For those of you who were not able to keep up with me yesterday morning, this is a recap of my take on the day of Pentecost.
First and foremost, we should note that these amazing signs – “sound like a mighty wind”, “the divided tongues of fire” and “to speak in other tongues” are incidentals. They are not the chief focus, although many want to make them primary.
A good way to look at these signs is the same way we look at the star that led the Magi to discover Jesus. What was important was the Christ-child, not the star. The star was an incidental. The primary focus was Jesus.
What is important on the day of Pentecost is the giving of the Holy Spirit, not the sound of wind, the tongues of fire and the speaking in tongues.
Yet I do think it is important for us to look at each occurrence and determine what they mean.
The “sound like a might wind” is a SYMBOL OF GOD’S INVISIBLE POWER.
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to wind in John 3, when He said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
The Holy Spirit is rushing upon them like the SOUND of a mighty rushing wind. You cannot see the wind, but you see its effects. You cannot see the Holy Spirit, but you can see His effects. So the wind is a symbol of God’s invisible power.
The “divided tongues of fire” is a SYMBOL OF GOD’S HOLY PRESENCE.
3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
Fire is used throughout Scripture to describe God’s holy presence. God was present in the burning bush that appeared before Moses. God was present with Israel when He led them through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. John the Baptist predicted that the Messiah would come with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Jesus referred to God’s judgment as a lake of fire. Hebrews 12:29 tells us God is a consuming fire. The tongue of fire on their heads was a symbol of God’s holy presence.
They “began to speak in other tongues” is a SYMBOL OF GOD’S GOSPEL PROCLAMATION.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Lord gave them His Spirit so they could proclaim His gospel message. The focus, again, is not the speaking in tongues. The focus is the message.
Note two statements made by the crowd:
7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
…we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
Tomorrow, I pick up with my nine-point explanation of the speaking in tongues.