Acts 2:1-3 – When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
This is the classic passage of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that birthed the New Testament church. I wonder if these manifestations were more than just spiritual sensations? I believe they were. It seems that the outpouring was so dramatic that it effected the physical world. Apparently there was fire literally seen on the heads of those gathered in the upper room. It also indicates that there was a noise, a violent rushing wind. This violent wind seems to have made a real sound. Adam Clarke seems to agree. Here are some interesting comments from his commentary.
“The passage of a large portion of electrical fluid over that place would not only occasion the sound, or thunder, but also the rushing mighty wind; as the air would rush suddenly and strongly into the vacuum occasioned by the rarefaction of the atmosphere in that place, through the sudden passage of the electrical fluid; and the wind would follow the direction of the fire. There is a good deal of similarity between this account and that of the appearance of God to Elijah, 1 Kings 19:11,12, where the strong wind, the earthquake, and the fire, were harbingers of the Almighty’s presence, and prepared the heart of Elijah to hear the small still voice; so, this sound, and the mighty rushing wind, prepared the apostles to receive the influences and gifts of the Holy Spirit. In both cases, the sound, strong wind, and fire, although natural agents, were supernaturally employed.”
If you think about it there were other examples of physical effects of the Spirit. In Acts 4 the building where the church was praying shook. In Acts 16, the earth shook and prisoners shackles fell off. In Acts 8 Phillip was translated many miles by the power of the Spirit. Of course people were raised from the dead by the Spirit, many diseases were healed by the Holy Spirit, and John at Patmos (and others) fell to the ground by the power of the Spirit. Our world is ripe for another great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Maybe it will take radical demonstrations like those in the Bible to turn this generation back to the Lord.