Brief thoughts on Acts 2.1-4 and the Tongues of Fire

The Difficult Question this week was regarding Acts 2.1-4. This is my very brief answer.

As a former tongue talker, my viewpoint on this has changed some out. I think that the fire is symbolic of God’s Spirit and may allude to Isaiah 6 where the burning coal touched the prophet’s mouth and he was cleansed. Also, I think that there is an allusion to Isaiah 28.1-15 as well, especially with the echoes of wine and ‘different tongue.’ So to sum  – and this has to be my shortest post ever – the fire and the tongues were an allusion to the judgment against Jerusalem, especially given the language of Peter later in the chapter, for their crucifixion of Christ and announcement that the Day of the Lord had begun.

Pentecost was the start of the ingathering, the Last Days, etc… Anyway, what do you think?

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

5 thoughts on “Brief thoughts on Acts 2.1-4 and the Tongues of Fire

  1. I’m with you so far. I would say, to differ slightly, that the resurrection of Christ inaugurated the “last days” and that Pentecost confirmed it.

  2. There is also a Roman tradition of this: Aeneas’ son has a tongue of fire dance upon his head at the beginning of the Aeneid, which signals both the destruction of Troy and initiates the journey to Rome.

  3. Coming from a Pentecostal / Charismatic background I still believe the gifts of the Spirit are still available for all and to be used today.

    Though my beliefs have moderated a lot regarding the Pentecostal church – I’m lucky in that I never experienced real legalism / conservatism as some do…though I did go through my share of garbage…

    However despite that – I still pray in tongues and find it helps me in my walk with the Lord.

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