Month 2:30, RC Preparation Day, Year:Day 5939:059 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 28 May 2014
The Fivefold Ministry
With Thoughts on Tongue-Speaking
Introduction: The Gifts and Their Offices
"[Yah'shua/Jesus] Himself gave some to be shlichim (emissaries, apostles - apostolos), some nevi'im (prophets - prophétés), some evangelists (proclaimers of the Besorah/Good News - euaggelistés), and some rochim (pastors, shepherds, overseers - poimén) and morim (teachers - didaskalos), for the equipping of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) for the work of ministry, for the edifying of haGuf Mashiach (the body of Messiah), till we all come to the unity ("one thing", "one and the same" in - HRV) of the emunah (faith) and of the da'at (knowledge) of the Ben haElohim (Son of God), to B'nei haChayil maturity (valiant men, a perfect man), to the measure of the stature of the melo (plentitude, fullness) of Messiah; that we should no longer be olalim (infants, children), tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of limmud (instruction, doctrine), by the scheming of trickery of men (cp. "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" - Isa.57:20, NKJV), in the cunning craftiness (scheming) of remiyah (deceit) and madduchei shav (delusion) (deceitful plotting), but, speaking the emet (truth) in ahavah (love), may grow up in all things into Him who is the rosh (head) -- Messiah -- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in ahavah (love)" (Eph.4:11-16, NKJV/OJB &c).
At the request of the East Africa Mission, this study covers Ephesians 4:11-16, and in particular verses 11-13 which lay out what evangelicals call the Fivefold Ministry of the Messianic Community (Church) though there are some who argue that only four offices are described since pastoring and teaching are very clearly overlapping ministries. However, whilst it is true to say that all pastors must be teachers (they must be "able to teach" - 1 Tim.3:2, as must evangelists - 2 Tim.2:2,24), it is not true to say that all teachers are necessarily pastors, and so we in this ministry affirm the five separate offices though sometimes overlapping, ministries. Though certain believers may have more than one of these gifts simultaneously, the gifts themselves are separate and distinguishable.
The Five Offices
These five offices - apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher - are essential to the commission to bring the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) into echad (oneness) or a unity of the emunah (faith) though not all Evangelical-Protestant denominations acknowledge them. Thus not all evangelical denominations have apostles (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Anglican) whilst some - like the pentecostals and charismatics - may have thousands of them. As far as the numbers of these are concerned, the Scriptures make it clear that there are never more than 12 apostles at any one time of whom the original twelve - minus Judas and plus Paul (as we shall see) - are the presiding twelve apostles over Israel throughout eternity (Rev.21:21). Likewise there is never more than one pastor or overseer per congregation. Prophets varied in number in different congregations anciently, with one congregation at Caesarea either possessing four regular prophetesses or else were women who simply had the spirit of prophecy occasionally (Ac.21:9). Apostles by definition are also prophets but not all prophets are apostles, as obviously the four daughters of Philip the Evangelist with the prophetic gift were not apostles. And this is one thing that is important to understand from the outset: not everybody with a gift corresponding to one or more of these five offices necessarily was ordained to these offices. More about that in a moment.
The Work of the Five Offices
The chief work of the shlichim (apostles) is to found congregations which they do by evangelising, teaching, prophesying and, of course, traveling. Nevi'im (prophets) speak the Davar Elohim (Word of God). Evangelists communicate the Besorah or Gospel (Good News) so that people make teshuvah or repent, turn from sin, and accept Yahweh's forgiveness by turning to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as their Deliverer or Saviour. They can be local or they can travel widely like the apostles. Pastors are local ministers and carry on from the work of the evangelist, discipling and counselling new and old believers in living the messianic lifestyle in the true scriptural tavnith or pattern. Their qualifications are mostly moral (1 Tim.3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9). Finally the teachers communicate and apply biblical emet (truth) and are, for the most part, local ministers though some may travel.
Jeremiah and the Fullness of the New Covenant
When in the Tanakh (Old Testament) the prophet Jeremiah prophesied of the B'rit Chadashah or New Covenant, Yahweh said through him:
A Time When The Offices Will Be Gone
"But this is the [new] b'rit (covenant) that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put My Torah (Law, Teaching) in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim (God), and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know Yahweh,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yahweh" (Jer.31:33-34, NKJV).
What is significant to note here in this passage is that this perfect New Covenant manifestation has still not happened. Jeremiah foretells a time when no teachers, evangelists or apostles will be needed because the Torah will be perfectly written in the hearts of every man and woman - no ministry will be required for "every man [to] teach his neighbour" because this echadness or unity will have been accomplished. Everyone will know the emet (truth). We're not told when this will happen, only that it will one day, perhaps at the end of the Millennium or perhaps before. So two things follow from Jeremiah and Paul that we should carefully note:
Thousands Claim the Apostolic Office
- 1. What Jeremiah speaks of has clearly not happened yet, therefore we still need these five offices and spiritual giftings in the messianic community for some time until; and
- 2. The fact that so many denominations exist, and the fact that there is so much disunity even within denominations and individual congregations, demonstrates the absolute need for all five offices and giftings. To claim, as some denominations do, that not all are now required, or that they were only for the establishment of the 'early church', is to tell an untruth, deny the Davar (Word) and disable the fullest blessings for believers.
The solution is not, of course, to simply go ahead and legalistically ordain 'missing' offices like apostles as Mormons  and those of the New Apostolic Church (Irvingites) claim they are legitimately doing. Ordaining apostles does not necessarily indicate that the apostolic gifting is present, as we shall see. Anyone can presumptuously set-apart someone to an office without any heavenly mandate whatsoever, as commonly happens. 'Apostles' these days are a dime a dozen - there are so many so-called 'apostles' in pentecostal, charismatic, Mormon, Independent and Armstrongite Churches of God all teaching contadictory doctrines and making so many false prophesies that they are not only uncountable but substantially lack spiritual credibility. So they clearly can't all have the anointing of apostles. It therefore becomes necessary for us to be able to identify the giftings of all these offices from the Davar (Word), removing all ambiguity and confusion. If these men and women have called themselves, or been called by others claiming to have this gifting and toqef (authority), but none of them are producting the required fruits or evidences of that office and gifting, then they are FALSE and must be rejected.
No Man Can Take the Honour of Being a Minister Upon Himself
It's a good thing to recognise the need for the gifting and the office but it is worse to deny that an office is even needed anymore. Either way is presumptuous and those who do these things indirectly claim the right to modify Scripture. Only Yahweh can, in any case, call a person to a ministry and an office within that ministry. And though the following passage is specifically speaking of the office of Cohen Gadol (High Priest), which now in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) belongs to Yah'shua (Jesus) alone, the principle is true of all priestly callings and offices:
So Many False Ministers
"No man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by Elohim (God), just as Aaron was" (Heb.5:4, NKJV).
This is a most serious manner, especially as there are both so many false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the Body of Messiah, along with those who, though genuinely called, are not walking in the perfection or completeness demanded of them. They're either cutting corners or adding things they ought not to be doing. The reasons for incompletely walking in a calling may be many, including ignorance of a portion of the emet (truth), and that is in part the reason why there is a lack of unity. Don't all ministers claim to be led by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)? Well of course they do, they must do, else none would believe them or follow them and they wouldn't believe in themselves. Yet clearly all cannot be doing so or they would all be teaching the same things and would be manifesting the same fruits for their respective gifts. It is obvious to those who are honest enough to admit it that the Ruach (Spirit) is to be found to different degrees in the various messianic assemblies and evangelical churches. The fullness is clearly missing with some ministers having this part of the emet (truth) and some having that. Some have part of the gifting of their office and some have another part. Do you know of anyone who claims to be an 'apostle' today who has the identical anointing of the first apostles? Are they doing the same works? And are they all teaching the same doctrines? This evident (and obvious) lack on the part of ministers is on two accounts:
Which Song Do You Sing?
- 1. Firstly, they do not fully know the Son of Elohim (God); and
- 2. They do not know, or else deny, the a little or a lot of the Torah and the mitzvot (commandments).
Every minister, no matter what his or her calling, office or gifting, must absolutely know Yah'shua (Jesus) personally and be both living and teaching the Torah and mitzvot (commandments). This applies, of course, to every believer who is described in scripture as singing a Song - two-songs-in-one, in fact, that speak of this dual witness:
A Dual Song
"And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of Elohim (God). They sing the song of Moses, the servant of Elohim (God), and the song of the Lamb" (Rev.15:2-3, NKJV).
None of the five offices can properly function unless each man and woman knows Messiah personally, and knows, lives and teaches the Torah lifestyle - that is to say, sings the unified "Song of Moses" and "Song of the Lamb". Indeed, as this passage makes very clear indeed, no believer - minister or otherwise - has any hope of having victory over the end-time beast unless he or she is doing both! If you want to be an overcomer you can't just sing the Song of Moses (talk, teach, live and preach Torah) and you can't just sing the Song of the Lamb (talk, teach, live and preach Yah'shua the Messiah/Jesus Christ). They will not understand what it is to be qadosh (holy, set-apart) or to walk in Yah's Presence free of counterfeit spirits and in the authentic power of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), singing in purity of soul:
The Songs Identified
"Great and marvelous are Your works, Yahweh-Elohim Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones)! Who shall not fear You, O Yahweh, and glorify Your Name? For You alone are qodesh (holy, set-apart). For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your mishpatim (judgments) have been manifested"
Another way the Scriptures describe the singing of this dual song is by telling us what these songs actually lead us to do or be, namely, to "keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Elohim (God) and have the testimony of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" (Rev.12:17, NKJV). If you're singing the Song of Moses you're obeying the mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah, and if you're singing the song of the Lamb you're bearing witness of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as your Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour)! This is a descriptive of the end-time qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) who are, as it were, the 'crême de la crême because they are the true overcomers, the true inheritors of the name of Israel, the true believers.
The Lawless World of Contemporary Evangelical Christianity
It is truly wonderful that pentecostals and charismatics acknowledge the importantance of the Fivefold Ministry but extremely dangerous to then go ahead whilst failing to sing the Song of Moses, as none of them do, for to do so is to leave a Torah-vacuum that deceiving spirits will rapidly fill, and have rapidly filled, ever since the Azuza Street Revival and all the other revivals since, each of which - especially since the Toronto Airport outpouring of lawlessness - has been plagued by more and more demonic spirits. And they will only get worse and more blasphemous, as we have seen as Copeland, Eckman and others embrace Roman Catholicism. In some respects the Baptists or other evangelicals who reject the apostolic office are on safer ground and are not so plaged by all these mischievous spirits that have flung open the door wider for ever greater and greater deception in the Body of Messiah. We'll look at one or two of these issues in just a moment. Yet Baptists, Lutherans and others are also in denial of Torah and are not singing the Song of Moses as they are supposed to either. They are still in trouble themselves.
The Giftings and Offices
I think this will become clearer as we now take a closer look at the giftings of the Ruach (Spirit) and see how these are supposed to lock together like the perfectly fashioned parts of the human body. As we shall see not every gifting has a parallel office. Let's take a look at what Paul tells the Romans:
"For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Messiah, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our emunah (faith); or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness" (Rom.12:4-8, NKJV).
Here we see some giftings which are not congregational offices. Here prophecy is used in the general sense in which all believers are prophets. Do you believe in Yah'shua (Jesus)? Then when you testify of Him you are acting in the prophetic though not necessarily in the office of a navi (prophet), for it is written:
Offices and Gifts Compared
"The testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus) is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev.19:10, NKJV).
Does that make you a navi (prophet) like Yah'shua (Jesus), John the Baptist, Elisha, Elijah, Samuel or Moses? Obviously not, since one who operates in the office of a navi (prophet), as these men did, must produce similar works. Likewise, not everyone occupies the office of an evangelist and yet we are all called to be witnesses, which means that from time to time we operate in the spirit of evangelism. Whenever a believer sits down and teaches the Besorah (Gospel) to a friend or neighbour, he is operating in the spirit of the teacher. Sometimes when we counsel a brother or sister in need we may be operating in a pastoral spirit but that does not mean we hold the office of a pastor. I'm sure you get what I mean here. Indeed, we all of us situationally operate in the five spirits of the Fivefold Ministry from time-to-time depending what we are called to do at any one moment. This is part of the living dynamic of the Besorah (Gospel).
My Experience of Offices and Giftings
In the passage in Romans 12 we just read, there are other 'spirits' that as believers we are to move in when necessary that are common to all the five offices. We can, as the Ruach (Spirit) moves, prophesy in proportion to our emunah (faith), we can minister to others' needs, teach, exhort, give liberally, lead, show mercy and be cheerful. You might say, then, that the Ruach (Spirit) gives us a kaleidoscope of gifts yet we may only be called to specialise in one or two. For myself, it is been obvious to everyone that my giftings are primarily in teaching and seership (seeing visions) since that's what I 'do' the most, though when called upon to do so, I operate in the prophetic, and I have been a pastor for 25 years. And whilst I have been called to be an apostle I have not yet been anointed to perform that calling and have not been given the full gifting. That may be something for the future, if I do not disqualify myself in the meantime, which is why I do not call myself an apostle. Nobody has been anointed to be an apostle in this ministry yet though several have been called and await their spiritual infusion. Personally I doubt there are any true apostles in the world yet. When the apostolic anointing happens for real, the signs and evidences will be obvious to all, but for now they are absent. Hence I operate primarily in the office of a pastor for now. That is not to say that the apostolic gifting does not manifest from time to time, as it must surely do whenever someone feels strongly calls to plant new congregations and does so. However, that does not make them an 'apostle' any more than a teenage teaching the Besorah (Gospel) to a school friend makes her a congregational Teacher.
Time Chunks or 24/7
So the difference between an anointing at a particular moment of time and an actual office is that the former is for a small chunk of time and the latter is 24/7. I am a pastor whether I am leading a congregation or whether I am asleep in bed. I am 'apostolic' when I am out in the field planting congregations in any chunk of time, but I am not an apostle because I am doing that. I do not yet have the offices and my ministry is not acompanied by the signs of the first apostles. Therefore I cannot, and refuse to, call myself an Apostle.
Signs of an Authentic Apostle
What are the signs of a true apostle? For one thing, he will be teaching and living Torah like everyone else in the messianic community (church). He won't be osberving pagan traditions like Christmas or Sunday as a day of assembly but he obeying all the mitzvot (commandments): the moral and ethical mitzvot (commandments), the festivals of Israel - remember what Jeremiah said earlier? - "this is the [new] b'rit (covenant) that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put My Torah (Law, Teaching) in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim (God), and they shall be My people", and all this in the context of a future time, which has not yet come, when we won't need teachers and the like because everyone will know Yahweh! He will, in short, be singing the Song of Moses like other true overcomers and sons of Elohim (God). So true shlichim (apostles) will be moral, ethical, observing the annual festivals, the monthly new moons and weekly sabbaths, kashrutdietary laws, and so on, not in order to be saved but because they are already saved! So if anyone comes to you who is not doing these things and says that he or she has the office of an apostle - if they use the name as a title in the messianic community or church - you can mark them down as deceived liars and imposters, however sincere they may be, however much they love Yah'shua (Jesus). No man takes this honour unto himself!
Other Signs of the Apostolic Office
Now in additional to these things, which also are common to all true believers in Messiah, there are other 'signs' that attend the apostolic office, as Paul reminds us:
Exposing the False Miracle-Workers
"I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent shlichim (apostles), though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds" (2 Cor.12:11-12, NKJV).
What were these signs, wonders and mighty deeds? Healing the sick and raising the dead to name but two. But are not those who call themselves 'apostles' who disregard the Torah also doing these things? Yes, sometimes, and sometimes by the authentic Ruach (Spirit) and sometimes by false, demonic spirits. Yes, Satan can duplicate pretty much everything except true ahavah (love) so do not assume that miracle-working is evidence of a true anointing! Yah'shua (Jesus) sends off many of those who do mighty miracles, does He not? And why does He send them off or reject them? Hear what he says in His own words:
Gifted Believers Rejected by Yah'shua
"Many will say to Me in that day, 'Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your Name, and done many wonders in Your Name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice Torahlessness (lawlessness)!'" (Matt 7:22-23, NKJV).
You see, these men who refused to sing the Song of Moses because they were lawless or Torahless, yet they prophesied (acted as nevi'im -prophets), cast out demons (acted a deliverance ministers) and did many miracles (charismatic faith-healers of all sorts) were REJECTED. Do you want to know how they were able to do these things - prophesy, cast out evil spirits and do miracles? It was because of their gifting - it was given to them before they were even born, as Jeremiah was ordained a navi (prophet) before he was born:
Serving Two Masters
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a navi (prophet) to the nations" (Jer.1:5, NKJV).
That gift remains with a pre-ordained navi (prophet) even if he subsequently prostitutes it (apostacises) and prophesies through the spirit of the devil - he still has that supernatural ability, which is why demons still have their original angelic abilities and powers too, though now it is prostituted in the service of Satan. He can even sing the Song of Yah'shua (Jesus) but refuse to sing the Song of Moses - that is, to refuse to teach, preach and live the Torah - it is within his power to do so. He can convert souls to Yah'shua (Jesus) whilst being lawless but he is jeapordising his eternal soul if he is willfully rejecting the mitzvot (commandments) and will not be recognised! Yes, Yahweh is merciful in the days of a man's ignorance, but once he has been taught the emet (truth) and rejects it, choosing to continue in Torahless ways, then he may still prophecy emet (truth), he may still cast out demons using the Name of Yah'shua (Jesus), he may still do mightly miracles using the Name of Yah'shua (Jesus), but if he yet refuses to live the lifestyle ordained for all Israel in either Covenant, Old or New, then he is not living according to the tavnith (pattern) of Messiah and is growing not to resemble Messiah but to resemble the lawless one that he preaches against! He is shooting his own foot in the longrun. He can still do supernatural things using the Name above all names, but his character is growing perversely in a lawless manner. He's double-minded, doubled-souled, acquiring the conflicting natures of two contrary masters (Jas.1:8), and you all know how that must end - he must finally choose between the one or the other:
A Hatred of the Truth
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other" (Matt.6:24, NKJV).
Please soberly consider these things, because this is not a little matter, but rather has serious consequences for the double-minded and double-souled believer, for it is written:
How the Lawless One Gains Control of Ministers
"The coming of the Torahless (lawless) one (Antimessiah/Antichrist) is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the emet (truth), that they might be saved" (2 Thess.2:8-10, NKJV).
We need to carefully dissect this one. If you refuse to sing the Song of Moses - if you refuse to obey the Torah (in addition to having the testimony of Yah'shua/Jesus) - then you are welcoming the Torahless one into your soul and into your ministry. You are welcoming his spirit, and his spirit will happily give you "power, signs and lying wonders" to convince you that you are under the full custodianship and blessing of Yah'shua (Jesus). Yes, you may well have authentic "power, signs and ... wonders" from Yah'shua (Jesus) too, but the longer you continue ministering through the trickery of the evil one unknowingly, the more your ministry will fall under his control. That is why the charismatic movement is so destroyed now, so polluted by unclean spirits. You can't serve two masters, and if you try, you will end up with Satan because you did not "receive the love of the emet (truth), that [you] might be saved". You chose to believe the antinomian (lawless) lie and refused to sing the Song of Moses (Torah). Yah'shua (Jesus) will not tolerate rivals and the longer you cling on to your lawlessness, the less the true Ruach (Spirit) will manifest. You will be at war within until you make a final choice, as Copeland, Eckland and others have done. The Song of the Lawless One (Satan) will grow louder and louder within, finally drowning out the Song of the Lamb altogether. There are many so-called 'prophets' in whom this has happened who, whilst claiming to be believers, are now doing signs and wonders through the Enemy. And whilst some of these men were infiltrators from the beginning, others honestly believe they are working in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) on account of the miracles, no longer knowing how to discern between the two spirits. That is the final fate of those who persist in rejecting Yahweh's Torah.
Gambling With Eternity
Heading in the Catholic direction is just one route. Others go 'ecumenical' in other ways, embracing Shamanism, Islam ('Chrislam'), Buddhism, you name it. Which ever route you take, it all ends up as the satanic One World Religion of the Antimessiah (Antichrist) and those who embrace it lose their souls for sure. And you can end up there too by singing the Song of Moses and refusing the sing the Song of the Lamb as Jews do. It makes no difference. You need both songs as a coin requires two sides. You cannot end up in the One World Religion if you obey the mitzvot (commandments) and have the testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus). That is your only security against deception, the only way to retain your salvation to the end. To keep on postponing embracing Torah is to gamble with eternity for you are sure to lose in the end.
Judging Others and Teaching the Plain Truth
Having said that, I would not want anyone to go around and start labelling all antinomians as 'lost'. It doesn't work that way. Yahweh knows every man's heart, far better than we do. At least as far as ethical and moral Torah is concerned, there are many, many fine evangelicals who live this aspect of Torah and set a wonderful example to other believers without even realising they are Torah-obedient. And there are messianics who fall far short of the blessedness of these evangelicals who live out a legalistic religion. So we must be careful who and how we judge. It falls on us, rather, to simply teach the plain emet (truth) and urge all to obey and live it out.
One of the qualifications of an apostle, according to Paul, is that he must have SEEN Yah'shua (Jesus)! Now that means far more than having just laid eyes on Him, more than having seen Him either in the flesh or in a resurrected form or even in a vision - for 'seeing' to the Hebrew also implies knowing. I use the word advisedly because every apostle both saw the Messiah (which in mortality or in His resurrected form, or both) and knew Him personally as His friend:
Four Qualifications of an Apostle
"Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) our Master? Are you not my work in the Master?" (1 Cor 9:1, NKJV).
There are therefore four fundamental qualifications to be an apostle:
The Apostles, Tongues and Ruach Manifestations
- 1. To have seen the Messiah in the flesh (like the 11) or in vision (like Paul);
- 2. To know Messiah intimately (personal relationship);
- 3. To be walking in Torah; and
- 4. To have true converts who become that apostles' seal of authentication.
It is wrongly assumed, especially by pentecostals and charismatics, that to be an apostle you must speak in tongues. Not so. Though some apostles like Peter and Paul clearly did, it is not at all clear the others did, even if they might have done. Returning briefly to 1 Corinthians 12 where we find much information on the gifts, let me draw your attention to these verses especially to remind you that not everyone has the same gifting, and that goes for tongues too (however you may view that subject):
Tongues and the Corinthian Qodeshim
"But the manifestation of the Ruach (Spirit) is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Ruach (Spirit), to another the word of knowledge through the same Ruach (Spirit), to another emunah (faith) by the same Ruach (Spirit), to another gifts of healings by the same Ruach (Spirit), to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of languages (tongues), to another the interpretation of languages (tongues). But one and the same Ruach (Spirit) works all these things, distributing to each one individually as She wills" (1 Cor.12:6-11, NKJV).
Read the rest of the chapter and you will see clearly that not everyone has all these gifts, which includes tongue-speaking, that is to say, speaking supernaturally in a known language which you yourself were never taught or learned. The Corinthian assembly was a particularly lawless one, was very immature and caused a great deal of trouble for Paul. It did reform and grow-up in the sub-aspostolic era (to later fall again) but in New Testament times it was a very troublesome congregation and required much apostolic instruction and correction. 1 Corinthians 14 is particularly controversial and commonly misunderstood by pentecostals and charismatics in particular. Sometimes these believers use the gift of tongues correctly but mostly they do not. But this particular topic is beyond the scope of this study. There is a huge tongues website on that particular issue produced carefully over three decades of careful study and experience in the field.
Who Needs Tongues and Why?
There can be no doubt that evangelists and apostles in particular, who may need the gift more than most especially if they are witnessing outside their native country, will have the gifting of tongues on a more or less permanent basis as a gifting so that they can communicate to their hearers in their own language. There will be others in the Messianic Community who receive the gift of tongues occasionally as the need arises, as a friend of mine once experienced when he was smuggling Bibles into communist China back in the 1980's when he suddenly found himself speaking fluent Cantonese! He never experienced that anointing again but needed to thus communicate so that he could witness to those in his train compartment. I have told you other stories like this in the past.
The First Type of Tongue Speaking
I hardly ever see pentecostal or charismatic ministers using authentic tongues anyway. Rather, I have witnessed the absurd situation where, for example, they preach in English in a Spanish-speaking country with a Spanish translator/interpreter whilst occasionally blabbering nonsense which no none understands or bothers to interpret. It's precisely in such a situation that tongues is needed. The man could have preached supernaturally in Spanish to convert his listeners, without the need of an interpreter or translator, and Yahweh would have been given the glory. This is the first type of authentic tongue-speaking that which Paul and some of the other apostles used extensively in their travels to foreign lands where Hebrew, Latin or Greek was not spoken.
The Second Type of Tongue-Speaking
To give a second type of tongue-speaking: a Pentecostal minister was preaching in Norwegian to his Norwegian congregation in Oslo when a Chinese woman entered his church who knew no Norwegian. He immediately stopped preaching, turned to the woman, and under the influence of the Ruach (Spirit) began to supernaturally preach to her in fluent Chinese. Someone with the gift of interpretation then began to translate the Pastor's Chinese into Norwegian so the Norwegian congregation could understand. After he had delivered his message supernaturally in Chinese, the gift departed and he resumed preaching the rest of his sermon in Norwegian. The tearful woman was moved so deeply by the Ruach (Spirit) that she gave her life to Yah'shua (Jesus) and she became a believer. She knew no Norwegian and the pastor who converted her knew no Chinese.
The Story of the Greek Scholar
Talking non-sensical gibberish is what Paul describes as "speaking into the air" (1 Cor.14:9, NKJV). No one understands it because it isn't a genuine language but either infantile babble. The fact that an 'interpreter' then translates this blabber into English does not mean it is a true translation. The false assumption is made that it is some kind of 'angel-speak' but as the many articles show in the tongues website I have already referred you to, this is just fantasy. I refer you especially to the story of the Greek New Testament scholar who went around various Pentecostal and charismatic churches quoting portions of the New Testament in Greek. In every case, an 'interpreter' stood up and pretended to translate into English. In every case the English 'version' bore no resemeblance whatsoever to the Scriptures being quoted from memory by the scholar in Greek. Most of the 'tongues' and 'interpretation of tongues' is of this nature, that is to say, UTTER NONSENSE. Other examples I cite in the many essays include believers (and sometimes satanist plants) speaking curses and obscenity in an authentic language over the congregation. I could cite you cases where recordings of so-called tongue-speaking have been submitted to language laboratoty analysis where this very activity has been proven to take place.
Testing Those With Tongues
The fact that you may be a Torah-observant messianic does not grant you immunity from this deception. I know several charismatic messianics who for the most part brought their tongue-speaking with them over from a pentecostal or charismatic background into Messianism. ALL TONGUE-SPEAKERS COMING TO THIS MINISTRY HAVE TO BE TESTED AND, IF NECESSARY, DELIVERED FROM DECEPTIVE SPIRITS, something that those who have habitually employed these gifts find very difficult to relinquish. But not to do this is to invite the serpent to remain in Eden and be a perpetual stumbling block to the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones). The demons who perpetuate false tongue-speaking are familiar spirits who cling onto their human territory, made all the easier by the fact that these same demons may have caused miracles to happen to contince their hosts that they are the real, kosher (clean) Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Many from pentecostal and charismatic backgrounds come to us and must absolutely go through this testing and, usually, cleansing, so that the true gifts may be exercised and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) not be impeded.
Rules for Tongue-Speaking
Read 1 Corinthians 14 carefully and obey the rules laid down by Paul. He knew what he was talking about. Begin by dismissing all tongue-speaking where there is no interpreter or no one capable of confirming it is an authentic manguage:
Tongues and Interpretation
"There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 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" (1 Cor.14:9-11, NKJV).
We are not called to be foreigners but to prophetically communicate the Davar Elohim (Word of God) so that all may be edified.
A Controversial Passage
"Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret" (1 Cor.14:12-13, NKJV).
One passage of Paul does cause a certain amount of confusion and I feel obligated to try and explain it a bit better to you, and it is this one:
Speaking With Understanding
"For if I pray in a language (tongue), my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 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. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say 'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified" (1 Cor.14:14-17, NKJV).
Let me explain what is going using the illustration of my Anglican friend who found himself speaking fluent Chinese on that train. This was not his will or intellectual faculties at work, but the Ruach (Spirit) speaking through his spirit. Though his spirit was conveying Chinese sentences and meanings to his listeners through his brain and mouth, he was unaware what he was saying. The listeners understood him - they had understanding of what he was saying, and they were (one supposes) able to say 'Amen!' if they wanted to. The Chinese listeners were edified. My friend was enraptured by the presence of the Ruach (Spirit) and was obviously communing with Yahweh even if he did not understand what was happening. But under normal circumstances we all want to pray with understanding, do we not? We want to know what we are saying to Yahweh otherwise it is Yahweh praying to Himself if we speak in 'tongues' and have no clue what the meaning is. Thus Paul concluded:
"I thank my Elohim (God) I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the assembly (church) I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Cor.14:18-19, NKJV).
Tongues for Teaching and as a Sign
Here we see that TONGUES AND TEACHING ARE LINKED. The tongue-speaker may be having a fantastic time bathing in the presence of the Ruach (Spirit) whilst not understanding a word but what use is that to others if they can't understand a word and in consequence aren't being taught anything? And who are those 'others' supposed to be when tongues are being spoken? UNBELIEVERS - so that they can be converted, like that Chinese woman in Oslo:
Tongues for Unbelievers, Prophecy for Believers
"Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe" (1 Cor.14:22, NKJV).
Remember, tongues is for the benefit of unbelievers, to convert them, whereas prophecy is for believers, to edify them. If only this rule was applied most of the false tongue-speaking would be eliminated from the Body of Messiah. In other words, speaking supernaturally in a foreign language is useless if it is just to make you feel good, and since, as Paul says, tongues is for unbelievers, what will unbelievers think if they come to a meeting and find people babbling like pentecostals and charismatics?
Peter's Perspective on Gifts
"Therefore if the whole assembly (church) 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?" (1 Cor.14:23, NKJV).
What does this mean? Let us have Peter's perspective of this and of gifts in general:
Tongues Not For Us Personally and are Prophetic
"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of Elohim (God). If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of Elohim (God)" (1 Peter 4:10-11, NKJV).
The gifts are not for us personally but for ministering to others. The speaking in tongues at 1 Corinthians 14:23 must, in the light of 1 Peter 4:10-11, be viewed within a broader context of prophecy. Notice how Paul couples them together:
Corinth a Multi-Lingual Metropolis
"If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in assembly (church), and let him speak to himself and to Elohim (God). Let two or three nevi'im (prophets) speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the nevi'im (prophets) are subject to the nevi'im (prophets). For Elohim (God) is not the author of confusion but of shalom (peace), as in all the assemblies (churches) of the qodeshim (saints)" (1 Cor.14:27-33, NKJV).
Again, we see that the purpose of supernaturally speaking in foreign languages (tongues) is to convert unbelievers, since gifts are for servive to others, not for ourselves. Quite typically, believers and unbelievers are together in an assembly, or at least they ought to be in an evangelising branch. There the unbelievers will sometimes experience tongues and prophecy - tongues for them in their own language and prophecy for the believers. Remember, Corinth was a cosmopolitan, multi-lingual society - we must always remember context - this was not an American congregation where everyonme spoke only one language, English. There would have been no need for tongue in an all-Greek congregation as there is no need for tongues in an all-English, all-Swahili or all-Swedish congregation. So context is important, and here it is a multi-lingual Greek city in the Roman Empire full of merchants from all over the Meditteranean and beyond. Had a Parthian merchant been invited to a Corinthian meeting and didn't know Greek, he would have needed an interpreter...or someone who spoke in tongues.
Recreating the Corinth Scenario
So let us recreate the situation and not try to impose our situation into Scripture. Remember also that if there are people who can translate naturally, supernatural tongues might not even be needed except to convince someone of the power of Elohim (God). If I was an unbeliever visiting a congregatiion in the Russian Arctic tundra where English was totally unknown and someone stood up and supernaturally spoke in English, I would be impressed! I would listen! Wouldn't you?
Silence in the Absence of an Interpreter
From what we learn in the Corinthian congregation, there was a great deal of spiritual activity! Could both believer and unbeliever be edified at the same time in a meeting? Of course! If a tongue is spoken the unbeliever is edified, and when it is translated, the believers are edified. It's a 'mutual thing', both partaking of the Ruach (Spirit). If there is no translator, then the one receiving the tongue has no option but to be quiet since the apostolic rule forbade the message being uttered, no one deriving any benefit from it. This rule is almost universally flouted in pentecostal and charismatic churches.
Tongues for Personal Edification?
The real question - and the one I know most penetecostals and charismatics want to ask - is this: was there ever a time when tongues was just spoken for believers - for personal edification only? And is 1 Corinthians 14:28 a case in point? (If it is, it's the only one):
Talking to Oneself?
"But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in assembly (church), and let him speak to himself and to Elohim (God)" (1 Cor.14:28, NKJV).
Why, if he has a message for an unbeliever, would Yahweh give it to Him and then instruct him to be silent because no interpreter was available? Why, if the message is for the unbeliever, is he then told to "speak to himself and to Elohim (God)?" And what does "speak to himself" mean? Could this be an additional kind of tongue-speaking to the main sort, of the kind claimed by pentecostals and charismatics as the default form, namely, that this is for self-edification and not for unbelievers?
Problems with the Pentecostal Position
There are two problems with this claim:
- 1. Paul elsewhere makes it plain, as we have seen, that tongues is not for believers but for unbelievers - to convert them through receiving a prophecy in their own tongue so they are under no illusion that this is not of men, but of Yahweh...believers are given the gift of prophecy in their own tongue; and
- 2. Clearly, then, this cannot be any sort of 'default' form.
Could this be, as some claim, an 'angel-tongue'? Possibly, what some call 'Adamic'. And what does speaking to himself mean? Talking inside or muttering audibly? What if an unbeliever walked in and saw the tongue-speaker muttering, wouldn't he think him mad, as Paul warned against? This must be talking within, that is to say, silent prayer, albeit highly animated by the Ruach (Spirit).
Sticking to What is Unambiguous
There is not enough information for us to come to a definite conclusion as to what verse 28 means exactly but we do have plenty of information telling us was it can not be. We must stick with what we know and with what is unambiguous.
Is there ever a sense in which babbling might be harmless? People sometimes babble when they are confused and most modern tongue-speaking is confusion. This cannot be of Elohim (God) because "Elohim (God) is not the author of confusion" (1 Cor.14:33, NKJV). It may well be that when some pentecostals and charismatics are babbling that they are tapping into some infantile part of the brain or the memory from a time before they were able to communicate in language, and even if that were true, it would never justify anyone remaining that way, for scripture commands us to grow up into maturity. That's part of the reason the gifts are given, to make the Body spiritually adult.
Known Officers in the New Testament
It's always useful to put flesh onto offices and the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) does give us several examples and what they did in these offices. These I have summarised in a table for quick reference with scriptural background references:
||Prophets & Teachers in Antioch|
|The Twelve (Lk.6:13-16)
||The company from Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-28)
||Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen and Saul (who later became Paul) (Ac.13:1-3)|
||Paul (2 Tim.1:11)
||Judas and Silas (Ac.15:32)
||the daughters of Philip (Ac.21:9) ||
|Andronicus and Junia (Rom.16:7)
The fivefold ministry is the bedrock and backbone of the messianic community both locally and (as far as apostles and evangelists are concerned), internationally. The offices overlap to some extent and we see Paul, for example, acting as both an apostle and a teacher. In these last days, in the remnant, where there are so few authentic leaders, we may find these offices being doubled up more than that. We see that all much be present and that unity in the emunah (faith) is essential, and for that to happen, the Body must sing both the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb. Amen.
 They break the biblical rules and tavnith (pattern) in so many numerous ways including having 15 (12+3) standing apostles at any one time