Article - Edward D Brotsky

Pentecost/Shavuot – Spiritual Birthday of the Church – Pt. 2
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts. 2:4

Lecturer: Rev. Edward Daniel Brotsky, D.D.
Copyright Edward Daniel Brotsky, 1988, 1995. All rights reserved.

Posted 22/5/2002. Used with Permission of the Author.
The source article can be found at :

This message was given by Rev. Edward D. Brotsky on University of Toronto Radio, CIUT 89.5 FM on August 23, 1987. It was broadcast on the Wordspirit program as part of the series,The Bible and Prophecy: A Messianic View.

1. A Christian Holy Day has a Jewish Origin (con’d’

  1. Millions of Pilgrims Attended the Festival

Q: You said earlier that the “promise” was fulfilled during the Pentecost service in the Temple. How did that come about?

EDB: The historian, Dr. Luke, in his “Acts of the Apostles,” chapter two, recorded that historic event:

When the day of Pentecost (meaning, Shavuot) came (one hundred and twenty disciples – Acts 1:15) were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting . All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (or as the NIV interprets, “languages”), as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4 NIV)

Dr. Luke further describes the many lands from which the pilgrims came up to the House of God, the Temple, in Jerusalem. They were “Jews and (Gentile) converts to Judaism.” (2:8-11)

The Holy City with a population then of about six hundred thousand, as Cornelius Tacitus (55 – after 117 A.D.), the Roman historian, recorded, exploded into between two and three millions because of the pilgrims. The pilgrims slept on the flat roofs of the houses, camped outside the walls of Jerusalem, were given hospitality by relatives and friends, all within a “Sabbath day’s journey” to reach the House of God.

Their presence in the Holy City on the three major festivals was in obedience to the Torah as God commanded Moses:

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which He shall choose . . . (Deuteronomy 16:16 JPSOA)

It was the holy zeal of believing Jews and proselytes to be in the Holy City and to enter God’s “holy House,” and observe the impressive priestly rituals of these Festivals. The disciples who were meeting secretly in the upper room from the time of Jesus’ Last Seder Supper until the day of Pentecost, were fortunate to be early in the “house” of God, and to be “all together in one place.” (Acts 2:1-2)

  1. Did it happen in the “Temple” or in the “Upper Room”?

Q: Why do many Christians say that the disciples were in the “upper room” when the Holy Spirit of promise arrived?

EDB: I am informed of both opinions by leading scholars. But why would those one hundred and twenty disciples stay in the “upper room” when millions of pilgrims made hard and distant journeys just to be in the House of God, in obedience to the Torah?

The disciples were impressed with Jesus’ own zeal for the House of God, and His frequent teaching in the Temple’s colonnades. All four Gospel narratives record an occasion when Jesus said to merchants in the Temple colonnades:

It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” But you have made it a “den of thieves.” (Mark 11:17 cp Matt. 21:13; Luke 19:46; John 2:16-17)

All the pilgrims were accustomed to sing the “Songs of Ascents” from the Book of Psalms, as they ascended to the Holy City:

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)

All the disciples were faithful Jews, and so were true Gentile converts to Judaism. Even after Pentecost – after their spiritual transformation and enlightenment, we read that they continued daily in the Temple – Acts 2:46.

Jesus was heard to frequently speak of the Temple as “My Father’s house” (John 2:16). When He lamented over Jerusalem as He foresaw its destruction, He cried concerning the Temple, saying: “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord’ (Matthew 23:38-39)

There were seats and benches for the accommodation of the worshippers in the colonnades around the Courts of the Gentiles and of the Women. Hebrew men assembled in the Court of Israel while their women met in the Court of the Women. Therefore, the disciples were all together in one place . . in the house,” the Temple. (Temple, pp. 51-54)

On two dramatic occasions, during the lifetime of Jesus, the people of Jerusalem and the Temple priests, experienced supernatural signs. As the Messiah was giving His life for our atonement on that Roman tree, within the Temple the veil – Parochet – hanging in front of the most holy place – was “torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:51)

Then, on Shavuot – Pentecost – as the priest waved the two leaven loaves in thanksgiving to God, “a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”

Q: That being so, would there be less doubt about the place where the Holy Spirit arrived if the author of Acts had used the word “Temple” rather than “house”?

EDB: Perhaps knowing a little about the author may give an answer. Dr. Luke’s two-volume work reveals meticulous care in presenting his investigative procedures and personal experiences to his highly esteemed friend whom he addressed in his Gospel as “most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3). As the only Gentile author of New Testament books, Luke was interested in Jewish terminology and customs which he chose to communicate to his Gentile readership. As a close companion in travel, and probably personal physician to his Rabbi-Apostle friend, Paul, he would have learned much about the Old Testament and contemporary Jewish terminology.

In the Hebrew Holy Scriptures, or the Old Testament, the alternative word for the Temple used most frequently reads (habayit) – “the house.” A casual examination of a Bible Concordance will reveal this. The Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew Scriptures was widely read in New Testament times. Here the Hebrew word for “the house” is translated (ho oikos), as we have in Acts chapter two, verse two, “the whole house” – olon ton oikon. Of course, the Greek word for “house” is the same for residence – only the traditional usage and context determine which building is identified.

In the Golden Age of Hebrew History, the era of David and Solomon, about 1,000 B.C., we find in the First Book of Kings, the word “house” is used over fifty times for Temple. In the post-exilic period, from the 6th down to the close of the 5th centuries B.C. , the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Malachi together wrote of the Temple as “the house of God,” “the LORD’S house,” at least twenty times.

Israel’s prayer books down to our time, frequently refer to the Jerusalem Temple by the terms “House of Holiness” – “Chosen House” – and the “Great and Holy House”.