#03 (Acts 1:12-26) The Upper Room Before Pentecost
This 3rd study will concern itself with the final pre-Pentecost
happenings. This is study Acts003 (1:12-26) The Upper Room Before
Note on Pentecost: The Hebrews speak of Pentecost as Shavu'ot,
the festival of weeks. It is the second of three major festivals;
Passover and Sukkokt being the other two. Pentecost was also known
as the festival of the giving of the Law. You may find it interesting that
Pentecost is designed to fall on a Sunday. (According to the Essenes
and the Karaite Jews.) More on this later.
To get a feel for this study you may wish to read the Scripture portion
as a whole. The Lord has ascended. There are yet ten more days until
the feast of Pentecost. It seems there is business to be cared for
before the coronation day of Messiah. Let's see how things go.
The Mount of Olives
Vs12: "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called
which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away."
The Mount of Olives figures greatly in the redemption history of
There is a legend among the Jews based on the book of Ezekiel, that
when the glory of God left the temple, it passed through the Eastern
Gate, and then hovered over the Mount of Olives for an extended
period of time. And out of the glory (called 'ha kavod') you could
weeping. The glory then departs and enters heaven. If you would like
to read where this comes from see Ezekiel 10:19; 11:23. Cf. Ezekiel
Does this sound familiar? Where is the Garden of Gethsemane? It is
not on the Mount of Olives? Have we ever heard weeping there?
Then the prophets tell us that when the Lord returns, He returns to the
Mount of Olives. It says, "In that day His feet will stand on the
Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of
Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large
so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other
half toward the south." (Zechariah 14:4)
Vss13,14: We find the disciples in the upper room, devoting
themselves to prayer. This group includes "the women, and Mary the
mother of Jesus, and His brothers."
It is quite possible that the women present included the wives of the
apostles. Marriage for the Hebrew peoples was considered the first
commandment. Not to be married meant that you were marring the
divine image. It was a great sin. Actually a man was given no voice in
community affairs if he were not married.
Vss15-26: The remainder of chapter one concerns itself with the
selection of someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot. It has to be
someone who had accompanied the band of disciples all the way from
the baptism of John until the day that Jesus was taken up into heaven.
Let me share a few thoughts on what is happening in this portion:
Numbers Carry Significance
... (1) Notice that the group of disciples number 120. What is the
significance of this number? There are several places in the Scriptures
where 120 fits in, but there is one place in particular that will draw
attention to Pentecost. It has to do with the dedication of Solomon's
It says, "When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all
priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to
divisions), and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and
their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and
lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them ONE HUNDRED AND
TWENTY PRIESTS blowing trumpets ... then the house, the house of
the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to
minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house
of God." (2Chron5:11-14)
Numbers carry significance in the Scriptures. It isn't a matter of
into numerology. It has to do with patterns. The former testament is
filled with snapshots and pictures, types and shadows, of that which is
to come. On the day of Pentecost, the new temple of God will be filled
with His glory, and there will be 120 trumpeters sounding forth His
The Twelfth Apostle
... (2) Why was there a need for a 12th apostle? It is because 12
represents the fullness of Israel. There is a sense in which each
apostle would represent a tribe in Israel. Jesus told the 12 apostles
that they would sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel. Then we have the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem with 12
foundation stones, each with the name of an apostle. But the city also
has 12 gates, and each gate has the name of one of Israel's tribes.
Keep in mind that Jesus is our great high priest. When He ascended
into heaven, He carried all God's people on His heart. For an Old
Testament picture of this, we see the high priest entering into the
Holiest of Holies, and on his vesture are twelve stones. He brings
Israel with him. (Later we will get more in-depth with this. Of course
questions are always welcomed.)
Who is Israel?
... (3) Peter says the Scripture had to be fulfilled with regard to
someone taking the office of Judas Iscariot. This is a very important
point with regard to Scripture. If you desire to be a true student of
Scripture, then you must also take this position. All Scripture has to be
fulfilled. To over spiritualize the Scriptures is to do damage to the
One example we have of this is when Israel was born as a nation in
May, 1948. Before that time it was common to say that the Church
represented the total of Israel. But there were a great many men of
God, including C. H. Spurgeon, who said that Israel had to become a
nation state again before the coming of Jesus. No one thought it was
possible at the time. But men like Spurgeon took the Scriptures
literally. It had to happen. And it did happen.
Here is the prophecy: "Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen
such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought
forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her
The Hebrew language does not allow this Scripture to be spiritualized
to mean the Church. Israel had to be restored as a nation in order for
the Church age to find closure. Remember the earlier question the
apostles asked; "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the
to Israel?" How can the kingdom be restored to Israel, if there is no
The Last Old Covenant Act
... (4) The important of choosing a Matthais. The issue of casting lots
in this instance is the last act that can be said to have been done
under the former covenant thinking. We don't need to cast lots
anymore. The idea of casting lots connects to the Urim and Thummin
of the former testament. It was a way of allowing God to make His
choice in certain matters. Little is known about these objects.
Notice how the company of disciples pray; "'You, Lord, who know
hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to
occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to
go to his own place.' And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to
Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles."
One thing I need to point out in bringing this portion of our study to
close --- There are no apostles today on the order of the 12 apostles.
These men alone were given power and authority to lay the foundation
for the Church. But they were to do so in line with the prophets of old.
Thus it can be said that we have our apostles and prophets always
with us. You will find them in that old black back book that you read so
The study remains open. Feel free to stir around.
Previous: #02 (Acts 1:6-11) Israel, the Holy Spirit, and the Second
Next: #04 (Acts 2:1-13) The New
Covenant Comes Into Place
This study on
Acts was originally part of a
series on the book of Acts given to members of
Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003.
They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, Founder and Senior Pastor of
Christian Challenge International.