This time for cessationists.
“that tongues are for today – they were a sign for unbelieving jews in the Bible. Are you an unbelieving jew? “
Before I start, isn’t your question backwards? The tongues as a sign are _for_ the unbeliever…. but who speaks them? The believer. Before we come to Christ we are in a worse case than the unbelieving Jew… we are unbelieving goys. But the Word shows both Jews at Pentecost, and later the gentile, Cornelius, speaks in tongues (after they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.)
First the basic premise:
As found in Isaiah 55:11 , That God’s word does not return to Him void or empty, but accomplishes the purpose that He spoke it forth to perform. It bears the fruit He intended.
Your question to me actually holds two questions which I will deal with separately,
1) Are tongues only for a sign, or do they serve other purposes?
2) Have the words concernng tongues accomplished their purposes, or is there yet unfinished business for the ‘speaking in tongues’ gift?
When Paul mentions tongues being a sign for Jews, I believe he is referring back to Isaiah 28:11, The “stammering” and “other” tongues that will be spoken to “this people”, the Jews.
But Paul also teaches that this gift is for edifying the believer, 1 Cor. 14:4, in 14:2, he says that it is for speaking to God.
So one may not relegate it only to performing the service as a sign to the Jew.
It is also for those who need their spirits to be built up and is a vehicle for speaking to God. In this use, the result mentioned in Isaiah 28:11: rest and refreshing.
It is also used in conjunction with the interpretation gift for building the general congregation, “edifying the church”.
This broadens the application beyond the use as a sign for only the Jewish people.
2) Has it accomplished its purpose?
To first repeat my previous point, Have all Jews had access to this sign? Are there still unbelieving Jews in the world? I meet many who not only do not believe in Jesus as Messiah, but in YHVH G_d, at all. I’d say they need whatever sign God in His sovereign power and wisdom wishes to give them. The purpose of tongues, in this case, is not yet fully accomplished.
Do believers still need to be built up in their spirits? I submit that now, more than ever, yes, they do. As darkness increases, and times grow more perilous (couldn’t resist this one), believers need to edify themselves with whatever means God gives….. fellowship and bible study being two of the most used, but that would not preclude other means.
It is also stated that we speak to God in our spirit this way. Are we done with this?
Jesus is recorded as saying that believers will speak with new tongues [Mark 16:17]. New. That means that in some cases only God will understand the tongue the believer uses from his spirit.
The purpose for this is not given, unless one references Isaiah again. But tongues is never mentioned as presently retracted. It is not apparently evident that the purposes are thoroughly performed.
This leads to surmising that it is still available to those who will receive it. A stronger case than those who believe it is gone merely on the fact that they don’t see it and have received men’s testimony that it is no longer for today. And the verse that it will someday cease…. which is tied not only to the fact that knowledge will vanish, but that we will no longer see “as through a glass darkly”.
If we still see “darkly” then we still will need to speak “mysteries” to God.
It is not over yet.
We further have some historical things to look at. At the point when the “God is dead” philosophy was widespread in all the civilizations with historical Christianity, and the iron curtain of atheistic Communism held sway over most of the rest…. how did God break open a fresh new move? Largely through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and breakouts everywhere of “speaking in tongues” .
I lived in this time, I got saved at the tail end of this ‘Jesus Freak’ movement. The churches didn’t know what to do with all these “charismatics” -but at the time most were sure glad for revitalization of their churches and for renewed spreading of the gospel.
I have addressed only your stated question, there are good studies for looking closer at the connection of tongues, as initial evidence, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This has been available through many of the pentecostal and charasmatic movements.
It remains to the individual to study and decide. As in every point of faith, from born-again faith through water baptism through each tenet of the faith.
Why would we want this baptism of the Holy Ghost?
I would like to add my own question here with something from the book of 1 John.
It is stated that there are three that witness in the earth: the spirit, the water, and the blood. I believe this references the three baptisms. Entering the new birth through Jesus baptism of the cross (the blood), entering resurrection power through the baptism of water, and entering the life of the Spirit ( through the baptism of the Holy Spirit). The fact of being born-again answers the enmity of the flesh, the baptism of water answers the enmity of the devil, the baptism of the Holy Spirit answers the enmity of this world system, the cosmos.
To use the means of man was never the intention of God; to walk in the Spirit, this was always the intention, ” worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him”.
We may always come before God on the basis of Christs blood, so this is not a matter of salvation. But when we read in Acts 19, what do we see? water baptism and a baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of tongues. That is what we are presented with.