You have seen people receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. How would you describe it? What better way would there be to describe such an experience, as to the appearance, than to say, “The tongues appeared to be split and flickered like fire!” As accurately as possible, these figures of speech describe vividly the sight of people receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We’ve heard it said, “His tongue began to dance about,” which is another way of describing the appearance of one’s tongue as he begins to speak in other tongues.
By J.R. Ensey
Were there actually tongues of fire “sitting on the heads” of the 120 on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2)? A casual reading of the account would possibly leave one with such on opinion, but careful consideration will reveal enough evidence to substantiate the view that there were no actual “tongues of fire” on the heads of the one hundred and twenty.
Before we consider the evidence, perhaps I should point out the significance of the question. If it is unimportant, dismiss it. But, if it is relevant to the apostolic message, by all means, give it careful consideration. How important is it?
We preach a positive new birth -message. Strangely enough, a majority of the religious world claims to do the same! Of course, the division comes in defining the new birth. While we contend that one must receive the same experience those of the early church received, others claim .one can be born again in a different manner—some, without water baptism, others, without speaking in tongues, etc., etc. But we insist that it isn’t possible to be born again in a manner different from that experience of the Christians in the New Testament accounts. That is, we know that it must be according to the New Testament pattern! And, here is the point.
If there were “tongues of fire” sitting on the heads of each of them on the Day of Pentecost, we must admit we didn’t receive the some experience they did! And, if we have the privilege of receiving the Holy Ghost in a manner different to that of the original church, others can get it differently as well! In fact, if this were true, all would not have to have the same experience that we have received, that of speaking with other tongues.
In other words, if you were to insist that there were actual “tongues of fire,” visible to the eye, sitting on each one’s head, you must admit you didn’t receive the Holy Ghost as they did at the beginning! And, if you can be saved with a different or lesser experience than the early
Christians had, others can also get a different or a lesser experience than you and be saved. Consistency of thought demands no less!
In view of this, I don’t think it rash or reckless to suggest that this is a very significant point to Bible-believing Apostolics. In fact, it appears to me that it would be a rash and reckless act to ignore such a significant point.
What does the Bible say? Does it say “tongues of fire?” No, it doesn’t. Notice what it does say: “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:3).