Summary: In this two part series on speaking in tongues we will examine some of the scriptural background and give some testimonies from experience.
This week we will look at what happened on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, in particularly speaking in tongues.
Acts 2 : 1 - 5
1 And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
It is significant to mention what happened to Smith Wigglesworth when he first received the ability to speak in tongues in Sunderland in 1907.
He described this experience as follows: "She [Mrs Boddy, a minister’s wife] laid her hands on me and then had to go out of the room. The fire fell. It was a wonderful time as I was there with God alone. He bathed me in power. I was conscience of the cleansing of the precious blood, and I cried out: ’Clean! Clean! Clean!’ I was filled with the joy of the consciousness of the cleansing. I was given a vision in which I saw the Lord Jesus Christ. I beheld the empty cross, and I saw Him exalted at the right hand of God the Father. I could speak no longer in English, but I began to praise Him in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave me utterance. I knew then, although I might have received anointings previously, that now, at last, I had received the real Baptism in the Holy Spirit as they received on the day of Pentecost." (1).
According to Bagster (2 ) the symbol of fire means judgment or purification.
In Acts 2: 4 the Bible says that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues. Let us now look at two very similar events in the Book of Acts.
A. Acts 10: 44 - 48
The Bible says the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured on Cornelius and his Gentile household. How did Peter and the other Jews present know? … because
… they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God ( v.46 )
In Acts 11 Peter had to defend his preaching to the Gentiles. In his defence he makes a very interesting comment. He says … the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us at the beginning ( v.15 ) . In other words the same thing happened to the Gentiles in Acts 10 as happened to the Jews a few years previously in Acts 2: 4.
B. Acts 19: 1 - 7
The Ephesians were baptized “ unto John ‘s baptism “; later through Paul the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied (v.6 ).
There are two other events in the Book of Acts which are worth considering in this study.
1. Acts 8: 12 - 19
People in Samaria received the Holy Ghost through Peter and John. How do we know they received the Holy Spirit? Because Simon saw something that he was prepared to pay for!
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
2. Acts 9: 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
We know from the next verse that Saul ( Paul ) received his sight and we have no reason to doubt that Paul was filled with the Holy Ghost. Also we know that Paul spoke in tongues (1 Cor. 14: 18) so we see again the connection between being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
Recently we were given the “ classic “ book by Dennis Bennett, “ Nine O’ Clock In The Morning “ (3). This Christian book is a fascinating account of what happened to the pastor of an Episcopal church in the Los Angeles area when he got involved with the “ baptism in the Holy Spirit “ and speaking in tongues.
I know a man who in the past received the ability to speak in tongues during the reading of this very book.