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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Tongues of Fire.

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In the account of the first descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, it is stated (Acts 2:3) that "there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire (διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρός ), and it sat upon each of them." They were appearances of tongues, which were luminous but did not burn; not confluent into one, but distributing themselves on the assembled. As only similar to fire, they bore an analogy to electric phenomena; their tongue like shape referred as a sign to that miraculous speaking which ensued immediately after, and the fire-like form to the divine presence (comp. Ezekiel 3:2), which was here operative in a manner so entirely peculiar. The whole phenomenon is here to be understood as a miraculous operation of God manifesting himself in the Spirit, by which, as by a preceding sound from heaven, the effusion of the Spirit was made known as divine, and his efficacy in the minds of those. who were to receive him was enhanced" (Meyer, ad loc.). See. Thilo, De Linguis qgnitis (Viteb. 1675). (See FIRE); (See TONGUE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Tongues of Fire.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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