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Why the Reception of the Holy Spirit is Not Always Accompanied by Tongues/Prophesying December 30, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Acts, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Evangelism, Holy Spirit, Joel, Religion, Signs and Wonders, Tongues, Witnessing.
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First, let me apologize for not getting yesterday’s promised links up. I hope to have them up by Sunday.

Many teach that the reception/baptism/filling of the Holy Spirit is always accompanied by tongues, prophesying, some other type of miracle, or at least some supernatural power in service (R. A.Torrey, for example). It is easy to understand why. When Moses in Numbers 11 wished that all Israel would be filled with the Spirit, it was for the purpose of supernatural service, particularly prophesying. The prophesy of Joel also specifically indicates miracle gifts like prophesies and visions as being characteristic in the last days of those on whom the Spirit is poured out. It is also true that several times in the book of Acts, not just on the day of Pentecost, that miracles often accompanied the filling with the Spirit.

Yet they did not always, even in the book of Acts. Acts 3:8 speaks of Peter speaking with boldness but not of performing miracles when he was filled with the Spirit.

There are three reasons why I believe that miracles do not always accompany the reception/filling/baptism of the Spirit.

1. Hebrews 2:3-4 teaches that the purpose of these signs and wonders were confirmation of the eyewitness testimony of the disciples. Acts also indicates that these signs and wonders served as confirmation that those believing in Christ were truly believers (Acts 8 and 10-11). We do not need such confirmation today because of the confirmation(s) found in the book of Acts. Also, we have the completed Word of God today which makes confirming signs and wonders unnecessary.

2. The main result of being filled with the Spirit seems to be boldness to witness rather than miracles. Compare the various passages with 1 Thessalonians 1-2, where Paul describes the missionary experience in Thessalonica.

3. The main doctrinal passage on the work of the Holy Spirit within the believer (especially 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 8) do not emphasize the sign gifts. In fact, Romans 8 does not even mention them. It seems that the main work of the Holy Spirit within us and within the church is quite independent of signs and wonders.

For these reasons, one should not require a miracle to prove one’s salvation, to confirm one’s preaching, or to verify that someone has the Spirit of God. The Bible just does not back that up as a present reality.

The Holy Spirit though is of great importance. That is in a sense the theme of the book of Acts. The importance of the Holy Spirit, however, is not in that miracles are performed through men by Him but rather that He enables men to spread the gospel of Christ throughout the world. For that purpose, we certainly continue to need the filling with the Holy Spirit today.

Back from hiatus with Revelation 9: trumpets, locusts, and 200,000,000 horses August 27, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Bottomless Pit, Day of the Lord, Demons, Joel, Judgment, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Seven Churches of Revelation, Seven Trumpets of Revelation.
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Since we have been on hiatus, we need to remind ourselves to whom this chapter was written. It was written to seven churches (not individuals). This chapter as well as the whole book was written to encourage the faithful, warn the unsaved deceived, and call the believers with significant spiritual problems to repentance.

What is the primary difference between the first four trumpet judgments in Revelation 8 and the second two here in Revelation 9?

The first four can definitely be taken literally. The second two have obvious symbolic elements.

Who will not be hurt by this judgment (compare with Revelation 7:3)?

The 144,000

What similarities does this army of locust have with the army described in Joel 2:1-11 (See also Joel 1:1-7 for the context of Joel 2)? Could they be the same? Why or why not?

The sky is darkened in connection with this plague. They are described as locusts with the appearance of horses. They cause people to experience great pain but not necessarily death. They are likely the same event when Revelation 6:17 is compared to Joel 2:1.

Which is more likely (keep in mind the nature of apocalyptic literature): these are literal locusts, this is a symbolic vision of a terrible plague, this is a description of something literal that John could not adequately describe? What challenges are presented by each view?

  1. If they are literal locusts, they are still unlike anything that has ever been seen and some elements seem to be using the qualities of either the locusts or the army descriptively.
  2. If this was totally symbolic, there is little way to know where the symbol begins and ends.
  3. If this is a description of something literal that John could not adequately describe, how do we interpret the plague.

Why is it generally believed that the army out of the bottomless pit is demonic (Luke 8:31, Revelation 11:7, 17:8)?

These verses seem to indicate that the bottomless pit is a special place where demons and their cohorts might be imprisoned.

What era is being ushered in by the three woes (Revelation 8:13, 9:12, 11:14, 15:1; see also 6:17)?

The day of the Lord.

What is the significance of the altar in the book of Revelation (6:9, 8:3-6, 9:13, 14:18, 16:17)?

Judgment is often connected with the altar.

What seems to be the basis of the reoccurrence of the number four in the book of Revelation (four living creatures, four horsemen found in both Revelation and Zechariah, four prepared angels in both 7:1 and 9:14)?

World wide events.

What does this sixth trumpet judgment have in common with the first four?

Only a third of human kind is affected.

In what ways are the locusts and the horses in this chapter similar? How are they different?

  • Their appearance is described in either a symbolical way or in a literal fantastic way.
  • The locust did not kill, the horses only kill.

How do you think the church at Thyratira should have understood verses 20-21?

They were in danger of facing this judgment or something equally as horrible.