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SHOULDN'T TONGUES BE UNDERSTOOD?
The first to speak in tongues were the disciples. This occurred on the day of Pentecost. People often think that on this day the disciples were speaking human languages, because the people could understand what they were saying.
I don't believe this is true because there was a two-fold miracle taking place on this day: the miracle of speaking and hearing: The first miracle was the speaking in tongues. The second miracle was the enabling of some to understand the tongues. Not everyone understood the tongues, because some onlookers made fun of the disciples and accused them of being drunk (Acts 2:13); this clearly shows that they did not understand the tongues.
And the ones who did understand the tongues were perplex because each one heard only their own native language not the languages of the other people (v. 6). The Bible tells us that there were over fourteen foreigners representing many nations, speaking different languages. Yet each person heard the disciples praising God in their own language. They exclaimed, "How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?" (v. 8) They could not figure out how this was possible.
It is clear that the disciples were not "preaching" the gospel in tongues, they were instead "declaring the wonders of God" (v. 11). They were not speaking "to men but to God" (1 Cor 14:2). The people were simply listening in on their praises to God. It wasn't until Peter stood up to speak to the crowd in one common language that the gospel was preached. So tongues are not supernatural human languages given to the apostles so they could preach in languages they did not naturally learn.
The disciples were not speaking human languages; they were speaking in unknown tongues. But God enabled those whose hearts were opened to understand what the disciples were saying. Sometimes this happens today. You see, the miracle was in the hearing of the people.
THE BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT
Let us look carefully at the first scriptural account of speaking in tongues:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.(Acts 2:1-4).
This experience is what John the baptist and Jesus called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was the fulfillment of Jesus promise, "In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5). Every Christian believes in baptizing in water. But few accept the better baptism--the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Since you were willing to be baptized in water, shouldn't you also be willing to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
Theologians often confuse the baptism in the Holy Spirit with salvation. They often regard these two experiences as being the same. This confuses believers. They incorrectly assume that salvation is the same as the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Bible does not teach this. The Bible clearly teaches that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from salvation and comes after a person is saved, although it can occur at the time of salvation.
The story of the Samaritan converts plainly proves this (see Acts 8:5-25). Philip preached to them about Christ. The people joyfully accepted the gospel and was born again. They confirmed their faith by being baptized as well. Yet, despite the fact that these folks were truly saved, Philip called for the apostles to come and pray for them that they would receive the Holy Spirit. It is clear from this story that being saved is not the same as receiving the Holy Spirit.(Although the Holy Spirit is definitely involved in salvation.)