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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter  11

Section 2 : Subsection 2

"A Reed like to a Rod"



This being so, I proceed further to notice, that the power commanding John to rise up, gave to him "a reed like to a rod." The use he was ordered to make of it shows that it was a measuring reed. "Rise up," said the voice of the Spirit, "and measure the nave of the Deity, and the altar, and them that worship therein." When we consider the things to be measured, it is clear that the reed must be a rule of faith, a rule of practice, a rule of time, or all of these; not a material rule, such as a builder would use. It was "a reed like unto a rhabdos." In writing to the saints in Corinth. Paul says to them: "What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rhabdos or with love, and a spirit of meekness?" (1 Cor. iv. 21). This shows that a rhabdos is something different from love and meekness in expression. The use of it in this chapter of the apocalypse is evidently representative of the same idea as in Paul’s inquiry. The scope of the prophecy shows this; for the two olive trees are to "prophesy 1260 days, having been clothed in sackcloths" (ver. 4,3); and to be overcome and denied a burial (ver. 7,9). This unhappy fate was a rhabdos -- a severe infliction. Hence, the measuring reed was like to severe infliction. But, how long? The answer to this question is the reed -- 1260 days. The reed then was a rule of time, indicating a period of severe trial; and therefore "like to a rod;" and upon the principle of loving chastisement "whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourgeth every son whom he receives" (Heb. xii. 6).

It is to be noted here, that John, and not the angel, is the measurer. The measuring, therefore, is different from the measuring of chapter xxi. 15. In this place, it is one of the seven angels of the vials, the seventh, that is the measurer. John has a reed, and this angel has a reed; but the reeds differ in this, that John’s is "like a rod," and the angel’s is "a golden reed." Being different reeds or rules, they are used for different kinds of measurements. The reed like a rod measures the nave still in connection with altar-worship; while the angelic golden reed measures "the great city, the holy Jerusalem," in which there is neither nave nor altar.

There was great symbolic decorum in appointing John to be the measurer, in giving the reed like a rod to him. "Rise up and measure!" was the voice of the Spirit. The measuring is here connected with the rising up; in other words, John’s symbolical resurrection was the limit of the measuring; at all events, of his measuring; for, where his correctional mensuration ends, there the angelic measuring by the golden rule begins.




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