A reader who doesn't believe the gifts of the Spirit have ended.




Having read through some of the 'answers,' I would like to point out that Paul talks about tongues of angels and men; therefore, there is a tongue of angels that we cannot understand but that the speaker speaks in mysteries to God.  This is also why Paul encourages the Corinthians to covet prophecy while in a meeting in case no one interprets the tongue, the understanding being unfruitful. Furthermore unbelievers coming into a meeting will get a personal message to help bring them to Christ in the tongue of men rather than the tongue of angels.  Paul says that tongues are to edify oneself in the Spirit, who also intercedes, making groanings within, because we don't know what to pray as we ought sometimes, but God wants to pray through us. All through the Bible the supernatural occurrences were used to show the reality, power, sovereignty and love of God. We need vitally the gifts today to supercede the supernatural in the world of darkness that the world is becoming so interested in.  Indeed the prophecy about the last days and the antichrist who will show signs and wonders, we need to be able to override and expose these signs through the gifts and callings of God on our lives.  Jesus said greater works will you do because I go to my Father.

The gifts will pass away, but it doesn't say when. I think the emphasis was on right order for the use of gifts and Paul was saying don't be rude or puffed up or boastful in your use of the gifts, but show kindness and respect for each other's gifts,  put on love in everything you do.

I believe that the gifts definitely bring the blessing and fruitfulness. But if you're going to get rude and unruly about it then there's no love and it's not God's plan.  The Corinthians were all prophesying at once.  Paul continues to exhort the believers to covet earnestly the best gifts and to prophesy.  In Acts the apostles asked different believers whether they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed and they were filled and spoke with other tongues.  The gifts will pass away when we reach heaven. It should not be assumed that they ceased in the days of Acts.

I've read your statement over several times and I'm not sure I understand what point or points you are trying to make.  The "tongue of angels" that you refer to and draw several points from is only found in I Corinthians 13:1, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."  Paul's reference to the tongue of angels has no particular reference to what the language is or how it possibly could be used.  However, it is just used to point out that even if you do speak the same language as the angels, you still have to have love in order to amount to anything.  There is no indication in this passage that the language of angels is a special form of communication with God.  God created all the languages (Genesis 11:9) -- He does not need to favor one over another.  It only says that there is an angelic language that exists. 

Your reference to the Spirit interceding on our behalf in prayers is found in Romans 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." This passage is not talking about miraculous gifts.  The whole chapter makes no reference to speaking in tongues of any sort.  In fact the concept of speaking in tongues does not even show up in the whole book of Romans.  There is no indication here how the Spirit is able to accomplish this intercession.  It is presumptuous on our part to assume that the Spirit uses the language of the angels to do it.  He did not say that he uses that language or any language for that matter.  Only the word "groans" is used.  I can not logically leap from "groan" to "language of angels". 

You also said, "God wants to pray through us."  I'm unfamiliar with that doctrine and it is not in the Bible.  Prayer is by definition the act of an inferior being speaking to a superior being.  God wants us to pray to him.  I cannot even comprehend the implication of a God who has any need of praying through us.  He has many ways to speak to us and He has chosen to speak to us through His Son.  Hebrews 1:1-2 says, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe." I can find examples in the Old Testament of God speaking through the mouths of prophets, but at no time was it referred to as a form of prayer. 

You also say, "we need vitally the gifts today to supercede (sic) the supernatural in the world of darkness that the world is becoming so interested in".  Again I am lost on what you are trying to explain.  Just because we have a perceived or even a real need does not mean that God "has to" deliver any particular solution.  He is only obligated to fulfill the promises that He has made.  It would be incumbent on us to prove from what He has said He would do before we can make claims as to what is necessary for Him to do for us. 

I know that it has been repeated several times on this site, but I Corinthians 13:8-10 still says, "Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.."  If Paul's meaning was something easily identified as an end point, he could have said so.  His purpose was not to obscure any information but to reveal.  If the "perfection" was meant to be "heaven," then he could have said something more concrete like "the end" or "on Christ's return".  He had to say something that has an indefinite time because the end point is subjective.  The Word is also perfect because it is the mind of God.  It can also be said to come to maturity (perfection) when it is completely revealed.  However, none of us know when that was. 

In order for your interpretation to be true, the passage would have to mean, "Prophecy, tongues, and special knowledge will cease, but not until the end of the world."  What would be the purpose of such a statement?  All things on earth will cease at the end of the world.  It would go without saying that spiritual gifts would end at the end as well.  Given that Paul had more to say than just that they would end at the end of the world, he had to explain that the special gifts that they had would cease when the full knowledge of what God would have us know was revealed.

Darrell Hamilton

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Tongue Speaking
Questions and Answers regarding Prophecy
Questions and Answers regarding Miracles