Temple Mount & the Early Church

Temple Mount & the Early Church

 

Welcome to the Holy Land and the biblical site of the temple mount which was about 35 acres in size during the time of Christ. See the Bible come to life as we take a look at some key events from Scripture that took place here. In this place, we’re going to look at the birth and growth of the Early Church as it relates to the Temple Mount.

 

It’s very possible that Pentecost happened, and the Early Church was born on the Temple Mount, by it, or close-by.

In the Apostle Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, Acts 2:36-41 says, “Let all the house of Israel, therefore, know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

 

Let’s look at why it’s very possible that Pentecost happened, and the Early Church was born on the Temple Mount, or close-by.

  • This early group of disciples and core believers were constantly in prayer. Most formal prayers took place at the temple although not always.

  • The coming of the Holy Spirit filled the house – The temple is referred to as the House of the Lord, or just house, in many places in the Bible and several occasions in the rabbinical writings.  

  • In John 2:17 Christ says, “The Zeal for your house will consume me.

  • Multitudes of Jews were in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

  • A large multitude came together when they heard this sound (probably a crowd of around 15,000 – 30,000).  Many scholars say that during the Passover during Christ’s time that Jerusalem swelled to around 150,000 people. So a crown of 15 to 30 thousand might even be on the small side.  The crowd could have been much larger.

  • Acts 2:41 says 3,000 were saved. Many more had to be there at this event for 3,000 to get saved as we know only a minority receive Christ when the Gospel is presented.

  • The coming of the Holy Spirit happened at nine in the morning. This was the time of morning prayers at the temple.

  • All the 3,000 who believed were baptized.

  • Right here at the Southern stairs are Mikvehs that could have been used for baptizing. Mikvehs are Jewish cleansing baths for purification purposes.

  • 3,000 were saved and as mentioned, there could have easily been a crowd of around 15,000 – 30,000 present or more.

  • The temple mount would have been the natural place for Pentecost to have happened as it was the center of public activities.

  • It could also have occurred here as it could have easily handled the large crowd present.  

 

We want to be careful and say that it is a good possibility that Pentecost happened here, but we're not absolutely sure. It possibly started at the Upper Room and then quickly moved to an outside area close to the temple mount.

 

We have to admit that the problem with Pentecost taking place in the Upper Room is that it couldn’t have handled 15 to 30 thousand people. The Southern stairs had all the Mikvehs for baptizing, and the space to handle such a large crowd.  And as mentioned, Pentecost occurred at 9:00 am which was the time of morning prayers. These prayers were carried out on the temple mount.

 

Shortly after the birth of the Early Church, a lame man was healed here by Peter & John causing 5,000 men to be saved. And if the women were counted there would have been more.

Acts 3:1-12: “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: "Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?

Acts 4:4: “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”

 

The Temple Mount became the meeting place of the Early Church.

If Pentecost happened around May, which is approximately 50 days after the Passover, the early church had the whole summer to organize themselves before winter would have come.

Acts 2:46-47: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

 

Multitudes of men and women were added to the church on a daily basis and many were healed.

Acts 5:12-16: “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

 

Many believers and a great number of the priests were added to the church in Jerusalem.

Acts 6:7: “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”

 

God’s, in His sovereign plan, allowed the Early Church to be persecuted which caused them to take the Gospel to Judea, Samaria, and eventually to the ends of the earth.

Acts 8:1: “And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

 

What can we observe and learn from these events that possibly happened at this significant place?

  • It’s very possible that Pentecost happened, and the Early Church was born on the Temple Mount, by it, or close-by.

  • Shortly after the birth of the Early Church, a lame man was healed here by Peter & John causing 5,000 men to be saved.

  • The Temple Mount became the meeting place of the Early Church.    

  • Multitudes of men and women were added to the church on a daily basis and many were healed.

  • Many believers and a great number of the priests were added to the church in Jerusalem.

  • God’s in His sovereign plan allowed the Early Church to be persecuted which caused them to take the Gospel to Judea, Samaria, and eventually to the ends of the earth.

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