1 Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, “Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. 2 But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months.
I missed it the first several times I read this chapter, but this morning it has taken on a more interesting meaning. I notice 1) who measured, 2) what is used to measure and 3) what is being measured.
1) It is not an angel or God who is measuring, but John himself, the only remaining apostle then living. Could this be significant that the apostles (us?) are to do the measuring?
2) The measure was provided by God (or an angel). John “was given a measuring stick” or reed. I see this as meaning if we’re to measure, we’re to use a divine standard, not an earthly one.
3) John was told to measure the temple. It seems to me that the literal temple was destroyed, so I’m thinking this can’t be talking about the actual temple. Rather, it seems like a symbol of the church. John was told to measure the church and the altar where worship was offered. And, John was told to measure those who profess to be Christians. Do they measure up to this divine standard (the Word of God)?
If I understand the outer court, this represents the world. John is not told to measure those who do not profess to be Christians.
If I understand what I’m reading, what we have here is a description of the measurement of the Church, its worship, and of its worshipers. This measurement is done compared to a God-given standard. Now, this seems like a part of Revelation where knowing the time period is important. For example, if you’re a pre-millenial beliver, this measuring is yet to happen. If you’re preterist, this measuring may have already been happening – i.e. the reformation.
I’ve ordered several books to help me better understand what I’m reading. I’m really caught up into all this. I meditate on it for hours (had a restful weekend that allowed me to do that for a change!).
Any other thoughts out there?