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3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.


3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues [languages], as of fire,

“Divided tongues” or languages were like flame. “Fire” often carries the idea in Scripture of God’s presence (Ge 15:17; Ex 3:2-6; 13:21-22; 19:18; 40:38). This fire is not literal but something that appeared like fire. The “divided tongues” indicates that the experience of receiving the Spirit fell on each person present.

and one sat upon each [every one] of them.

The Holy Spirit came upon each person present; none was exempt from this experience.


The Holy Spirit sealed Himself to every believer beginning with His initial coming on Pentecost.


Ephesians 1:13 says that God seals every Christian with the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. This sealing is preserved until eternity. The indwelling, baptism, and sealing of the Holy Spirit marked God’s new relationship and beginning with the church and each believer. God’s relation to Israel was not one of within but without. He now indwells believers within. In the Old Testament, God’s relationship was transient and with only a few special people. He did not permanently indwell believers then, but did it only under exceptional circumstances.