Wednesday, 18 August 2021
And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. Revelation 21:15
With the twelve foundations noted as having the names of the twelve apostles, John now says, “And he who talked with me.”
Again, it is a present participle – “And he who is talking with me.” John is writing as if the events are occurring for us just as they did for him at that moment. This would be the one described in verse 21:9, one of the seven angels. John is writing as if the events are occurring for us just as they did for him at that moment. Of the angel, it next says he “had a gold reed.”
Several times, a man with a reed is noted in Scripture. It is an implement used for measuring. This is seen, for example, in Ezekiel 40 –
“He took me there, and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze. He had a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand, and he stood in the gateway.” Ezekiel 40:3
In this, the line of flax was for measuring greater distances, and the measuring rod for shorter distances. This was also seen in Revelation 11:1 –
“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.’”
The idea of measuring an area is implied in both the building of the tabernacle and the temple as well. The measurements of those edifices are given, and thus measuring implements were used to measure with. Of this “reed” noted in Revelation, as it is gold, it would be better to call it a “rod” because the word “reed” implies something grown. This is a gold rod that is used “to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.”
Instead of a reed, a wooden rod, or a line of flax, gold is used. Thus, it implies absolute purity. Nothing defiled or defiling will be seen in New Jerusalem. The measurements are taken to demonstrate the order, mathematical precision, and perfection of the edifice. In Ezekiel, the reason for the measurements is stated –
“Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them. 12 This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.” Ezekiel 43:10-12
There was a perfection to what was described, and Israel was to see that and understand that the wisdom of God was involved in every detail of the design. Likewise, we are given hints of what is coming in New Jerusalem to perceive the magnitude, majesty, and marvel of what lies ahead. The order and divine perfection of what is measured is to show that God has a plan, it is precise, and it is perfect in every detail.
Life application: God, throughout the Bible, can be noted as demonstrating order and harmony. There is both intelligence and wisdom to be found in the things He has created, not random chaos. Nothing orderly can come from what is chaotic either. Paul speaks about such knowledge in Romans 1 –
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:20, 21
When we attribute order to chaos, as evolutionists do, we take the glory that God deserves and accredit it to random chance, thus bringing God’s wrath upon ourselves. This is noted in Revelation because order is once again seen in the New Jerusalem. It is a city with walls and foundations, and it is a set size, determined by God. Because the angel who is talking with John is going to measure it, the city is physical, not spiritual. Its sizes should be taken literally, even if they carry spiritual symbolism. Attempting to totally spiritualize what is provided is then contrary to what God intends for us to understand.
This is the same with other times in the Bible that Jerusalem is measured out. Along with Ezekiel 40, Zechariah 2 also speaks of measuring the city –
“Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 So I said, ‘Where are you going?’
And he said to me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.’
3 And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, 4 who said to him, ‘Run, speak to this young man, saying: “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. 5 For I,” says the Lord, “will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”’” Zechariah 2:1-5
Both accounts in Ezekiel and Zechariah are likely referring to the millennial temple and city. We are being given these specific insights and measurements as indications of reality, not spiritual truths – even if spiritual truths are contained within them.
Because of the order of both of these future cities of Jerusalem, we can also be certain of the order and harmony God is working in our lives. God isn’t preparing cities of specific sizes while overlooking the number of residents that will occupy those cities. In other words, God has it all under control.
The future is known to Him, and if you have called on Him through His Messiah, He has prepared a place for you in that future. Be of good cheer, God is doing something wonderful, and that will become perfectly evident in the time to come. Trust that and be thankful to Him for making it possible through the coming of JESUS!
What comfort it is to know that in the building of a city for Your people You have considered the people for Your city! Thank You, O God, for Your attentive care of us and for the great plans You have laid out for our eternal state. What a wonderful, beautiful Creator You are! Amen.