“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.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)
In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …
|Type Of Accrediting Gift||Gifts Included In This Type||Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8|
|Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth||The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge||Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)|
|Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth||Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits||Prophecy (or Prophecies)|
|Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth||Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues||Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)|
Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?
In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I. The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II. The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III. The Death Of The Apostles
IV. The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V. The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”
Our texts for this lesson are:
1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
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.
3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
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:
15) Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16) (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17) Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18) And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19) Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20) But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21) Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22) Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23) For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.
24) Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
25) And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. (Acts 8:14-25)
44) While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
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.
46) For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
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,
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.
3) And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
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.
5) When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6) And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7) And all the men were about twelve. (Acts 19:1-7)
To begin this part of our study, I would like us to notice how the spiritual gifts were received based upon the historical accounts found in the Bible:
|Text||Description||Manner of Receipt of Gifts|
|Acts 2:1-4||Jewish Church at Jerusalem (Pentecost)||Baptism of Local Church In Holy Spirit By Christ|
|Acts 8:14-25||Jewish/Gentile Church at Samaria||Laying On Of Apostle’s Hands|
|Acts 10:44-48||Gentile Church In Cornelius House||Baptism of Local Church In Holy Spirit By Christ|
|Acts 19:1-7||Gentile Church at Ephesus||Laying On Of Apostle’s Hands|
Based upon the above breakdown of events, we can see several things:
1. Spiritual gifts were never given to a single individual, but only to local assemblies of believers
2. There were two ways that spiritual gifts were received by a local assembly:
a. Sovereign act of Christ (assembly baptized in Spirit)
b. Act of Christ through human instrument (Apostle’s hands laid upon assembly)
3. Christ baptized His assemblies in the Holy Spirit only twice (once to accredit Jewish assembly, once to accredit Gentile assembly)
4. The Apostles laid their hands on assemblies several times (two are recorded but others implied in Rom 1:10-12, 2 Cor 12:11-12 etc)
If the Lord accredited a Jewish assembly once (Jerusalem at Pentecost), and a Gentile assembly once (Cornelius church) why would the apostles continue to grant these gifts via laying on of hands? They did it to “establish” the ministries of the local assemblies (Romans 1:10-12). This involved two different aspects:
1. They did it to grant the individual churches the gifts of the Spirit which they could use to effectively fulfill their individual ministries.
2. They did it to give the assemblies’ proof of that their ministry was valid in God’s sight. Remember, at this point in time, the NT was not yet completed and there was still great disagreement concerning:
a. the local church as the house of God
b. the inclusion of Gentiles in the worship of Jehovah
By giving these gifts to the individual assemblies it would help to silence any question of their validity. I believe this is why the Apostle Paul so greatly desired to impart these gifts to other assemblies through the laying on of his hands (Romans 1:10-12)
(Please note: with the completion of the New Testament scriptures and the record of these events, churches no longer need these gifts for accreditation. Local churches are now clearly understood to be the place of worship for Christians of both Jewish and Gentile lineage based upon the preserved New Testament record.)
We have two final Scriptures that we need to examine closely…
1. The issue of 2 Corinthians 12:11-12…
Please notice that the ability to grant the spiritual gifts with the laying on of hands was exclusively given to those who help the office of Apostle. In 2 Corinthians 12:11-12, he explains to church at Corinth that he was to be considered among the “chiefest of apostles” because when he was visiting with the Corinth church that “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”
Now, if we take a minute to think about what Paul was saying, it holds a very important point for all of us. Based upon the historical accounts that we have listed above (Acts 2:,8:,10:,19:), we can see that the exercise of patience, signs, wonders, and mighty deeds were not limited to the office of Apostle. In several of these events, it is clear to see that the entire assembly of believers shared in the exercise of these gifts. These gifts WERE NOT exclusive to the office of Apostle.
So how could these gifts distinguish Paul unquestioningly as “among the chiefest of apostles”? I believe it was his ability to give these gifts to the assembly through the laying on of his hands. What he was saying was this…. When you see yourselves exercising patience, signs, wonders and mighty deeds, it is proof an Apostle was among you. The laying on of a genuine Apostle’s hands must have taken place for you to be able to do these great works of God. No counterfeit Apostle had this ability.
2. The issue of 2 Timothy 1:6-7
In this text, Paul describes the “the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands”. Here the “gift of God” Paul is describing is Timothy’s call to the ministry; the “putting on of my hands” of which Paul speaks is describing Timothy’s ordination.
Paul is not describing Timothy’s receipt of the spiritual gifts as an individual (remember the spiritual gifts are exclusively given to local assemblies, never to a single individual), but he is referring to Timothy’s calling of God and his ordination (his public separation to the gospel ministry). If we read further Paul makes it plain that, based upon the calling that was upon Timothy, Timothy was to faithfully minister the truths of God to those put under his watchcare (vs 8-12). In the context, nothing is said about the exercise of the accrediting gifts of God.
The Lord has only sovereignly baptized local assemblies in the Holy Spirit twice, once to accredit Jewish assemblies, once to accredit Gentile assemblies. There is no reason for Him to repeat this action. Nor do we find any Biblical accounts of Him repeating this.
The only other way that spiritual gifts could be received by local assemblies was through the laying on of hands of Apostolic office holders. If this is the case, as the Apostolic office holders “died off” no one was left to continue to pass these gifts on to other assemblies. Following the death of the final Apostle the only ones who exercised these gifts would be church members who had received this gift prior to the Apostle’s deaths. Once the church members “died off” the spiritual gifts would cease to exist.
So now we come to the great question…. When did the final Apostle die? Based upon human historical records the Apostle John was probably the last Apostle to die in approximately 100 AD. So, at the very latest, the deaths of the adult generation living in 100 AD would bring an end to these gifts (probably around 150 AD?). But that is assuming that the Apostles were continually granting these gifts to the assemblies until their death.
If we look closely at the Biblical text we find that the latest mention of spiritual gifts being given or exercised is found in 1 Peter which was written probably in 63 AD. If this is the case and no other gifts were granted after this timeframe, then the probable date of the end of the existence of spiritual gifts would probably be closer to 100-110 AD. So therefore, it is very highly probable the gifts ceased to exist sometime between 100 and 150 AD.
THE 100 – 150 AD TIMEFRAME FITS PERFECTLY WITH OUR PREVIOUS STUDIES ON THIS SUBJECT: “The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect” AND “The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span”.
Additional Information (Bible Scrioptures Referenced In This Study:
The Death Of The Apostles:
10) Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
11) I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
12) Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
(2 Corinthians 12:11-12)
6) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9) Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11) Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
12) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
(2 Timothy 1:6-12)