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Where did the apostles receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost?


Renata Sedmakova | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 05/19/21

The apostles could have received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost either in the "upper room" or at the temple in Jerusalem.

In the Acts of the Apostles, it is narrated that the apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

However, the exact location of this momentous event is not clearly marked, and many biblical scholars debate where it could have happened.

Immediately after the ascension of Jesus, it is stated that, “When they entered [Jerusalem] they went to the upper room where they were staying” (Acts 1:13).

It is clear that after the ascension the apostles went to the “upper room” or “cenacle.”

Then the Acts of the Apostles skips in time to the events of Pentecost.

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

Acts 2:1-2

This is where the text is somewhat ambiguous. While the English translation says, “house,” some biblical scholars claim that the author of Acts was referring to the “house” of the Lord.

House or temple

For example, later in Acts we find the temple referred to as a “house.”

Our ancestors who inherited it brought it with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out from before our ancestors, up to the time of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. But Solomon built a house for him

Acts 7:45-47

Another argument for the “house” being the temple is from the Jewish perspective, according to a writer at Torah Portions.

Even though Luke does not explicitly state that the events of Acts 2 took place in the Temple courts, the story infers that location.

The outpouring at Shavu’ot occurred at the time of morning sacrifice and prayer. According to Acts 3, Simon Peter and John kept the times of prayer in the Temple courts.

This location could also accommodate the large number of disciples who were baptized on Pentecost, as narrated in Acts 2.

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Acts 2:41

Nevertheless, biblical scholars disagree on the interpretation of this passage, and local tradition still claims Pentecost occurred in the “upper room.”

Whatever the location, what is true is that Pentecost did occur in Jerusalem and marked a pivotal point in the beginning of the Catholic Church.

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