Isaiah 28:9-10: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”
The people became so engrossed in darkness they no longer could understand the simple spiritual laws and teachings. There was no one left to teach. Because of their rebellious state, God sent His judgment upon the nation!
Isa.28:11 “For with another tongue will he speak to this people.” This is referencing the coming Babylonian captivity which would occur in 586 B.C. It is a message of judgment that they will be, snared, and taken captive by Babylon into their land.
When Israel hears a people of a “strange tongue” which were the Babylonians who came to conquer destroy Judah and take them captive. By hearing those who spoke in another language then the people would know that God’s judgment had arrived upon them ! Isaiah 28:12, “To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”
Rather than responding to this message with repentance and faith, the backslidden leaders ignored the message of Isaiah as they did the other prophets and the nation following the leaders rebellion was taken captive! The prophet said those who went along with the captivity would live, those who did not would die.
This is what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 14 that “tongues are a sign to the unbelievers, tongues are a sign of God’s judgment to unbelievers – for the sin of unbelief.
Isa.28:11 “For with another tongue will he speak to this people.”(these were the Jews at Pentecost) to authenticate the Gospel message. When the northern kingdom was in unbelief they were taken captive by the Assyrians they could not understand the language spoken.
This event happened again at Pentecost to those who were in unbelief still could not understand. Tongues represented the same message to these Jews at Pentecost on account of their rebellious unbelief they needed to turn toward Christ.
Just as they were in darkness and taken captive to Babylon they needed to be released from their current captivity of non-Biblical Judaism which rejected the Messiah. It was a testimony against those who had rejected Christ Jesus. This is why Peter pleads to separate from this accursed generation.
The miracle of tongues was that those who spoke them did not know the language but those who heard understood them in their own language.
Tongues were always given unexpectedly (Acts 2,10,19) they were not expecting to see this sign gift. They did not seek it at Pentecost or any of the outpourings in the book of Acts. No one had to surrender or purify themselves to receive the Spirit, it was a collective experience for all those who believed at the same time. It was a gift freely given, not in exchange for something we do to earn him.
The book of Acts gives us the normal pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit. One thing becomes clear as the texts are looked at carefully; there is no consistent pattern of reception. In order for something to be normative it needs to be consistent and a common thing to all. Not all spoke in tongues.
If we look carefully through the book of Acts There are only three references to believers speaking in tongues when salvation was given. Acts 2 those in the upper room who did not know what they were waiting for.
Acts 10 the spirit falls on them while the message is given. Acts 19 to those who had not heard of the Holy Spirit. The Samaritans did not speak in tongues in Acts 8 nor did the majority of those who were saved. Starting in chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost those who came from the upper room spoke in tongues to the Jews that were in Jerusalem who were in unbelief.
Acts 2:41 tells us there were three thousand that entered into the church that day. The 3,000 that were saved were added to the church WITHOUT speaking in tongues, nor were there tongues of fire over them or anyone else that received the Spirit. If one is going to make the tongues as the evidence why not the fire over their heads too?
Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” There were tongues! But this was limited to those in the upper room; it does not say that those who experienced the salvation from Peter’s message spoke in tongues.
Till next week,
Elder Dr. Robert L. Harrison