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Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment
Chapter Four of this Commentary
The Sixth Trumpet of Revelation 9
Also called "the second woe."
Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11 of the Book of Revelation
Scene 5. Scenario 1. Revelation 11:1
“The temple of God and the altar and those who worship there” are measured.
“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Come and measure
the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there..." Revelation 11:1
I. “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there." Revelation 11:1
In the Great Drama of the Sixth Trumpet, the curtain is lifted again, and behold the apostle John on the stage. Someone brings him an instrument to measure called a “rod like a staff,” instructing him on the use of it.
A. What is the “rod” given to John?
1. It is an instrument “like a staff” used to measure. It is not a staff but “like” one, and, therefore, is to be understood as different from a staff made of wood or metal.
A “rod” for lineal measurement of about three meters (9.84 feet).
2. Considering that this vision was revealed in 95 CE (Common Era or Christian Age) and also the spiritual nature of the Scenario, I would deduce that the "rod like a staff" would be a symbol of the New Testament, that is, of the “new covenant” sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ. Matthew 26:27-28
“For this reason,” Christ “is the mediator of a New Covenant” (Hebrews 9:14-17), which is a “better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises” (Hebrews 8:6-13), this “New Covenant” being the only spiritual covenant in force for the church of the Lord during this present Common Era.
a) The institutions of divine origin (church, marriage, family) existing during the Common Era are not to be measured by the rod of the Old Testament, that is, the "Mosaic law," for, since Jesus Christ fulfilled perfectly that law (Matthew 5:17-20), the same, in its entirety, was abrogated on the cross. 2 Corinthians 3:6-17; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 7:12; 8:6-13
b) Nor are they to be measured using measurements or instruments invented by humans.
c) Who gives the apostle John the “rod like a staff” used to measure? In fact, John does not explicitly identify the being who gave him the “rod.” However, a certain natural connection between the previous Scene of the “little roll” and this Fifth Scene may be reasonably assumed.
The “mighty angel” is the one who spoke the last words of Scene 4 to John. “‘You must prophesy again about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” Revelation 10:11. When this Scene 5 begins, the apostle John says: “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff…” Who gives him the rod? Perhaps that very same “mighty angel” who said: “You must prophesy again…”
Whomever the bearer of the “rod” was, he was of God's spiritual, celestial realm. Definitely, not from planet Earth. So then, no human being or organization, whether ecclesiastical or secular, gives John that very important “rod.”
This means the “rod” given to the apostle was not fabricated by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, neither by any ecumenical church council, Protestant body of church leaders or theologians, nor by any Pentecostal or evangelical council, association, or representative religious or secular organization of any kind. For none of these organizations are authorized in the “new covenant” of Jesus Christ, notwithstanding any argument or presumption to the contrary.
To be sure, when closely and objectively examined, all the “measuring rods” developed by rash religious persons or entities who dare to substitute their uninspired theologies for the pure Truth of the New Testament are found to give false measurements that are astutely adjusted to human interpretations, criteria, and agendas often driven by material, financial, social, cultural, and political motives, and alliances.
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another, and compare themselves with one another, they do not show good sense.” 2 Corinthians 10:12
B. "Come and measure."
1. Who gives the apostle John this order? Logically, the same being who gives him the “rod” for measuring.
Of supreme importance is the fact that the order is authorized by the Sovereign God of Heaven and all creation. He is the celestial “Architect and Builder.” Hebrews 11:10. Perhaps often taking the “true measure” of his spiritual works on planet Earth. Does not any intelligent, responsible architect and builder on earth regularly and rigorously take the measure in detail of the
structures, organizations, businesses, etc. conceived and administered by him or her to be certain they meet the exact parameters of the original, fully authorized blueprints?
2. In this Scene 5, the order "Come and measure" is directed specifically to the apostle John, a much beloved, excellent servant of the Lord, faithful, efficient, and loyal for long years.
a) Reflecting on his example, let us take a valuable lesson for our own personal orientation and growth, to wit: Every servant of the Lord who “builds” on the “foundation” that “is Jesus Christ,” should frequently “measure” the spiritual work he/she is carrying on, doing it wisely and objectively with the purpose of assuring beyond doubt that “God’s building” always has the exact measurements specified by the Great Architect. 1 Corinthians 3:9-15
b) If we who are builders of the spiritual do not frequently apply the measuring “rod” that God provides, the spiritual edifice on which we are working may well turn out to be not properly squared away. Rather, to be weakened, and inelegant due to the use of materials substituted for those stipulated by the Supreme Architect. Incomplete and lacking in the required spiritual esthetics, parameters, etc. To our great embarrassment and humiliating shame.
Or it could be that our creation would appear well made and attractive to us, as well as to those who collaborate with us in its development. However, if it does not fit exactly, in every detail, the authorized plan drawn up by the Divine Architect, he will certainly reject it, and of that we may be completely certain.
"Each one must choose with care how to build on” the only “foundation” which “is Christ.” Gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw. 1 Corinthians 3:5-15
Let us consider: If Moises had to build the tabernacle for the people of Israel “according to the pattern he had seen” on Mount Sinai, that is, according to the blueprint Jehovah God showed him (Acts 7:44; Exodus 25:9, 40), how much more care should everyone take who collaborates in the construction of the church of Christ on earth, thus being absolutely certain that he/she is faithfully proceeding according to the model for the ideal church revealed in the New Testament?
c) Esteemed reader, if you belong to a church, do you frequently use the “rod” provided by the Divine Architect to measure your congregation? That one that shows correct measurements? The only one authorized by the Master Architect? The one that is true and reliable? Of course, the reference is to the “new covenant” of Jesus Christ. For sure it will be much wiser to measure now while there is time to find and correct any defects than to put it off until it will be altogether impossible to remedy mistakes.
C. "…the temple of God…"
1. For the Common Era (Christian Age), the church conceived by God the Father and built by Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18) is the “temple of God” on planet Earth.
a) “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
b) “In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:21
2. The “temple of God” in this text is not the Jewish temple. That material temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the extremely bloody Jewish-Roman war of 67 - 70 CE, fulfilling the prophecies of Matthew 24:3-28.
Even if Jews of the present time should be able to reconstruct the temple in Jerusalem, its existence would not change the spiritual sense of “the temple of God” in Revelation 11:1, for God “does not live in shrines made by human hands.” nor manifest himself in them. Acts 17:24-18. The theology that projects the restoration of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem before the Second Coming of Christ or during the Millennium turns out to be completely lacking in biblical support when texts cited to uphold it are understood properly.
3. In order for the true church of Christ, which is the true and legitimate “temple of God” on earth, to pass inspection at all times and in all places, she must have the "exact measurements” set by the Master Architect.
a) Her organization must not be different from that established for her by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
According to the divine model, Jesus Christ is the only head of the true church, having “all authority” in heaven and on earth. God the
Father “has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:22-23
The true church of Christ is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.” Ephesians 1:22-23
A plurality of elders (synonymous with bishops and pastors) governs each mature congregation. Duly qualified evangelists guided by the Spirit of God “appointed elders for them [the Christians] in each church.” Acts 14.23; Titus 1:1-10. Most assuredly, here is the divine precedent for every evangelist and every church faithful to the Lord during the Common Era.
b) Her manner of worshiping God, evangelizing, and carrying out good works are all done in conformity with the divine plan laid out in the New Testament.
D. "…and the altar…"
1. In the rhetorical language of Revelation, the "altar" is the symbol of “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” brought by the new “holy priesthood” constituted by God according to the “New Covenant.” 1 Peter 2:4-10; Hebrews 7:12. That is, Christians fully faithful to the Lord bring such sacrifices. “We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent [tabernacle, temple] have no right to eat.” Hebrews 13:10
This “altar” is not that “altar of burnt offerings” mandated by God for the Israelites in the Old Law of which Moses was the mediator. Nor is it any “altar” invented by religious peoples who imitate patterns of worship based on the Old Testament, or worse still, those conceived for the worship of pagan gods, goddesses, and even demons.
2. So then, measuring “the altar” is synonymous with “measuring the worship of the church.” Measure her “spiritual sacrifices.” Her “sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Hebrews 13:15-16. Measure her worship with the “rod” of the New Testament, not with that of the Old Testament, neither with any standard of measurement set forth by fallible men and women, church councils, associations, etc.
3. Jesus himself highlights the new way of worship to be implemented by the church he would build (Matthew 16:18) when his “new covenant” would go into effect after his death, resurrection, and ascension, saying:
“...the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain [of Samaria] nor in Jerusalem. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Juan 4:21-24
4. Esteemed student of these subjects, are the teachers, preachers, pastors, or other leaders of your congregation accustomed to regularly applying the measuring “rod” made by God to determine the acceptability of your worship services?
Not the measuring rods of “personal tastes, vain traditions, commandments of men and women, contemporary worship,” etc., but the “rod” made in Heaven and available to anyone in the New Testament of Christ.
Truly, it is worthwhile and advisable to regularly measure all worship services and activities of the congregation, any congregation. Wise is the church leader who “takes the exact spiritual measurement” of any new idea, new movement, innovation, “improvement,” “modernization,” “change,” etc. in the way God is worshiped. “Change agents” are almost always bad news for any church. As their identification clearly indicates, their agenda is to coax congregations to abandon worship “in truth” for modernized, "feels good to me worship.”
Regarding “changes in worship,” in the context of this Commentary, I limit further observations to the following: Mere changes in the format of worship services that do not violate divine precepts, when implemented with spiritual intelligence, may well have positive results for the worshippers. For example, in the sequence of the acts of praise and edification.
On the other hand, changes that alter or negate the fundamental divine directives for worship “in spirit and in truth” should be summarily rejected. For example, innovations that introduce confusion and disorder, with loud, simultaneous emotional outpourings in worship, clearly violate the divine commandment that stipulates: “All things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40
E. "…and measure… those who worship there."
1. By this divine directive we understand that the spiritual measurement of each and every worshipper in “the temple of God” is to be taken!
a) His/her knowledge of the Bible is to be
b) The holiness of each is measured.
c) So is the sincerity of each.
d) Also, the fidelity of each and
2. Esteemed reader, recapitulating for emphasis, if you belong to a church, is the knowledge, holiness, sincerity, and fidelity of each and every member regularly
measured with the only reliable standard and tool that give absolutely reliable, spiritual readings?
F. In a general sense, the order “Come and measure” can and should be obeyed all during the Common Age in any and all places where a church is brought into existence.
However, following closely the context of the Sixth Trumpet, we see that this order is given specifically to the apostle John AFTER the revelations on the "three plagues" and the "little roll."
Would it be correct, then, to conclude that the order given was to be fulfilled precisely in the time AFTER the first revelations of the Sixth Trumpet, but before the last ones which take us almost to the very point in time for the consummation of the “mystery of God?”
My own answer is “Yes,” simply for the reason that there is no justification for isolating this order from the rest of the text that reveals the prophecies of the Sixth Trumpet, a text that begins in Revelation 9:14 and concludes in Revelation 11:14. The apostle John heard these words: “You must prophesy again…” (Revelation 10:11), and, immediately receives the “rod like a staff" (Revelation 11:1), with the order: “Come and measure…”
1. In the prophecies of the three “WOES” (the last three trumpets) we are analyzing, a sequence in terminologies and time can be clearly discerned.
a) The time when “the shaft of the bottomless pit” is opened and “smoke” rose from it. Revelation 9:1-3
b) The “five months” when “locusts” come out of the smoke and torment those who do not have the “seal of God.” Revelation 9:5 y 10
c) "The hour, day, month, and year” when the four angels bound at the Euphrates River would be untied. Revelation 9:15
d) The appearance of the “mighty angel” with his proclamation on the end of time and the consummation of the “mystery of God” when the Seventh Angel would begin to blow the Seventh Trumpet. Revelation 10:5-7
2. It does not seem logical to obviate this evident sequence in the process of determining the timeframe, meaning, and application of the order: “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there.”
3. Assuming I am right, the question arises: Why measure the church, its worship, and the worshippers precisely in the time after the three plagues? My own answer: Surely it would be to determine her true spiritual condition, that is to say, the real state of her spiritual knowledge, purity, sense of obligation, motives, faithfulness, loyalty, and courage in the face of the severe challenges and great dangers that rise up before her in this timeframe, like ferocious, threatening, powerful, fearsome demons.
a) What are the critical circumstances that the true church of Christ confronts in the timeframe of this vision? The following is highlighted: Opposition of the deceived nations that unite ever more and more in their diabolical purpose to fight against the Creator God increases exponentially. Consequently, the church loyal to Christ is about to enter one of the most difficult stages of her long history, to wit: the last years of the Common Era, when the nations, deceived once again, will try to eliminate her, and that will be in “the place that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.” Revelation 16:16
b) In anticipation of any decisive earthly battle or war, it is common for responsible officials in command to “measure,” that is, evaluate the state of their forces.
Are they really familiar with their own arms and equipment, and how to use them effectively?
Do they possess sufficient information about the arms and tactics of their enemies?
Are they fully conscious of their objectives and the dangers they face in reaching them?
Are they psychologically and emotionally prepared for the battle?
Do they have the willpower to fight?
Is each one fully armed will all the equipment and devices needed for self-protection as well as action against foes? Etc.
(1) Well then, with even greater precautions and astuteness, the “measurement of the spiritual army of God, called simply “THE CHURCH,” is taken in anticipation of the crucial confrontation in that fearful place “called Harmagedon.” Only the celestial “rod” of measurement suffices to determine the true state of readiness. Any other tool or criteria would give false, deceiving readings. Some New Covenant texts focusing on spiritual warfare are: 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-20 and 2 Timothy 2:3-7
(2) What kind of church will be able to resist the terrific trials of those last years and the severe test of "Harmagedon?" Only the one that has the exact measurements fixed by God for his people in terms of doctrine, practice, loyalty, and courage.
Commentary on Revelation 11:2. Scenario 2, Scene 5, of Trumpet 6. The “court outside the temple,” the “nations,” and the “holy city” are identified. The timeframe of the “forty-two months” is carefully studied and set. Differences between the “trampling” of Luke 21:24 and that of Revelation 11:2.
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Category. Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment. Commentary.
Revelation 10:6. Going out into the FUTURE to the LAST DAY of TIME. Looking back at planet Earth in the 20th and 21st centuries.