Prophetic Linear Measurements
Jul 18, 2008
Some years ago, as I was driving and through Montana and praying as I went, I suddenly made the connection in Revelation 11 about prophetic time and linear measurements.
Revelation 11:1 speaks of "a reed" and then verse 3 speaks of a period of "42 months." I came to see that a reed actually represents 42 months, because it is precisely 42 handbreadths in length.
That simple connection is the key that unlocks all prophetic linear measurements. I have not written about this previously, because most people will find it rather complex and hard to understand. But here is a basic outline, which you will understand if you study it carefully.
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. There is a regular cubit, and there is a sacred cubit (called in Scripture a "great cubit"). A regular cubit is 6 handbreadths long, while a sacred cubit has an extra handbreadth in it.
This is pointed out in Ezekiel's measurements of the temple, which obviously use the sacred cubit. Ezekiel 43:13 says, "And these are the measurements of the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth). . ."
So the cubit used to measure the altar in Ezekiel's prophecy is the "great cubit" of 7 handbreadths.
Now a "reed" is the length of either 6 sacred cubits or 7 regular cubits. The reed is the common denominator between the two types of cubits. Six sacred cubits equals a reed, because 6 cubits times 7 handbreadths is 42 handbreadths, or one reed. On the other hand, 7 regular cubits also equals a reed, because 7 regular cubits times 6 handbreadths also equals 42 handbreadths, or one reed.
I hope you can form a mental picture of this so it is not confusing.
Ezekiel 41:8 defines a reed as "six great cubits."
To be less confusing, I will confine this discussion to great cubits (sacred cubits) and ignore the regular cubit. After all, both Ezekiel and Revelation 11 are dealing with measurements of the "temple," and so the sacred cubit is really all that matters for our purposes. To summarize:
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
CUBITS ARE SEVEN MONTHS
Going the next step, that means 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 falls short and does not manifest that seventh month, in which are Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. That is why it was important for them to use a sacred cubit. It was part of the revelation. The regular cubit did not encompass these feast days from a prophetic standpoint, as if to say that non-believers are not those inheriting the first resurrection (Trumpets) or the promise of Tabernacles.
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 3 and a half "times" in the book of Daniel). In other words, a prophetic month is 30 days. 42 x 30 = 1,260 days.
These "days" can also be extended into greater days. A day can mean a year (Ezekiel 4:4, 5), or a day can be 1000 years (Ps. 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8), depending upon the particular application.
CUBITS ARE 210 DAYS
If a month is equal to 30 days, then 7 months total 210 days.
This number 210 is one of the most important numbers in Bible prophecy. It is "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7), because it is built upon a 21-day/year period. Daniel fasted for 21 days (Dan. 10:2, 13), during which time the "prince of the kingdom of Persia" withstood the angel that was sent to give Daniel some key revelation.
Jacob himself worked for Laban for 20 years and then went back to Canaan in the 21st year, which was his Sabbath year. The Sabbath year was his "vacation time" and counts toward his work schedule. After returning to Canaan, Jacob had a second time of trouble when Joseph was lost. The Birthright son was separated from his brethren for 21 years.
These two times of Jacob's personal trouble, each 21 years long, were prophetic of greater things in the Israel nation in years to come. First, Israel was in bondage for 210 years, and later, Israel (including the tribes of Joseph) was separated for another 210 years (931-721 B.C.).
12 CUBITS IS 2,520 DAYS/YEARS
The number 210 is expressed in linear measurement by the sacred cubit. Twelve of these cubits is 2,520 "days" (or years). We find this in the seventh chapter of the book of Numbers as well, when Moses dedicated the altar for the Tabernacle. This is particularly significant, because both Ezekiel 43:13 and Revelation 11:1 speak of these measurements in terms of measuring the altar. The original altar in Moses' Tabernacle was "measured," so to speak in Numbers 7.
In dedicating the altar, the prince of each tribe was to give God an offering, one offering per day for 12 days. Each gave the same offering: 1 silver dish weighing 130 shekels; 1 silver bowls weighing 70 shekels; and 1 golden spoon weighing 10 shekels. The total offering for each tribe was 210 shekels of weight. Multiply this by 12 tribes, and the grand total was 2,520 shekels.
This was how the altar was originally dedicated and prophetically "measured." Both Ezekiel and Revelation merely monitor the progression of this foundational revelation of measurement.
What does it mean? The 2,520 years is also a period of "seven times". We know this, because Daniel's 3-1/2 "times" is translated into 42 months, or 1,260 days in Revelation 13. Twice that is 2,520, and this number, therefore, is a period of "seven times."
This 2,520-year period is a judgment cycle. I wrote about this in more detail in my book, The Prophetic History of the United States. No one can really understand modern events without knowing how they are occurring 2,520 years from biblical events. America's founding in 1776 was 2,520 years from the beginning of Israel's captivity in 745 B.C. Our nation's capital was established in 1800, which was 2,520 years after Israel's capital (Samaria) was destroyed in 721 B.C. The Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1914 precisely 2,520 years after the original Babylon defeated Assyria and became the dominant Empire in 607 B.C. And so on.
All of these 2,520-year cycles represent a time period of 12 cubits. From this, we can see that when God began to dismantle Israel and Judah in ancient times, He immediately began to re-dedicate His New Altar. The offerings of the 12 princes prophesied of twelve 210-year periods in which God was slowly rebuilding a New Temple on the ruins of the old carnal Temple.
He is not building a physical structure in the Old Jerusalem any more, for that was suitable under the Old Covenant, which was broken and abolished. Hagar (Jerusalem) has been cast out. But these linear measurements establish the time it takes to build the New Temple, using the destruction of the old structures as the beginning point.