NOT the Upper Room!
A review of the material in Acts (in the New Testament), chapters 1 and 2, attempting to discern the location of the events that occurred in Acts, chapter 2.
- An assumption or conclusion, but is it right?
- Reviewing the details in Acts 2:1-13
- Where did this take place?
- A reasonable solution
An assumption or conclusion, but is it right?
Several authors have written that the events described in Acts, chapter 2, occurred in the Upper Room, which is mentioned in Acts 1:13. The text goes on to describe all who were there, and then goes on to describe the process of selecting a replacement for Judas Iscariot, who had hanged himself.
Reviewing the details in Acts 2:1-13
Acts 2:1-13 tell of the coming of the Holy Spirit, the amazement of those witnessing this event, and the response of those choosing to attribute these events to the drunkenness of those who were speaking.
Where did this take place?
Several authors, both of children's books and books concerning living the Christian life, would have us believe that all this took place in the Upper Room. The only reference to location is quite vague: 'they were all together in one place.' Since chapter divisions were not original in the text, looking back at the last verse of chapter one reveals that the topic of that verse was the apostles, involved in replacing Judas with Matthias. So it is probably reasonable to assume that 'they' refers to the 12 apostles.
Another thing which adds to the problem is the expression 'entire house' which occurs in verse 2.This might make us believe that we are still in the Upper Room, so to speak. But another difficulty is the sudden appearance of others beside the 120 mentioned in verse 15. In chapter 2, we have in verses 5-11 a list of people from many other nations, who have all come to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. And verse 13 speaks of 'mockers' attempting to sway the crowd into thinking that nothing of significance is happening here.
Another suggestion by two authors was that this took place 'in an apartment in the temple.' The term 'apartment' is also vague, and still leaves us puzzled as to how so many people groups could be in this 'apartment'.
A reasonable solution
A reasonable solution can be arrived at by looking at all the facts - both the obvious and the not-so-obvious.
1. This being the day of the Passover, the logical place to have been was the temple. This is what God had required of the people. That is why those mentioned from the various nations were there, and heard the message. It would explain the presence of the mockers, those wishing to try to bring shame on those speaking in the various languages. Those from the other geographical areas explained that they were hearing plainly what was said in their own languages, so what was being heard was not the babble of drunken men.
2. The last verse of Luke's gospel tells us that they were in the temple, blessing God.
3. An area in the temple, known as Solomon's Portico, was a large area, which was commonly used by Jesus and the disciples. We see Jesus in this area during Jesus' ministry, in John 10:22. After the church was started, we see an astonished crowd going to this area after Peter had healed the lame man who had sat begging at the Beautiful Gate. And, again in Act 5:12, we read of "many signs and wonders being done among the people by the apostles, and they were all together in Solomon's Portico." This area has been described as a sheltered place to walk in, supported by columns placed at regular intervals. "It was located along the Eastern wall in the Court of the Gentiles in Herod's temple." This would accommodate a large crowd - large enough so that so many could hear that 3,000 could respond, as the text tells us in Acts 2:41. Though the term 'house' would seem a strange designation for this area, this area in every other way is suited to satisfactorily explain the problems posed: why mockers could be present , how so many from so many different places could be there , and why , because they were in the very place God expected them to be, and wanted them to be to hear this message and appropriately respond.