 What?! (Oy!) Did the Word of Elohim come originally from you? Or was it only you that it reached?

Many people have historically taken verses 34 and 35 as a ‘second witness’ that women are not allowed to speak in the assemblies (along with First Timothy 2:12-15). However, this does not really work, for unless we assume that Shaul is quoting someone else in verses 34 and 35, verse 36 seems to come out of nowhere, for it is completely incongruous with these other two verses. The only way verse 36 makes any sense at all is if we understand verses 34 and 35 are a quote from an unknown letter-writer.

We can verify this if we go back to the source languages. In the Greek Textus Receptus, verse 36 begins with the Greek preposition word “ay” (Strong’s Greek NT#2228).

NT:2228 e (ay!); a primary particle of distinction between two connected terms: disjunctive, or; comparative, than:

This particle indicates a distinction (or a contrast) between the things it joins. In other words, it tells us that there is a contrast between verses 34-35, and verse 36. When used at the beginning of a sentence this particle can mean “What?!” or “What nonsense!” This particle e (ay!) sounds like the Hebrew expression “Oy!” and it has much the same meaning.

In the Peshitta Aramaic, this word appears as או (Oy). J. Payne Smith’s Compendious Syriac Dictionary tells us that the Aramaic word או indicates an expression of simultaneous wonderment, grief, and reproof, much like the Hebrew expression “Oy!”

או: Interjection, expressing the vocative, wonder, grief, reproof; ~ O! Oh!

1st Corinthians 14:36.
36 Oh! Went from you the Word of Elaha? Oh! Arrived it to you only?

או דלמא מנכון הו נפקת מלתה דאלאהא. או לותכון הו בלהוד מטת.

Shaul could only have been rebuking the speaker’s remarks in verses 34 and 35. He is saying, “I have never heard of any such Torah commandment that tells us the women are to be silent in the assemblies. So then, did you write this commandment yourself? Or are you the only one who heard it?”

Some authors suggest that the ‘Torah commandment’ the unknown Corinthian letter-writer was referencing is actually Genesis 3:16.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:16
16 “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception: in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

However, while Genesis 3:16 supports male headship (both in the household, and in the assemblies), and while it does indicate a supporting role for women, it does not constitute a commandment for women to be silent. Therefore, we should understand that what Shaul was really saying in First Timothy 2:12-15 was:

TimaTheus Aleph (1st Timothy) 2:12-15
12 And I do not permit a woman to teach, or to have authority over a man, but (generally) to be in silence (as far as leadership in the assemblies is concerned).
13 For Adam was formed first, then Havvah (Eve),
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing, if (she) continue(s) in faith, love, and set-apartness, with self-control.

There is no favoritism with Elohim. Although women are not allowed to lead a congregation, if women are given the gift of the same Spirit as men are, then why would women not be allowed to speak according to the Spirit (i.e., to speak in tongues, or to prophesy)?

If a woman is prophesying according to the Spirit, and one stops her from speaking, then is one not actually quenching the Spirit?

Shaul’s meaning is, “The Torah does not tell women not to speak in the assemblies! You are making things up!”

Then he goes on to say:

37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I (and not the unknown letter writer from Corinth) write to you are the commandments of YHWH.
38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant!

Shaul then concludes by telling the Corinthians that while prophecy is indeed a much better spiritual gift than tongues, one must be careful not forbid the people to speak in tongues, since it can help them learn how to prophesy.

Qorintim Aleph (1st Corinthians) 14
39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy; but do not forbid to speak with tongues.

Only:

40 Let all things be done decently, and in order.

If YHWH wills, in the next chapter we will talk about what judges are, and the role prophesying plays in appointing judges within the Nation of Israel, as well as why it is absolutely quintessential that any judge within Israel hears YHWH’s voice.

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