In Acts 2:3, the Holy Spirit came what seemed to be tongues of fire:

3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

This observable phenomenon only mentioned once in Acts. Subsequently, all records were plain.

Acts 8:17 - Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 10:44 - While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

Acts 19:6 - When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (NIV)

Why would the Holy Spirit's coming at Pentecost be different to other occasions when people received the Holy Spirit?

  • 1
    That is God's sovereign choice. Note Isa 45:9, 10, Does the clay ask the potter, ‘What are you making?’ ... Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to his mother, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ”
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 9:13
  • @Dottard - the quote example Isa 45:9 just to indicate the absurd a creation questioned its creator. God has His sovereign choice for sure, but we should not stop there and try not to understand His judgement in behind. For He is the faithful God, He treats us fairly, and particular, He wants us to know Him, as Jeremiah 31:34, God said: "No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord." Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 14:25
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    @Vincent Wong I have edited your question to try and improve the grammar. But if I have made a mistake I am sorry, and please change my edit.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 15:21
  • @C.Stroud - Thank you. It is better. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


The Pentecost was a special event.

John prophesied in Matthew 3:

11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Before Jesus died, he promised his disciples in John 16:

7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [Paraclete] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.


The 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from resurrection Sunday. God sent the Paraclete on the Pentecost.

After the resurrection, Acts 1:

4 while staying with them he [Jesus] ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father,

i.e., the Paraclete

which, he said, “you heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Jesus confirmed John's prophecy.

Why would the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost different to other people who received the Holy Spirit?

The 1st Pentecost marked the introduction of the Paraclete, as such, it officially inaugurated the Christian Church. It was a unique day in the history of days.

  • Thank you for the answer. What do you think the "fire" in Matt 3:11 may not read literally instead it is an allusion of "judgement"?. For the previous verse 3:10 is "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." and the next verse 3:12 is "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 19:53
  • Sure, that is a valid interpretation. I put a weight on different options :)
    – user35953
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 20:10

Because it was the time of Israel's national restoration under the new covenant promise of national forgiveness according to prophecy (Jer.31:31-34; Ez.36:25-31). This is why after Christ told the Apostles of the coming spirit they asked if the kingdom would be restored to Israel at that time (Acts.1:5-6), knowing the prophecies of the Old Testament that placed this out pouring at the time of Israel's national restoration (Zech.12:10-14).

  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 13:28
  • Thanks but your answer is irrelevant to the question. Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 14:12

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