|What does it mean to
|What does it
mean to “measure”?
Measuring something is not usually an idle exercise of a yardstick. We do it for a purpose. Specifically, we do it to evaluate the fitness of something for a particular task; i.e., is that board long enough? Is it too long, and should I cut it? So this passage then implies the evaluation of something -- namely, the Temple.
Note carefully that John has now ceased to be a recording witness to the events described and become a participant. This is important, I believe. If the historicist view is correct, the fact that John is an Apostle is extremely significant. It implies two things:
• The measurement is done by the Apostle (i.e., by his writings, hence, by implication, the Scripture).
• The measure is a divine measure (God gave it to John via the angel)
What temple? A temple is measured, but it cannot be the one John was familiar with in Jerusalem. That one was destroyed 25 years earlier when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. Hence, it must be one of two things:
• The millennial Temple, foreseen by Ezekiel in Ezekiel Chapters 40-48. This is the view favored by the futurists, and is largely so on the basis of dispensationalism. It is also seen as such by some poetic interpreters. This would also correspond well with the interruption of sacrifice described in Daniel 9:27.
• The Temple could also be a symbol for the church. It is so used in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 6:16. Interestingly, if this is the correct interpretation, then the “man of sin” described in 2 Thessalonians may be in the church -- for 2 Thessalonians 2:4 says that he sets himself up “in God’s Temple.”
Little is made of measuring the altar by most commentators. It is worth some mention, particularly in the symbolic sense. In the literal sense, the distinction is the “outer court” -- meaning, don’t measure, or evaluate, the unbelievers -- that’s God’s work, not John the Apostle.
But to measure the altar would mean to measure (i.e., evaluate) the worship. In the symbolic sense, this would mean that worship was now to be evaluated by the standards of God.