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In the Acts of the Apostles we find that the early believers were every day visiting the temple and afterwards meeting in each others homes.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47, NIV)

If the Old ceremonial ways of the Old Testament were finished at the death of Christ (or as other conjecture after Pentecost) why did the church still attend temple gatherings? Was it because they were not fully aware of the full implication of the New Covenant and may have even offered sacrifices? Was it because they just wanted to get together and evangelize their brethren? Was it some mishmash of both reasons plus possibly more? What was going on in their heads?

  • An answer that might soon be deleted mentions Jewish Worship by Abraham Millgram as being a good resource for this topic. – Mr. Bultitude Jun 23 '15 at 15:38
  • One thing it doesn't imply is that the disciples quit their jobs to be able to daily gather together in the temple to praise and pray to God, because that would have been against the commandment that we should work 6 days of the week. Thus, there may have been gatherings before and after work, and daily gatherings during the three annual festivals. – Constantthin Nov 13 '17 at 1:05
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In Acts 2:1, it is written,

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all together with one accord (ὁμοθυμαδὸν).

καὶ ἐν τῷ συμπληροῦσθαι τὴν ἡμέραν τῆς πεντηκοστῆς ἦσαν ἅπαντες ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό

We see that the first Christians were all together with one accord in the Temple at the time they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).

Being Pentecost, "there were, dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5), for Pentecost was one of three annual feasts during which men were required to pilgrimmage to the Temple in Jerusalem in order to appear before YHVH (Exo. 23:14-17).

The apostles desired to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their brothers (cp. Acts 2:14-41).

And, in Acts 2:46, it is written,

And they, continuing daily with one accord (ὁμοθυμαδὸν) in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.

So, they continued to remain in the Temple, not all day, but rather, during the morning and evening prayers (our 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.) where a gathering of Jews would always be. This crowd may not have been as large as the one at Pentecost (which only lasted one day), but the apostles took advantage of any opportunity to share the Gospel with as many of their brothers as possible. We even see this with Paul who would rush to Jerusalem for a feast in order to share the Gospel (cp. Acts 18:21).

  • This is an excellent answer but although kind of besides the point, don't most commentators think the location of Pentecost was a house, possibly the same as Ch 1:3? – Mike Jan 20 '13 at 23:47
  • See Gill's commentary which is hyperlinked to the word "Temple" above in my answer. Also, the Temple is a house (beit ha-mikdash), literally, the "the sanctified house." After reading Acts 1, I do not believe that they remained in that very same house in Acts 1:13. It says, "When the day of Pentecost was fully come..." Not only does this imply a different day, but being that it was Pentecost, they would have been at the Temple where all the other Jews were. – user900 Jan 20 '13 at 23:57
  • Ok i really think it was not in the temple but in some house, but this is aside to the subject and I think your answer it bang on that a spirit of evangelism gripped the believers with great excitement and brotherly love. – Mike Jan 21 '13 at 1:10
  • Most commentators do not think the disciples were together in the Temple. Even Gill, who you link to, does not explain why he thinks it was the Temple – DJClayworth Apr 12 '18 at 13:04
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The simple answer is that in the very early days the followers of Jesus considered themselves to be Jews. They saw Jesus as the fulfilment of the Jewish laws and prophecies - that he had come to redeem Judaism and the Jews, not to set up another religion. The idea that Gentiles might be followers of Jesus without also becoming Jews would only be controversially considered many years later.

Therefore it is entirely natural that they would continue to meet in the Temple. They were also following Jesus' example, who had taught crowds in the Temple only a few months before. The Temple was much more than just the place of sacrifice - it was the central point of the Jewish religion, and the place to go to spread the word to other Jews.

  • You seem to have a good common sense observation. Am I correct to assume that you think they were no longer participating in the sacrifices, or are you thinking they may have also been doing that not really realizing the real impact of the 'wall of partition' being torn down? – Mike Jan 22 '13 at 5:51
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You are making an assumption that all ordinances are related to the law of Moses, and that temple work was done away. You might want to read the biblical scholar Margaret barker to see how important the temple was in Christian theology. The Bible never states that the temple work is done away, only that the law of Moses is fulfilled in Christ. If you read texts from that time period you will get a better understanding of how the Jewish people understood the temple. The Christians of the first two centuries identified with the temple. Then again many ideas that are orthodox now were not orthodox then. For instance a doctrine known as 'subordinationalism,' taught that Christ was subordinate to the father, and was the great angel of his presence. At the council of nicea the idea was adopted that the trinity was one in substance and that the three were 'co-equal.' But this ran contrary to Jesus's own statements on the matter who declared that "my father is greater than I." The problem is that this undermined the orthodoxy of the first two centuries. What is orthodox has to do with cultural norms, and it is the same with how the temple is viewed as well as the law of Moses. The bible clearly teaches that the law of Moses is done away but if you look at the beliefs of the early Christians they believed in the importance of the temple, along with continuing revelation. It wasn't until the third century that these things started to truly be undermined. My question would be why do so many Christians assume that the law of Moses and the temple are synonymous?

  • This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. On this site, we're not looking for personal understanding/interpretation/opinion, but rather focusing on what various Christian groups teach. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? – David Stratton Jul 24 '14 at 2:07
  • Please don't tell us to read something without summarising it for us. (It's not clear if you are summarising Margaret Barker's writings or not.) – curiousdannii Jul 24 '14 at 4:32
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In the beginning, Christians considered themselves Jews. Christianity was Judaism with the additional belief that God sent his Son to earth. And of course, a Jew will attend the Jewish synagog.

Sunday is our holy day because the Christians assembled in church on that day. Why? On Saturday, they were at the synagogs and had to rest afterwards (Jews have specific rules about how many steps one may walk on Sabbath). So they assembled on Sunday before work started.

Later on, pagans (meaning non-Jews) were allowed to become Christians. Slowly, Christians did not see themselves as Jews anymore, but as a separate religion, so they stopped going to synagogs.

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The early believers considered Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah, and the most natural thing in the world was to continue to worship in the Temple. The problem with all the answers above is the assumption that Jesus fulfilled the sacrifices. But there are major problems with this view. The Law and halakhah laid down strict rules for the temple sacrifices, and the death of Jesus violates just about every one of them.

  1. Jesus wasn't killed in the temple;
  2. Jesus was killed by the Romans and not a priest;
  3. Jesus was not physically unblemished, but seriously physically damaged before being killed;
  4. the Levitical sacrifices were by and large for unintentional sins, so if Jesus was a Levitical sacrifice it was only for my unintentional sins, which means I cannot be saved;
  5. The Passover sacrifice wasn't for sins anyway;
  6. God abhors human sacrifice.

Jesus of course did die for our sins - PTL. But He was not a fulfillment of the Levitical sacrifices. So it wouldn't have been a problem for the early Christians to continue in Temple worship - just as it wasn't a problem for Paul in Acts 21 to engage in sacrifice.

There are ways in which Jesus' death was like a sacrifice, in that he gave up his life and was a substitute, but this doesn't mean he was actually a sacrifice. The Bible says, "All men are grass." No one thinks this means we are actually grass.

Rather His death was the death of the righteous which affect atonement for sins. Since He was perfectly righteous, His death is the perfect atonement. How do we find forgiveness? The answer is simple: through repentance, and Jesus' death is the mechanism through which God forgives us.

Obviously this is hard to accept as we have been taught for the last 1800+ years that Jesus fulfilled the sacrifices. But you know, there's a difference between the traditions of men and the word of God... but I'm not sure I'll get many votes for this answer!

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    Where do you get your extremely narrow view of "fulfilment" from? Why does Jesus's death need to follow exactly in the pattern of the Levitical sacrifices? If Jesus's death is the fulfilment of those sacrifices then that means that they were pointing to his death, as 2D shadows of the 3D reality. So of course there would be numerous differences. – curiousdannii Nov 16 '16 at 12:45
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    Welcome! Thanks for contributing. If you'd like to strengthen your answer, I'd recommend adding sources to show that this answer doesn't merely reflect your own analysis. I hope you'll take a minute to review how this site is different from others, and better understand how your answer can be supported. – Nathaniel Nov 16 '16 at 14:09
  • Point 6 blithely ignores the exceptional nature of the particular sacrifice of, as is proclaimed in the Gospel of John, the Lamb of God. (The general point on God not being OK with human sacrifice per the OT is understood). – KorvinStarmast Nov 16 '16 at 15:18
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Although Christ's atonement fulfilled the "sacrificial ordinances" of the law, and this preparatory ordinance discontinued, as evident in Luke the temple endowment ordinances providing the "promise of the Father," of eternal life, were continued by the resurrected Lord. The Savior said, "I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued [endowed] from on high"(Luke 24:49). The endowment from on high being a temple ordinance they therefore "were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God" (24:53), as is also evident in Acts chapter 2.

In summary we may say that other temple ordinances besides sacrifices were provided in the temple, especially "the endowment from on high" the "promise of the Father" for obtaining eternal life, were continued by the Resurrected Lord.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Though there is some interesting material in your answer, it is not clear (to me, anyway) what your basis is for saying that endowment from on high was a temple ordinance. Can you provide any references in support of that statement? – Lee Woofenden Apr 9 '18 at 17:21
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There were not Christians/crestianus; they were mostly Jews (some Gentiles, but mostly Jews) who just as Yeshua (Jesus) did continued to go to Temple and attend synagogue every Shabbat to hear Torah, Acts 15:20-21.

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    While the name 'Christian' had not been applied to them it does not make a lot of sense to say they were 'not Christians'. – DJClayworth Oct 4 '18 at 19:30

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