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Bible verses about Measuring the Temple
(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Kings 18:30   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

From a spiritual perspective, what did God tell the apostle John (in the type; Revelation 11:1) that he was to do first? He was to measure the Temple, and the altar, and the worshippers. What is the first thing that Elijah does in this circumstance? He repairs the altar. He gets things prepared for a proper witness for God by repairing the altar—preparing it to offer sacrifices.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 6)


 

Zechariah 4:7   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God next speaks of the "capstone" or "headstone." Some people have assumed that this was a foundation stone, but it is not. God is speaking about finishing the temple, not starting it. This is not the cornerstone, which is installed in the foundation, but the finishing stone—the very last one set. It can also be called the gable stone or even the keystone that would finish an archway. It is a symbol of completion.

In this case, it represents the Temple being sufficiently ready for God's habitation. This ought to be clear. He is alluding to the preparation of the church for God's Kingdom. He is being encouraging, not only to Zerubbabel, that he would finish the Temple, but also to the Two Witnesses far in the future, that their job of measuring the Temple, the altar, and the worshippers will be successful. They will be successful by "grace, grace"—double grace. Their work will be accomplished only by an extra measure of God's grace.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 4)


 

Zechariah 4:10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"For who has despised the day of small things?" No one who understands God and what He is working out looks down on the times when only insignificant things seem to be accomplished. Those who understand what God is doing know that the day of small things must take place before the big things can happen.

This is primarily an encouragement to the Two Witnesses. Their work will appear as nothing to begin with. Nevertheless, they will not despise it because they know that small things must happen before bigger things can take place, the things that will really put them on the map during the final 3½ years. But the small things that happen before that time—in measuring the altar, the Temple, and the worshippers (Revelation 11:1)—will set the stage for their major work.

It is important to realize—from the historical point of view—that even when this Temple was finished, the people moaned about it: "This is nothing like Solomon's Temple!" It seemed a small thing in itself, and it was. It was just a bare representation of the original Temple that David built through Solomon. Nevertheless, it was necessary. The small things that happened back then—the Jews returning from exile with a great many of the Levites and the priests, building the Temple, putting a wall around the city, and eventually colonizing most of the old land of Israel (particularly around the Sea of Galilee)—made the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ possible. He had to have a Temple to come to.

So, all these small things that happened with this tiny number of people who came back from Babylon, and all the work that they did over a hundred years or so, prepared the way for the very "big thing" of the first advent of Jesus Christ (meaning His entire life, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection). Without the small things, that big thing would never have happened.

God was preparing for the big thing through the small things, and He does that all the time. Thus, any faithful person will not despise the times when only small things are happening, because they mean that big things are coming and that they should prepare themselves for them.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 4)


 

Revelation 6:9   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

After Christ opens the fifth seal, the apostle John sees "under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held" (verse 9). No galloping horses or deadly riders appear in this seal, and their absence immediately sets this one apart from the previous four. There is no inviting, "Come and see," or expectant, "And I looked, and behold," but just a plain narrative describing his vision. In fact, the tone is so matter-of-fact as to be somber, befitting its subject.

The first striking detail is "the altar" with the definite article. That it is not further defined suggests that it has already been mentioned or that the reader is expected to know what it is. However, this verse contains the first mention of an altar in the book of Revelation. An altar is mentioned an additional seven times in the book, and in six of them, it refers to the golden incense altar that stands before the throne of God in heaven (see Revelation 8:3-5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7). The only exception to this appears in Revelation 11:1, in which John is told to "measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there," seeming to refer to evaluating the church, its ministers, and its worship in preparation for the work of the Two Witnesses. The "altar" of Revelation 6:9, with the prayerful souls of martyrs under it, conforms to the rule, not the exception.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Seal (Part One)


 

Revelation 10:8-10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The eating of the little book is critical to understanding the message'what it is, how it works, and what it produces. Actually, Revelation 10:8 through Revelation 11:2 should be one section because the eating of the little book and the measuring of the Temple are tied together.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 1)


 

Revelation 11:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

There is no chapter break here. The thought should be continued directly from Revelation 10:11 - "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings." Then He says, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there."

We see a dual commission: First, to go to kings, nations, and tongues, a broad and general commission. The second one is more specific - focused on the Temple, the altar, and the worshippers. This two-pronged approach is seen throughout the Scriptures. There is 1) a message to the world, then 2) a message to the church.

The second part, measuring the temple, the altar, and the worshippers, can be equated to what we call, in these times, "feeding the flock." The first, going to the world, we call "preaching the gospel." These two areas of preaching are never sundered from one another. In fact, one cannot be done one without the other because they always overlap in some bit. They should be done in tandem.

Sometimes, however, one needs to be done more fully than the other or must be emphasized more, as God directs. God likes them to be done simultaneously, if possible. There is a great deal of work that needs to be done. The church must make a witness. Then, the ones whom God calls to do and support the work must be fed to grow and overcome to be part of His Kingdom. They must be helped to overcome and to go on to perfection. So these two things have to be done. If a person starts preaching the gospel to the world, pretty soon he will have people following his message, and they will need to be taught further and brought along.

One can preach the gospel all he wants, but nothing will be done with the fruit of the gospel unless he is also feeding the flock. They must be done in tandem. They do not necessarily have to be done 50 percent each, but they will be done because God's purpose requires them both.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh


 

Revelation 11:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Measuring is "judging against a standard." When we measure a thing, we take something with a fixed proportion - like a length or a weight that is known or standardized - and we compare it to whatever we are trying to quantify or measure. We see how it measures up: how long it is, how wide it is, how tall it is, how heavy it is, etc. We can also see if it fits a pattern or a template that is necessary for the item to do its part. In our case, one can see if he is fit for the Kingdom of God.

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God" (I Peter 4:17). We are being measured, judged, against a standard. "The house of God" is another way of saying "the temple of God," the phrase used here. Judgment begins at the house of God, and the Two Witnesses are given the responsibility of measuring the Temple of God. The two verses are saying basically the same thing. Note, the Two Witnesses are not actually doing the judging - Christ is, for that is His job. The Two Witnesses' responsibility is to explain the basis for the measurements. In other words, it is their job to show what the standard is, to let people know what they should be measuring up to.

Their job is similar to Amos' vision of the plumb line (Amos 7:7). The plumb line can be said to be slightly different because it is used to measure verticality - to see whether something is standing up straight, or to use a more "religious" term, to see if it is "upright." A plumb line is a weight suspended on a string. When it stops swaying like a pendulum, the string is perfectly vertical. When a workman puts it next to something like a wall or post that needs to be vertical, he can tell whether his wall or post is out of plumb or not.

That idea is present here in Revelation 11:1. How close do we meet the standard? How upright are we? How fit are we for the Kingdom of God? Finding the answers to these questions is part of the Two Witnesses' job. Remember that the work of the church is essentially done by this time. This preaching of the standard is a work that the ministry of the church has been given to do in every time, but maybe not to this extent. In any event, the Two Witnesses, at this time of the end, are the only ones able to do this job in a major way.

It is possible that this part of their ministry begins, however, before the Seven Thunders cease. In fact, it is a pretty good bet that they will already be involved in ministry before the Tribulation begins. Then God will say, "Okay, now it's time for you to do your real job." They will then begin their prophesied ministry, which will be quite intense.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 2)


 

Revelation 11:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"The temple of God" is simply a common symbol of the church. However, it is interesting that, here, it is not the Temple in its general sense. Christ uses an interesting word for it: naon. The naon is not the whole Temple but just the holy place, also called the sanctuary, where the priests are allowed to enter and offer incense on the incense altar, where they brought the shewbread to place the table, where the menorah was lit before God. This is the specific place that Jesus points out to measure—the sanctuary of the Temple. It excludes the courts that are outside. In verse 2, Jesus specifically says to leave them out.

Thus, He is speaking of the inner sanctuary—not the Most Holy Place, where God's throne, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, is, but the room just outside the veil—where the priests are allowed to come in and do their work. This room represents the true church, the wheat (as opposed to the tares), the elect. Christ is directing our eyes away from any hangers-on, mixed multitudes, tares, or anyone else among the church. He is speaking of the inner core—those who are truly called and converted. In addition, He is speaking generally, not individually. He means the whole true church, as in "the body of Christ."

Paul uses this same term, calling it "the holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:19-22) rather than "the temple of God"—but it is the same idea. Paul calls us "the temple of the living God" in II Corinthians 6:16.

The Two Witnesses are told here to measure the church (the called, the elect) in general—the entire true church, the body of Christ.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 2)


 

Revelation 11:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus also instructs the Two Witnesses to measure "those who worship there." This seems to repeat the Temple symbolism (referring to the church in general), but it does not. This phrase specifically targets the individual Christian. It is not just the whole church that needs to be measured but the individual Christian—the individual worshipper—also needs to be measured. A Christian will not ride anybody else's or the church's coattails into the Kingdom of God. Everyone has to be measured by the preaching, the message of the Two Witnesses. Some people do not like this word in this context, but this verse teaches that each one of us individually has to qualify—measure up—for our place in God's Kingdom.

The Temple, then, symbolizes the whole body of Christ, while the worshippers are individual Christians. What God is showing here is that He is concerned not just for the church as a whole but for the individual. Under the Old Covenant, remember, only the priests could enter the sanctuary—not the common Israelite. Now we can enter into, not only the Holy Place, but also the Most Holy Place (also called the Holy of Holies). However, we had better make sure, just like those in the Levitical system, that we are "clean" spiritually—those who were allowed to enter the sanctuary had to be perfectly clean physically to do so. In the type, they had to be "measured" against a standard (in this case, of cleanliness) before they could come there and perform their worship or their duty.

It is not enough to clean the church as a body; each individual within the church must also be cleaned. Some matters have to be engaged on a macro scales, and others on a micro scale. So, God has His overall purpose, and He has His individual purpose. He will ensure that everything is perfectly pure before Him. Both of these categories will be measured, corrected, and made to work properly.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 2)


 

 




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