Tongues Will Cease 2

images27Paul 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.

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.


Advertisements

Tongues Will Cease

images26

Paul says that tongues “will cease” (1 Cor. 13:8, ESV). How and when? “Cease” is from pauo, “stop, cease; cease from, be done with” in the middle voice. (Concise Greek-English Dictionary, s. v. παυω). The verb, pausontai, is in the middle voice. The middle voice talks about action performed by itself. Hence, “cease” (pausontai) can mean a direct cessation–“to take one’s rest, a willing cessation.” (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996, 93). Or it can indicate an indirect cessation–action performed for or by itself.  Hence, tongues will stop by themselves.

This grammatical construction indicates the manner of the cessation of tongues. It means that tongues will stop by itself. It will cease and be done with by itself.

Notice Paul included tongues in the list of 3 gifts in v. 8. But in v. 9, he cited only 2 gifts—prophecies and knowledge—leaving out tongues. Why? The reason is that something will stop prophecies and knowledge. However, tongues will stop by itself. It will not be stopped by something else. It will just stop by itself. That is what the middle voice means.

If you study history, tongues really ceased by itself “at the end of the apostolic age” (MacArthur, 1750). There is no mention of its use in the rest of the New Testament, except Acts and Corinthians. Significantly, Acts is a transition period from the promise of the Spirit to the pouring of the Spirit. It signalled a shift from Israel, as the instrument of redemption, to the church. It marked the beginning of the church, wherein believing Gentiles were joined with believing Jews into the one body of Christ, the church. In this context, tongues-speaking then functioned primarily as a sign gift with the birth of the church (Acts 2:1-4). Further, it signified the coming of the Spirit upon groups of believing Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; 19:1-6). When the purpose of this sign gift was fulfilled, tongues as an authenticating gift ceased by itself.

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.


The Ceasing of the Gifts 2

images25Paul wrote that when perfection comes, the gifts of prophecy and knowledge will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8). What could this state of perfection, maturity, and clarity refer to, that will make prophecies and knowledge stop?

It could refer to the Completion of the Scriptures. However, there will still be the gifts of prophecies and knowledge in the future millennial kingdom (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17; Rev. 11:3). (MacArthur, 1750). If the completed Scriptures will make prophecies and knowledge stop, then why will it still continue in the millennial rule of Christ?

Yes, we now have the completed Word of God. Yet our understanding of it is yet partial and imperfect (1 Cor. 8:3; 13:9-10). We still know in part, thus needing to know the Word more. That’s why I think we still need the gift of knowledge for this age.

It could refer to the 2nd Coming of Christ. However, there will still be many preachers and teachers with the gifts of prophesying and knowledge in the Millennial Kingdom (Isa. 29:18; 32:3; Joel 2:28; Rev. 11:3). (MacArthur, 1750)

I think this state of perfection, maturity, and clarity refers to the Coming Glory or what theologians call, the “eternal state.” A story is told of a man who loved his riches and gold. When he died, he carried his gold with him on the way to heaven. An angel met him and said, “Why do you carry asphalt to heaven? In heaven, your gold is the asphalt that we walk on.”

In heaven, we shall walk on streets of gold. But that is not the glory of heaven. The glory of heaven is to see Christ. It refers to that day in glory when we shall see Him face to face. Paul wrote, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12, ESV). “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads” (Rev. 22:4, NKJV). In glory, in the eternal new heavens and new earth, we shall know fully and perfectly. In this eternal state, we will be fully grown as spiritual adults, leaving our limited childish understanding behind.

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.

Prophecies Will Pass Away

mba0695lWe studied the Meaning of the Charismatic Gifts. Now we look into the Ceasing of these Gifts. Paul says that both prophecies and knowledge “will pass away” (v. 8, ESV).  “Pass away” is from katargeo, “cease” (Concise Greek-English Dictionary, s. v. καταργηω ); “to cause to cease to happen – ‘to put a stop to.’” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. καταργηω). It comes from the root, argeo, “to be idle, inactive” (Strong, s. v. αργηω). Paul says prophecies will cease. It will be stopped. It shall be rendered inactive.

The voice is passive voice. This means that something else will stop it. It will not stop by itself. Something else will make it pass away. The question is: What will make prophecies and knowledge stop? Paul gives us 3 inter-related things that will make prophesies and knowledge stop. I describe it as inter-related, for these 3 can mean 1 and same thing. First is perfection. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away” (1 Cor. 13:9-10, ESV). “Perfect” here is from teleios, “complete, perfect, whole” (Concise Greek-English Dictionary, s. v. τελειος).

Second is maturity. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11, NKJV).

Third is clarity. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12, ESV). The “mirror” here refers to the brass mirrors in Corinth. Have you seen your face in a brass mirror or brass belt? Back in ROTC days, I would try to look at my face in my brass belt. If I see my face, then my brass belt is squeaky clean. You cannot see your face clearly, but only dimly, in a brass mirror. Yet when perfection comes, Paul wrote, we shall see clearly. And there won’t be any need for the gifts of prophecies and knowledge.  This clarity or seeing each other “face to face” will make the charismatic gifts of prophecies and knowledge pass away.

Perfection then may refer to maturity and clarity. Both perfection and maturity bring clarity.

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.