FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 123
MEASURING the TEMPLE, (continued)
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
PART ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Rev. 11:1-2)
In beginning this message I would point out that although John is commanded to measure the temple, distinction is made between three different areas in connection therewith. In the first place, John is called to measure the “temple” or “naos” as it is in the Greek, specifying the sanctuary proper, the building of the temple as such, including its holy place and most holy place, along with the golden altar of the holy place as well as those who congregate there in the ministry of worship. In the second place, John is instructed not to measure the “outer court,” the open, unenclosed space which surrounds the sanctuary, being distinguished from the temple building itself. That is the second area specified by the angel. In the third place, the angel speaks of a still wider and more comprehensive area, namely, the “holy city,” which shall be trodden down for forty two months, along with the outer court, by the “Gentiles.” Three areas are therefore set before us! The largest is the holy city itself. Within that is the smaller space of the outer court. And again, within that outer court is the still more limited space of the temple structure. And with regard to these three John is commissioned to measure the temple, and the altar, and those who worship at that altar and in that temple, while he must not measure the outer court, nor, of course, the holy city. And he is told that only the temple will remain undefiled, but that the outer court and the holy city will be dominated by the abominations of the symbolical “Gentiles.”
If all of this were taken in the literal sense of the word it would have little significance for us today — it would be merely a record of natural, outward events the apostle John participated in some two thousand years ago. The temple would be Herod’s temple as it stood in all its splendor in the holy city Jerusalem when our Lord was here in the flesh and walked within both the holy city and the courts of the temple. All the glory of that temple was reduced to a miserable heap of ruins in the year A.D. 70, destroyed by General Titus and his Roman legions. Many modern day commentators contend that the literal, physical temple of the Jews is one day to be restored, the Jewish people shall again worship in that temple upon mount Moriah, and a revived priesthood shall once more offer animal sacrifices upon the altar of burnt offering and burn incense upon the golden altar in the holy place. Their interpretation is that the Old Testament Jewish glory shall for a time, under the “antichrist,” shine forth once more. These believe that it is from that restored temple that God’s two witnesses shall appear and testify to the name of God and His Christ till the antichrist and his followers shall overpower them and kill them. This scheme also views the vision in a most literal sense of the word. In this literalistic and futuristic interpretation the modern city of Jerusalem in the State of Israel is the “holy city;” the “outer court” is the court of the rebuilt Old Testament style temple; “them that worship” there are a revived Jewish priesthood; and the nations of earth shall literally, under the antichrist, trample underfoot the holy city and the court. According to this view it is this future rebuilt temple that John is commanded in his vision to measure!
Let us ever be mindful of the great truth that it was the risen and ascended Lord who descended in a vision of glory on the isle called Patmos, and there meeting his startled disciple, John, gave him a communication concerning the church, the called out, instructing him to write it in a scroll and send it to the seven churches in Asia. The book of Revelation is addressed to Christ’s “servants” and to “the seven churches.” This great truth is emphasized, it is stated in the plainest of language, both at the opening and the close of the book. “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace...” (Rev. 1:4) “What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Rev. 1:11) “The Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done” (Rev. 22:6) “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” (Rev. 22:16)
On reading these distinct declarations it should be clear to every discerning mind that the outward nations and the unregenerated people of the world have no more to do with this prophecy than they have with the epistle to the Ephesians. They may possibly be alluded to in the one, as in the other, but it is not for them, nor is it mainly
concerned with them. IT IS FOR US, the spiritual people of God! The prophecy is for the bond-slaves of Jesus Christ, and for those who are called out and separated unto Him; and to apply it to anything other than God’s spiritual dealings with His elect saints is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. “Yes!” someone replies, “but though given to the church, it might still be a revelation of the counsels of God concerning the kingdoms of this world.” It might. The epistle to the Ephesians might have been a letter about the lost tribes of the house of Israel in the British Isles, but it was not! The visions of Daniel might have been about the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, but they were not! Jesus might have sent a message to His saints about Charlemagne the Great, about Napoleon, about the Second World War, about Hitler and Mussolini, about Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger, or Osama Bin Laden, but He did not! He gave a spiritual book to a spiritual people about spiritual things!
Most buildings today are designed by an architect and constructed by a builder known as a contractor. Almost two thousand years have passed since God sent His Son to earth, first as a man of flesh and blood, and again in the power of the Holy Spirit, as the Master Builder, to build a church designed to reveal His glory in the earth. “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mat. 16:18) Long before excavation begins, the architect carefully designs, plans, measures, and calculates the cost. Long centuries before Jesus came, Mount Sinai was aflame with the glory of God and Moses trembled to hear the voice of the Almighty. There in that holy mount a blueprint was given for the erection of a tabernacle in the midst of God’s people, Israel. God gave specific instructions to Moses warning against any deviations from the plan. “See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” (Heb. 8:5) Moses saw and understood in the spirit that the hand of God was sketching the blueprints for a greater heavenly and spiritual temple that was to arise in the earth. In spirit he saw the spiritual, heavenly model as it existed in the heavens of the Spirit of the Lord. The literal, physical tabernacle of Moses was to serve as a miniature sketch of the spiritual temple of God’s Christ. The blueprints God gave to Moses were very unique. There had never been a structure built by this pattern before!
It is of utmost importance that we bear in mind here, as elsewhere, the beloved John receives a vision. Hence, the assumption by “preterists” that the book of Revelation had to be written while the temple of Herod was still standing in Jerusalem, before the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Romans in A.D. 70, is baseless. In a vision we can see things past, present, or future as well as things literal, figurative, allegorical, or spiritual. What one sees in vision does not need to exist either literally or spiritually at the time of the vision!
Furthermore, in verse nineteen of chapter eleven we find that this “temple of God” is “IN HEAVEN” — that is, in the realm of the Spirit! Though the type is the Old Testament temple of Israel, the reality is the heavenly, spiritual temple of God’s elect, the body of Christ! It cannot be merely a vision of the Herodian temple of Christ’s day, nor of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem under antichrist, for not only is this temple “in heaven,” but the
Ark of the Covenant is seen there, and the ark had disappeared at the destruction of Solomon’s temple in the year 587 B.C. The ark never was in Herod’s temple, and it certainly would not be found in a rebuilt temple today! Oh, let us always remember that the true temple of God is the heavenly, spiritual temple of His redeemed sons and daughters! “Know ye not that YE are the temple of God, as God hath said?” This temple is constructed of those who are “filled with all the fullness of God” — a people renewed, transformed, and conformed into the image and likeness of the very Christ. These are the temple manifesting the indwelling Christ-life, as the temple of Jesus’ body was the manifestation of the indwelling life of His Father!
When Jesus stood and looked on Herod’s temple and said sternly that all those fine stones would be one day permanently demolished, He was pointing to the great truth that the hour had now come for all the shadows to pass away, that the true reality might be manifest. God would no longer dwell in temples made with hands, as He also told the woman of Samaria; He would now raise up His true tabernacle which He Himself would build of eternal, living stones! The spirit, soul, and body of His new creation man would become the only eternal shrine where God is revered! And it was this temple of the new creation man, my beloved, that John was invited to measure! He was to turn from the earthly to the heavenly, from the material to the spiritual!
The word “temple” misleads. There are two Greek words used in the New Testament for “temple.” The first is hieron signifying the entire, complete temple complex including all courts, porches, and buildings. The word in our text, however, is the second word, naos, which does not mean the temple buildings as a whole, but only the innermost shrine or sanctuary, that compartment known as the “holy place” and the “most holy place,” which was separated from all the other buildings and courts of the huge temple complex. It is evident that the “holy place” is included in the naos for John sees the golden altar of incense there: “Measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” The golden altar of incense was located in the holy place just before the veil separating it from the most holy place. We can also know that the naos included the “most holy place,” for in verse nineteen of the same chapter John records that “the temple (naos) of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of the testament ...” The Ark of the Covenant was situated beyond the veil, in the Holiest of all. Therefore the Revelation unmistakably identifies the naos of God as the inmost sanctuary of the temple comprising both the holy place and the most holy place.
Jesus was the first man on the earth realm to ever build God a habitation where He could live and reveal Himself in His fullness. He Himself revealed this fact when, as He stood before Herod’s temple, He told the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” This declaration angered and infuriated the Jews, but “they wist not that He spake of the temple of His body.” Jesus raised up this temple of God within Himself by possessing His vessel in honor and holiness, in obedience and submission, in love, humility, and perfection. This was a place where God could fully live! For the first time since the creation God had a TRUE HABITATION on earth — a temple which was WHOLLY HIS — nothing reserved. Hebrews1:8-9 says of Jesus, “But unto the Son He saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Jesus did not receive the Spirit of God by measure, but was filled with ALL the fullness of God! “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” (Jn. 3:34) “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9) Second Corinthians 5:19 states: “It was God permanently in Christ reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself...” (Amplified Bible). Again, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call Him Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Our Lord Himself declared, “If you had known me — had learned to recognize me — you would also have known my Father. From now on you know Him and have seen Him. Phillip said to Him, Lord show us the Father — cause us to see the Father, that is all we ask; we shall then be satisfied. Jesus replied, Have I been with all of you for so long a time and you do not recognize and know me yet, Phillip? Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father! How can you say then, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The Father who lives continually in me does the works.” (Jn. 14:7-10, Amplified) SO JESUS BUILT THE FATHER A HOUSE TO LIVE IN! He became the beginning, the firstborn of a new and divine species — the TRUE TABERNACLE which the LORD PITCHED, and not man! The Father was even then indwelling His most treasured abode at that very moment in their midst! The temple of Herod that stood before them was already of no consequence — the glory had moved from that house to the temple of God in the body of Jesus the Christ! Oh, the wonder of it!
But it is not sufficient to know only that Jesus was and is the temple, the dwelling place of God. It was with an expression of wonder that Paul demanded of the Corinthians, “Know ye not that YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, WHICH TEMPLE YE ARE.” (I Cor. 3:16-17) And again, “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (II Cor. 6:16) And with still greater emphasis, “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, YE are God’s BUILDING.” (I Cor. 3:9)
The writer to the Hebrews presses the point even further. “Wherefore...consider the apostle...of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to Him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all HIS HOUSE. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor then the house. For every HOUSE is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all HIS HOUSE, as a servant, as a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a Son over HIS OWN HOUSE; whose HOUSE ARE WE if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (consummation of the building of the house)” (Heb. 3:1-6)
It should be very evident to all who read that a house is being talked about in the verses above. Some Bible teachers believe that it’s one house — the house of the people of God. They would say that Moses was inside the house as a servant, whereas the Lord Jesus is over the house as a Son. It is my deep conviction, however, that that is not what the apostle is saying! He is talking about TWO HOUSES! He says in verse four that both houses are made by God — He is the One who makes all things! There are two houses. One house is the people of God under the Old Testament — that’s the argument all the way through the book of Hebrews — you’re to go from the old house to the new house! You’re to go from law to grace, from the natural and outward to that which is spiritual and inward, from the earthly Jerusalem to the heavenly Jerusalem, from the physical mount Zion to the spiritual mount Zion, from the temple on mount Moriah to the temple in the high place of God’s Spirit, from the Levitical priesthood to the Melchizedekian priesthood, from being a servant to being a son!
That’s the whole thrust — the entire issue has to do with two houses. Two houses, both of which were ordained of God. Two houses that were built by God. God was the architect of both. Two houses, not one! Moses functioned within one of the houses. He was inside the house as a servant. Moses was faithful in his house as a servant. Over the second house, which is the called and chosen elect of God in the power of the New Covenant, is the Lord Jesus Christ as a Son. Moses was faithful inside the old house as a servant. Jesus Christ is faithful over the new house as a Son. Therefore the new house is a HOUSE OF SONS! Jesus is over the house of sons as the Head of the body, as the King of the kings, as the Lord of the lords, as the High Priest of the priesthood, and as the Captain of the army of God! Oh, yes!
“For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses...” (Heb. 3:3) Remember back in the Old Testament that Moses, great man of God that he was, grew weary. The children of Israel grievously sinned. Moses went up on the mount, he received the law, and came down, and saw the gross sin of the children of Israel. In anger and desperation he threw the tables of the law down and they were broken. God said to Moses, “I want you to go back up on the mount.” Moses said in effect, “God, I’m tired, I’m weary. This is a stiff-necked and rebellious people, I’ve had it. I don’t want to go up there again.” God said, “Moses, I want you to go up into the mount again.” And Moses replied, “Show me your glory! Show me what you’re like! Show me your intrinsic, eternal perfections, give me a glimpse of what you’re really like. You’re asking so much of me — I’m tired, I’m weary — what are you like? If I’m to go back up, show me your glory!”
God responded, “I can’t show you my glory, Moses. But I’ll do the next best thing. I’ll hide you in the cleft of the rock, and I’ll pass by. I’ll put my hand over the cleft of the rock, so you won’t be blinded, and I’ll pass by. I will let you see only the hinder parts, my back. I’ll let you see my after glow — and even in the afterglow you will see my goodness, mercy, and longsuffering.” So Moses gets a glimpse of what God is like! He comes down from that mount and the glory of God is radiating from his face. When we get to the New Testament, to John, chapter one, we read, “The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” And in the very context we read that “no man has seen God at any time.” What is in mind is Moses — no one has seen God at any time, not even Moses — he only saw the afterglow of God — and how glorious it was! In contrast, the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, in the place of intimacy, participation, vital union, first-hand knowledge and state of being — He hath revealed Him! He has stepped out of the bosom of the Father and has led Him into view! Within Himself He has crystallized the invisible! The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Moses was a servant in a house of servants. Jesus is a Son over the house of sons! The Lord is saying, “Get out of the old house, out from under rules, regulations, laws, commandments, rituals, ceremonies, ordinances, programs and promotions of men, outward religious observances, and get into the new house of THE LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD! Go on! Go on! Go on!
This house of sons is the true temple of God, the new and eternal house that the Lord is building, and not man. In glorious words that are like letters of fire the word comes to John on Patmos, “Arise, and measure the temple of God!” “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the HOUSEHOLD OF GOD. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:19-22)
May our heavenly Father now give understanding to all who read these lines! To “measure the temple” signifies inspection, examination, to take inventory, an evaluation of just how much we have experienced of Christ and the life of sonship, to determine the state of our progress into the fullness of God and just where we are in our growth and development into the mind, nature, power, wisdom, and glory of sonship to God! Trying to accomplish any of this by human effort, natural understanding and logic, fleshly ability, or religious exercises is a most heinous pit into which to fall! This “measuring” can be done only by the Spirit who searches all things! “For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man , but the Spirit of God.” (I Cor. 2:10-11)
Is this not what is meant when John says, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel (message, revelation from God) stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple...” Oh, yes! God is the One who speaks the word; the Lord Himself is the One who gives the empowerment for measuring, who stretches out the line, who plumbs the depths — not us! It is HIS mighty work wrought in us and through us! Unless this rod is given to measure all people and all things as God sees them, we form judgments about people and spiritual things and moves of God by outward appearances or by our own preconceived ideas, likes and dislikes, and our own standards. To do so is a great mistake, for it is not righteous judgment! It is not the measure by the reed that is given by the Holy Ghost! Those who walk in the living truth and in the Spirit and by the Spirit judge all things by the mind of Christ — hence the measuring rod! That is the mystery.
These are solemnizing truths. Oh, that men and women would cease with their elation over the rebuilding of a temple in Jerusalem and rejoice rather in the holy knowledge that we are the house of the Lord! We have become so accustomed to calling temporal and transient church buildings made of wood and brick and stone the “house of God” that we are amazed when we are shown that these are naught but buildings made with men’s hands. The fact is, no earthly building is sacred or holy, no matter how earnestly you dedicate it to the service of God. Men reverence buildings when they should reverence GOD. No mundane building made with men’s hands can ever qualify as the “house of God.” God does not uniquely dwell within any of them! They are not sanctified by His presence any more than a bank or a supermarket! All of these carnal, Babylonish buildings that men erroneously call “churches” and the “house of the Lord” shall meet the same fate as the temple of old. Not one stone shall be left standing upon another!
Not one of these “churches” or “houses of God” are being changed and transformed into His image, not one is growing unto an holy temple, not one can reveal one ounce of divine life or nature, not one will be resurrected by divine power, not one will be manifest as a son of God! Babylon has raised up some fantastic structures, gems of architectural genius, but it is all vanity and the glory of God graces none of them. If God is there it is only because you are there, dear saint of God; and when you walk into Wal Mart God is just as much present and revealed in the Wal Mart building as He was at the “church” building. May the Spirit of God so reveal to us the truth of God that we shall abandon even our perverted terminology acquired in Babylon and no longer call buildings made by men’s hands “churches” and the “house of God.” They are no such thing, and we need to correct our speech and sanctify our glossary before God and speak only the truth as it is in Jesus, and refuse to even utter the distortions and foolishness of the religious systems of man. The holy “place” where our Father has chosen to put His name is not in any earthly building, nor in a geographical location, but in His HOUSE OF SONS!
In the words of Jesus throughout the Gospels we find references to three houses — “My house,” “Father’s house,” and “your house.” The temple in Jerusalem had been “Father’s house” so long as the ministry there moved under the anointing of the Spirit. But when the Lord began His ministry, He said to the people, “I say unto you, That in this place is One greater than the temple” (Mat. 12:6). And truly, Christ is far superior to the temple and all its trappings, even God’s Christ today is far superior to all the present church orders, no matter how good we think some of it is. Jesus saw that “Father’s house” had become “your house” so He proclaimed of their house, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” It was no longer “Father’s house” for the corrupt priesthood had usurped the glory of God and had made it “their house” with all their empty traditions and vain abominations. “And Jesus went into the temple...and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, MY HOUSE shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mat. 21:12-13) Although Jesus drove out the moneychangers, the judgment of that temple was given by our Lord, for He declared it to be a DESOLATE HOUSE, or a house devoid of the presence and purpose of God.
“Rise, and measure the temple of God.” (Rev. 11:1) “Rise” translates the Greek word egeiro meaning “to collect ones faculties, to awaken from sleep or death, to stand up.” It is often used of resurrection. Jesus raised three people from the dead during His years of ministry and each of these stands as a picture of the condition of those who are raised out of the death of the carnal mind into the life of the Son of God. First, there was Jairus’ daughter. Do you remember the story? Jesus came into the house and she was still upon her bed. She had just died. She still wore the garments of sleep. Her mother was still moistening her brow with kisses. Her father looked upon her lovingly, but she was dead. And Jesus raised her with these simple words, “Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise!”
Then there was the funeral procession that took place in the town of Nain where a widow of Nain had lost her only son. Like Lazarus (the third one I mentioned), he was no longer in his home; he no longer wore the clothes of sleep, but was wrapped in the cerements of the cemetery. He was already laid out upon his bier and was being conveyed to his tomb. Jesus did what He always did. He stopped the funeral — because that is why He came — and He said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!”
“ARISE!” Paul uses the word ten times in his argument for the resurrection; the word takes different forms, but in each case it is from the same Greek word, egeiro. “Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He
Raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; and ye are yet in your sins...but now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (I Cor. 15:12-20)
When the angel says to John, “Rise, and measure the temple of God,” the Spirit is bidding John to awaken to a new reality, to arise to a new realm of experience, and to follow the Lord into a fresh unveiling of Himself. David of old prophesied by the Spirit of this measuring, proclaiming, “Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of Thy judgments. Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell (mark, tally, enumerate, score, record) the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.” (Ps. 48:11-13) John is not told to measure the God of the temple, but to measure the temple itself! These enlightening words signify stature. The inspired apostle Paul unfolds for us the deep mystery of this when he writes, “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-13)
When the Lord commissions John to measure the temple of God we must understand what the measure is. Christ Jesus Himself is the measure! And all God’s sons are being brought unto “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Now it does not say that the temple at that time measured up to the full stature of Christ. It is my conviction that it did not! You see, John was given a reed like unto a rod with which to measure the temple. The reed was a standard of measurement which commonly was about ten feet in length. This reed was a familiar Old Testament instrument (Eze. 40:2-5) and figure. It was just a reed, a very common, plain, weak, destructible material; not golden, for it was not then time for the temple of God to be perfect. Gold is the symbol in scripture representing the incorruptible, divine nature of God. Just as gold is the perfect metal that cannot be tarnished, so God’s nature is perfection and it cannot be tarnished.
Therefore, when the temple of God becomes the golden city of God John reveals to us that “he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.” (Rev. 21:15) Ah — now the rod is no longer a simple reed, it is a golden reed. Gold, as I mentioned, speaks of divine nature, revealing to us the great truth that the city has now become no longer a temple of stones, measured by an ordinary reed, but it is a city of gold — it has attained fully to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, and is therefore measured to a higher standard, even the gold standard, as indicated by the golden reed. Full measure! The quality of the measure and the quality of the city correspond. As the temple we are measured by a lesser standard for we are still growing, developing, maturing, and becoming. But the city is a people that has attained to the full perfection of God’s nature and glory! Isn’t it wonderful!
How my glad heart rejoices in the sacred knowledge that whenever the Lord speaks of “measuring” His temple, it signifies to measure the spiritual condition. Thus when John is given a reed to measure the temple of God it has nothing to do with some future temple the Jews would build in Jerusalem, but he is to measure the spiritual condition and state of God’s New Testament Temple People! He is also instructed to measure “them that worship therein.” Certainly that is not to measure how tall they were, or how large their chest or waist would be! It doesn’t mean that God would only allow people six feet tall to enter His temple, or folks having a small waist-line. Oh, no! God is looking for spiritual stature. In its spiritual meaning John (and that ministry he represents) is to take a correct estimate of the character, nature, wisdom, power, and glory of God’s temple people and His royal priesthood! This measuring gives a revelation of what constitutes the true church in any age as contrasted with all the pious contentions of religion.
The quality of height is greatly admired. Short people desire to be tall. Tall people desire to have tall people as their mates. In fact, one shoe company advertised, “With our shoes, now you can be taller than she is.” There is a certain psychological bent in man’s very nature that demands him to be tall. If a man is not physically tall, often he tries to make up for it mentally, by egotism, position, attainment, or with a domineering spirit.
Donald G. Barnhouse once shared the following story. After the first world war there were tens of thousands of American soldiers who were left in France, and their supreme desire was to get home as quickly as possible. Discipline was greatly relaxed from the tension of wartime, and the men were securing as much leave as possible in order to see the sights of Europe. In a certain village about a hundred miles from Paris there was a detachment of American soldiers — a lieutenant and about forty men — who were guarding an ammunition dump. There was little to do outside the brief periods of guard duty, but the men amused themselves as best they could. One day, while the lieutenant was on leave, a motorcycle messenger came from General Pershing’s headquarters. He brought word that 2,700 men were to be chosen to march in the peace parades of London, Paris, Brussels, and Rome. The corporal and sergeant who read the order discovered that there were
two conditions imposed as standards for selection. The first brought them no difficulty, for it stated that every candidate had to have a clean record — no man would be chosen who had been court marshaled. But the second condition made them pause. The order stated that every man applying had to be at least one meter and eighty-six centimeters tall! The corporal looked at the sergeant and the sergeant looked at the corporal and asked him how much one meter and eighty-six centimeters was. There were no answers. These Americans understood only feet and inches. Then the corporal said the most natural thing under the circumstances. “At any rate, Sarge, I am taller than you!”
When the news spread around the group, it was the same thing over again. No one knew the metric system. The men got into arguments about their relative heights, and soon they were standing up, back to back, to see who was the tallest man in the company. Finally, they knew their comparative heights, all the way from Slim down to Shorty. Slim was very proud and told them that he would send them a postcard from Rome and that he would take a look at the English girls for the rest of them. Poor Shorty received the good-natured banter of his friends. Under the circumstances these soldiers did the normal, natural thing. They were in ignorance of the required standard! The information was greatly desired, but this lack led them to set up artificial standards of their own and measure themselves by themselves. Some pride developed in the men who were taller. After all, were they not the most probable candidates?
Then the officer returned. He read the order and asked if there were any candidates. “The trouble is, sir,” the sergeant replied, “we do not know what one meter and eighty-six centimeters is.” The lieutenant, who knew French, went to the village and brought back a meter measure. Soon a mark was made on the wall of the required height (about six feet). Now the men were no longer measuring themselves with themselves! They had to stand up against a mark on the wall that was inflexible. It had been established by General Pershing. One or two men backed up to the mark, and their companions told them that they were an inch or so short of the full measure. Some men merely looked at the mark and knew that there was no hope. Finally, a call was made for Slim, and he came to be measured. He pulled himself up to his greatest possible height and stood there, rigid and puffed up, as they measured him. He, too, was short, even though he was short by no more than a quarter of an inch.
Of course, General Pershing got his 2,700 men. Many saw them that day when they came under the Arch of Triumph on Bastille Day, the fourteenth of July. These men, all in new uniforms, and with American Beauty roses tied to their bayonets, made a proud sight as they marched down the Champs Elysees, each one of them at least one meter and eighty-six centimeters tall! The point of this story lies in the fact that Pershing did not secure any of his marching men from the company described. He was not asking that they be about so tall, but that they fill an absolute requirement. And the heart of the story lies in the fact that tall Slim did not march in the parade any more than did short Shorty. As General Pershing had a perfect right to set the standard which set the height of every man that was in that parade, so it is with the high purposes of God!
Multitudes of the Lord’s people are mere spiritual children, and the qualifications are very low for children. But sons — mature, manifest sons — are called to meet a higher standard! To march in God’s army, to reign with Christ in His kingdom, to receive power over the nations, to be a priest of God upon His throne, to reign in life and bring deliverance to the whole creation from the bondage of corruption, can only be fulfilled by those who have attained unto the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST! Paul immediately adds to this statement the divine reason behind the requirement, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth...maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:14-16)
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:29) “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb. 2:10-11) The rule which God has made for entry into His house of sons is just this: Men shall measure up to His glory and be perfect and mature as HE IS. This rigorous standard is found expressed throughout the scriptures, and is finally personified in the firstborn Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. In our former days in the religious systems of man we did not understand what the measure was! As babes in Christ we thought that everything we should receive both here and in heaven above was simply by grace. And for little children it is! In those days, like the soldier boys in France, we also measured ourselves by ourselves, we were more spiritual than others, our church was better than the other church, God still blessed and used brother Brown and sister Smith in spite of their weaknesses and failures, so we were pretty sure we could slide along also and make it in. God would just overlook everything if our heart was right. But those who measure themselves by themselves do not march in the parade! And even in this walk in the kingdom and sonship do not make the fatal mistake of measuring yourself, my beloved, by some other “son.” Oh, no! Only those who stand up beside JESUS CHRIST and measure up to the stature of HIS fullness are of that blessed company of His “many brethren”! That is the mark!
Because of the gravity of this calling the great apostle Paul exhorts us all with these significant words: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS” (Phil. 3:11-14) The hour is coming and now is when every son of God is being measured by the standard to determine whether we meet the measure to qualify for the high calling of sonship glory and dominion.
When we measure something we judge it and discover its boundaries. God’s called and chosen elect are in these days discovering the unlimited dwelling place we have in the Lord! We also discover the limits we put upon His dwelling place in us. When the temple is measured that is what we discover! In order to discover the unlimited dwelling place we have in Him we must loose the limits we place on Him until all things become possible for us! John is here a representative man, having received figuratively, in eating the little book, the communication of God’s mind. He is now prepared to take into account the spiritual state of God’s people, to ascertain by the wisdom and understanding of the indwelling mind of the Lord, what is there spiritually for God. The measure is just this — only by the glorious mind of Christ are we enabled to truly see and comprehend what is the reality within God’s called and chosen elect! The reed like unto a rod is the divine enablement of the mind of Christ. The temple is the place where God’s mind is made known, as king David so clearly understood when he said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple.” (Ps. 27:4)
A number of years ago the late Norene Nicholls penned the following enlightening words. “About a year ago the Lord whisper ed into my heart one day, ‘In the measurements of the temple you will find the time elements.’ My heart then turned to the thought given in Revelation 11:1 concerning the measuring of the temple, the altar, and the worshippers. As there were no measurements given there, I turned back to I Kings 6:2 for the measurements of Solomon’s temple seeking after the answer to the clue the Lord had given me. ‘And the house which King Solomon built for the Lord, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.’
“With these figures in mind, let us pause a moment here to explain the meaning of the temple. It is twofold. First, ‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?’ (I Cor. 6:19) In one sense our individual bodies are individual and specific temples of God in which He wants to dwell in fullness. Second, ‘Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house (or, temple)...’ (I Pet. 2:5) In this sense we are collectively a temple of God, each member being a living stone in the temple, in which He desires to indwell in glory. Thus, the temple of God is an individual body or a collective body of the sons of God.
“Now back to the measurements of the temple. Solomon’s temple was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits broad, and 30 cubits high. These figures multiplied together give you the cubic cubits of the temple which is 36,000 cubic cubits. The meaning of numbers in scripture is most interesting, and we want to briefly touch on it here. The length of the temple was 60 cubits. SIX is the number of MAN, but SIXTY is SIX times TEN, and TEN is the number of TESTING or PROVING. Thus SIXTY means MAN PROVEN OR TESTED. So the first measurement refers to God’s man or men being fully proven in the fires of testing. The second measurement is the breadth, and it is TWENTY cubits. If you carefully follow this number through the scriptures, you find that it has to do with the age at which Israel was numbered, that is, from twenty years old and upward. So TWENTY means NUMBERING as it has to do with Israel in her various tribes. The third measurement is the height which was THIRTY cubits, and THIRTY signifies THE BEGINNING OF MINISTRY. Jesus was thirty when He began His ministry, David was thirty when he began to reign, Joseph was thirty when he came to rulership in Egypt, etc. So putting these meanings together, the measuring of the temple reveals GOD’S TESTED MAN BEING NUMBERED AND BEGINNING HIS MINISTRY. Isn’t that beautiful!
“In considering the cubic cubits which is 36,000, we again come to numerical meanings of interest. THREE is considered the great mystical number of the Hebrews, and it means DIVINE REVELATION. Again we have SIX which is, as we have already stated, the number of MAN. Then follow the zeros of the THOUSANDS, and generally speaking, when we get into 100 or 1000, it refers to FULLNESS. So the compound meaning of the compound measurement is THE DIVINE REVELATION TO AND OF MAN CONCERNING HIS FULLNESS. So the beauty of “measure the temple” continues to unfold in panoramas of glory!“
Right now God is dealing with His sons in a very special way both individually and collectively — He is measuring as never before! Collectively He is putting son with son and son against son until they wonder what is taking place. The answer is that GOD IS MEASURING THE TEMPLE OF THE SONS TO BRING THE WHOLE BODY OR COMPANY INTO THE FULLNESS OF THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF CHRIST! What shall we say then to all of this? Be patient, my brethren, for the measuring is proceeding on schedule. There seems to be no answer from the Lord on anything, but we have this promise, ‘He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the Day of Jesus Christ.’ This promise, too, is comforting, ‘The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.’ Rest in the knowledge that He will finish what is started, and finish it even unto the redemption of the body. This is the hour of perfection, not necessarily of healing or deliverance, but rather of being brought to the measure of His fullness” — end quote.
The apostle John himself signifies the mind of Christ in a ministry that is able to discern God’s purpose to bring His son company to the full measure of the stature of the firstborn Son. There is such a ministry in the earth today! Let me tell you something about this ministry. This ministry does not preach laws, rules, and regulations, nor does it try to legislate holiness; rather, it proclaims the truth of Christ IN YOU the hope of glory! This ministry does not teach doctrines and creeds, but they exhort the Lord’s elect to grow up in to Him who IS THE TRUTH! This ministry does not preach questionings and doubts, but assures every man that you have within you the ability of the mighty Christ to become all that God has revealed to you and apprehended you for! This ministry does not preach that we are all just human, apt to mistakes, and no one can be perfect, but exhorts the saints, “Let us GO ON TO PERFECTION!” This ministry is not out trying to build another church, denomination, organization, or kingdom of man, for this ministry knows that there are enough sects and schism dividing the body of Christ, so this ministry encourages every child of God to look to and depend upon no man or movement, but to KNOW THE LORD FOR THEMSELVES! This ministry does not draw men unto themselves, to control or manipulate under their authority, but freely and earnestly seeks to raise up the nature, mind, will, and glory of the Lord in each individual member of the body of Christ, until they have built God’s true building, the temple of the Lord! This ministry does not set the “ministry” above the so-called “laity,” they do not make a distinction between the various members of the body of Christ, though each member is indeed unique and every joint supplies; they teach that ALL are the body of Christ, and everyone a member thereof, and only the glorious Head of the body has in all things preeminence! This ministry does not preach submission to men, but union with the Spirit of Christ within them! This ministry does not preach about flying away to heaven, but of being filled with all the fullness of God!
In closing this message I am impressed to share from the anointed pen of Brother Carl Schwing.
“There are realms within Father’s heavenly places that over the centuries only the mystics (ones initiated into the deep things of the Holy Spirit) and saints ventured into...all of which gave their life to do so...in one way or another. Their brave spirits dared to rise above the limitations of orthodoxy and entered the realm of truth and reality. And there, in the silence of His presence, they had fellowship with the Father and their Beloved...the Lord Jesus Christ. Not that they had attained during their earth life, but, they had been apprehended to attain. They sought for the life in the Spirit, and for the realm of reality. Now they wait in the beauty of the Father’s House for the hour when His perfect work is finished, and they reach their full attainment in Christ Jesus. It was their undying love for Christ, their unshakable faith, their loyalty in serving all those in need...it was their burning desire to always seek the will of God...to do the will of God...to become the will of God...it was by walking in His righteousness, His holiness, and in His Spirit, that made these precious ones the saints of the Lord. To the world they were strange, to the religious they were fools, but, the meek and lowly of heart considered them godly.
“In my spirit I see another very special dwelling place in our Father’s house. To be still, to wait in His presence is one of the greatest acts of praise and worship. To be alone with the Father is a reality beyond the comprehension of the worldly, the religious, and often the spiritual. To know Him as the beginning of all things, the life of all things, and the fulfillment of all things, is one of the keys that will open the door to the unseen realm...the eternal realm. Such knowledge is the revelation of the Kingdom of God within the earth that we are...it is the pathway to the power of an endless life. Oh! What matchless love and mercy and grace for all mankind, for all creation, is hidden in the sacred words of the most High: “Be still and know that I am God.” — end quote.
As the Lord measures His temple in this hour may we all measure up to the simplicity and power of the exhortation above. Amen!
To be continued...