THE PERMANENCE OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS
At the center of the “Charismatic debate” stands the question of whether all of the spiritual gifts found in the New Testament are available for today.
The Bible clearly teaches that at least some spiritual gifts were temporary. I Corinthians 13:8-10.
Spiritual gifts may be grouped into 2 categories:
“Sign Gifts” – Passing And Passe.
The Purpose Of Sign Gifts.
This question is hardly ever asked in regard to many of the things that are picked up as doctrine by many sects and denominations. I prefer to ask the purpose of things because I believe that God and His Son, Jesus Christ do things with a purpose in mind. I guess one could say that God and His Son are not purposeless.
We can peruse Mark 16:20 – “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
We can see a reason for the signs. May I remind you that the written word was not available at this time. For this reason, confirmation is needed.
Take a look at – Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
These two verses reveal that “signs” were given for the purpose of accreditation.
A school goes through a process of accreditation which then testifies that they are a school that is qualified to teach and instruct others. Notice how these “sign” gifts work in – Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
Joh 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Now we are starting to see how this works. People doubt and Jesus or the apostles perform a miracle and the people are convinced. They had no writings to convince them that they were from God or that they were giving the word of God, but not was not unprepared to confirm them as representing Him by “signs.”
They accredited God’s man – Exodus 4:1-9; John 20:30,31; Acts 2:22; II Corinthians 12:11,12.
They accredited God’s message – Mark 16:20; Acts 4:29,30.
The Provision Of Sign Gifts.
One of the characteristics of the Jewish heart is the need for a sign. I Corinthians 1:22
Take a look at – Exodus 4:30,31; 31:13; Numbers 14:11; Judges 6:17; I Samuel 10:7-9; Isaiah 7:11,14; Ezekiel 4:3; Matthew 38,39; 24:3,30; Mark 8:11,12; Luke 2:12,34; I Corinthians 14:22
There are two things we find in these passages: 1. Jews were always present. 2. An Apostle Was Always Present.
The Profile Of Sign Gifts.
We have 4 gifts that are listed in Mark 16:17,18. They are: casting out devils, speaking in tongues, taking up deadly serpents (Miracles,) and healing.
We see the fulfillment of this prophecy of the Lord.
Each of the signs mentioned here have been fulfilled in the Book of Acts. – Acts 16:18; 2:4; 28:3-6; 3:6-8.
There is no warrant for seeking any further fulfillment of this passage.
We May Eliminate These Gifts From The Portfolio.
The gifts of healing, miracles, tongues (and interpretations,) may be omitted from the listing above on the basis that sign gifts were temporary.
The Passing Of Sign Gifts.
According to I Corinthians 13:8, “tongues shall cease.”
The gift of tongues is one of the sign gifts – thus we see that sign gifts were temporary.
Signs were specifically for the nation of Israel.
According to Micah 7:15, signs would be seen only when Israel was in its land.
The sign of “tongues” was a specific warning of imminent judgment upon Israel – Deuteronomy 28:49,64; Isaiah 28:11; 33:19; Jeremiah 5:15; I Corinthians 14:21,22.
In 70 A.D. This judgment came. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the nation dispersed, no longer in the land. There is no Biblical record of any sign after this date.
When the sign was fulfilled, the sign ceased.
The Peril With Sign Gifts.
There is an extreme danger in seeking after the sign gifts today. This is because Satan is also able to produce “signs and wonders” – Exodus 7:to-12,22; 8:7,18; Mark 13:21-23; II Corinthians 11:13-15; II Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13,14.
Satan is well able to provide what is sought. This is what many are seeking today, signs and wonders that justify fleshly desires that cause people to feel that they are more spiritual than others. Study the scripture and judge what you experience by the word.
So many feel something today and try to judge the scriptures by their experience. The problem is the ability to discern between the flesh and the spirit. There are those that feel fleshly desire is spiritual impulse. The Word tells us which is which.