WHAT DOES THE “TONGUES OF FIRE” MEAN?
50 days after the Jews celebrated their Passover in the first century, came the celebration of Pentecost. This brought hundreds to Jerusalem from all over the land.
But this year it was to be a memorable time for them.
This was the year our lord was killed and he told his apostles in Luke chapter 24v49 “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high”. Also, they were reminded in Acts chapter 1v4,8, “he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth.” RSV.
Thus explaining what this power will be and for what purpose. It would enable the apostles to preach in a special way which we shall uncover. Jesus did not say everyone will be his witnesses.
They already had the holy spirit which Jesus had already given them, so why did Jesus emphasise this as being different? This was to be a special event for his apostles, it was going to be the time for them to be baptised with holy spirit with the purpose of unlocking the kingdom hope to others. It says in Acts chapter 1 “ And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” RSV
What do the tongues of fire that were poured out symbolise?
JW’S SHOW THIS PICTURE OF THE TONGUES OF FIRE COMING DOWN but as usual they are wrong yet again.
Note! The woman present?
This picture depicts an EARLIER account in Acts chapter 1v12-15, when 120 gathered together for prayers and the apostles thought Judas should be replaced.
NO mention of the tongues of fire coming upon those 120 present. WHY? Because it was a different meeting.
We need to go to chapter 2v1-42, this being another occasion where the “12” apostles were gathered together, now including Matthias, who had been selected, and now they were gathered in “a house” and not an upper room as chapter 1 shows.
What did the outpouring of the holy spirit enabled them to do which they could not do before? The account is self-explanatory really, after the “tongues of fire” came upon them, they were able to speak in different tongues, different languages in order to teach and preach to other people of different languages, after all, the gentiles were soon to be invited to join them, as well as fellow Jews and Samaritans who had travelled to Jerusalem to worship, coming from different areas of the land.
They were now hearing the apostles speaking in their own languages and were amazed. “And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (v7) “And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
Par′thians and Medes and E′lamites and residents of Mesopota′mia, Judea and Cappado′cia, Pontus and Asia, Phryg′ia and Pamphyl′ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre′ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” RSV
Peter told them: ~ “And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
NOTE! They devoted themselves to the “apostle’s teachings”, why? Because they were the only ones baptised with holy spirit and granted the gift of speaking different languages to teach them. Especially because they were appointed as the 12 foundation stones of the church of the Christ with the chief corner stone being our lord Jesus.
There was a purpose for the helper, that was to help them, the holy spirit to be sent to them as “tongues of fire”. The apostle’s tongues became as a fire and will not be quenched.
This gift of “speaking in different tongues” was only given to the 12 apostles to open up the kingdom to others, as witnesses of Jesus and the gift died out with them.
There are different religious groups on the earth today who profess to speak in tongues but they are counterfeit. The purpose of the “tongues of fire” was fulfilled in the first century to spread a witness about our lord Jesus.
Paul explains the speaking in tongues in 1st Corinthians chapter 14 and from verse 9 “So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; therefore, he who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret”. RSV.
This actually happened in the SPALDING congregation of JW’s in the UK of which I attended one Sunday morning, in 2004/2005, where a very small group of foreign visitors in our country attended and a young man, trying to impress, asked the elders if he could close the meeting in prayer, but in their visitor’s language. When he finished, I WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZED, ALL THOSE PRESENT RESPONDED WITH “AMEN”.
They were all guilty before their god because “AMEN” means, “so be it” they all agreed with the prayer by stating “AMEN”.
They had no idea what the young person said in the prayer but they all agreed with his prayer. As the apostle Paul states, there should be an interpreter present to relay the prayer to others.
So, how can the governing body and Jehovah’s witnesses get things so wrong? By the governing body’s own admission in their watchtower they state they are NOT INSPIRED that means they do not have holy spirit, but, didn’t Peter state in verse 38, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
A direct promise, “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Quite clearly then, if the governing body are not inspired, it is obvious to everyone they DO NOT HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.
SO HOW CAN THEY CLAIM TO BE OF THE ANOINTED ONES, OR EVEN, THE FAITHFUL AND DISCRETE SLAVE CLASS?
How can a blind man lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the pit? Luke chapter 6v39.
Just a snippet of interest here, JW’s teach in Matthew chapter 16v19, that, as Peter was given the “keys of the kingdom” by Jesus he will take the lead in using the keys at Pentecost after receiving authority, with the 11. He takes the lead by saying to the crowds, “these men are not drunk”. (Acts 2v13-16) https://www.jw.org/…/bible-teachings/questions/kingdom-keys/
But, as this account of the keys has only been recorded by Matthew and none of the other writers, it might appear to be dubious as to the authenticity of the event. JW’s always use Matthew as their authority even though there is no proof as to the authorship of the gospel. John was an eyewitnesses to all things but he does not mention this at all. The point that comes to my mind is, would Jesus have singled out Peter to gives keys of the kingdom to?