The Spirit descended upon a new Temple in Jerusalem while the old one was still standing.
First and Second Temple
The Temple in Jerusalem was the house of God, the place where the designated priests offered sacrifices at the Altar. It was the place where the Israelites, following the laws of Moses, gathered several times a year to worship the Lord. The first Temple was built during the reign of King Solomon around 960 B.C., but it was destroyed in the year 587 B.C. by the Babylonians. The second Temple was founded in its place some seventy years later and remained standing until the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D.
The New Temple
From the Christian perspective, the Old Testament leads to the New Testament, and so the old house of God, in the form of the stone Temple in Jerusalem, gave way to a new house. On the day of Pentecost, several days after Jesus had ascended to Heaven, the Spirit descended upon a house in Jerusalem where his followers had gathered. On receiving the Spirit, they began talking in many tongues, preaching the Gospel of Jesus to all the people passing near the house.
The words they spoke were the first translation of the Gospel, and it was the Spirit that spoke through them, talking in many languages to the Jews who had come to Jerusalem. The followers of Jesus, including the eleven faithful disciples, were talking under inspiration in as many languages as were known to all the Jews present in the streets. Many heard the words coming from the house, each in their own tongue, and stopped to listen. The Evangelist Luke wrote in the book of Acts of the Apostles that thousands were converted to Jesus.
The Church of Jesus Christ
The Spirit did not descend upon the old Temple that day, for Jesus had founded a new house, with a new altar, which was not the one the Jews had previously known. The people within the house, however, were all Jews, including the eleven faithful disciples, as too were those to whom they spoke while under the influence of the Spirit. In the years that followed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread far and wide, and wherever the Word was made known, there the new Temple was established, in the heart of the followers of Jesus.
One of Jesus' disciples, Simon Peter, who was the chief apostle, wrote two letters to the faithful, and in the first of these he designated Mark as his son, with the meaning of successor. Mark subsequently wrote his version of the Gospel according to the testimony that he had received from Peter.
Saint Mark's book became the basis for the gospels of Matthew and Luke, hence the term synoptic gospels when referring to the first three versions of the Gospel. Saint Luke also wrote the book of Acts, while John the Evangelist wrote his own version of the Gospel and the book of Revelations. All these books, together with numerous epistles, form the New Testament.
This book, the New Testament, is eternal testimony to Jesus Christ, and has been translated into many languages. The Gospel as we know it could only be considered complete after Jesus had given his life in sacrifice to save mankind from the sin of the world, to then return on the third day and ascend to the Father in Heaven. Only then did Jesus the High Priest send the Spirit from Heaven for the dedication of the new Temple, which is the Church of the followers in Christ.
Sources: Rainbow Good News Bible, The Bible Societies, Collins:
- Book of Acts of the Apostles;
- First letter from St. Peter.
Written by D. Alexander
Read on to find out more about Jesus and the Temple before the year 70 AD:
Read also about St. Peter's Primacy from Zion: