Revelation 11:1
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers there.
Sermons
The Measuring of the TempleS. Conway Revelation 11:1, 2
The Cause of Right on EarthD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 11:1-19
The Cause of Right on EarthD. Thomas Revelation 11:1-19
The Extent and Limit of the True Church of GodC. Clemance, D. D.Revelation 11:1-19
The Living Temple of Christ's Church and the Two Witnesses of the Word Written and the SacramentsBp. Grafton.Revelation 11:1-19
The Measuring of the TempleS. Conway, B. A.Revelation 11:1-19
The Right TempleJames Wells.Revelation 11:1-19
The Temple of GodG. Rogers.Revelation 11:1-19
The True Church ReducedBp. Horsley.Revelation 11:1-19


Whether this chapter be the history of events that had already taken place when it was written or were then happening; or whether it consists of predictions inspired of God of events then future, though near at hand in the history of Judaism and of the Church; or of events yet future in the experience of the whole Church, as many affirm; or whether, yet again, the whole chapter be an inspired allegory which, under the likeness of actual historical events, or of incidents recorded in the ancient Scriptures, were intended to convey to us spiritual teachings applicable to all times; - who can positively and certainly say? And like doubt hangs over the interpretation of the forty and two months told of here and elsewhere, whether they are to be taken literally, symbolically, or according to the reckoning of those who count each day to mean a year. We stay not, however, to discuss these questions, but prefer to take these verses which tell of the measuring of the temple as echoes of those earlier teachings of this book, and of many other Scriptures beside, which tell us of the Lord's perpetual presence in his Church, his strict investigation and his perfect knowledge of all who constitute her membership, and of all that occurs therein. "The Lord is in his holy temple; his eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men:" of such words does this command to "Arise, and measure the temple" remind us, and in the sense they suggest we desire to consider them now. Let us observe, therefore -

1. THE MEASURING. We have a similar command in Ezekiel 40., when in like inspired vision that prophet beholds the glorious restored temple of God. And so in Revelation 21. of this book we read of the angel who had the golden reed to measure the holy city. But as in those other representations we cannot think that material earthly buildings are meant, or any literal measurements whether of city or temple, so here we regard the temple as telling of that glorious spiritual fabric of which we so often read under like imagery in the Epistles of St. Paul; and the measuring is a metaphor to signify that careful investigation and scrutiny whereby true knowledge is gained as to the nearness or otherwise of that which is measured to its proper standard and ideal. For it is to be noted:

1. God has an ideal for everything, a standard to which he would have it conform. He had in the creation of the world, and we are told how he saw all that which he had made, and declared that it answered to his ideal, and that it was "very good." And he looks down from heaven - so we are told - to see what is done upon the earth; he taketh account of all that men do. All other creatures fulfil their ideal, there is no need to take account of them; but man, endowed with the terrible power of contradicting and refusing his Maker's will, as well as of assenting to it - and he could not have the one without the other - it is needful that the Lord should "behold" and "try" his actions by an unerring standard in order that he may be the more readily led to try them in like manner himself, and so conform them thereto the more nearly.

2. Christ is the ideal Man, and therefore called "the Son of man." He did in all things so answer to his Father's intent that he was the "beloved Son in whom" God was "well pleased." That is the standard to which we are to look, and by which we are to regulate our lives. Happy they who follow him closely "whithersoever he goeth."

3. And this "measuring is continually going on. There is an inward monitor as well as an outward one. Conscience affirms, consents to, and confirms what the Word of God declares, and is perpetually holding up both the standard and ourselves, and making us inwardly if not outwardly blush when we see the contrast between the two.

4. How grateful we should be for this! Lord with what care thou hast begirt us round!" so sings holy George Herbert; and one evidence of this care is in the constant bringing before our consciences the rigid rule of right. But note next -

II. THE MEASURED THAT ARE SPOKEN OF HERE. The temple, the altar, and the people.

1. The temple of God. No doubt St. John, as a devout Jew, and one who had often frequented with joy the courts of the Lord's house at Jerusalem, had that temple - for it was still standing, though soon to fall - before his mind. And it was to him a symbol and type of all Israel, if not of the whole Church of God (cf. St. Paul, "In whom the whole building fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple unto the Lord"). He is telling of the Church of God throughout the whole world and in all ages of time. Therefore we may take "the temple of God" as representing the Church in its outward form. Now, God has his ideal for this. What is it? The Catholic declares the true Church to be the great body of the baptized, organized into one organic whole. The individualist asserts that there is no such body that man can know of, but that the Church consists of "living stones," that is, of individual souls who have been quickened into the life of God by personal faith in Christ. And there are multitudes of subdivisions under each of these two ruling beliefs. But all such outward forms will be measured, tested, tried. And what will the standard be to which conformity will be demanded? Christ's herald said, "Now also the axe is laid at the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:10). By this supreme test will all our Church organizations be tried. What fruit have they borne in that which is the end of all religion - the making of bad men good, and good men better? Have souls in such Churches been quickened, converted, cheered, built up, and helped heavenward? If so, well. If not, then not well. No antiquity, orthodoxy, catholicity, popularity, beauty, wealth, or any other such plea will stand if God's standard be not answered to, and his demand for "good fruit" be not met. The axe will fall, and the tree will go down.

2. The altar. This also was to be measured. We may take "the altar" as the symbol of the worship of the Church. Around it Israel gathered; on it the fire was perpetually burning; from it was taken the fire which enkindled the incense that went up in the immediate presence of God. It was the centre of Israel's worship: there was but one altar for them all. It therefore does set forth the worship of the Church according to the Divine ideal, and the altar was to be measured, that that worship might be compared with that ideal. Is our worship fervent? On that altar was an ever burning fire. Upon the heads of the disciples at Pentecost descended fire, telling that Christ's people were to be known by their ardour. And the altar fire tells that worship is to be fervent. Is it spiritual? Does it ascend up to God as the smoke of the sacrifice mounted up and up into the heavens, - symbol, beautiful, striking, appropriate, of that uplifting of the heart, that real outgoing of the soul after God, which belongs to all true worship? And, above all, is it sacrificial? The altar was for sacrifice. Worship that has not this element in it will be rejected when that measurement of the altar told of here takes place. And let no one think that having correct views as to the atonement of Christ, and making mental reference thereto, or verbal, by adding on, as we should, to all our prayers, "through Jesus Christ our Lord " - let no one think that that fulfils the ideal of altar worship. No; our worship may ring with the mention of that ever blessed Name, and our views may be of the most unexceptional sort, and there be not one atom of "sacrifice" in our worship. And often and often, as in the Lord's prayer, that Name may not be heard at all, and ideas about the atonement may be very crude, and yet the worship be full of sacrifice, and will bear well the measuring which is to be applied to all our worship. Sacrifice means giving up something which we should like to keep. Was not Christ's sacrifice such? Is not all sacrifice such? If, then, worship do not carry with it the giving up of anything, save the little time that it occupies to get through with it; if sin be not given up, nor self, nor that which we have and could spare, and our brother needs; - if there be naught of this, where is the sacrifice? how will our worship bear God's test?

3. The people. "Them that worship therein " - so we read. Now, the Divine ideal for these may be learnt by noting what was not to be measured. And we are told in ver. 2 that "the court which is without the temple... measure it not." It was to be cast out, left out of the reckoning altogether. Now, the outer court of the temple was the addition of Herod; he was given to erecting magnificent buildings, and the addition of this outer court did undoubtedly add much to the splendour of the whole fabric. But such court had no place in the tabernacle nor in the temple of Solomon or that of Zerubbabel. But Herod had made this outer court in the temple at Jerusalem. It was thronged by all manner of people. There it was the money changers had their tables, and they who bought and sold doves. The Gentiles might come there, though they might not pass into what was especially the temple, and which was sacred to Israelites only. And so it represented all those outer court worshippers, those mixed multitudes which are found associated with God's true people everywhere of them, but not truly belonging to them. The courts of the temple were separated literally. No Gentile durst pass the boundaries which parted the outer court from the rest of the temple on pain of death. But there is no such visible, material, separation in the throng of worshippers in the professing Church of God. We cannot draw the line nor apply the measure. But all the same there is such a line drawn, and it is clearly visible to the eye of God. He can discriminate, though we cannot, between those who profess and those who possess true religion, and one day he will make this difference plain. Tares get in amongst the wheat, bad fish amid the good, the foolish virgins were associated with the wise; and the worshippers in the true temple of God today are mingled with those whose place is in the outer court. But as in the parables referred to separation did come at last, so will it be for the Church of today, when the Son of man sends forth his angels, and they "gather out of his kingdom all that do offend, and they that work iniquity." The question, therefore, for us all is - Where do we belong! In that outer court were many who were well disposed towards Israel's God, and professed more or less of attachment to his worship; but they were not true Israelites. And the like is true still. "Let a man examine himself, and so let him" take his place in the Church of God.

III. THE MEANING OF ALL THIS. It was because a time of sore trial was imminent, close at hand. For "forty and two months" the court and the city were to be trodden underfoot by the nations. The invasion and overthrow of Jerusalem by the Romans, and the escape of the Christian Church to Pella, supply illustrative historical incidents of the treading underfoot told of here, and of the measuring, like the sealing of Revelation 7., for the purpose of separating and preserving God's faithful ones. God ever has, even in the worst of times, a remnant of such; like the "seven thousand" who had not bowed the knee to Baal. And he takes notice of them, and will keep them securely, whilst those who are not as they are subjected to his sore judgments. The measuring means preservation for the faithful, judgment for all else. "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people." The measuring is ever going on. Let us each ask - On which side of that unerring line am I? - S.C.









Go and take the little book.
(with Ezekiel 2:8-10; Ezekiel 3:1-3): — The symbolical scene in the case of Ezekiel was enacted over again in the case of John; only with such surroundings of majesty and magnificence as were but befitting after John's humiliated but glorified Master had sat down on His throne in heaven. Now, in the first place, we see in that fine symbolical scene God's own immediate way of making a minister — a book. A book plays a great part in the salvation of men. A book is brought down from heaven to earth — a book written in heaven lies open in the hand of the heavenly messenger, and the salvation "of many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" lies wrapped up in that little book. "Go thou," said the voice from heaven to John, "Go thou and take the book." Now that is being both said and done every day among ourselves. There is the Book, and there are the people, and there somewhere among the people is the man chosen of God to take the Book, and to make the Book his own, and then to carry it to the people; "Go," the Spirit of God says to that man, "Go, leave all other occupations and all other pursuits; give thyself, body and soul, day and night, and all the days of thy life, to that Book." "Take the book and eat it," said the angel to the seer. You will observe that the angel did not say, "Take the book and read it." Had it been any other book but the Book it was, to read it himself and to have it written out and sent to all the Churches would have been enough. But that was not enough for this Book. Interpret the Bible like any other book, it is the fashion of our day to say, and in some senses that is an excellent enough rule; but that was not the angel's rule that day to John, All other books in John's day were to be read, but this Book was to be eaten. Yes, eaten. Clearly, then, this is not an ordinary Book. Clearly this is like no other book. Job said: "Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips. I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." Eat, then, this same meal; eat it both minister and people; and eat it for your first food every morning. It will do for you what no earthly food, the best and the most necessary, can do; see that all its strength and all its sweetness fills your heart before you eat any other meat; read God's Book, and have it next your heart to defend yourself against the influences of men that attempt to overthrow you. "Enough of that; bring me my Bible," his widow told me one of my old elders used to say, as they read to him the morning newspaper; "enough of that; bring me my Bible." The Word of God was more to that saint than all else, and his widow and I rejoice to tell the story after he has gone home to his rest. The Word of God was more to him than that which is to some of you your necessary food. But what does this mean — this extraordinary thing, "It was in my mouth sweet as honey, but as soon as I had eaten it my belly was bitter"? The best way, the only way indeed to find out all that means is to eat the same roll ourselves, and then to observe what passes within ourselves. Religion is an experimental science. Just you eat the Book now before you as Ezekiel and John ate it, and then tell us what takes place with you. I will tell you what will take place. The Word of God will be bitter in your mouth every morning, bitter with memories of yesterday and yester-night. Yes, the grace of God, and the abiding and abounding mercy of God, they are in His blessed Word always passing sweet to a penitent sinner. Ah, the truth is that the power, and the holiness, and the heavenly beauty of God's Word is the daily and the sweet experience of all those who make the Word of God their earliest and their most necessary food. But after this, when this sweet Book descends into what David calls our "inward parts"; when the holy, and the just, and the good Word of God enters our guilty conscience and our corrupt heart, then there is bitterness indeed; for a sense of sin, as we so lightly speak, is then awakened in the soul, and with that new sense comes a new bitterness, compared with which the waters of Marah are milk and honey. "Son of man, eat that thou findest," says Jehovah to Ezekiel in the vision. "Take it, and eat it up," said the angel in like manner to John. Neither the prophet nor the apostle was asked or allowed to pick and choose, as we say. They were not to eat the sweet, and spit out the bitter. They were not to keep rolling the sweet morsels under their tongue, and to keep their inward parts strangers to their inward share of the Divine Book. I know this Scripture will not be sweet to all who hear it; but if it is at first bitter it must not be cast out. We must allow ourselves to read and preach and hear the whole Word of God. "Son of man, eat that thou findest"; and again, "Take the roll and eat it up." It is a fine study to take up the Old Testament, and to trace all through it how prophet follows prophet, and psalmist follows psalmist, each several prophet and psalmist taking home to himself all that the prophets and the psalmist had said and sung before him; and then, having made the Book their own by reading it, by praying ever it, by singing it, by eating it, as the figure is, then when their own call came they prophesied prophecies, and sang psalms, new psalms, new prophecies as the people's need was — never contenting themselves with just countersigning and repeating what any former prophet had said, what any former psalmist had sung, however great and however good in his time that prophet and psalmist had been.

(A. Whyte, D. D.)

The "little book" may be taken to illustrate God's redemptive truth, or the gospel.

I. The gospel is BROUGHT TO MAN FROM HEAVEN. The was in which alienated humanity can be brought into a loving sympathy with God transcends human discovery. Divine messengers brought this "little book" to man, and Christ embodied it.

II. This gospel is TO BE APPROPRIATED BY MAN. "Eat it up." The spirit of this "little book" must become the inspiring and the regnant spirit of our being.

III. This gospel has A TWOFOLD EFFECT ON MAN. "Sweet" in its disclosures of infinite love and promises of future blessedness; "bitter" in its convictions of sin, reproofs, and denunciations. It produces in the soul sorrow and joy, sighs and songs; and its bitterness will remain as long as one particle of depravity continues in the heart.

IV. This gospel, APPROPRIATED, QUALIFIES MAN FOR HIS MISSION (ver. 11).

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Take it, and eat it up.
There are many different kinds of books in the world.

I. THERE ARE SOME WHICH HAVE NOTHING IN THEM. They are not directly harmful, but neither are they of much good. When you have read them you can scarcely remember anything that they contained. They are very much like a kind of pastry which we call "trifle." The moment you put it into your mouth it vanishes into thin air. Beware of books which only please you for the moment, and do nothing that would make you better or wiser.

II. THERE ARE OTHER BOOKS WHICH ARE STUPEFYING. They dull the senses. They are like what we call "opiates," which make men feel heavy and stupid. Be careful never to read books which merely please by soothing and dulling the senses.

III. THERE ARE OTHER BOOKS WHICH ARE UNDULY EXCITING. I do not object to a reasonable amount of interest. Every book worth the reading must in one sense excite us; but I am not now speaking of books which excite you by the amount of true knowledge which they give, or noble enthusiasm which they impart, but those which excite you by the feverish curiosity with which they fire you. I earnestly warn you against every book which makes it more difficult for you to do your every-day duty.

IV. THERE ARE OTHER BOOKS WHICH ARE VERY HARD TO DIGEST, I have no doubt some of you think, for instance, that books on arithmetic or English grammar are very indigestible; but if you take a little at a time, and masticate that well before you take more, you will find that even hard books will agree with you wonderfully, and that you will be stronger and better for having taken them. Children suffer from indigestion, in learning difficult tasks, by taking too much at a time. The great secret of success is to take a little often, and to see that you learn well every little lesson, and thus make it your own, before you take more.

V. THERE ARE OTHER BOOKS WHICH ARE DECIDEDLY POISONOUS. Take care that you do not eat them. These books speak well of sin, and kindly of evil. Beware of any book that does not agree with the Bible in its estimate of good and of evil.

VI. And now I want to tell you of this one Book — THE BIBLE — Of which you need never grow weary.

(D. Davies.)

Divine truth is not something for intellectual speculation, it is not something for memory, but diet for the life. It must be transmuted into the moral blood, and sent through the heart into every fibre of our being.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

"Read the Word of God much," said General Gordon, "but chew it more." That is pondering. Make a practice of it; make a rule of it.

(Bp. Talbot.)

Thou must prophesy again
I. CHRISTIAN EFFORT MUST BE PERSONAL. "Thou." The faculties of the individual man must be excited to activity in the cause of God. The most magnificent achievements of the human mind have been wrought out in lonely musings and lonely labours. If we would hew the rugged forms of our fellow-men into the symmetry and grace of Christian discipleship we must not be content to give subscriptions for evangelistic purposes; but we must feel a responsibility that is all our own, and while acting in brotherly union we must also act as if we had been specially called to a task in which no one has so much to do as ourselves.

II. CHRISTIAN EFFORT MUST BE PROPORTIONED TO PERSONAL ABILITY. "Thou must prophesy." John had the prophetic gift, and he was to use it. God has called thousands to His work, and though all cannot do the same thing, all are to do their best in that which they can do. A man with a divided mind, with his mind in part intent on his own ease, and in part only on the work of the Lord, will accomplish nothing worth naming. But let him unite his faculties, let him bring all the strength and all the determination of his soul to bear on the task to which he is called, let him throw the glow and enthusiasm of his nature into his duty with the bold avowal, "This one thing I do," and though a thousand difficulties withstand him, he will sweep on to the consummation of his plains.

III. CHRISTIAN EFFORT MUST BE REPEATED. "Thou must prophesy again." Nothing great can be done all at once. It was only after many struggles that Wilberforce succeeded in the abolition of the slave trade. Nor are we to think that any strange thing has befallen us, or to deem it a reason for suspending our labours, if months or even years elapse before we see the moral and religious reformation at which we are aiming. We cannot reasonably expect that rude, ignorant, vicious men will all at once be transformed into melodious Davids, magnificent Isaiahs, or saintly Johns. We cannot reasonably expect that Babylon will come crashing to the ground at our first shout, and its ruins start at a touch into the majesty of a holy city. We shall have to "prophesy again"; we shall have to repeat our efforts before we see "the pleasure of the Lord prosper in our hand."

IV. CHRISTIAN EFFORT MUST ENLARGE THE SCOPE OF ITS MOVEMENTS. "Thou must prophesy again before many peoples," etc. The more we do, the more we see there is to do. Patriotism owns that this is a land which, from white cliff in the south to sternest precipice in the north, is worthy of any labour and any self-sacrifice. If the statesman will contend from early evening until the morning crimsons the windows of the Senate House for measures by which he intends to enlarge the liberties and increase the happiness of the people — if the soldier will stride over the field of deadly fight and rush through the fiery breach that the foeman's drum may not be beaten in our street, nor the foeman's flag be lifted among our old ancestral oaks, it surely becomes us to raise ourselves to the level of Christian patriotism, and to stretch out our prayers and our labours so that they shall include the whole nation.

(G. Marrat.).16

Rise, and measure the temple of God. &&&
The temple and altar, and them that worshipped therein, were capable of measurement. They were not like the unorganised multitude, formless, creedless, undisciplined, without the court. The temple, the altar, and its priesthood and the worshippers, have strength of form and organisation, and the beauty of order. So the apostles organise the Church, set in order its worship, establish its discipline. Standing before the Incarnate Son of God, who in the spiritual organism of His temple, the Church, reveals Himself, and bearing their corroborating testimony to the faith are the two witnesses of the sacraments and the written Word.

1. Consider first the witness of the sacraments.(1) They are the instrumental life-givers. For Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, is to the new creation what God, "Creation's secret force," is to the old.(2) So likewise the sacraments enlighten. Baptism with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, declares the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity as the fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith. It manifests our sinful condition and the need of a washing away of sin.(3) The sacraments are witnesses. The Church, filled with sacramental life, bears witness to the world.

2. Turn we next to the other great witness, the written Word. The written Word self-evidences its own inspiration.

(Bp. Grafton.)

At the time of this prophecy the literal temple was no more. The once-holy city was defiled by the "abomination of desolation." Then the true temple, the true holy city, existed in "the Church of the living God." The outer enclosure is not to be reckoned as a part of the temple in this Divinely appointed remeasurement. All this most impressively sets forth the fact that Zion's external buildings cover a much wider space than the real heartworshippers whom God. will own. There may be, and there are, large masses of people at the outer fringe of our Christian services. But ii now a heavenly messenger were to come among us who was appointed to measure the real living temple of God, would it not turn out that, of a very large part of our surroundings, the order would be, "Measure it not"? This measurement from on high is ever going on. And if the great Lord of the Church saw fit to show us in a vision who are in His Church and who are not, many would be without whom we thought were in, and many within whom we thought were out. But not by any human hands can the true temple of God be built; nor yet by any human eye can its limits be discerned.

(C. Clemance, D. D.)

I. THE MEASURING. But as in those other representations we cannot think that material earthly buildings are meant, or any literal measurements whether of city or temple, so here we regard the temple as telling of that glorious spiritual fabric of which we so often read under like imagery in the Epistles of St. Paul, and the measuring is a metaphor to signify that careful investigation and scrutiny whereby true knowledge is gained.

1. God has an ideal for everything, a standard to which He would have it conform. He had in the creation of the world. And He looks down from heaven — so we are told — to see what is done upon the earth; He taketh account of all that men do.

2. Christ is the ideal Man, and therefore called "the Son of Man." He did in all things so answer to His Father's intent that He was the "beloved Son in whom" God was "well pleased."

3. And this "measuring " is continually going on. There is an inward monitor as well as an outward one.

4. How grateful we should be for this! "Lord, with what care Thou hast begirt us round!" so sings holy George Herbert; and one evidence of this care is in the constant bringing before our consciences the rigid rule of right.

II. THE MEASURED THAT ARE SPOKEN OF HERE. The temple, the altar, and the people.

1. The temple of God. It was a symbol and type of all Israel, if not of the whole Church of God (St. Paul, "In whom the whole building fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple unto the Lord") Therefore we may take "the temple of God" as representing the Church in its outward form. Now, God has His ideal for this. What is it? By this supreme test will all our Church organisations be tried. What fruit have they borne in that which is the end of all religion? No antiquity, orthodoxy, catholicity, popularity, beauty, wealth, or any other such plea will stand if God's standard be not answered to, and His demand for "good fruit" be not met. The axe will fall, and the tree will go down.

2. The altar. This also was to be measured. We may take "the altar" as the symbol of the worship of the Church. Is our worship fervent? On that altar was an ever-burning fire. Is it spiritual? Does it ascend up to God as the smoke of the sacrifice mounted up into the heavens — symbol, beautiful, striking, appropriate, of that uplifting of the heart, that real outgoing of the soul after God, which belongs to all true worship? And, above all, is it sacrificial? The altar was for sacrifice. Worship that has not this element in it will be rejected when that measurement of the altar told of here takes place. Sacrifice means giving up something which we should like to keep. Was not Christ's sacrifice such? Is not all sacrifice such?

3. The people. "Them that worship therein" — so we read. Now, the Divine ideal for these may be learnt by noting what was not to be measured. And we are told in ver. 2 that "the court which is without the temple... measure it not." It was to be cast out, left out of the reckoning altogether. Now, the outer court of the temple was the addition of Herod; he was given to erecting magnificent buildings, and the addition of this outer court did undoubtedly add much to the splendour of the whole fabric. But such court had no place in the tabernacle nor in the temple of Solomon or that of Zerubbabel. But Herod had made this outer court in the temple at Jerusalem. It was thronged by all manner of people. There it was the money-changers had their tables, and they who bought and sold doves. The Gentiles might come there, though they might not pass into what was especially the temple, and which was sacred to Israelites only. And so it represented all those outer-court worshippers, those mixed multitudes which are found associated with God's true people everywhere — of them, but not truly belonging to them.

III. THE MEANING OF ALL THIS. It was because a time of sore trial was imminent, close at hand. God ever has, even in the worst of times, a remnant. And He takes notice of them, and will keep them securely, whilst those who are not as they are subjected to His sore judgments. The measuring means preservation for the faithful, judgment for all else.

(S. Conway, B. A.)

I. THE CAUSE OF RIGHT ON THIS EARTH HAS ITS MEASURING RULE (vers. 1, 2).

1. In the human world there is right and wrong. There is the temple of God, etc. At the same time there is the court that is outside — a sphere discarded by the right and trampling on the holy. This, however, is only for a time.

2. Right here has its measuring line. Take the "temple" here as the emblem of right on the earth, and the "reed" as that of the moral law of God — the law that measures moral character. It is a plummet that sounds the deepest depths of being: it is a moral analyst to test the quality of every thought, affection, and deed.

II. THE CAUSE OF RIGHT ON THIS EARTH HAS ITS MIGHTY DEFENDERS (vers. 3-6).

1. They do their work in sadness. "Clothed in sackcloth." It is not a light work to stand up against a corrupt world and struggle against an age grinning with selfishness, sensuality, and cupidity.

2. They contribute Divine light. The "olive trees" fed the lamps and the "candlesticks" reflected the light. Were it not for the Divine defenders of the right, grand heroes in moral history, all the lamps of truth would go out, and the whole race would be mantled in midnight.

3. They exert tremendous power (ver. 5). Their words flash devouring flames, so shake the corrupt moral firmament under which their contemporaries are living, that the very heavens seem shut up and the rolling streams of life seem turned into blood.

III. THE CAUSE OF RIGHT ON THE EARTH HAS ITS TERRIBLE ANTAGONISTS (vers. 7-13).

1. The antagonists of the right are malignant; they not only murder, but they exult in their cruelty. The spirit of persecution is an infernal virus that gallops through the veins of the intolerant persecutor, and physical violence is the weapon.

2. The antagonists of the right are ever frustrated.

(1)Their victims were Divinely reanimated.

(2)Their victims ascended to heaven.

(3)With their ascension terrible calamities befall the earth.

IV. THE CAUSE OF RIGHT ON THE EARTH IS DESTINED TO TRIUMPH (vers. 14-19).

1. The rapture and adoration of the good. "The kingdoms of this world." What have they been? What are they now? Hellish mimicries of eternal right and power. Like muddy bubbles on the great stream of life, they have broken into the clear and fathomless river of rectitude and will appear no more, and this will continue for ever and ever. Well, then, might the righteous Worship and thank God.

2. The increased accessibility of heaven. "The temple of God was opened."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. ITS PECULIARITY. By "the temple of God," which John is commanded to measure, understand the true Church of Christ. The altar of incense is named, to denote the militant state of the Church, whose employment is prayer; in distinction from that of the Church triumphant, which is praise. The censer is in the hand of the "kings and priests unto God" below, the harp is in the hands of those above. That the measurement is to be confined to the altar and worshippers within the temple is obvious also from the refusal of its extension to the court; "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not." If whatever is without the temple be precluded from the measurement, all that to which it applies must of course be considered within.

II. ITS MEASUREMENT. Rise and see how far we have proceeded with the prophecies. Observe in what state we left the Church l Let a correct measurement be taken before we proceed further. Measure how far the building is advanced, and see what remains to bring it to perfection. See what injuries the temple of God has sustained from fierce and sanguinary attacks. It has suffered much, but behold it still abides. See now what the work is, after weathering its storms. "Rise and measure the temple of God." Measure too the altar. Take the dimensions of the altar of incense which has been reared for prayer and praise. Take the degree of faith in the everliving Intercessor. Measure the devotions of the sanctuary. Mark the plenitude and purity of the incense rising before the throne. Measure too the worshippers. Observe the number of professing Christians. Measure the spiritual stature, and gauge the heart of each one. Measure them that worship therein. There must be a certain breadth, and length, and depth, and height of character. There must be a certain depth of humility and self-renunciation, a certain height of faith and devotion, a certain length of integrity and zeal. View them as worshippers, and there is a certain height to which they must attain, in feeble imitation of the dignity of Him that sits upon the throne. The breadth of the believer's principles, the depth of his emotions, a certain breadth of sincerity and charity, the length of his hopes, the height of his joys, are far beyond the narrow bounds within which his whole being was formerly confined. His soul is enlarged. He is created anew in Christ Jesus. He has risen above this earth, and has attained a spiritual stature that brings him into fellowship with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ. His conversation is in heaven.

III. THE DESECRATION OF THE COURT BY THE GENTILES is the remaining particular in relation to this temple. This court is nominal Christianity, which now, for the first time, began to assume a distinct character. It was the necessary consequence of an alliance between the Church and the world, it has been far more prejudicial to the real interests of the Church than the most virulent persecution. This court is further said to be "given unto the Gentiles." It remains only to speak of the court being given unto the Gentiles, and the holy city to be trodden under foot. "I will give power," it is afterwards said, "unto My two witnesses and they shall prophesy clothed in sackcloth." It brings before us the permission of the awful reign of anti. christian darkness, for the development of the whole principles of evil in contrast with good. It coincides with the surrender of the Church by God, to that ardent desire for worldly conformity which the severest chastisements had failed to repress. They would not retain the gospel in its simplicity, but would rely upon an arm of flesh; therefore God suffered them to be spoiled by thieves and robbers, who entered not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbed up some other way.

(G. Rogers.)

Jesus Christ in what He has done as the way in which God dwells with us, and we with God, is the temple that we are thus to measure.

I. First, this is a temple that ENDURETH FOR EVER; a temple of eternity, a house, as the apostle calls it, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Blessed are they that dwell in this temple. And who are they that take such account of it as to understand the eternity of it, the certainty of it, that Christ is indeed a house not made with hands, that He is indeed eternal in the heavens.

II. A temple of PLENTY. "We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple." Ah, God the Father is well pleased, Christ is satisfied with the travail of His soul; and "we," poor sinners saved by mercy, brought out of eternal privation into this eternal plenty, "shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple"; a temple from which sin and death are for ever excluded; a temple into which sin and death cannot enter.

III. A temple of GOVERNMENT, as you may see in the last verse of this chapter: "The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament." Now heaven here means the New Testament dispensation, and there will never be another dispensation after the one we have now. But will there not be glorification? That will not be another dispensation; that will only be a continuation of the present. It is true preaching will end, the ordinances of the present dispensation will end; but we shall always have the same Jesus Christ, and the same God, and the same covenant, and the same life, and the same sanctification. Christ's kingdom shall reign through all ages, and never be moved; and everything must be subservient to the government of Christ's kingdom. And hence it is said that when this temple was opened "there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and a great hail." What are the lightnings? Why, God's Word. His arrows shall go forth as lightning, whether it be to strike an Ananias and Sapphira dead, or to pierce the hearts of three thousand sinners, and make them cry, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" whether it be for judgment or for mercy. These lightnings are God's Word; and when the temple is opened, that is when Christ is revealed, then these lightnings come. And there were "voices." There is the voice of salvation: there is the voice of "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." There is the voice of the deep soul trouble; there are the various voices of all the experiences of the people of God: glorious voices of exaltation, triumph, victory, and satisfaction. And then there are thunderings: and what are they? Why, God's Word. The child of God sometimes gets rather sleepy, some thundering Scripture will come into his mind, create fears, and doubts, and tremblings. This is what one calls being called into the secret place of thunder — but it does the soul good. And an earthquake. Why, regeneration is an earthquake. It swallows up what you were before; swallows up your former hope, and makes you feel that you yourself will be swallowed up in hell. Many a sinner, when God begins His work in this earthquake-like way, has exclaimed with the Psalmist, "Let not the pit shut her mouth upon me." "And a great hail." What is that? Storms of persecution and tribulation. If the lightning seem to be against you, yet your God holds the lightnings in His hand, and though the thunderings may seem to be against you, yet the Lord governs those thunderings, and though revolutions alarm you, yet the Lord governs these changes, and though you may be persecuted, and storms and persecutions may fall upon you, yet the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.

(James Wells.)

The holy city shall they tread under foot
The Church of God will be greatly reduced in its apparent numbers by the open desertion of the powers of the world. This desertion will begin in a professed indifference to any particular form of Christianity, under the pretence of universal toleration; which toleration will proceed from no true spirit of charity The pretended toleration will go far beyond a just toleration, even as it regards the different sects of Christians. For governments will pretend an indifference to all, and will give a protection in preference to none. All establishments will be set aside. From the toleration of the most pestilent heresies, they will proceed to the toleration of Mahometanism, atheism, and at last proceed to the positive persecution of the truth of Christianity. In these times the temple of God will be reduced almost to the holy place, i.e., to the small number of real Christians who worship the Father in spirit, and regulate their doctrine, and their worship, and their whole conduct strictly by the Word of God. The merely nominal Christians will all desert the profession of the truth when the powers of the world desert it. And this tragic event I take to be typified by the order to St. John to measure the temple and the altar, etc.

(Bp. Horsley.)

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