Spiritual Gifts Have Ceased
Updated: Feb 3
Let me first clarify that title by expanding it: Spiritual gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer given to believers.
Believers do not cast out demons.
Believers do not raise the dead.
Believers do not miraculously heal people.
The gift of tongues, or interpretation of tongues, has ceased.
You have been greatly deceived if you think otherwise. Can you raise the dead? Just bring a camera crew to the nearest graveyard. Can you miraculously heal people? Bring that same camera crew (who by now is thoroughly convinced of your miraculous abilities) to a nearby hospital and put it out of business. Has this happened in the past 1900 years or so? No, but devilish frauds like Kenneth Copeland want to convince you otherwise so you will send him money.
Someone showed me a video once from deep in Africa (Where scams and the "prosperity gospel" are rampant. Nigerian prince anyone?) purportedly showing a bunch of people dancing around a woman that had a disfigured arm. In the video her arm slowly "grew" thereby showing a "miraculous healing." LOL! It was so obviously fake it was laughable. All she did was push her arm forward really slowly. Your standard David Blaine street magic videos are far more believable and they are admittedly TRICKS.
Do you not remember the Egyptian magicians in Exodus 7:10-12 turning their rods into serpents? Not everything you see that's "incredible" is from God.
Mark 16:17-20 reads,
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
The key to understanding that these signs and miracles were only for the apostles is in verse 20 where it says it was to confirm the word they gave! Confirm here means to establish or strengthen. The gospel message by the apostles was established by the signs and miracles of the Lord working with them.
If you think the above verses and miraculous power are for you then just try drinking "any deadly thing" and show that it doesn't hurt you. PLEASE DON'T DO THAT! Drinking poison can be deadly (and you know it).
It's also interesting to note that God did many miracles through Paul at the beginning of his ministry but not near the end. The need for miracles was ending even before the bible was complete. For example, at first Paul could heal an entire island of people (Acts 28:9) but later could not heal Timothy from a stomach problem (1 Timothy 5:23), nor could he heal Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20) or Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:26).
Do you really think that if Paul couldn't heal people but you can? What arrogance! What absurdly heretical conceit.
Tongues Have Ceased
Now, let me first clarify a couple things. First of all, "tongues" in the bible refers to a real, known, language. It isn't just babbling and howling like you see in the bizarre Charismatic false churches of today. Second, many people do have the gift of being able to learn languages quickly. However, the gift of miraculously being able to speak fluently in a language you have never studied as in Acts 2:4-11 does not happen anymore which should be obvious from all experience as well as nearly 1,900 years of historical records.
If certain individuals still had the gift of tongues then there would be no need for translation committees working hard to translate the bible. These certain people would be able to go to Russia and just start preaching the gospel in Russian or to Sri Lanka and start preaching in Sinhala.
Don't you find it odd that this has never happened past the first century A.D.?!
Yet people will fight tooth and nail to claim that the gifts of tongues is for believers today (and entirely miss the chapter on love perfectly nestled between the chapters on proper use of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14).
The bible, our final authority, is clear that these gifts will cease.
1 Corinthians 13:8 reads, 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.
That prophecies would fail refers to the fact that there would be no need of prophecies when the Word of God was complete. John wrote the last prophecies in about 95 A.D. on the Isle of Patmos. Now there is no need for prophecies and prophets for John finished that work.
The gift of tongues shall cease because they are no longer needed, since we now have the complete Word of God! Could the bible be more clear?
Knowledge here means revelatory knowledge necessary for completing the Word of God. After the last book of the Bible was finished this "knowledge" vanished away, because there was no more need, it was all recorded in the bible for all time.
Verse 9 helps explain, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part." At the time that Paul wrote this only small parts of the New Testament had been written by "prophecy" and by "knowledge", so these new revelations were needed until Scripture was completed.
Paul is pointing the carnal church at Corinth towards love which will never fail. It's no coincidence that the only Pauline epistle to mention tongues is to the Corinthians with their numerous problems which included idolatry, fornication, drunkenness, selfishness, conceit, the list goes on. They were called "babes in Christ" that could not handle the meat of the word (1 Corinthians 3:1-2). Yet there are people today who will say that speaking in tongues is a sign of being especially spiritual, and some even say it is a sign of salvation! What heresy!
I was recently just told that miracle working would be available if more Christians just "tried harder". My friend, you've missed the entire point of 1 Corinthians 12-14. Paul told the Corinthians to covet the best gifts which are faith, hope, and charity (love). The greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Yet people are coveting miraculous abilities that were taken out of the church centuries ago in direct contradiction to biblical instruction.
Cessationism is not only biblical, but historical as well.
John Chrysostom in around the year 400 A.D. said, "This whole place is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity has produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?" Homily 29 on 1 Corinthians.
Albert Barnes (1798 - 1870) wrote, "It is certain that the 'order' of 'apostles' has ceased, and also the 'order' of 'miracles,' and the order of 'healings,' and of 'diversity of tongues.'"
Matthew Henry (1662-1714) wrote, “spiritual gifts were extraordinary powers bestowed in the first ages, to convince unbelievers, and to spread the gospel."
Raymond C. Kelcy (1916–1986) wrote, "These gifts were necessary in the days of the infancy of the church when as yet the body of perfectly revealed truth was incomplete. They were temporary measures designed for a special purpose."
Countless others could be quoted.
Spiritual Gifts Ceased with the Completion of the Bible
1 Corinthians 13:10 reads, "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
"Perfect" does not here refer to Christ, as some would have you to believe. As William G. Bellshaw notes, "This adjective (used as a noun) is in the neuter gender. Therefore, it is a reference to the finished (perfect) or completed Word of God. If it referred to Christ, it would be in the masculine gender."
Garner-Howes explains further, "'But when comes the perfect thing' (That which is complete, finished, or perfect), the Holy Bible, the finished written revelation of God. This speaks of a 'thing' to come, not a person, not Jesus, as some suppose. Had Paul here alluded to the coming of Jesus he would have said when 'He who is perfect' (a person), not 'that which,' (a thing). The 'that which is perfect,' refers to the completion of the Bible."
When the bible would be completed, which was about 95 A.D., the spiritual signs and miracles would cease.
Finally, Dr. Gromacki writes, "The word perfect (teleion) does refer to the end of a process or development ... the Second Coming of Christ is not a process, it is an instantaneous event, the word perfect cannot be referring to Christ because perfect definitely has reference to the end of a process or development of something. The something, of course, is the Word of God. It (the word perfect, teleion, in the Greek) is never used in the New Testament to depict the (a) Second Coming of Christ, (b) the Millennium, or (c) the Eternal State."
Check out this PDF for more information on "That Which is Perfect."