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



Chapter 21_

9. The Measurement of the City



“And he that spake with me, had a Golden Reed, that he might measure the city, and its gates, and its wall”.


When John was commanded by an angel to measure the temple, the altar, and the worshippers therein, the measuring reed given to him was “like to a rod,” the symbol of affliction and down-treading to the Holy City by the Gentiles of the unmeasured court, for the long period measured by it, and now happily soon to expire (ch. 11:1,2). But in the measurement of the Holy City, when the down-treading is no more, the measurer is not a man in the flesh, but an angel; nor is his measuring reed, a rod of affliction, but a reed of gold. This is the most precious of metals, and symbolical of the most precious things pertaining to the saints. But the gold of the city is more precious than the finest and purest gold current among men, for “the city is pure gold, like to clear crystal;” and “the broadway of the city is pure gold, as it were transparent crystal”. The gold of the reed is no exception, nor anywise inferior to the gold of the city. Whatever is measured by it has attained to the fullness of perfection, both of magnitude, number, structure, and intellectual and moral attributes. “The Almighty shall be thy gold, and treasures of silver to thee”. This will be practically illustrated when the saints, inspected and approved at the judgment seat, are born of Spirit from above — the transmutation of a baser metal into gold.

The city is like the breastplate of righteousness worn by Aaron in the Most Holy, “four square”. Each side of the square was measured at 12,000 furlongs, or 1500 miles, giving 6000 miles for the four sides. But the height of the city is equal to its length; or 1500 miles high. The city is therefore a cube, or six-sided — the top the bottom and the four sides. The measure of the wall is 144 cubits, which include the length, breadth and height. Now, if the foursquare of the city be divided into equal square parts, it will be found to contain 144. Each of these gives an area 1000 furlongs long, and 1000 furlongs broad; and in the numerical symbol of the city stands for a 1000 citizens; or in the whole “broadway,”


And this is “the measure of a man that is of an angel?” But, of what man, or angel? Of that man John describes symbolically in ch. 1:13-16, “whose voice was as the sound of many waters,” because he is constituted of “the redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (ch. 5:9). Every child is familiar with thirty millions of British in the person of the figurative John Bull; or the same number of Americans, in that of Uncle Sam. If these were measured, they would stand miles high, and be proportionately bulky. Now the man of the golden

Page 351


The measurements of the New Jerusalem describe it as a perfect cube. The very size of it (Rev. 21:16) precludes it from being a literal city; every detail of the description illustrating a spiritual aspect of the multitudinous Christ, and, in fact, it is the Lamb’s Bride (v. 9). For example, her light is “like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (v. 11), which stone is also representative of Christ (Rev. 4:3). Verse 12 declares: “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal”, so that the city formed a cube of twelve thousand furlongs (or 6000 miles). This is obviously symbolical. The Most Holy was also cubical in shape (1 Kings 6:20), and as such foreshadowed the perfection of God manifestation. Paul describes the love of God as a perfect cube (Eph. 3:17-20), and this perfect love will be manifested when the Lamb’s Bride is revealed in all her beauty and glory. The ground area or surface of the New Jerusalem cube is divisible into 144 equal parts of one thousand furlongs each, pointing to the symbolic number of its citizens which comprise the component parts of the symbolic city (Rev. 7:4; 14:1). Further details of the exposition are outlined in The Christadelphian Expositor relating to The Apocalypse Epitomised — Publishers.


reed, the Son of Man, is a cube of 144 cubits; and is representative of “a multitude no man can number,” all of whom are incorruptible and deathless, and therefore golden, as it were transparent crystal, and without fault before the throne. He is representative of the “holy nation,” to which the kingdom taken from the chief priests and pharisees shall be given, that it may, bring forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43; 1 Pet. 2:9). This cubical man of 144 cubits is the same Paul alludes to in Eph. 4:13, saying to the saints, “till w~ all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of the Deity, into A PERFECT MAN, into a measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ”. From this it may be seen, that the perfect man is constituted of the saints, and that his stature is measured. John gives us his measure in bulk and height, which he attains in the resurrection epoch, when “the fullness of the Christ” is manifested in the Bride the wife of the Lamb.

But the measure of the man is also said to be the “measure of an angel”. The man and the angel are the same; for when the man is perfected, he is a holy nation of citizens “equal to the angels”. Besides this, the perfect man is heaven-descended, whence he is commissioned to execute the judgment written against Babylon, the Beast, and False Prophet. He is therefore, an Angel-Man, now with “a rainbow upon his head” (ch. 10:1), elsewhere wearing a golden crown, and a sharp sickle in his hand (ch. 14:14); again descending from heaven with great power (ch. 18:1); then standing in the sun (ch. 19:17); and again, he is seen with the key of the abyss, and a great chain (ch. 20:1). The stature of this mighty angel is 144 cubits, and his symbolical numerical contents, 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of the Israel of the Deity(ch. 7:4;




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