“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.”
The book of Revelations is a unique book of prophecy, symbolism’s and foreshadowing of spiritual things. It is a remarkable book in which John, the last remaining apostle, pens after seeing these wonders with his own eyes. John has just witnessed an angel descend to earth, one foot on the earth the other foot in the sea, clutching in his hands an open book. This book, in my opinion, represents the word of God; and John was commanded of this angel to eat this book. As odd as it may sound, this scene is a symbol of something deeper. John was ordered to eat the book in the same manner Ezekiel was ordered to “…open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee…” (Ezekiel 2:8) What God was doing with these two prophetic visionaries was preparing them to receive a revelation that would change them drastically! Don’t just observe these things, consume them!
After John consumes the word, a voice speaks to him and tells him that he will be a prophetic voice to many nations. As the shear power of this moment shakes his core an angel appears with a reed, a measuring device, and tells John to measure the temple, measure the altar, and measure them that worship therein. It would be through John’s connection to God’s word that John would measure these things.
Now in order to measure something there first must be a comparable measurement. When God moved on Moses to build a tabernacle the Bible says that this tabernacle would be fashioned after the pattern in heaven. Before the tabernacle could be built on earth, it first had to have a pattern in heaven. So I understand how John could measure the temple and the altar, there was a heavenly pattern that he could compare it to. However, the idea of measuring a worshiper seemed a bit strange to me.
That was until the Lord directed my attention to the prophet Ezekiel once again. I felt like God was getting ready to show me something. I felt him whisper into my spirit that in order to understand John’s experience I fist needed to understand who these worshipers were to begin with.
Ezekiel, much like John, was given insight into supernatural things. He in fact witnessed the same visions John did to some degree. And it was in Ezekiel 40, where the prophet of the Lord would encounter an angel with a reed measuring the temple. And for 40 or so verses, the angel monotonously measures every nook and cranny of the tabernacle. Then as the chapter nears a close, Ezekiel shows us a glimpse of something extraordinary!
Ezekiel was led by this angel into the inner court of the temple. And it was here where Ezekiel would discover the chambers of the singers; that’s the worshipers! What is fascinating is the fact that there are actually two chambers here. One for the priests who kept the charge of the temple, and one for the priests who kept the charge over the altar. As the angel is unveiling this to Ezekiel, it becomes clear that the priest were the worshipers!
Before Ezekiel ever saw them as priests, he first saw them as worshipers!
I commend any young man or young lady who desires or pursues the call to ministry! I applaud you for accepting God’s will for your life; but let me remind you that you will never be priest in God’s house, if you don’t first prove yourself as a worshiper!
David is recognized as king in the eyes of man. That’s position. But before David ever wore the garments of a king, David was a worshiper!
John the Baptist is recognized in scripture as the voice of him crying in the wilderness. He was the one who paved the way for the incarnation of Christ! But before John was an anointed voice, John leaped in his mother’s womb! John was a worshiper!
Every minister desires position and influence for their ministries. But your position and your message will be birthed out of a spirit of worship!
So as Ezekiel’s vision unfolds, included in the description of these priests were this caption in Ezekiel 40:46, “these (the priests) are the sons of Zadok…” The next thing we learn about these priests are that they are of the Zadokite priesthood.
There was a priest named Eli, a weak-kneed, spineless priest who desired favor with his own sons more than he desired the favor of God. During his ministry sin was rampant in the temple. His own sons stole sacrifices, abused their power to get what they wanted, they took advantage of the women who worked at the gates of the temple. The priesthood of Eli represented flesh, carnality, and greed. The spirit of Eli is willing to compromise truth, in order to become more successful. So as Eli refuses to address the blatant sin in the church, an unnamed prophet begins to prophesy of Eli’s demise.
This prophet tells Eli, God WILL raise up a faithful priesthood who would do according to God’s heart and God’s mind. And the men of this priesthood would be anointed forever! But there is something here we need to be aware of. Although Eli was punished, and although the prophet told him that God would cut off his arm, or remove his power; God said I will not cut him off from before mine altar. It is important to note that there will be two spiritual priesthoods that will last forever. The spirit of Eli, and the spirit of the faithful priest.
So as time progresses we come to the life of David, the anointed young man we’ve come to adore. As David was anointed, Saul’s rage and jealousy force David to flee to Ziklag. It was here where we are introduced to a young priest named Zadok. Zadok recognized the spirit of God upon the life of David, and rather than enjoying the luxuries of being priest in Saul’s kingdom Zadok went with David in exile. And this priest would never leave David’s side! Through every rebellious act, Zadok stayed faithful! Through every betrayal, Zadok stayed faithful! When Absolom stole the hearts of Israel, Zadok stayed faithful! Even when Abiathar, another priest in Israel, joined forces with Adonijah to overthrow David and take the throne, Zadok stayed faithful!
It wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always popular; but Zadok was faithful to the man of God!
As Ezekiel’s vision progresses it brings a sense of clarity to John’s vision. As John was ordered to measure the temple, and to measure the altar; could it be the reason God wanted John to measure the worshiper be because the power of the temple and the effectiveness of the altar were predicated in the spirit of the worshipers?
So John, armed with a reed in his hands, begins to measure the worshipers (priests) to see if their ministry reflects that of Eli or of Zadok! Does their ministry reflect sin, flesh and compromise; or does their ministry reflect the mind and the heart of God? As I was recently given the obligation to commission two young men entering into Bible college, I could not shake the responsibility i felt in my spirit to measure the worshipers!
It’s not about success, it’s not about how big your name gets; it’s all about the character of your ministry!
The spirit of Eli is running rampant in traditional Christianity today; but God is raising up a generation of faithful priests! 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us God is searching the world, looking to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards him! He’s measuring worshipers!
Perhaps that’s why John first had to consume that word, “for the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart.”
Thoughts… Heart…. Thoughts… Heart…
A priesthood after God’s mind and God’s heart…
As the Psalmist concludes his 78th Psalm, he begins to shed some light on why God chose David from the pasture of the sheepfold, to be king and leader over His people Israel. He writes in the 72nd verse, “He fed them with the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” People may follow your “skill”, but if you don’t have integrity they will die of starvation.
Eli had skill. Zadok had integrity.
As the spirit of the Lord measures your ministry. which spiritual priesthood will you reflect?