Thank you for your excellent question. Before beginning to answer the question, let us remember that many sincere Christians disagree with each other on this topic. I would suggest that this topic does not directly affect the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ and so this is not something that should divide believers. Let us be kind and show grace to each other if we view the Scriptures differently on this subject.

The Lord Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18, “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.” Out of the three gifts mentioned in the question above, tongues and healing are mentioned in these verses. We learn here that the gifts of tongues and healing were signs. While traveling, signs alert us when we approach a different road from the one on which we are traveling. The gifts of tongues and healing were God’s signs to show people that something different was happening in His dealings with mankind.

Instead of being under law, Christ brought grace. We read in John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” We read in 1 Corinthians 1:22, “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.” In His grace, God gave the Jews the signs that they required to convince them that the dispensation of law was over, and the dispensation of grace had begun. Dispensations are different time periods when God works in different ways to accomplish His purposes.

The Jews were accustomed to miraculous signs accompanying a new message from God. When the Lord Jesus cast an unclean spirit out of a man in Mark 1:26, we read in Mark 1:27 that “they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.” Casting out unclean spirits or devils is one of the sign gifts that the Lord mentioned in Mark 16:17.

We read further in Mark 16: 19-20, “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.” We learn here that another purpose of signs was to confirm the Word that the apostles were preaching. We read in Hebrews 2:3-4, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” God used the sign gifts of casting out demons, speaking in tongues, and healing to show that the truth of the free gift of salvation through repentance of sins and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ was truly God’s message.

After Christ ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit came to indwell all believers on the day of Pentecost, we read that “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?’” (Acts 2:4-8, NASB). When the sign gift of speaking in tongues was used, an actual language was spoken. The person speaking had not studied the language, but God miraculously enabled the person to speak in a language that he had never learned. We read in 1 Corinthians 14:22, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” Therefore, speaking in tongues was a sign to unbelievers that the gospel message really was a message from God.

It was very important that the person speaking in tongues could be understood by the listeners. We read in 1 Corinthians 14:9-12, “So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks as a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me. So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.” (NASB). 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 says, “If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.” An interpreter was required if the person speaking in a different language could not be understood by the listeners.

Therefore, we learn that the Biblical gift of tongues involved speaking an actual language that had not been studied and was not the speaker’s native language. The gift of tongues was for unbelievers and especially Jews. It was also required that the listener could understand the speaker so that an interpreter would be used if the listener could not understand what was spoken. The gospel of grace is no longer a new doctrine and so the gift of tongues is not needed today. Certainly, the Lord is able to miraculously enable someone to speak in a different language in order to share the gospel and this has happened at times. However, the Biblical gift of tongues does not exist today. In contrast to Biblical instruction about the gift of tongues is the ecstatic utterances that are heard in some churches today. These ecstatic utterances are not actual languages, are often not interpreted, are not for the benefit of unbelieving Jews, and are not taught in the Scriptures.

Concerning the gift of healing, we read in James 5:14-15, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”  I mention these verses to encourage us that we do not need the gift of healing when we are sick today. It is the prayer of faith that saves the sick. The Lord does heal people today if it is His will. The gift of healing truly was one of the sign gifts. However, the sign gift of healing is no longer needed since the message of the gospel is no longer new.

A prophet in the Bible is someone who God used to communicate His message to other people. At times a prophet would foretell future events but more often a prophet spoke or wrote a message from God to other people. The word prophecy means “to speak forth” and so a prophet can be described as a spokesman for God. We do have the gift of prophecy today. We read in 1 Corinthians 14:1-5, “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying” (NASB). We read in 1 Corinthians 14:31, “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.” We can prophesy to others with a Word from the Lord for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the listeners. May we spend much time in the Word so that the Lord will show us what He would like us to share with others that will encourage them in the things of the Lord.

In summary, the Scriptures indicate that the gift of prophecy exists today, but the gifts of tongues and healing do not exist today since no new doctrine is being shared from God. We have the completed Word of God and so do not need miraculous sign gifts to prove to unbelievers that a new doctrine is truly from God. We know that we have the completed Word of God because of Colossians 1:25. The Apostle Paul writes in this verse, “of which I became minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given me towards you to complete the word of God” (JND). Although the sign gifts of casting out demons, speaking in tongues, and healing do not exist today, there are many other spiritual gifts that God gives us to benefit others. There is the gift of prophecy, teaching, helps, and governments (leading) found in 1 Corinthians 12:28. We read in Ephesians 4:11-12 that God gave “…some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (NASB).  (417.3)  (DJ)