Jerusalem Temple Worship
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Acts of the Apostles 96

Taking Part

Refectory windowThe early community in Jerusalem is depicted in Acts 2.46 "They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity [or "sincere hearts"]." Later in Acts 5.42 we read, "And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: 'Jesus is the Messiah.'" They met regularly in houses, in addition to their attendance at the Jerusalem Temple. Since the first Jewish Believers saw themselves as a reform movement of Judaism (the true, not a new, Israel), it is not surprising that disciples such as Peter and John went to the Jerusalem Temple at the "hour of prayer," in Acts 3.1 "Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service." They taught and preached in its precincts, and continued to live as Jews in every way.✞

First Negative Critique

The first serious and negative critique of the physical temple came in Stephen's speech in Acts 6.13-7.53, "The lying witnesses said, 'This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth [or "Jesus the Nazarene"] will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us." This was less an attack on the Jerusalem Temple worship itself than on the attitude that gave supremacy to it. Stephen "is asserting that the promise to Abraham finds its ultimate fulfillment not in the law as given to Moses nor in the Temple but in Jesus to whom everything in the Old Testament points." Nevertheless, some Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, under the leadership of James, may not have abandoned their loyalty to the Jerusalem Temple worship until its destruction in 70 AD.✞

"Jerusalem Temple Worship"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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