Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Man Who Tried To Measure Jerusalem

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 

The Man Who Tried To Measure Jerusalem



When I looked again, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand.  

“Where are you going?” I asked.

He replied, “I am going to measure Jerusalem, to see how wide and how long it is.”

Then the angel who was with me went to meet a second angel who was coming toward him.  

The other angel said, “Hurry, and say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem will someday be so full of people and livestock that there won’t be room enough for everyone! Many will live outside the city walls.  Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem, says the Lord. And I will be the glory inside the city!’”

Zechariah 2:1-5 NLT


Okay. Isn't This A Prophecy About The Existing Jerusalem In Israel?

Every time I read this Zechariah passage I stop and look up the New Jerusalem in Revelation Chapter 21:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west. The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (according to the human standard used by the angel).

The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.

I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.  And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city.  

Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

So which Jerusalem is being measured? Clearly not the Jerusalem of today.

This also informs scriptures like, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." Failure to follow the flow of Scripture can result in some very unfortunate choices and supporting some pretty evil actions. We all need to become Bereans (Acts 17:11). Biblical illiteracy is not forgivable.

Why Do The Men Measure Jerusalem?

So we can build a cardboard model? 

Of course not!

Because God wants to know?

Not likely.

I like the insight Warren Wiersbe gives:

"By measuring the city, the Lord declared that it was his and he would accomplish his divine purposes for the city no matter what leaders and international assemblies might decide. But this symbolic act declares something else: Jerusalem would enjoy future expansion and glory such as the city had never experienced."

Measuring is an act of God declaring a thing is his. What a great insight to know! In Zechariah's vision of a man coming to measure Jerusalem, the text does not say Jerusalem is visible. He could easily be the same man as John sees in the Revelation. God shows Zechariah what will come and God shows John the next chapter of the action. 

The prophecy looks forward to the New Jerusalem and though Christ says narrow is the gate and hard is the way that leads to becoming its occupant, God also is saying, "But don't let that confuse you! The New Heaven and the New Earth will be so heavily populated that not everyone can even fit inside the New Jerusalem."

The Jerusalem God envisions surpasses our thought at every level and in every way. 

Don't settle for your earth bound interpretations.

Photo Credits:
The City Foursquare @
Jerusalem by alex de carvhalo some rights reserved @

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