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Lev. 19:35, 36 says,
35 You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight or capacity. 36 You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.
A just balance establishes the principle that the judgment must always fit the crime (“eye for eye,” Exodus 21:24) and that we will be judged according to the standard by which we judge others (Matt. 7:2). The “eye for eye” principle establishes justice; the latter modifies this justice by inserting the mercy factor. Hence, Matt. 5:7 says,
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
A just weight measures the “weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). The Hebrew word for glory is kabod, from the root word, kabad, “to be heavy, weighty.” This “weight” is carried by those who are in Christ, each according to his/her capacity.
The laws of capacity (omer, ephah, and homer) measure one’s capacity to hold this weight of glory. As one grows spiritually by experiencing the feast days (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), one is able to hold more and more of His glory.
The laws of measurement in Lev. 19:35, 36 speak into these things, because, as Paul tells us that “we know that the law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14).
The law of time is set forth in the law of equal weights and measures—the measures in particular, because time measures the distance between events. One of the most basic tools of measurement is the cubit.
Some years ago, as I was driving through Montana, praying as I went, I suddenly received revelation about reeds.
Rev. 11:1 KJV says,
1 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.”
Verse 2 then speaks of “42 months.”
It is no coincidence that a reed is equal to 42 handbreadths (the width of one’s hand). This, I believe, is the key to understanding how biblical measurements of distance are applied to time. A handbreadth represents one month (or 30 days) in prophecy.
In Rev. 11:1 KJV, John was told to “measure the Temple of God and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Later, in Revelation 21:15 KJV, an angel was given “a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.” This city is the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven (Rev. 21:2).
It is clear that this reed is not just a tool to measure linear distance, because in verse 1 it is also used to measure the worshippers themselves. It is not likely that John was to see how tall they were, but rather to see if they had attained spiritual maturity, “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). These are, after all, the living stones being built into the Temple of God (Eph. 2:21).
In a personal sense, each is a complete temple in his own right, but each is also a fractal of a larger temple where the stones fit perfectly with all of the others (1 Peter 2:5). This company of living stones are quarried out of many generations, and so it takes time for this temple to be completed. Only when we reach the fullness of time will the measure of the city, altar, walls, and gates be expressed in terms of a reed. Only then will the worshippers themselves reach the full maturity of this reed.
There are three basic units of measure in Scripture: (1) a handbreadth, (2) a cubit, and (3) a reed.
This is made a little more complex by the fact that there are two types of cubit in Scripture. A regular cubit is 6 handbreadths (Hb) long, while a “great cubit” of Ezekiel 41:8 is 7 handbreadths (Hb). The great cubit, used to measure the sanctuary, is specifically defined in Ezekiel 43:13 KJV” “The cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth.” It is a few inches longer than a regular “secular” cubit.
Six great cubits (or 42 Hb) is a reed, where each cubit is 7 Hb in length. So in Ezekiel 40:5 KJV, the rebuilt Temple was measured with “a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an handbreadth; so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed.”
Ezekiel 41:8 tells us,
8 I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.
Six great cubits is the same length as seven regular cubits (6 x 7 = 7 x 6). It was convenient that a reed was the lowest common denominator of the two types of cubit.
Handbreadth = the basic unit of measure, about the width of one's hand.
Sacred Cubit = 7 Handbreadths
Reed = 6 Sacred Cubits, or 42 Handbreadths
Going back to Revelation 11, take note that the unit of measure is the “reed,” which is 42 Handbreadths, and that it correlates with 42 months. This means one linear Handbreadth translates to one month of time.
1 Handbreadth = 1 Month
42 Handbreadths = 42 Months
Ezekiel’s temple was the same that John was measuring in Rev. 11:1. It is not a physical temple in Jerusalem but the spiritual temple in the heavenly city, which Paul set forth in Eph. 2:20-22.
Ezekiel 40 and Revelation 11 and 21 ought to be read together in order to get a proper understanding of the final temple that God is building out of living stones. Ezekiel’s (Old Testament terminology needs to be interpreted through New Covenant eyes in the same way that John does. John quotes Isaiah when speaking of the heavenly city, even though Isaiah speaks only of “Jerusalem.” The prophet does not distinguish between the two cities, but leaves it to the New Testament writers to make that distinction.
The same is true of the temple within the city.
The temple that Ezekiel and John describe is not a physical temple being built in the latter days. It is a temple in the New Jerusalem, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). We are among the living stones used to build this temple.
If a handbreadth is one month, then a cubit is 7 months of time. It is the amount of time it takes to complete the full set of feast days given under Moses. A regular cubit of 6 Hb encompasses only 6 months and thus does not include the feasts of the seventh month: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.
That is why it was important for John to measure the altar and its worshippers using a “great cubit.” It was part of the revelation. To truly worship God, one must not only keep Passover (by faith in the blood of the Lamb) and Pentecost (be filled with the Spirit), but one must also keep the Autumn feasts that describe the second coming of Christ. Only then is our worship complete.
Next, we find that we can break this down into DAYS, rather than MONTHS. The book of Revelation does this, for there we find that 42 months is the equivalent of 1,260 days (or 3½ “times” in Rev. 12:14). In other words, a prophetic month is 30 days. 42 x 30 = 1,260 days.
A day is not always a 24-hour period. A day can also mean a year. The Hebrew word yom (singular) or yammim (plural) often means a year or years, such as we see in Exodus 13:10, Lev. 25:29, Joshua 13:1, etc). This is the biblical basis of the principle establishing a day for a year (Num. 14:34; Ezekiel 4:4, 5).
A day may also be 1000 years. 2 Peter 3:8 says,
8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
Peter was referencing Psalm 90:4,
4 For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.
When we measure ages, we must often think in terms of thousand-year “days.” A great Sabbath cycle, then, is a period of 7,000 years. The first “days” are devoted to labor—in this case, the labor imposed on Adam as a judgment for sin. Gen. 3:19 says, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread till you return to the ground.”
He was, in essence, a slave to the ground, earth-bound.
If a handbreadth is a 30-day month, then 7 Hb (or 7 months) are a total of 210 days (7 x 30 = 210).
The number 210 is one of the most important numbers in Bible prophecy. It is built upon the number 21, “the time of Jacob's distress” (Jer. 30:7). Jacob experienced two times of distress, each 21 years long. The first was when he had to work for Laban for 20 years. He then returned to Canaan in the 21st year, which was a Sabbath year. In other words, he took advantage of his vacation time, which was due as part of his employment.
A few years later, Jacob lost his son, Joseph. Thinking he was dead, he mourned for him (Gen. 37:34) until Joseph was revealed 21 years later. Joseph was 18 when he was taken to Egypt as a slave. He was elevated to power at the age of 30 (Gen. 41:46). There were then 6 years of plenty, and in the second year of famine, he revealed his identity to his brothers and to his father. He was then 39 years old.
Many centuries later, during the Babylonian captivity, Daniel fasted for 21 days (Dan. 10:2, 13)), during which time the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” withstood the angel (Peniel) that was sent to give Daniel some key revelation. The Prince of Persia was overpowered only through the combined strength of Michael and Peniel.
Michael is the angel of resurrection (Dan. 12:1, 2); Peniel, “God’s Face,” is the angel of transfiguration who is charged with changing our nature (name). Hence, Jacob received a name change after wrestling with Peniel (Gen. 32:30).
The number 210 is 21 x 10 and is a greater expression of the time of Jacob’s trouble. When the number is expressed in linear measurement, it is one great cubit (7 months, or 7 x 30 days), during which time the three great feast days run their course each year.
Twelve of these great cubits, when expressed in time, is 2,520 “days” (12 x 210)). We find this in the seventh chapter of the book of Numbers as well, when Moses dedicated the altar for the tabernacle, as written in the law. Each prince of the tribe offered one silver dish weighing 130 shekels, one silver bowl weighing 70 shekels, and one golden spoon weighing 10 shekels. See Num. 7:13, 14.)
The total weight that each prince brought was 210 shekels.
The twelve princes of the tribes offered a total weight of 2,520 shekels (12 x 210) at the dedication of the altar in the days of Moses. This spoke prophetically of the meaning of a period of “seven times” (or 2,520 years). God’s purpose of this long period of Jacob’s distress (trouble) was to give us the timing of the dedication of the altar in God’s great temple described in Eph. 2:20-22 and Rev. 11:1.
Each year contains 7 months to complete the main feasts that were established under Moses. In a 7-year period, those 49 months (49 x 30) are equal to 1470 (30 x 49 or 3 x 490). Hence, by this way of measuring time, we see that each complete Sabbath cycle correlates with Blessed Time (490).
If we put all of these prophetic things together, we see how God uses all of these numbers to weave a seamless robe. Each great cubit of the sanctuary is a month in time, and seven of these months is 210 days. By reaching the end of 210 days (7 months of feasts), we reach the end of Jacob’s distress in short-term prophecy, through the fulfillment of the feasts of the seventh month.
In long-term prophecy, a 7-month period is 210 days/years. Seven of those 7-month years are 1,470 years (3 x 490); twelve of those 7-month years (12 x 210) give us 2,520 years, a period of “seven times,” associated with tribulation. Half of this (3½ times) is expressed in Rev. 11:2 and 13:5 in terms of 42 months, which is 2 x 21. Again, 21 years is the time of Jacob’s distress, and he experienced two such time cycles for a total of 42 years.
For this reason also, in long-term prophecy, the tribulation of the House of Israel began in 745 B.C. and climaxed in 721 B.C. with the fall of Samaria. This began to come to an end 2,520 years later in 1776-1800, when America and later its capital, Washington, were established.
The establishment of America was the beginning of the end of the scattering of the tribes of Israel.
Jerusalem came under the authority of Nebuchadnezzar in 604 B.C. Its tribulation began to come to an end 2,520 years latera in 1917 when British General Allenby took the city from the Ottoman Empire near the end of the first World War.
Most of today’s prophecy teachers have little understanding of these things, and so they think in terms of a seven-year tribulation that is yet future. With that mindset, they miss the entire panorama of prophecy that has been taking place since the fall of Israel/Samaria and Judah/Jerusalem.
Every prophet needs to know these things in order to know how to interpret the word that God gives them. When God speaks of Israel, he is not often talking about the modern Jewish state but of the so-called lost tribes, including Ephraim, the holder of Joseph’s Birthright.
We need to learn God’s language and adopt His definitions of these important terms, so that we do not misapply prophecy. And every prophet and teacher of prophecy needs to know something about timing, which is based on handbreadths, cubits, and reeds.
Only then can anyone hope to correlate prophecy with actual history that has fulfilled it over many centuries.
In the laws of measurements, capacity was measured in omers, ephahs, and homers. An omer was 1/10 of an ephah (Exodus 16:36), and an ephah was 1/10 of a homer (Ezekiel 45:11).
These three measurements correlate with the three main feasts: Passover (omer), Pentecost (ephah), and Tabernacles (homer). They prophesy of our capacity to hold the Spirit of God.
A Passover believer, one who is justified by faith, has the capacity to hold an omer; a Pentecostal, who hears God voice, has the capacity to hold an ephah; an overcomer can hold a homer of the Spirit.
Hence, when Paul says to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), we should understand that some have more capacity to be filled than others.
Each day during the seven-week interval between the wave-sheaf offering and Pentecost, the people were to “count the omer.” The Hebrew word for “sheaf” is omer, which is also a measure of capacity equal to a tenth of an ephah (about two liters). It was customary to divide an omer of barley into fifty small piles and count one pile each day until Pentecost.
This reminded them of the sheaf that had been waved on the first day. This was more than just a reminder of a past event. It built an anticipation of Pentecost, which was the prophesied outcome of Christ’s resurrection.
As Christian believers, we understand that the wave-sheaf offering was fulfilled by the pre-dawn resurrection of Christ, followed by His presentation to the Father in the Temple in heaven at the third hour of the day. This presentation, as we have already shown, occurred on the eighth day of the week, according to the law in Exodus 22:30.
The second presentation of the sons occurred on Pentecost, which was also on an eighth day, but seven weeks later. Pentecost was fulfilled in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit was poured out as rain and fire upon the disciples’ heads.
Counting the omer of barley for 7 weeks was meant to teach the people to anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Hebrew word omer is a prophetic picture in itself. It is spelled ערמ (ayin-mem-resh). The ayin (ע) literally means “eye,” and it signifies seeing or watching for something. The mem (מ) literally means “water,” and the resh (ר) literally means “head.”
Thus, as the people counted the omer, they were really watching for water on the head—that is, they anticipated the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as rain being poured out from on high (Joel 2:28, 29). Isaiah 32:15 echoes this,
15 until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field and the fertile field is considered a forest.
Unfortunately, not every believer accepts the feast of Pentecost as a requirement to progress in one’s relationship with Christ. Many are satisfied to be justified by faith and are content with an omer of the Spirit.
Others, however, have more capacity for a greater relationship with Christ. They want an ephah. Pentecost is the way of life for the sons of God, for it is God’s great training ground to hear His voice and to be led by the Spirit. It is the path of wilderness testing, by which the sons of God offer their hearts to God as the first-fruits of the wheat. God then threshes His wheat on His threshing floor (Matt. 3:11, 12) to winnow the wheat on His threshing floor and burn up the chaff in the baptism of fire.
The fire also kills the leaven in the Pentecostal offering of two loaves “baked with leaven” (Lev. 23:17). Hence no one should be content to remain on a Pentecostal level but should catch the vision of increased capacity.
This is how God prepares His sons for the feast of Tabernacles, which is represented by the homer. Those who have a vision of something greater than Pentecost possess an increased capacity to contain the Holy Spirit.
These are the overcomers, those who are able to go beyond Pentecost—those who have a Kingdom vision.