Brief Notes

The Golden Reed (1):
A Different Standard

26 August 2021

The standard for measuring
the New Jerusalem should be
the standard by which
we measure our lives today

As Christians, we should all aspire to a living that matches who we actually are in Christ, one in which we express something of who He is, and not just ourselves. In the Bible, the standard for such a living is pictured by the “golden reed,” and understanding this picture can help us see how we may enter into such a living today.

The Bible speaks of the golden reed in two places. Both are in the book of Revelation, and in both it is used to measure what God possesses. That is, all that belongs to God is measured according to the golden reed; thus, it is the standard for determining what is of God and what is not of God. This reed is the real “golden rule!”

In Revelation 11:1, during the Great Tribulation, the golden reed is used to measure the temple and those who worship in it, while all that is not measured is “cast out” (v. 2). During that time God will be judging the nations, and so it is not only a golden reed, but “a golden reed as a rod,” to signify the divine ruling authority (cf. Rev. 2:26-27).

In Revelation 21:15, after all of God’s judgments are over, it is no longer a rod, but simply a reed. Here we are told that, when the angel showed the Apostle John the New Jerusalem, he had:

“…a golden reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.”

The entire structure of the city is measured by the standard of the golden reed.

We see here, then, a simple but very important fact: God has His own standard for measuring, one that is completely different from what we would expect! We cannot state this fact strongly enough. In the world, the standard for measuring is good or evil, right or wrong, moral or immoral (cf. Gen. 2:9,16-17). If we take this way, we will feel our Christian life is a matter of improving our behavior so that we are good, right, and moral people.

God, however, does not measure by these things; rather, He measures by the standard of the golden reed. And if that is the standard He will use for measuring His city in the future, then surely it is the standard we should use for measuring our lives today. In other words, as Christians we are under a much higher standard for measuring our lives than mere good and evil, etc.; our standard is that of the golden reed.

So, what does the golden reed show us concerning God’s divine standard?

To answer this question, in our next note we will consider why this standard is made of “gold,” and after that, why it is in the form of “a reed.”

— Up Next —
“The Golden Reed” (2)

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— 27 August 2021 —