Let’s look at what the Bible says:
Shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven, he made a promise to the Apostles –
we read in Acts 1:8:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.“
This promise was fulfilled in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured down from heaven, witnessed openly by the apostles in the city.We read in Acts 2:5-8 where everyone was amazed that they could interpret what the other was saying.
Peter later explained that proclaiming the message (and ability to do so in languages intelligible to their hearers, that’s what the word tongues means) was the real purpose of the powers bestowed by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:33 reads,
“Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what YOU NOW SEE AND HEAR.”
We are therefore assured that the message of the apostles was precisely and only what the Father and the Son wished to declare.
The spoken word and signs provided a firm foundation for faith. Thousands believed and the message spread out towards distant lands. Groups of believers in widely separated places needed constant help in order to preserve faith. There was as yet no New Testament from which the whole of the apostles’ message might be read and related to the Old Testament (the Old Testament was already in wide circulation).
In addition to the apostles, certain other persons were given special powers which were designed to support the believers in various congregations. See Ephesians 4:11.
My point is that by the end of the first century, the New Testament had been completed and become available for all to read, which meant that the holy spirit gifts were no longer required in order to disseminate God’s message.
We don’t know precisely when these gifts ceased (probably after the last apostles died by which time congregations had been established).The cessation of these gifts is so illustrated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:8:
“But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”
And 1 Corinthians 13:10: “But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”
The meaning of ‘perfection’ is really completeness, or maturity. So with the scriptures now being completed there was no need for the gifts. We can see this also ties in with what John said at the end of the Revelation 22:18
“I warn anyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone ADDS ANYTHING TO THEM, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.”
The modern practises of those who claim to have the Holy Spirit are also a far-cry from the gifts described in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit gifts used in the Bible were to help people, not to glorify ‘ themselves’ for having these powers which seems to be the case these days.
The power of the mind is phenomenal. Religious excitation and a highly emotional state of mind can easily mislead people who are seeking the true power and grace of God. That these gifts should cease is also remarked upon further by Paul who is referring to the completion of God’s Word and its sustenance when he says:
“And these three remain: faith, hope and love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13.