The Cessation of Gifts.

A case for Partial Cessationism.

First of all, what is meant by Cessationism.
In ChristianityCessationism is the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and  healing, ceased with the apostolic age. This is generally opposed to Continuationism, which teaches that the Holy Spirit may bestow the spiritual gifts on persons other than the original twelve apostles at any time. Cessationists believe that when the Old Testament canon closed at Malachi, for the next 400 years until John the Baptist, the gifts had ceased. Similarly, when the New Testament canon closed the gifts ceased.

Therefore, Partial Cessationism means that only some of the gifts have ceased and that others continue.

I believe that the sign gifts that were manifest during the first century of the church, from after 65 AD and up to the end of Revelation of the Apostle John, have disappeared. That there are no more gifts used to attest the Word of God.
These signs and power gifts include, Prophecy, (in the sense of speaking new revelation or prophecying future events and not of proclamation). The gift of speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues, (which equal prophecy).
Healings, miracles, (which were to follow revelation, to attest the truth of that revelation).

What is not being said, is that God is not performing healings and miracles today and that He can’t reveal things to believers.
God can and does do whatever He wills to do.

What is being said, is that the signs and wonders gifts are not needed today, because there is no new revelation of God to be attested.

Hebrews 1

Heb 1:1  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 

Heb 1:2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 


What then do I mean by “Partial”?

There were nine gifts of the Spirit.

 

1Co 12:8  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 

1Co 12:9  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 

1Co 12:10  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 

 

All these gifts were given by the Holy Spirit severally as He willed.
1Cor 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
They were given for the church. (To benefit the Body of Christ, not given for the individual).

1 Cor 14:12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
 

The gift was not for the individual but for the church.
 

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

However, we are told in scripture that some of these gifts would cease and pass away and vanish.

1 Cor 13:8 Charity 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.

The question is, when did, or when will this happen?
 

We are told in scripture, when this would happen.

NKJV 1 Cor 13: 9-11 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 

10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 


In this verse in 1 Cor 13:8 we are told that Prophecies shall fail, tongues will cease and knowledge shall vanish away, when that which is perfect comes.
If we can determine what that which is perfect is and when that which is perfect comes, we can determine whether or not certain gifts have ceased.

Perfect: Greek, Teleios: having reached its end, finished. completeperfectentire, absolutecompleteaccomplishedperfect fulfilledaccomplished.

KJV 1Co 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 

Notice: the scripture says “when that”, not “when He”.

This is relating to something, an object and not a person.
Those that teach that the perfect, referred to here is Jesus Christ and that when He returns at His second coming, these gifts will cease, cannot be correct.
Otherwise, the verse would read “But when
Jesus is come, then the imperfect, shall be done away”.

Additionally, to say “that which is perfect is come” is a person, is not grammatically correct. One would never refer to Jesus Christ as “that which is perfect?” 
It is quite clear that this phrase is referring to an inanimate object, not a person.
The phrase “that which is perfect is come” of 1 Corinthians 10:13 does not refer to Jesus Christ or His return.

However, if this is referring to the complete, mature Canon of scripture and the close of any further revelation, then this sounds more plausible.

 

Another thing is that V10 must be taken in context to its surrounding verses.

1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spake as a child.” 
Paul is referring here to the gift of tongues, which was the ability to speak God’s Word in a language one had never learned.
 

1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child… I understood as a child.” 
This would be a reference to the gift of knowledge, which was the supernatural ability of knowing and understanding deep spiritual truths of God’s Word before they were written down in Scripture.

1Co 13:2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;

 

1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child… I thought as a child.” 
This would be a reference to the gift of prophecy which was the ability to preach and identify God’s Word before it was written, particularly in reference to predicting the future.

1Co 13:2  And though I have the gift of prophecy,
 

1 Corinthians 13:11: “But when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 
This was referring to spiritual maturity, when final revelation from God is given. It is then that we do away with the immature things.

 

We need to understand, why the sign gifts were given.

They were given to attest the Word of God.

Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—

Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 
4 and was
affirmed by God through signs, wonders, various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.

Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]. Amen (so be it).


What is Prophecy?

Prophecy in the early church was preaching divine revelation from God. Remember, there was no New Testament at that time, the Canon had not yet been completed. The doctrine was being established by the Apostles.


Eph 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
Acts 2:41-42 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in
the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Prophecy in this sense was speaking new revelation, establishing the Word of God, which needed to be attested by the signs and wonders, (Healings, Miracles, raising of the dead and casting out demons).

This was to prove that those men were speaking new revelation were of God.

Did everyone prophecy?

 

1 Cor 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?…
The answer is obviously NO.
 

Tongues and Interpretation.

Tongues were a sign to unbelievers that the words that were being spoken were of God and the interpretation of tongues was the ability to interpret what was being said in the language of the hearer.


1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

21 In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.
22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

 

If we are to listen to the Pentecostal and Charismatic groups of the church today, we would get the impression that tongues is for every Christian. There are even those that would teach that unless you speak in tongues you are not saved.

Do all speak with tongues, do all interpret tongues?


1 Cor 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?…

Again, the obvious answer is NO.
 

The Reformers taught “Sola Scriptura” Scripture alone.
We cannot build Christian teaching on experience but our teaching must be on scripture alone.
You would think, when you listen to the tongue speakers that the New Testament is full of teaching on speaking in tongues. Is this correct?

The answer is No.

In fact out of 260 chapters of the New Testament, only four speak of the gift of tongues.
In this blog, we will look at this manifestation of the Holy Spirit to see why this gift was given and whether this gift is for today.

The first time we read about tongues is in Acts chapter 2.

Act 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 
Act 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 
Act 2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 
Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 
Act 2:5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 
Act 2:6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 
Act 2:7  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 
Act 2:8  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 
Act 2:9  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 
Act 2:10  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 
Act 2:11  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 

 

In this chapter, we see the sign that the Apostles had been filled with the Holy Spirit.

This was the day of Pentecost when Jerusalem was filled with Jews, Jews from every corner.
Remember it was the Jews that rejected Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah.
The first to hear this speaking in tongue were Jews. This was a sign that the Holy Spirit had been given.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 For the Jews require a sign.

Remember the words of Jesus. Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

3000 souls were saved on that day. This was the first time that tongues was manifest.

We move on next to Samaria in Acts ch 8.

 

Act 8:14  Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 
Act 8:15  Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 
Act 8:16  (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Act 8:17  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 
Act 8:18  And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 


Now really we are only looking at scripture that speaks of the manifestation of tongues and although tongues are not mentioned in these verses, we can see that something happened, because in v18, Simon saw something.
It is highly likely that these Samaritan believers manifested the same as on the day of Pentecost.

This would have been a sign of the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
 

Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and next the Gentiles in Acts 10, when Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius.
Act 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 
Act 10:45  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 
Act 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 
Act 10:47  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 

 

This is the second time tongues is mentioned.
Notice, who were astonished. “
they of the circumcision”, meaning the Jews.
 

The third time tongues is mentioned is in Acts 19, when Paul went to Ephesus.

Act 19:1  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 
Act 19:2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 
Act 19:3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 
Act 19:4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 
Act 19:5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 


So, who were these?

They were Old Testament believers, those who had heard the Gospel of John the Baptist. They had been baptised unto forgiveness and were looking forward to the coming of Messiah.
Paul revealed who the Messiah was and they believed in Jesus Christ, they were born again of the Spirit of God.

So, we have the fulfilment of the commission from Christ.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

1. Jews in Jerusalem and Judea.
2. The Samaritans.
3. The ends of the earth. Cornelius and the Ephesians.

 

The fourth time we read of tongues is in the Corinthian church. Paul was addressing the misuse of tongues speaking in the church.

Gifts of Healing and Working of Miracles.

As said earlier, these gifts were
to attest the fact that what was being revealed by God was in fact from God.
 

Did all heal, did all work miracles?

1 Cor 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?…
 

The obvious answer to these questions is NO.

The Canon of scripture was being revealed through the Apostles and Prophets and this Word of God was being attested by signs and wonders and revelation.

The Canon is now
complete, (Teleios) “That which is perfecthas come, there is nothing more to be added, we now have the mature Word of God.

Therefore there is no more need for sign gifts, gifts to attest new revelation.
That is why the Apostle Paul said:

NKJV 1 Cor 13: 9-11 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 

10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

 

The Perfect.

Greek: Teleios, that which is complete, that which is perfect, that which is mature.
There is no more revelation, therefore there is no more need for attesting signs and wonders.

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