Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 11:1

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.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Reed;   Vision;   Worship;   Scofield Reference Index - Times of the Gentiles;   The Topic Concordance - Gentiles/heathen;   Jerusalem;   War/weapons;   Witness;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Restore, Renew;   Zechariah, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Reed;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Rod, Staff;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Reed;   Revelation, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Arts;   Eschatology;   Reed ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Prophets, the;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Tabernacle, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Architecture;   Eschatology of the New Testament;   Measuring Reed;   Reed;   Reed, Measuring;   Revelation of John:;   Rod;   Thessalonians, the Second Epistle of Paul to the;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And there was given me a reed - See Ezekiel 40:3, etc.

Measure the temple of God - This must refer to the temple of Jerusalem; and this is another presumptive evidence that it was yet standing.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole 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 kalamosThis 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.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible


The first section of this chapter (Revelation 11:1-13) concludes the sixth trumpet with its vision of the fortunes of the church right up to the end and through the final judgment itself. The seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:14-19) describes the eternal state but gives no details concerning events in it. Several references to the actual judgment itself are retrospective, referring to an event which is past already. This seventh trumpet resembles the seventh seal in its silence regarding actual events after the judgment.

This chapter is a vision, and practically nothing in it is to be taken literally; the great realities discussed are presented under a number of symbols, some of which may not be crucial to the meaning, but are inert, like some of the details in the parables of Jesus. Morris called this chapter "extraordinarily difficult to interpret,"[1] and none could disagree with that. As Alford cautioned, "Much of this mysterious book is as yet unfathomed."[2] Despite this, however, we offer the following interpretation as a sincere understanding of what the text says. Here are some of the symbols and the meanings which we believe to be conveyed by them:


The reed like unto a rod = The Word of God

The measuring = The sealing of the saints

The temple, altar, etc. = The church of God

The forty and two months = This whole dispensation

The two witnesses = The Word of God and the Word-indwelt Church

The beast out of the abyss = Satan

The slaying of the witnesses = The world's rejection of their testimony

Resurrection of witnesses = Resurgence of truth

The unburied bodies = "Operations" of dead churches

The calling of the witnesses = The resurrection and final to heaven judgmentSIZE>MONO>

Other symbols will be interpreted as they appear in the chapter. The comments of others will also be presented in connection with the meanings which we have ascribed to these symbols.

Regarding the various systems of interpretation, as applied to this chapter, a glance at some of these will show how diverse are the views of it that appear in current writings.

The literalists take if for just what it says; and, of course, all of us should try to do that. The trouble is that figurative language cannot be understood literally; and no one familiar with the Bible can deny that a great deal of it is written in figurative language, every known figure of speech being freely employed.

Dusterdieck and others think this chapter refers literally to the Jewish temple and the earthly Jerusalem; but, if so, the Apocalypse stands self-condemned as a prediction falsified (by the contradiction of events) within a year or so of its having been written.[3]

The futurists get rid of all such difficulties by referring the whole prophecy to the remote future, supposing that by then Jerusalem and the temple shall have been completely rebuild as of old, and then, at that far-off future time, the events of this chapter will literally occur. They identify the beast as Antichrist.

The historicists, among whom is the noted Albert Barnes, identify the witnesses as "persecuted sects of the Middle Ages, and the beast as the Papacy."[4] There is an element of truth in this, because the apostasy foretold in Revelation, and the persecutions that were to accompany it, did have a fulfillment in such events, but not the fulfillment.

The preterists think that practically everything in Revelation had its fulfillment in the first generation or so after it was written, and that nothing in it reaches any further than "the first two or three centuries after it was written."[5] Some of this group of interpreters find in the "two witnesses" who were slain the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, supposing that they will yet rise from the dead and preach, as in the vision!

The preterists are correct in seeing a genuine relevance in this prophecy for the first generation that received it; but they are totally wrong in restricting its relevance to the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages.

The futurists in their interpretation lose all relevance whatever in this prophecy to any age except that of a brief period before the final coming of Christ. Thus, these lose all relevance of Revelation for any age except the very last; and the preterists lose all relevance to any age except the very first. Both views are wrong, because God's word is relevant to all times, periods and conditions. The many prophecies in Revelation are being fulfilled continually. For example, the evil enemies of the New Testament have been "killing it" all of this writer's lifetime; and they are still "killing it! .... But the word of the Lord endureth for ever." The apostasy was not one final act of the Medieval Church; it is also Jim Jones' bizarre sect in Guyana in 1978, and a thousand other things. None of this is intended to deny that some fulfillments are so much more extensive and prolonged that they indeed stand typically for all fulfillments.

There has never been a time when this prophecy was not relevant; nor will there ever be. No other understanding of it, it appears to us, could be harmonized with the significant beatitude of Revelation 1:3, "Blessed are they that read ... hear ... and keep the things that are written therein."

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and one said, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (Revelation 11:1)

A reed like unto a rod ... Is this a literal cane some ten or fifteen feet long? How could the worshippers of God be measured by any such stick as this? What does it symbolize? Lenski can hardly be wrong in his comment that:

The reed must then symbolize the word or Gospel in its function of determining who is in the church and who is outside of its bounds.[6]

When one speaks of the Canon of the New Testament, he is speaking of this "reed like unto a rod." The very word "Canon means rule, or standard,"[7] in the sense of our ordinary word ruler as the name of a small measuring device. Once the meaning of this "rod" is seen, other meanings in the passage fall into place.

Measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship ... "Temple of God" in this passage is impossible to accept as a reference to the literal Jewish temple in Jerusalem, called by the Son of God himself a "den of thieves and robbers." That an angel of God should have been concerned with having John measure that desolation (Matthew 23:38) is inconceivable. "It scarcely seems possible to doubt that temple here is used figuratively for the faithful portion of the Church of Christ."[8] In fact, the word here rendered temple is actually sanctuary (ASV margin), "The Greek word [@nous] means the." holy house, where God dwells ... The use of [@nous] here for the thing to be measured makes a literal interpretation of temple impossible."[9] "For John, the temple is the Christian Church, the people of God."[10] "This sanctuary symbolizes the true church."[11]

If any distinction is to be made between the temple and the altar, which is doubtful, it would appear to be that the altar refers to the worship itself, the doctrine and practice of the faithful portion of the church; and the temple refers to the whole body of the church.

The measuring of the "worshippers" would naturally mean the evaluation of their lifestyle, character, and behaviour by the principles taught in the word of God. Thus the corporate body of the church, its doctrine, worship, and teaching, as well as the individual character and conduct of its members would all be included in the measuring. Significantly, there have been pronounced departures from the word of God in all of these categories by the historical church.

What is the purpose of the measuring? In the Old Testament, things were "measured" either for destruction or for preservation; but the identity of what is measured here suggests that "the measuring is a symbolical way of declaring its preservation, not from physical sufferings, but from spiritual danger."[12] Hendriksen likewise concurred in the judgment that the measuring here means "the setting apart from that which is profane."[13]

This measuring by the word of God has the same purpose and effect as the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7. The sealing there is done by the Holy Spirit; and the measuring here is by the word, those who are indwelt by the word (Colossians 3:16). The indwelling, whether by the Spirit, or by the word, being exactly the same either way. There is no difference. See my Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, pp. 97-99. It is good to note that many scholars have seen this correspondence with the sealing. "This corresponds to the sealing in Revelation 7:1-8."[14] An important deduction from this is that:

The vision therefore declares that whatever corruptions invade the church, the kernel of the church will never be destroyed; but out of it there will arise those who will be true to the Master's commission.[15]

This promise of protection for God's church, indicated in this vision by the "measuring," was made by the Lord himself in Matthew 28:18-20.

[1] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentaries, Vol. 20, The Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 144.

[2] Henry Alford as quoted by Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), p. 137.

[3] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 288.

[4] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 565.

[5] Albertus Pieters, op. cit., p. 38.

[6] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis. Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 327.

[7] Vergilius Ferm, An Encyclopedia of Religion (New York: Philosophical Library, 1943), p. 116.

[8] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 288.

[9] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 69.

[10] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 68.

[11] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 153.

[12] Robert H. Mounce, Commentary on the New Testament Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), p. 219.

[13] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 152.

[14] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 219.

[15] W. Boyd Carpenter, Ellicott's Bible Commentary, Vol. VIII (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), p. 584.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod,.... A measuring reed, which with the Jews was six cubits long, Ezekiel 40:5; with the Greeks and Romans, ten feet long; the Ethiopic version here calls it a "golden reed", as in Revelation 21:15. This was given unto John very likely by the same angel that gave him the little book, since he afterwards bids him arise and measure with it; and by it seems to be designed the holy Scripture, or the word of God, which is sometimes called a line, a rule, and rod, Psalm 19:4, and which is the rule and measure of doctrine and faith; and by it all doctrine is to be tried and measured, and whatsoever is not agreeably to it is not of God, nor to be received, but rejected; and it is the rule and measure of all discipline, worship, and practice; it lays down the plan of a Gospel church, which should be gathered out of the world, and separated from it; it shows who are the proper materials of it, what officers are to be constituted in it, and what ordinances are to be administered, and what laws and rules should be observed in receiving and rejecting of members, and according to which the whole community should walk; in short, it directs to all the forms, laws, and ordinances of God's house; and this is the use John, or those whom he represents, were to make of it:

and the angel stood; the same that stood with his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and gave to John the little book, Revelation 10:1; though it may be not in the same place and situation, but rather at the gate of the temple, as in Ezekiel 40:3. This clause is not in the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, but is in the Syriac version and Complutensian edition, and is rightly retained, or otherwise it would seem as if the reed spoke:

saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein; the allusion is to the temple of Jerusalem, with its appurtenances; there were the most holy place, and the holy place, which was the inner court of the priests, into which they only entered, which was strictly speaking the temple, and is referred to here; and there was the altar of burnt offering, which was in the court of the priests, and the altar of incense, which was before the vail that divided between the holy and holy of holies; and then there was the outer court for all the Israelites to worship in, referred to in Revelation 11:2, and 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; Solomon's temple was built of hewn stones, made ready before they were brought thither, and a true church of Christ consists of lively stones, hewed and fitted for this spiritual building by the Spirit of God; the temple at Jerusalem was built on a high mountain, and on the north of the city, the church is built upon the rock Christ Jesus, and the Gospel church, or churches, in the times of the sixth trumpet, which this vision refers to, and to the close of it, are in the northern parts of Europe; and as the temple was for religious use and service, for the worship of God and sacrifices, so is the Gospel church, and so are Gospel churches, for the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances, and for the offering up the sacrifices of prayer and praise; and as in the most holy place were the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat, and as it was the place of the divine Presence, where God granted communion to his people, so in the church are held forth the mysteries of the covenant, Christ as the mercy seat and the propitiatory, in whom the displays of grace are made, and through whom the saints have fellowship with God, and enjoy his presence: "the altar" may design Christ himself, by whom the saints draw nigh to God, offer up their sacrifices, and are accepted with him; or the whole of Gospel worship and ordinances, as prayer, preaching, singing of praise, and the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper: and they "that worship therein", or "thereat", are the royal priesthood, or such who are made kings and priests unto God, for none went into the inner court, or served at the altar, but priests; and who make use of Christ, the altar, of his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, in their approaches to God; and who are praying souls, wait at the altar of incense, and draw nigh to the throne or grace with a true heart, and worship God in Spirit and in truth: now "measuring" of these respects not the primitive church for the first three or four hundred years, and the formation of that according to the rule of God's word, and as a pattern to other churches; for though the apostolic church, or the church as it was in the apostles' time, and as described in their writings, was such a church; yet the church for such a space of time as above was not; there were great departures both from doctrine and discipline, the mystery of iniquity began to work, and way was made for the man of sin and it was far from being a pattern to be imitated; and besides, this measuring refers to the times of the sixth trumpet, and the close of it: nor does it respect the sealing of the 144,000 between the sixth seal and the opening of the seventh seal, which was for the protection and security of them during the times of the six trumpets, which brought desolation into the empire, and apostasy into the church; though measuring sometimes may seem to denote protection, as in Zechariah 2:1; and though the outer court is, and will be, a protection to spiritual worshippers, so long as it is not in the hands of the Gentiles, yet this is not the sense, at least not the whole of it: nor does this refer to the hiding of the church in the wilderness, during the reign of antichrist; which might seem to be signified by the internal worshippers retiring to the altar, and to the holy and the most holy place, and being concealed there; and especially since the opening of the temple in Revelation 11:19, may seem to be opposed to this; but that takes in too large a compass of time, this being an affair relating only to the close of the sixth trumpet, and which was to be before the seventh trumpet sounded: it seems rather to respect the times of the Reformation by Luther, Calvin, and others, when the measuring reed of the word was taken in hand, and used; but then it was used chiefly for the restoration of pure doctrine, and with good success, but not so much for the regulating and orderly discipline of the churches, for the purity of Gospel worship and ordinances; most, if not all the reformed churches, set out upon too broad a bottom, being national, provincial, or parochial; there was a temple, and an altar erected for God, and there were internal and spiritual worshippers; but then they took in the outward court, which should not have been measured in, and circumscribed with them, but should have been left out; but the time for this was not yet come, but now is: in short, I take it that this measuring refers to what was done in the last age, particularly in our nation; and that it has respect to the separation from the national church, when churches, more or less, were gathered and formed according to the Gospel plan and the primitive institution; a work which never was set about and so effectually done before since the age of the apostles: the baptized and congregational churches are the temple, altar, and worshippers measured, who have both the true doctrine, worship, and discipline of God's house among them; a set of men in the last age were raised up, who drew a plan of churches, and of church discipline, according to the ancient model; gathered churches out of the world, and constituted them according to the order of the Gospel; circumscribed them, and enclosed them according to the rules of God's word, admitting none but such into communion who were judged by the churches subjects of the grace of God; and rejected and excluded from among them such as were wicked and scandalous; and so reduced the pure members of churches to a small number, a little flock, a few names in Sardis: and I am of opinion that the measuring reed must be used again; we have got of late, through negligence, or a want of a spirit of discerning, too many of the outward court among us; who must be left out, in order to be given up to other hands, as follows.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And there 1 was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and 2 measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

(1) The authority of the intended revelation being declared, together with the necessity of that calling which was particularly imposed on John after which follows the history of the estate of Christ his Church, both conflicting or warring, and overcoming in Christ. For the true Church of Christ is said to fight against that which is falsely so called, over which Antichrist rules, Christ Jesus overthrowing Antichrist by the spirit of his mouth: and Christ is said to overcome most gloriously until he shall slay Antichrist by the appearance of his coming, as the apostle teaches in (2 Thessalonians 2:8). So this history has two parts: One of the state of the Church conflicting with temptations until Chapter 16. The other of the state of the same church obtaining victory, thence to Chapter 20. The first part has two sections most conveniently distributed into their times, of which the first contains a history of the Christian Church for 1260 years, what time the gospel of Christ was as it were taken up from among men into heaven: the second contains a history of the same Church to the victory perfected. These two sections are briefly, though distinctly propounded in this chapter, but both of them are discoursed after in due order. For we understand the state of the Church conflicting, out of Chapters 12 and 13, and of the same growing out of afflictions, out of Chapters 14 to 16. Neither did John unknowingly join together the history of these two times in this chapter, because here is spoken of prophecy, which all confess to be but one just and immutable in the Church, and which Christ commanded to be continual. The history of the former time reaches to (Revelation 11:2-14), the latter is set down in the rest of this chapter (Revelation 11:15-19). In the former are shown these things: the calling of the servants of God in (Revelation 11:4) the conflicts which the faithful must undergo in their calling, for Christ and his Church, thence to (Revelation 11:5-10) and their resurrection, and receiving up into heaven to (Revelation 11:11-14). In the calling of the servants of God, two things are mentioned: the begetting and settling of the Church in two verses, and the education of it in two verses. The begetting of the Church is here commended to John by sign and by speech: the sign is a measuring rod, and the speech a commandment to measure the Temple of God, that is, to reduce the same to a new form: because the Gentiles are already entered into the Temple of Jerusalem, and shall shortly defile and overthrow it completely.

(2) Either that of Jerusalem's, which was a figure of the Church of Christ, or that heavenly model in (Revelation 11:19) but I like the first better, and the things following all agree to it. The sense therefore is, you see all things in God's house, almost from the passion of Christ, to be disordered: and not only the city of Jerusalem, but also the court of the Temple is trampled under foot by the nations, and by profane men whether Jews or strangers: and that only this Temple, that is, the body of the Temple, with the altar, and a small company of good men who truly worship God, do now remain, whom God sanctifies and confirms by his presence. Measure therefore this, even this true Church, or rather the true type of the true Church, omitting the rest, and so describe all things from me, that the true Church of Christ may be as it were a very little centre, and the Church of Antichrist as the circle of the centre, every way in length and breadth compassing about the same, that by way of prophecy you may so declare openly, that the state of the Temple of God, and the faithful who worship him, that is, of the Church, is much more upright than the Church of Antichrist.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 11:1-19. Measurement of the temple. The two witnesses‘ testimony: their death, resurrection, and ascension: The earthquake: The third woe: The seventh trumpet ushers in Christ‘s Kingdom. Thanksgiving of the twenty-four elders.

This eleventh chapter is a compendious summary of, and introduction to, the more detailed prophecies of the same events to come in the twelfth through twentieth chapters. Hence we find anticipatory allusions to the subsequent prophecies; compare Revelation 11:7, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit” (not mentioned before), with the detailed accounts, Revelation 13:1, Revelation 13:11; Revelation 17:8; also Revelation 11:8, “the great city,” with Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:1, Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:10.

and the angel stood — omitted in A, Vulgate, and Coptic. Supported by B and Syriac. If it be omitted, the “reed” will, in construction, agree with “saying.” So Wordsworth takes it. The reed, the canon of Scripture, the measuring reed of the Church, our rule of faith, speaks. So in Revelation 16:7 the altar is personified as speaking (compare Note, see on Revelation 16:7). The Spirit speaks in the canon of Scripture (the word canon is derived from Hebrew, “{(kaneh},” “a reed,” the word here used; and John it was who completed the canon). So Victorinus, Aquinas, and Vitringa. “Like a rod,” namely, straight: like a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27), unbending, destroying all error, and that “cannot be broken.” Revelation 2:27; Hebrews 1:8, Greek, “a rod of straightness,” English Version, “a scepter of righteousness”; this is added to guard against it being thought that the reed was one “shaken by the wind” In the abrupt style of the Apocalypse, “saying” is possibly indefinite, put for “one said.” Still Wordsworth‘s view agrees best with Greek. So the ancient commentator, Andreas of Caesarea, in the end of the fifth century (compare Notes, see on Revelation 11:3, Revelation 11:4).

the templeGreek, “{(naon}” (as distinguished from the Greek, “{(hieron},” or temple in general), the Holy Place, “the sanctuary.

the altar — of incense; for it alone was in “the sanctuary.” (Greek, “{naos}”). The measurement of the Holy place seems to me to stand parallel to the sealing of the elect of Israel under the sixth seal. God‘s elect are symbolized by the sanctuary at Jerusale)m (1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:17, where the same Greek word,) “{naos},” occurs for “temple,” as here). Literal Israel in Jerusalem, and with the temple restored (Ezekiel 40:3, Ezekiel 40:5, where also the temple is measured with the measuring reed, the forty-first, forty-second, forty-third, and forty-fourth chapters), shall stand at the head of the elect Church. The measuring implies at once the exactness of the proportions of the temple to be restored, and the definite completeness (not one being wanting) of the numbers of the Israelite and of the Gentile elections. The literal temple at Jerusalem shall be the typical forerunner of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which there shall be all temple, and no portion exclusively set apart as temple. John‘s accurately drawing the distinction in subsequent chapters between God‘s servants and those who bear the mark of the beast, is the way whereby he fulfils the direction here given him to measure the temple. The fact tha)t the temple is distinguished from them that worship therein, favors the view that the spiritual temple, the Jewish and Christian Church, is not exclusively meant, but that the literal temple must also be meant. It shall be rebuilt on the return of the Jews to their land. Antichrist shall there put forward his blasphemous claims. The sealed elect of Israel, the head of the elect Church, alone shall refuse his claims. These shall constitute the true sanctuary which is here measured, that is, accurately marked and kept by God, whereas the rest shall yield to his pretensions. Wordsworth objects that, in the twenty-five passages of the Acts, wherein the Jewish temple is mentioned, it is called {hieron}, not {naos}, and so in the apostolic Epistles; but this is simply because no occasion for mentioning the literal Holy Place (Greek, “{naos}”) occurs in Acts and the Epistles; indeed, in Acts 7:48, though not directly, there does occur the term, {naos}, indirectly referring to the Jerusalem temple Holy Place. In addressing Gentile Christians, to whom the literal Jerusalem temple was not familiar, it was to be expected the term, {naos}, should not be found in the literal, but in the spiritual sense. In Revelation 11:19 {naos} is used in a local sense; compare also Revelation 14:15, Revelation 14:17; Revelation 15:5, Revelation 15:8.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

A reed (καλαμοςkalamos). Old word for a growing reed (Matthew 11:7) which grew in immense brakes in the Jordan valley, a writer‘s reed (3 John 1:7), a measuring-rod (here, Revelation 21:15.; Ezekiel 40:3-6; Ezekiel 42:16-19).

Like a rod (ομοιος ραβδωιhomoios rabdōi). See Revelation 2:27; Mark 6:8 for ραβδοςrabdos one said (λεγωνlegōn). “Saying” (present active masculine participle of λεγωlegō) is all that the Greek has. The participle implies εδωκενedōken (he gave), not εδοτηedothē a harsh construction seen in Genesis 22:20; Genesis 38:24, etc.

Rise and measure (εγειρε και μετρησονegeire kai metrēson). Present active imperative of εγειρωegeirō (intransitive, exclamatory use as in Mark 2:11) and first aorist active imperative of μετρεωmetreō In Ezekiel 42:2. the prophet measures the temple and that passage is probably in mind here. But modern scholars do not know how to interpret this interlude (Revelation 11:1-13) before the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15). Some (Wellhausen) take it to be a scrap from the Zealot party before the destruction of Jerusalem, which event Christ also foretold (Mark 13:2; Matthew 24:2; Luke 21:6) and which was also attributed to Stephen (Acts 6:14). Charles denies any possible literal interpretation and takes the language in a wholly eschatological sense. There are three points in the interlude, however understood: the chastisement of Jerusalem or Israel (Revelation 11:1, Revelation 11:2), the mission of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12), the rescue of the remnant (Revelation 11:13). There is a heavenly sanctuary (Revelation 7:15; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 14:15, etc.), but here ναοςnaos is on earth and yet not the actual temple in Jerusalem (unless so interpreted). Perhaps here it is the spiritual (Revelation 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 3:16.; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19.). For altar (τυσιαστηριονthusiastērion) see Revelation 8:3. Perhaps measuring as applied to “them that worship therein” (τους προσκυνουντας εν αυτωιtous proskunountas en autōi) implies a word like numbering, with an allusion to the 144,000 in chapter 7 (a zeugma).

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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

A rod

See on Revelation 2:27.

And the angel stood

Omit. The insertion of these words furnishes a subject for the agreement of the participle λέγων , which is irregular an construction. Literally the correct text reads, “there was given me a reed, saying.” Accordingly Wordsworth refers the speech to the reed as an inspired medium of speech. Rev., better, and one said.

The temple ( τὸν ναὸν )

See on Matthew 4:5.

The altar

Of incense, as that alone stood in the sacred place.

Them that worship

Note the peculiar expressed, measuring the worshippers with a reed.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 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.

Ver. 1. A reed] That is, the word of God, that little book that he had newly eaten. This is the only rule of faith and discipline whereby all in the Church must be made and meted.

Like unto a rod] Or, sceptre. The word is that rod of Christ’s strength, whereby he rules in the midst of his enemies, Psalms 110:2. It is that right sceptre, Psalms 45:6, which he sways and whereby he sovereigns. The Proverbs of Solomon are called in Hebrew Mishle, or mastersentences, Proverbs 1:1; (from Mashal, dominari to be mastered). And the Scriptures bear the title of Chieftains, Proverbs 8:6, and of lords of collections, as some render it, Ecclesiastes 12:11.

Measure the temple of God] The Church, that had been so woefully wasted and oppressed by Antichrist, that it stood in need of new measuring and repairing.

That worship therein] In the temple, as being all spiritual priests; and in the altar, as placing all their confidence in Christ’s death alone.

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Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 11:1.— From this to the nineteenth chapter, we have the third and longest period of this prophesy, distinguished by the seven vials, as the former periods were by seven trumpets, and seven seals. As this is a period much more extensive than either of the foregoing, it seems to have a more full and copious description; and the state of it is represented by several prophetic images; as by measuring the temple; by the prophesy of two witnesses; by the vision of a woman flying into the wilderness; ch. Revelation 11:12 : the representation of one wild beast rising out of the sea, and of another coming out of the earth; ch. 13. So that there are two distinct representations of the state of the church during this period; and another representation of the persecuting power from whence this afflicted state of the church should proceed: and in the end of this, as in each period, we have a representation of the church's deliverance out of its afflicted state. In particular, the afflictions of the church are to end with this period in the most happy and glorious state of peace and prosperity, of truth, purity, and protection; and are not to be renewed in a very short time by a new period of troubles and afflictions to try the faith and patience of the saints, as in the former periods. It appears therefore, that the representation of the two witnesses, of the woman in the wilderness, and of the beast, are several exhibitions of the same time or period, in different views. The time for the witnesses to prophesy in sackcloth, is a thousand two hundred and threescore days, ch. Revelation 11:3. The woman is nourished in her place in the wilderness for a time, and times, and half a time, or three years and a half; equal to one thousand two hundred and sixty days, according to the ancient year of three hundred and sixty days; and so the prophesy itself interprets it, Revelation 11:6. It is further observed concerning the period of the beast, that power was given to him to continue forty and two months, a time equal to three years and a half, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days. These are therefore to be looked upon as different descriptions of the same period, for the more distinct explication of the prophesy, and the greater certainty of its true meaning. The days in question must be interpreted of years, as is not only agreeable to the general style of prophesy, but to the plan of the particular prophesy before us. The order of the prophesies of this book shews, that these one thousand two hundred and sixty days contain the whole time of the third period, or all the time wherein the witnesses prophesy, the woman is in the wilderness, and the beast has power given unto him; that is, all the time of the last state of the church's sufferings, to that glorious state of the church, when Satan shall be shut up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. In this period the seven vials of God's wrath are to be poured out, and all the historical events that relate to them accomplished. This period is to last till the mystery of God shall be finished: these events are too many, and the times in which they are to be accomplished too long, to be comprised within one thousand two hundred and sixty natural days. The order of the periods shews, that this third is not to begin until the two former are passed; until the nations which had destroyed the Roman empire had divided it among themselves; till the imperial government of Rome was passed away, as the preceding forms of government were before it; and till another form should be established in Rome, which, on some accounts, should be called the seventh; and, on others, the eighth form of government: when Rome, once the powerful mistress of the world, after she had lost her dominion, and, as it seemed, without hope of recovery, should be restored to power and empire again, which was to continue during the one thousand two hundred and sixty days of this period, and then to be utterly overthrown, and never to rise again. Now, as a great variety of concurrent circumstances shew the beginning of this period to have been about the year 756, when the popes were invested with the temporal dominion of Rome, in which only time the several descriptions of this period do all exactly agree, the one thousand two hundred and sixty days of this prophesy are to last so long as this dominion is to continue: which seems evidently to shew, that we are not to understand one thousand two hundred and sixty natural days as the time of this period, but so many prophetic days, or years. See the following notes. See also the Appendix for other views of this subject.

And the angel stood, saying, That is, the angel mentioned in the foregoing chapter, whom some commentators interpret of Luther. In the former part of this chapter, from the 1st to the 14th verse, says Bishop Newton, are exhibited the contents of the little book mentioned in the preceding chapter. In this verse St. John is commanded to measure the inner court,—the temple of God, &c. to shew, that, during all this period, there were some true Christians who conformed to the rule and measure of God's worship. This measuring might allude more particularly to the reformation from popery, which fell out under this sixth trumpet; and one of the moral causes of it was, the Othmans taking Constantinople, which occasioned the Greek fugitives to bring their books with them into the more western parts of Europe, and proved the happy cause of the revival of learning; as the revival of learning opened men's eyes, and proved the happy occasion of the reformation. But, though the inner court, which includes the smaller number, was measured, yet the outer court, which implies the far greater part, was left out, (Revelation 11:2.) and rejected, as being in the possession of Christians only in name, but Gentiles in worship and practice who profaned it with heathenish superstition and idolatry: And they shall tread under foot the holy city; they shall trample upon and tyrannize over the church for the space of forty and two months.

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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. The command given by God to St. John to take a survey of his church, his spiritual temple, consisting of living stones, and built upon the chief corner stone, Jesus Christ. God's faithful and true worshippers are only those whom God will have to be measured, and taken notice of as being his part and portion, his tabernacle in which he will dwell. And, blessed be God! in the worst of times they are measurable; even in times of epidemical degeneracy, and universal apostasy, God has a number to stand up for his name, and to bear witness to his truth.

Observe, 2. That the temple, the altar, and the worshippers therein, are here all joined together, and the command given is, to measure them together. Arise, and measure the temple, the altar, and them that worship therein; intimating, that the true church, and the true worshippers, are ever found together; and by the true worship, and the true worshippers, is the true church ever known; so that if the question be asked, "Where is the true church?" the answer is, where the true altar is; and where the true worship is, there the true church is; that church which will bear God's measuring reed, the scrutiny of the scriptures, and the examination of his holy word; where that worship is found, here the church of God is found.

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Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 11:1. καὶ ἐδόθη μοι. By whom, remains just as undetermined as Revelation 8:2, Revelation 6:11. De Wette, Ew. ii., think of the angel of ch. 10, who, however, has fulfilled there that to which he was called; Beng.(2791) refers it to Christ, but to this, Revelation 11:3 ( ΄αρτ. ΄ου) does not constrain.

κἀλα΄ος ὁ΄οιος ῥάβδῳ. That a reed serves as a ΄έτρον,(2792) is to a certain extent explained as to its form, by its resemblance to a rule.

λέγων, without construction, as Revelation 4:1. Of course, the giver of the κάλαμος is meant; but it is incorrect, if one, as even Beng., regard the κάλαμος as the formally determined subject, and then by metonymy reaches its giver.

ἔγειρε καὶ μέτρησον. From the ἔγειρε it does not follow, that previously John was “in another posture of body,”(2793) perhaps kneeling; the ἔγειρε—otherwise than in Mark 5:41; John 5:8; Luke 5:23—corresponding to the Heb. קוּם,(2794) is only excitatory with respect to the closely connected καὶ ΄ετρ.(2795)

It is not the purpose of the measuring, as the antithesis in Revelation 11:2 undoubtedly shows, to make visible the relations of space, which, besides, is not conceivable in the measuring of the προσκυνοῦντες,—as in Ezekiel 40:1 sqq. the temple-building beheld by the prophet in its completion was measured in all its parts, because he is to learn its dimensions accurately,(2796)—but just as in Amos 7:7(2797) that is measured which was destroyed, with respect to what is to be exempted from destruction, so John must here measure what is mentioned in Revelation 11:1, because this is to be exempted from the destruction to which what is not measured (Revelation 11:2) is abandoned, and is therefore to be preserved. In this formal understanding, Grot., Eichh., Ew., De Wette, Lücke, Hengstenb., etc., agree, much as they diverge from one another in its more detailed interpretation. It is, therefore, incorrect to find the intention of the new building in the measuring; whether in Bengel’s sense, who here finds a confirmation of Ezekiel 40, viz., the prophecy of the building of the temple of Ezekiel at Jerusalem actually to occur at the end of days; or in the sense of the allegorists, who understand the ναὸς τ. θ. of the true Church of Christ, and refer to its glorious new building, in connection with which the old Protestant expositors(2798) regard the destruction of that which was consecrated (Revelation 11:2; Revelation 11:13), as the Roman-Catholic degeneration, Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8) as papal Rome; while the Catholics have in view the removal of the O. T. sanctuary, and the separation of wicked members of the Church, Revelation 11:2.(2799) See in general on Revelation 11:13.

τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ. That part of the entire ἱερόν which contained the holy of holies, the holy place, and the porch; the proper temple-building,(2800) in distinction from the entire space of the outer courts, cf. Revelation 11:2. Incorrectly, Weiss:(2801) “The congregation of believing Jews.”

τὸ θυσιαστήριον. Only the altar of incense can be meant; since only this, and not the altar of sacrifice,(2802) stood in the ναός.(2803) For the argument of Hengstenb., that the ναός itself is to be understood figuratively of the Christian Church, because here the altar of incense in the same is removed, there is no occasion. But, also, on the other side, the argument of De Wette is unsuitable, that in Revelation 6:9, Revelation 8:3, what is said pertains not to the altar of sacrifice, which does not occur at all in the Apoc., but to the altar of incense; for since the ναὸς τ. θ. (Revelation 11:1) is different from the ναὸς τ. θ. ἐν τ. οὐρανῷ (Revelation 11:19), just so little has the θυσιαστήριον (Revelation 11:1) to do with the heavenly altar, Revelation 8:3, Revelation 6:9.

καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας ἐν αὐτῷ, viz., τῷ ναῷ. Vitr. refers αυτῷ to θυσιαστ., and explains the ἐν by apud, since he interprets τ. προσκυν. by metonymy:(2804) “the place in which the people were accustomed to adore God,” and thus finally derives “the court of the Israelites.” To this view, conflicting with the idea of the ναός, and with Revelation 11:2,—which, besides, appears entirely confused by the fact that Vitr.(2805) understands by the θυσιαστ. properly Christ,—he comes in order not to be compelled to conceive of the προσκυνοῦντες in the ναός, and at the altar found therein as exclusively priests, of whom many of the older Catholics, as C. a Lap, alone think. But as certainly as also the ναὸς τ. θ. is to be sought in Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8), and the whole chapter is to be referred to the impending destruction of the city,(2806) just so certainly does the position of those προσκυνοῦντες in the ναός itself appear as one of the ideal features, which explain the whole prophecy, and extend it to the sphere of a mere foretelling of a future event. That John beholds true believers from Israel transferred to the ναὸς τ. θ., otherwise standing open only to priests, is interposed because of his knowledge of the priestly character of all believers, Jews and Gentiles.(2807) But as in ch. 7 he reports the sealing of believers out of Israel, as a necessary preparation for the judgment impending over Israel; so here, where the judgment breaks upon Israel those believers together with the proper dwelling of God are measured, just as he protects the ναὸς τ. θ. before its sinking in judgment.(2808) [See Note LXVII., p. 332.]


LXVII. Revelation 11:1. τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, κ. τ. λ.

Alford argues at length in criticism of Düsterdieck’s interpretation, by which the measuring is referred to the literal and earthly Jerusalem: “I would strongly recommend any one who takes that view, to read through the very unsatisfactory and shuffling comment of Düsterdieck here; the result of which is, that, finding, as he of course does, many discrepancies between this and our Lord’s prophecy of the same destruction of Jerusalem, he is driven to the refuge that while our Lord describes matters of fact, St. John idealizes the catastrophe, setting it forth, not as it really took place, but according to its inner connection with the final accomplishment of the mystery of God, and correspondently with the hope which God’s O. T. people possessed, as contrasted with the heathen power of this world which abides in ‘Babylon.’ But if ‘Babylon’ is the abode of the world, why not ‘Jerusalem’ of the Church? If our interpreter, maintaining the literal sense, is allowed so far to ‘idealize’ as to exempt the temple of God itself (Revelation 11:1) from a destruction which we know overtook it, and nine-tenths of the city (Revelation 11:13) from an overthrow which destroyed it all, surely there is an end to the meaning of words. If Jerusalem here is simply Jerusalem, and the prophecy regards her overthrow by the Romans, and especially if this passage is to be made such use of as to set aside the testimony of Irenæus as to the date of the Apoc. by the stronger testimony of the Apoc. itself [so Düsterdieck from Lücke], then must every particular be shown to tally with known history; or, if this cannot be done, at least it must be shown that none contradicts it. If this cannot be done, then we may fairly infer that the prophecy has no such reference, or only remotely, here and there, and not as to its principal subject. Into whatever difficulty we may be led by the remark, it is no less true that the πόλις ἁγία of Revelation 11:2 cannot be the same as the πόλις μεγάλη of Revelation 11:8. This has been felt by the literal interpreters, and they have devised ingenious reasons why the holy city should afterwards be called the great city.… Düsterd.: ‘Because it is impossible in one breath to call a city ‘holy,’ and ‘Sodom and Egypt.’ Most true; then must we not look for some other city than one which this very prophecy has called most holy?” He understands the ναὸς τ. θεοῦ and its θυσιαστήριον as referring to “the Church of the elect servants of God, everywhere in this book symbolized by Jews in deed and truth. The society of these, as a whole, is the νάος agreeably to Scripture symbolism elsewhere, e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, and is symbolized by the inner or holy place of the Jerusalem temple, in and among which they, as true Israelites and priests unto God, have a right to worship and minister. These are they who, properly speaking, alone are measured; estimated again and again in this book by tale and number,—partakers in the first resurrection, the Church of the first-born.” Gebhardt, however, while emphatically rejecting Düsterdieck’s literalism, restricts the measuring to Jewish Christians (p. 258): “Can we still understand ‘the holy city,’ ‘the great city,’ to be Jerusalem in a purely local sense? No; the city is Jerusalem, but, as frequently elsewhere, it is at the same time the representative of the Jewish people. The seer was to ‘measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein;’ i.e., as Christians generally were protected from the trumpet and vial plagues (Revelation 7:1-4), so should Christians out of Israel be protected from the judgments which were to come upon Jerusalem and the Jewish people (compare Matthew 24:15-18). On the contrary, the court without the temple was to be ‘left out,’ for it was given to the Gentiles, and they should tread the holy city under foot forty and two months; i.e., the judgments already predicted by Daniel will burst in upon the non-christian, unbelieving Jewish people. Whether John, by its being given to the Gentiles, and their treading it under foot, had in mind the destruction of Jerusalem, the words do not expressly say.”

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Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 11:1. καὶ ἐδόθη μοι κάλαμος ὅμοιος ῥάβδῳ,(108) λέγων) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. ἐδόθη μοι λέγων might be resolved by Syllepsis: for the Hebrews put לאמר absolutely; whence the idiom of the Septuagint translators, λέγων and λέγοντες, for instance, Isaiah 7:2, καὶ ἀπηγγέλη εἰς τὸν οἶκον δαυὶδ, λέγων· where in the passive ἀπηγγέλη is contained the active ἀπήγγειλεν, and on ἀπήγγειλεν depends λέγεν: 2 Kings 18:36, ὅτι ἐντολὴ τοῦ βασιλέως, λέγων. And thus frequently, especially in Genesis and the earlier prophets, and Exodus 18:3; Exodus 18:6; 2 Chronicles 10:15; Isaiah 30:21; Ezekiel 12:22; Psalms 78:4; Job 22:17. In like manner λέγων might here be connected with the verb ἔδωκεν, which is contained in ἐδόθη. But the speech is more conveniently attributed to the rod itself by Metonymy; John not seeing Him who gave the rod, and who is to be known from Revelation 11:3; Revelation 11:8. For thus also John heard the Altar speaking, ch. Revelation 16:7.— ΄έτρησο:, measure) The measuring is yet future.

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Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible


Revelation 11:1,2 John is commanded to measure the temple, all but the

outer court.

Revelation 11:3,4 The two witnesses that shall prophesy,

Revelation 11:5,6 their power,

Revelation 11:7 the beast shall fight against them, and kill them,

Revelation 11:8-10 they shall lie unburied three days and a half,

Revelation 11:11,12 and then rise again, and ascend into heaven.

Revelation 11:13 A great earthquake.

Revelation 11:14 The second woe past.

Revelation 11:15-19 The seventh trumpet sounded: the heavenly choir

celebrate the glories of God’s kingdom.

And there was given me a reed like a rod; the next words tell us the use of this reed. It was a measuring reed, such a one as Ezekiel in his vision {Ezekiel 40:3} saw in the man’s hand. There, the measuring was in order to a rebuilding; here, in order to preserving.

And the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God: we cannot well understand what followeth, without understanding the structure of the temple. The Jews, for the place of their worship, had first a tabernacle, then a temple. The tabernacle was a movable house, which they took down and carried about with them in their journeyings, and pitched down when in any place they pitched their tents. We read of it, Exodus 40:1-38. We read but of one court in that, into which only the priests and Levites entered; the people were without it, pitching their tents round about it. It had in it an altar of gold for incense, Exodus 40:5, which stood before the ark, Exodus 40:26,27; and an altar for burnt-offering, which stood by the door of the tabernacle, Exodus 40:29. The temple was built by Solomon, 1 Kings 6:1-38, and afterwards rebuilt by Zerubbabel, upon their return out of captivity. That was built with two courts; an inner court, 1 Kings 6:36, in which was the altar; and an outward court, which is called the great court, 2 Chronicles 4:9, and in Ezekiel, many times, the outward court. This is called the house, in 1 Kings 6:17. It was in length forty cubits; the oracle was within it, 1 Kings 6:19, where stood the ark covered with the cherubims. Into the inward court the priests and Levites only came; into the outward court came any of the Israelites. Herod, upon the additional building to the temple, added another large court, called the court of the Gentiles; but that not being of God’s direction, nor in Solomon’s temple, or Zerubbabel’s, is not here mentioned. This temple was a type of the church under the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 3:17 2 Corinthians 6:16, and is so to be interpreted generally in this book: for the material temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans more than twenty years before this prophecy, never to be built more; not one stone was left upon another; so that John here was bid to measure the church.

And the altar, and them that worship therein; yet not the whole church, but that part of it which the inner court typified; the altar, and those that worshipped within that space where that was, which of old were only the priests and Levites; and under the New Testament signified those who were to be a holy priesthood, a spiritual house, those that should offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:5, who could endure a measuring by God’s reed, the word of God.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

трость Полое бамбукообразное тростниковое растение, которое росло в Иорданской долине. Благодаря своей легкости и прочности обычно использовалось как орудие для измерения (ср. Иез. 40:3, 5). Приказ об измерении храма свидетельствовал о принадлежности его Богу (ср. 21:15; Зах. 2:1-5).

храм Божий Обозначает святая святых и святое место, а не весь комплекс храма (ср. ст. 2). Перестроенный храм будет существовать в годину искушения (Дан. 9:27; 12:11; Мф. 24:15; 2Фес. 2:4).

жертвенник Ссылка на поклоняющихся предполагает, что это бронзовый жертвенник во внутреннем дворе, а не жертвенник с фимиамом в святом месте, так как только священникам было позволено входить в святое место (ср. Лк. 1:8-10).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The present chapter gives the contents of the little book expressed in two striking emblems, the measuring of God’s temple, and the prophesying of the two witnesses.

A reed like unto a rod-measure the temple-and them that worship; compare Ezekiel 40:3, etc. The holy city, Jerusalem, with its temple and court, represents the body of those who profess Christianity: measuring denotes God’s act of acknowledgment and approval; leaving unmeasured, his act of rejection. The temple and altar therefore, with their attendant worshippers, represent "the Israel of God," whom he owns as his true people; while the outer court of the temple and the city thronged with Gentiles, represent the multitude of both church officers and people who are Christian only in name. The whole symbol represents a period during which there would be some spiritual worshippers among the professed followers of Christ, while multitudes would be given up to spiritual darkness, idolatry, and death.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary


John, at the Command of the Angel, measureth the Temple. The Lord speaks of his two Witnesses: their Power. Their Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. The seventh Angel soundeth his Trumpet. The great Events which follow.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

The measuring of the temple--11:1-2.

The contents of the eleventh chapter are a continuation of the scenes of the interlude, or intermediate visions, between the sixth and seventh trumpet announcements. The things narrated belong to the days of the voice of the seventh angel--the end of the Jewish state or political dispensation. The siege and fall of Jerusalem was at hand.

The pronouncement of chapter 10 that there should be time no longer had been made. The eleventh chapter presents intervening scenes of measuring the temple, for the preservation of the "holy seed," the "true Israel," the "one hundred forty-four thousand," the "innumerable host," the "remnant according to the election of grace," and the "sealed number"--representative of all spiritual Israel, the whole faithful church, and the true spiritual temple in contrast with the old temple which though still standing, was measured for destruction. The old Jerusalem, the apostate city, was marked for its downfall.

1. A reed like a rod: The indication is that this reed was given to John in the same manner and, hence, by the same One by whom the book was given to him in chapter 10:9. And the angel that commanded him to measure the temple is the same angel that commanded him to eat the book. The use of the article the angel, rather than an angel, or another angel, designates the angel as Christ himself, as shown in the notes on the preceding chapter.

The reed was like a rod. The measuring reed was six cubits, about three yards in length. This measuring reed was like a rod, signifying the authority of its giver, the angel. In the psalm-prophecy of Christ, David said: "I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion . . . I will declare the decree . . . thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee . . . I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron." (Psalms 2:6-9) Again the psalmist said: "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion." (Psalms 110:1-2) Both of these psalms are applied in the New Testament to the rule and authority of Christ. In that same sense it is used in chapter 2:27, "He shall rule them with a rod of iron"-- the rule of irresistible authority.

The rod was also the symbol of affliction, as signified in the phrase "passing under the rod" of Ezekiel 20:37, and "take his rod away from me," of Job 9:34.

This measuring reed given to John symbolized the authority of this "mighty angel" (10:1), and his power to protect and preserve the true believers.

2. Measure, temple, altar, worship: At the start of the interval between the sixth and seventh seals, the angel announced the purpose of the interlude (chapter 7:3) as time to seal the servants of God; and in verse 4 he described and defined the number of them which were sealed as being symbolically of all the tribes of the children of Israel. In the same imagery here, in the interval between the sixth and seventh trumpets, the command of the angel to measure the temple, the altar and them that worship is symbolic of the true Israel of God. They were measured for preservation, the holy seed of Israel, spiritual Israel, that should not perish. The measured number here in chapter 11 is the same company of believers as the sealed number of chapter 7. They are the symbolic one hundred forty-four thousand of all the tribes of Israel--of chapter 7:4--computed on the basis of twelve times twelve for the twelve tribes, and in the numeral thousand for a symbol of the aggregated whole, complete, total body of true believers, of the spiritual tribes of Israel. (Acts 26:7)

The symbolism of the measuring of the temple is exactly the same, the sealed servants of chapter 7 and the measured worshipers of chapter 11 are the same company, symbolic of the same thing, sealed and measured for the same purpose.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

"And" (Gr. kai) ties this chapter closely to the previous one. John"s first prophetic assignment after receiving his fresh commission was to provide this information.

Again John became an active participant in his vision (cf. Revelation 1:12; Revelation 5:4; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 10:8-10; Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8). John"s "measuring rod" was probably a lightweight reed (cf. Ezekiel 29:6; Ezekiel 40:5; Ezekiel 42:16-19; Mark 6:8; 3 John 1:13). The person giving the reed and the instructions was probably the strong angel just referred to ( Revelation 10:9-11). John received instruction to perform a symbolic Acts, as many of his prophetic forerunners had done (cf. Isaiah 20:2-5; Ezekiel 12:1-17; Ezekiel 40; Zechariah 2). The act of measuring probably signifies that the temple is God"s possession and that He approves of it. One carefully measures what is his personal property (cf. 2 Samuel 8:2; Ezekiel 40:3 to Ezekiel 42:20). Sometimes measuring in Scripture anticipated judgment ( 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Kings 21:13; Isaiah 28:17; Lamentations 2:8; Amos 7:7-9). A few references to measuring involve protection ( Jeremiah 31:39; Ezekiel 40:2 to Ezekiel 43:12; Zechariah 1:16; Zechariah 2:1-8), but this can hardly be the connotation here in view of the context ( Revelation 11:2). However, since John received instruction not to measure profane areas ( Revelation 11:2), this measuring is probably an indication of God"s favor and approval.

"In other words, John"s future prophecies will distinguish between God"s favor toward the sanctuary, the altar, and their worshipers and His disapproval of all that is of Gentile orientation because of their profanation of the holy city for half of the future seventieth week.... So the measuring is an object lesson of how entities favored by God will fare during the period of Gentile oppression that lies ahead." [Note: Ibid, pp80-81.]

The "temple" (Gr. naos, inner temple) refers to both the holy place and the holy of holies, excluding the courtyards. This is evidently the temple that the Jews will build in Jerusalem before or during the first half (three and a half years) of Daniel"s seventieth week (i.e, the Tribulation; cf. Revelation 11:8; Revelation 13:14-15; Daniel 9:26-27; Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 2:4). [Note: See John F. Walvoord, "Will Israel Build a Temple in Jerusalem?" Bibliotheca Sacra125:498 (April-June1968):99-106; Thomas S. McCall, "How Soon the Tribulation Temple?" Bibliotheca Sacra128:512 (October-December1971):341-51; and idem, "Problems in Rebuilding the Tribulation Temple," Bibliotheca Sacra129:513 (January-March1972):75-80. See also Martin Levin, "Time for a New Temple?" Time, 16 October1989, pp64-65. For refutation of the preterist view that this is the Second Temple, which Titus destroyed in A.D70, see Mark L. Hitchcock, "A Critique of the Preterist View of the Temple in Revelation 11:1-2," Bibliotheca Sacra164:654 (April-June2007):219-36.] The "altar" probably refers to the brazen altar of sacrifice outside the sanctuary to which non-priests will have access. John was to measure (in the sense of quantifying) the worshippers too. This probably means that God will know or perhaps preserve them. These worshipers evidently represent godly Jews who will worship God in this Tribulation temple (cf. Ezekiel 14:22; Romans 11:4-5; Romans 11:26).

When Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming He will build a new millennial temple that will replace this Tribulation temple ( Ezekiel 40).

Some interpreters who favor a more symbolic understanding of this verse take the temple as a reference to the church (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21; 1 Peter 2:5). [Note: E.g, Johnson, pp499-502; Mounce, p221; and Swete, p132.]

"The church will be protected in the coming disaster." [Note: Morris, p147.]

However if the temple is the church, who are the worshipers, what is the altar, and why are the Gentiles segregated from it?

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 11:1. A reed was given to the Seer,—it is not said by whom,—and we are left to infer, as at chap. Revelation 6:2; Revelation 6:4; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 6:11, that it was by one in heaven. The word ‘my’ in Revelation 11:3 may lead us to the thought of the Lord Himself. The reed is for measuring, but it is stronger than a common reed, and is thus more able to effect its purpose: it is like unto a rod. May it not even be a rod of judgment (comp. 1 Corinthians 4:21)? Omitting for the present the import of the measuring, we notice only that the idea is taken from Ezekiel 40:3; Zechariah 2:2. Three things are to be measured. First, the temple of God, meaning not the whole temple-buildings, but the Holy and Most Holy place. Secondly, the altar. This altar, considering where it stands, can only be that of incense, not the brazen altar transferred to another than its own natural position. Upon this altar the prayers of God’s persecuted saints were laid (chap. Revelation 8:3), and it is with the persecuted saints that we have here to do (Revelation 11:7). Thirdly, they that worship therein, that is, in the innermost sanctuary of the temple; while to ‘worship’ is the expression of highest adoration. The last clause alone is a sufficient proof that the three things to be measured are not to be understood literally. How could those who worship in the temple be thus measured with a reed? But, if one of three objects mentioned in the same sentence and in the same way be figurative, the obvious inference is that the other two must be looked at in a similar light. By the ‘temple,’ therefore, it is impossible to understand the literal temple in Jerusalem supposed to be as yet undestroyed. Even although we knew, on other and independent grounds, that the overthrow of the city by the Romans had not yet taken place, it would be entirely out of keeping with the Seer’s method of conception to suppose that he refers to the temple on Mount Moriah. His temple imagery is always drawn not from that building but from the Tabernacle first erected in the wilderness. It is the shrine of the latter not of the former that he has in view, and the word used in the original, however its rendering in English may suggest such associations to us, has no necessary connection with the Temple of Solomon. For a clear proof that this is St. John’s mode of viewing the Naos (i.e the shrine, the ‘temple’ here in question) see the note on Revelation 11:19. As to the import of the measuring there can be little doubt. It is determined, by the contrast of Revelation 11:2, by the measuring of chap. Revelation 21:15-16, and by the analogy of chap. 7, to be for preservation, not, as sometimes imagined, for destruction.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

apostle is ordered to measure the temple. Two prophets are promised, to teach mankind. They are put to death, and in three days and a half after, they are raised to life, and ascend to heaven. A great earthquake follows. The seventh Angel sounds the trumpet. The elders give thanks to God. --- Measure the temple, &c. This is to signify that the divine Providence would always protect his faithful servants, who are called the temple of God; (1 Corinthians iii. 17. and 2 Corinthians vi. 16.) but by the outward court not to be measured, because it is given to the Gentiles, &c. (ver. 2) is commonly understood idolaters, infidels, heretics, who are not in the temple of God, nor in his Church. It is an allusion to the Jewish temple, and the different divisions of it, the Gentiles not being permitted to enter into the temple itself, but only into that outward part called the court of the Gentiles. (Witham) --- The churches consecrated to the true God, are so much diminished in number, that they are represented by St. John as one church; its ministers officiate at one altar; and all the true faithful are so few, with respect to the bulk of mankind, that the evangelist sees them assembled in one temple, to pay their adorations to the Most High. (Pastorini)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

John is given a reed which is strong enough to be a rod one might use to measure. He is told to measure the "temple of God." The word used here for temple is not hieron, which describes the buildings courts and porches (John 10:23; Matthew 24:1-2), but naos, which is literally the sanctuary. (Matthew 27:51) In the New Testament, the church, or its individual members, are frequently called the sanctuary, or dwelling place, of God. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:21; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Revelation 3:12) When one considers earlier references to the Jews as the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9; Revelation 3:9), it is impossible to believe we have here the Jewish temple. Instead, we conclude the Revelation follows the New Testament pattern with the temple being the church. The altar of incense is where the prayers of the saints are offered and the worshipers are faithful members of the church. After referring to Revelation 21:15; Ezekiel 40:5; Ezekiel 42:20 and Zechariah 2:1, Hendriksen concludes, "that measuring the sanctuary means to set it apart from that which is profane; in order that, thus separated, it may be perfectly safe and protected from all harm."

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

reed. Greek. kalamos. Elsewhere (in Rev.) Revelation 21:15, Revelation 21:16. See App-88, first note.

unto = to.

rod = sceptre, as elsewhere in Rev. See Revelation 2:27; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15. This measuring reed is like a sceptre, and measures for destruction, not for building. See Lamentations 2:8.

and . . . stood. The texts omit.

saying. i.e. (the giver) saying.

Rise. App-178. Only here in Rev.

Temple. Greek. naos. See Revelation 3:12. Matthew 23:16.

God App-98.

altar. See Revelation 8:3, &c.

and them. Read "and (record) them". Figure of speech Ellipsis. App-6.

Worship. App-137.

therein = in (Greek. en) it.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

This Revelation 11:1-19 is a compendious summary of, and introduction to, the detailed prophecies of the same events to come, in Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 13:1-18; Revelation 14:1-20; Revelation 15:1-8; Revelation 16:1-21; Revelation 17:1-18; Revelation 18:1-24; Revelation 19:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15. Hence, occur anticipatory allusions to subsequent prophecies (cf. Revelation 11:7, "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" (not mentioned before), with the detailed accounts, Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:11; Revelation 17:8; also Revelation 11:8, "the great city," with Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:10).

And the angel stood. So B, Syriac; omitted in A 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, Coptic. If it be omitted, the reed will agree with "saying." So Wordsworth. The canon [from qaneh (Hebrew #7070), "a reed"] of Scripture, the measuring reed of the Church, our rule of faith, speaks. So Revelation 16:7, the altar is personified speaking (cf. note). The Spirit speaks in the canon. (John it was who completed the canon.) So Victorinus.

Like unto a rod - straight; of iron (Revelation 2:27), unbending, destroying all error, that 'cannot be broken' (Hebrews 1:8, "a rod," or 'sceptre of straightness,' margin). Added to guard against the reed being thought to be one 'shaken by the wind.' In the abrupt style of the Apocalypse, "saying" may be indefinite for 'one said.' Wordsworth's view agrees with the Greek. So Andreas of Cesarea, in the end of the fifth century (note, Revelation 11:3-4).

The temple, [ naon (Greek #3485), distinguished from hieron (Greek #2411), or temple in general] - the Holy Place, 'the sanctuary.'

The altar - of incense, for it alone was in the sanctuary. The measurement of the Holy Place seems to stand parallel to the sealing of the elect of Israel under the sixth seal. It implies, there shall be always an inner true Church, however the outer courts of hollow profession, without self-dedication, be desecrated. God's elect are symbolized by the sanctuary at Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, where the same [ naos (Greek #3485)] occurs for "temple" as here). Literal Israel in Jerusalem, with the temple restored (Ezekiel 40:3; Ezekiel 40:5, where also the temple is measured with the measuring reed; Ezekiel 41:1-26; Ezekiel 42:1-20; Ezekiel 43:1-27; Ezekiel 44:1-31), shall stand at the head of the elect Church. The measuring implies at once the exact proportions of the temple to be restored, and the definite completeness (not one wanting) of the numbers of the Israelite and of the Gentile elections. The literal temple at Jerusalem shall be typical forerunner of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which there shall be all temple-no portion exclusively temple.

John's accurately distinguishing in subsequent chapters between God's servants and these who bear the mark of the beast, is the way whereby he fulfils the direction given him to measure the temple. The fact that the temple is distinguished from them that worship therein, favours the view that the spiritual temple-the Jewish and Christian Church-is not exclusively meant, but that the literal temple is also meant. It shall be rebuilt on the return of the Jews to their land. Antichrist shall there put forward his blasphemous claims. The sealed elect of Israel-the head of the elect Church-alone shall refuse his claims. These shall constitute the true sanctuary, here measured - i:e., accurately marked, and kept by God-whereas the rest shall yield to his pretensions. Wordsworth objects, that in the twenty-five passages of Acts, wherein the Jewish temple is mentioned, it is called hieron (Greek #2411), not naos (Greek #3485); so in the apostolic letters; but this is simply because no occasion for mentioning the literal Holy Place [ naos (Greek #3485)] occurs in Acts and the epistles; indeed, in Acts 7:48, there does occur naos (Greek #3485), indirectly referring to the Jerusalem temple Holy Place. John 2:20 uses naos of the Jerusalem temple. In addressing Gentile Christians, to whom the literal temple was not familiar, it was to be expected naos should not be in the literal, but the spiritual, sense. In Revelation 11:19, naos is used in a local sense: cf. also Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:17; Revelation 15:5; Revelation 15:8.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) And there was . . .—Translate, And there was given to me a reed like a rod (we must omit the words “and the angel stood”), saying. It is not said by whom the reed was given, nor are we told who speaks the command. The whole transaction is impersonal. The reed, like a measuring rod, is given him, and at the same time the command is given to arise and measure the Temple, and the altar, and them that worship in the Temple. Here, again, we find the basis of the vision in the Old Testament. Ezekiel was brought, in vision, to a high mountain, and saw a man with a line of flax (for measuring long distances) and a measuring line (for shorter distances). But, more probably, the vision of Zechariah was in the seer’s mind (Zechariah 2:1-2), for the vision there of the man with the measuring rod to measure Jerusalem is followed, in the fourth chapter (Zechariah 4:1-6), by the vision of the two olive-trees, which are distinctly identified with the two witnesses in the present chapter (see Revelation 11:3-4). The Temple, altar, and worshippers are to be measured. The measuring implies the protecting of, or the token of a resolve to protect, a portion of the sacred enclosure from desecration. The measuring, like the sealing of Revelation 7, is a sign of preservation during impending dangers. To understand what is thus measured out for protection we must remember that there are two Greek words which are rendered Temple: the one (hieron) signifies “the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, including the outer courts, porches, porticoes, and other buildings subordinated to the Temple itself;” the other (naos) is the Temple itself, the house of God, the Holy and Holy of Holies. When it is said that Christ taught the people in the Temple, the first of these words is used; and it may be supposed that in one of the porches or courts of the sanctuary our Lord carried on His teaching. But when Zacharias is described as going into the Temple, the word is the second (naos), for he went into the Temple proper, and left the people in the outer court, or court where the brazen altar stood. It is the second of these words which is used here: the Temple proper, the naos, the house of God, is measured, together with the altar. We are not told which altar is intended. It is at least too hasty to say that it must be the altar of incense, as this alone was in the Temple proper; for the explicit direction to measure the altar sounds like an extension of the measured area, and may perhaps mean that some portion of the court reserved for Israel is to be included in the measurement. The next verse, however, seems to imply that every spot outside the Temple proper was given up to the Gentiles, and was not to be measured. It is perhaps wisest, therefore, not to settle too definitely. The gist of the measurement is the preservation of the true, invisible Church, the Church within the Church; and everything necessary to the worship—Temple, altar, worshippers—all are reserved. There will always be the real and the conventional—the true and the formal Christian; always those who profess and call themselves Christians, and those who hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. These last are the called and chosen and faithful (Revelation 17:14), the sealed who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and find therefore their safe lodging in the night of danger under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalms 91:1; comp, also the whole Psalm, especially Revelation 11:4-5; Revelation 11:9-13;.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
a reed
21:15; Isaiah 28:17; Ezekiel 40:3-5; 42:15-20; Zechariah 2:1,2; Galatians 6:14-16
and the
Numbers 33:18; Ezekiel 40:1-48; 1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:5,9
Reciprocal: Isaiah 64:10 - GeneralJeremiah 51:51 - for strangers;  Ezekiel 41:1 - to the temple;  Ezekiel 42:16 - the measuring reed;  Ezekiel 47:3 - the man;  Amos 7:7 - a wall

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation


Revelation 11:1-2. — "And there was given unto me a reed like a staff, saying, Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship in it.And the court which (is) without the temple cast out, and measure it not; because it has been given (up) to the nations, and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty-two months." "A reed like a staff." The reed was a measuring instrument,{*In Ezekiel 40:3 the measuring rod is applied to the temple; then the city itself is measured (Zechariah 1:16). These both, i.e., temple and city, are for God's appropriation in millennial times. There seems two distinct thoughts connected with measuring. First, set apart for God, as in the foregoing passages; second, devoted to destruction by God, as Moab (2 Samuel 8:2), Jerusalem (Lamentations 2:8), Israe1 (Amos 7:8; ?Amos 7:9; ?Amos 7:17 ).} and is frequently mentioned by the prophets of old. The temple,altar, and worshippers measured by the Seer intimate their appropriation, preservation, and acceptance by God. An angel with a golden reed measures the glorified Church (Revelation 21:15). The Seer with a wooden reed does a like office for the temple. "Like a staff," or firm rod, signifies the strength, stability, and firmness of the emblematic action referred to.

"Rise and measure." The Seer had been a passive yet deeply interested spectator of the scenes witnessed under the previous Trumpets, but now that Israel, his own nation, is in question he is commanded to "rise." He is roused into activity by the divine mandate. It is more than a mere question of posture.

The temple, the altar, the worshippers, all are measured.Christian worship comes in between the suspension of Jewish worship in the past and its resumption in the future. Christians have no place of worship on earth;they enter no earthly temple. The holiest in the sanctuary above is their one and only place of worship (John 4:21; John 4:23; John 4:24; Hebrews 10:19-22); their sacrifices are praise to God and practical benevolence to men (Hebrews 13:15-16). But this is very different from Jewish worship both in the past and in the future. A temple and altar are essential to Jewish worship. While for the force of the figure it is not essential to suppose the existence of a material temple then in Jerusalem, yet prophecy demands the erection of a stone temple, and the reconstruction of the Jewish polity, both secular and religious, during that deeply solemn period between the Translation (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and the Appearing (Jude 1:14-15).

The Jews as a nation are restored in unbelief both on their part and on that of the friendly nation who espouse their cause (Isaiah 18:1-7). They then proceed to build their temple,{*The following are the material temples referred to in the Word of God: Solomon's (1 Kings 7:1-51), destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, 588 B. C. Zerubbabel's (Ezra 3:1-13; Ezra 6:1-22)pillaged and dedicated to the heathen god Jupiter by Antiochus Epiphanes, 168 and 170 B.C. Herod's (John 2:20), reconstructed and almost rebuilt in a style of surpassing magnificence, commenced in the year 17 B.C. Antichrist's (2 Thessalonians 2:4).to be built by restored Judah. Christ's millennial temple (Ezekiel 40:1-49), entirely new,grand and capacious. In all, five temples. The Church (1 Corinthians 3:16) and thebodies of believers (1 Corinthians 6:19) are each spoken of as the temple of God. Jerusalem is the only city on earth where a temple of stone is divinely sanctioned.The force of the word "temple" in Revelation 7:15 is that a vast crowd of worshipping Gentiles are recognised; probably these may pray and worship in the literal millennial temple then "a house of prayer for all peoples" (Isaiah 56:7).} and restore, so far as they can, the Mosaic ritual.God is not in this Gentile movement for Jewish restoration, which is undertaken for political ends and purposes. But amidst the rank unbelief of these times there shall be, as ever, a true, godly remnant, and it is this remnant which is here divinely recognised. Gentile oppression and Jewish national apostasy but bring into bold relief the faithful and consequently suffering witnesses of that day,the closing hours of the unbelieving nation's history. "The temple of God" is so termed, because He owns and accepts the true worshippers found therein. The altar refers to the brazen altar which stood in the court of old. It signifies the acceptance of those who in faith draw nigh to it, of course, as ever, on the righteous and holy ground of sacrifice. As to the moral value of the terms the "temple" would express the worship, and the "altar" the acceptance of the godly remnant of Israel. The unmeasured and rejected court given over to the Gentiles signifies the apostate part of the people, the mass in outward religious profession abandoned by God to the nations, who will wreak their vengeance on the guilty people, spite of the promised assistance of the Beast (Isaiah 28:17-22). The "Court" signifies Judaism in alliance with the Gentiles,and that in its most corrupt and apostate character.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation".

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Revelation 11:1-19

Verse1. The reed given unto John

was a measuring rule and is a symbol

of the word of God. This is clear from

the fact that the angel gave it to John

who was one of the apostles. We

know the word of God is the divine

standard for it is required in1Peter

4: 11that, "If any man speak, let him

speak as the oracles of God." At the

time predicted by this chapter the

apostasy ("falling away") was an Esther -

tablished fact. The Bible was vir-

tually taken from the people and the

religious lives of men and women were

judged by the decrees of Rome instead

of by the word of God. This verse is

a symbol of the true standard of the

measurement as the apostles were

given the authority to execute ( Matthew -

thew19: 28). The temple of God

means the church ( 1 Corinthians 3:16,

17). The altar was the center of wor-

ship in the Mosaic system, and it is

referred to here as a symbol of the

worship under that of Christ. Them

that-worship therein means Christians,

whose personal lives must be measured

(regulated) by the word of God and

not by the decrees of Rome.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 11:1

Revelation 11:1 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.

In this verse is contained, first, John's preparation unto his work appointed him by Christ.

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod

Secondly, John's Commission for the work which he was commanded to do:

and the angel stood, saying, rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

The reed like unto a rod, wherewith the servants of Christ, His ministers ought to

measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein;

is the written Word of God, the holy Scriptures of truth: So God commanded his servant Moses and the children of Israel ( Exodus 25:8-9. And let them make me a Sanctuary, -after the pattern of the tabernacle-even so shall ye make it. And Hebrews 8:5 See (faith God) that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed unto thee in the Mount). And this revelation of measuring the temple of God under the administration of the Gospel in the latter days, which Jesus Christ shewed by his angel in a vision unto his servant John, beareth some allusion to that vision which the prophet Ezekiel had of measuring the city and temple of God ( Ezekiel 40:2-6 -In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, ...and there was a man... with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed... of six cubits long, by the cubit, and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building one reed; and the height one reed; 4And the Man said unto me, Son of Prayer of Manasseh, behold thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee;- declare all that thou seeth to the house of Israel;{ Ezekiel 41:1-5} Afterward he brought me to the temple, ...So he measured the length thereof twenty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits before the temple. And he said unto me, This is the most holy place). { Ezekiel 41:4} Now as God had shewed and instructed Moses, { Exodus 25:8-9; 2 Chronicles 3:1-17; Ezekiel 43:10-16} and the prophets, how the tabernacle, and the first and the second temple should be builded, and all things to be done about His worship and ordinances, by his holy word which he spake unto them. { Ezekiel 43:10-16} So Jesus Christ revealed to his servant John all things that must shortly come to pass, and be done about the temple of God, the altar, and them that worship, which are to be measured by the reed of the written Word of God.

Rise, and measure the temple of God.

By the temple of God, here we are to understand the house of God, { 1 Timothy 3:14-15} which is the Church of the living God, called the temple of God, under the administration of the Gospel, { Ephesians 2:21-22} which was to be builded after the Apostles' days, as was prophesied, { Amos 9:11} of the gentile Churches under the Gospel. { Acts 15:14-17} God at first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of the Gentiles a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; —After this will I return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, —And I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith JEHOVAH, who doth all these things

And the altar

By the altar here is meant the whole worship of God, and all his holy Ordinances instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles, which ought to be measured also by the same reed of the written Word of God. { Philippians 3:16; Galatians 6:15-16; 1 Corinthians 11:1-23 I praise you Brethren, -that ye keep the Ordinances of God, as I delivered them to you} The golden altar was a type of Christ. And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail; and he burnt incense thereon as the Lord commanded Moses. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne ( Exodus 40:26-27 compared with Revelation 8:3). This altar sanctifieth the gift. { Matthew 23:19} The altar of burnt-offerings, and daily sacrifices, which stood in the open court of the tabernacle of the temple, called the brazen altar, typed forth the worship and ordinances of God under the Gospel. { 2 Chronicles 1:6; Hebrews 13:10} Then will I go to the altar of God; that Isaiah, I will worship God, and offer to him the sacrifice of praise; I will praise Thee, O God, my God. { Psalm 26:6; Psalm 43:4}

And them that worship therein

The worshippers of God in his Churches of saints, ought to be measured by the reed of Gods written Word, as well as the temple and the altar of God; that thereby it may appear, they are the true Worshippers of God in his house, and worship him in Spirit and in truth For the Father seeketh such to worship him truth. { John 4:23-24}

The ministers of Jesus Christ, who are builders of Gods gospel temple, { 1 Corinthians 3:9-16} ought to measure the pattern, { Ezekiel 43:10-11} of the churches, worship, and worshippers of God in the days of Christ and his Apostles, and to see that the churches, worship, and worshippers of God, now in these latter days, be in all things, as they were then, and to reform those things that are amiss; The rest will I set in order when I come. Let all things be done decently and in Order. Joying and beholding your Order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. { Titus 1:5; 1 Corinthians 11:34; 1 Corinthians 14:40; Colossians 2:5} All things in the Church and worship of God ought to be done according to the rule of the written Word of God; Let us walk by the same rule. { Philippians 3:16} There is but one rule for all the churches, worship, and worshippers of God to be framed, measured, and ordered by: And the ministers of Christ, now ought to measure, frame, and order all things in the Churches and worship of God by the same rule. { Isaiah 8:20; Hebrews 8:5; Ephesians 2:19-22}

First, the ministers of Christ ought to take care, and inspection of the Church of God, and see for they are called seers, and overseers { Acts 20:28} that the Church be builded upon the foundation doctrines, and faith of the apostles and prophets, { Hebrews 6:1-3} Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone in whom all the building, fitly framed together (and compacted) groweth to an holy temple in the Lord, { Ephesians 2:19-22} etc.

Secondly, they are to take care, that the pillars, { Galatians 2:9; Jeremiah 3:14-15; Ephesians 4:11-13} in God's house, His gospel temple which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth, { 1 Timothy 3:14-15} be not only Trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified { Isaiah 61:4} but that they also be able ministers of the New Testament, both of the letter, and also of the Spirit. { 2 Corinthians 3:6} The Bishops, kat ekklhsian-in every Church called Stars and Angels of the Churches, { Revelation 1:20} and the pastors and teachers in every Church (called Presbyters, that Isaiah, Elders) that rule well { 1 Timothy 5:17} ought to be learned and holy men, taught of God by his Holy Spirit, qualified with spiritual and ministerial gifts and graces; to wit, knowledge, Wisdom of Solomon, meekness, and a blameless conversation. { 2 Timothy 3:1-8; Titus 1:5-7}

Thirdly, they ought to take care, or heed, that the whole worship of God, and all the sacred ordinances of the Lord be administered according to the gospel; institutions, commandments, and examples of Christ and his holy Apostles; and not after the rudiments of the world, nor after the commandments of men { Matthew 15:9; Matthew 18:19-20; Colossians 2:8-23; John 4:23-24} and their Doctrines.

Fourthly, they ought to inspect them that worship, and to take care before persons be admitted unto the visible Churches of Saints, to partake of all the sacred ordinances of God, that they be found in the faith, and holy in their life. { Acts 19:18; Acts 9:26-28|} And after they be added to the Church, the ministers ought to oversee them, that they do not walk disorderly, to the dishonour of God, and scandal of the Church; that the ministry be not blamed, nor the weak brethren stumbled or offended, and the way of God reproached. { 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Titus 3:10-11; 2 Corinthians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 10:32; Romans 14:13; Romans 14:21} And therefore, I do humbly beseech the wise master-builders, and all Christ's gospel ministers, to take this reed of God's holy Word, and measure the churches, the worship of God, and the worshippers of God in his gospel-temple; and to use their spiritual Wisdom of Solomon, and ministerial power, and utmost endeavours to reform and amend what they shall see amiss, and set in order, { 1 Corinthians 11:34; 1 Corinthians 14:40; Colossians 2:5; Colossians 4:17; Titus 1:5} things that are wanting, that God may be glorified, his churches of saints edified, and sinners converted.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation".

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

V:1. John is given a reed and told to measure the temple and altar and worshippers. Why should he measure them? What was meant by this act? In the Old Testament measuring is sometimes associated with destruction as in 2 Samuel 8:2, Amos 7:7-8, and Habakkuk 3:6. But sometimes it foretokens a rebuilding as in Ezekiel 40:1-49 ff, and Zechariah 2:1. But what does it mean here? It is impossible to regard it as a sign of rebuilding for the second verse and elsewhere in this chapter we have the destruction of the city. While it may be regarded as a measuring for destruction, another view, perhaps as plausible, is that it signified the preservation of all that was good and true about the city and temple; the sifting out for salvation of some elements even in a wicked city ripe for destruction. This is supported by the fact that the worshippers are also included in the measuring. It is not very important which of these views we take. But what is important immediately follows.

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Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1.There was given me—By what giver is not said, (as in Revelation 6:11; Revelation 8:2;) doubtless by an invisible yet divine donor, the gift coming visibly as by panoramic spontaneous movement.

A reed—The light-jointed plant that grows in marshy grounds. It was an emblem of feebleness, (Matthew 11:7;) used as a mock sceptre for Jesus, (Matthew 27:29-30;) as an instrument for writing by our John himself. 3 John 1:13.

A rod—A staff for walking; or a rod for chastising; or, probably, here, a sceptre or baton of office, as Aaron’s rod. Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 2:27; Psalms 2:9. This fragile reed, the emblem of a humble Christianity, was yet a sceptre mighty to take a divine measurement of human things. That measurement could be either, as here, severe and critical, or, as in Revelation 21:15, an appreciation of a glorious wonder.

And the angel stood—These words are to be rejected as a false reading. The angel disappears at the close of the last chapter, and the scene changes.

Before the seer appear, (note Revelation 4:11,) in gradual development, the temple or holy house; the altar of incense, which was in it; then the court, which surrounded it; and, finally, the city, which embraced the whole. The main progress is from the less in size to the greater, but from the greater in sacred importance to the less.

Measure— Take a divine and critical estimate of its present value and amount.

Saying—In the Greek (omitting the angel) there is no immediate subject-noun with which this saying agrees, save rod. And some, as Wordsworth, have accordingly made the rod utter the direction and predictions which follow, just as the altar speaks in Revelation 9:13. But even then the saying, no doubt, refers to the invisible giver of the rod.

The saying embraces the predictions, in future tense, to Revelation 11:10; and then, at Revelation 11:11, the seer commences his past tense, yet so commences as, with exquisite skill, to take in the predictions as part of the narrative. The whole could be read in the past tense as one narration.

Rise—Not as if he had been sitting or kneeling, but as moving him to action from the reverie during which the change of scene had taken place.

Temple’ altar—The inmost places of the true Church of God.

Them that worship—The true living Church of the saints. The measurement is an authentication of their trueness. The authoritative rod, or sceptre, is also a reed, or pen, that writes a divine endorsement. Happy the Church whom the measuring reed endorses.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. I was given a measuring stick. To “measure” is symbolic of setting apart, making secure, clearly identifying. [This is still a vision. The fact that there is no temple in Jerusalem when he writes this, is not important,] Count those who are worshiping in the temple. These are God’s people – the true church. They will suffer severely, but they will never lose God’s promise – if they hold firmly to their faith!] [Compare 1 Thessalonians 3:3.]




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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 11:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.