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Then a calamus reed as big around as a staff

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was given to me by him saying, “Rise, and measure

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the temple of GOD,


the people worshiping

in it, and also the altar,

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Then a method of evaluating people

was given to me by him,

saying, “Rise and

evaluate the quality of the those that are connected to THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS,

by that I mean the people worshiping God because they are connected to Him, and also their spiritual life and communion with God,


1: “Calamus reed”

Their measuring rod was typically a Calamus reed. In this passage of Revelation the word “reed” would be understood from context as a measuring reed. However, this reed is given more description for the sake of clarity; it is described as being like a staff. While the word for staff can mean several things, I believe its use here is to emphasize and clarify that the measuring rod given him was a large one, and to remind the reader of Ezekiel 40 in which the rod’s length was clearly defined (11 feet by our measurements). The fact that John was given a large tool with which to measure implies that it was a large task, i.e. he was to evaluate all the people of God, not just take a poll.


Is this measuring in preparation for punishment or reward? In Scripture it is more common that such measuring would precede punishment, but here it is only for reward because only the saints are measured, not those who are faking it (the outer court, v. 2), for they are just as evil as the rebellious (represented by the word “Gentiles,” v. 2), and God knows the latter deserve punishment. The contrast between true believers and the rebellious is a reminder that God will judge all men and punish or reward according to what He finds. The implication is that God will protect and reward the faithful; It is also a warning to those who are “faking it.” This evaluating serves to confirm that He is right and just when He rewards some and punishes others.


Which altar? Once again I take this to be the altar of incense, not the altar of sacrifice. There is a slight possibility that it could refer to the altar of sacrifice, and by doing so point to God’s provision of salvation through Jesus, the true sacrifice. However, that does not fit well with the idea of measuring, for we know the sacrifice of Jesus was perfect and complete. Revelation seems to be consistent in NOT using the altar as a picture of the blood of Jesus because that could cause confusion in the minds of some Jewish readers still struggling with the transition from Judaism to Christianity. Besides, it appears that John is told to evaluate the people of God, for which the altar of incense fits best.