Revelation 11:1
And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
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(1) And there was . . .—Translate, And there was given to me a reed like a rod (we must omit the words “and the angel stood”), saying. It is not said by whom the reed was given, nor are we told who speaks the command. The whole transaction is impersonal. The reed, like a measuring rod, is given him, and at the same time the command is given to arise and measure the Temple, and the altar, and them that worship in the Temple. Here, again, we find the basis of the vision in the Old Testament. Ezekiel was brought, in vision, to a high mountain, and saw a man with a line of flax (for measuring long distances) and a measuring line (for shorter distances). But, more probably, the vision of Zechariah was in the seer’s mind (Zechariah 2:1-2), for the vision there of the man with the measuring rod to measure Jerusalem is followed, in the fourth chapter (Zechariah 4:1-6), by the vision of the two olive-trees, which are distinctly identified with the two witnesses in the present chapter (see Revelation 11:3-4). The Temple, altar, and worshippers are to be measured. The measuring implies the protecting of, or the token of a resolve to protect, a portion of the sacred enclosure from desecration. The measuring, like the sealing of Revelation 7, is a sign of preservation during impending dangers. To understand what is thus measured out for protection we must remember that there are two Greek words which are rendered Temple: the one (hieron) signifies “the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, including the outer courts, porches, porticoes, and other buildings subordinated to the Temple itself;” the other (naos) is the Temple itself, the house of God, the Holy and Holy of Holies. When it is said that Christ taught the people in the Temple, the first of these words is used; and it may be supposed that in one of the porches or courts of the sanctuary our Lord carried on His teaching. But when Zacharias is described as going into the Temple, the word is the second (naos), for he went into the Temple proper, and left the people in the outer court, or court where the brazen altar stood. It is the second of these words which is used here: the Temple proper, the naos, the house of God, is measured, together with the altar. We are not told which altar is intended. It is at least too hasty to say that it must be the altar of incense, as this alone was in the Temple proper; for the explicit direction to measure the altar sounds like an extension of the measured area, and may perhaps mean that some portion of the court reserved for Israel is to be included in the measurement. The next verse, however, seems to imply that every spot outside the Temple proper was given up to the Gentiles, and was not to be measured. It is perhaps wisest, therefore, not to settle too definitely. The gist of the measurement is the preservation of the true, invisible Church, the Church within the Church; and everything necessary to the worship—Temple, altar, worshippers—all are reserved. There will always be the real and the conventional—the true and the formal Christian; always those who profess and call themselves Christians, and those who hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. These last are the called and chosen and faithful (Revelation 17:14), the sealed who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and find therefore their safe lodging in the night of danger under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1; comp, also the whole Psalm, especially Revelation 11:4-5; Revelation 11:9-13;.

Revelation 11:1-2. And there was given me — By Christ, as appears from Revelation 11:3; a reed — As there was shown to Ezekiel, whose vision bore a great resemblance to this, Eze 40:-43. And the angel — Which had spoken to me before; stood by me, saying, Rise — Probably he was sitting to write; and measure the temple of God and the altar — The house and the inner court where the altar stood, in which the priests worshipped God and performed the duties of their office, and into which such as offered private sacrifices for themselves were admitted. A proper representation of the church of God and his true worship, and of such as were true worshippers of him. The reason, it seems, of St. John’s being commanded to measure the inner court and the temple was, to show that during all this period there were some true Christians, who conformed to the rule and measure of God’s word and worship. “Measuring the servants of God is equivalent to sealing them. The unmeasured tenants of the outer court, and the unsealed men throughout the Roman empire, are alike the votaries of the apostacy; while they that were measured and they that were sealed, are the saints who refused to be partakers of its abominations.” — Faber, vol. 2. p. 53. This measuring might allude more particularly to the Reformation from popery, which took place under the sixth trumpet. And one of the moral causes of it was the Othman’s taking Constantinople, which occasioned the Greek fugitives to bring their books with them into the more western parts of Europe, and proved the happy cause of the revival of learning; as the revival of learning opened men’s eyes, and proved the happy occasion of the Reformation. But though the inner court, which includes the smaller number, was measured, yet the outer court, which implies the far greater part, was left out, (Revelation 11:2,) and rejected, as being in the possession of those who were Christians only in name, but Gentiles in worship and practice, who profaned it with heathenish superstition and idolatry; and they shall tread under foot the holy city — They shall trample upon and tyrannise over the church of Christ, which shall be filled with idolaters, infidels, and hypocrites, possessing its most eminent and lucrative places, while true Christians are oppressed in a grievous manner; and that for the space of forty and two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days, thirty days being included in a month, the same period with that afterward termed a time, times, and a half time; that is, a year, two years, and half a year, or three years and a half, according to the ancient year of three hundred and sixty days, all which are prophetic numbers; so that twelve hundred and sixty days are twelve hundred and sixty years. Now it plainly appears from the predictions both of Daniel and St. John, that this period of persecution and trouble has no connection with the persecutions which the church endured from the pagan Roman emperors. We are, however, according to the same prophecies, to look for the promoters of it within the limits of the old Roman empire; and since that empire had embraced Christianity previous to its division into ten kingdoms, the little horn, which symbolizes one of these persecuting powers, and which is represented as being contemporary with the ten kingdoms, must be nominally Christian. And this is no other than the apostate Church of Rome, so minutely described by St. Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:1, as well as by Daniel and St. John. And the two latter specify with much exactness the era from which the computation of the twelve hundred and sixty years is to be made. Daniel directs us to date them from the time when the saints were, by some public act of the state, delivered into the hand of the little horn: and St. John, in a similar manner, teaches us to date them from the time when the woman, the true church, fled into the wilderness from the face of the serpent; when the mystic city of God began to be trampled under foot by a new race of Gentiles, or idolaters; when the great Roman beast, which had been slain by the preaching of the gospel, revived in its bestial character, by setting up an idolatrous spiritual tyrant in the church; and when the witnesses began to prophesy in sackcloth. A date which, as Mr. Faber justly observes, can have no connection with the mere acquisition of a temporal principality by the pope, but must evidently be the year in which the bishop of Rome was constituted supreme head of the church, with the proud title of bishop of bishops: for, by such an act, the whole church was formally given, by the head of the Roman empire, into the hand of the little horn. This was the year 606, when the reigning emperor, Phocas, the representative of the sixth head of the beast, declared Pope Boniface to be universal bishop; at which time, the saints being delivered into his hand, the twelve hundred and sixty years of the apostacy, in its public and dominant capacity, commenced. 11:1,2 This prophetical passage about measuring the temple seems to refer to Ezekiel's vision. The design of this measuring seems to be the preservation of the church in times of public danger; or for its trial, or for its reformation. The worshippers must be measured; whether they make God's glory their end, and his word their rule, in all their acts of worship. Those in the outer court, worship in a false manner, or with dissembling hearts, and will be found among his enemies. God will have a temple and an altar in the world, till the end of time. He looks strictly to his temple. The holy city, the visible church, is trodden under foot; is filled with idolaters, infidels, and hypocrites. But the desolations of the church are limited, and she shall be delivered out of all her troubles.And there was given me - He does not say by whom, but the connection would seem to imply that it was by the angel. All this is of course to be regarded as symbolical. The representation undoubtedly pertains to a future age, but the language is such as would be properly addressed to one who had been a Jew, and the imagery employed is such as he would be more likely to understand than any other. The language and the imagery are, therefore, taken from the temple, but there is no reason to suppose that it had any literal reference to the temple, or even that John would so understand it. Nor does the language used here prove that the temple was standing at the time when the book was written; for, as it is symbolical, it is what would be employed whether the temple were standing or not, and would be as likely to be used in the one case as in the other. It is such language as John, educated as a Jew, and familiar with the temple worship, would be likely to employ if he designed to make a representation pertaining to the church.

A reed - κάλαμος kalamos. This word properly denotes a plant with a jointed hollow stalk, growing in wet grounds. Then it refers to the stalk as cut for use - as a measuring-stick, as in this place; or a mock scepter, Matthew 27:29-30; or a pen for writing, 3 John 1:13. Here it means merely a stick that could be used for measuring.

Like unto a rod - This word - ῥάβδος rabdos - means properly a "rod, wand, staff," used either for scourging, 1 Corinthians 4:21; or for leaning upon in walking, Matthew 10:10; or for a scepter, Hebrews 1:8. Here the meaning is, that the reed that was put into his hands was like such a rod or staff in respect to size, and was therefore convenient for handling. The word "rod" also is used to denote a measuring-pole, Psalm 74:2; Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 51:19.

And the angel stood, saying - The phrase, "the angel stood," is missing in many mss. and editions of the New Testament, and is rejected by Prof. Stuart as spurious. It is also rejected in the critical editions of Griesbach and Hahn, and marked as doubtful by Tittmann. The best critical authority is against it, and it appears to have been introduced from Zechariah 3:5. The connection does not demand it, and we may, therefore, regard the meaning to be, that the one who gave him the reed, whoever he was, at the same time addressed him, and commanded him to take a measure of the temple and the altar.

Rise, and measure the temple of God - That is, ascertain its true dimensions with the reed in your hand. Of course, this could not be understood of the literal temple - whether standing or not - for the exact measure of that was sufficiently well known. The word, then, must be used of something which the temple would denote or represent, and this would properly be the church, considered as the abode of God on the earth. Under the old dispensation, the temple at Jerusalem was that abode; under the new, that special residence was transferred to the church, and God is represented as dwelling in it. See the notes on 1 Corinthians 3:16. Thus, the word is undoubtedly used here, and the simple meaning is, that he who is thus addressed is directed to take an accurate estimate of the true church of God; as accurate as if he were to apply a measuring-reed to ascertain the dimensions of the temple at Jerusalem. In doing that, if the direction had been literally to measure the temple at Jerusalem, he would ascertain its length, and breadth, and height; he would measure its rooms, its doorways, its porticoes; he would take such a measurement of it that, in a description or drawing, it could be distinguished from other edifices, or that one could be constructed like it, or that a just idea could be obtained of it if it should be destroyed.

If the direction be understood figuratively, as applicable to the Christian church, the work to be done would be to obtain an exact estimate or measurement of what the true church was - as distinguished from all other bodies of people, and as constituted and appointed by the direction of God; such a measurement that its characteristics could be made known; that a church could be organized according to this, and that the accurate description could be transmitted to future times. John has not, indeed, preserved the measurement; for the main idea here is not that he was to preserve such a model, but that, in the circumstances, and at the time referred to, the proper business would be to engage in such a measurement of the church that its true dimensions or character might be known. There would be, therefore, a fulfillment of this, if at the time here referred to there should be occasions, from any cause, to inquire what constituted the true church; if it was necessary to separate and distinguish it from all other bodies; and if there should be any such prevailing uncertainty as to make an accurate investigation necessary.

And the altar - On the form, situation, and uses of the altar, see the Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 21:12. The altar here referred to was, undoubtedly, the altar situated in front of the temple, where the daily sacrifice was offered. To measure that literally, would be to take its dimensions of length, breadth, and height; but it is plain that that cannot be intended here, for there was no such altar where John was, and, if the reference were to the altar at Jerusalem, its dimensions were sufficiently known. This language, then, like the former, must be understood metaphorically, and then it must mean - as the altar was the place of sacrifice - to take an estimate of the church considered with reference to its notions of sacrifice, or of the prevailing views respecting the sacrifice to be made for sin, and the method of reconciliation with God. It is by sacrifice that a method is provided for reconciliation with God; by sacrifice that sin is pardoned; by sacrifice that man is justified; and the direction here is equivalent, therefore, to a command to make an investigation on these subjects, and all that is implied would be fulfilled if a state of things should exist where it would be necessary to institute an examination into the prevailing views in the church on the subject of the atonement, and the true method of justification before God.

And them that worship therein - In the temple, or, as the temple is the representation here of the church, of those who are in the church as professed worshippers of God. There is some apparent incongruity in directing him to "measure" those who were engaged in worship; but the obvious meaning is, that he was to take a correct estimate of their character; of what they professed; of the reality of their piety; of their lives, and of the general state of the church considered as professedly worshipping God. This would receive its fulfillment if a state of things should arise in the church which would make it necessary to go into a close and searching examination on all these points, in order to ascertain what was the true church, and what was necessary to constitute true membership in it. There were, therefore, three things, as indicated by this verse, which John was directed to do, so far as the use of the measuring-rod was concerned:

(a) to take a just estimate of what constitutes the true church, as distinguished from all other associations of people;

(b) to institute a careful examination into the opinions in the church on the subject of sacrifice or atonement - involving the whole question about the method of justification before God; and,

(c) to take a correct estimate of what constitutes true membership in the church; or to investigate with care the prevailing opinions about the qualifications for membership.


Re 11:1-19. Measurement of the Temple. The Two Witnesses' Testimony: Their Death, Resurrection, and Ascension: The Earthquake: The Third Woe: The Seventh Trumpet Ushers in Christ's Kingdom. Thanksgiving of the Twenty-four Elders.

This eleventh chapter is a compendious summary of, and introduction to, the more detailed prophecies of the same events to come in the twelfth through twentieth chapters. Hence we find anticipatory allusions to the subsequent prophecies; compare Re 11:7, "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" (not mentioned before), with the detailed accounts, Re 13:1, 11; 17:8; also Re 11:8, "the great city," with Re 14:8; 17:1, 5; 18:10.

1. and the angel stood—omitted in A, Vulgate, and Coptic. Supported by B and Syriac. If it be omitted, the "reed" will, in construction, agree with "saying." So Wordsworth takes it. The reed, the canon of Scripture, the measuring reed of the Church, our rule of faith, speaks. So in Re 16:7 the altar is personified as speaking (compare Note, see on [2700]Re 16:7). The Spirit speaks in the canon of Scripture (the word canon is derived from Hebrew, "kaneh," "a reed," the word here used; and John it was who completed the canon). So Victorinus, Aquinas, and Vitringa. "Like a rod," namely, straight: like a rod of iron (Re 2:27), unbending, destroying all error, and that "cannot be broken." Re 2:27; Heb 1:8, Greek, "a rod of straightness," English Version, "a scepter of righteousness"; this is added to guard against it being thought that the reed was one "shaken by the wind" In the abrupt style of the Apocalypse, "saying" is possibly indefinite, put for "one said." Still Wordsworth's view agrees best with Greek. So the ancient commentator, Andreas of Cæsarea, in the end of the fifth century (compare Notes, see on [2701]Re 11:3, 4).

the temple—Greek, "naon" (as distinguished from the Greek, "hieron," or temple in general), the Holy Place, "the sanctuary."

the altar—of incense; for it alone was in "the sanctuary." (Greek, "naos"). The measurement of the Holy place seems to me to stand parallel to the sealing of the elect of Israel under the sixth seal. God's elect are symbolized by the sanctuary at Jerusalem (1Co 3:16, 17, where the same Greek word, "naos," occurs for "temple," as here). Literal Israel in Jerusalem, and with the temple restored (Eze 40:3, 5, where also the temple is measured with the measuring reed, the forty-first, forty-second, forty-third, and forty-fourth chapters), shall stand at the head of the elect Church. The measuring implies at once the exactness of the proportions of the temple to be restored, and the definite completeness (not one being wanting) of the numbers of the Israelite and of the Gentile elections. The literal temple at Jerusalem shall be the typical forerunner of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which there shall be all temple, and no portion exclusively set apart as temple. John's accurately drawing the distinction in subsequent chapters between God's servants and those who bear the mark of the beast, is the way whereby he fulfils the direction here given him to measure the temple. The fact that the temple is distinguished from them that worship therein, favors the view that the spiritual temple, the Jewish and Christian Church, is not exclusively meant, but that the literal temple must also be meant. It shall be rebuilt on the return of the Jews to their land. Antichrist shall there put forward his blasphemous claims. The sealed elect of Israel, the head of the elect Church, alone shall refuse his claims. These shall constitute the true sanctuary which is here measured, that is, accurately marked and kept by God, whereas the rest shall yield to his pretensions. Wordsworth objects that, in the twenty-five passages of the Acts, wherein the Jewish temple is mentioned, it is called hieron, not naos, and so in the apostolic Epistles; but this is simply because no occasion for mentioning the literal Holy Place (Greek, "naos") occurs in Acts and the Epistles; indeed, in Ac 7:48, though not directly, there does occur the term, naos, indirectly referring to the Jerusalem temple Holy Place. In addressing Gentile Christians, to whom the literal Jerusalem temple was not familiar, it was to be expected the term, naos, should not be found in the literal, but in the spiritual sense. In Re 11:19 naos is used in a local sense; compare also Re 14:15, 17; 15:5, 8.Revelation 11:1,2 John is commanded to measure the temple, all but the

outer court.

Revelation 11:3,4 The two witnesses that shall prophesy,

Revelation 11:5,6 their power,

Revelation 11:7 the beast shall fight against them, and kill them,

Revelation 11:8-10 they shall lie unburied three days and a half,

Revelation 11:11,12 and then rise again, and ascend into heaven.

Revelation 11:13 A great earthquake.

Revelation 11:14 The second woe past.

Revelation 11:15-19 The seventh trumpet sounded: the heavenly choir

celebrate the glories of God’s kingdom.

And there was given me a reed like a rod; the next words tell us the use of this reed. It was a measuring reed, such a one as Ezekiel in his vision {Ezekiel 40:3} saw in the man’s hand. There, the measuring was in order to a rebuilding; here, in order to preserving.

And the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God: we cannot well understand what followeth, without understanding the structure of the temple. The Jews, for the place of their worship, had first a tabernacle, then a temple. The tabernacle was a movable house, which they took down and carried about with them in their journeyings, and pitched down when in any place they pitched their tents. We read of it, Exodus 40:1-38. We read but of one court in that, into which only the priests and Levites entered; the people were without it, pitching their tents round about it. It had in it an altar of gold for incense, Exodus 40:5, which stood before the ark, Exodus 40:26,27; and an altar for burnt-offering, which stood by the door of the tabernacle, Exodus 40:29. The temple was built by Solomon, 1 Kings 6:1-38, and afterwards rebuilt by Zerubbabel, upon their return out of captivity. That was built with two courts; an inner court, 1 Kings 6:36, in which was the altar; and an outward court, which is called the great court, 2 Chronicles 4:9, and in Ezekiel, many times, the outward court. This is called the house, in 1 Kings 6:17. It was in length forty cubits; the oracle was within it, 1 Kings 6:19, where stood the ark covered with the cherubims. Into the inward court the priests and Levites only came; into the outward court came any of the Israelites. Herod, upon the additional building to the temple, added another large court, called the court of the Gentiles; but that not being of God’s direction, nor in Solomon’s temple, or Zerubbabel’s, is not here mentioned. This temple was a type of the church under the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 3:17 2 Corinthians 6:16, and is so to be interpreted generally in this book: for the material temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans more than twenty years before this prophecy, never to be built more; not one stone was left upon another; so that John here was bid to measure the church.

And the altar, and them that worship therein; yet not the whole church, but that part of it which the inner court typified; the altar, and those that worshipped within that space where that was, which of old were only the priests and Levites; and under the New Testament signified those who were to be a holy priesthood, a spiritual house, those that should offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:5, who could endure a measuring by God’s reed, the word of God.

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod,.... A measuring reed, which with the Jews was six cubits long, Ezekiel 40:5; with the Greeks and Romans, ten feet long; the Ethiopic version here calls it a "golden reed", as in Revelation 21:15. This was given unto John very likely by the same angel that gave him the little book, since he afterwards bids him arise and measure with it; and by it seems to be designed the holy Scripture, or the word of God, which is sometimes called a line, a rule, and rod, Psalm 19:4, and which is the rule and measure of doctrine and faith; and by it all doctrine is to be tried and measured, and whatsoever is not agreeably to it is not of God, nor to be received, but rejected; and it is the rule and measure of all discipline, worship, and practice; it lays down the plan of a Gospel church, which should be gathered out of the world, and separated from it; it shows who are the proper materials of it, what officers are to be constituted in it, and what ordinances are to be administered, and what laws and rules should be observed in receiving and rejecting of members, and according to which the whole community should walk; in short, it directs to all the forms, laws, and ordinances of God's house; and this is the use John, or those whom he represents, were to make of it:

and the angel stood; the same that stood with his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and gave to John the little book, Revelation 10:1; though it may be not in the same place and situation, but rather at the gate of the temple, as in Ezekiel 40:3. This clause is not in the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, but is in the Syriac version and Complutensian edition, and is rightly retained, or otherwise it would seem as if the reed spoke:

saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein; the allusion is to the temple of Jerusalem, with its appurtenances; there were the most holy place, and the holy place, which was the inner court of the priests, into which they only entered, which was strictly speaking the temple, and is referred to here; and there was the altar of burnt offering, which was in the court of the priests, and the altar of incense, which was before the vail that divided between the holy and holy of holies; and then there was the outer court for all the Israelites to worship in, referred to in Revelation 11:2, and by "the temple of God" is here meant the church, of which the temple was a type; and so particular congregated churches are called temples, 1 Corinthians 3:16. Solomon, a man of peace, was the builder of the one, and Christ, the Prince of peace, the builder of the other; Solomon's temple was built of hewn stones, made ready before they were brought thither, and a true church of Christ consists of lively stones, hewed and fitted for this spiritual building by the Spirit of God; the temple at Jerusalem was built on a high mountain, and on the north of the city, the church is built upon the rock Christ Jesus, and the Gospel church, or churches, in the times of the sixth trumpet, which this vision refers to, and to the close of it, are in the northern parts of Europe; and as the temple was for religious use and service, for the worship of God and sacrifices, so is the Gospel church, and so are Gospel churches, for the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances, and for the offering up the sacrifices of prayer and praise; and as in the most holy place were the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat, and as it was the place of the divine Presence, where God granted communion to his people, so in the church are held forth the mysteries of the covenant, Christ as the mercy seat and the propitiatory, in whom the displays of grace are made, and through whom the saints have fellowship with God, and enjoy his presence: "the altar" may design Christ himself, by whom the saints draw nigh to God, offer up their sacrifices, and are accepted with him; or the whole of Gospel worship and ordinances, as prayer, preaching, singing of praise, and the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper: and they "that worship therein", or "thereat", are the royal priesthood, or such who are made kings and priests unto God, for none went into the inner court, or served at the altar, but priests; and who make use of Christ, the altar, of his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, in their approaches to God; and who are praying souls, wait at the altar of incense, and draw nigh to the throne or grace with a true heart, and worship God in Spirit and in truth: now "measuring" of these respects not the primitive church for the first three or four hundred years, and the formation of that according to the rule of God's word, and as a pattern to other churches; for though the apostolic church, or the church as it was in the apostles' time, and as described in their writings, was such a church; yet the church for such a space of time as above was not; there were great departures both from doctrine and discipline, the mystery of iniquity began to work, and way was made for the man of sin and it was far from being a pattern to be imitated; and besides, this measuring refers to the times of the sixth trumpet, and the close of it: nor does it respect the sealing of the 144,000 between the sixth seal and the opening of the seventh seal, which was for the protection and security of them during the times of the six trumpets, which brought desolation into the empire, and apostasy into the church; though measuring sometimes may seem to denote protection, as in Zechariah 2:1; and though the outer court is, and will be, a protection to spiritual worshippers, so long as it is not in the hands of the Gentiles, yet this is not the sense, at least not the whole of it: nor does this refer to the hiding of the church in the wilderness, during the reign of antichrist; which might seem to be signified by the internal worshippers retiring to the altar, and to the holy and the most holy place, and being concealed there; and especially since the opening of the temple in Revelation 11:19, may seem to be opposed to this; but that takes in too large a compass of time, this being an affair relating only to the close of the sixth trumpet, and which was to be before the seventh trumpet sounded: it seems rather to respect the times of the Reformation by Luther, Calvin, and others, when the measuring reed of the word was taken in hand, and used; but then it was used chiefly for the restoration of pure doctrine, and with good success, but not so much for the regulating and orderly discipline of the churches, for the purity of Gospel worship and ordinances; most, if not all the reformed churches, set out upon too broad a bottom, being national, provincial, or parochial; there was a temple, and an altar erected for God, and there were internal and spiritual worshippers; but then they took in the outward court, which should not have been measured in, and circumscribed with them, but should have been left out; but the time for this was not yet come, but now is: in short, I take it that this measuring refers to what was done in the last age, particularly in our nation; and that it has respect to the separation from the national church, when churches, more or less, were gathered and formed according to the Gospel plan and the primitive institution; a work which never was set about and so effectually done before since the age of the apostles: the baptized and congregational churches are the temple, altar, and worshippers measured, who have both the true doctrine, worship, and discipline of God's house among them; a set of men in the last age were raised up, who drew a plan of churches, and of church discipline, according to the ancient model; gathered churches out of the world, and constituted them according to the order of the Gospel; circumscribed them, and enclosed them according to the rules of God's word, admitting none but such into communion who were judged by the churches subjects of the grace of God; and rejected and excluded from among them such as were wicked and scandalous; and so reduced the pure members of churches to a small number, a little flock, a few names in Sardis: and I am of opinion that the measuring reed must be used again; we have got of late, through negligence, or a want of a spirit of discerning, too many of the outward court among us; who must be left out, in order to be given up to other hands, as follows.

And there {1} was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and {2} measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

(1) The authority of the intended revelation being declared, together with the necessity of that calling which was particularly imposed on John after which follows the history of the estate of Christ his Church, both conflicting or warring, and overcoming in Christ. For the true Church of Christ is said to fight against that which is falsely so called, over which Antichrist rules, Christ Jesus overthrowing Antichrist by the spirit of his mouth: and Christ is said to overcome most gloriously until he shall slay Antichrist by the appearance of his coming, as the apostle teaches in 2Th 2:8. So this history has two parts: One of the state of the Church conflicting with temptations until Chapter 16. The other of the state of the same church obtaining victory, thence to Chapter 20. The first part has two sections most conveniently distributed into their times, of which the first contains a history of the Christian Church for 1260 years, what time the gospel of Christ was as it were taken up from among men into heaven: the second contains a history of the same Church to the victory perfected. These two sections are briefly, though distinctly propounded in this chapter, but both of them are discoursed after in due order. For we understand the state of the Church conflicting, out of Chapters 12 and 13, and of the same growing out of afflictions, out of Chapters 14 to 16. Neither did John unknowingly join together the history of these two times in this chapter, because here is spoken of prophecy, which all confess to be but one just and immutable in the Church, and which Christ commanded to be continual. The history of the former time reaches to Re 11:2-14, the latter is set down in the rest of this chapter Re 11:15-19. In the former are shown these things: the calling of the servants of God in Re 11:4 the conflicts which the faithful must undergo in their calling, for Christ and his Church, thence to Re 11:5-10 and their resurrection, and receiving up into heaven to Re 11:11-14. In the calling of the servants of God, two things are mentioned: the begetting and settling of the Church in two verses, and the education of it in two verses. The begetting of the Church is here commended to John by sign and by speech: the sign is a measuring rod, and the speech a commandment to measure the Temple of God, that is, to reduce the same to a new form: because the Gentiles are already entered into the Temple of Jerusalem, and shall shortly defile and overthrow it completely.

(2) Either that of Jerusalem's, which was a figure of the Church of Christ, or that heavenly model in Re 11:19 but I like the first better, and the things following all agree to it. The sense therefore is, you see all things in God's house, almost from the passion of Christ, to be disordered: and not only the city of Jerusalem, but also the court of the Temple is trampled under foot by the nations, and by profane men whether Jews or strangers: and that only this Temple, that is, the body of the Temple, with the altar, and a small company of good men who truly worship God, do now remain, whom God sanctifies and confirms by his presence. Measure therefore this, even this true Church, or rather the true type of the true Church, omitting the rest, and so describe all things from me, that the true Church of Christ may be as it were a very little centre, and the Church of Antichrist as the circle of the centre, every way in length and breadth compassing about the same, that by way of prophecy you may so declare openly, that the state of the Temple of God, and the faithful who worship him, that is, of the Church, is much more upright than the Church of Antichrist.

Revelation 11:1. Καὶ ἐδόθη μοι. By whom, remains just as undetermined as Revelation 8:2, Revelation 6:11. De Wette, Ew. ii., think of the angel of ch. 10, who, however, has fulfilled there that to which he was called; Beng.[2791] refers it to Christ, but to this, Revelation 11:3 (ΜΑΡΤ. ΜΟΥ) does not constrain.

ΚἈΛΑΜΟς ὉΜΟΙΟς ῬΆΒΔῼ. That a reed serves as a ΜΈΤΡΟΝ,[2792] is to a certain extent explained as to its form, by its resemblance to a rule.

λέγων, without construction, as Revelation 4:1. Of course, the giver of the κάλαμος is meant; but it is incorrect, if one, as even Beng., regard the κάλαμος as the formally determined subject, and then by metonymy reaches its giver.

ἔγειρε καὶ μέτρησον. From the ἔγειρε it does not follow, that previously John was “in another posture of body,”[2793] perhaps kneeling; the ἔγειρε—otherwise than in Mark 5:41; John 5:8; Luke 5:23—corresponding to the Heb. קוּם,[2794] is only excitatory with respect to the closely connected ΚΑῚ ΜΕΤΡ.[2795]

It is not the purpose of the measuring, as the antithesis in Revelation 11:2 undoubtedly shows, to make visible the relations of space, which, besides, is not conceivable in the measuring of the ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΟῦΝΤΕς,—as in Ezekiel 40:1 sqq. the temple-building beheld by the prophet in its completion was measured in all its parts, because he is to learn its dimensions accurately,[2796]—but just as in Amos 7:7[2797] that is measured which was destroyed, with respect to what is to be exempted from destruction, so John must here measure what is mentioned in Revelation 11:1, because this is to be exempted from the destruction to which what is not measured (Revelation 11:2) is abandoned, and is therefore to be preserved. In this formal understanding, Grot., Eichh., Ew., De Wette, Lücke, Hengstenb., etc., agree, much as they diverge from one another in its more detailed interpretation. It is, therefore, incorrect to find the intention of the new building in the measuring; whether in Bengel’s sense, who here finds a confirmation of Ezekiel 40, viz., the prophecy of the building of the temple of Ezekiel at Jerusalem actually to occur at the end of days; or in the sense of the allegorists, who understand the ναὸς τ. θ. of the true Church of Christ, and refer to its glorious new building, in connection with which the old Protestant expositors[2798] regard the destruction of that which was consecrated (Revelation 11:2; Revelation 11:13), as the Roman-Catholic degeneration, Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8) as papal Rome; while the Catholics have in view the removal of the O. T. sanctuary, and the separation of wicked members of the Church, Revelation 11:2.[2799] See in general on Revelation 11:13.

ΤῸΝ ΝΑῸΝ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ. That part of the entire ἹΕΡΌΝ which contained the holy of holies, the holy place, and the porch; the proper temple-building,[2800] in distinction from the entire space of the outer courts, cf. Revelation 11:2. Incorrectly, Weiss:[2801] “The congregation of believing Jews.”

ΤῸ ΘΥΣΙΑΣΤΉΡΙΟΝ. Only the altar of incense can be meant; since only this, and not the altar of sacrifice,[2802] stood in the ΝΑΌς.[2803] For the argument of Hengstenb., that the ΝΑΌς itself is to be understood figuratively of the Christian Church, because here the altar of incense in the same is removed, there is no occasion. But, also, on the other side, the argument of De Wette is unsuitable, that in Revelation 6:9, Revelation 8:3, what is said pertains not to the altar of sacrifice, which does not occur at all in the Apoc., but to the altar of incense; for since the ΝΑῸς Τ. Θ. (Revelation 11:1) is different from the ΝΑῸς Τ. Θ. Ὁ ἘΝ Τ. ΟὐΡΑΝῷ (Revelation 11:19), just so little has the ΘΥΣΙΑΣΤΉΡΙΟΝ (Revelation 11:1) to do with the heavenly altar, Revelation 8:3, Revelation 6:9.

καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας ἐν αὐτῷ, viz., Τῷ ΝΑῷ. Vitr. refers ΑΥΤῷ to ΘΥΣΙΑΣΤ., and explains the ἘΝ by apud, since he interprets τ. προσκυν. by metonymy:[2804] “the place in which the people were accustomed to adore God,” and thus finally derives “the court of the Israelites.” To this view, conflicting with the idea of the ναός, and with Revelation 11:2,—which, besides, appears entirely confused by the fact that Vitr.[2805] understands by the ΘΥΣΙΑΣΤ. properly Christ,—he comes in order not to be compelled to conceive of the ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΟῦΝΤΕς in the ΝΑΌς, and at the altar found therein as exclusively priests, of whom many of the older Catholics, as C. a Lap, alone think. But as certainly as also the ΝΑῸς Τ. Θ. is to be sought in Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8), and the whole chapter is to be referred to the impending destruction of the city,[2806] just so certainly does the position of those ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΟῦΝΤΕς in the ΝΑΌς itself appear as one of the ideal features, which explain the whole prophecy, and extend it to the sphere of a mere foretelling of a future event. That John beholds true believers from Israel transferred to the ΝΑῸς Τ. Θ., otherwise standing open only to priests, is interposed because of his knowledge of the priestly character of all believers, Jews and Gentiles.[2807] But as in ch. 7 he reports the sealing of believers out of Israel, as a necessary preparation for the judgment impending over Israel; so here, where the judgment breaks upon Israel those believers together with the proper dwelling of God are measured, just as he protects the ναὸς τ. Θ. before its sinking in judgment.[2808] [See Note LXVII., p. 332.]

[2791] Cf. also Ew.

[2792] Cf. Ezekiel 40:3 : קְנֵה הַמִּדָה; LXX.: κάλαμος μέτρον. Cf. Revelation 21:15.

[2793] Beng.

[2794] Numbers 10:35; LXX.: ἐξεγέρθεις. Psalm 3:8; LXX.: ἀνάστα. Micah 6:1; LXX.: ἀνάστηθι.

[2795] Cf. Ew., De Wette, etc.

[2796] Cf. Revelation 21:15 sqq.; also Zechariah 2:5 sqq. is similar.

[2797] Cf. Habakkuk 3:16.

[2798] Par., Vitr., etc.

[2799] C. a Lap., Stern.

[2800] Matthew 23:35; Matthew 27:51.Revelation 11:1-2. “And I was given a rod (קְנֵה הַמִּדָּה) like a staff, with the words” (λέγων by a harsh attraction, cf. LXX of 1 Kings 20:9, Joshua 2:2, is left in apposition to the subject implied in ἐδόθη), “Up (or come = קוּמ) and measure the temple of God and the altar (of burnt-offering, which stood outside the inner shrine) and (sc. number) those who worship there” (i.e., in the inner courts, Revelation 13:6; for constr. cf. 2 Samuel 8:3). The outer court (Ezekiel 10:5) is to be left out of account (ἐκβ. = “omit” or exclude as unworthy of attention), “for it has been abandoned (or, assigned in the divine counsel) to the heathen, and (indeed) they shall trample on the holy city itself (emphatic by position, = Jerusalem) for two and forty months.” In Asc. Isa. iv. 12 antichrist’s sway lasts for three years, seven months, and twenty-seven days, but three and a half years is the conventional period for the godless persecutor to get the upper hand (cf. Revelation 13:5, after Daniel’s “time, and times, and the dividing of time,” i.e., three and a half years, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7). Originally this broken seven as the period of oppression reflected the Babylonian three and a half winter months (S. C. 309 f.; Cheyne’s Bible Problems, 111 f.), preceding the festival of Marduk in the vernal equinox, a solstice during which Tiamat reigned supreme. Here it is the stereotyped period of the καιροὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν (Luke 21:24), extending to the second advent.—μετρήσῃς. To measure is here not a prelude to ruin but a guarantee of preservation and restoration (Zechariah 2:1 f.). Failure to satisfy God’s standard or test means calamity for men. but when he surveys their capacities and needs in peril, it implies protection. As the context implies, this is the idea of the present measuring. It is not to be identified prosaically with “orders given to the Roman soldiers, who were encamped in Jerusalem after its destruction, not to set foot in what had been the Holy of Holies” (Mommsen).The Measuring Angel and the Two Witnesses. Chap. 11 Revelation 11:1-131. a reed] Ezekiel 40:3; Zechariah 2:1.

like unto a rod] i.e. a walking-staff: probably not as long as the one in Ezek., l.c., but perhaps of six feet:—so that it would naturally, when carried, be grasped near the upper end, like a pilgrim’s staff, or a modern alpenstock.

and the angel stood] These words should be omitted: they are no doubt inserted for grammatical completeness. “There was given unto me a reed like unto a staff, … saying” is of course easily understood to mean, “There was given unto me … he that gave it saying.” It thus is not certain that it is the “mighty angel” of the preceding chapter who speaks in this.

the temple of God] The word used is not that for the whole “Temple-precinct,” but the “Temple” in the narrowest sense—what in the O. T. is called “the house” or “the palace.”

the altar] Being distinguished from the Temple, we should naturally think of the Altar of Burnt-offering which stood outside it: besides that this was, and the Altar of Incense was not, large enough to be measured by something longer than a foot-rule. But we saw on Revelation 6:9 that the Heavenly Temple apparently has no Altar of Burnt-offering distinct from the Altar of Incense: so the question only becomes important if we suppose the earthly Temple to be meant.

Is it then the heavenly or the earthly Temple that St John is bidden to measure? Probably the latter. Without pressing the argument from Revelation 10:9, that the seer is now on earth, it is hardly likely that, whereas in Ezekiel, Zechariah, and inf. Revelation 21:15 the measurement, not of the Temple only but of the Holy City, is the work of angels, it should here be ascribed to a man. But what is more decisive is, that the whole of this chapter describes God’s rebukes and correcting judgements on the city, the fate of which is connected with that of the Temple here named. This proves that it is the earthly city of God that is meant—and therefore probably the literal Jerusalem: for the Christian Church, imperfectly as it realises its divine ideal, does not appear to be dissociated from it in Scriptural typology or prophecy: “Jerusalem which is above … is the Mother of us all,” even now, and even now “our citizenship is in Heaven.”

and them that worship therein] Lit. in it, not “in them,” i.e. in the Temple, the mention of “the Altar” being parenthetical. But neither the Temple (in the narrower sense) nor the Altar was ordinarily a place of spiritual “worship,” but only of the ritual “service of God.” Therefore the meaning of the Temple and Altar must be to some extent spiritualised: even if the prophecy be concerned with God’s judgements on Jerusalem and the Jewish people, we are not to understand that the actual Temple was to be spared (for we know it was not): but, most probably, that the true Israelites would not be cut off from communion with God, even when their city and the earthly splendours of their Temple were destroyed. Ezekiel 11:16 will thus illustrate the sense of the passage, though there does not appear to be a conscious reference to it.Revelation 11:1. Καὶ ἐδόθη μοι κάλαμος ὅμοιος ῥάβδῳ,[108] λέγων) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. Ἐδόθη μοι λέγων might be resolved by Syllepsis: for the Hebrews put לאמר absolutely; whence the idiom of the Septuagint translators, λέγων and λέγοντες, for instance, Isaiah 7:2, καὶ ἀπηγγέλη εἰς τὸν οἶκον Δαυὶδ, λέγων· where in the passive ἀπηγγέλη is contained the active ἀπήγγειλεν, and on ἀπήγγειλεν depends λέγεν: 2 Kings 18:36, ὅτι ἐντολὴ τοῦ βασιλέως, λέγων. And thus frequently, especially in Genesis and the earlier prophets, and Exodus 18:3; Exodus 18:6; 2 Chronicles 10:15; Isaiah 30:21; Ezekiel 12:22; Psalm 78:4; Job 22:17. In like manner λέγων might here be connected with the verb ἔδωκεν, which is contained in ἐδόθη. But the speech is more conveniently attributed to the rod itself by Metonymy; John not seeing Him who gave the rod, and who is to be known from Revelation 11:3; Revelation 11:8. For thus also John heard the Altar speaking, ch. Revelation 16:7.—ΜΈΤΡΗΣΟ:, measure) The measuring is yet future.

[108] So Ah Vulg. Memph. But Rec. Text, with B and Syr., adds καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος εἱστήκει before λέγων.—E.Verse 1. - And there was given me a reed like unto a rod. We are not told by whom the reed is given, but in Revelation 21. the angel has the reed, and so also in Ezekiel 40, upon which the incident seems founded (see Ezekiel 40; and cf. the reference to the outer court in ver. 17). The reed is "like a rod;" that is, like to a staff. It is for a measuring line, as in Zechariah 2:1. And the angel stood, saying. Omit all except "saying," as in the Revised Version. Λέγων is used absolutely, not as qualifying κάλαμος, "reed," as Andreas (cf. Revelation 4:1; Revelation 14:7; Revelation 19:6). Rise, and measure the temple of God; rather, rouse and measure, etc. The imperative verb does not imply anything as to the previous position of St. John. "The temple" is ναός, the shrine or dwelling place of God (as in ver. 19; also Revelation 3:12; Revelation 7:15), the inner temple, as distinguished from the outer court next mentioned. It scarcely seems possible to doubt that the temple is here figuratively used of the faithful portion of the Church of Christ. The word is plainly thus used in Revelation 3:12 and Revelation 7:15; and is frequently found with this signification in St. Paul's writings, which were probably known to St. John. Dusterdieck and others think that St. John refers literally to the temple at Jerusalem, and to the earthly Jerusalem. But, if so, this portion of the Apocalypse stands self condemned as a prediction which was falsified within a year or two of its enunciation; for in ver. 13 it is expressly stated that the tenth part of the city fell. And nowhere else in the book do Jerusalem and the temple signify the earthly places. The object of the measurement is generally thought to be to set apart or mark off that which is measured from that which is felt without; but opinions vary as to why the temple is thus set apart, some thinking that it is the literal temple which is given over to destruction, others believing that the measuring is a token of the preservation of the Church of God. But may not the command have been given to St. John in order to direct his attention to the size of the Church of God? This is the common meaning of the expression throughout the Bible; it is so in Zechariah 2:1-5, a passage upon which this is possibly founded; and it is so in Revelation 21:15. Moreover, there seems a good explanation of the reason why such an incident, thus explained, should occur here. The six trumpets have spoken of the large portions of mankind against whom they were directed; the sixth has declared that men did nevertheless not repent. The seventh trumpet is about to announce yet more terrible woe for the worldly; and, previous to this, a brief but vivid description is given of the oppression to be suffered by the Church - a description inserted here in order to lead up to, and demonstrate the absolute necessity for, the terrible final judgment. Among the ungodly are even some who are nominally members of the Church, who are typified by the outer court. No one could be more conscious that only a portion of the Church - "the elect" - was to be saved than the writer of the Epistles to the seven Churches (Revelation 1-3.). Might not the seer and his hearers be inclined to ask, "Who, then, can be saved? Are there any who escape when so much is said about the punishment in store for men?" In answer to such questions, the seer is bidden to remember, what is apt to be forgotten in the dejection caused by the contemplation of the huge amount of wickedness which undoubtedly exists in the world, viz. the large number of good men who form God's staple. It is to be noticed, also, that no mention is made of the command being actually carried out. It is as if the uttering of the command were sufficient to direct the attention of St. John to the fact which was to be conveyed to him, and that, therefore, the necessity for carrying out the injunction existed no longer. It therefore seems probable that "the temple" must be interpreted symbolically. It is the dwelling place of God, the place in which he is worshipped; that is, the multitude of true believers, or the faithful Church. St. John is bidden to measure it, in order to sustain the faith and hope of himself and his hearers. It is placed in antithesis to the outer court, the faithless portion of the visible Church of God, which is given over to the Gentiles - the type of all that is worldly. And the altar, and them that worship therein. The altar of incense alone stood within the ναός; but this may be only an accessory detail in the general description, and not to be pressed to a particular interpretation. "Them that worship therein" directs our thoughts to the individual members of the one body which collectively is "the temple." A rod

See on Revelation 2:27.

And the angel stood

Omit. The insertion of these words furnishes a subject for the agreement of the participle λέγων, which is irregular an construction. Literally the correct text reads, "there was given me a reed, saying." Accordingly Wordsworth refers the speech to the reed as an inspired medium of speech. Rev., better, and one said.

The temple (τὸν ναὸν)

See on Matthew 4:5.

The altar

Of incense, as that alone stood in the sacred place.

Them that worship

Note the peculiar expressed, measuring the worshippers with a reed.

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