The Reed as a Rod (1)
We cannot fulfill
God’s purpose by the
ministry of life alone;
we must also enter into
the spiritual warfare
In recent Notes we have considered the golden reed, which the angel used in Revelation 21:15-17 to measure the New Jerusalem. Now, however, we want to briefly look at “the reed like a measuring rod,” which was given to the Apostle John for measuring the temple and those in it:
I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.”
— Revelation 11:1-2
As we mentioned in a recent Note, the reed signifies humanity in its weakness and fragility (See “The Golden Reed” 13). In contrast, a rod in the Bible signifies the strength of ruling authority. The Lord Himself says:
He who overcomes,
and keeps My works
until the end,
To him I will give power
over the nations.
He shall rule them with
a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like
the potter’s vessels—
As I also have received
from My Father.
— Revelation 2:26-27
So, a fragile reed should not normally be spoken of as being like “a rod.” Why then do we see this “reed like a rod” in the book of Revelation?
In eternity, the rebellion of Satan and of the nations will be over. At that time, since there will be no more conflict but only perfect peace, we will be able to simply enjoy God and all the divine blessings He gives us without any frustration. In this normal situation there will only be the golden reed, for there will be no more need of the rod.
Today, however, the situation is not at all normal; rather, it is completely abnormal, with the nations rising up against God:
Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth
And the rulers
take counsel together,
Against the LORD and
Against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords
— Psalm 2:1-3
And because the situation is so abnormal, we also must do something “abnormal” if we are to serve the Lord today: we must learn to exercise the “reed as a rod” to bring God’s authority to the earth.
That is, in this age, to stand with the Lord, it is not sufficient to merely enjoy the ministry of life; we certainly do need that, but it is not sufficient. Rather, to carry out the Lord’s purpose we must learn to engage in the spiritual warfare so that we may deal with the opposition of Satan.
Note that the golden reed in Revelation 21 is used by the angel to show that the New Jerusalem meets God’s divine standard. In Revelation 11, however, the reed as a rod is given to John. This is because today God commits to us the responsibility to deal with the enemy, just as he will charge the overcomers to deal with the nations during the Millennium (Rev. 2:26-27, quoted above).
We see this in the book of Ephesians. It gives us so many high revelations of the church, showing us God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:11). However, it does not end with these. Rather, in the last chapter the apostle charges us to prepare ourselves for battle, for…
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
— Ephesians 6:12
This shows us that we will never be able to realize and establish the high truths of Ephesians for the building up of the church if we are not able to carry out the spiritual warfare, for then Satan will always have a way to frustrate our efforts to this end.
So, we will state it again: to carry out God’s purpose today requires that we enter into the spiritual warfare; we must learn to exercise “the reed like a rod” to deal with Satan’s opposition.
May the Lord bring all His children into this spiritual warfare for the sake of His eternal purpose!
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— 16 April 2022 —