In part one, we saw the calamus has at least four distinct areas that speak to us of the righteous life. These are:
- The reed that stands erect
- The reed that measures
- The arms of the candlestick which holds that candle
- Sweet cane
In this part, we are going to consider the reed that measures.
The reed that measures
We see another use of the word kaneh; this time translated as a measuring reed. The measuring reed occurs both in the Old and New Testaments where, in the Greek, the word is again ‘calamos’. Let us read initially Revelation 10:11 to Revelation 11:1
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
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.
Now consider Ezekiel 40:3
And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.
In both of these books in the Bible, the temple is what was being measured by the reed. It is important to note that the scriptures show us that even though there was a physical building called the Temple, God’s intention was to dwell within His people. This has been fully realised in the church. Paul asks the Corinthians: Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1Cor. 3:16-17)
The measuring reed in the hand of a man or an angel
It is of interest that the measuring reed is always in the hand of man when the temple is measured, right up to Revelation 21. At this point, a change occurs, and an angel measures the city of God where there is no temple.
What can be the reason for this, and what is the measuring reed telling us?
Well, we will answer that in the last section, but for now, let us look further.
Revelation 11:2 says
But the court which 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.
Why not measure it? What is the difference?
Well in Ezekiel 42:20 we see
He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place.
The distinction between the profane and the holy
There is a principle revealed in both Ezekiel and Revelation. The measuring reed makes a distinction between the holy and the profane. Throughout the Bible, the scriptures speak of measuring as a means of judgement. For instance:
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
(Here the law of God, as the ultimate truth, is what measures men.)
Hebrews 4:12 (Here again, God’s word is the means for measurement of the very heart and soul of men.)
Romans 3:20 (The law of God measures everyone as having missed the mark.)
John 12:48 (The word of God judges mankind)
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.
The use of the word plummet here signifies a plumb line. It is a straight vertical line measured at precisely 90° from a horizontal line. It cannot be deviated from at all. (God has set His word as the line and plummet that He measures us against, and we are all totally out of plumb!)
So now, since His Temple is now made up from individual people, the Lord measures people against the standard of His word, rather than measuring a physical building.
Christ took upon Himself the punishment for the sins we committed.
Remember, in part one; we discussed the fact that Christ is the reed that stands upright.
What happens to this measuring reed concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as the events leading up to the cross started to unfold – let us look at some aspects of what he took upon Himself for us.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
The reed that struck Jesus upon the head was again the kaneh.
Notice that Jesus holds the reed in His right hand. Throughout the scriptures, the right hand symbolises righteousness. Christ is the only One who could legitimately hold the reed in his right hand (the reed that stands erect and measures), just as He is the only one who can open the scroll in Heaven (Revelation 5). The judgement for our every sin was placed upon Christ. Those who broke God’s law strike Him on the head: the unjust deigns to judge the just, upright One, blameless in God’s law.
Isaiah 53:11 states, speaking of His suffering:
He (God) shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
For our breaking of the law, He took God’s wrath on our behalf.
The great transaction
The moment a person believes upon Christ, a transaction takes place. The book of Romans goes into great detail about this and can be studied by the reader at their leisure. He takes our sin; we receive His righteousness, so the critical thing to realise is that the measurement now for the believer before God is Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:30 lays it out plain for us,
But of Him (of God) you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
The measuring reed when the work of salvation is complete!
Finally, remember we said that it is always a saint that measures with the reed in both Testaments, right up to Revelation 21. The fact is that God has chosen the church to stand in the righteousness of Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost to be a witness to this lost world.
In Revelation 21, it is now an angel which measures the city. You see, there is no longer any temple. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels
15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
Here the work of the gospel has been completed. There is no longer any need for man to measure because perfection has come.
Thus the angel now measures since the work of salvation is complete. It has ended, and the gates to Heaven are sealed for eternity.
You see the scripture says In 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Thus we see in scripture from calamus that when it is mentioned, something of the righteousness of God and his perfect ways will be revealed. In this spice, we have seen that we have received of Christ His perfect righteousness and that God’s measurements are precise and faultless. His laws, His times and His seasons are excellent, specific and deliberate.
Let us always dig deeper
The scriptures are such a jewel mine, and the deeper we dig, the greater wealth we recover. The depth of scripture has wealth within it, which is immeasurable and boundless
May the Lord bless you as you study His word. In part 3, we shall consider the word kaneh, referring to the candlestick and how it relates to us as believers.
Scripture quotations are taken from the KJV and NKJV. Strong’s Concordance and https://www.blueletterbible.org/ have been used in the preparation of this Bible study.