Many of us just finished celebrating the Feast of Shavuot/Pentecost. Did the Acts chapter 2 Pentecost event occur in the upper room as many suppose? If not, then where? What is the upper room?
The following is a discussion on this subject based on some research I have just conducted. Enjoy! —Natan
Acts 2:1, With one accord in one place. The location of this event was likely in the Solomon’s portico area of the temple mount, and not in the traditional site of the upper room located on Mount Zion in the City of David, which is southeast and outside of the temple mount area. (See notes at Acts 5:12.) Here, the disciples were gathered in one accord. This is likely the spot where the Acts 2 Pentecost gathering occurred. The reasons for this supposition are these: First, this area was large enough to accommodate thousands of people (unlike the traditional upper room location on Mount Zion in the City of David). Second, people from many nations would have been passing through the city gates located in this area en route to the temple and would have heard Peter preaching. Third, mikveh pools were located just to the south of the Temple Mount (and are still visible today) where those who repented and believed could have been easily and quickly baptized.
Acts 5:12, Solomon’s porch/portico/colonnade. (See also John 10:23 and Acts 3:11.) This was a large covered area supported by marble columns which supported a wooden roof structure and was located on the east side of the temple mount area along the eastern wall that overlooked the Kidron Valley and faced the Mount of Olives just above the Garden of Gethsemane. This portico was built so that pilgrims and Levites visiting the temple would have a place to gather that was protected from the weather. Meetings and gatherings occurred here, and this was a gathering place of the early disciples as noted in Acts 3:11. There Yeshua taught and debated with the Jews (John 10:22–29). Here, the disciples were gathered in one accord (Acts 5:12). This is likely the spot where the Acts 2 Pentecost gathering occurred. (See additional comments at Acts 2:1.)
This portico (colonnade or cloister) that was located on the eastern wall and that existed in the time of Yeshua and the disciples was originally constructed by King Solomon according to Flavius Josephus.
These cloisters belonged to the outer court, and were situated in a deep valley, and had walls that reached four hundred cubits [in length], and were built of square and very white stones, the length of each of which stones was twenty cubits, and their height six cubits. This was the work of King Solomon, who first of all built the entire temple. (Josephus Flavius Ant. xx.9.7)
While the Babylonians destroyed the temple in their conquest of Jerusalem in about 586 B.C., if we are to believe Josephus, they apparently left Solomon’s Portico intact.
In the description of Solomon’s Temple and the complex including not only the temple itself, but its adjacent houses, upper chambers or rooms and inner chambers we read the following:
Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch of the temple, its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat; and the plan of all that he had in mind, for the courts of the house of the LORD, and for all the surrounding rooms, for the storehouses of the house of God and for the storehouses of the dedicated things… (1 Chron 28
We don’t know where these upper rooms were located in the temple complex, but if they were located in what later became known as Solomon’s Porch, which was still in existence in the first century, then this may give us a clue where the upper room that is mentioned in the Book of Acts was located, and where the gathering of the saints on the day of Pentecost occurred. In addition to Solomon’s Porch on the east side of the Temple Mount area, additional porticos were constructed subsequently by King Herod (in 16 B.C.) on all the other sides of the Temple Mount along the outside walls (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 681; The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol 4, p. 772). The portico on the south side was larger and taller than the others and was called the Royal Portico (ibid.; Jospephus’ Ant. xv.11.5). (For a further discussion on this, see notes at Acts 2:1.)
An interesting note on Pentecost ! The speaking in native tongues and understanding of all hearing the utterances illustrates the opposite or “undoing” of God confusing men’s languages at Babel!
Echad is for those who are not rebellious, by His mercy. Praise the Healer of the Nations. Our King. May His plan come to its Fullness soon and in our days. Let each be ready! Shalom to all. FJ
The literal upper room may well just be where you say. Allegorically it is a higher consciousness of being..(Higher ground) The spirit of repentance dominated the upper room that day so that the Spirit HaKodesh felt welcome to come and do her thing resting on the disciples and convicting thousands of souls into believing,returning(repenting) and being mikvahed (baptized).
So interesting Natan….re the upper room. I have always wondered where the upper room actually was ..also in Luke 22 .Yeshua saying ..prepare for him the Passover meal…he then said follow a man with a large pitcher of water …you will find / he will show you a large upper room ..that is where they prepared for YESHUAS last Passover meal before he went to the stake & suffered for the sins of mankind. …The pitcher of WATER IS INTERESTING ALSO ..? Symbolically representing Yeshua the one who gives us rivers of living water as the scriptures say so that we will never thirst so many scriptures re water ..etc.
Using the Peshittah text as Aramaic is more genuine than Greek.
01:13 = Upper room
02:02 = That House
03:01 = The Temple
01:13 Upper room appears (up to) 10-days prior to Shavuot (02:01) & the logic that its part of the greater Temple complex for incoming pilgrims is logical….
We know “Beit haMikdash” (HOUSE of Sanctuary) appears to suggest CH-2 is talking about His House. But, There is a problem….
02:02 says they were sitting. Temple protocol states “Da Lifni mi atah omed” (Know before whom you STAND). One would stand when they entered Beit-haMikdash
02:15 states “3rd hour” which is the time of “Tamid olah” when people are in Beit haMikdash.
It’s difficult to imagine Luke referring to the same place by 3-different terms
Yet, they are obviously somewhere around Beit haMikdash as this represent har Sinai
Perhaps the real answer is yet deeper
There is debate among scholars as to whether the Aramaic text predates the Greek. The Western Christian scholars favor the Greek, while the Eastern Aramaic Orthodox favor the Aramaic. One thing we know for certain is that we do not possess the autographs of the NT texts whatever their original language may have been; therefore, we don’t know which was earlier. I was on the fence on this issue for many years until recently. I was aware of the fact that Aramaic was not the main spoken language of the Jews in the land of Israel during the first century. This is evident from the writings of the Jews of that time as well as inscriptions, archeology and coinage, not to mention internal evidence within the NT text itself. We also know that Greek was not the lingua franca of the Jews either for the same reasons. It is highly doubtful, in my opinion and those of others, that the NT was originally written in Greek. At the very least, the thought patterns, idioms, etc. are admittedly Hebrew. Moreover, it’s unlikely that the Galileeans disciples would have been conversant in Greek. The highly educated Paul, a native of modern Syria, would have likely been an exception. Moreover, within the NT text itself, there is internal evidence that much if not all of the NT was not originally written in Greek. We also have some evidence suggesting this from at least one of the early first century church fathers at least regarding Matthew’s Gospel. It wasn’t until I recently watched a video by Dr. Nehemia Gordon, a Jewish linguistic and biblical scholar, who interviewed a Jewish Hebrew language scholar in Israel that my mind was swayed away from the Aramaic Peshitta being a younger translation than the Greek. In that interviews, the scholar (sorry, but I don’t remember his name or exact credentials—you can look it up at https://www.nehemiaswall.com) showed definitive linguistic proof from the NT that it was NOT originally written in Aramaic, and that Greek predates it. As an amateur linguist myself with extensive academic training in the area, as well as a deep studier and researcher of the Bible for more than 50 years and a teacher of it for more than 30 years, this evidence satisfied me. Based on this, I came to the conclusion that the Greek NT is definitely older than the Aramaic. Sorry to burst one’s bubble on this, but facts are stubborn things to have to refute. Blessings!