Yesterday morning we took a general view of this House which was
shown to Ezekiel. This morning we shall begin to consider it more in
detail. We are going to return to chapter 40, at verse 3: "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. And the Man said
unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine
ears, and set thy heart upon all that I shall show thee; for to the
intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither:
declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel."
So we take another look at this:
Man of Brass.
You will remember that we noticed that the feet of the cherubim
were of brass, and the feet of the Lord Jesus in the first chapter
of the Revelation were of brass. And we said that brass in the
Bible is a symbol of righteous judgment. This Man of brass stands
at the gate, and that means that there is no way in for
the unrighteous man. The man of the flesh cannot enter this gate.
There is no place for the flesh in this House. It is only the
Righteous Man who may come in here, and everything is going to be
measured by the Righteous Man.
We take a look at these two instruments of measurement, and we
note that there are two instruments of measurement. There
is firstly the line of flax, and no measurement is given to it. We
are not told how long that line was, but we do know that it was
used for the greater measurements. When we come later to the river
in chapter 47, it is not the rod, but the line that is the
instrument of measurement; and we find that that river becomes too
deep for man. I think this clearly corresponds to what Paul said
in the letter to the Ephesians. There he spoke of the knowledge,
the love of Christ, which passes knowledge. We are here in
the presence of something that is far greater than human
measurement. If this Man does represent the Holy Spirit, as we
said, there is no measuring the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is without measure, but within that great
fullness, there is the rod of measurement. There is that which
brings the great fullness down to particular matters. So we have
this measuring reed. These are two ways of measuring. One is what
we may call the measureless measure, the measure that has
no limits; that is the great fullness of the Spirit. The other is
that which is brought down to things in everyday life. This rod
was used for all the details of the House. Now, I do not think
it's necessary to stay with that, we only note that there are two
means of measuring. One, there is the great fullness of Christ;
the other is that that fullness is brought down to the details of
the House of God. I will just leave that with you because there's
a lot in that.
We must remember this: that when we think of the fullness
of the Spirit, or the fullness of Christ, we must not
forget that that is going to be brought down to the details
of our life. That is made perfectly clear in the letter to the
Ephesians. The first three chapters relate to the great fullness
of Christ, that unmeasured fullness. Chapter 4 begins in this way:
"I beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith you were
called..." and then all the details are mentioned: husbands and
wives, wives and husbands, masters and servants, servants and
masters, children and parents, parents and children. You see, the
measuring rod has come down to everyday life. We must not think in
the great terms without realising that the Lord is going to apply
His measure to every detail. It is so easy to have these great
ideas about the fullness of Christ, and to neglect the details.
Every little thing must be measured by the same Spirit as measures
the fullness of Christ. I hope you see that.
Here is this Man, let Him represent the Holy Spirit, for the Holy
Spirit is speaking about the vast fullness of Christ and His
House, the vast fullness of the Life which flows out, but that
same Holy Spirit comes to these very small details. It is the same
Spirit, and while He speaks of the greatness, He also points to
the details. I do not think that there would be any value in our
looking at the measurements of the rod, so we just pass on to the
instructions that were given to the prophet.
Notice in verse 4: "The Man said unto me, Son of man, behold
with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thy heart upon
all that I shall show thee, for to the intent that I may show them
unto thee, art thou brought hither."
Notice these words: Behold! Hear! Set thy heart! Declare... and
then, if you go over to chapter 43 and verse 10, you have another
part of the instructions: "Show the House to the House of Israel." Now let us think about that for a minute.
Before we can present anything to other people, we ourselves must
first know what we are going to present. The instructions to the
prophet were very particular: "Behold with thine eyes, hear with
thine ears..." and so on: "Give very careful attention to this
whole matter! You must have a very clearly defined apprehension of
what you are going to show to the people. You yourselves must see
this object." We ask again, what is that object? What is
the answer to this whole vision? In the first place, undoubtedly
the answer is found in the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the key
to everything here.
First of all, in the Incarnation we have:
The Righteous Man.
The Man according to God. And He is the standard
and the measure of everything, "He is made unto us righteousness
from God." You will remember that that was said at a time
when things were out of order in the Church, things were not
according to the Lord's Mind, and so the apostle said about Jesus,
"He is made unto us righteousness". Everything in the Church has
got to be measured according to Christ, that is, according to God's
standard as presented in His Son. He is the
righteous One. "God hath appointed a day in which He will judge
the world in righteousness in the Man Whom He hath appointed."
Jesus said that the Father had given Him authority to execute
judgment because He was the Son of Man. Here is the Man of brass, the Son of Man who is the Righteous One, and He is God's
standard of measurement. God measures everything by Him. We
shall have to come back to that again later on, but we just note
the meaning of the Man of brass and His measuring reed.
You remember that the natural man had intruded into the church at
Corinth. The apostle had to speak to Corinth much about the
natural man and the carnal man. He pointed out
that this natural man,
this carnal man, had no place in the realm of the things of the
Spirit. This man "receiveth not the things of the Spirit...
neither can he know them." That is what this Man of brass
is doing, He is saying that only the man according to Christ can
behold, and see, and hear. Only the spiritual man can come
into this realm of the things of the Spirit. I say that the
natural and carnal man had intruded into the church at Corinth,
and you see the method by which the apostle sought to put that
right. He said, "I determined to know nothing among you, save
Jesus Christ and Him crucified". Paul brought in this righteous
Man to correct the things that were unrighteous. By bringing in
the righteous Man, He put out the unrighteous man. By bringing in
the Man of the Spirit, He put out the man of the flesh. That is
exactly the meaning of this Man of brass with His measuring rod,
so that first of all, the object in view is Christ. He is
And then of course, going with that is:
The Church, which is His Body.
The Church is called "the one new man". Paul said, "You have put
on the new man." And so the Church is measured according
to Christ. Christ is the measure of everything in the Church.
Indeed, that is the only Church that is known in heaven!
The only Church that heaven recognises is that Church which is the
Body of Christ; that Church which is measured according to Christ.
Everything in that Church has to do with one thing only:
it is the measure of Christ. That is, of course, what we have in
Colossians and Ephesians, and we may say, in Philippians also, but
Colossians and Ephesians are particularly the letters concerning
the Church. In those letters measurement is mentioned, "the
measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"; "the length,
and breadth, and height, and depth". You see, measurement is there
very much, but this measurement is in the Church, and everything
with the Spirit is just a matter of how much of Christ there is.
Let us try to get free of our technical ideas of the Church. We
know that the Church is not a thing. It is not an
institution. It is not here or there as to geography. The Church
is just where it is, as the measure of Christ. If there is more of
the measure of Christ in one place than another, then there's more
of the Church there. It is just the measure of Christ that
determines how much the Church is there. Do try to remember that,
it is spiritual measure which is the measure of Christ which
defines the Church. If you ask the question, "What is the Church
and where is the Church?" the answer is, "Where Christ is!" And
where Christ is most fully, there is the Church more fully.
We must recognise that the Church is entirely measured
according to this Man but that Church can only be seen by
revelation of the Holy Spirit. If we have not received "the Spirit
of wisdom and revelation", then we may talk about the Church, but
we shall just see the Church in some way that is not the Spirit's
way of seeing the Church. It requires the Holy Spirit to enable us
really to see the Church. And when the Holy Spirit shows us the
Church, what shall we see? Shall we see something that is called
the Church? Shall we see a lot of people who hold a certain
doctrine about the Church? Shall we see something in which a
certain interpretation of Bible teaching about the Church is held?
Shall we see a congregation of people who call themselves the
Church? Shall we see any of that? No! When the Holy Spirit opens
our eyes, we shall not see that. We shall see Christ! To see
Christ is to see the Church! And to have
seen the Church means that you have seen Christ. You see,
Christ is a great spiritual order as well as a great
There is a great heavenly system. Christ is the
embodiment of that heavenly and spiritual system. It is all a
matter of what Christ is. It is a matter of the Mind of Christ;
that is, what Christ thinks and how He views things. It is exactly
how Christ does things. You see, the Church is an expression of a
very comprehensive Person. That is how we should consider the Life
of Christ: as here to reveal these great spiritual truths of
heaven. It is a vast heavenly system brought to us in the Person
of God's Son.
It was when Paul saw Christ that he began to see the Church.
Those two things went together. And the more he saw of Christ, the
more he understood the Church. That resulted in Paul giving us
this unique presentation of the Church. It is only
Paul who calls the Church "the Body of Christ"; and I have often
said, if we understood the whole of the human body, and after many
centuries of studying it, there is no one in the world who
understands it altogether today, this human body is still capable
of developing things that the wisest physician does not
understand. With all their knowledge, and all their wisdom, they
are still trying to understand the human body. If we understood everything
about our physical body, we should understand Christ and the
Church, because the Church is the
Body of Christ. I'm saying that this can only be seen from
a heavenly standpoint by revelation of the Holy Spirit.
So we come to these instructions, "Son of man, behold with thine
eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thy heart upon all that I
shall show thee." What does that mean in New Testament terms?
Well, in the letter to the Ephesians the apostle prays that the
Church may come to "the full knowledge of Him," There it
is. As you know, in the original "the full knowledge of
Him". The Ephesian believers had a knowledge of the Lord, I think
they had a very large knowledge of the Lord, Paul had been with
them for two years and he said that he had not shunned to declare
unto them "the whole counsel of God" so that they had received
very much teaching from Paul. And yet, in the end he is praying
for them that they might be brought to the full knowledge
of Christ. And he explained that in his own prayer: "that you may
know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of His
inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His
power." - "That you may know." - "Son of man, behold with thine
eyes, and hear with thine ears and set thy heart upon all that I
will show you." So Paul says, "That I may know Him." Right
at the end of his life he is still saying, "That I may know Him."
"Son of man, behold and hear, and set thy heart".
You cannot, as ministers of Christ, show anything to others until
you yourself have seen. Afterward the Man said to Ezekiel, "Show
the House to the House of Israel," so that this new
ministry to which he was called was a presenting, or revealing, of
Christ. We can put it in this way: in the first vision Ezekiel had
seen the Man on the throne, he had seen the Man in heaven, and now
his last great vision was the Man in the Church. He was seeing the
Church now, and his ministry at the end related to that: the
presenting of the fullness of Christ, and the Church which is
the fullness of Him that "filleth all in all". So the end of
that prayer of Paul is "unto Him be the glory in the
Church and in Christ Jesus unto all ages for ever and ever.
"Son of man, show the House to the House of Israel." What
will be the effect of that? This is the test as to whether
we have seen. You see, we can talk about the Church as we have it
in the New Testament. There was a time when I was doing Bible
teaching, and in those days I could give a very good analysis and
outline of the letter to the Ephesians; it was what was in the New
Testament about the Church, and I could present it in that form on
the blackboard. But in those days I was in a denominational
church. I was wearing the clothes of a denominational minister. I
was talking about the Church, but I knew nothing about it. I had
really not seen the Church. All my knowledge of what the
Bible taught made no difference to me. What was the result of
that? There was very little spiritual value in that ministry. All
that ministry certainly did not create a revolution.
Now notice what it says here, "Show the House to the House of
Israel, that they may be ashamed of their ways, and may
keep My words"; the effect of the ministry, if it is to have effect
like that, we must have seen it in the Spirit. It will not have
that effect if we have only seen it in the letter, "The letter
killeth, but the Spirit maketh alive." The effect of a ministry of
revelation is quite positive; it has an effect upon people.
Now, I had hoped that this morning I would get a little further
than that, but if I start at this point, I shall want to go right
on for an hour. I wanted to turn to that little picture, but we
seem never to get there. But I will not start and spoil it by
having to stop too soon. It is not that it would take so long, but
it is a very important matter. So I think we'll just stop there
for this morning. No doubt you will be glad of a little extra time
to be quiet.