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“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. But the court that is without “ the temple, leave out and measure it not; for it “ is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall
they tread under foot forty and two months.”*
The tabernacle of the temple of the Lord contained several parts or divisions. The innermost of these was the most holy place, or holy of holies, containing the ark of the covenant, the tables of the law, the mercy-seat overshadowed by the cherubim of -glory. Into this innermost division of the temple, the high priest alone was permitted to enter ; and that only once in the year, on the great day of atonement. This holy of holies was a type of heaven, into which Christ, the great High Priest of our profession, is entered for us; and also a symbol of that future and glorious state of the church upon earth, when the tabernacle of God shall be with men. Accordingly, . when the state of the church in that period is exhibited to the apostle, under the appearance of a vast multitude clothed in white, and having branches of palm-trees in their hands, it is said, that they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple I (i. e. in the holy of holies), where, under the Levitical dispensation, the high * Rev. xi. 1, 2.
Rev. vii. 15.
+ Heb. ix. 7.
priest only could enter once a year; and where, under the evangelical dispensation, Christ is for us entered, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. In confirmation of the foregoing observations, it appears, that on the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which introduces the glorious state of the church, “the temple of God was opened “ in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the “ark of his testament.”* It was the holy of holies, therefore, which was opened to common view, otherwise the ark could not have been seen. When the same glorious state of the church, as had before been exhibited, under the emblem of the palm-bearing multitude, is again shown forth under the symbol of a city, the New Jerusalem, it is emphatically said by the apostle, “ I saw no temple therein.”f The reason of this is plain : the scene is laid in the holy of holies, the innermost recess of the temple; there is not, therefore, and cannot be, any other temple than He who inhabiteth the temple, even the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb. The antitype being come, the type vanishes away. I
The second division of the temple of God was the sanctuary, or holy place, which was next to the holy of holies, and separated therefrom by the veil. In the holy place were placed the golden candlestick with seven branches, the golden altar of incense, and the table of shew-bread. It is easy to perceive that the holy place was a symbol of the true, spiritual church of God upon earth. The holy place had no
* Rev. xi. 19.
+ Ibid. xxi. 22.
Ipsa itaque tota esset templum Dei.” Vitringa in loco.
light from without : it was enlightened only by the lamps of the golden candlestick with seven branches. This candlestick was a symbol of the Holy Spirit, * im iting called, in the figurative language of this book, from the fulness and completeness of his gifts and ope-1.20% le drom rations, “the Seven Spirits,” i. e. the All-perfect and Infinite Spirit of God. In the same manner, the true spiritual church of Christ has no light from her
Coll, without, but is internally illuminated by the Holy Wes; Ghost. Incense, as we have already seen, is a sym
La es bol of the prayers of the saints. It is only in the truc spiritual church that such prayers are offered, and they are symbolized by the incense burnt upon the golden altar in the holy place. There was no way into the holy of holies but through the holy place : and so there is no way into heaven, the true holy of holies, but by entering into, or becoming members of, the true spiritual church of Christ. The holy place was hidden from the view of those without by a second veil ; and thus the true spiritual church of Christ is hidden from the view of the world, and is therefore, with strict justice and propriety, called the invisible church. Into the typical holy place it was not lawful for any to enter but the priests, and none can enter into the true church (i.e. become members of it), but they who are made priests unto God. In all respects the type, therefore, answers to the antitype.
Along with the sanctuary, or holy place, the Spirit of God, in this passage, classes the altar (i. e. the altar of burnt offerings), which was placed in a court or enclosure immediately before the entrance into the
# Rev. iv. 5.
sanctuary. This altar of burnt offerings, and the sacrifices offered upon it, were symbols of the sacrifice of Christ. The altar of burnt offerings was immediately before the door of the holy place, which points out to us, that no one can enter into the holy place, or become a member of the spiritual church, but in virtue of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, received by true faith. The court in which was the altar of burnt offerings, was open only to the priests and Levites, and seems to be the same as was called the priest's court: but it was visible from without to the people who were in the external court, which signifies that the sacrifice of Christ is to be held up to the view of all men, in order that they may believe and be saved.
On the outside of the court of the altar, or priest's court, was the larger court, accessible to the whole people of Israel. This outer court, or, as it is here called, the court without the temple, seems to have been a symbol of the visible professing church of God, as distinguished from the true and invisible church.
Having thus endeavoured to ascertain what were the several divisions of the temple of God, and their symbolical meaning, it is not difficult to determine which of these parts or compartments were measured by the Apostle John.
The holy of holies could not be the subject of this measurement, as it was shut during the period of the testimony of the witnesses, and was not opened till after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, as is declared in the 19th verse of this chapter. What the apostle is commanded to measure, is therefore
certainly the holy place, or sanctuary, and the interior court, or court of the priests, including the altar of burnt offerings. These two being symbolical of the invisible church, the measuring of them by the apostle signifies, that during the period of fortytwo months, when the Gentiles should tread under foot the holy city, God would still have a chosen seed to serve him, who, though small in number, should yet be well known to him, and precious in his sight. To measure, signifies to take account of. But the apostle is commanded to leave out the court that is without the temple, and not to measure it, as it was given to the Gentiles, i. e. to men who, though Christians in name, and pretending to worship God, and tread his courts, were in character Gentiles; and it is added, that they shall tread or trample under foot, or, as Archdeacon Woodhouse renders the clause, they shall tread or occupy the holy city forty and two months, The holy city certainly means the visible professing church of Christ; and the undisturbed occupation of it by Gentiles, who are unworthy of being measured, or taken account of, signifies its deep and universal degeneracy during the prophetical period above mentioned, the meaning of which will be investigated afterwards.
“And I will give (power) unto my two wit
nesses, and they shall prophecy a thousand and “ two hundred and threescore days, clothed in “ sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the “two candlesticks standing before the God of the " earth.”
The true spiritual church of Christ, or collective