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2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

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2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, &c.—"The whole description is so picturesque and striking that it could only come from an eye-witness" [Olshausen]. The suddenness, strength, and diffusiveness of the sound strike with deepest awe the whole company, and thus complete their preparation for the heavenly gift. Wind was a familiar emblem of the Spirit (Eze 37:9; Joh 3:8; 20:22). But this was not a rush of actual wind. It was only a sound "as of" it.

3. cloven tongues, like as of fire, &c.—"disparted tongues," that is, tongue-shaped, flame-like appearances, rising from a common center or root, and resting upon each of that large company:—beautiful visible symbol of the burning energy of the Spirit now descending in all His plenitude upon the Church, and about to pour itself through every tongue, and over every tribe of men under heaven!

4. they … began to speak with … tongues, &c.—real, living languages, as is plain from what follows. The thing uttered, probably the same by all, was "the wonderful works of God," perhaps in the inspired words of the Old Testament evangelical hymns; though it is next to certain that the speakers themselves understood nothing of what they uttered (see on 1Co 14:1-25).