Did Pentecost really happen in the upper room? – Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, time markers located in the Scriptural text gives the student clues as to time, place and location that can be extremely helpful when exegeting the Word of God. So continuing on, we need to also further note, as found in the text, there is another time marker that places them in the Temple precincts too:
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Here is the most convincing time-marker, the acknowledgement that it was the ‘third hour of the day.’ Why? The faithful Jewish person worshipped according to the pre-set watches set up throughout the day. There were four watches during the day time and four watches at night. The third hour of the day corresponds to one of these watches and people who lived in Jerusalem would be in the Temple praying at 9 a.m. This is why Peter (notice that he has to rise up) stands up with the eleven to address the crowds that have run into the location where the 120 have just experienced the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Peter unequivocally states that the people are not drunk with wine as some of the people suspected, especially since they heard them speaking with other tongues and knew that they were Galileans.
The miracle of Pentecost was that Jews who had come into Israel from other parts of the world (the Scriptures list seventeen different nations), heard the disciples speaking praises to God and His wonderful works in their own languages.
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Seventeen different nations heard the disciples speaking in their own languages, and of these seventeen nations, they were comprised of both Jews and proselytes. The fact that the Scriptures mention proselytes tells us that these were gentiles who had adopted the faith of the Jews. But let us further look at the text, there were ‘others’ who began to mock and say that these people were merely drunk with wine. These ‘others’ most likely did not hear the disciples speak in other languages, but only heard them ‘babbling gibberish’ which caused them to mock them and declare that they were drunkards. Perhaps those that heard them speak in verified other tongues were devout believers with faithful hearts towards their God and those that only heard them babbling gibberish had cynical hearts. We can find textual evidence to establish this precedent in that when God speaks not everyone discerns His voice:
Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
It is a fact that after the Lord’s crucifixion, His disciples were hiding for fear of their lives. However, after the Lord Jesus rose from the dead and assured His disciples that He was alive forevermore, they began to regain some sense of purpose for their lives. When they began to perceive that their lives could once again commence, they also at this time began venturing outside their hiding places. This is another plausible reason why the disciples were at the Temple praying at the prescribed times.
Now after they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they each were now filled with a new-found boldness with the sudden realization of the spiritual power and authority that had been conferred upon them. So we see this in:
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
This new-found display of boldness should be in the line-up when considering the types of miracles that took place that morning. Here for the most part, were unschooled fishermen, farmers and other tradespeople that were now able to stand up to the educated elite and hold their own so to speak. This is why those elite stood puzzled and then asked the question, “Are these not all Galileans?” Since Galilee was in the northern most part of Israel and it was sequestered due to the land of Samaria situated between them and the lower part of Israel, they were often looked upon as being uneducated country bumpkins.
As a last note as it were, the Scriptures do not give us a geographical placement for the location of the upper room. However, the Lord Jesus often resorted and rested either in Bethany or the Mt. of Olives, two of His favorite places. This is another reason that the initial Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit was probably not received in either of these two places. Simply put, Bethany was almost two miles from Jerusalem and the Mt. of Olives was approximately one half mile from the city. When they were hiding in fear, the Mt. of Olives would have been too close for comfort so to speak. Bethany was a little further away but this is also where Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived. Lazarus had been the Lord’s close friend as well as his sisters and so since the Jews knew of the close relationship that existed between the Lord and Lazarus’ family, it is not likely that His disciples would be hiding out in the upstairs room of their home. This would have been the first place that would have been searched.
So as a diligent student of the Word of God, we are commanded to ‘rightly divide the Word of God.’ In doing so it is paramount that we lay down our preconceived ideas and traditions, even if we received them in the confines of a church. We must be willing to search out the Scriptures even as the Bereans were wont to do and so must we be willing to take a new fresh look, and gain a new perspective, returning to the Truth of the Scriptures and no longer relying upon the traditions of mankind. Tradition can be wonderful, but when it comes to the Word of God (and tradition attempts to circumvent Truth), the diligent student of the Scriptures must part ways and remain true to the straight and narrow path that the Lord Jesus commanded us to walk on as we engage the manifested Kingdom of Heaven that is available right now.
1 Peter 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.