I just read the following astounding historic account this week.
In the early 1960's an American Christian businessman was asked to speak at a business conference in Tokyo held by a Christian businessman's organization. The meeting was open to all, and American Christian W.E. Deming who had helped rebuild Japan's industrial capabilities after WW2 using principles found in scripture, was scheduled to be the main speaker. So any business meeting involving Christianity was appealing to business leaders there. When the man was about to speak, it was explained to him that his interpreter had fallen ill, and they had no one to take his place. Again, this was in the early 1960's when English was not as wide-spread as it is today. The speaker panicked. The thought of speaking to 2,000 Japanese business leaders in English who wouldn't understand him, made him anxious. Instantly the Lord told him: "Just speak in tongues". Nervously, he did so, explaining that he started out in his prayer language, but then it quickly changed into what proved to be Japanese. After nearly an hour it trickled off and the man stopped speaking. Suddenly, over 200 Japanese businessmen rushed the platform, and just as suddenly, the Holy Spirit came on them and they began speaking in tongues. Although this testimony is pretty spectacular, similar testimonies like these have happened many times throughout the years; and it is clear that just as it was on the day of Pentecost when the 120 spoke in languages they had never learned but others understood, these things still happen today. A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE A few years ago I had a similar experience praying with a tribal man in Africa who also spoke some English. While I was using the bathroom I continued to pray out loud, when suddenly my tongue changed, and apparently, unbeknownst to me, I began speaking this man’s native dialect. He overheard me and was amazed and told me that it was a meaningful message from God to him in his own native dialect concerning his calling. I’ve heard similar stories like these throughout my life, and have concluded that the miracle is not always in the speaker but in the hearer. Through a miracle God makes them to hear the message in their own language. “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone HEARD them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we HEAR, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we HEAR them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” (Acts 5:5-12) ADDRESSING A PRINCIPALITY There was another similar instance of this when we were missionaries living in the Islamic nation of Gambia. My wife Carolyn and I were praying in the spirit or in other tongues with our staff one morning, and she kept hearing me say the word Muhammed. But I wasn’t saying Muhammed but only speaking in tongues. After waiting on the Lord for His direction in the matter He led us to address the spirit of Muhammed that apparently was a principality in that nation. Shortly thereafter incredible miracles and healings started happening, and we began seeing a real breakthrough and change in the nation and our ministry. You cannot deal with demonic principalities and powers in the flesh. Even the apostle Paul would not address the spirit of divination that was working through a particular woman until after many days when the Holy Spirit apparently led him and the anointing was present. “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.” (Acts 16:16-18) The reason there is much confusion and controversy when it comes to tongues is because many Christians have never been taught or rightly divided the different uses and purposes of tongues. They just kind of put them all in one bag and mix them all up, and thus, can’t make any sense of any of it. In the next blog I’ll share more on this including the most common use of tongues. Stay tuned… NOTE: Don‘t forget to save the date for our New England Fall Holy Ghost Forum on Spetember September 22-23 in Windham, NH. Register now at a discount on our Forum page.