Temple Mount Southern Stairs

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Temple Southern Stairs & Pentecost

 

Location

 

The Southern Stairs are located at the southern part of the Temple Mount at the Davidson Center.

 

Historical Background

 

1. The Southern Stairs were the main entrance to the Temple Mount during the time of Christ.

 

2. King Herod had them redone and made them staggered so no one could enter the presence of God without being thoughtful in the process. 

 

3. The width of the stairs was hundreds of feet wide, so they provided plenty of space for congregating and teaching.

 

4. They were the main access to the temple from the City of David and the western area of the city, where most of the population lived. 

 

5. Multitudes arrived at the stairs by using a main road (Herodian St.) that connected the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount.

 

6. The Pool of Siloam was a massive mikveh at the lower part of the City of David that was used by the Jews for purification purposes before entering the Temple Mount. 

 

7. There were also many purification mikvehs at the base of the Southern Stairs as well (around 48 total).  

 

8. The Southern Stairs were also called “The Rabbis’ Stairs” or the “Teaching Stairs” as rabbis taught their disciples on them.

 

9. There is no doubt Jesus would have walked on these stairs and taught His disciples here. It’s also likely that the young Apostle Paul sat here under the teaching of Gamaliel as well (Acts 22:3).

 

10. The stairs were cut out of the bedrock of the mountain and part of them can still be seen today.

 

11. It’s very likely that part of Pentecost took place here or ended up here.

 

Places of Interest

 

1. Southern Stairs

2. Royal Stoa - Large public meeting building on the south side of the Temple Mount just above the Southern Stairs.

 

3. Southern Stair entrance doors to the Temple Mount

 

4. Crusader tower

 

5. Original stairs

 

6. Temple Mount

 

7. Upper Room

 

8. Pool of Siloam

 

9. Road (Herodian St.) from the Pool of Siloam to the Southern Stairs 

 

10. Mikvehs by the Southern Stairs

 

11. City of David

 

12. Jerusalem in the time of Christ

The Southern Stairs and Pentecost in the Bible 

 

1. Pentecost means 50.

 

2. Fifty days after Passover, the Feast of Weeks, also known as the beginning of the harvest, was celebrated. At this feast, the Jews were to give God the first part of their harvest.

 

3. Pentecost also marks 50 days from the time the Israelites left Egypt and arrived at Mount Sinai where God gave them the 10 Commandments and the Law.

 

4. Pentecost happened 50 days after Passover. There were 40 days from the resurrection of Christ to His ascension, and then 10 days from Christ’s ascension to Pentecost, for a total of 50 days.

 

5. Interestingly, the Jewish nation was born at Mount Sinai 50 days after leaving Egypt, and the Church was born at Pentecost 50 days after Christ’s resurrection.

 

Reasons why Pentecost could have happened at the Southern Stairs.

 

1. It is unlikely that Pentecost took place in the Upper Room as a multitude gathered and witnessed this astounding event. The Upper Room couldn’t have handled such a large crowd of 15,000–30,000.
Acts 2:1–6: When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 

 

Acts 2:14: But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 

 

2. Scripture says the coming of the Holy Spirit filled a house, it doesn’t mention the Upper Room.  

 

3. The temple is referred to as the House of the Lord, or just house, in many places in the Bible.

John 2:17: The Zeal for your house will consume me.

 

House can also refer to just a covered area as well. 

At the southern side of the Temple Mount, just above the Southern Stairs, was the Royal Stoa. It was a public meeting place with a large roof. This could have been a likely place where Pentecost began.  

 

4. The coming of the Holy Spirit happened at nine in the morning, which was the time of morning prayers at the temple. The disciples regularly went to the temple at the times of prayer.
Acts 2:15: For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour [9:00 am] of the day.

 

Acts 3:1: Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

 

5. Many scholars say that during the Passover in Christ’s time that Jerusalem swelled to around 150,000 people or more. 

 

6. The Temple Mount and Southern Stair area could easily have handled the large crowd of 15,000 – 30,000 who gathered at Pentecost.

 

7. Acts 2:41 says 3,000 were saved and baptized. At the Southern stairs are mikveh cleansing pools that could have been used for baptizing those who were saved. 

 

8. The Southern part of the Temple Mount would have been a natural place for Pentecost to happen as it was a center of public activities.

 

9. In summary, if Pentecost did start at the Upper Room, it quickly moved to an outside area close to the Temple Mount as the Upper Room couldn’t have handled 15,000 – 30,000 people. The Southern Stair area had all the mikvehs necessary for baptizing and space to handle such a large crowd.  

 

Faith Lesson from the Southern Stairs and Pentecost

 

1. Pentecost is a fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies.

 

2. It’s amazing to see the many pictures in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the New Testament. 

 

  • The Old Testament Passover lamb is fulfilled by Christ the New Testament Passover Lamb.

  • The Jewish nation was formally born at Mount Sinai on Pentecost. The Christian Church was born at Pentecost as well.

  • The Passover lamb was sacrificed on Passover afternoon at 3:00 pm. Christ died on the Cross as our sacrifice at 3:00 pm on Passover as well.

 

3. Do we understand how prophecy fits into validating God’s Word?

 

4. Do we understand the meta-narrative (God’s large master plan) of God’s story?

 

5. Do I see how God gave examples and pieces to His meta-narrative in the Old Testament and then fulfilled and amplified these examples in the New Testament?

 

6. Have I received the Holy Spirit as a result of trusting Christ as my Lord and Savior?

 

7. Have I been baptized?


 

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