Revelation 11:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.

King James Bible
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Darby Bible Translation
And there was given to me a reed like a staff, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship in it.

World English Bible
A reed like a rod was given to me. Someone said, "Rise, and measure God's temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it.

Young's Literal Translation
And there was given to me a reed like to a rod, and the messenger stood, saying, 'Rise, and measure the sanctuary of God, and the altar, and those worshipping in it;

Revelation 11:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And there was given me - He does not say by whom, but the connection would seem to imply that it was by the angel. All this is of course to be regarded as symbolical. The representation undoubtedly pertains to a future age, but the language is such as would be properly addressed to one who had been a Jew, and the imagery employed is such as he would be more likely to understand than any other. The language and the imagery are, therefore, taken from the temple, but there is no reason to suppose that it had any literal reference to the temple, or even that John would so understand it. Nor does the language used here prove that the temple was standing at the time when the book was written; for, as it is symbolical, it is what would be employed whether the temple were standing or not, and would be as likely to be used in the one case as in the other. It is such language as John, educated as a Jew, and familiar with the temple worship, would be likely to employ if he designed to make a representation pertaining to the church.

A reed - κάλαμος kalamos. This word properly denotes a plant with a jointed hollow stalk, growing in wet grounds. Then it refers to the stalk as cut for use - as a measuring-stick, as in this place; or a mock scepter, Matthew 27:29-30; or a pen for writing, 3 John 1:13. Here it means merely a stick that could be used for measuring.

Like unto a rod - This word - ῥάβδος rabdos - means properly a "rod, wand, staff," used either for scourging, 1 Corinthians 4:21; or for leaning upon in walking, Matthew 10:10; or for a scepter, Hebrews 1:8. Here the meaning is, that the reed that was put into his hands was like such a rod or staff in respect to size, and was therefore convenient for handling. The word "rod" also is used to denote a measuring-pole, Psalm 74:2; Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 51:19.

And the angel stood, saying - The phrase, "the angel stood," is missing in many mss. and editions of the New Testament, and is rejected by Prof. Stuart as spurious. It is also rejected in the critical editions of Griesbach and Hahn, and marked as doubtful by Tittmann. The best critical authority is against it, and it appears to have been introduced from Zechariah 3:5. The connection does not demand it, and we may, therefore, regard the meaning to be, that the one who gave him the reed, whoever he was, at the same time addressed him, and commanded him to take a measure of the temple and the altar.

Rise, and measure the temple of God - That is, ascertain its true dimensions with the reed in your hand. Of course, this could not be understood of the literal temple - whether standing or not - for the exact measure of that was sufficiently well known. The word, then, must be used of something which the temple would denote or represent, and this would properly be the church, considered as the abode of God on the earth. Under the old dispensation, the temple at Jerusalem was that abode; under the new, that special residence was transferred to the church, and God is represented as dwelling in it. See the notes on 1 Corinthians 3:16. Thus, the word is undoubtedly used here, and the simple meaning is, that he who is thus addressed is directed to take an accurate estimate of the true church of God; as accurate as if he were to apply a measuring-reed to ascertain the dimensions of the temple at Jerusalem. In doing that, if the direction had been literally to measure the temple at Jerusalem, he would ascertain its length, and breadth, and height; he would measure its rooms, its doorways, its porticoes; he would take such a measurement of it that, in a description or drawing, it could be distinguished from other edifices, or that one could be constructed like it, or that a just idea could be obtained of it if it should be destroyed.

If the direction be understood figuratively, as applicable to the Christian church, the work to be done would be to obtain an exact estimate or measurement of what the true church was - as distinguished from all other bodies of people, and as constituted and appointed by the direction of God; such a measurement that its characteristics could be made known; that a church could be organized according to this, and that the accurate description could be transmitted to future times. John has not, indeed, preserved the measurement; for the main idea here is not that he was to preserve such a model, but that, in the circumstances, and at the time referred to, the proper business would be to engage in such a measurement of the church that its true dimensions or character might be known. There would be, therefore, a fulfillment of this, if at the time here referred to there should be occasions, from any cause, to inquire what constituted the true church; if it was necessary to separate and distinguish it from all other bodies; and if there should be any such prevailing uncertainty as to make an accurate investigation necessary.

And the altar - On the form, situation, and uses of the altar, see the Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 21:12. The altar here referred to was, undoubtedly, the altar situated in front of the temple, where the daily sacrifice was offered. To measure that literally, would be to take its dimensions of length, breadth, and height; but it is plain that that cannot be intended here, for there was no such altar where John was, and, if the reference were to the altar at Jerusalem, its dimensions were sufficiently known. This language, then, like the former, must be understood metaphorically, and then it must mean - as the altar was the place of sacrifice - to take an estimate of the church considered with reference to its notions of sacrifice, or of the prevailing views respecting the sacrifice to be made for sin, and the method of reconciliation with God. It is by sacrifice that a method is provided for reconciliation with God; by sacrifice that sin is pardoned; by sacrifice that man is justified; and the direction here is equivalent, therefore, to a command to make an investigation on these subjects, and all that is implied would be fulfilled if a state of things should exist where it would be necessary to institute an examination into the prevailing views in the church on the subject of the atonement, and the true method of justification before God.

And them that worship therein - In the temple, or, as the temple is the representation here of the church, of those who are in the church as professed worshippers of God. There is some apparent incongruity in directing him to "measure" those who were engaged in worship; but the obvious meaning is, that he was to take a correct estimate of their character; of what they professed; of the reality of their piety; of their lives, and of the general state of the church considered as professedly worshipping God. This would receive its fulfillment if a state of things should arise in the church which would make it necessary to go into a close and searching examination on all these points, in order to ascertain what was the true church, and what was necessary to constitute true membership in it. There were, therefore, three things, as indicated by this verse, which John was directed to do, so far as the use of the measuring-rod was concerned:

(a) to take a just estimate of what constitutes the true church, as distinguished from all other associations of people;

(b) to institute a careful examination into the opinions in the church on the subject of sacrifice or atonement - involving the whole question about the method of justification before God; and,

(c) to take a correct estimate of what constitutes true membership in the church; or to investigate with care the prevailing opinions about the qualifications for membership.

Revelation 11:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Extent of Messiah's Spiritual Kingdom
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever! T he Kingdom of our Lord in the heart, and in the world, is frequently compared to a building or house, of which He Himself is both the Foundation and the Architect (Isaiah 28:16 and 54:11, 12) . A building advances by degrees (I Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:20-22) , and while it is in an unfinished state, a stranger cannot, by viewing its present appearance, form an accurate judgment
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

The Interest of his Biography.
"John, than which man a sadder or a greater Not till this day has been of woman born; John, like some iron peak by the Creator Fired with the red glow of the rushing morn. "This, when the sun shall rise and overcome it, Stands in his shining, desolate and bare; Yet not the less the inexorable summit Flamed him his signal to the happier air." F. W. H. MYERS. John and Jesus--Contemporary History--Anticipation of the Advent. The morning star, shining amid the brightening glow of dawn, is the fittest
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

What is the Sanctuary?
The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith was the declaration: "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Daniel 8:14. These had been familiar words to all believers in the Lord's soon coming. By the lips of thousands was this prophecy repeated as the watchword of their faith. All felt that upon the events therein foretold depended their brightest expectations and most cherished hopes. These
Ellen Gould White—The Great Controversy

Heralds of the Morning
One of the most solemn and yet most glorious truths revealed in the Bible is that of Christ's second coming to complete the great work of redemption. To God's pilgrim people, so long left to sojourn in "the region and shadow of death," a precious, joy-inspiring hope is given in the promise of His appearing, who is "the resurrection and the life," to "bring home again His banished." The doctrine of the second advent is the very keynote of the Sacred Scriptures. From the day when the first pair turned
Ellen Gould White—The Great Controversy

Cross References
Ezekiel 40:3
So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway.

Ezekiel 40:20
As for the gate of the outer court which faced the north, he measured its length and its width.

Daniel 7:27
Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.'

Zechariah 2:1
Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.

Revelation 10:11
And they said to me, "You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings."

Revelation 21:15
The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.

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