For those who come down on the side of cessation, meaning the miraculous gifts – particularly (for this post) the gifts of praying or speaking in tongues – died with the last apostle, they might want to reconsider using the example of our Lord not speaking in a heavenly language. Sorry, but He did. He even said He did.*
The Rabbi from Heaven said “I do not come using My own words, but the Words of My Father Who is in heaven.” He declared that He never said anything unless the Father told Him what words to use.
Such was the revolutionary impact of this aspect of Jesus’ ministry that when He spoke, the people marvelled. They were astonished. Blown away. Left scratching their heads.
Who is this Man?
What are these words?
Rabbis in Jesus’ day – and in preceding and succeeding centuries – never spoke truth directly from God the Father. They only quoted from the patriarchs and their ancient rock star priests and respected lineage of famous rabbis. To deviate was heresy, so all church leaders played it safe and, well, predictable.
Their sermons may as well have been in quotation marks because they were deaf and dumb to what God was saying and wouldn’t know an original thought if one hit them in the mouth. So they quoted the old guys. They held to tradition. They stuck to the party line. And the people yawned.
Along comes a dusty-sandaled preacher who expounds to the people,
“You’ve all heard it before, many times over, ad nauseum, but those teachers and priests of the Law do not know the Lawgiver. I know Him. Indeed, I have been sent by I AM to declare these things to you. These are the words of My Father, not My own. If you have ears to hear, then you will understand and find Life everlasting. Those who refuse to hear will only hear gibberish and will die in their sins.”
Did you hear what He just said?
We’ve never heard such language!
He’s a drunk and a glutton! He spends his time with publicans and sinners! It’s just slurred speech from wine and spirits!
But He told me everything about my life!
He just spoke a word and thousands of demons released me! I’m free!
Then he’s working for the devil!
But it wasn’t only Jesus who spoke the words of His Father, His followers could blurt out a phrase of heavenly language here and there on occasion. SCENE: Early First century. Mountain. Northern Galilee. An array of men are gathered with their spiritual Leader. They are standing in the middle of an outdoor temple of pagan gods and the Leader – Who is God enfleshed – quizzes His men: am I one of many gods? Am I an important historical figure? Am I a prophet risen from the dead? Who am I?
Then an unglazed, unfazed, purely lucid Peter moves with an “I’ll take this” bravado.
“YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”
Jesus breaks into an impossibly large and gleaming smile. I recognize that language, He says to Himself, I speak it all the time.
He blesses Peter for yielding to the God of Heaven and speaking Kingdom truth, previously unlearned. “You didn’t learn those words at your daddy’s knee, Simon. You just spoke the words the Father gave you, from Truth He showed you!”
Then our Lord probably added: “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” (but only if the Father told Him to say it)
Quoting Kingdom truth from other heroes of the faith is not this glossalalia. This only comes from personally spending time with the Author of our faith, not some best-selling author who’s the hottest name in the Christian market.
Where is the conversation that is fraught with downloaded revelation? But way too often we quote from Chan or Giglio or Beth Moore or Keller or Piper or Murray, Lewis, Calvin, Tozer and Chambers. These servants of the Most High are great and holy and, because we quote them, clearly download(ed) Kingdom truth for themselves…from the Source.
We do a lot of quoting because we have forgotten the words, or are too lazy or prideful to learn them.
I think glossalalia – whichever side you fall down on – has to also be understood in the light of Kingdom Truth learned FIRST-HAND, not acquired through the natural means of our eyes or ears. The mysteries of the Kingdom can only be known spiritually, that is, when it is deposited into a man or woman’s spirit first, not one’s natural mind. There are so many more words! There are many undiscovered-as-yet mysteries! If we think we’ve exhausted the alphabet of the Alpha and Omega, we are deceived!
It is the glory of God to conceal things…but the glory of kings is to search things out.
This requires spending time, not with devotional books and other helps, but with the open Scriptures, an accessible heart and a teachable will. Do this and you’ll be speaking in a heavenly language in no time.
Now, my reader, where have I missed it?
*John 5:19,20; 14:10