The Golden Reed (4):
What God Desires
The golden reed shows us
what is really on God’s heart
In Revelation 21:15 the Apostle John tells us that the angel showing him the New Jerusalem had:
“…a golden reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.”
We have been considering this golden reed as God’s standard for determining what belongs to Him (cf. Rev. 11:1-2). So far, we have focused on the gold, which signifies the divine nature, and which shows us that when we live by the divine nature we will have a living which, like gold, is incorruptible, weighty, solid, and so valuable. (If you missed those Notes, they are on our “Brief Notes” page).
However, while this standard has gold as its substance, its form is that of “a reed.” So, now we need to consider, what does the reed signify?
Speaking of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus asked the people:
“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
— Matthew 11:7
Here, in telling us what John the Baptist was not, the Lord gives us a picture of what, in general, human beings are, that is, reeds “shaken by the wind” (cf. 2 Kings 18:21).
And the next chapter of Matthew’s gospel, quoting Isaiah, tells us of how the Lord cared for the people who came to Him, healing them as the “bruised reeds”:
A bruised reed He will not break.
— Matthew 12:20
So, whereas gold speaks of the divine nature, a reed in the Bible is a picture of the human nature. The gold is weighty, solid, and incorruptible, but a reed is so fragile and impermanent, dying and withering away after just a short time; how marvelous that the Bible would put two such different things together to comprise God’s standard!
Why would the Bible do this? Very simply, because the combination of these two very different things shows us what God wants; that is, He desires to bring His divinity into our humanity, to uplift our humanity with His divinity.
We may feel that nothing could be better than solid gold, and so God’s standard should only include divinity, not humanity. Remember, however, the picture of the Tabernacle in the wilderness; so much of it was not just gold, but wood overlaid with gold. This included the ark of the testimony itself, which was a type of the incarnated Christ (Exo. 25:10-11). This shows us that God’s building today requires humanity, signified by the wood, as well as divinity, signified by the gold.
In eternity past God, so to speak, only had “gold”; He did not have humanity until the incarnation of Christ. Now, however, God does have both the divine and human natures. It is this combination of divinity and humanity that He desires to use, and even requires, for His building, not just His divine nature by itself.
It is these two natures, then, which together produce God’s building, and of course, today that is the church, the Body of Christ. And since that is the case, we ourselves must seek to experience the divine nature in our human living. This is to meet the standard of God’s building.
In our upcoming Notes we will consider what the reed shows us about how to enter into such a living.
— Up Next —
“The Golden Reed” (5)
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— 14 September 2021 —