1 Then there was given me a [a]measuring rod like a staff; [b]and someone said, “Get up and measure the [c]temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 [d]Leave out the court which is outside the [e]temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
[a] Lit. reed
[b] Lit. saying
[c] Or sanctuary
[d] Lit. throw out
[e] Or sanctuary
A Little Greek
In Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, Robertson explains that the Greek in verse 2,
“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations”
means to leave without, literally, to cast without. “In this outer court,” he says, “was a house of prayer for the Gentiles (Mark 11:17), but now John is to cast it out and leave to its fate (given to the Gentiles in another sense) to be profaned by them. They shall tread under foot . . . trample with contempt as in Luke 21:24.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
14 Do not be [j]bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with [k]Belial, or [l]what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.
[j] Lit. unequally yoked
[k] Gr. Beliar
[l] Lit. what part has a believer with an unbeliever
“. . . by ‘the temple of God’ is here meant the church, of which the temple was a type; and so particular congregated churches are called temples, 1 Corinthians 3:16. Solomon, a man of peace, was the builder of the one, and Christ, the Prince of peace, the builder of the other. . .”
Chapter VI. Progress and Ecclesiastical Establishment of the Reformation — § 2. The Ecclesiastical Constitution and Establishment of the Reformed Churches, and Separation from the Church of Rome.
Elliott is insightful but somewhat difficult to read. His explanations with supporting arguments accumulate over many chapters. In chapters 10 and 11, he sees John as representative of the Reformers. In chapter 10, the Bible is given back to them; in chapter 11, a measuring rod, or reed, is given to them do the work of reform with authority derived from those in secular power. Importantly, he condemns the Church of Rome as schismatic and therefore excluded from the true Church as “the outer court.”
“To measure” in our text is to indicate the true dimensions in the abstract sense of determining the true people of God.
“The act of measuring seems to signify that the area belongs to God in some special way. It is an evaluation of His property. . . The Temple here is apparently that which will be in existence during the great tribulation. ”
“Why this measuring? What does it mean?” Dr. Hendriksen believed that the sanctuary represents “the true children of God” who are by definition indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and who offer on His altar the incense of prayer. Measuring the sanctuary represents setting apart the holy from the profane for the purpose of protection from all harm while judgments are falling upon the wicked, persecuting world. We suffer but never perish. Hendriksen also states that: “The sanctuary is accepted while the court is rejected” for the court represents mere nominal Christians.