Were they in the “upper room” or were they at the temple praying for the ten days leading up to Pentecost? Here’s an article I feel has great validity and value for our consideration:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:1-2 (KJV)
A casual reading of this text certainly seems to suggest that they were in a house when “Pentecost was fully come.” But were they? The word “house” in the New Testament actually could be rendered “Temple.” In Luke’s writings the Temple is referred to as “the house” (Luke 11:51); “your (Jerusalem’s) house” (13:35; Acts 7:47-50), however, when he refers to private houses he usually tells us whose house it is (12:12; 18:7; 21:8). Luke elsewhere describes the temple, in the words of Jesus, as the “House of prayer”, in Luke 19:46.
Historically we discover the following; “In the temple area, apart from the Holy Place and the court of the priests, there was a courtyard for the men of Israel, a further courtyard which women also could enter, and an outer court for Gentiles. Each courtyard was surrounded by walls in which were large porticoes, where people regularly met for prayer. There were thirty spacious rooms around the temple court, described by Josephus and called oikoi, houses. Later these became a general meeting place for disciples (Acts 3:1, 10-11; 5:12).”
This may explain why Peter is addressing the men (Vs. 29) as the men would have been segregated from the women. We know this because Peter uses the specific word for males (aner) as opposed to the broader word used to describe mankind (anthropos) in addressing the men.
But there remains an even stronger argument for the Apostle’s to be in the Temple and not the “upper room.” It has to do with the law, the Jewish law. There were three major festivals in Israel. The Israelites were required to appear before God in the Temple. Pentecost was one of the three.
“Offer a sacrifice to Me three times each year. Keep the festival of Matzos [i.e Passover]…the reaping festival [i.e Shavuot, Pentecost*]…the harvest festival [i.e. Sukkot]…Three times each year, every male among you must appear before God the Lord…” (Exodus 23:14-17)  and “Keep the Festival of Matzahs [i.e. Passover]…Keep the Festival of Shavuot through the first fruits of your wheat harvest. Also keep the harvest festival [i.e. Sukkot] soon after the year changes. Three times each year, all your males shall thus present themselves before God the Master, Lord of Israel.” (Exodus 34:18-23)
“The Three Pilgrimage Festivals, known as the Sh’losha Regalim (שלושה רגלים), are three major festivals in Judaism — Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks or Pentecost*), and Sukkot (Tents or Booths) — when the Israelites living in ancient Israel and Judea would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as commanded by the Torah. In Jerusalem, they would participate in festivities and ritual worship in conjunction with the services of the kohanim (“priests”) at the Temple in Jerusalem.” (The Jewish festival known as Shavuot is Pentecost.)
If they are at the Temple then that would easily explain why so many thousands of people heard Peter when he preached and how they assembled so quickly. We know there had to be thousands because “about 3000” were baptized (Acts 2:41) as a result of his preaching Christ to them.
“Now when this was noised abroad (announced, sounded) the multitude came together (assembled) and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” Acts 2:6 (KJV)
Finally, what is the significance of Pentecost? Tongues, signs, wonders? What? While these signs most certainly accompanied this historic event, they are not the focus of this event. The focus was, is, the indwelling, once again, of The Spirit in men and women. This had not happened since Adam and Eve. I have written on this before so I won’t explore it again in this blog.
One final thought. I believe Pentecost, the reintroduction of the indwelling of The Spirit in mankind, was prophetically revealed in the dedication of the Temple, commonly known as Solomon’s Temple.
“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” 2 Chron 7:1-3 (KJV)
When Solomon dedicated the Temple (house) of God fire fell from heaven and the “glory of the Lord filled the house.” I believe this is a prophetic, as well as a literal, event. This foreshadowed our Pentecost; fire and the Glory. The difference? In Solomon’s day they dedicated a building, the Temple, to the Lord. On Pentecost the people received the “fire” and the”glory”, they were the ones being dedicated. And, believe me, it didn’t occur in an upper room as that would have broken the pattern. It occurred in the Temple, the house of God where the people of God had come to present themselves before God.
Taken from Hals Eagles Nest a web blog.