“These signs will accompany those who believe… they will speak in new tongues.” (Mark 16:17)
The God of the Bible is the God of signs, miracles, and wonders. He showed the world what He is like through His Son, Jesus Christ. He “reflects the glory of God, and bears the very stamp of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3). The Bible described Jesus as “a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”(Acts 2:22)
The New Testament shows the miraculous nature of God as it is also revealed in His children: “God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:4).
God does not change, nor does His Son, nor do His signs.
The Signs in the Bible
In these days when God is pouring out His Spirit, more people than ever before are wanting to know how they can be sure they have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Some say, “I hope I have been filled.” Others say, “I think I have received it.” In the Bible days, they knew when they were filled with the Spirit. They knew when others were filled too.
Throughout the Bible, God confirms His covenants and promises with signs. Our Father’s promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is also accompanied by the sign of speaking in unknown tongues as the Holy Spirit Himself gives the words to say. Speaking in tongues is not the evidence of a Spirit-filled life. Neither is speaking in tongues the only sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, nor is it the sign of a sanctified or spiritual life. In many circles speaking tongues has been magnified out of all proportion to what is really taught in the Word of God.
Nonetheless, when believers were filled with the Spirit in Bible days, the first thing “seen and heard” at the time of their initial infilling in Acts was supernatural utterance in unknown tongues.
Jesus promises: “These signs will accompany those who believe…they will speak in tongues” (Mark 16:17)
When believers received the promised gift of the Holy Spirit in Bible days, they spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them the words to say:
1. The 120 Disciples
The first fulfillment of Jesus’s promise of the Father “is recorded in Acts 2. It is true that various miraculous manifestations took place as the Spirit came (they still happen today). But the sign that most arrested the attention of the astonished multitude was that the newly Spirit-filled disciples “began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4)
In his Expository Dictionary of the New Testament Words, W.E. Vine defines speaking in tongues as: “The supernatural gift of speaking in another language without its having been learnt.”
Some have been taught that the reason the disciples spoke in tongues on the Day of Pentecost, was so that the multitude could hear the Gospel. But many highly esteemed Bible scholars refute the theory. W.E Vine comments: