What was the Day of Pentecost?
If you were asked, 'What was the Day of Pentecost? - you would be correct if you said it was the time when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. That was a specific and very important Pentecost, but that's not the whole story. The celebration of the Feast of Pentecost had been going on since the time of Moses. The Feast of Pentecost, or in Hebrew 'Shavuot', was a harvest festival directly related to Passover, and also one of the three annual pilgrimage festivals when the people of Israel were commanded to go up to Jerusalem to present offerings at the Temple.
The Greek word 'Pentecost' means fifty and refers to the fifty days or seven weeks between the presentation of the first fruits of the barley harvest, and then the later wheat harvest at the temple in Jerusalem.
"From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of four pounds of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of first fruits to the Lord". Leviticus 23:15-17
The Hebrew word 'Shavuot' means weeks and refers to the seven weeks whereas the Greek word Pentecost focuses on the fifty days. Both words refer to the same Biblical Feast in different languages.
It was on this day, when Jerusalem was teaming with Jewish pilgrims presenting their offerings at the Temple, that the Lord chose to send down the Holy Spirit.
Where did the Day of Pentecost happen?
The House: Could they really be in the Temple when Luke writes that the sound filled the whole house? In Hebrew there is a tradition of calling the Temple 'The House' or the House of the Lord. In fact, Jerusalem was sometimes referred to as 'Har HaBeit' (The mountain of the House). So Luke's use of this word may not have referred to a private home but rather the House of the Lord.
|The Temple, Jerusalem|
The Crowds: Jewish pilgrims from all around the Roman world were in Jerusalem at the time and were amazed to hear the disciples speaking in their own languages. The Bible says that a crowd came together. Peter raised his voice to address them and proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah. During the Feast of Shavuot, people would be gathered at the Temple so it would be easy for a crowd to witness this spectacle and gather around the disciples. The scenario suggests a public place large enough to hold a huge crowd of people - the Temple would certainly fulfil this criteria.
|Temple Mikvah, Jerusalem|
The Bible does not make it clear exactly where this event happened, but it is fitting to think that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit could have taken place within the Holy Temple, the dwelling place of God's presence. When Solomon built the first Temple, 1Kings 8 says the priests could not minister because God's presence was so strong. This time, God's Holy Spirit filled the living stones, new believers in Yeshua being built together as a temple, a dwelling place for Adonai Elyon, our God Most High!
Check out the video below, filmed in Jerusalem by Maoz Ministries that discusses Shavuot/Pentecost and shows the excavated immersion pools at the Temple site.