“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Revelation 11:1
Sitting and listening to this passage being taught at church, I learned a couple new truths that produced this week’s meditation.
First, the fact of a physical temple in Jerusalem is shown by the command to measure it. If it were figurative, there would be no need to size it up. There is a literal Temple that will be set up at least by the middle of the Great Tribulation.
Second, the study of the rest of Scripture is encouraged because no dimensions are given. God wanted us to know it is there, but not to be overly fascinated with it, rather, with what God is doing in and around it.
Then we read something very peculiar. John checks the temple, he checks the altar, and lastly there is the most convicting task John could have been given: “Rise, and measure… them that worship therein.”
Did you know, friend, that you are judged as a worshipper of God? Would you believe that it is no angel doing it, but you are measured by a fellow-worshiper of Christ- A MAN is checking on the level of your dedication? So much for not judging each other! (Note the misuse of Matthew 7:1)
The fact that we are being measured should drive us to the Bible to seek what is most important. Solomon learned by wisdom and experience and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to “Fear God… for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Paul, by the same influence, says, “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) The Twenty-Four Elders that dwell in the very presence of Almighty God declare, “Thou hast created all things, and for THY PLEASURE they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) Man’s relationship to his Maker is all that matters. That leaves out a lot, but it also says a lot!
As there are no specifics given on the temple measurements, there are none for the men and women that worship either. I believe God left this out so we would not compare ourselves among ourselves against a standard. Remember that the first law laid out was the Ten Commandments? They most surely are a measure of the spiritual stature of man– they are meant to show man his need for a Saviour. Man, however, uses them instead as a ‘goodness meter’, so he can show off how much better he is than someone else. Rather than see how far he is from God, proud man can only see where he is better than another man. Rather than tempt us with comparison in worship, the Lord has John leave out the measurements. I believe the important question is not a ‘what’ for size, but ‘how’ they are measured.
The worth of a man is measured only by his worship of God.
Paul prays in his letter to the Ephesians that we, “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;” (Ephesians 3:18) This is how things on earth are measured. Let’s step up to this line and do a self-examination today to see if we ‘measure up’.
- Breadth: This points to the scope of our devotion. How wide is your worship? Does it affect those around you? Is there an influence of God upon your life, that in turn would influence another?
- Length: This indicates the habit of our devotion. How long is your worship? Is it a constant in your life, or just an infrequent occurrence? Do you show a pattern of faithfulness?
- Depth: This marks the heart of our devotion. How deep is your worship? Are you sincere in how you worship? Are your actions put-on to be seen of men? God desires the unseen moments more than the public demonstrations.
- Height: This shows the attitude of our devotion. How high is your worship? The angel tells John, “Rise.” The Bible says we should worship “lifting up holy hands,” (1 Timothy 2:8) looking up with our eyes (Colossians 3:1), and “built up” in our faith. (Colossians 2:7) Are you worshipping in an ‘upright’ way? Does the praise go up to where it belongs?
Finally, it cannot go unnoticed that the only piece of Temple furniture mentioned is the altar. There is no worship without sacrifice. This one thing is paramount to determine if what YOU call worship is what GOD calls worship: What did it cost you? What a man HAS means nothing. What a man GIVES is everything. It cost the Lord Jesus everything to have a relationship with you; what will you give up to maintain a relationship with Him?
That is the main thing.
If you don’t think so, just ignore the apostle with the tape measure.