Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 24, 1959
NUMBER 33, PAGE 5a,9b

Measuring Jerusalem

Gordon Wilson, Sacramento, California

"I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof." (Zech. 2:1,2.)

It is, of course, a fact that Jerusalem was a walled city, and therefore of definite and well-established proportions. If one wanted to know the exact size of Jerusalem, it was but necessary to ask one of the rulers of the city to receive a prompt reply. Yet, the prophet saw a man about to measure the city with a measuring line. An angel came and explained that Jerusalem should be inhabited as a city without walls, thus the need for measuring it. The Jerusalem here spoken of prophetically is of such a nature that no physical walls can contain its inhabitants, and a new kind of measurement must be applied.

We shall not go amiss if we consider the new Jerusalem as the church of Christ, for the writer of the book of Hebrews seems to so explain it. "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven .. ." (Heb. 12:22,23.) Then the measuring line, the standard given by God, can be applied to the church to determine the dimensions of it.

First, "What is the length thereof"? How long is the church? You cannot take a yardstick and measure it, but still it is possible to measure its length by observing how far it reaches. We can give its length in these terms: The church is long enough to reach from earth to heaven, from time to eternity. It will be here as long as time shall continue, and those who live faithfully in the church will be carried home to heaven. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." (Eph. 3:21.) I know there are some people who think that there is to be a period on the earth after the church has served its purpose, and that this period is to be called the millennium. However, I fail to see where they can make room for a millennium after all ages are finished! The church is to stand for God's glory throughout all ages. Again we read concerning the church, "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve him with reverence and godly fear." (Heb. 12:28.) This verse is very similar in some ways to Eph. 3:21 and it tells us that the kingdom cannot be moved. That is, it is enduring. Both verses tell us that the church or kingdom is for all time, and in it we may serve or glorify the Father. So the church is long enough to reach from time to eternity, from earth td heaven.

Second, "What is the breadth thereof"? How broad is the church? It is broad enough to include all of the saved of the earth, while narrow enough to exclude every unsaved person. "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47.) In the days of the apostles everyone who obeyed the gospel should be saved according to the promise of Jesus, (Mk. 16:16.) Those who did this were added to the church, thus every saved person was in the church, while not one unsaved person got in by any means. Since to get into the church the Lord must do the adding, it is quite certain that no mistakes are made as to who should be admitted. I believe this shows clearly the undenominational nature of the Lord's church. All of the saved are in it; but not one denomination can make this claim concerning itself. All of the saved are not in the Baptist Church, as the Baptists will admit. All of the saved are not in the Methodist Church, as they will gladly concede. All of the saved are not in any denomination. Denominationalists often complain that the church of Christ is too narrow but the truth is, it is broad enough to include all of the saved, while the denominations do not even claim to include more than a few of the saved.

Third, Is the church sufficiently large to fit, the needs of its inhabitants? What is needed by those in the church? We need a name, a teaching, a worship, and we need a government. The church of our Lord has all of these, but are they suitable? The name that we wear is certainly one that all can agree is right and proper. There can be no agreement upon the name Catholic, or the name Lutheran, but all of us can consent to be called by the name of Christ. The name, then, is sufficiently large for all to wear it. As to teaching, the church has not devised its own doctrine, but gives steadfast attendance to the apostles' doctrine, (Acts 2:42.) This is revealed in the New Testament. The creeds of men are not acceptable, but the New Testament is a body of teaching that is sufficiently large for all to accept it. In worship the church of Christ follows the precepts of Christ to worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24.) The liturgies of human denominations have differing effects upon different people, but the worship of God in spirit and in truth is sufficiently large for all to engage in it. The government of the New Testament church is of the simplest form. The church is an absolute monarchy with Jesus the head over all things to the church. (Eph. 1:22,23.) Human authority, diocesan regulations; these may be a burden to men, but the government of the Son of God is sufficiently large for all to submit to it.

We must conclude that the church of Christ, the spiritual Jerusalem, is sufficiently large to meet the needs of all its inhabitants.