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period miracle of tongues must be expected for he "deceiveth them that dwell on the
earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast"
(Rev. 13: 14). Present-day charismatic movements are setting the scene for that future
Tongues, they shall cease (I Cor. 13: 8).
pp. 174 - 180
It seems appropriate at this point in the series to consider the very important but
controversial verses 8-10 of I Corinthians 13::
"Charity (love) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish
away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is
come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
In these verses, Paul takes three of the Acts period miraculous signs and states that
they will cease. Prophecy was not exclusively to do with the future. The inspired
prophet spoke of God saying what He had done in the past, was doing at the moment or
what He would do in the future. Tongues were languages of various parts of the earth
and were for a sign to the unbelieving Jew (I Cor. 14: 21, 22). Knowledge was the Acts
period gift which fulfilled the Lord's words of Matt. 10: 17-20. Paul takes these three as
representatives of the long list of miraculous signs dealt with in I Cor. 12: All these
signs, prophecy, tongues, knowledge, healing, interpretation, etc., were to cease. The
unfailing, never-ending gift of love was the pre-eminent quality which the Corinthians,
and we, should seek to practice.
These three verses of I Cor. 13: are open to a wide variety of interpretations, and it
is enlightening to consider each one.
When the Church is a unity, Miracles will return.
This view seems strange in the light of I Cor. 13: 10. "But when that which is
perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away". That is, the evidential
miraculous signs will cease when "that which is perfect is come". Whatever that may be,
and whenever it may be, it is obviously something good and beneficial, as true unity
would be. One could almost argue that if true unity ever came about then there wouldn't
be the need for miracles, but returning to the Scriptures, what about the Acts period? It
abounded in miracles, yet it lacked unity. The most striking example of this is found in
the opening chapters of this very epistle.
"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the
house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of
you saith, I am of Paul: and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas: and I of Christ"