Paul wrote that tongues will cease (1 Cor. 13:8). Earlier, we noted that the middle voice of the verb, “cease,” indicates the manner of the cessation of tongues. It means that tongues will stop with and by itself. In this post, we note the moment of the cessation of tongues. Speaking in tongues is a sign gift. The moment of its ceasing is connected with its very purpose.
What is the sign that a woman is very much in love with her husband? They say that you will know a woman in love by the size of her pupil. When she sees the man she loves, her pupil expands and expands. That is probably why a woman in love wears eye glasses. With constant expanding, her eyes deteriorate, requiring glasses.
So, too, the gift of tongues signifies something more important than itself. The Bible says that it was a sign to unbelievers, not believers (1 Cor. 14:21-22). It was a foundational sign for the foundation of the church, which was still in its infancy at the time (Acts 2:1-4, 41-47). It was an inaugural sign for the completion of the New Testament. It was a sign gift that achieved its purpose—to help the apostles declare judgment and blessing to people (2 Cor. 12:12).
The gift of tongues as a sign gift thus indicates the moment (time) of the cessation of tongues. For the purpose of this gift is closely linked with its time of cessation. When the purpose of the gift of tongues was achieved, the sign gift itself also ceased along with it. This explains why speaking in tongues ceased in all the churches at the end of the apostolic age.
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